Monday 17th November. Pasadena, Maryland -> Frederick, Maryland, USA

Lucky for me, David doesn't start work till the afternoon. That meant he was able to give me a lift to my next destination- Frederick, Maryland about an hour away. I would've hitchhiked, but I wasn't about to decline a ride. I put the last finishing touches on some drywall repairs I'd done, before tucking into a big breakfast of 'Grand Canyon eggs'. This is one of David's specialties- scrambled eggs with ham, asparagus and Mexican cheese- inspired by a breakfast he and Bonnie enjoyed years ago at the lodge in the Grand Canyon National Park.

It was just before three o'clock when David dropped me in downtown Frederick. It was a pristine autumn day, mild and sunny. My first impression of Frederick was that this was an old town; old but very neat and well maintained. It's is a popular stop on the Civil War trail, sitting halfway between the historic battlegrounds of Antietam and Gettysburg. In the main street, there's a museum called the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The what? I'm not a real Civil War buff, and anyone who knows me knows that I've already seen too many museums in my lifetime, so that's all you're gonna hear about that.

The new library in town offers laptop docking stations, but just as I was getting excited that I'd be able to upload all my recent journal entries, I saw the small cardboard sign at the laptop desk. With a heavy heart, I packed the computer back into my daypack. To protect the integrity and security of their network- so they say- they don't allow the use of FTP software. In other words, you can browse the net, but not upload any files. Doh!

My host's name is Andy. He'd invited me months ago, and the latest email I received said that he'd be working till five o'clock. That was fine by me. I'd have a bit of a look around town first. I phoned him anyway, and lucky I did cause he'd finished work early and was on his way back to Frederick. By the time I finished a cup of coffee at the cafe across the street, a white pickup pulled up and Andy called out to me. He's a bricklayer, and his boss decided to take an early mark today.

I can't believe this is the ONLY photo I ended up with of the charming town of Frederick. Oh well..... Andy, Suzy and King.

We went back to Andy's place, and he told me a bit about his life. He lives here with his two pet ferrets, Suzy and King. It's been eleven years since he was divorced, and it seems his life has become something of a routine. He works hard just to keep the bills paid, but as with all of us, as we get older the hard work takes its toll on your body. He and his wife used to travel a lot around the States, camping and hiking for weeks at a time, but he doesn't get away much, now that he's single. He wants to get back into the travelling, and gets a kick out of meeting other travellers. That's why Andy joined Hospitalityclub.org

We phoned for a couple of pizzas, and two of Andy's friends came over for a while. Thanks for bringing me a beer, Jim and Jen! We sat up watchng CSI Miami. Andy was patient with me, as I repeatedly pointed at the screen every time there was a panoramic shot of Miami, and said "that's where I'll be in a couple of weeks!"

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