Karen's Keepers

Karen's Keepers

Friday, June 8, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland

Many moons ago when we lived in Tennessee and our children were young, I remember going to Washington, DC and seeing all the sites there. But, we never saw much of Maryland. This week I went along with Randy to Baltimore, Maryland where he had a safety manager’s conference. This is what I have been up to – 

Monday - That morning we drove Randy's truck to the airport and took a 4 hour 15 minute flight to Baltimore. It was really smooth and the winds must have been in our favor, because we actually got in about 25 minutes early. The plane was FULL, Randy was by the window, and hadn’t taken his neuropathy medicine - so his feet were pretty miserable by the time we landed – but we survived. Then we had to board a shuttle bus to go to where the rental car was – about 10 minutes away. The bus driver came on the intercom to tell everyone to be sure to leave 2 hours time for returning the car! Really??!! After we got a car, we tried to follow the attendant’s directions to the hotel, but we ended up getting a bit lost and having to ask someone else. (I had printed off instructions to travel from the airport to the hotel, but they didn’t include directions from the car rental facility! I know – GPS…) Anyway, we finally got to the hotel and unloaded our things. It was right on the bay with most attractions within walking distance. 
Our hotel is the shorter building in front of the tall building

We were both hungry since all we’d had on the flight were drinks, cookies and pretzels or peanuts. We walked several blocks to where the bay's water front area was, and found a “5 Guys” hamburger place to eat at. I also found a place to buy postcards to send my kids, and we got some yummy homemade fudge to eat before heading back to the hotel. We watched a movie before hitting the sack.

Randy went right to sleep, but I tossed and turned until after 1:30 am! I realize Baltimore is 2 hours ahead of home, but sometimes I have a hard time sleeping anyway . . .  And the room was freezing . . . AND the noise of the fan kept me awake. So, I never got into a deep sleep and the alarm went off at 6am.

Tuesday – We went down to breakfast provided by the safety people and it was pretty good. While we were there, we found out that a fire alarm had gone off about 11:30 pm the night before, and a lot of the people there for the safety conference had started to evacuate. I had heard the alarm, but it was so far away that I thought it was a car alarm in the parking garage. I guess someone was making popcorn in a microwave and set it off. While Randy attended his meetings, I went back upstairs and read my emails and the newspaper. Then I went to the Physical Fitness room and rode a stationary bike for about an hour. After that I got my shower, dried my hair (I had forgotten how flat it gets in that humidity!), and got ready to go sight-seeing. I walked to a place where I got a smoothie for lunch, and then I walked about 1 ½ miles mostly uphill to go to an art gallery. I had spent so much time making sure of the hours and address that I neglected to see that it wasn’t open until Wednesday. Oops. So, it was locked. But, I managed to see a lot of downtown and take lots of pictures.

 I walked back down the hill and around the bay. I was able to climb up some stairs to see the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse that was built in 1875 and used to be further out in the bay, but was moved into its present spot in 1988 when it was no longer useful as a modern lighthouse. I don’t know why, but I LOVE lighthouses! 

View from top of lighthouse looking west

Then I walked around to the other side of the bay and took some pictures from Federal Hill Park. 
Baltimore from Federal Hill

Around 6pm, all the guys (and a few women) at the safety conference were shuttled to a restaurant about 15-20 minutes away (they said it was only 2 ½ miles, but traffic was terrible) and dinner was very good – although the portions were small, and some people complained about that. Randy had discovered that he had lost his truck key sometime in the last two days, so we searched through the hotel room, he asked about it at the front desk, and we walked back to the couple of places that we had been to the previous night– all with no luck. My stomach started to act up, and let’s just say that I had evacuations taking place from both ends until after midnight. Let me just say here, that I NEVER throw up. Ask my kids. I have a cast-iron stomach. So, you know I must have been REALLY sick. Not a fun night. We did turn the fan off, however, and that helped me fall right to sleep. 

Wednesday – I stayed in bed rather than go to the breakfast, and didn’t actually start moving until 9:30 am. I thought I’d better stick with just drinking water for at least the morning. I got up, took a shower, read the paper, read my email, looked at Facebook, read in my book of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, etc. Randy was through with his meetings around noon, so we walked to lunch. I had only a chocolate shake to drink. We went to the Star-Spangled Banner house where they have a replica (it is HUGE) of the flag that was flying when the song was written. It was sewn by Mary Pickersgill. Randy went around the exhibit while I sat down. Then we toured 2 ships in the harbor - the US Submarine Torsk, and the US Sloop of War Constellation. They used to have about 80 sailors aboard the small submarine at once (one level), so they would have to sleep in rotating shifts. I would be SO claustrophobic! 
(HaHa - I know my hips look huge - but I have a sweatshirt tied around my waist!)

One of the torpedo rooms

Sleeping quarters

There were 4 levels on the Constellation, so it wouldn’t have been quite so bad. On this ship, only the officers had beds, with the regular sailors sleeping in hammocks. It was beautiful. 

There is a place along the water front where they have entertainment every day. The acts we saw were not too bad – with one guy being quite good. We walked back by an hour or so later, and I could tell his voice was getting tired, however! Finally, we drove about 4 miles and toured Fort McHenry. This is a star-shaped fort that was defended during the Battle of Baltimore, September 13-14, 1814. The valiant defense of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." First, they have a short movie about the history of the fort, then a small museum to tour, and then you get to tour the actual fort. Originally the buildings were just one-story, but later a second story was added on, and there is still a lot of remodeling going on with more displays. Because it is higher than surrounding areas and at the end of one of the land projections in the bay, it has a wonderful view. 

All during our site-seeing, I had to walk slow and sometimes stop because of my tender stomach. I took this picture of the houses because I was amazed at them - they were EVERYWHERE. They couldn't have been much more than 10 - 12 feet wide, with no yards.

We parked the car at the hotel again and walked to the Hard Rock Café for dinner. Randy happened to be wearing a Beatles t-shirt, and we got sat in a room that had a lot of Beatle paraphernalia. I could only eat about half of a mound of mashed potatoes. We then walked back to the hotel and relaxed before going to bed early because we had to get up at 4am.

Thursday – We got up very early and packed everything up. We left the hotel about 4:20am. We drove the car back to the rental place and took a shuttle back to the airport. We ate some breakfast and then waited to board our flight. Once again, the flight was very smooth and took about 25 minutes less than scheduled. I think they tell you longer flight times in case there are problems, because they just want every flight to be on time!!  Anyway, everywhere that we had been Randy checked about the truck keys, but without any luck. So, Tyler picked us up and took us home. After a little while I drove Randy back up to the airport, he met a locksmith there, had new keys made (it had to be a Smart-Key), and drove home. It was fun to see some sites and be out of the state for a few days – I just wish I hadn’t gotten so sick!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were going to Maryland. I have always wanted to see more of the East.