Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bonus Post - Maryland Adventures

So I'm in Maryland for the majority of the week, and so far it's pretty groovy. Our first trip through the state many years ago, with surly pre-teens in the back seat and nasty hot weather was unpleasant, to say the least. This time, seeing the northern part of the state, I'm much happier. Rolling hills, winding backroads, lush and green and pastoral.
I landed in Baltimore (first the right side of the plane, followed by the left), and being the all-purpose nerd that I am, coupled with my love of cake (third in line after bacon and pie), I sought out Charm City Cakes, just to take this picture.

Of course, Baltimore as a whole, while a little run down and worse for wear in these economic times, still has other charms:

The color doesn't do these houses justice, they were so bright and vibrant, but again, cameras and I don't get along. Drove past Camden Yards, too, but since I'm not actually a baseball fan, let alone an Orioles fan, I didn't see a reason to risk life and limb while driving 50 miles per hour and snap off a blurry, uncentered picture.

And then there's this thing. The Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower, as Google so kindly informed me.

I don't know what bromo-seltzer is (though I'm sure Google could come in handy there, too), but Captain Emerson, who invented it, also built the tower. Apparently it sported a giant bromo-seltzer bottle at the top of the tower until 1936, when the fun police deemed it unsafe.

I went a little overboard here in Germantown for dinner, thanks in no small part to not eating anything since my granola bar before the flight this morning. Pan-fried dumplings, fried squid and a dish called seafood chow foon, that was lots of seafood and vegetables on top of Amish-style noodle dumplings. Mmmm, carby. Good stuff, must thank Courtney for polling her friends for me ahead of time, I love it when a plan comes together.

Now it's time for...THE PREMATURE (and always popular) RENTAL CAR REVIEW!

When I rent cars, I rent under the premise of an extended test drive. As my faithful readers may recall, the top scores have always gone to big luxury cruisers like the V8 Lucerne and the zippy Maxima. However, on the company's nickel, I try to stay frugal. As such, I am driving a glorious sub-sub-sub-compact Kia Rio (because 'Kia It-has-four-wheels-what-more-do-you-want' wouldn't fit across the tiny decklid). The nice thing about a car this small is that I can still roll down the passenger windows without leaving my seat, even though there are no power windows.

Really, I kid. I know lots of people like tiny cars. I can't fault that, I try to stay conscious of the environment and such when it doesn't bum my natural high on life. For a tiny car, it has a remarkable ride quality. Smooth, even on some bumpy roads I ran across. Of course, at 11.8 miles on the trip odometer, it developed a nasty rattle somewhere in the dash, so ride quality was insignificant since I started avoiding potholes anyway. Excellent radio, too, at least for me. As long as the speakers don't buzz and I don't feel like I'm back in my first car with the AM radio, I'm good. Precise steering, adequate pickup when you floor it with the AC on, so first assessment, I'd give this car an overall B-. Nothing I want to own, ever, but actually nicer than the larger Spectra I had in Kansas City last January.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Um yeah - you totally saw the outter part of the city.... you don't ever want to venture into the center part... It's a very scary place and you will totally get lost. But I guess all cities are like that...

Glad you liked the food... I have never been there, but the people who have rave about it just like you did.

Be nice and share!

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