Rails to Trails and Brand New Windmills

In some ways the scenery of America pales to the personalities.

The woman at the Niagara Falls power plant who could explain science better than anyone I’ve ever met. The little boy at the ice cream counter spinning around on a stool who boldly declared “I love ice cream!” My Maryland cousin, the avid biker (pedal, not engine), who took me on a trail today and shared facts with thru-riders, like how to get to the aforementioned creamery.

One of the treats of this cross-country trek is getting to spend time with old friends and not-often seen relatives. This weekend’s visit brought my first motorcycle ride, an introduction to (pedal) biking on the extensive Rails to Trails project, and trespassing on a ridge where windmills are being installed. My partner in (possible) crime: a first cousin old enough to be my father. Dad is the youngest of four and his nephews are closer in age than his siblings. Even I got confused and introduced myself as a niece instead of a cousin. Doesn’t matter; we’re family.

Rails to Trails

It’s romantic, really. Transforming abandoned railroad tracks into bike paths. Hundreds of miles that meander through countryside, along rivers, around mountains.  The Rails to Trails Conservancy  is a nationwide program where they work with local governments to remove train tracks and recycle the steel, unearth the RR ties and all of the holding-it-together-materials, and then pave or lay crushed gravel on the route. You still get to go through tunnels, too!

Western Maryland Rail Trail  Maryland Trails

Photo courtesy of Rails to Trails website

A Scavenger Hunt for Windmills

It’s not that the windmills were hard to find; duh, they’re goober tall and on top of the ridge. We wanted to find the road to where the windmill farm is being built. And we did! Well, to one “field.” We founds parts, but not the giants themselves.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Take a look at the pictures. And not sure what they’re for? Natural power generation.

Windmill Farm

Photo courtesy of Bing.com

Windmill Farm in Maryland

Me standing in front of one piece of a windmill. As my cousin said, I was imitating one.

I love getting to know family better, and getting to learn from them.

Remember my cousins the artist and the anthropologist? He and I email every time I’m near art to discuss my impressions and for to teach me about the artists–you benefit from this, too via my posts. She and I are in touch as I discover examples of societal concepts that she taught me. My favorite right now: the panopticon.


What are your favorite times with family?

5 Responses


It was a fun day


I knew you were eco-friendly!


wind power is such a fasinating experiement in harnessing nature resources & at the same time not damaging the environment—sometime successful sometime not.

I also happen to think it’s quite pretty. I know it interrupts vistas, but i think the windmills are lovely in their own right.

My favorite times with family is when we’re together, but don’t need to be joined at the hip. We took an intergenerational cruise to Alaska. There were 10 of us, ranging in age from 14 to 90. Getting everyone onto the ship was like herding cats, but once we .were underway, it was great . On shore days, we would split up and do age related excursions. Then we’d all meet for dinner—-after tracking down the 90 year old in the casino.

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