On to Boston: The USS Constitution

I fell in love with USS Constitution during our visit in to Boston in 2013. And the total experience was different from our visit during my recent New England trip. In 2013 there were Navy personnel to take us on a guided tour. You had to sign up, wait your turn, I remember the tours were timed so the ship wasn’t crowded. “Old Ironsides,” the ship’s nickname given when she was launched in 1797, was also not sectioned off at the dock so we could have the full advantage of taking amazing photos.

This ship has an amazing history which you can read here.

Today, the ship is open to all. There are no public tours, at least when we were there. And from a photographic point of view, people were everywhere. But she is still an amazing ship with a great history. Here are the first photos I took from the top deck.

Although I am complaining about people, I managed to isolate myself by taking closeups. Here’s what the decks below looked like. The crew slept in hammocks while the officers had better accommodations.

Back on top, I tried to get some different images.

The Constitution is still in commission, is still sea worthy, and her crew of 75 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours. The officers and crew are all active-duty Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty. What a testament to the United States history.

There will be more of Boston in my next post.

New England Trip: Staunton & Lexington, Virginia

This was my request. I asked to visit a small town, much like Sutter Creek near me. So off we drove to Staunton (pronounced Stanton) and Lexington. These two towns were quaint and different. The difference was in the age and ornamental qualities of the buildings.

Let’s visit Staunton first. We stopped at a street that was blocked off to traffic.

Top row: An employee setting up an outdoor smoking area for a smoke shop. A wooden Indian sculpture inside the shop. Instruments made from cigar boxes.

Second row: People enjoying outdoor dining.

Third row: A cute store and a theatre.

Still in Staunton, some interesting buildings.

The Augusta County Courthouse
Yikes! A giant praying mantis!

In Lexington, we took a horse drawn carriage ride. It was great, but made photography difficult. Our guide apologized for not being able to stop because it would get her off schedule.

I mostly rested in Alexandria, Virginia. So our next stop will be Boston! Stay tuned.

Lens Artists Challenge #199: Mechanical/Industrial

When I first read this week’s challenge from John, Journeys with Johnbo, I immediately thought of the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park in Folsom. It wasn’t our destination, but we came upon it while visiting the Old Town of Folsom. And just our luck, the docent was on his way down to open the facility.

The Powerhouse is located on the American River. Here’s how it looks on the outside.

Before I take you inside, please read this brief summary of the Powerhouse history from our favorite online encyclopedia–Wikipedia. It says it better than I can.

Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park is a historical site preserving an 1895 alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power station—one of the first in the United States.

Before the Folsom powerhouse was built nearly all electric power houses were using direct current (DC) generators powered by steam engines located within a very few miles of where the power was needed. The use of rushing water to generate hydroelectric power and then transmitting it long distances to where it could be used was not initially economically feasible as long as the electricity generated was low-voltage direct current. Once it was invented, AC power made it feasible to convert the electrical power to high voltage by using the newly invented transformers and to then economically transmit the power long distances to where it was needed. Lower voltage electrical power, which is much easier and safer to use, could be easily gotten by using transformers to convert the high voltage power to lower voltages near where it was being used. DC power cannot use a transformer to change its voltage. The Folsom Powerhouse, using part of the American River‘s rushing water to power its turbines connected to newly invented AC generators, generated three phase 60 cycle AC electricity (the same that’s used today in the United States) that was boosted by newly invented transformers from 800 volts as generated to 11,000 volts and transmitted to Sacramento over a 22 mi (35 km)-long distribution line, one of the longest electrical distribution lines in the United States at the time.”

Leave it to me to photograph close ups of wheels and gears once inside. This is just part of my fun.

Now for the rest of the inside. I wish I understood more about the use of all the equipment. If you want, you can read more about it here.

Let’s go back outside for the final photograph. Here you can see the transformers that sent electricity all the way to Sacramento.

Thank you John for giving us such an interesting topic. I’ve already read some of the replies and have been captivated. When you post your reply, remember to link to John’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Next week, it’s Amy’s turn to host our challenge, so be sure to visit her site. If you’d like to join in our weekly challenges just click here.

Sleepless in Sacramento: In and around Grass Valley

Actually, it’s not that I’m sleepless, I can’t sleep because of a sore throat. It’s not Covid, the rapid home test came out negative, and I have a yearly doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Great timing! So, let me use this time to tell you about a recent adventure around Grass Valley in Nevada County.

We sometimes take off without a definite destination in mind as we did recently. We headed toward Grass Valley. Some stops along the way yielded fungi, a pine cone, a not so scary scarecrow and a scenic pond.

The real exciting find happened after lunch. We found the Bridgeport Covered Bridge! Constructed in 1892, this bridge had undergone renovations and reopened in November 2021 to pedestrian traffic. It crosses over the South Yuba River.

The South Yuba River.

We visited the visitors’ center and saw the old Shell station which added atmosphere to the park.

I’ll say goodnight and hope that I can sleep tight!

Lens Artist Challenge #184: Travel has taught me

Oh my! Every time I travel anywhere, near and far, I learn something. This week Amy has asked us to write about and show what travel has taught us. Instantly, my mind went back to our travels in our various campers and trailers. That’s my favorite kind of travel: where I can take my home with me. I like to get up in the morning, make breakfast, walk the dog, relax, do some sightseeing, cook dinner, settle down for the evening and sleep in my own bed. My food, my itinerary and a familiar/comfortable bed!

Driving across country in 2013 gave us so many opportunities to learn about different states, customs, history, people and historical places. I decided that the east coast has the history and the west coast has more National Parks. So what was my favorite piece of history? The USS Constitution!

I don’t know why, but I fell in love with that ship docked in Boston, Massachusetts. Just its history and the fact that in 2013 she was still in service was amazing. Also called Old Ironsides, she was launched in 1797 and is the world’s oldest ship of any type still afloat. The tour took us below deck and the guide gave us a descriptive history of what life was like during the years the ship was in active commission. Today,  she also participates in public events and education through outreach programs, public access, and historic demonstration.

Here are some pictures I took with my Nikon D3100. I was so new at photography, I didn’t know how to straighten a picture in post! Anyway, they will give you an idea of what a great ship she is.

If you visit Boston, Massachusetts, be sure to visit this amazing ship.