We were hiking in the Catoctin Mountain Park recently and I couldn't help but laugh about a situation we had about two years ago during one of our hikes in this gorgeous National Park system area. It was the day of the great big rattle snake!
The Rattle Snake
Our hike was over and we piled into the car, ready to get cooled down and relax on the drive home. We didn't have too far to travel. We lived somewhat locally and had both grown up in the general area surrounding this beautiful park. We hadn't gotten far from the parking lot when we saw a huge rattlesnake crossing the road. I had never heard the rattle of a rattlesnake and it had been discussed quite a few times that we wished that I would hear one in a safe environment so that I would immediately know what it sounded like were I to ever encounter one in the wilderness during one of our hikes. Without thinking we decided to stop the car and get out so that I could hear the rattle from a safe distance.
Very conveniently there was a pull off on the side of the road. I whipped the car into that pull off, watching the snake the whole time. We jumped out of the car and made our way to a safe distance from the snake. IT was watching us, but was never threatened enough to shake it's rattles in a warning. I snapped a few pictures but nothing. We were not going to push our luck, so we walked the few feet back to the car. That is when I realized my mistake!
Big signs dotted the edge of the turn around. The stated 'no stopping at any time' and big signs prohibiting any pictures being taken. Oooops! How could I forget that Camp David was nestled in these woods. I grew up in this area, I know about this fact but I had somehow just let it slip my mind in my quest to see the snake. We laughed about our snafu and quickly left the area and drove toward home.
The Park Police
We didn't even make it a half mile down the road before I saw a park police car sitting beside the road. I knew that they were there because of me. The pulled behind me and followed me. I laughed about how I could make a run for it and I could be out of the park before long. But I knew that was not to be. I knew that I was getting pulled over and furthermore, I knew that it wasn't REALLY the park police that would be pulling me over.
Sure enough, before long the lights flashed on. I was caught! I pulled over and remained calm. It was after all a mistake, even if it was a mistake at a federal level of security. Two 'park police' men got out of their vehicle. The were dressed for serious business. Flak jackets and numerous weapons, definitely NOT park police standard issue. One came up on each side of the car and they asked us to both put down our windows and I began to answer questions and I tried to not laugh when they tried to skirt the issue and use euphemisms instead of calling it Camp David.
"NO sir, I didn't pay attention to the signs until it was too late, my mind was elsewhere"
"Yes sir, I actually do know that there as you call it a 'military installation' in these woods'.
"Well you see sir, I was just trying to see a snake"
"Yes, I did take pictures with my cellphone"
They actually took my cell phone and inspected the pictures that I took. They could see when flipping through that we had been hiking on valid trails and to allowed places just a short time before. But it was still nerve wracking.
They finally let me drive away. It was obvious that I had just been thinking about one thing and not paying attention to my actual surroundings. We had a good laugh that day, but I know that in the future I will need to be careful. I am sure that my name is marked in some database system and a second infraction may not go as easily!
We were in the Fredericksburg, VA area on January 1, 2017. The day was sunny and we had a fun time...but boy did we see and experience different things that day!
The first experience happened at the visitor center bathrooms. The bathrooms are accessed through the parking lot so were luckily open on this holiday. There was a car in the parking lot with a lady waiting for someone who was in the bathrooms. We split up and headed into our respective bathrooms. When we met outside Jason had a huge grin on his face. Apparently the lady was waiting for a man who was in the bathroom listening to porn....loudly. That is definitely a first! We just chuckled and moved on.
A little bit later we were walking down the street and saw a couple totally wrapped around each other standing on the street corner. Way too affectionate for public. We walked up upon them and they didn't stop. We walked by. They didn't stop. We walked down a block to the end of the business section of town and turned. The couple was still going strong. What was even more 'off' it was two older ladies. Another couple walked by about the same time we did and the guy muttered. "I think I just threw up in my mouth." Once again, who knows...but we just chuckled and moved on!
After our stroll around downtown Fredericksburg, we headed back up the road. Our first stop was at the Stafford Civil War Park. The trails were easy and relatively well maintained, but not well marked. We could only chuckle when a group of black guys walked by us and told us to be careful because the red coats were coming. We just smiled and wished them a good day. As soon as they were passed us though we burst out laughing......wrong war dip-wads! Civil war was NOT the redcoats!
The fourth and by far most interesting experience was at the Aquia Episcopal Church. We got out and took our pictures and explored the old graveyard. It was fascinating and neat. As we walked by the church we tried to peer into the windows to see the historic building. Jason naturally tried the door. Much to our surprise the door began to open. Immediately an alarm started to blare inside the building. "Run" Jason hissed as it scared us. We didn't run away...but we did get in the car and drive down the road a bit before we decided to call the church and let them know what we had done. After the phone call we decided to go back and wait for the church personnel (or cops) to show up to secure the building. We were afraid that something would happen to the church in the meantime and we would somehow get pinned with the crime! We went back and within minutes the pastor (I assume so at least) showed up. We introduced ourselves and explained the situation. He thanked us and we departed. Shucks...at least he could have offered us a tour of the building!!!
In early April 2017 we stayed in Germantown at and Extended Stay hotel. The visit wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. The room had obviously not been cleaned overly well as we saw what looked to be boogers dried on the bathroom wall. Yes, it was gross! But a few weeks later when that hotel came up as the cheapest option for where we wanted to go, we decided to give it another try. After all, I'm sure something like that could be overlooked very easily.
We pulled up to the hotel at about 3:15 on April 22. Check in started at 3 so we were right on time. We walked into the hotel lobby and there was a line. The gentleman behind the counter was polite...but moved VERY slow. (And really, is an untucked dress shirt under a track jacket proper attire?) Finally it was our turn to check in. We walked into our room at 4:15, an hour after arriving at the hotel.
The first thing we noticed? The room reeked. It was obvious that someone had been smoking pot in the room...a lot of pot! We opened the window and let the room air out and we were right as rain. Yes, I checked, the bathroom had no boogers so we were good!
The next problem came at 12 midnight when someone knocked on our door. Jason looked out the window and the guy quickly said "Sorry" and moved away. Within the next half hour he knocked 4-5 more times. I called the front desk but they just laughed and told us to call the police. The police? For someone roaming the property? We vowed that if it got out of hand we would. I eventually went back to sleep but kept hearing random knocks that I thought I was just dreaming. It wasn't until the morning that I found out that the knocking had recommenced at 3AM and again at 5AM.
The icing on the cake? When I was in the shower I looked up at the top of the shower curtain and there was a dried crusty washcloth hanging over the curtain. I knew immediately....neither Jason or I put washcloths over the curtain rod. I asked him to be sure....and actually visually saw the washcloths that he and I both used. It was DEFINITELY not ours! EWWWWWW
Belief In Living
Travel with us as we explore!