Sunday, January 20, 2008

Camping trip

So I spent this past weekend on a camping trip. By weekend, I really mean "Saturday and Sunday morning." Where to? To Baltimore to tour Fort McHenry and to sleep on an iceboxWWII Liberty Ship.

Fort McHenry was nice. We learned about the War of 1812, with a minimal amount of historical revisionism. For those not well acquainted with this war in history, here is a brief summary: as a combination of the British impressment of American sailors, the British failing to withdraw from the Old Northwest as stipulated in the Treaty of 1783, and the misguided belief that Canada wanted to be American, a new batch of Congressmen (the War Hawks) argued for, and got, a war with Britain. The US captured some bases in the Great Lakes region and won some naval battles in that area; the British retaliated by burning Washington to the ground and proceeded to attack Baltimore (and fail to capture it). Then some negotiators got together and wrote a treaty that basically said "We will pretend that this war never happened" (or, if you're in AP US History, a restoration of ante bellum status quo). A few days later, Andrew Jackson repelled an attempt to capture New Orleans by the British. The only significant thing to come out of this war was a little poem called "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Anyways, we toured the fort a little. Even though it is most remembered for its pivotal role in an unpivotal war, half the exhibits are about its role in the Civil War. Apparently, a large cannon was kept always pointed at Baltimore to remind it which side it supported.

After visiting this fort, we went over to the Liberty ship, the S.S. John W. Brown. Third time here, and third time I found the tour not terribly interesting. This year's tour covered much less area than I recall the previous times, but it may have been erroneously aborted when the engine's high oil pressure alarm went off while we were in it. The high point of the tour was when I was asked "How many countries are there in the world?" I then spent half an hour trying to explain why that question is difficult to answer and also complain about some erroneous counts (How the hell is Queen Maud Land considered a country?). We proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to recall the words to the Animaniacs' "Countries of the World" song.

Someone brought Bop-It Extreme along, and so watching little kids trying to muster the concentration to get a decent score was mildly entertaining (Spin-It and Twist-It were constantly confused). Then we sat down for some games of card: Capitalism, Spit, ERS, 5 Card Stud, Kemps, and Blackjack, in that order. Then came the hearty evening meal of lasagna (nowhere near enough to feed 15 mouths), some more card games, and then sleep. We were sleeping in a stack of bunks five high located in the unheated part of a ship sitting in Baltimore Harbor on the coldest day so far this year. Good thing that I have a 15°-rated sleeping bag and a sleeping bag liner on top of that, as well as a warm sweater and winter coat. Breakfast the next day was a hearty affair of pancakes and then departure.

1 comment:

france camping said...

That sounds awesome i would love to go on that same camping trip it sounds really my type of thing!
Thanks for posting this! maybe next month this month im going camping in France!

Cheers,
Ed