Archive for June, 2012

Niagara Falls – Simply beautiful

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

No matter how many times I see this I am still mesmerized by its beauty.

Spectacular Beauty

American Falls

Pat’s first trip to the falls

The view from the boat ride

We spent 3 days just looking at the falls and enjoying the many attractions.   We took the Cave of the Winds tour where you can walk right down to the American Falls and then we rode the Maid of the Mist boat that goes right up to Horseshoe Falls.  This is spectacular beauty that everyone should get to enjoy.

Next stop is Michigan and the best way to get there is through Canada.  Having heard stories about paying big bucks for transporting your booze we have been trying to reduce our stock!  That hasn’t been easy but we did it.  We are entering Canada with only a few bottles.  We reach border patrol after waiting only about 30 minutes and they only want to know about my firearms!  We could have brought a whole liquor store with us!

We spend one night in Canada at a very nice park located right on Lake Ontario.  I finally got to swim in one of the great lakes.  It was wonderful.  I expected the water to be really cold.  It is about 70 degrees and very clean with a nice sandy floor.  I loved it.

Our departure from Canada was a bit tiresome.  It took us an hour just to reach the Canadian toll booth for the Blue Water Bridge.  Then there is the Duty Free Shop.  We need to get the booze restocked and it is cheaper here even when you pay the US fees so we stock up.  When you purchase you have a limit of $200 per person and will have to give them your license plate number so they can be sure you declare when you enter the US.  We head across the bridge and wait another 30 minutes to chat with the border patrol.  This guy wanted to know all about our trip and where we have been and where we are going.  Nothing about declaring anything!

We should have known because when you purchase and give your license number no one is confirming and these are Canadian’s taking your information.  Then when you get to customs they are US.  Two governments – of course they don’t talk to each other!!!

We are safely back in the states!  We are in Port Huron Michigan and so far I am loving this state!

What about those clouds?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

The weather here has been record breaking for the region and that isn’t good for us.  It is very hot and humid.  We picked the hottest day of the week to enjoy a hike of Bald Mountain with David & Ethan and the rainiest day for  a boat ride on the Fulton Chain of Lakes!

I made the hike up the mountain and loved the view from the top but I was soaked in sweat by the time we made it back to the car.  The hike is only about 1.5 miles round trip but is mostly uphill going and then you got the downhill for the return.  It was about 95 by the time we made it to the top and very little wind! Ouch!!!

So cute

The deer are everywhere and this little guy was not any bigger than Duke!

Saturday, we decided to rent a boat and take Paul’s two sisters and the boys with us for an afternoon on the lake.  We arrive at the dock about 10 am with donuts and sunny skies, about 80 degrees!  It’s a great day and then while the guide is giving Paul instructions I look west and see these amazing black clouds creaping over the mountains.  No problem, we are off to pick up the girls at a cousins dock.  15 minutes into our 30 minute ride it is getting a little breezy, no problem, call Judy and have her bring jackets.  About the time Paul hangs up the phone the sky opens up and we are in the middle of the lake in the middle of a hail storm!  The good news is the lightening is off in the distance for now.  The faster we went the wetter we got so we took it slow and steady.  We could see the rain on the lake and see where it wasn’t raining, the bad news is when we got to the dry spot it would be raining there!!!

Finally we make it to the dock and the rain stops.  It looks clear towards town so we load everyone on the boat with jackets, coolers and lunch and off we go.  We make it all the way into Old Forge and stop for the potty and here comes the rain again.  We wait it out and decide we will just eat lunch here and give the storm some time.

Lunch on the boat!

That works beautifully.  We have blue skies and decide to head out into the lake again.  We make it almost back to where we picked Judy up at the cousins dock and the sky really decides it needs some relief.  We have 8 people on this boat all huddled into the middle under the cover because it is really raining and cold.  More hail.   We can see the dock but moving fast is not a good idea.  The lightening this time appears very close.

Of course we made it!  We get to the dock and everyone runs for the boat house.  After about 20 minutes it is decided that this day is just not going to cooperate and we elect Paul & Kip to return the boat while the rest of us load into the car and head for drier parts!

We all got soaked but had a bit of a boat ride, a great lunch and made some memories.

Tomorrow we leave Old Forge and continue or trip west. Carol,  Judy and the boys are heading to Selma, NC where Carol’s son Adam will be getting married on Saturday.

Have I mentioned the BUGS?

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Sunday is Father’s Day and even though he isn’t my dad, Paul gets to spend his day doing his thing.  Normally he likes to just hang out and grill a burger but this year he decides he wants to visit Great Camp Sagamore which was owned by the Vanderbilt Family from 1901-1954 as a retreat for their wealthy friends from New York City.

Kip and Pat have rejoined us with their new windshield and a broken slide motor so they are off to Great Camp Sagamore with us on Sunday morning for brunch.  The camp is now owned by a non-profit that uses it for educational purposes so they were offering a tour and brunch for Father’s Day.  The brochure says  it is on a beautiful lake in the Adirondack Mtns near Raquette Lake but it never mentions that they do not abate the bugs!  We have seen very few black flies until today and then we saw a full onslaught.  Well at least Pat and I thought they were in full force but according to the natives (Paul and Kip) it was bad but not horrible!  Tell that to our bodies.  Pat had so many bites on her head that a week later the hairdresser refused to color her hair, saying she would hurt too much because she had so many bites on her head!  Me, I have welts the size of quarters on my neck and face.

But what about the other flesh!

After we made our way through a swarm and found the food indoors we find out we could have gotten these little fashion statements!  Bug nets for your head.  I don’t think they would have helped much but we enjoyed watching others wearing them!

Anyway,  The Great Camp Sagamore is a beautiful rustic retreat from the everyday and if you pick the right season (they tell me the black flies will be gone soon!) it is just beautiful.  You can relax on the patio overlooking the lake that no one can use except guests.  During the Vanderbilt’s time they had a casino and an outdoor bowling alley!

I guess if you are fully covered in the netting you could enjoy a game. Me I am keeping indoors until those bugs are gone.

PS.  The slide motor arrived and the slide once again moves in and out freely!  Glad that problem is under control!!!!


Revisiting a favorite spot!

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

We arrived in Old Forge just in time for the Ehrensbeck Family Reunion.  The Ehrensbeck’s are Paul’s sister, Judy’s in-laws so of course we are invited!  We attended our first two years ago when we were in Old Forge and this year Duke was asked to perform in the Talent Show!  Paul was so excited to show off Duke’s talents or maybe he just wanted a chance to have a captive audience and a microphone!  Duke was the opening act and of course he stole the show according to the elders of the Ehrensbeck Family.

I caught a glimpse while waiting for the curtain!

Who is really enjoying this?

Of course there were so many great acts.  My personal favorite was the “Singing Nuns and their side show!

Fred (Paul's Brother in-law) playing a 5-gal bucket with a ski pole attached to a rope!

And of course there was the return of the Blue’s Brothers making a special appearance from the Joliet State Pen.

David & Ethan

A wonderful time, great food and of course awesome company!  We will definitely keep this on our calendar for future dates.

Back to Nature

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Kip & Pat had to return to Massachusetts to revisit some family and get their windshield replaced from a rock crack that was spreading rapidly.  We chose to continue into New Hampshire, Vermont and New York where they will meet up with us again this weekend.  After spending several weeks cruising the east coast and seeing several big cities it was time to get back to the country roads we love.

We caught US 2 in Maine and rode it all the way to Burlington, VT.  Small rural communities, lots of road construction and things you just can’t see on the interstate.  We are driving along in New Hampshire and come across a sign that says “Welcome to Mexico”!!!  They have a town called Mexico, NH, who would think!!!  Route 2 runs right along the top of White Mountain National Forest where we stopped for a couple of nights to enjoy the mountains.  Mt. Washington , the highest peak in New Hampshire at 6,288 is in the National Forest.  We didn’t get to go to the top as weather did not permit travel to the top and most attractions in this area are not even open yet for the summer!  We did find some great hiking and a couple of wonderful waterfalls.

This one was back in from the trail but really tall for such a skinny falls.  A second hike of about a 1/2 mile in we  found a much larger falls and a large family of Black Flies which are really a pain cause they bite you several times right through the bug spray!  I had just gotten over the last bites from New Jersey and now I have a whole new batch of bites!  I found in the visitors center of the hiking trails some 98% Deet that I am using next time we get out into the woods, the citronella lotion is like candy to these beasts!

Down river from the falls

Almost there

Worth the hike

Now that is a waterfall!

A cutoff which we found with our GPS saved us about 30 miles and took us about an hour longer as it was right through the forest on a dirt road that isn’t even open in the winter = beautiful scenery and no cars or people for about 12 miles!

Lupine in bloom

While Paul is concentrating on keeping our 8.5 feet wide in a 9.5 feet wide lane I am enjoying the landscape.  Today I notice that many of the mail boxes are hanging instead of on posts.  Why?  Because the snow plows keep knocking them over and then they don’t get mail.  I saw one box that had been knocked over and its temporary post was a 50 gal blue drum with a stick on top held  down with large rocks.  I guess it got knocked over this winter and they just have not had time yet to reset it!

No idea but it looked cool!

And that is the end of our New England tour as we entered New York State this evening and will be heading west until October!


Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The farthest corner of the USA has crystal clear skies, beautiful bays,  amazing mountains and LOBSTER!  We arrived here Saturday afternoon and were quickly whisked away to Kip’s daughters home for a Lobster dinner!  That is the second time I have had lobster this week!

This is great food

Kip’s daughter, Laura and her husband Eric have an amazing home which he designed himself.  He is an award winning Architect in Maine and she works at Jackson Lab where she is a research scientist (Dr.!) working to find answers to many diseases that plague our society!  Pretty impressive credentials these two have but I think their most important achievement so far are their two boys, ages 6 & 8 who showed us a whole new way to eat lobster – with Hot Dogs!!!

Sunday was a morning tour on a lobster boat where Captain John educated us on all things Lobster!

The first catch!

He gave us a tour of the Frenchman Bay where we saw the baby harbor seals that have been born within the past month.  In Frenchman Bay there are some amazing homes and a terrific lighthouse that was near the harbor seals.  He also caught some lobster that he showed us all about these creatures – did you know that when you are eating lobster tail you really are eating the abdomen?  You are, the fins at the end are the tail and there is no meat there!

Egg Rock Lighthouse

That's an amazing view!

For the rich and famous! Lobster trap buoy's in the water

This little island is also home to the Acadia National Park where we took a hike along the coastline and enjoyed the views of Bar Harbor.    There are no big cities here and nature is what it is all about!  On Monday Paul and I took to the trail again to do some more exploring of this small, beautiful island so far east.  We found lots of wonderful bays, quaint little towns, tiny beaches and rocky shoreline and of course the LOBSTER!  This state does 90% of the worlds lobster!

Rocky coastline


On our way out of Maine today we stopped at the lobster pound and bought two more lobsters for dinner!  I had to pay $9 a lb today but still this is a bargain compared to what I would have to pay in a restaurant.  And…. when you buy your own you get the whole thing and the tail is not the best part as far as I am concerned!  I love the claws.  These lobsters are so good you do not have to dunk them in butter!

Sometimes you are just in the wrong place

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Our little caravan is traveling on I95 through New Hampshire heading to Maine and I am relaxing in the passenger seat.  Suddenly Paul yells “whoa”  and I look up to see a deer in the lane next to ours heading our way.  We are speeding along, all 50+ feet of us at 55 miles per hour and a deer decides he can cross 6 lanes of speeding cars.  The problem for him is when he comes across the side of our RV and he realizes that there is no where to go and he decides he will jump!  That didn’t work out very well for him or the side of our home.  The damage is not too severe however it will probably cost a bundle as we will have to replace 4 of our bay doors and a large piece of trim.  The deer was less fortunate.

Where everyone knows your name!

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Boston is Fenway Park and baseball, Paul Revere and the Old North Church, the Charles River, Boston Tea Party, million dollar homes lining Boston Common and of course CHEERS!  We only had one day we wanted to devote to downtown Boston so we chose to ride the DUCK and get the quick view of all the major sites.

Our Duck

Into the Charles River

Ducks on the river

Our tour was great and our driver Ace was very entertaining and informative.  We learned lots about the history of the city and even got to see some 21st century police action along our tour route!

We are not sure what the crime was but we think it was a shooting because there was lots of evidence markers and later we walked to the area and they were power washing the sidewalks in front of the bank.

After our tour we finally had some clear skies so we decided to walk to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market where you can shop for just about anything you can imagine.  A quick bit to eat and we were off walking again.   Boston Common is a beautiful park right where all the action is as well as these amazing homes that go for about a million each.

And then we came across this little gem.

Where everyone knows your name!

We did stop in for a beer and although they did not know our names the staff was all very friendly and the beer was great.


Lobster $9.99 a pound!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

That’s isn’t even a bargain!

No, I am not naming him!

It’s not fancy dining and the napkins are not linen but you will need plenty of them!

Less than $50! Dinner for 3!

New England so far I think one of my favorite places although it is pretty rainy while we are here.  The skies are so blue, the seafood is spectacular.  My favorite so far was our stop at a local Clam Shack in Ipswich where we had fried scallops and clams.  I don’t even like my fish fried but they were amazing!

Picnic tables and fabulous seafood

We are here for 6 nights and we ate  fresh seafood 4 times!  Our most expensive dinner was the lobster.  New England is not only great seafood, cheap they also have some amazing coastline.  We are on the coast and there are so many cute little villages and amazing scenery here.

Rockport, MA

Waiting for her sailor to come in!

New Hampshire Coastline

And then there are the huge summer homes of the wealthy from New York City!

They could have a 9 hole golf course in their front yard! And all of this is oceanfront!

And then my favorite spot so far on the New England coast is from New Castle, NH which is a tiny “Rich” island off of Portsmouth (pronounced Portsmoth)! looking over to Maine!  We had a picnic lunch here with a nice man that shared all about the wealth here in New Castle.

New Castle, NH

Boston tomorrow!


Public Transportation here I come!

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Sleep in and catch the PATH into the city for our last day of adventure in the Big Apple!  Ride the subway to Rockefeller Center where we toured Radio City Music Hall, a photo op with a Rockette and a private viewing of Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil practicing for their opening on the 6th!

Paintings in the grand reception area of Radio City Music Hall

Look at that smile!

Rockefeller Center has amazing landscapes

Next was a tour of NBC Studios where we got to see Dr. Oz’ studio as well as Jimmy Fallon’s place!  No shows cause they all take vacation!!  Then it is another 10 block walk that always turns out to be 15 cause we start in the wrong direction!  3 smart phones and a IPad and we still walk south instead of north!  We are heading to the Ed Sullivan Studios to buy Paul a new Letterman shirt cause his was recently retired as it was 10 years old!   The Letterman store is in the Hello Deli that closes at 4 pm!  We might have to order him the shirt!  The good news is we found Rosie O’Gradys and had an outstanding dinner.  Then a walk back to Times Square to watch the energy at night.  Walk 10 more blocks to see the Empire State Bldg at night and  it’s back to PATH and home.

Just wait until Dark

A beautiful site

NYC is a special place but 3 days is a fast pace to see it all.   We have been to the city 4 or 5 times and I am always amazed at it beauty.   They have excellent public transportation where you get a taste of the City lifestyle, but that is all under a city that never stops! Walking the streets is the best way to really enjoy your visit!