Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Highpoint #18: Ebright Azimuth, DE (447')

The second leg of my journey began on a warm sunny morning in June (the 9th, for those of you who keep track of dates). I loaded up my car, bade my family goodbye, and drove off to face my most formidable foe of the day: traffic on I-495. It took me an hour to drive perhaps 120° around the Beltway to I-95 proper, then another eternity to get past Baltimore. I finally defected at Havre De Grace when faced with an $8 toll to cross the Susquehanna River. Think about that for a moment. They’re charging eight dollars—more than an hour of this country’s minimum wage—just to cross a river, and on a taxpayer-funded interstate highway. Gives a new meaning to “highway robbery,” eh? Needless to say, I wasn’t having any of that. I was only fifty miles from the Delaware high point; the local routes would get me from there to Wilmington just fine.

But the joke was on me, as any of you who’ve driven through the Northeast could guess. The local route, US-40, charged me the exact same toll to cross a much more dilapidated bridge. Oh well, I consoled myself as I pulled away from the plaza, at least I’d see more of the area this way.

The thing is, there really wasn’t much to see. While I’m sure Delaware is home to verdant marshes and lovely seashores, the half of the state that’s consistently above sea level is pretty much just suburbs. The weirdest thing I saw along the way was the traffic patterns. I missed a turn in Wilmington and wound up driving through its residential side, where I slid past loitering pedestrians, fumbled my way through diagonal intersections, and almost made a left onto a one-way street (a bus spared me the indignity by blocking my way as it stopped). I’m mountain-smart, not street-smart, okay?

It took me a couple of passes to find Ebright Rd. (unlike most other high points, I couldn’t spot it just by looking up). I drove up the road slowly, eyes peeled for the high point… and then I realized I’d just driven past it. Wow.

Sarcastic wow.
That was it. No hike, no park, not even any visible change in elevation; just a sign and a USGS marker right off the sidewalk. This even beat Florida in the “I could have stayed at home and seen the exact same thing” competition.

Oh well. There was much more to come. I hopped out of the car, took the requisite pictures,

"You promised us rocks, not cement."
and drove on.
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