I was quite pleasantly surprised with the Microtel we stayed in for the night. It didn't have a pool, and the breakfast consisted of cereal, bagels & cream cheese and sugary muffins and doughnuts, but we paid a lot less than one of the hotels with pools and a nicer breakfast, and the place was clean and had a really cool little window bed.
We decided to skip the museum in town because it didn't open until 10am and we were ready to leave by 8:30am. We drove out to the "Crystal Grottoes Caverns" in Boonsboro. They were pretty caves and the guide was nice.
I talked with the self-proclaimed "Red-Neck" who owned the caves while we waited for a tour. I would relate his stories, but I am only partially fluent in red-neckeese and only caught half of his tales. There was something about a series of micro-blasts tearing half the mountain off and then them at their congressman's office offering to drive the road clearing equipment if he couldn't find someone to. He said these city kids come out there - don't know what they're not teaching them in them thar school systems they got nowadays, they don't know squat about nuthin. Anyway I tried to impress him with my wonderfully educated home-schooled kids .. I started with a really easy one - asked them what plant was growing in the (corn)field beside us. Well, of course Aodhan looks up and says "maybe tomatoes?" - WE JUST PLANTED TOMATOES IN OUR BACKYARD!!! Gaaahhh ... Ciaran, save me from looking like such a complete idiot... but no, of course not "I dunno, plants?" was his reply. It's pretty bad when you look like a dork in front of a red-neck living in a trailer drinking red-bull for breakfast.
Aodhan found a tiny bat on the walls.
We stopped at lock 7 of the C&O ( canal system. This system was started in the 1820's, but, because of problems, was not completed until 1850. The canal is still all there and quite pretty. The picture shows the lock keepers house and an overflow duct. The actual canal is in the back of the photo, but is below the ground surface:-) Ciaran was able to leap the little side channel. The actual canal was filled with snapping turtles and was about 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep and the water at the bottom looked about 1 foot deep. Ciaran wisely decided not to try scrambling across on the beams supporting the canal.