Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Southwest from Pennsylvania we drove for three days, two of which it rained, through western Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and into Tennessee. We stopped south of Memphis, electing to stay in Tunica, Mississippi so I could play some poker at the casinos. We were close enough to Memphis to partake in some great BBQ, which we did.

So far on this trip, and on previous trips, we have visited many homes of our past presidents. While in Memphis we figured it was time to see the King's home, so we paid a visit to Graceland. Actually once you get over the price of admission, it was really pretty interesting. Besides the mansion and grounds, there is a auto museum with cars owned by Elvis, two of his airplanes and several other exhibits. They are into making money though. Each time you exit an exhibit, you exit into a gift shop.

We are now in Alma, Arkansas where our next door neighbors have a second home. While here, the refrigerator in the RV quit working and parts take several weeks to get here. We've transferred all the food into an ice chest and have decided to head home from here, with a stop in the Dallas area to see friends. We should be home sometime around the 5th or 6th, cutting our trip short by a couple of weeks. Cathie can't wait to see the grand kids as she misses them terribly and I miss them too.

All in all it's been a really good trip, even though we were somewhat disappointed with the fall colors in Vermont and New Hampshire. We explored new territory, visiting lots of historic sites and managing to stay within budget. There are no new trips planned as of yet, but we'll find some excuse to hit the road before too long.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007



We’ve been watching the fires on the TV, Internet and with updates from the kids, we are keeping abreast of what’s going on at home. So far our house is safe as is the rest of our family. We hope all is well with all of you.

We are currently in Pennsylvania in Amish country around Lancaster. Beautiful farm country, with picturesque barns and farm houses. We hired a local guide for a personal tour of the area which was very informative. On Saturday we decided to venture out on our own. Although we have seen lots of Amish folks riding in their horse buggies and working on their farms, the tourist far out number them. This past weekend the main roads were clogged with tour busses and PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE. The local shops were so crowded we gave up and decided to wait out the weekend. Out in the countryside, some of the local Amish farmers sell everything from produce to quilts. It was at one such farm that we found the best soft pretzels we have ever had. We washed them down homemade root beer, some of which we purchased and took with us.

The Amish people do not like the have there picture taken, nor do they like to be asked. Photos from the distance, where they cannot be recognized seem to be ok. We managed to get a shot of a combine in the corn field. This was right next to our RV park. It was something to see their plows and combines pulled by teams of up to six horses through the fields. Although the equipment was being pulled by horses or mules, the machinery itself might be powered by a gasoline engine. Another interesting thing we learned was that they didn’t have phones in their homes, but a many people share a phone placed in a wooden phone booth placed in someone’s yard for outgoing calls only.

Near Lancaster is Gettysburg, so we spent one day there. We took a driving tour of the battlefield we was very interesting. The battle which lasted 3 days covered and enormous area. Today a National Park, the battlefield is dotted with hundreds of monuments to those who fought and died there.

Tomorrow we get on the freeway and head southwest heading through Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky ending up in Memphis Tennessee. I hear somewhere that they have good BBQ there. Gotta get some.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Heading South






Had some rain in Portland and the weather is getting a little cooler. Still not too bad. On our second day in Portland while eating breakfast, I broke my tooth while eating toast. I started calling around and after about eight tries finally found a dentist that could see me. Got to his office and they called me right in. The dentist, John Paul was very young but seemed to know what he was doing. He repaired the tooth with a ceramic filling and was done in about an hour. When I got back to the trailer, Cathie was flossing her teeth and a crown came off. So, since I already had an in with John Paul I called him up and luckily got an appointment for the afternoon. It’s a wonder that they didn’t think Cathie and I weren’t slugging it out. Anyway it was pretty much a wasted day, except for John Paul who has my credit card number.

From Portland we continued south to the Boston area. We stayed in a state park south of the city. We stayed out of Boston while the Red Socks were playing, but on Sunday we drove in and toured the USS Constitution, the one thing we missed when we were here in the early 90’s. One of the things I didn’t know about the Constitution, is that it is still an active duty US Navy ship and is staffed by active duty sailors. They dress in period uniforms and give the tours and I am sure are required to polish all the brass on board.

Afterwards we walked across the Charles River into the North End, Boston’s Italian section. We found a great restaurant for lunch (dinner), with the portions so big, the leftovers we took back to the trailer fed both of us the next night. After lunch and at the recommendation of a fellow diner, we stopped at Mike’s Pastry Shop for some great cannolis.

As I write this we are in southeastern Connecticut, where we will spend a couple of days before heading to Pennsylvania.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some Photos For Your Enjoyment





Monday, October 08, 2007





While heading east on US 2 in the northern part of New Hampshire, we were clipping along about 55 mph, only 5 mph over the limit, when all of a sudden a rather large bull moose came charging at full speed out of the forest just ahead of us and to the right. Something must have spooked him because he was really hauling ass. With his nostrils flaring, we could see his breath in the cool morning air. The size of our rig must have deterred him from crossing the highway and causing major damage to him and us, for at the last second he turned left as I swerved left. The dirt was flying as his hoofs dug in to the soft earth at the highways edge. As he passed to our right heading west, and his antlers just missing our side mirror, we made eye contact with each other. We could see the whites of his eyes and the look of terror in them. I’m sure he saw the same in ours.

After getting our breathing back to normal, we continued on, arriving in Bar Harbor by mid afternoon. Bar Harbor owes its existence to Acadia National Park, which basically surrounds the town, and the cruise ship industry. It is in a beautiful setting with the downtown business district encompassed in 5 blocks of restaurants and tourist shops, and Main Street ending at the wharf. Everyday two cruise ships arrive in the early morning and by 10 AM several thousand passengers have disembarked and jammed themselves into those 5 blocks. It is human gridlock, with blue haired ladies crowding into the shops buying t-shirts for the grand kids, while grandpa stands outside in the middle of the side walk blocking traffic.

The national park is on Mount Desert Island, with the 1500 foot Cadillac Mountain at its center. The park is really beautiful with forested seaside cliffs and some fall colors. The area was once, and still is, the summer home to the rich and famous. John D. Rockefeller had a home here and between 1913 and 1940, built forty-five miles of carriage roads so his horse carriage did not have to compete with automobile. Today the roads in the park are open to hiking, biking and horse drawn carriages. There is a modern road to the top of Cadillac Mountain for some great views. One is told that sunrise at the summit is a must. For those of you who follow such things, it was at sunrise on Cadillac Mountain where Jenna Bush accepted a proposal of marriage. So one morning we got up at 5 AM and drove to the top so watch the sunrise. We had a beautiful red sky and with the cruise ships arriving below which made the early hour worth it. I was going to ask Cathie to marry me, but I was afraid her answer wouldn’t be the same as Jenna’s, so I didn’t press my luck.

We’ve had rain the last couple of nights and it’s getting colder, with temperatures in the 50’s during the day. The weather up to this point, except for some occasional rain showers, has been unseasonably warm for this part of the country. So it is here at Bar Harbor, that we make another right turn and start heading south. While heading towards Portland, Maine, we saw some of the best fall colors of the entire trip, along I-95 of all places.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Ok, so I was wrong. Today while out and about looking for covered bridges and fall colors, we found both. It was completely by accident. If you have ever used a GPS for getting from point A to point B, you know you can program it several ways to get to where you are going. The fastest route or the shortest route. The shortest route is what I used today, which many times takes you through back roads. Today we followed the GPS’s directions, I call her Alice, and we were instructed to travel on highways, secondary roads, dirt roads and cow trails. At one point the road became a 4 wheel drive route causing us to turn around. What the shortest route and Alice did do was find us some good color, with reds and yellows. I also discovered that all the photos you see of the fall colors here in New England, must be doctored. The photos are all so vivid, unlike what we are seeing with the naked eye. What we see is beautiful, but it’s not what the tourist bureaus advertise.

I was not wrong about the Vermont drivers.

ATTENTION CHILDREN AND SIBLINGS (Others if you’re interested)

I’ve changed the rules in the Count the White Horses Game. I learned this game as a child while traveling on vacation. Its purpose was to keep us occupied and perhaps being less trouble for our harried parents. For those of you who don’t know about this game, it goes like this.

You count the white horses you see on your side of the car. If you pass a cemetery and it’s on you side, you loose your white horses. At the end of the game the one with the most white horses win. Exciting, uh?

The new rule only applies in the northeaster part of the country. That’s because here there are lots of dead people, thus cemeteries. There are hardly any horses, let alone white ones. So here we count cemeteries and loose them when we see a white horse.

Monday, October 01, 2007




One day we drove to Warrensburg, New York, about 80 miles from Burlington to what was advertised as the “world’s largest garage sale”. Each year the town turns its main street into a swap meet. The street is about 2 miles long with people selling everything from new clothing, to antiques, to just plain junk. We parked at one end of town and followed the hordes for the next 4 hours, walking up one side of the street and back the other. In addition, all the fair food was there, with funnel cakes, corn on the cob, and Barbeque. We passed on the street food and managed to get a seat in a small cafĂ© for lunch. We got away pretty cheap, just buying some yard art and lunch.

Still in Vermont as I write this, but we have moved eastward to St Johnsbury. We are in a nice RV park on the Moose River, just outside of town. The park is full as fall is one of the busiest seasons with folks coming from far and wide to see the fall colors. According to the foliage report, we should be experiencing peak color in this region. I really hope they are mistaken because I’m not impressed with the colors we’re seeing. I’ve seen better color in the Eastern Sierras. We keep hoping it will get better, but so far we’ve been disappointed.

Today we drove into New Hampshire and took the toll road to the top of Mt Washington. It seems that in this part of the county, if there is a mountain, some private company will build a road up it and start charging for the privilege of driving up it. The road to up Mt Washington was built in the 1850’s and had been in private hands since. The road is about 8 miles, paved most of the way, and has an average grade of 12%. Once at the top, the view extends into Canada to the north, Maine to the East and New York to the West. This is if it isn’t cloudy. We were lucky in that the mountain itself was clear, but in three directions we looked down on the clouds.

I haven’t complained very much about things in this blog, but I just can’t help myself any longer. The drivers in New England are IDIOTS! They drive their Volvos and Subarus as though any curve taken at more than 10 MPH will cause a roll over. And Vermont is the Green Mountain State. These people drive as though they have never seen a mountain. I thought that perhaps I was being a little harsh, but then I got my driving instructions for driving up and down Mt Washington.

Official Mt Washington Auto Road Driving Instructions:

DRIVING UP: “Lowest gear with an automatic transmission is usually shown by symbol “1”, “L1”, or “L” on your shifting lever indicator.”

DRIVING DOWN: “Driving down in lowest gear will cause the engine to act as a brake and
help to slow you car's decent. You may notice that the engine sounds loud, or is running very fast – this is normal and is not cause for alarm."