Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Small Wonder: A Saturday Trip to Delaware and a Friend's Wedding

The leopard display, Delaware Museum of Natural History, 7:50PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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Yesterday was quite an adventurous and enjoyable day as I went with Gary to a wedding in Delaware, specifically, to Andrea's marriage ceremony at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Andrea is my good friend, co-worker, and -- yes -- supervisor, although we were the first two before the latter.

The Hall of Mammals Exhibit, Delaware Museum of Natural History, 7:27PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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I took about two dozen pictures but again, these were taken with my cellphone with its relatively low-quality cellphone camera and they are not that good, especially those taken at and of thet wedding ceremony since it was already night time and the lighting was kind of dim in the museum. Thus, I am only going to post the pictures that are not specifically of the wedding ceremony, save one image (see below).

As it is, Jake took a lot of excellent quality pictures, and I'm hoping to get some from him that I will then post.

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We drove from D.C. to Delaware yesterday afternoon via I-95, which was actually mostly in good shape with no traffic snarls.

Some images from yesterday (including those taken en route) ...

One of the really expensive houses cloaked in trees losing their autumn leaves along 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:06PM, Nov. 17, 2012. (This was at the start of our trek yesterday as we were leaving D.C.)

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A (male?) gingko tree with leaves at golden-yellow fall peak. This tree is along 16th Street, Washington, D.C., not far from the Maryland line, 2:08PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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The Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas docked at the cruise ship terminal of the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore (ROLL ON! / ROLL OFF!) shortly before the ship departed* to this or that tropical or sub-tropical destination (probably Bermuda).

*The ship ("She") was gone by the time we got back around midnight.

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Entering Bore 3 of the Matthew Wade Henry, I mean, Fort McHenry Tunnel, 2:55PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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And here we are in the tunnel and here I make my obligatory THX-1138 movie tunnel chase scene reference.

I also like to hum, autistic child-like, with the sound created as a vehicle rushes through the tunnel:

OOHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM........

I do the same thing standing next to a running microwave oven or a washer on spin cycle.

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Crossing the I-95 Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, 4:00PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

This marks the boundary of Harford and Cecil Counties in Maryland. It also is the boundary of two National Weather Service forecast offices -- the Sterling (LWX) Baltimore/Washington NWS and Mount Holly / Philadelphia (PHI) NWS County Warning Areas.

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The shrine of Our Lady of the Highways of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Cecil County, Md., as seen from I-95, 4:14PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

I'll refrain from any commentary about Fr. Greenfield and my association with him in 2004.

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Anyway, we got to Wilmington at sunset, taking Rt. 202 to area north of the city. I know very little about Wilmington, Delaware, having spent zero time there** EXCEPT to pass just south of it scores of times in my life on I-95 either heading back to the D.C./Baltimore area or heading (via the I-295 split and the Delaware Memorial Bridge) into New Jersey.


Wilmington seems to me kind of a strange big little city, a sort of smaller, less polluted / less post-industrial ghettoey version of Baltimore or Philadelphia (which is almost close enough to engulf it).

**The one except when I actually stopped in Wilmington was on a bitterly cold night with snow on the ground in January 1988 when my dad and I stopped there to go to a Sizzler or some such restaurant on some downtown street. I was 18 years old and he had come down to Glen Burnie where I lived to take me to New Jersey. My grandmother had just died and it was for the funeral in Long Branch.

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As we had time before the 7PM ceremony, we searched for the Ebright Azimuth marker (pictured above) which marks the highest land spot in Delaware at 447.85 feet above sea level.

This is yours truly at the Ebright Azimuth that marks the 447.85 foot elevation that is the highest spot in Delaware.

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True, it's not exactly as high as this spot.

But the 447.85' elevation is still just over 100 feet higher than the highest spot in the State of Florida (345' - Britton Hill / Lakewood Park) and is nearly 39 feet higher than the highest spot in the District of Columbia (409' at Fort Reno).

Here is Gary reading the Ebright Azimuth plaque, 4:51PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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Honestly, though, the house about 100 feet away at the corner of Ramblewood Drive and Ebright Road and actually appeared to be slightly higher, but you can never really tell with those kinds of things.

As you can see in the picture with Gary, it was already dusk and quickly getting dark. We drove from there to the wedding venue, except we had nearly 90 minutes to go, so we drove farther up Kennett Pike into Pennsylvania.

The Delaware-Pennsylvania boundary is formed by the northern arc of the famous 12-Mile Circle.

Here is the labeled and marked Google satellite aerial image. The circle appears to be a series of smaller arcs since it is not entirely uniform.

Kennett Pike / Delaware Rt. 52 becomes Pennsylvania Rt. 52 at the border. That border is obvious as the quality of the road changes markedly from excellent to kind of tired looking and stretching on in that endless, winding 2-lane agony like so many other roads in Pennsylvania.

Having said that, I should note that the two-lane roads in Sussex County, Delaware look kind of worn out and there is no question when you have left Maryland. More generally, most of Maryland's roadways from its interstates to its two-lane country roads tend to be in excellent shape regardless of where you are in the state.

This short drive took us through Centreville, an unincorporated town just inside the Delaware state line and apparently home to a variety of estates of the Du Pont family. We also came across Buckley's Tavern, which is both a nice restaurant and bar.

Interior of Buckley's Tavern, Centreville, Delaware, 5:23PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

Yes, I know it's a frickin' blurry picture.

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We stopped at Buckley's Tavern for about an hour and were able to sit at the bar and have a couple drinks. (I had two dark and stormy drinks.) The place was quite crowded and had a very pleasant atmosphere. The prices were also quite reasonable.

Another interior of Buckley's Tavern at the bar, 5:31PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

Apparently, the Bidens (the Vice President and his family) have been there more than once.

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We got to the wedding reception site by 6:30PM and stayed until just after 10PM, when we headed back to D.C. We arrived back around 1230AM and Gary dropped me off near Nellie's, where I stayed for two hours unitl it closed and walked home.

Again, the pictures I took with my camera were crummy and I'll wait to get some better quality ones to post.

However, I would still like to post this one of the bride and groom dancing after the ceremony, Delaware Museum of Natural History, 7:51PM, Nov. 17, 2012.

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By the way, I'm guessing this will be the only wedding I ever attend where I am seated next to a dinosaur exhibit, in particular, replica skeletons of Yangchuanosaurus and Tuojiangosaurus,the Asian (Chinese) relatives of the North American dinosaurs, Allosaurus and Stegosaurus.

Or a wedding  where I can stick my head into the mouth of a model Tyrannosaurus rex (Delaware Museum of Natural History, 6:40PM, Nov. 17, 2012). (I almost didn't post this image as it looks like I'm missing my two front teeth in this picture.)

What an astonishing creature it must have been.

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Oh, yes, I was able to purchase this guy yesterday, a plush toucan. The one lady at the wedding who volunteered at the museum was able to open the gift shop and I was able to buy him -- Delaware tax free -- for $20. There were two and I wanted the one looking at me through the glass, but I got the other one instead.

I think I'll call him Mikey. Or Jamie.

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As for Friday night, it too ended up a good night, although I never actually made it to No. 9 or Nellie's. I also did not have dinner at P.J. Clarke's becuase the restaurant's main level and downstairs bar areas were packed with a Friday night raucous, drunken, very young D.C.'er crowd, and so it didn't seem like a good idea to try to have dinner there at that hour. I'll try again another night. I instead went to Logan Tavern, although I first stopped at the Federalist bar in the Madison hotel on 15th Street, where it was actually quite nice. There was even jazz music playing at one point.

But as with my other two planned entries, this one too may have to wait. I simply do not have enough time to dedicate to this blog, especially give how much time these entries take.

Young, pretty people out on a Saturday night, or rather, Sunday morning, after last call and trying to get a taxi cab (no easy feat at that hour). This was at 14th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 3:00AM Nov. 18, 2012.

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I should have more time after Thanksgiving since next weekend should be quite slow and quiet. But my next planned update will be either tomorrow or Tuesday night.

-- Regulus

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