States we have visited

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuckerton, New Jersey October 2010

OHHH ... to go from Cape Cod to New Jersey in one day is nuts, but to top it all off, we had to go THROUGH New York City in the RV towing a car. Vic and Lexie did great. Me, not so much. It was just insane, but we finally arrived safely at Turtle Run Campground in Tuckerton, NJ. This campground is hands down Vic's favorite of the trip so far. It was just a small family run campground (with Passport America rates) but the people were so nice. Lexie made friends quickly. It was nice to be in a campground that had kids at all. We haven't seen many since school started.

Our first day Lexie wanted to see the "Jersey Shore" so we headed out. She didn't see any "stars" but did see the beach avenue and the ice cream parlor. Any maybe a water tower. I really don't know as I have never seen an episode of Jersey Shore. Again, I love traveling off season. The beaches were empty except for a few local fisherman and pets were allowed on the beach. Moe had a great time chasing the birds' shadows. Not the birds themselves, but he chases them to make them fly and then chases the shadows. He needed some good off leash running and he sure got it. The beaches are gorgeous but I don't think I would want to be there in the summer.

We decided, after weeks of nature, to take Lexie to see the lights of Atlantic City, and she loved it. She was just in awe at all the sky scrapers and neon. We took her into the Trump Towers Casino and she was able to see all the shops and restaurants and even the gambling floor (from the balcony above). I did explain that all the lights and glitz are payed for by the gamblers below. She wasn't as interested in the gambling at all, but the giant candy pillar certainly grabbed her attention.

Of course, since there were stairs in the parking garage and no sign that said she couldn't .... she climbed the ladder to the top. I grabbed her picture quick and told her to get down before we got arrested !! It was a fun evening all in all, and the police never came.

We spent a day or two relaxing and then decided to break away and try something new. So we put Moe in a kennel, left the Motorhome behind and headed to New York City !!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cape Cod, MA October 2010

South Dennis beach at sunset the night we arrived. Absolutely beautiful.

The journey down from Maine to Massachusetts was gorgeous. The farther south we got the more colors we saw in the trees, which was backwards from what I expected. The drive through Boston was a little stressful, but cities are for me. The memories all came back once we headed down the cape. The suicide bridge has changed. There is no longer a rotary before it and no sign warning jumpers that it is a fatal plunge. As a child, the Suicide Hotline billboard always surprised me, and in my head, it is still the suicide bridge.

We found a great RV site in South Dennis that never ended up charging us for our week stay. We tried to pay but no one was there at the booth as they were getting ready to close down for the season. On our last day there was finally someone in the booth, but he was just filling in. We left our name, phone numbers and email, explaining that we had been attempting to pay our weekly fee through out our stay. No one has ever contacted us (maybe they will now), so we stayed for free. I think it was just that they were closing down the park and quite busy getting everything winterized and ready for the off season.

We took Moe with us up to the Cape Cod National Seashore for a day of geocaching. It was our first venture with this new hobby and we had a wonderful time hunting among the dunes for the cache. We had walked around for about 45 minutes within about 10 yards of it and finally found it. No schooling for Lexi on that day, except for PE (hiking the dunes), navigation (using the compass), sequencing and planning (following the steps in order), geography (going through the other items left in the cache, both world and national), weather (watching the clouds roll in across the bay and trying to name them), botany (as we tried to figure out what all the plants were) and on and on. Sometimes I truly believe she learns more on no schooling days !!!

Heading through the dunes trying to follow the compass and figure out if the other footprints were leading us to the cache or just a diversion.

Success !!! She had a blast checking out each item left in the cache.

We spent two separate days up in Plymouth visiting Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock. Lexi had such a good time and we all learned so much. She was fascinated with the Wampanoog Indian Village at the plantation and spent a lot of time talking with the people there. She ended up going back to the Indian Villiage after visiting the colonial village for a while.

We were all surprised again at how small the Mayflower II is and it is an exact replica (can that be? exact replica?). There is a picture of Lexi laying down in one of the beds which shows just how small the sleeping area was, if you were even lucky enough to have a bed. And to think a woman gave birth on the boat during its journey to America, with no privacy beyond a cloth curtain and no anesthiosologist!! Oceana was the baby girl's name. We had a beautiful day on the Mayflower, picture perfect Cape Cod day.

I seemed to have crashed on Cape Cod. We had traveled so far under the pressure of making sure we hit New England during fall colors but before winter set in that with the relief came along a head cold and general fatigue as well. I think I slept for about 3 straight days before I came up for air.

We had a wonderful time visiting throughout Cotuit. Lexi got to see Gramma D’s house, the cottage, Oregon Beach and the cove where Gramma's ashes were let out. We did not visit the headstone in the cemetery as it just doesn’t hold much meaning for me, but we had a long talk with Gramma at the site where her ashes were scattered and I know Lexi will remember it forever. That was my goal. I just wish there had been an opportunity for Lexi and Gramma to have known each other. There are times Lexi reminds me of Gramma, swimming with an umbrella or wearing her goofy clothes.

Lexi and I standing outside of the cottage at Hooper's Landing where I stayed one summer when we went to visit gramma.

We missed out on seeing Peter and Marcia and on going to Martha’s Vineyard, but you always have to leave something for the next visit as well, right? A week seemed like plenty of time when we planned it but being in a coma for 3 days kind of cut into our plans.

Wells, ME Sept 30 - Oct 11, 2010

Okay, yes. It's been a while ... a long while. We seemed to have rushed from Maine down to the Florida Keys for a break from traveling. Two months went by and apparently I felt a need to rest from everything, not just traveling. So we finally have the pictures loaded and my goal for this week is to get our blog caught up to current. We will see how it goes.

We arrived in Wells Maine in the early evening and got set up just as the storm hit. Little did I know that it was high tide at the same time, so maybe my idea to rush Lexi out to the end of the jetty, in a storm, at dusk and at high tide was not very smart. We all came out okay but I know understand why mom would never let us out on the jetty after dark or in storms. Vic was able to capture a picture of "the moment", or the lead up to it. Lexi and I, along with Moe, were posing for a picture at the end of the jetty when a rogue wave crashed into the back of our legs. That's when the picture below was taken, a little blury but we all were shock up. In the background you can see the one heading our way that piled right over the top of us, soaking us from shoulders down. Never again !!!!

We took a day trip to Portland a couple times to visit our favorite pizza place on the planet. Our waitress was there from last year and remembered us. It is Flatbread Pizza Company, all organic from their own gardens and they make everything right there in the restaurant. Lexi agreed .... best pizza ever.

One would think I would have gotten my fill of lobster stew but that is difficult to do. It was so so good, rich and creamy and loaded with lobster. One of the restaurants we had lobster at was the Well's Diner, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for their lobster stew. Glad to be there off season as the wait there can be horrendous over the summer.

We had lunch with Janice and Fred one afternoon. They haven't changed a bit and are full of all the warmth that I remember so well. Vic and Fred got along wonderfully and it was great to introduce them to Lexi. Fred made his famous Corn Chowder, a taste of home while on the road.

We stayed for almost 2 weeks in Maine as Lexi had her first formal dance with a wonderful young man. We had a great time meeting and spending time with his family, including backyard and campground fires, dinner and a night at the county fair. John and Jen were wonderfully kind and Lexi had a great time at the dance with Andy. Before we left, they gave us home made maple syrup, pickled carrots and home made sweet pickle and zucchini relish!! I am still hording a small amount of maple syrup for my night time sweet tooth attacks.

The last night over at their house, Moe followed me into the house and down into their rec room in the basement. The lights were off with only the TV on and Moe went absolutely berserk barking and growling. Once the lights were turned on we saw the cause of his distress: in a corner stood a taxedermied (better than saying stuffed?) bear that was just freaking Moe out. We couldn't calm him, and couldn't get near the bear because he kept herding us away from it. Quite funny, although he may not have thought so.

The weather was beautiful and the leaves turning right on schedule so we really got to enjoy the peak season we were hoping for when we made plans to be there in October. The last few days it began to get chilly and we were starting to feel like it was time to get out of the northeast before an early storm trapped us, so we headed out on schedule to Massachusetts.

There are more pictures of our time in Maine. Just click on the Picassa button to the right of the blog and go to the album labeled Wells, ME.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hope Cemetery, Barre, VT (Sept 30)

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Woke up this morning in a Walmart parking lot in White River Junction, NH (how did that happen again??) This time though it was worth it. We only bought tank treatment and dunkin donuts for breakfast. Hurricane Nicole hit early that morning, or what was left of her. There were standing puddles (small lakes) all over the parking lot, some several inches deep. We headed out early and actually beat the storm to Maine. Every time we stopped, it chased us and caught up with us. And then we would drive out of it again. Driving was okay, the only slow down was a roll over accident in front of us, and we made a couple of great stops along the way .... the first at Hope Cemetery (actually the night before) and Claremont, NH to see the church my gggrandfather designed.

When we were in Scottsburg IN, as part of our Chain Reaction Tour, we followed the advice of Herb and made a quick stop in Barre, VT to view the granite, hand-carved sculptures. Hope Cemetery was first plotted in the late 1800's. They brought in granite carvers from Italy to Vermont, the granite capital of the world and basically it became a competition to see who would get the job. The result is some of the finest granite headstones in the world, all located in the small town of Barre.

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The headstones are amazing, especially when you understand that they were hand carved. The intricate details are difficult to capture on film, but we tried. Here are a few pictures and there are more in the Picasa Web Album titled "Hope Cemetery". Hope you enjoy.
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more stones

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Clayton, NY (Sept 25 - 29)


So we drove from Niagara Falls up along the lake towards Clayton, Chain Reaction stop from Herb in Scottsburg. It is a beautiful drive, a little windy today. We kept seeing signs for "horse and buggy". The roads are shared with the Amish up here.

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Clayton is a very small town right on the St Lawrence Seaway. Our RV park was old and primarily seasonal trailers, but we had the entire "short stay" area to ourselves. The owner, Dave, was great and we ended up posting up there for longer than expected as we needed to REST. We have been running and running like crazy. First night there I took Moe out for an evening walk to watch the sunset. On the way back, I threw his stick and his leash must have locked, because the next thing I knew I was flying through the air. Landed on a rock on my right upper arm. Hurt like hell and gave just a charming, totally black and blue bruise, over the next couple of days. He did not mean to and it was partially my fault and he (Moe) felt so bad .... I had never ever seen him so submissive and so sorry afterwords.

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Our primary reason for going to this area was to go to the 1000 Islands National Park, a group of islands (1500, not 1000)that was the IN place to stay at the start of the 1900's for the rich out of NYC. They came up here and built castles and homes on the islands they bought to inhabit for a few months every year. Many are still lived in. It had rained so hard in the morning we almost canceled our tour but I am so glad we didn't .... by the time we arrived at the dock it was beautiful, sunny and everything fresh and clean from the down pour. Great time to see all the castles and homes.
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The Boldt Castle is the most famous. It was built in the early 1900's by the owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel for his beloved wife Louise. They spent one summer in the power house waiting for the main castle to be built with their 2 small children. They were ready for the Grand Opening and party on February 14th (her birthday) when word came to the workers at the castle two weeks prior to the planned event to stop all construction .... Louise had died. He never lived in the castle or stepped foot on the island again and told his children it was never to be worked on while he was alive. It sat vacant except for vagrants until the mid 1970's when it was bought by the parks department and the refurbishing began. The castle has 365 windows .... one to clean for each day of the year. It is an ongoing process but open to the public for self guided tours.


The top floors have not been refurbished yet and the graffiti up there is just heart breaking .... names carved in walls and floor boards and walls with holes ripped out of them, fires started in the corners to keep warm. I guess if you are homeless it wouldn't have been a bad spot to set up camp, but the damage is awful.

Along with the Boldt Castle we went, via the waterway boat tour, to Millionaires Row on both the US and Canadian sides. Amazing and elaborate homes, one for sale for just a measly 21 million. I'm thinking I could handle that.

Lexi, as the only child (teen) on board, got the priviledge of actually driving the tour boat. Although we all looked for seatbelts, none were needed. She did a great job and was at the helm for about 10 minutes. Vic got a great vidoe but not sure how to get it on here. If I can, I will post it later. Meanwhile, here's a picture of our girlie driving the boat. It was a blast for her and for all of us.

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We finally made it to part of a Seahawks game at a little tavern in Alexandria Bay and got to watch the second half the of Seahawk's win over the Chargers. Sorry Steve, but we loved the game.

Lots more pictures in the web albums off to the right of the screen. There are two albums for this area ... Two Nations Tour and extras. Was combining two phone cameras and our regular camera. Enjoy the pictures and miss you all.