This is about one phone call and two separate bike rides

I had a nice long conversation with my dean today. He’s such a pleasant human being. He’s as busy as any dean, but he’ll put that aside and visit with you just as long as you want. So we talked for an hour.

It’s an almost unimaginable amount of time to spend with a dean, but he makes it easy to do so. He knows his stuff, which you’d want from an administrator, and he always has a joke ready, usually one at his own expense, but only after he asks you a “How’s life on your side of town?” question or two. He asks questions and is interested in your answers. And remembers them. Some of these are unique attributes. The dean would have continued to chat, I’m sure, after we’d gotten through the important details, but he’d already told me that he was going to a baseball game this evening, and that the game was the start of a few days off for him. I wound up wrapping up the conversation for his schedule’s sake. I believe he would have spent the rest of his afternoon chatting with me if I tried.

While I certainly don’t want to skip ahead of summer for either of us, I’m excited about what’s to come next year.

I got out for a nice bike ride this evening, managing to create a route within just a few miles of the house. These, then, are almost neighborhood views.

That one actually looks like a rough draft of a van Gogh. Not bad for something shot from the hip, at speed.

I passed these horses twice, because my route did involve doubling back on itself. They were more willing to pose the second time than the first.

Different tractor, different field.

And finally, the sunset, just before getting back home.

That was a good time to call it for the day. It was a pleasant 30-miler, and the beginning of longer rides, which would certainly benefit me.

(This is all from a separate ride …)

It’s time once more for We Learn Wednesdays, where we discover the county‚Äôs historical markers via bike rides. This is the 36th installment, and the 65rd and 66th markers in the We Learn Wednesdays series. I’m grouping them together because there’s not a lot to say about this particular set, seeing as how we’ve now explored the basics of Fort Mott.

In the last few weeks we checked out the old gun batteries and had a quick look at the observation towers that helped them in their work of defending the river and Philadelphia, beyond. Most recently, we took a quick glimpse at the parados and the moat that served as the fort’s rearguard.

Fort Mott was a self-contained military community. When it was an active station, there were more than 30 buildings there, including a hospital, a PX, a library, a school and more.

They have a map on a sign that will orient you to the space.

The river is on the left side of this drawing. You can see the pier jutting out into the water. Just above that you’ll see the long row of gun placements. You can see the moat, in blue behind them. In between, indeed, just below, and on the backside, of the battery emplacements, are where we’ll spend a brief moment today.

The forts electrical plant was placed in a room sixteen feet by thirty feet in the west end of the main battery. The original plans for generating electrical power at the battery used a coal fired steam system. Two 25 kilowatt General Electric dynamos, two 50-horsepower boilers, a switchboard, a Worthington pump, a feedwater heater, a water cistern, and a Sturevant blower were placed in the dynamo room. Later modifications and improvements led to the installation of a gasoline powered system. The plant generated sufficient power to run the hoists and the lights in the main battery, as well as those in the 5-inch rapid fire gun emplacements.

The two drawings depict the original coal fired steam system and the modified gasoline powered system which replaced it. The photographs show three gas powered dynamos and the electrical switchboard.

A central Switchboard room is where all the important communications emanated. By means of this switchboard, all base lines were made interchangeable. A distribution switchboard was installed in a switchboard room as a standard part of the armaments system.

The other section says:

Several aiming techniques were developed and used after 1905, but the most precise method made use of two or more widely spaced sighting structures technically known as base end stations. Observers in these structures continuously made bearings of a moving target and the angles of sight were communicated to a central plotting room. In this room the sightings were plotted and future positions were predicted. Corrections were made for meteorological factors, target progress during the projectile flight, and the time taken to calculate and transmit the data. All these variables were computed and translated into aiming directions which were conveyed to the gun crews.

The photos are meant to be illustrative of how these spaces were used, but today, they’re simply empty rooms. If you’ve seen one empty, cement room, you’ve pretty much got the gist.

But have you ever seen anyone plotting in the doorway of a plotting room?

I took this one some time back, when we drove over to the fort just to walk around. She looks like she might be plotting an album cover, doesn’t she?

Fort Mott closed for good in 1922, after Fort Saulsbury opened downstream. The fort became a state park in 1951. But we aren’t done with it yet. There’s still a bit more for us to explore on We Learn Wednesdays.

If you’ve missed any markers so far, you can find them all right here

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