Day 2: July 2, 2006
No Madonna



More expressway involved today as I headed to Frederick. In this country, even expressways can't help but be somewhat scenic and I-68 does offer some nice views. Pulling off at a scenic overlook earned an even more spectacular view.

In A Guide To The National Road, Karl Raitz suggests getting on I-68 "long enough to experience the Sideling Cut" and I got that out of the way today. On 2001's westbound trip, I stopped in the visitor's center on the north side of I-68 so did not walk over the footbridge this time. I did climb the path to the south end of the bridge to get this picture of the impressive cut.

There are`plenty of historic buildings in Frederick but the county courthouse isn't one of them. The building in front of it probably isn't either but it is on an historic site. The attached plaque says that John Hanson lived here and that John was the first President of the United States of America. Not quite true says Stanley L. Klos here. Of course, this was under the Articles of Confederation which we tend not to remember but Klos says that, even under the Articles, Hanson was number three. According to Klos, Samuel Huntington was first and Thomas McKean second.

The street picture looks south along Market Street from its intersection with Patrick. Patrick carried the National Road and is still signed US-40A as well as MD-144. The Washington spur of the National Old Trails Road once followed Market. A sign near the intersection describes the passage of tens of thousands of Confederate troops that passed through the intersection on the way to the Battle of Gettysburg.

It's been just two weeks since a major piece of the Carroll Creek Project opened about a half block south of Patrick. Some older buildings remain but new construction is everywhere. Two major condominium buildings are in progress with prices starting around $250K and going up - a long way up. I cooled off in the Canal Bar and Grill where Barb, the owner's sister, told me that local businesses are trying to get an identity for the area with the name SoMa (south Market). Maybe it'll catch on. The bar & grill has been here for about three years and just might not be the same once those condos are filled.

Like many urban area creeks (e.g., Will's Creek in Cumberland), Carroll Creek's banks are now concrete and the Canal Bar and Grill, a technical misnomer, seems quite accurate, indeed.

This Carroll Street bridge may have been the start of this whole renewal project. Yes, it's basically your everyday plain cement bridge but it has a very fancy paint job. Painted between 1993 and 1998, it is now called Community Bridge. To help appreciate the differenc a little change in perspective can make, here is a straight on shot of the girl in the window.

I thought I had read that the Madonna of the Trail in Bethesda had been moved back but I guess not. In fact, it looks as if little has been done since the statue's rescue in December of 2004. Maybe what I read was that the relocation to Rockville was more or less permanent. I went through Rockville but had not properly prepared and wasn't looking for a ten foot rifle toting woman.

The post office was closed and I got a curt "don't know" at the front desk of the Hyatt next door. They just didn't seem fond of disheveled guys asking disheveled questions. Outside, the parking attendants were more cooperative. "Used to be there. Been gone about 6-7 months. Nearly a year."

The missing Madonna kind of bummed me out and I forgot about thoughts of finding nearby lodging and just drove on to Washington. I drove around lots of heros and horses and even underneath one. Barely a week after several days driving in Chicago, it didn't take long for me to remember just how much I disliked driving in D.C. I called the College Park motel where I had reservations for Monday & Tuesday and asked if they'd take me a day early. I was told yes so I headed up US-1 to a Holiday Inn. Just minutes after checking in and putting the top up, I heard thunder and the skies soon opened. I'm dry now but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

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