Monday, December 20, 2010



Although we are posting this blog entry the third week of December, we were actually in Vermont the second week of September. It has been a very hectic month since our last blog posting. The blog is now three months behind real time and that makes it very hard to remember what we did and what we saw.

Kathy's Aunt Eileen and Uncle Pete live in Williston, VT, right near Burlington. Since there are only 10 years apart from Kathy and her aunt, Eileen is more like an older sister. So we had been looking forward to seeing them! The last time we saw them was in 1979.

As soon as we got to Burlington, Kathy called them up to see when we could come visit. Uncle Pete is quite a kidder. He says, "When will you be back this way?"

"What do you mean, Uncle Pete, I JUST got here?!"

"Well, Aunt Eileen is very sick with pneumonia right now! Very contagious. The doctor says she should be better within 2-6 weeks!" 

Oh my goodness, fast thinking had to go on, we had just registered for a week there in Burlington. "How about if I check in and see how she's doing a week from now? Perhaps she might be up to a short visit from us. We registered for a week and we can add time on, there's no problem at this time of the year."

So a week later, she was up and around, gone through the antibiotics, and well enough to see us. They have a beautiful home in a homeowners association, with great big yards for each home! It was so good to see them again and we gabbed for several hours until she was hoarse! I wished we could have stayed longer, but at least we got to see them before heading west.

Burlington is very close to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory so, naturally we went to take the tour. As factory tours go it was very disappointing. They charge $3 each to take the tour, I have never been charged for a factory tour before. All we saw was a work crew hosing down the ice cream packing area getting it ready for the next run of ice cream. At the end of the tour  they gave us a sample of a Toffee, caramel ice cream. No choice of flavors and I didn’t like the toffee or the caramel. However, it was interesting to hear the history of Ben & Jerry’s and how they went from “hippies” to serious millionaires.

We also came to Burlington, to visit with friends Jim and Janet who we had not seen since March 2008 in Tucson.

We had a mix of weather while in Burlington some rainy days, some windy cold days but, on the only perfect 70 degree day Jim and Janet took us sailing on Lake Champlain. This was the first time the we had ever sailed on a fresh water lake and we found it quite different from sailing on San Francisco Bay or on the ocean off of California. Lake Champlain is 110 miles long but only 12 miles wide at its widest spot. The wind blows straight down the lake and I think you could travel the entire 110 mile without ever tacking the boat. There were no waves or swells on the lake at all.




One day while staying in Burlington we had to go to New York to get our prescriptions refilled. After all New York is only 10 miles away, just on the other side of the lake. There are only a couple bridges across Lake Champlain and none of them are near Burlington. So we had a nice ferry ride to Plattsburg, New York.



More pictures of Vermont on the slideshow


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mount Washington – New Hampshire

Although we are posting this blog entry the second week of November, we were actually in New Hampshire the first week of September.


The sign says it all: 231 MILES PER HOUR

As we well know non-retired RVers and campers really look forward to the three big three-day weekends of Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. As we used to do, many make their plans and reservations months in advance. These weekends are problematic for fulltime RVers, because we never know were we will be months in advance to make reservations. That coupled with the increase in traffic and crowds; most fulltime RV we know are just happy to find a place to sit out the holiday weekend. We found an older, smaller campground with at least twice as many tent sites as RV sites. Near the small New Hampshire town of Gorham in the White Mountains.


One of the  many hiking trails at the campground.

This particular campground had miles of  loop trails and roads for the three of us to hike on everyday and the tress were beginning to turn into there fall colors.


Sun beaming through colorful leaves

Probably the most famous spot in the White Mountains and perhaps all of New Hampshire is Mount Washington. To quote Wikipedia “Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m). It is famous for its dangerously erratic weather and long held the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth's surface, 231 mph, on the afternoon of April 12, 1934.” Mount Washington has a long history of  tourist visitation since the Crawford Path, the oldest mountain hiking trail in the United States, was laid out in 1819 as a bridle path. Mount Washington was developed into one of the first tourist destinations in the nation, with construction of more bridle paths and two hotels in 1852 and 1853.”

Tip-Top House was built in 1853

Tip-Top House was built in 1853

In 1861 a coach road was added and in 1869 the Mount Washington Cog Railway added. Both of these are still in operation, but now the coach Road is known as the Mount Washington Auto Road. However, the Mount Washington Auto Road isn’t much wider than it was when  first built and they have many restrictions on the size of vehicles on the Auto Road. Our truck is too long, too wide and too heavy to  use the road. We took their Guided Van Tour and once we got on the mountain and saw how narrow the road was I was VERY GLAD we did!


That is the beginning of the barely 2 lane road up the mountain.


It was so clear we could see forever looking north.


Almost to the tippity top!


Looking down to the place we started at!

It was in the 70s when we left the valley at the start of the tour. When we arrived at the summit the was blowing at 37 mph, the temperature was 34 F and the Wind Chill was 16 F! Yet we saw a few people getting out of the vans and cars wearing flip flops and shorts!! What were they thinking!


Looking north with the railroad in the foreground

Looking north with the railroad in the foreground


Looking west in the howling wind

Down the fall colored bracken mountain it goes

Down the fall colored bracken mountain it goes

The original Stanley Steamer that F.O. Stanley and Wife used to drive to the top on August 31, 1899

The original Stanley Steamer that F.O. Stanley and his  Wife used to drive to the top on August 31, 1899


This photo on the wall of the museum shows why you probably don’t want to visit in the winter.

Mount Washington slideshow

Friday, November 12, 2010

Return to Maine

Although we are posting this blog entry the second week of November, we actually returned to Maine the third week of August.
Penobscot River going through downtown Bangor, Maine.
After a wonderful six weeks in the Canadian Maritimes  we returned to Maine and the Pumpkin Patch RV Resort. We had stayed there over the 4th of July weekend prior to going into Canada and returned because it is a very nice RV Park with very friendly people. Somehow we forgot to get any pictures!
Surprisingly, when we returned to Maine it was HOT! The temperatures were in the 80s and 90s. So, it seemed like a perfect time to head to the ocean. Acadia National Park is about a 50 mile drive from Bangor. We packed a picnic lunch, Raider and returned to the National Park. My, how things had changed since our time there in June. We had noticed that the whole Bar Harbor and Acadia Park area was becoming more and  more crowded each day as June went along. In August the place was PACKED, even at mid-week. The trailheads and beach access parking lots were so crowded with cars that the park service just had people park in the right lane of the road.
Fortunately, for us the one parking area that wasn’t full was near a great picnic spot we had found near Otter Cover.
View from our picnic spot at Otter Cove
More pictures around Otter Cove:
Just to prove that we do still watch birds, I thought I would include a few bird pictures:
P1050175 Great Black-backed Gull
P1050176 Herring Gull
P1050170Black Guillemot
While we were staying in Bangor they had the annual “The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront”. This is a very popular two day event held in downtown Bangor along the Penobscot River.
Ceilidh Group from Cape Breton Island at the Bangor American Folk Festival
The crowd enjoying music from all over the world
The Festival is held on the Penobscot River, Bangor, Maine
Retune to Maine slideshow:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Although we are posting this blog entry the first week of November, we were actually at Hopewell Rocks the second week of August.


Looking down on Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick

After leaving Prince Edward Island and returning to New Brunswick we stopped for a few days to visit Hopewell Rocks. Located on the Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks is undoubtedly New Brunswick’s most famous landmark. At Hopewell Rocks the difference between high and low tide is 35 to 46 feet.

IMG_7021 Steep stairs down to the shore


Hopewell Rocks at low tide.


Looking up at the first Overlook


When the tide goes out, it really goes out here!


At High Tide the water reaches to the top of this spire.


Bay of Fundy mud.


They have a lot of Milk Chocolate mud!

Hopewell Rocks slideshow

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prince Edward Island


First hint of Anne of Green Gables on one of the shops

Although we are posting this blog entry the 3rd week of October, we were actually on Prince Edward Island at the first week of August.

Today’s blog entry was written by Kathy:

Continuing our summer journey to the Atlantic Provinces, we headed towards Prince Edward Island. Located off the northeast coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Island is accessible by ferry or the Confederation Bridge, a multi-span concrete bridge. It’s a rather unique fee system: they don’t charge you to cross the bridge OVER to the island, but when you LEAVE the island! It is the longest bridge in Canada, spanning 8 miles over the icy waters of the Northumberland Strait. Construction began in October 1993 and was finished in May 1997. Before that time you could only reach the island by ferry service. During the winter months when the Strait freezes over, the islanders were isolated from the rest of the country. Here’s a link to see a photo gallery of the bridge:


Almost to Prince Edward Island on a sunny windy day

The name of the bridge comes from the fact that back in 1864, the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec met in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to form a confederation to what we now know as modern day Canada.

After reading the “Anne of Green Gables” series, I wanted to find out for myself the charm of PEI. Author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, wrote the series of “Anne” and “Avonlea”. She was born in the area of what is now New London on the north side of the island in 1874, near Cavendish. Her fictitious town of Avonlea is where Anne came to live with Marilla and Matthew Cutthbert, first published in 1908. The novels became the basis for the highly acclaimed 1985 CBC television miniseries, “Anne of Green Gables” and several other television movies and programs, including “Road to Avonlea”, which ran in Canada and the US from 1990-1996. Surprisingly, the shows were filmed in Toronto and only the outside scenes were filmed on PEI!

We stayed at the KOA in Cavendish, just a block from “Avonlea”. National Parks Canada built a park to represent what Avonlea would have looked like in the early 1900’s. All it needed was Megan Follows, the actress who portrayed Anne, to show up!


Recreated village of Avonlea, in the era IF Anne had lived here


Couple of ideas of how the houses would have looked like back in the early 1900's

Our location was a good central point on the island to visit the red sandy beaches, Charlottetown, which is the capital and the North Cape side of the island.


Grant walking on the red sandy beach


The water was so still at the bottom of the red cliff


Rocks have a lot of iron oxide that give that rich red color

Since it was summer time, the KOA was busy all of the time! They had “hay rides” for the kids around the park, craft activities for the kids and a giant bouncy pillow apparatus, the size of a large garage, was a great hit! Nearby there are several theme parks, water slides and the Boardwalk Gift Shops, so there are lots of fun things to see and do as a family.

We had several beautiful sunny days in early August to enjoy the views of the beaches. In fact, one day we thought for sure we must be at one of our California beaches: it was wall to wall people taking advantage of the warm afternoon at the sea!


It was THE day to go to the beach on PEI

Looking off the coast to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you could imagine all of the ships that have been past here! Ships from Canada going to Europe and other faraway places over the last 300 years or more!

Mentioned in the “Road to Avonlea” series is the White Sands Hotel, with beautiful scenes in front of the hotel. There actually is a very beautiful Victorian hotel called the Dalvay By the Sea, located near Cavendish.


The Dalvay Hotel, known as the "White Sands Hotel" in the "Anne of Green Gables" stories

Scenic Dalvay Lake is in front of the hotel with Adirondack chairs to relax in and enjoy the view! Since it was a warm day, it was nice to just sit, take in the shade and scenery.


Grant relaxing in the shade at the lake in front of the hotel

One overcast day we took a drive out to North Cape to see the North Cape Lighthouse and the Windmill Farm. With just enough time to walk around the point, take a few pictures, the dark skies opened up and it poured the rest of the afternoon. Oh well, that is part of the reason why the island stays so nice and green.


Looking off the cape into the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Proof that we risk life and  limb to get the pictures for the  blog

Proof that we risk life and  limb to get the pictures for the  blog

There are miles and miles of beautiful green farms, mostly growing potatoes and a very short wheat species.


One of the many potato farms on PEI, they go for miles!

On the way back to camp, we stopped at one of the vegetable stands for fresh veggies. We couldn’t pass up “Webb’s Vegetable Stand”. I had never seen so many different kinds of potatoes, from little tiny ones to good baking size spuds!


A few days later, when the sun had returned, we spent the day in Charlottetown. Walked along the river front and strolled around town. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Hunter’s Ale House, one of the outdoor bistro/pubs that I had read about online. It was very good food and tasty brews on a summer’s day!

This is a big college town, several colleges and a university within the city. Although it was summer time, I can only imagine how busy the town must be now that school has resumed.

Even though we don’t golf, this island has absolutely gorgeous golf courses. 34 courses to be exact! It is one of Canada’s top golf destinations! From 9-hole to full 18-hole courses, you could enjoy a round, have time for lunch, go shopping, visit the beach and have a wonderful lobster dinner, all in the same day!

If you are into Lighthouses, PEI has 50 lighthouses dotting its coast, 40 of which are still operating. They are all different heights, colors and shape, each unique, with a compelling history with a story to tell.

After enjoying a relaxing week, it was time to say “Goodbye” to the Island and cross the Bridge. Since we were towing the trailer, the fee was over $54 (Canadian dollars) Ouch! They charge by axle and we had 4 with the truck and trailer. Oh well, if we had taken the ferry it would have been double that! At least it was Free to come over to the Island! LOL

On to New Brunswick and Hopewell Rocks. To be Continued…..

PEI slideshow