Sep 272014

We woke up to partly cloudy skies yesterday, but at least it had stopped raining. We were glad to see that since we really needed to get out for a while to shake off our cabin fever after two days cooped up inside.

After stopping for gas, we started the day by dropping off bundles of sample issues of the Gypsy Journal at two large RV resorts nearby, Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna, which was voted National Park of the Year last year, and its sister resort, Grey’s Point Camp in Topping. Both are rated five stars by Woodalls and offer every amenity an RVer could want.

One of the places I had contacted to do a story on was the Steamboat Era Museum in the small town of Irvington, just a few miles east of Grey’s Point, across the Rappahannock River. The museum preserves the memory of the grand old days, when steamboats plied the waters of Chesapeake Bay and the rivers that feed it, with exhibits that include models of typical steamboats, photographs, and nautical equipment.

Steamboat Era Museum outside

In the days before telephones, automobiles, and trucks, the boats brought supplies to small towns throughout the Chesapeake Bay and carried local products to markets as far away as Baltimore. When the steamboat arrived at a river town many of the citizens dropped whatever they were doing to go to the wharf to see who was coming and going, and to hear the latest news.

Steamboat diorama

To get to the museum we had to cross the river on the two-mile long Robert O. Norris Bridge, known locally as the White Stone Bridge or Rappahannock River Bridge. The bridge is high and narrow, and of course there was no way I was going to drive across it. No problem. Miss Terry isn’t afraid of anything. I kept my eyes closed most of the way, but did manage to take a couple of quick photos without launching into a snivel.

Robert O Horris bridge

Robert O Norris bridge superstructure

We don’t like taking the same route twice because we never know what hidden treasure we might find along another road, so after touring the museum we crossed the river again and made a loop back to Gloucester, and sure enough we found one!

At the intersection of State Routes 3 and 14 I spotted this cannon and the sign for Fort Nonsense Historical Park. Really? A fort named Nonsense? How could we not stop?

Fort Nonsense canon

Built in the early days of the Civil War, not much is left of the old earthen fort, but we spent some time on the nice walking trail reading the interpretive signs.


As we were headed back to the parking lot I told Terry that there had to be a cache in a place this cool and whipped out my Samsung smart phone to check the Geocaching app. Sure enough, there were two! We found this one pretty quickly, but the ground all around here is so saturated from all the rain than we didn’t want to get muddy, so the second one will have to wait for another day.


And on another note, a few years ago the State of Indiana leased the Indiana Toll Road to a company called ITR Concession Company; not just the right to operate restaurants and fuel stops on the highway, but the actual turnpike itself. Under the agreement, ITR would collect tolls and make sure the road was maintained. Apparently that didn’t work out very well, and yesterday it was announced that after eight years, ITR has declared bankruptcy and now the state is looking for somebody else to take its place. Anybody want to lease a highway?

So far, we have over 200 entries in this week’s Free Drawing for an autographed copy of my buddy Al Hesselbart’s great history of the recreational vehicle, The Dumb Things Sold…Just like that! To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


It’s not a highway, or even a bridge, but if you are as technically challenged as I am, have I got a deal for you! My friend Randy Morris is offering his e-book Explanations and Advice for the Tech Illiterate free today on Amazon. Topics include basic computer types, basic home theater (audio & video), computer viruses, e-mail security, understanding encryption & passwords, backing up your hard drive, and computer speed/startup items. All that, and it’s free too! How can you go wrong?


Thought For The Day – There’s a fine line between crazy and free spirited, and it’s usually a prescription.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Steamboats, Bridges, and Nonsense”

  1. Nick, thanks for the info on the free book, which I have already downloaded for Dick and I.

  2. Nick are you sure there is a fine line or is that just another urban myth. Congratulations on another snivel free day.

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