STATE 10: MARYLAND
In the matter of a couple of months, we went from clueless to almost-experts when it came to the set-up and tear down of the Airstream.
Although we had a great training session from our friends at Woodland Travel Center before we left in which I frantically recorded the most important part of trailer-life, hooking up, we really learned the most living and learning on the road.
After state after state of practice by now, we were able to get our average set-up time within 15-30 minutes, depending on if it’s a partial or full set-up and how many attempts it takes us to back the trailer up into the parking space justttt right. Our greater efficiency was due to an unwritten set of responsibilities we eventually developed:
Tyler’s duties are unhooking the truck and trailer, uninstalling the hitch, and setting up the “poop tube,” while Kendra’s roles including leveling and stabilizing the trailer, hooking up the water and electric, and pulling out the awnings. Noel, on the other hand, her “responsibilities” are looking cute and sleeping — the two things she does best.
We actually got to spend quite a bit of time in Maryland and the DMV area — three weeks to be exact. Since DC and Virginia are so close, we didn’t have to move the trailer for those projects but instead just drove “Queen Bee” to the project locations. We enjoy the quietness of Cherry Hill Park as Fall was fully settled-in. Even better, the park had a huge laundry facility and, a special treat for us, cable TV. Tyler was especially thrilled because that meant he could actually be able to watch football on the weekend!
Since it was later in the RV season and there weren’t many other campers or dogs, we took the opportunity to continue to try and “train” Noel to walk on a leash. We may have looked like crazy cat people walking around with her, but that’s a small price to pay to live your best life!
We spent some time in Baltimore where walked along the water of the Chesapeake Bay, imagining a time not that long ago when Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was still a part of our young developing nation thanks in part to a growing population of immigrants alongside a growing list of industries. We learned that long before Europeans began venturing to this “new land,” it was home to the Piscataway tribe dating for the past 12,000 years.
Nowadays the Harbor is lined with tourist attractions including the Maryland Science Center and National Aquarium while shipbuilding docks and steelyards gave way to corporate headquarters, hotels, restaurants, shopping, and more.
Among the museums and historical sites, we came across the USS Constellation, the Navy’s last sail-only ship that traveled all over the world and was also the Africa Squadron flagship, operating as part of the African Slave Patrol as efforts to end the Atlantic slave trade during the time of the Civil War.
While we were in Baltimore, we also visited our friend, fellow Michigander, and previous [HAS HEART] Veteran participant, Eric Lund, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Having recently undergone a double arm transplant, Eric was on week two of recovery and finally able to receive visitors. We had a great time catching up with him and his mom Laura. At the time, only one or two other double arm transplants had been successfully accomplished and we couldn’t have been happier for Eric and his family to experience this incredible blessing and opportunity.
You can read our previous blog post about Eric and follow his progress on his Facebook page that is purposefully updated to allow all those we served with him, cared, prayed, supported, and help him and his family out through this life-changing journey ever since his “Alive Day” in 2012.
Our Maryland project was a special one. Let’s just tease it with a guided tour through the Naval Academy by an honored alum along with a walk around beautiful downtown Annapolis along the old brick roads, past the statue of Roots author Alex Haley that observes where his ancestors arrived from Africa as a slave hundreds of years ago, and toward the grand entrance of the Naval Academy located just along the edge of the Annapolis harbor.
What felt like a walk through history, the quick tour reminded us all that we are not observers but participants in the events seeming to occur all around us.
A couple state projects later, we technically ended back in Maryland following the Virginia and Delaware state projects, but this time it along the Atlantic ocean. We’ll wait to share that part of our journey for the Delaware post because, let’s be honest, there wasn’t much else in Delaware for us to do.
*View the Maryland state project we facilitated with U.S. Navy Veteran Paula Neira, designer KC Corbett, and videographer Gabe Dinsmor. Their collaborative design is entitled “Reflection,” an illustrative expression of two life-changing moments in Paula’s life. At seven years-old, Paula discovered her dream to one day join the Navy as she looked out onto the harbor, watching ships and airplanes pass by. Years later as a Naval Officer, she found herself again looking out onto the water, this time making the difficult decision to walk away from her Naval career in order to remain true to herself.