Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Working on the WRX

The WRX needs a front wheel bearing, but I'd been driving it to and from work because the clutch issues in the Camaro were even worse. Then, I get a check engine light in the WRX, and the code reader tells me P0031, Heater Control Circuit Low. An oxygen sensor. Joy.

So, I order one up on Amazon, and after reviewing some information online, I go to replace it this morning.
Oh, look, part of my fender liner is still there
I found the fender liner trim, removed one of the remaining snap connectors that held it in place and rotated it out of the way.
Hello, Mr. Oxygen Sensor!
So, it was actually impossible to get the oxygen sensor socket onto the sensor from this position. In fact, it seems the only way to get such a socket to work would be to remove the subframe or cut part of the fender well. Yeah, forget that.

One of the videos I'd looked at suggested using locking pliers (Vise Grips), but I don't have any, and I didn't want to dig through Pat's tools to find some. So, when Pat came home, I bought two pliers (a large one and a medium one). However, before I could try them out, Pat wanted to drop off the car at Induktion so that he could go fishing before any of the impending thunderstorms hit.

Since I had a wheel off and a set of new front brake pads, I did decide to just go ahead and replace them. The passenger side was certainly worn more than the driver side, and the back pad on the passenger side was worst of all. Strange.

I can't recommend this brake tool enough, though.

It compresses the pistons so easily. Anyone who does their own brakes should talk to Pat about getting one.

Once I get the WRX back, the next thing on the list is dropping the Green Terror off for some work. I put the new tires on it yesterday, but the clutch issue is really getting old. Among other things, I also need to change the oil in that car, and I'm worried that driving it up on the ramps will be a disaster if the clutch engages at the wrong time.

Oh, the joys of automobile ownership.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pseudocamping


It was finally cool and dry enough to get a fire going in the fire pit last night. The wood was still pretty wet, but I had a nice little flame going for a few hours.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainy Saturday

It's raining like crazy outside, ruining any prospects for camping this weekend. Rain earlier in the week was insane, to the point that US-1 through Laurel was 6-8" deep (thankfully, I was driving the WRX, not the Camaro!!), and today's even worse. I just heard there are rescue boats being dispatched in Laurel to assist people trying to leave flooded apartments!
The catfish says, "I think there's more water out there than in here!"

Still, I'm getting stir crazy, and I'm evidently not the only one. Earlier in the week, Mom said she'd waxed the RV. I sent her a general itinerary last Sunday, and I've been compiling a list of things I need to bring with me for the trip. Pat's been psyched to take care of the spaz dog. I don't know who's been looking forward to the trip the most!

I am not planning to go in to work this coming week, but I think I'll be busy nonetheless. Both the Camaro and the WRX need significant work; the Camaro's clutch has been weird (engaging when pedal pressed in) and the WRX has a wheel bearing that is gone. I called to schedule the wheel bearing replacement two weeks ago, but the earliest IAG could see me was July 8th. With the Camaro's clutch being worse than the WRX's wheel bearing at that point, I kept driving the WRX, knowing that it was going to end up costing me a hub.

Well, driving to and from Rockville for new biology curriculum training on Thursday, the noises and vibrations were bad enough that I didn't think the car would make it home. I actually opted to drive the Camaro -- bad clutch and all -- on Friday, then called Induktion Motorsports to see if they could do it. The guy who answered the phone, Ed, was like, "Uh, you know we deal with European cars?" and I responded, "Yeah, but I also know that you have a guy who used to work at IAG, plus your former Matco Tools guy, Pat, suggested I try calling you." At that point, he scheduled me for Wednesday this coming week. Hopefully, I didn't destroy too much by continuing to drive it.

Speaking of the new biology curriculum training, I think it's needless to say that I was horribly bored being there. Considering I was a curriculum writer, curriculum reviewer, and even part of the phase I focus group, I knew the curriculum and NGSS and PBL lessons better than 95% of the people in that room. However, upon arriving and looking over the sign in sheet, I saw that many of my old colleagues from Watkins Mill would be there, including current B-CC teacher, Todd. I was so psyched, as were they when they saw me. We all had lunch together, and it was totally like old times. I miss a department that liked to do things just little things together, like talk and do lunch. I miss having people with similar interests to chat with, like Nate and Todd and hockey. It was so good to see them.

Yesterday was rough though. I woke up in tears from a dream that I'd figured out was a dream, where dad was digging out the area where the koi pond is. In the dream, I was walking underneath the cherry tree towards where he was when I suddenly thought, "This has to be a dream," and suddenly, everything shifted, and while it continued, I just knew it was all a dream. And in the middle of the dream, I'd turned around to look at something, and when I turned back, dad was gone. That's when I woke up and just started crying. I must've caused Pat to wake up, because he just handed Hoosier Bear to me and hugged me tight, not saying anything.

As if that wasn't bad enough, yesterday was also the one year anniversary of Jim Feinberg's passing.
It's not a margarita, but Jim also respected others' beverage choices.
So, after going over to the local craft store for some photo albums, I just spent all afternoon putting my extensive postcard collection into said albums. I started off with postcards my dad gave me from his Air Force days, when he was in Colorado and then in Destin, Florida. Then I transitioned to postcards he brought back for me from some business trips to Grand Rapids and Pittsburgh. Following that are postcards from his parents and then from our old neighbors, Ike and Betty Saylor, and a postcard mom sent the rest of us from a trip to Florida she took when showing rabbits. Most of the rest of the cards are categorized by trip, including the family trip to Walt Disney World (including South of the Border, Sea World Orlando and the Kennedy Space Center) and the trip to Toronto (including Corning Glass Center, Buffalo and Niagara). I put over 400 postcards into those albums, and I have this nagging feeling that I have more postcards somewhere, but I don't know where they are.

Hopefully, tomorrow's weather is better, and I can start to get some stuff done on the cars, like oil changes and brake pads and stuff. And I want to go to Hershey some time next week, so I need to look at what day would be best for that, too.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Solstice

This was a tough day.

I miss you so much, daddy. Of course, I would wear you near my heart on Father's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bruce the Spaz Dog

Pat and I drove over to Union Bridge this afternoon for a couple of hours with mom and the spaz dog. Pat hadn't met Bruce yet, and if one of the options mom and I were going to consider for Bruce during our road trip was to leave him with Pat, we had to make sure that the puppy didn't have a problem with him.

Yeah, I think Pat and Bruce will get along just fine. The puppy was ecstatic about another person to play with. We actually wore him out.


After a little nap, he started playing with his plastic bottle (gotta love "cheap toys"), then we took him outside for a quick potty stop in his "gazebo."
Is that a bottle?

Why, yes, I will play with your trash
 

When we went to leave, mom put him on a leash, and let him run around in the yard a little bit. He was overjoyed at that. What a goofy little dog.

I think he'll sleep well tonight. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Educational Summer

There's astronomical summer (June 21) that corresponds with the summer solstice. There's meteorological summer (June 1) that corresponds with the temperature cycle.

Then there's educational summer, which for Montgomery County, started approximately June 16th this year. That's the day both students and teachers start their summer breaks. Unless you're a resource teacher, that is, or some other specialty teacher that has to come in during the "summer break."

As a resource teacher, I'm part of the school's instructional leadership team, and we meet during the summer. For some reason though, the administration decided we were going to meet during the last official day for teachers, which made things a bit interesting in terms of getting staff "cleared" and out of the building. I needed to clear everyone before 10AM, so that I had time to find my way over to the Discovery Channel building in downtown Silver Spring, which is where our "retreat" was going to be held this time around.

I made sure to follow someone else, since I'm not exactly proficient with the area. I found a parking garage, and after I parked, I saw one of the special education resource teachers standing nearby. That was comforting, as I knew I wouldn't be the last one to the "party," so to speak. We met up with our school's dean of students, and headed over to the Discovery Channel building.

What an interesting place! We had to wait in the lobby for a while, since the principal was a bit late in getting there, but there were some really cool things to see.
Rawr!
Bimboraptor, recreated with feathers Bimboraptor without feathers
There was also a neat Rube Goldberg machine that both me and the math resource teacher thought would be awesome if we could get an engineering academy student to do something like that as a capstone project.

Once Mildred arrived, we were led back to our conference room (who would have thought that the Discovery Channel building would have government-like security?!), where a Qdoba-catered lunch was waiting, and we could begin our discussion about the school focus for next year. Amazing how we'd barely closed out the FY15 year, and we were already talking about FY16.

I chose to remain with the discourse committee, since I like the idea of student collaboration, and trying to entice more of it. With the advent of flipped classrooms and the blended learning cycle, I believe student discourse is a piece of the 21st century classroom of teacher-facilitated learning, as opposed to teacher-directed learning. Plus, science classes seem to lend themselves to student discourse naturally just via most the NGSS practices.

So, today and tomorrow will be spent hashing out what "discourse part deux" will entail. This is amidst the cleaning and refurbishment that the building service staff is trying to do, plus me trying to change classrooms. It turns out that the room I'm moving into has a lot less storage space than I thought, plus the AP Biology teacher has a lot more stuff to store than I anticipated. I'll make it work, but it wasn't as easy as I believed it would be.

And the view from the new classroom sucks. The room I've been in for the past two years overlooks Northwood's courtyard, which just became a sculpture garden for a capstone project (or two). My new room overlooks.... nothing. Just a roof. I'll have to compensate with more posters or something.
My old view during a mini-snowstorm in March
Do I miss truly having a few uninterrupted weeks off during the summer? Hell, yes. I did end up bored most of the time though, so having something productive to do is good. I've plotted out a few weeks off so that I can go hit up rollercoasters, plus mom and I can do our western road trip, but I really do work more of the summer than I have "off." Oh, the myths of the teaching profession.

But, no matter what, being sans students and staff is essentially a vacation, so I'll take it. :)




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Two Days

This was a nasty, hot weekend. I guess that's why Pat didn't really feel like driving anywhere. We'd confirmed he still had a bike rack that fit his old B13 Sentra SE-R and figured that it should work on either the Camaro or the WRX. But I think he was also trying to sell a Snap-On hutch, so needed to stick around for that.

Anyway, not much going on, just ready for school to be over. My first year as resource teacher was a bit rockier than I thought it would be. I'm ready to move on to the summer, some professional development, and planning ahead for next year. What can I do different? Where can I emulate Greg Letterman, my legendary RT from when I started teaching twenty years ago?

So, I mowed the lawn today -- Pat laughs about this -- and finally finished knocking down the jungle in the back. If it ever cools off a bit, we can get the fire pit going again and get rid of more of the large branches that are all over back there. I also posted some duplicate Lego minifigs and excess Caps freebies on eBay, and already sold the minifigs. I guess it was a productive weekend.

In the meantime, I just have to get through the next two days before "summer" starts; really, it's only a day and a half as the ILT members have a "retreat" at the Discovery building Tuesday afternoon. Sure, I have to work twenty "SSE" days, but I don't really have to deal with people, so it's not so bad. I'll clean up the book room, the department office, move stuff into my new classroom, enter department orders, and basically do a lot of grunt work while I'm on campus. There will be days off campus with other RTs, but most of the SSE days will be real manual labor, at least for me. It'll be good to take my mind off everything.

I'll leave with this -- one of the chili pepper plants that Pat cultivated over the winter and then planted at the end of March (once the snow and ice stopped) has started putting out peppers. Yum.
Hot stuff!

Just over a month until the road trip with Mom.... can't wait!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day at the Museums

Today was Graduation Day for Northwood High School, and as a Montgomery County Public School, it was held at DAR Constitution Hall. Since it was scheduled to start at 2:30 (meaning I needed to be there by 1:30), I decided to do like I did last year and wander around some museums.

I got to the National Air & Space Museum shortly after opening and wandered around to look at some things I didn't get to see much of when I was there for the field trip back in April.
The Soyuz spacecraft designed to dock with Mir and the ISS.
This is a full size mockup of the Hubble Telescope
My favorite plane of all time, the X15
Poor Pluto. Just covered up and left for dead.
A Sojourner rover for Mars exploration. This was a backup, designated "Marie Curie."
A diorama illustrating the Apollo 17 Moon landing

A single F-1 engine from a Saturn V rocket. The opening is approximately 11ft in diameter!

The X15 again. :)
The Apollo 11 command module.
Another view of the Apollo 11 command module
Gemini IV
The Gemini and Apollo modules are crazy small when you think about the time the astronauts spent in there. I don't think most people ever consider what astronauts go through in the name of space exploration. 
The Spirit of St. Louis, being checked out and refurbished as necessary.
Hello Kitty needs her space
Around noon, I headed up to Penn Quarter to grab a quick lunch, then walked over to Constitution Hall. The "quick" way took me around the Ellipse, but the north side turned out to be blocked off; a tour guide surmised that the Obamas must be on the South Lawn or something. So, I had to go around, but still made it before 1:30, though my feet were killing me. Since I generally don't wear heels, even the two-and-a-half inches on my shoes was enough to induce pain after a few hours. 
Decorated caps
Once I figured out where I was supposed to be -- since my original designation had been changed -- I settled in to wait for the processional. Ninety minutes later, we were done, and I mingled with the new graduates for a bit before heading off. Knowing a 4:30 finish meant that traffic was not going to be fun, I lingered downtown for a bit. 
The elevator was working, but all the tickets for the day were allotted by 4:30.
Since the monument was out, I decided to see if the Natural History Museum was open late. The Air & Space Museum had advertised it was open until 7:30 today, so I moseyed across the National Mall to see, and sure enough, 7:30 was the announced close. 
Entering from the Mall side, the iconic African elephant "Henry" is there to greet you
Giant isopod, over a foot long!!
Since my feet were really dead at this point, I kind of hobbled around the Oceans area, looking at trilobites, then went down to the Museum Shop for a couple of postcards. I finished with a Coke Zero and sitting at a table in the cafe for a little while before heading back to the Metro station to go home. 
Asaphus species, thought to burrow in sand and use its eye stalks to look for prey
I missed the scientific name of this one, but I do know it had some of the most complex eyes of any trilobite
Comura species, with multiple spines for protection

Wallicerops species, with a strange "trident" protrusion that may have been protection or maybe for attracting mates
On the way home, I reflected on the fact that going to the Natural History Museum was something of a bit of closure for me. Two years and four months ago, I'd been at that museum, looking at those trilobites, when I received a text from mom saying that dad "kept falling down," and that she was taking him to the hospital. That would be the beginning of the respiratory issues that plagued him until this past April 2. 

I'd stared at that bench where I'd collapsed after that text message. Someone else was sitting on it, but even if it had been empty, I don't know if I could have brought myself to sit there.

It's going to take a long while for the pain of losing dad to diminish to completely manageable levels.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Quick Visit with Bruce (and Mom)

I swung by Mom's house this afternoon for a quick visit and to finally drop off the orchid I'd picked up for Mother's day. Of course, that meant almost two hours of non-stop Bruce action.


Ready for action!
Bruce looking pathetic, in other words, "Give me attention!"
Bruce doing his best cat impression, playing with a piece of rag on a string.

This puppy rarely stays still, especially if he sees a camera on him.
For those who don't know, Bruce is a four month old Silky Terrier puppy that was gifted to my mom, on the condition that she take him to shows. This was one of her friend's ways of making sure she got out of the house after dad's passing.

Speaking of getting out of the house, we did spend some time on the RV to see what is there so that I know what I would need to bring for myself, plus to check out the size of the refrigerator and storage areas. Of course the first thing I see brings me nearly to tears.

It's a Father's Day card that I gave to Dad in 2013, the last year they were still able to drive around in the RV, and before the pulmonary fibrosis had fully taken root and ruined everything. They both loved the card so much that Mom framed it and it's the only decoration in the RV. When I think about it, it's hung so that he could see it from the bed he used.

[gathers composure...., wipes tears from eyes....]

So, we're both pretty psyched for the trip. I picked up a new atlas to look through, but the gist of it looks like I-90 out and I-80 back. There will be side trips on US30 and state roads, but that's the main route. Some must stops are Little Bighorn, Devil's Tower, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and the Spiral Jetty, but beyond that, we're still narrowing it down. We are figuring on two and a half weeks. It's going to be great, though I know we're both going to be thinking about one person who we will both be fiercely wishing was with us.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Slow Day

Well, we were going to head out to western Maryland this morning for more fishing and camping, and I'd finally convinced Pat to try out Paw Paw.

But after he made a quick run over to Bass Pro Shops for an Ugly Stick fishing rod, he realized that the brakes on the Lightning were not in good shape, at all. Since Strano hasn't linked up with Amazon for same day shipping, and he isn't willing to put crappy brake pads on the truck, even for a few days, we scrapped the idea of going out this weekend.

Take the Camaro, you say? Well, yeah, it's having some clutch issues (I think the throw-out bearing is shot, but it has needed a new clutch for a while anyway), plus we would be able to get maybe one bike in it, not both, and getting the rest of the camping stuff, plus fishing rods would be a stretch.

So, we ran over to Lowe's to finally grab some paver base for the fire pit.

Now all we need are some stones to finish it.

So, maybe I'll do some other stuff around the house this weekend. Or finally change the oil in the Camaro. Or just sleep. :) Next week's exam week, and I'm only giving one exam to a handful of students; the rest of the students in that class opted to do projects that I already graded. The six remaining anatomy students have a research paper to turn in first thing on Monday morning, and I should be able to get those graded before the seven or so astronomy students come in for the exam. That exam is multiple choice, so my grades should be pretty much done before the end of the day on Monday.

I'm ready for summer. Even though I'll have to work at least twenty days of it, it will be relaxing compared to some of the drama I've put up with during the school year. Plus, I've already blocked out three weeks at the end of July/beginning of August for a long road trip out west with my mom. We'll go to the salt flats (of course), and some places that she and dad didn't get to last time they were out there.... because, they thought, "We'll go there next time." :(

I'm ready to chill by the fire pit now, maybe with an e-book in hand, or to do anything that just takes my mind off the ugliness of the real world for a while.
English ivy creeping at the base of a maple tree in the back yard
UPDATE : I decided to clean up my bike, lube the chain and attach the bags and rack I got via Amazon earlier this week.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Camping is Fun!

So, Pat likes to go fishing, and I like to go camping, and since we're both currently so sick of autocross that neither of us even renewed our SCCA memberships when they expired at the end of March, we've been doing a lot of the camping thing. And since I've deactivated my Facebook account for the foreseeable future, and some people were upset they wouldn't be able to see photos from my trips, I figured I'd resurrect my blog. :) Last weekend, we ended up at Antietam Creek Campground on the C&O Towpath. We'd just picked up a bike from my brother's house and this just seemed like a good time to go. Pat's had good success catching smallmouth bass in the creek, which aided his decision.
Pat couldn't explain the Koosh ball he found with his lures

We arrived around 2PM and were fortunate to snag site 9, which was directly across the pedestrian bridge (Antietam Creek is one of two C&O campgrounds that doesn't have parking at the site itself). After getting the tent up and everything out of the truck, Pat put air in the tires of the bike we'd picked up, and then was off to fish.
Looking downriver from our campsite
I decided to head west, towards Shepherdstown, on my own bike. I'd been as far as mile 72 while hiking on foot, so I was determined to see the lock up that way. I was determined to see some cool stuff, like I'd found the weeks before at McCoy's Ferry and Fifteen Mill Creek.

It didn't take long after passing MM72 to see something cool. 

 Then, just past the railroad bridge, I see the remains of its predecessor.
The monolith loomed large in the forest.
There were others, and it was clear that the bridge I'd just passed was the new-and-improved one. 

Just a few yards beyond the silent monoliths was what I initially thought was lock 38, though its placement confused me.
Lock?
But, upon further examination, I felt it was too close to the river to be a lock. Plus, there didn't seem to be any way the towpath could stay on the south side of the canal unless there'd been some divine intervention in the pathway of the Potomac River. I can only think now that it was a way of channeling water from the river into the canal, and so did sort of function as a lock of sorts.

The actual lock 38 was just a little ways west of this, and evidently can be seen from MD34 where it crosses into West Virginia.



I didn't quite get to MM73, so I didn't get a shot of it, but that's basically where lock 38 is found along the towpath.

Going back to the campground, I did make one small detour at Packhorse Ford. The sounds of the water rushing over the rocks and the scenery there was just too peaceful not to.
Abandoned snake skin
Rushing water
After getting back to the camp site, Pat was messing around with lures. He'd caught a catfish, but that was about it. He headed back out, heading where I'd just come from, looking for smallmouth bass or walleye (his real target). I bummed around the campsite for a little bit and gathered a bunch of twigs for use in the campstove. After putting the twigs in a plastic bad, I decided to go east, past the aqueduct. I'd been as far as mile 68 going that direction (on foot), so with the bike, I knew I could go farther. 

Most of the time, I was under the tree canopy, but as I approached MM67, a few sprinkles were getting through the leaves. We knew there was a good chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday (the reason I'd put the campstove fuel in a plastic bag), so it wasn't a total surprise. 

And, just past MM67 was lock 37, complete with a lock master's house!
Lock 37, also called "Mountain Lock"
 

Looking down in the lock from the pedestrian bridge
The lockmaster's house seems to be in good shape from the outside
Eastern end of the lock
The sprinkling became more intense as I tried to take quick photos, so I jumped on the bike and headed back to the campground. Of course, the rain was done by the time I got back. So, I went down the little slope to the river. It was still, and the sun was reflected off the ripple-less water.

Pat came back from a fruitless trip, and we fired up the campstove for dinner. Despite the heat, he convinced me to start a campfire in the fire ring, and we sat and "chilled" by that for a few hours (and I roasted a couple of marshmallows) before settling in for the night.
About the largest the fire ever got.
The birds woke me up in the morning. Tweet, tweet, tweet..... before 6AM. Ugh. Pat got up sometime after that, and I went back to sleep. The birds woke me up again, and I went back to sleep again. The next time, I decided to get up. It was about 8:15AM -- still too early for me, but between the sun shining directly into the tent and the tweeting, there was no way I could continue to sleep. 

Pat had already gone fishing and returned -- empty-handed -- so he was ready for breakfast, too. I fired up the campstove, and we had our usual scrambled eggs and sausages.


So, I had thrown out the idea of me riding east to Harpers Ferry the previous night, and Pat was still good with it. My plan was to ride down to the Harpers Ferry area (about 10 miles) while Pat was fishing, and then he could pick me up somewhere along where the towpath and Harpers Ferry Rd. meet up. If I just rode straight there, it would take me about an hour, but we both knew I'd stop along the way to take pictures. We decided that whoever got to the Harpers Ferry area first would send a text to the other. 

We broke camp and loaded up the truck. Then I headed off, and stopped less than a half mile away to get an obligatory shot of the aqueduct. I'd done enough aqueduct hunting the previous two weeks at Fifteen Mile Creek and McCoy's Ferry that I had to. 
Antietam Creek Aqueduct
Looking upstream of Antietam Creek, from the aqueduct
I pedaled pretty much non-stop until I came up to MM67. There was a culvert there that I wanted to explore, since I hadn't the day before what with the rain. 
At MM67
I was somewhat surprised by the condition of the culvert, as all of the ones I'd seen previously were in really good shape. 

I continued down the towpath past MM66, and was going at a comfortable pace when out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something interesting across the canal.
Is that a cave??!
The cave mouth was half my height, and it kind of gave me the creeps, so after taking a few photos while standing in the canal, I got back on my bike and started pedaling again. But just a few moments later....
It's an even bigger cave!!
I was really ill at ease approaching this one. For one, it was tall enough that I could walk into it without bending over. There was also no human detritus around, as many such areas on the towpath would have. No beer bottles/cans, no graffiti, nothing indicating that people messed around here. It all added up to Stay Away!!! to me. So, I took a few photos while standing at the mouth of the cave, then left. 
It went back pretty far.
It wasn't too much farther down the towpath when I saw yet another structure that caught my eyes.
What do we have here?
By standing on my toes, I got the impression that the stone structure obscured by trees might be a kiln of some sort. So, I crossed the canal to get a close up view. I had no idea what the wooden structure was; it wasn't a domicile. But the stone structure was certainly a kiln, most likely an iron works of some sort. 


Oh, snap, what is looking at me???!
So, as my exploring comes to a close, and I look back at the wooden structure, I see a vulture in an opening. It leans forward, looking directly at me. Now, I've seen horror movies, and I know this is the point at which the axe murderer sneaks up from behind. The vulture spread its wings and flew away, just as I turned around in terror and then sprinted across the canal, back to my bicycle. The next half mile went by very quickly.

I stopped briefly at MM65 because I could see a "detour" ahead. A culvert had collapsed, and the towpath had been rerouted into the canal proper. I suppose this will eventually happen with the culvert at MM67, considering it's already starting to crumble. Anyway, at this point, I also see I have a text from Pat saying to let him know when I get to the turnaround on Harpers Ferry Rd. Evidently, that's a perfect place for him to pick me up and toss the bike in the back. I let him know where I was, then continued to pedal.

There wasn't much until mile 64, and literally at MM64, I started to see turtles everywhere. I saw at least three different species in that first half mile after the marker -- a painted turtle (couldn't tell if it was eastern or midland), a stinkpot and a wood turtle. Because of the vegetation and the limitations of focusing my cell phone's camera, I really wished I had my digital SLR with me at this point. 
This was right at MM64. There are two turtles and a frog.
A little past MM64, I saw this wood turtle on a log.
I finally came across a hiker-biker campground (Huckleberry Hill) after passing MM63. The distance between this hiker-biker stop and the next one (obviously past MM73, since I hadn't seen another one through lock 38), must be among the long distances on the towpath. 
Neat looking tree roots at the rivers' edge at the Huckleberry Hill campground
A short way past the hiker-biker campground, I stumbled -- almost literally -- upon lock 36. This lock has been almost entirely filled in with sediment. Strangely, the towpath trail takes a ninety-degree turn to the right as it passes this lock, heading straight for the river. 
Lock 36
A white tail deer was grazing at the eastern end of the lock
I followed the towpath to the right, and was greeted with a structure similar to one I'd seen near lock 38 the afternoon before, only this one had water in it. 


Continuing on, I notice more stone structures to my right, where the canal should be. I stopped and looked closely.
Is that lock 35?
Amidst all the vegetation and seemingly random stones, it certainly looked like an honest-to-goodness lock across the way. I started down into the canal area, but realized that there was still a lot of water at the bottom; if not water, then definitely enough mud that I didn't want to deal with it. So, I stood on tiptoe to see the apparent lock as much as possible.
Sure looks like a lock
There was a wooden pedestrian bridge, and there is definitely a sign that says "lock 35". It's the lock. I just can't figure out how someone is supposed to get to it. I'm wondering if it's accessible from the lock-like structure after lock 36. 

I pressed on, knowing that Pat might, at this point, be wondering where I am. I came across another stone structure that after subsequent review, might be part of Dam 3, then continued to lock 34, where the turnaround was located.
Possibly part of Dam 3? Just before MM62
Lock 34
Lock 34
Snapping turtle and frog in lock 34
I could have gone further than the turnaround, and maybe I should have asked to be picked up at Weverton in hindsight. But it turns out that Pat's possible fishing spots had been non-existent, and so he'd just been waiting for me to text him. :(

But with the bike, he knows he has a better range, and if he can find a way to carry his rods besides in his hands, that will make the range as far as his stamina will allow. We'll see. 

Not sure if we're going to make it four weeks in a row. Final exams start next week, and I need to make sure my grades are in line before then. There's also a greater chance of rain than there was this past weekend. We'll see.