One of the treats to visit around Frederick, Maryland, is the Monocacy National Battlefield that is located just to the southeast of town. On the grounds of the working farms located within the battlefield can be found some original structures like this old stone barn, which is made from locally sourced materials. Sadly, the battlefield has I-270 completely cutting it in half, which can be seen in the far distance.
Photo info: The old stone barn Best Farm Monocacy National Battlefield Frederick, Maryland March 2014 Leica Tri-Elmar 16/4.0 ASPH lens Leica M240 digital camera
For anyone interested in the American West, here’s a bit of historical interest for you. During one of our many epic road trips across the country, we decided to go and explore the far northeastern section of Wyoming – an area that neither Cindy or I had ever been to. Sure, the two of us have explored the national parks in northwestern Wyoming pretty thoroughly together as adults, and I’d been with my family as a kid when we used to go camping throughout all of western Wyoming in the 1960s and early 1970s – but other than the major travel routes (I-90, I-25, and I-80), we’d never really seen much of the eastern part of the state. That all changed on this particular trip.
When driving in eastern Wyoming, one tends to get parched. Whether it’s the dry and arid conditions of the land, or the high desert air one is driving through – thirst tends to build. So we went looking for a suitable solution and ended up in Chugwater – stopping at the famous Chugwater Soda Fountain… the oldest operating soda fountain in the state of Wyoming. That in itself is worth the trip, but at the northern edge of their parking lot is this oddity – a vaneless windmill. I’ll let the description from the Flickr page take it from here:
The vaneless mills were unique in that the tail pointed into the wind and the wheel section opened and closed maintaining a constant pumping speed according to the velocity of the wind. There were no gears of any kind on these mills. Pumping action was by direct stroke pitmon stick.
The major portion of the mill “A Dempster #4” was salvaged from the Edward Come homestead approximately 2 miles northeast of Chugwater. It was restored by John Baker and Jim Collins of Chugwater and erected in 1991 by members for Wyoming’s Centennial.
There is a hidden fleet of century-old ships on the Potomac River in Maryland – a fleet so vast that it’s hard to visualize. And yet this fleet of ships can’t really be seen at all… because it’s entirely underwater. This is the infamous Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay, where some 230 vessels – widely regarded as the “largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere” – were towed, burned, and sunk after Word War I. You can read more online about Mallows Bay via Google here, and see dozens of videos about it on YouTube here.
We visited Mallows Bay with our kayaks back when information about it was difficult to find, and the resulting video that Cindy created is one of her most popular, with over 138K views.
The only shipwreck still largely above the water is the remains of the SS Accomac, a Chesapeake Bay car ferry dating back to 1928, which was towed here and left to rot sometime after 1964.
However, virtually all of the other wrecks here are completely covered and hidden at high tide, which poses a severe danger to any boat that ventures close enough. Why? Because the last remaining timbers and metal bolts from the burned wooden ships are literally inches under the surface of the water, just waiting for the unsuspecting. You can see some of these in photo below.
There are still a few of the deteriorating wooden hulls that can be seen and approached, but given they are in such a terrible state of rot, they should not be climbed upon.
Below is a photo of one of the keels of the wooden ships, and the many metal bolts that are covered at high tide. The bolts can – and will – rip the bottom out of any watercraft that ventures through them at speed when they are covered with water.
Once we finished our tour and headed for the shore, Cindy discovered a huge moth drowning in the water, which she rescued. Once the moth had dried out, we placed it in a bush along the shoreline.
All-in-all, Mallows Bay is a wonderful place to crawl through and slowly explore with a canoe or kayak. Highly recommended.
Photo info: All photos taken with an Apple iPhone 5S Video taken with a Sony waterproof digicam