Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Snow

Friday we closed at 2pm and I headed home to pack and get a nap in before heading back out to White Grass for the big storm. I started out around 9pm and the further i headed out, the more traffic thinned. By the time I got to interstate 68, the only traffic on the road was state highway tracks and a couple of 18 wheelers. As I began to climb up Sidling Hill, I passed a plow in the ditch and two big rigs that were stuck in the middle of the roadway. I made my way around and kept a good head of steam up to crest the hill. As I made my way over the top, I noticed only one set of tire tracks in front of me which were pretty old as the were filling in with snow and the road unplowed due to the truck assigned to this stretch of road being out of commission at the time. I thought to myself, if the interstate is this bad, I cant imagine how bad the state roads will be. Once I got off the interstate the road seemed to get better. The blade brigade was out in full force along 219 with snow blowers, center blades, and loaders hard at work in addition to the standard plows. As I made my way into Accident, Maryland, visibility was low, the town dark, and not a soul stirring. The town felt vacant and cold as if it had been evacuated and reminded me of a trip I took several years back with Phil to North Carolina.

"Phil was always in pursuit of adventure as was I. Maybe that why we got along so well. In late summer, he would follow the weather closely to see what was brewing in the tropics, for one of his hobbies was chasing hurricanes. He took me along on about half a dozen; some tame and others down right terrifying.

We made 5 hour trip to Cape Hatteras for one such event to wait for the storm to hit, but upon arrival, the storm had changed course and the eye was predicted to make landfall at Cape Fear, South Carolina. We asked a couple of locals directions as we stretched our legs for a minute on the beach. The wind was strong and I could feel the low pressure as we stood staring at the angry sea. We climbed back into my Camaro which was well stocked with food, rope, harnesses, clothes and a spot light and began our 3 hour tour down the 2 lane road, but it wasnt long before the sky opened up. As we drove, conditions deteriorated and I was having trouble seeing as the wipers could no longer keep up with the volume of water falling from the sky. The road was dark with nary a building in sight. After a couple of hours, we cam upon the crossroads we were looking for and made our left turn. We made it less than half a mile before deep standing water in the road made passage impossible. Looking to the right, we could see a house with water pouring through it and down the front steps.

We turned around and continued down the road on which we had previously traveled, hoping to find an alternative route south. Driving along, the ditch to our right began to fill with water until it flowed freely over the top and into the woods which stood 100 yards off in the distance. To our left, we could see the towering masts of sailboats jutting back and forth in the bay, as the storm tossed the vessels about like toy ships in a bath tub. It wasnt long before the bay flowed over the road and the ditch, off through the trees in the distance.

We got nervous as we passed signs warning of alligators and our top speed dropped to a mere 20 mph as the water now flowed across the road about 6 inches deep. Knowing the car would not be able to proceed if the water got much deeper, Phil and I discussed a plan of action if the car were to die. It was only about 10pm with the storm surge still 4 hours away, which was a predicted 10 feet high. We would be forced to abandon the vehicle, at which point we would swim to the trees and tie ourselves off using the rope and harnesses we had packed. However the road began to clear up slightly as we came into a small town. We contemplated stopping, but signage and a man with a shotgun kept on us on the move. The road turned inland for a bit and only about 2 inches of water stood on the roadway. We drove for another hour or so before coming to another small community. Phil fired up the spotlight to search for a place to hunker down and wait out the storm. Approaching the end of town, Phil spotted a church with several cars out front and lit it up with the Q Beam which got a reply with a flashlight, a beacon of hope from God's house. We pulled into the gravel lot where we were greeted by several locals.

One of the locals told us the road was impassible beyond that point with 2 feet of water standing. The smell of gasoline filled the air as a 55 gallon drum floated by. Along the way, Phil and I spotted a row boat tied off to a small house across the street from the church. With still 2 hours before the storm surge hit, the water was already at the church steps, so we discussed plans to swim and get that boat if need be, but it was time to rest. We slept through the night on pews in the back of the chapel and awoke to a beautiful summer morning. And made our way west toward 95 for the long trip home."


(frantic scratchings from my journals)


Looking back at Weiss Knob...




I have always been fascinated with these windmills, but never taken a camera to one. I came across these just outside of Davis, WVA after sunset and snowshoed out to get up close and personal...







I headed out monday at sunset for a hike along the canal and Billy Goat trail, but got there a bit late and missed the good light. Gwadzilla (http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/) often writes about the Billy Goat and has some images on his blog as well.






The Billy Goat in the snow...




An electrical fire...


The fire grows (note the wire draped across the fence)...



The next shot didnt turn out a)because the 50 feet of fence in front of me turned solid white, b) because I the sound from the wire arcing on the fence was so loud it startled me, causing me to drop the camera c) I was too busy high tailing it out of there or d) all of the above.
Powerless man..




Something interesting going on here...



On the move...




Good Guys always delivers and were not talkin pizza...






Glade Runner

Last week of January: Saturday morning I hopped on my bike and headed for work just as the snow began to fall in DC. I put in a good day's work and then hopped in the car and headed for Patapsco State Park to meet of with Poz to get a snowy, night ride in, which we did for the most part with out lights. You could get a general idea of where the trail was but obstacles were nearly impossible to spot, so we felt our way around. I call this riding by braille. About 2.5 hours riding there, then home to pack my bags to head for WVA to meet up with Tim and some more folks to get some time in at White Grass. I headed out just before sun up and once I got there, borrowed snowshoes and carried my board up as the others got there tele on. Great fun, good conditions and a pretty fun place. Some good woods runs there and saw several familiar faces from the cycling world.

Commuting to work...



Poz circles the drain. Low light, but in frame...


Pigs' Run by my light...




Cleaned it...



Shedding some light on the lower half...




Cascade crossing...




On the road at dawn...




The makings of a great day...




Tim hides out amongst the trees...




Dana in the Flat Rock Bowl...


Tim getting his carve on under the sun...




Sue is no slouch on the skis either...