We arrived at Union Street Bus Station around 11.30, we grabbed our rucksacks off the bus and made our way to the exit. We were due to be collected by Bootsie and Dick Osburn, Pete’s Nan’s next door neighbours from Watford in the 1970’s.
As we descended the escalator towards the Union Station concourse Pete turned around and noticed Bootsie and Dick at the top of the escalator leading from the car park.
It was lucky really, as our planning hadn't involved where we would meet each other once we had arrived at Union Station!
Once we got to Bootsie’s luxury Toyota Avalon we managed to shed the 6 months supply of Dairy Milk chocolate Pete’s Nan had sent for Bootsie and Dick. This made his rucksack about a kilogram lighter!
We headed for a little place called Tall Timbers in Southern Maryland, it would take us about 2 hours to get there plus a lunch stop. Considering we were in the capital city of the US the traffic was fairly light getting out of DC.
After about an hour Dick turned into the car park of Bert’s 50’s Diner in Mechanicsville. This place is an homage to all things from the 50’s , it was a great place to eat and typically American. I had a Porky Pig BBQ sandwich and Lilly had Bert’s famous haddock sandwich.
After lunch we made our way to Tall Timbers via Van’s house. Van is the youngest son of Bootsie and Dick. When we arrived he was changing the oil on his truck, it was a huge truck but we guess it needed to be as he had an even larger RV which required towing!!
We met Van’s three dogs one of which was an 18 month old golden retriever called Riggo, he was lively to say the least.
We eventually arrived at the place we were set to stay for the next 4 nights. Bootsie and Dick’s house is lovely both inside and out. At the back the rear garden has a pier that leads to the Potomac River. It wouldn't be complete without their very own fishing boat!
It didn't take long for us to fall asleep and catch up on some much needed slumber, in fact Bootsie suggested the idea. For those who know me I don’t need much encouragement to grab a mid afternoon snooze! As for Lilly I’m sure the two margarita’s Dick rustled up helped send her to the land of nod.
For dinner was a beef brisket cooked on the BBQ accompanied with green beans and salad, Lilly had a tasty looking Salmon fillet.
After dinner we managed to get a few photographs of the famous sunset over the Potomac River, it was worth getting savaged by the local bug population!!
As we ventured downstairs on Saturday morning scrambled Egg with Cheese on toast was on the menu, this was served with fresh coffee.
Then off we went to the Naval Air Museum with Dick as our driver and guide, we made a short pit stop to the Navy Store and picked up two cases of beer and half a gallon of tequila. Not for tequila slammers as Pete thought but for Dick’s famous Margarita’s.
A guided tour of the museum was given by Dick, he was extremely knowledgeable and despite all the questions I (Pete) threw his way he managed to answer them all.
Due to my relentless questioning we were a little late for the Labour Day (Spelt Labor in the US) family celebration which Bootsie and Dick were hosting.
Fresh crabs were on the menu, fished fresh from the Potomac River and cooked that very morning. We were shown how to shell the crabs by Toby, son of Aggy (Bootsie’s sister). The process involved detaching the legs and claws from the crab, prising open the shell and then removing some more bits and pieces of the crab before you got to the meat. A process not for the faint hearted or Lilly who got a bit freaked out about the legs and claws. She tried a little bit of crab to be polite but I could tell it wasn’t her favourite meal.
The crab was followed by a BBQ of burgers and hotdogs, and an array of salads, beans and cheese.
We got to know Bootsie and Dick’s family who were very friendly and welcoming and made us really feel at home. We met Van and his wife Deana and their children Liam and Vanna, Becky (Bootsie and Dick’s Daughter) her husband David and two of their four daughters Leah and Becca and her boyfriend Tyler. We also got to meet Aggy (Bootsie’s sister) and two of her three sons Leonard and Toby and his girlfriend Janie. Deana’s mum Donna and her boyfriend Walter were visiting from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Joey Toby and Janie’s friend was also at the party.
The celebration went on for a while longer before people departed and I was left to interrogate Dick on the rules of American Football.
Sunday morning we were treated to American Waffles and Syrup which were delicious, mine came with bacon whilst Lilly got to tuck into fruit salad with her waffles.
Then it was off out in the boat fishing on the Potomac River with Van, Walter, Leonard and Liam. Although we went ‘fishing’ it was more of an excuse to get out on the river and drink beer. We didn't find any fish, but the highlight was Leonard leaning over the back of the boat to wash his hands just at the moment the boat hit a wave causing him to fall straight into the water.
Turns out that about two weeks earlier two 8 foot Bull Sharks were caught in nets about a 1/3 of a mile up river!
We then got a tour of Tall Timbers Marina and the creek which was lined with some rather large houses.
Once we were back at the pier I fished unsuccessfully off the pier under the watchful eye of Lilly, We returned inside before the mozzies and other flying creatures with teeth attacked us.
Sunday evening we were accompanied by Toby and Janie to the local marina for the annual boat burning and fireworks to celebrate Labour Day. Toby drove us all to the Marina on Dick’s golf cart fun in the daylight, not so much on the way back in the dark with only a torch to light the way!
It was a good celebration with all the local rednecks, which we found out is how the locals refer to themselves. The fireworks were excellent and so was the beer!
After the fireworks we stopped off at the local bar for another drink, by then Lilly had consumed enough beer and decided to end the night with a Gin and Lemonade.
Then we headed off home in the golf cart in the pitch black with only a couple of torches to lead the way, we made it, just.
Monday was another history lesson much to the delight of me, I was determined to find a question Dick couldn’t answer. He took us out around St Mary’s County and took great delight in showing us where the local people of St Mary’s City defeated the British, preventing them from invading the land.
Our short trip finished with a tour of St George’s Island which is on the tip of the peninsula a lovely place but prone to flooding!
We got back in time for another boat trip this time to Shark Teeth Island, a beach in the Potomac River.
The current of the river causes fossilised shark teeth to wash ashore, hence the name Shark Teeth Island. We are sure we possess a fossilised tooth from a Great White! Courtesy of Vanna, thanks Vanna.
We had lunch on the island and a few beers before heading back with our collection of shark’s teeth in tow.
Back at the house Dick was busy cooking on the barbie, we unloaded the boat and headed in for another feast.
This was our last evening in Tall Timbers and it was a great way to end the first part of our year long journey.
We woke early Tuesday morning so we could say goodbye to Bootsie and Dick who were off on their own two month road trip in their RV. They were wonderful hosts and really took care of us, something we truly appreciate and will never forget.
Leonard arrived to take us to Washington DC so we could start the next part of our trip.
It was goodbye Tall Timbers and goodbye to some wonderful people, rest assured we will be back to visit again one day…..
Pete and Lilly