Old Forge, New York, such a beautiful spot

January 14th, 2018

We arrived in Old Forge just after dark and it is already 0 degrees!  But the house is nice and warm!  And now we have a shower and running water, YIPEE!  Life is all about the small things that make me smile.  We had a very uneventful evening and slept great, we even had to turn the heater down a notch.  The Van was very cold and both heaters were working overtime.  We woke up about 8 and it was -20 degrees!  WHAT???  Well I did say I wanted to experience “REAL” winter.  I think this is as real as I want!

Well that is a “new” look!

The van used a lot of propane so we will be out refilling it this am as soon as it warms up a bit!

We finally got ourselves bundled up and headed into town.  There are lots of snowmobiles on the roads, trails, bars and it is before noon.  It is a beautiful morning in the Adirondacks but most are staying inside next to the fire.  We found propane and the gauge said it was out.  The poor guy had to get down on his belly in the snow and then Paul had to drive up onto a board because the tank is low and his hose was stiff!  Duke and I waited about 50 feet away because I am very nervous around gas and don’t want to get caught in the explosion; I can just watch as Paul and our van go I guess!  It took the guy at least 20 minutes to get hooked up and then he pumped our 4 gallons into the tank.  At these temps it may not last until we leave on Thursday.  The weather says it is going to warm up again after more snow on Tuesday.  Warm up is 20 for a low!!!

Anyway, we cruised around town and I got to see my frozen lake!

1st Lake in the Fulton Chain of lakes

I have rode in a boat on this lake many times!

The track is from Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles heading for the next bar

The deer are still around

Above is the Moose River which we canoe on every time we are here and usually go for a swim right here as we are just about done with our 10 mile paddle!

 

It’s not Frozen but WOW!

January 13th, 2018

It is bitter cold when we get up and the roads are covered with a thick layer of white stuff!  I have not driven in snow in years and we are in a van with regular tires!  I am quite nervous but we head out anyway!  First stop Starbucks!  I wonder how long my latte will stay warm?  It is 11 degrees!

 

We made it and no one is here!  Perfect weather and oh so beautiful.

Looking towards the falls from the Bridge to Canada. The river is a solid sheet of ice and snow

 

Baby its cold out here!

The view of the falls is best from Canada and we needed some exercise after sitting in the car for 4 days so we grabbed our passports and headed across the bridge.  It is a beautiful day and no one is here.  I think this is my favorite visit to Niagara Falls and we are just getting here.

From Canada looking at the American Falls 

Taking Duke for a walk near the American Falls, He thinks the snow is really fun, especially making yellow snow

Posing for mom, not their favorite thing to do especially at 0 Degrees

 

The American Falls, it is just beautiful every time I see them

Looking toward Canada. The falls are flowing right over the edge

Remember the photo above? not anymore

Poor Duke, he was having such a good time, running, sniffing, peeing and then he stepped in a puddle of melted snow and at 0 degrees it is freezing!  He held his paw up and would not move!

Just after a snow fall is the best!

Since we have been here many times and it is almost too cold to just hang out we are going to continue to Old Forge today because there we get to stay in a nice warm, cozy house all to ourselves!  The RV will sit in the driveway and we will try to keep it warm enough to survive!

 

 

Adventures to the Great Northeast

January 12th, 2018

Paul is from way up north in New York and has always told me about life in the winter, the reason he came to California.  We visit often to Old Forge which is where he lived after high school, but only in the summer!  He still has a sister and brother living here.  It is beautiful in the summer, kind of like Lake Tahoe but much smaller.  We have never come in the winter, mostly because the weather is very unpredictable.  The town is big in snowmobiles when they get snow and summer being on the water is perfect (although cold).

We had no plans for this winter other than the usual, go to Arizona and Texas in February so when Paul told me that Niagara Falls had frozen I said “Lets go!)  I have no idea about winter, the coldest I have ever experienced is about 17 degrees  and I hated it.  Yes, this is a stretch and not easily done on a whim but if you want to see the falls you need to hurry because it doesn’t usually happen and if they get a warm snap its all over.

Paul winterized the van and I cancelled and rearranged the calendar and borrowed what I could of winter wear and Monday in the rain we headed east.  We made it to Little America, Wyoming the first night after only 14 hours of driving.  We have to stop more often because since the van is winterized we cannot use the facilities.  That means pee only in emergencies, brushing our teeth with Crystal Geyser, and washing up with wet ones!

Our second day the weather started warming up and we made it to about 50 miles out from Omaha.  Then I start looking at the weather more closely for the New York area and see they are having a warming trend!  By Wednesday I’m figuring we will see the falls just like we saw them in September!  There is no snow anywhere and we do not need these boots, hats, scarves and coats we rustled up to come here.  Oh well, life is an adventure and we will get to see some of Pauls family on this trip so all is not lost.  Maybe we can rent golf clubs and play instead of snowmobile?

Wednesday is more of the same and another 14 hour day.  It’s looking pretty dreary but the forecast for Niagara is good!  It’s going to get snow and the temps are going to drop.  We have been driving for 3 days on the interstate, not interesting at all so all we have is each other and of course Facebook.  Thank god for cell phones and facebook!  Today was probably the hardest day all around!  I’m tired of sitting, Duke is tired of not getting to play fetch and Paul, well Paul is just trying to get us to Niagara Falls.  Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, they all look alike and if you get on a Toll road even the service areas are the same, same gas, same Tim Hortons, Pizza and McDonalds.  Tonight we sleep on the thruway.  Very exciting as they have Starbucks in Ohio and it is only 50 feet from my door!  Grande Nonfat Latte to go!

Thursday we arrive in Niagara Falls near dark and it is still 50 degrees and raining!  Not good for frozen falls and snow.  By 9 pm it is freezing and we have to climb into bed!  This van is like a tiny metal box, do not dare touch the sides.  We cuddle in the middle of the bed and dose off.  About 11:30 someone has to pee!  That’s exciting in itself but then Paul opens the blinds above the bed and we have solid ice on the inside of the window!  This is like sleeping in a igloo!  We have electricity because we are parked in an RV dealers lot and our little electric heater is trying its best!  Even the furnace is working.  It is so cold but under the down comforter I am actually sweating a bit, off comes the socks and long underwear.  The problem with that is getting up!  The thermostat says 55 inside but my body says no way.  it’s getting cold and snow is predicted.

Friday we wake up to lots of snow and very cold!  Paul works and Duke and I hang out.  Friday night we park the RV because more snow is coming.  We walk the 1/2 mile to a great spot with Fish Fry.  Tomorrow is suppose to be clear and cold.

Day 17, 18, 19 Dublin

October 31st, 2017

Back in The Republic of Ireland and back to the Euro and oh so many people!  Dublin is definitely way ahead of the rest of Ireland, both Northern and the Republic.  There are so many people wandering the tiny streets.  We stayed right in City Center so everything is right here!

Trinity College and the Long Library were on my list of places to visit.  The college is right in the city and beautiful.

                         Clock Tower

                                        Trinity College

 

                            Long Library

That is a lot of really old books.  I wanted to know why they still have these.  The whole thing is beautiful but seemed like a large collection of books that the students probably never even use.  They actually can check them out to view from the librarian in a special room.  At least some of the students benefit from this collection.

The Harp is the National emblem and it is housed in the Long Library.  It is in a case so not to be played.  It is beautiful and many musicians in Ireland play the harp.

 

We enjoyed several more pubs and of course we visited Guinness Beer.

The tour is very extensive and the building is beautiful.  There is a Pub on the 7th floor with amazing views of Dublin.  On the tour you get a cute little sample of the brownish red beer.  Of course that is not how the Irish drink their beer but not to worry, once you finish the tour you can go to one of the pubs in the building for your Pint!  Included in the price of admission.   I’m more of a 1/2 pint girls so I actually left 1/2 a beer on the counter!  Unbelievable!

 

Dublin also has several Distilleries and we visited two newer ones that are jumping on the resurgence of Whiskey.  Teeling and Pearce Lyons  Distillers have great tours and are very informative about the whiskey making process in Ireland.  I still think it taste better in coffee!

Pearce Distillery is an old church that had been abandoned.

Those are the highlights of my Ireland vacation.  My favorite part was definitely the Dingle Way where I got to walk among the sheep visiting tiny villages and pubs.  We saw very few tourists until we got to Belfast and what my idea of Ireland was before my visit was definitely the countryside that I got to see.  The Irish people are so welcoming and friendly.  For my first trip to Europe it was the best!

Day 14,15,16, Belfast

October 24th, 2017

A whole new world.  Belfast is quit old and not too vibrant.  I guess being in constant battle for so many years wears on things.  We took the Black Cab Taxi tour from recommendations and wow!  what an experience.  Our guide took us through some very troubled neighborhoods and taught us a lot about the religious fighting that has only been over for about 10 years.

Peace Wall

Leaving a message on the wall is encouraged

This wall was built between the Catholic and Protestant communities to prevent some of the fighting.  The wall had to be raised higher several times as they would launch bombs over it.  There is still a lot of bombed out buildings in Belfast but they are rebuilding and the people seem to be coexisting.  The younger people don’t have the same beliefs as their parents and grandparents so things are changing.

The Titantic was built in Belfast and they now have an exhibition on the waterfront.  It is a very beautiful building and someday the whole waterfront will probably be a big tourist hit.  I enjoyed it as I not only learned a few things about the Titantic I learned a little more about Belfast.  The Titantic was very beautiful for the times and it doesn’t appear that cruise ships are much fancier today other than they have way more amenties.  The cruise ship was definitely for the wealthy.  Today just about anyone can afford to cruise.

During the tour you board your own vessel. It is attached by a scissor like devise and you move up and down. Like a Disneyland ride!

 

C. S. Lewis is sort of famous although the people of Belfast didn’t realize he was a famous writer for a long time.  I guess fantasy was not too popular.  They do have a small park dedicated to him with some statues.

We have done so much touring during the day and then at night we have to go to a Pub.  There are lots of Pubs in all of Ireland and everyone you meet tells you about one you have to go to.  Right around the corner from our hotel is the Crown Liquor Saloon which our cab driver told us to try.  It is beautiful on the outside and very crowned on the inside.  Another one we had to try was the Sunflower Pub.  It was recommended by one of our Inn’s on the Dingle Way.  This one had live music.  We have heard a lot of Irish music on this trip.  I saw bagpipes for the first time.

Pubs are fun but sometimes you need a bit of culture.  The Grand Opera House was playing Beautiful and it was right around the corner so we bought tickets and enjoyed a night at the Theater.  Beautiful is the story of Carol King and is currently playing on Broadway.  Belfast’s version was not as professional but some of the actors had amazing voices and the story was truly beautiful!  The music was a blast from the past; I knew every song!!!

Day 13, Northern Ireland

October 21st, 2017

We made it to Northern Ireland where now we have to have pounds instead of euros.  No customs to change countrys but a definite change.  Northern Ireland is much smaller.  They still have lots of green but now we are seeing way more multifamily type housing and way less sheep!  We make it to our B & B in Bushmills after about 6 hours in the car.  We are ready to relax.  Thats good because the only thing around is the Inn where we are staying and they only have Drinks, no food till tomorrow morning where they will cook us a very nice Irish breakfast that is included in our night stay for only 60lbs!  That is a bargain because we will spend about double that for a travelodge in Belfast, without breakfast.

Giants Causeway   The story is interesting and we enjoyed the walk.  The stones are the most impressive as I have not seen that.  I still like Big Sur better for cliffs but this was beautiful.

The hexagon shape of the rocks is very unique.  We were there early but before we left the buses of tourists arrived and soon it was people everywhere.

Sometimes I see things that make me just have to snap a photo.  This girls is walking on these rocks, very close to the cliff and she has a kid on her back who could not have seen anything.  The child is facing forward and covered with clothing.  I guess the kid doesn’t like nature!

Old Bushmills Whiskey  is right here and we have not tasted any Irish Whiskey yet so we do the tour!  Very interesting and very much like Kentucky Bourbon in that they get their barrels from the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers after they are done with them.   Cindy enjoyed the tasting.  I think it is similar to what I think lighter fluid tastes like, but it is alcohol so I’m not passing up the tasting.  I did add ice to mine which the bartender discouraged.  I like my Irish Whiskey in Coffee!

 

 

 

Day 11 & 12 Exploring the coast in Ireland

October 20th, 2017

We were planning to explore the coast of western Ireland but again the weather is changing our plans.  Storm Brian is approaching the area so we find a B & B in Ennis and book ourselves a total tourist thing.  We are going to have a medieval  banquet in a castle.  Bunratty Castle served us up a great meal that we had to eat with our hands.  Spareribs, chicken, soup, bread and lots of wine.

Next stop is Cliffs of Moher .  We decided to just do it.  We arrived to winds of at least 40mph and the place was almost empty but we braved it and walked along the cliffs (behind a stone wall that I used to keep me upright).  It is beautiful but I still think Big Sur has it beat.

I think this was suppose to be for evacuation purposes but ….

Well that will be all of the Cliffs we get to see as they are still not taking boats out and we have things to see.  So northward we go.  We stop in a cute little town that is definitely a summer beach town complete with waterslides and clam chowder.  There was a walk along the shore and they have an area that appeared to be a swimming pool from the tides.  I particularly liked the sculptures!

Beach towels!   Creative.

 

 

 

 

Dingle Way, after 90 miles! The rest of the story….

October 19th, 2017

First let me tell you how our last day ended!

We get into the car. Cindy remembers to drive on the left, I didn’t!  We drive the 8 miles to our B & B.  It’s the same place we spent the night before heading out on the trail.  We have a key to the house and our luggage had been delivered.  We get upstairs, unpack, sort the laundry, and get into the shower!  Today was pretty wet and now it’s kind of cold so a loooong hot shower feels so good.

Our Innkeeper has given us very detailed, handwritten directions to the laundry so we head out!  We get to where the laundry is and don’t see it.  The traffic is very heavy, like all these people got off work at 2:00 in the afternoon.  We can’t find it.  We drive up and down the road and nothing.  I finally get Yelp on the job!  Yelp finds me one a mile away.  Fine we will go to a different one.  We arrive there and nothing, which in my travels I have had this experience with Yelp before.  Poor Cindy, she is driving in this crazy traffic, on the wrong side of the road and it is raining really hard now!

Finally I say, let’s go back to the other one, the directions said it’s next to the gas station so I’ll just go in and ask.  We pull into the station..

It is right there in front of us, in the parking lot.  This is the WHOLE laundromat!  Seriously!  It is outdoors, in the rain with nowhere to set your laundry or anything.  The station attendant is standing there under the awning smoking so I ask!  Can I buy detergent inside the station?  No, but it comes with detergent when you pay for the machine.  Only the small machine is available but it is a pretty big front loader.  So we grab our laundry, put the 4 euros in and yep, the washer starts!  This is just too weird.

We also had not eaten so I look around and don’t see anything right there and I am not sure about leaving so we have a very gourmet meal from the station!  3 euros got me a 12″ roll with a sliced up chicken breast, a bag of chips and a water!  They even had a little area inside to sit and eat it!  Everything you need, no frills!

Our wash finally finishes, the other people finally finish with the dryer and it’s our turn to dry.  Try pulling clothes out of the washer into just your arms without dropping something!  At least we only dropped a couple socks into the ground.  This is kind of gross but not as gross as stomping in the muck on the trail, it will be ok.

Clothes dried in 30 minutes! Excellent but where do I fold them?  I’m standing in the station lot, with my head inside a dryer folding clothes and stacking them inside!  Cindy gets a bag, and stuffs the small things into it!  Well we did get the laundry done.  No more muddy clothes, and they smell clean.  I guess you don’t really NEED all those luxury amenities after all!  NOT.

Cindy decides since we are at a gas station we should fill up, that way tomorrow we can just be on our way.  When we rented the car they gave us a diesel and said diesel gets better mileage and diesel is cheaper in Ireland and it is.  It’s €1.20 per liter where unleaded is €1.30.  That’s a big difference.  So she pulls to the pumps, I just sit there cause this whole laundry episode has me exhausted and it’s cold.

She stucks her head in the window!  ” I screwed up!”

Unleaded into a dieiel car!  Bad!

Yep, she put in about 3 liters and so we have to wait at the same station 2 hours for the guy to come and empty the tank and put new fuel in!  €250.00  plus tax to remove fuel, €4.00 for the 3 liters of unleaded and €65.00 euros for a new tank full of diesel!  (It comes to about $400.00.) So much for saving by getting a diesel!

Tomorrow we start the other half of our vacation!  Stay tuned!

Dingle Way Day 9, The home stretch!

October 19th, 2017

Today we only have to walk about 7 miles!  Yippy.  Maureen says are you sure you don’t want to ride with the luggage?  That’s because it is raining!

Our final morning. Let’s do this!

We retrace our steps back to Castlegregory and begin the Dingle Peninsula Trail to Camp where hopefully our car will be waiting for us.  Our first nights Innkeeper has brought the car to Camp so we don’t have to repeat that first section of our trip!  She says the key will be in a winning lotto envelope behind the counter.  Love small towns!

It’s raging but we are on roads so not too bad but soon it gets exciting.  The road turns to mud and soon we see a river!

A saving grace

This skinny little bridge is our way to the other side where our track continues.  Then we come to where we are supposed to hit the beach, the rain has slowed.  But there is a huge body of water on our trail or a 15 foot mound of sand next to it!  Cindy chooses the water, I choose the sand.  We both make it.

 

This beach was was a bit more interesting with tide pools and cool rock formations but pretty dirty with litter.  There also were a couple rivers to forge!  My feet were already wet from the rain.  This will be my last day with these boots anyway as they will always smell like sheep poo.

Our instructions said look for the opening to a roadway and a church steeple!  Yeah, I think we are almost to Camp.

A beautiful church and tiny cemetery and we are on our way.  Good thing cause the rain gear is coming back out as the sky is opening up.  Only a couple Km’s. I can’t wait!

We find the gas station, see our car and step inside.  Our envelope is there and we have keys!

Cindy removing the rain gear before she attempts to drive on the wrong side of the road!

Wait till you hear what happens next!  Today is not over!

Dingle Way Day 8, our longest hiking day

October 18th, 2017

Another B & B, another Pub and now our longest walk.  The trail picks up right near our Inn and soon we are on the beach.

All 10km of sand

 

Behind us

The clouds were threatening and the forecast didn’t look good but so far so good.  The sand was packed pretty hard and the waves were calm so we had a nice walk for several miles then we come to a spot where a small river was!  The only way was to cross at the lowest spot which was about 6 inches deep!  Yep, wet feet again.  The good news is yesterday’s sheep shit is rinsed away.

Thats Cindy,  we saw 4 people and one dog in the whole 10km.

The mountain views were pretty nice again. The scenery never gets old. It is so open and green.

After two hours we found a spot to exit the beach.  It wasn’t the trail spot but we thought we could cut off a mile or so.  Didn’t happen!  Finally we came to the listed pub where we thought we would have lunch.  Opens at 5:30 pm.  Good thing we have power bars and fruit from breakfast!

Soon we are on our way again and walking along roads and trails between villages.

Ponies. There was a small herd of these ponies in a backyard type pasture.  They had no interest in us because look at all that grass!  These two were living in each other.  It was very sweet.

These horses were open range grazing razing along the roadway on both sides.  It was beautiful to walk amongst them and just watch.  This is about the time my body started acting up and we are only just over 1/2 way!

Our third horse encounter

This guy was in a pasture separated from the sheep.  He must have been lonely because he came right up to the fence and let us scratch his nose!  Then Cindy takes out an orange and fed it to him.  He seemed very appreciative!

Then another beach and another 5 km.  I’m thinking this town is never going to show up!  We finally make it to town and Cindy reads the notes for our B & B!  Only 1 km outside of town.  WHAT!  We arrive and Maureen our Host, welcomes us cheerfully. She was cheerful  not me.  I need to get these boots off and lay down!