Ellicott City, MD

Ellicott City
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom
2009

Two “once in a thousand years” floods have hit Ellicott City, Maryland since 2016. Business owners along its historic main street, the old National Road, had just rebuilt from the last flood when another one in May set them all the way back again. News reports showed the first story of all of these buildings under water.

When my sons and I visited in 2009, we explored this bridge a little and found markings on its piers showing the levels of many previous floods. This year’s flood was the 15th catastrophic flood recorded since the town’s founding in 1766. Ellicott City, being in a valley near a few rivers, is simply flood prone. Ten inches of rain fell in a few hours the day before last Memorial Day and there was nowhere else for it to go.

I want to drive Maryland’s section of the National Road again one day. I hope there’s something left of Ellicott City when I do.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Ellicott City

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We’d hoped to encounter the famous ponies of Maryland’s Assateague Island on the beach. But on the day of our visit we saw them only along the highway near the entrance to Assateague State Park. These are feral horses, left largely to their own devices, one of the last wild herds in the United States. They seemed unpurturbed by us as we pulled our car over and photographed them from the other side of the road. Few were out this day, and only these two were close enough to photograph, even with my camera at maximum zoom.

Wild ponies at Assateague

Wild ponies at Assateague

Wild ponies at Assateague

Wild ponies at Assateague

Wild ponies at Assateague

Wild ponies at Assateague

Canon PowerShot S95

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Photography

Wild ponies at Assateague

Photos of two wild ponies we met on Assateague Island in Maryland.

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Assateague is a skinny island just south of Ocean City in Maryland. Where Ocean City was all tourist attractions and (probably) trucked-in sand, the beaches along Assateague are natural and wild. The northern part of Assateague Island is in Maryland and hosts both Assateague State Park and Assateague Island National Seashore. The southern end of the island is in Virginia and hosts the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Assateague is perhaps best known for the wild ponies that roam it. I’ll share some pony photos soon, but for now, just enjoy the beach.

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

Canon PowerShot S95

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Photography

The beach at Assateague

Just some photos of the wild, natural beach on Assateague Island in Maryland.

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Photography, Road Trips

Walking the beach in Ocean City

It was my first visit to the Atlantic Ocean.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

It’s a long trip to visit any ocean from my Indiana home, but the Atlantic is far closer than the Pacific. And since we were most of the way to the Atlantic already on our Washington, DC, visit, we decided to spend one day at the beach.

Who knew Maryland is so wide: it took 2½ hours to drive to the beach at Ocean City! Fortunately it was an entirely pleasant drive, US 50 almost all the way.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The day was chilly and the wind barreled in off the ocean. Consequently, few people visited the beach with us. That was just fine with us.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The winds were strongest on the pier, from which I took this photo. It chilled the bones in a hurry. I didn’t stay up there for long, as I was wearing only a windbreaker over my pullover!

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

In Ocean City, to get to the beach, you have to cross the boardwalk.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

End to end, it’s top-notch tourist-trap kitsch.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

But since the season hadn’t begun, most of the stores and attractions were closed.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

You could hardly get a bite to eat on the boardwalk this early-April day.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The boardwalk wasn’t devoid of people. These youngsters were having fun. The kid out front was pushing the cart backwards down the boardwalk.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

We left the beach and boardwalk in search of lunch. After we ate we drove down the coast a bit to see a natural beach where we encountered some wild ponies. I’ll write more about that visit in a future post.

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Where US 50 begins

3,073 miles. That’s how long US 50 is. And it begins — or is it ends? — right here, in Ocean City, Maryland.

Its other end is in West Sacramento, California, not in Sacramento as the sign promises. A sign in West Sacramento tells drivers that Ocean City is 3,073 miles away. It’s a famous sign pairing among us roadgeeks. It was even more famous during a time when the West Sacramento sign erroneously read 3,037 miles.

US 50 is one of the original US highways, designated in 1926. But where it has ended has changed several times. Originally, it stretched from Sacramento to Annapolis, MD. Its west end was moved to Hayward, CA, in 1932, and to San Francisco in 1935. Its east end moved to this location in Ocean City in 1948. Finally, in 1972 its west end moved to its present location in West Sacramento.

The route in between has changed many times over the years thanks to various upgrades and bypasses. The changes keep coming, such as one being built now around North Vernon, Indiana. It will add two miles to the route. It makes me wonder how these 3,073 miles are counted. When the new North Vernon alignment opens, will the signs be amended to 3,075 miles?

I’ve driven US 50, including its old alignments, across Indiana and most of Illinois; see everything I’ve written about this road here. I’d like to drive the rest of it someday, on one giant road trip.

If I set my trip odometer at one end and check mileage at the other, do you think the Departments of Transportation in California and Maryland will be interested to know?

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Road Trips

Where US 50 begins (or ends, depending on your perspective)

I wax a little too philosophical about US 50 and its ends. I got to see one of them: the eastern end, in Ocean City, MD.

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On the beach in Ocean City, MD

On the beach in Ocean City
Canon PowerShot S95
2018

Our day on the Atlantic Ocean was cold, and once or twice we felt raindrops. This only meant that we had the beach largely to ourselves, which is the way this family of introverts likes it.

We split our beach time between Ocean City with its boardwalk and (probably) trucked-in sand, and Assateague with its grasses and wild horses. This photo is from the former place.

More photos from this day to come.

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Photography

single frame: On the beach in Ocean City

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