Sunday, October 26, 2014

The tower tree

Some people, when faced with a tree to take out of their yard, just chop it down.  Others, cut it off 8 or so feet above ground and carve it into a medieval tower.  I was walking through the neighborhoods along Sangamore Road in Bethesda today and saw this tree on Westpath court.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kensington Labor Day Parade

This morning was the annual Labor Day Parade in Kensington, MD, I went and took a few pictures.

The start of the parade

An old car with the grand Marshal

Ike Legget

The Finest! performance foundation

JennyCakes Bakery float

Magruder High School band



An old chevy truck

Cub scout pack 478

Stancill's Guitar Studio band

Miss White Oak

Jim Moyer Circus Club stiltwalker

Jim Moyer Circus Club unicyclists

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Duck Bouncer

One of the pieces of playground equipment at Elm Street Park in Bethesda.  A bouncer in the shape of a duck.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blanche Lake, Utah

Sometimes I go places.  This was one of those times.  I was in Salt Lake City last week and on Sunday I went on a hike to Blanche Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  The trail 3 miles each way, up hill on the way to the lake and downhill all the way back, This isn't an up-and-down trail, or one that is so steep it is nothing but switchbacks, it just steadily grinds upward, gaining almost 2,600 feet of elevation.

The lake itself isn't very large.  At one time there was a stone dam at the end, but it is no longer operational.  After I got up there it started raining, the rain and the sun battled it out, it would rain for a few minutes, then the sun would come out and dry things off, then the rain would push forward once again.  Since it was warm out, the rain was not much of an annoyance.

If you look the opposite direction, you can see the canyon you just hiked up.  There is glacier-scoured rocks, low bushes, and a variety of trees.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Railroad siding at Connecticut Avenue

 I like looking around for traces of the old Georgetown Branch railroad line, so I was thrilled to find another abandoned siding.  This one is on the Georgetown Branch Trail, between Bethesda and Connecticut Avenue,  In fact, it is within sight of Connecticut Ave.  In the picture above you can see the fence that marks the edge of Columbia Country Club.  There is a little path next to it and you can walk in a bit and see the rail road tracks
Abandoned railroad siding near Columbia Country Club

 The siding continues to the trees almost to Connecticut Avenue.  Here is a nother bit of it.  In the background you can see a bench and the Georgetown Branch trail.  If you zoom in you can see one of the rails is covered with a bit of chain link fence.
 The siding goes right up to the parking lot of Parkway drycleaning.  I wonder how many people have parked here never knowing what is right next to them.
End of the line
The railroad siding unceremoniously ends with the rail sticking up a bit from the ground.

Next time you are going down that part of the trail, it is worth taking a minute to check out this relic of slightly earlier times.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Railroad siding near River Road

I have walked along the Capital Crescent Trail near River Road many times but I have never noticed the bit of railroad siding that remains in one spot.

See it? It is easy to miss, on the left about 5 feet above the trail and overgrown with vines.

Here's another closer look. This is the end of the siding, I believe this particular bit is to keep railroad cars from rolling off the end. Given how overgrown the rest is I wonder if someone pulled some vines away to make it more visible.

 I walked up the embankment to get a closer look and the rails are still there, going off to the right through the trees.  I removed some vines from a bit of the rail so I could get a better picture.  The cross ties are rotted and spongy, I thought the were going to break when I stepped on them.

The siding connected to the main line right around where the bridge that goes over River Road is.  There is a gravel road next to the trail and you can see a single rail embedded in the road.  Behind that is an open area that slopes up.  This was recently re-graded, the siding is a bit to the left and several feet lower than the current grade.

I walked back among the trees looking for more signs of the siding.  It is all still there, just overgrown with ivy and very hard to see.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tree trimming on the Capital Crescent Trail

I took a walk along the Capital Crescent Trail yesterday and saw a crew out trimming trees that were overhanging the trail.  They were between River Road and downtown Bethesda, MD, near the Washington Episcopal School.

Yesterday was a bit cooler than earlier in the week but still nice weather to be out walking.  This weekend will be in the upper 70's, perfect for being outside.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Unidentified railroad track equipment

I was walking along the Capital Crescent Trail, which runs along what was once the Georgetown Branch of the B & O railroad.  There are very few remaining relics of the railroad, mostly just a partially visible rail here and there.  However, I did run across this very large, and very puzzling metal thing.

I can't really find the words to adequately describe it, so I can't really search the web to find out what it is. It is about as wide as the rails of the railroad track, has what looks like a pressurized vessel with various pipes going here and there.

If you want to see it for yourself, it is just a bit north of the Dalecarlia tunnel.  I'd like to know what it is, so if you have ideas, leave a comment.

View Larger Map

UPDATE 5/2: I heard from Ben Sullivan who runs a website about the Georgtown Branch railroad line. He said in part "It is indeed the frame of a railroad car and the piping and tanks you described on your blog are components of the brake rigging on the car." And gave a bit about a possible reason: "My best bet so far is that it's part of a derailment wreck and the useful parts of the cars (ie. the wheels, trucks, coupler boxes and bolsters where the trucks were mounted) were all cut off with a torch and taken back to the shop. The rest of the scrap was left to rot. As far as a time/date/reason as to why they were there will be much more difficult. I'm still working on this problem but I doubt I will find specifics."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

RIP White Flint Mall

Last weekend I went to White Flint Mall to see what was left.  The Boomingdales part was torn down last year and the rest of the mall has rapidly emptied out.  The only stores I saw were the post office (which closed last Friday), a jewellery store, the Dave & Busters (which lost a court fight to stay), PF Changs, and Lord & Taylors.  The rest of the Mall's three levels are empty.

The main entrance.  The Cheesecake factory used to be on the right, but now it is at Montgomery Mall.

The forever "Temporarily out of service" escalator going up to where the Borders bookstore was a few years agoi.

The Bloomingdales end of the mall has been blocked off with black plywood.

The food court doesn't have any restaurants in it anymore but there are tables and chairs left if you want to bring your own lunch.

One of the painting in the food court.

The mall directory is blank now, which is an odd sight to see.