The day started out well: an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast - Jake's idea of heaven, LOL! The wasps are a bit of an issue at this time of year and the pavilion didn't really keep them out particularly well; they were rather attracted to the syrup unfortunately. A stint on the playground followed breakfast, along with a standing chess game, with the huge pieces, for Dave and Jake. Jake's getting really good, he's pretty tactical when it comes to things like this, Dave gave him a chance in game 2 and he totally ran away with it; Dave could not claw his way back in. Watch out Grandpa, he's coming, you'd better hone your skills!
Next stop: mini golf. I managed a hole-in-one, thankfully witnessed by Becca, I'm sure no-one (especially me, LOL) would have believed it otherwise. It's an 18-hole, very well kept and put together, course; the kids have really been enjoying it each day.
Back to the camper to change into swimsuits and off to the heated pool we went. I stayed back to prep some lunch and headed down to meet them. They had the pool totally to themselves. The check-out time is 11am here so most of the weekenders had already left. There were still a good number of campers remaining but not too many with children. I guess, without kids, the lure of the pool towards the end of September, is somewhat lessened! It was heated (although we were later to discover, only at the weekends at this point in the season!) and 25yds long so Dave was happy to get some laps done.
Once again, we headed back to the camper and got ready to go and visit the Brunswick Visitor's Center of The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The Center is also a train museum so we figured that would be interesting. No doubt, it would have been wonderful, unfortunately the operator of the huge train display hadn't shown up and things were therefore not quite as spectacular as they might have been! We were able to wander around to see old pictures of the canals and locks, including one with girls in their bathing suits at the beginning of the 1900's - almost completely covered! The girls thought this was quite strange!
There was also a short movie, detailing the history of the canal. The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet at Harpers Ferry and are extremely shallow and very rocky: totally useless for boats to carry goods along them. Before George Washington was President, he was trying to figure out a way to circumnavigate this area, thus the idea of the Canal was formed. Sadly, while it was being built, the railways were evolving and in time, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad actually overtook the building of the canal, so it was never completely finished. It was used for a time however, until it became truly obsolete. Mules would pull along the barges from lock to lock at a maximum speed of 4mph. The mules would be unhitched at the locks, a lock-keeper would keep the boat in position as the gates were closed and opened, to allow water to fill or escape, once the barge was level with the water again, the lock gates opened, the mules were re-hitched and on they meandered to the next lock.
We did go down to the towpath to look at lock 30 (Harpers Ferry has lock 33). This part of the canal is totally dry and overgrown with grass, however there is a section that still works and offers rides during peak season, presumably closer to the beginning. The highlight of being close to the canal-bed was its proximity to the railroad tracks. We saw two long trains go past, which Nathan totally loved, he even bought a replica train in the museum store; the boy does love his trains (and misses his wooden track which we had to leave at home due to weight.).
As we had spent so little time here, we drove the opposite direction of the campground - again passing from MD, through VA, to WV to Charles Town. This town was created by the youngest brother of George Washington, founded in 1786. Six of the Washington homes still stand and the Zion Episcopal Church Cemetery is the final resting place of 75 members of the family.
It is also home to a horse race track with live thoroughbred racing year-round. We stopped in to take a look at the track and unbelievably, a race was getting ready to start. We were able to see the horses warming up around the track with their trainers and then racing a lap around. It was great to watch, we totally lucked out!
As promised, we headed back to the campground and down to the jumping pillow. As predicted, there weren't many people around and for a huge chunk of time, we had the pillow to ourselves: SO much fun! It's quite the workout, wish we'd brought water with us! Despite the fact that it was late, no-one was complaining of hunger, hard to drag them away from such a fun location.
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)