Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2020-2021

Finally, we'll soon be seeing the back of Trump (what could go wrong? Oh.)



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Events of Fall 2020, in the covid season of extremely few events

The Great Falls Park on the Potomac

First, a brief visit to the Great Falls Park on the Potomac River, 16 November 2020. We're in the area to have the car serviced at Beyer's Volvo near Dulles airport.

There are waterfalls on the Potomac River -- who knew? Only 24km upriver from the US Capitol building.

The attractive Visitors Centre -- still locked down by the Trump Virus; we'll have to come back if this is ever over.

This info sheet is pasted on the side of the parked Mobile Visitor Centre that evidently cruises up and down the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a living example of our government working to make our lives better, the National Park Service anyway.

We're trembling with anticipation to see this wonder of nature for ourselves.

Impressive -- not much of a 'falls', perhaps, but an estimable stretch of whitewater rapids.

We've been trudging through a documentary series from 2001-2003 called Great Canadian Rivers, 40 or 50 rivers in half-hour episodes (Imdb 8.0) showing lots of wildlife and surviving Native Americans (First Nations in Canada) and happy tourists flailing all over their zodiac inflatable boats on rapids that make the Potomac Great Falls look an agitated bathtub.

But this is still impressive, especially right here in the middle of civilization (sort of).

Looking towards the US Capitol, just over that ridge and a bit

Surely a bouncy ride is guaranteed -- exhilirating at first, oblivious thereafter. Bring your helmet.

There are remains of the Patowmack Canal along here, constructed by a company founded by George Washington in 1785 to get round the 20+ meter drop through the region of the falls, in use from 1802 to 1828, when the opening of the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes made it redundant.

During the 17-year construction of the canal and five locks here, a town (Matildaville) grew up for workers and followers, founded by former General and Governor Light-Horse Harry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee), but it's long gone. Now the canal has been given over to blue herons.

-- Got ya!

A few more inspiring photos before we leave. There are a good number of walking trails here in the park, but unfortunately, today we've got an Agenda.

But someday we'll come back, and bring our canoe.

Choupette is mightily wedded to nature shows on the télé.

The Grand Bagarre in the Study

This is how all of the big fights develop these days. Choupette, who's a joiner and also obsequious, sneaks up on Melvin and begins licking his fur as a helful gesture (they would call it 'grooming').

Melvin, however, is not a joiner, and after indulging his feline colleague for three or four minutes, he bats Choupette away, and Choupette responds in kind.

They spend much of their time waving their arms tentatively, but sometimes, recently, it can begin to get more series. Choupette recently had to undergo a thorough course of antibiotics when some well-aimed scratches became infected.

But they usually work out a truce between themselves, and everybody can semi-relax for a while.

Another crack at the Blackrock Summit

We're here for another short walk up from the Skyline Drive to Blackrock Summit, 13 December 2020.

The lovely trail here, only about a kilometre long, is actually part of the famous Appalachian Trail, which is much longer (3,500 km).

We were here recently, in fact, at the end of October, and in a moment of inattention we trotted off from the summit on the wrong trail, down the opposite side of the mountain. The trail down was an enjoyable and scenic twenty minutes' experience, but the hour's march back up the Skyline Drive to the trailhead was unwelcome.

No waiting for stragglers!

Nearly there

Nearlyer there

From the summit looking northward, presumably towards Harrisonburg

Circumambulating the summit crown

We've noted something that looks like a trailish way farther upwards.

The trailish interpretation was unwarranted, it's just a big jumble.

Rejoining the rest of our party

One more glance at the summit

We are being SO CAREFUL to get the correct trail back down.

Home on the Skyline Drive -- a tourist wishing to drive this scenic road will contribute $30 per car to the cause, but gets seven days of use out of it [we caught the All-National-Parks lifetime pass just before they raised the price of it].

Staunton's Saturday Market has extended its season into December

Winter's demonstrably come upon us now, 19 December 2020, but we really need some of that great German bread and a bag full of unidentifiable tubers.

In season, of course -- in the non-covid season, that is -- this carpark is teeming with booths and vans, but these worthy stalwarts are very welcome on Saturday mornings.

We're in the Wharf Area carpark (with Staunton's mini-river, the Lewis Creek, running precisely underneath it).

To complete our Saturday morning quest for more special things not procurable at Kroger, Walmart, Martins, Food Lion, or even at Aldi, we've come to The Store.

The downtown architecture on Lewis Street, Staunton. The town has about the densest accumulation of what Kristin calls 'prestige homes' perhaps anywhere, and even in the less well-groomed neighborhoods in a few parts of town, the houses are 'formerly prestige homes'.

Wraparound verandahs, towers, gables, oriel windows -- along street after street. Makes you almost wish for a quick look inside.

Hit bad by the virus semi-lockdown and by a serious summer flood through this neighborhood, The Store is getting back on its feet.

The one's for sale -- might want to look into that. (Ha.)

The Second Presbyterian Church at the end of the street, one of about 500 churches in town (a few in mobile homes) and probably 40 Presbyterian churches. Those are slightly impressionistic statistics, but not unwarranted.

Next up: A masked and socially distance Christmas season

Winter 2020-21


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 January 2021.


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