Sunday, December 27, 2009

Good Christmas

We had a nice, quiet Christmas here in the Park. Attended the pot luck with friends; watched some ball games; moved the TV antenna; got a new mobile phone - Andriod Eris (so played with it quite a bit); ate breakfast at the Farm House Grill today.

Oh, and I've taken a new job in the Sales Office at the Park. I'm selling Park Models. Anybody out there that'd like to move to Arizona? No snow!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Did You Get a New Computer for Christmas?

As I've said before, is a great site for computer and other techie things. One of their latests articles covers starting out with a new computer. Go here for the goodies.


Oh, the computer discussion group has been put on hold for a few weeks - didn't have very many people in attendance. We may have to move that meeting to Fridays - I've a new job in the Sales Office on Monday-Thursday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Just loaded Jolicloud on my HP Mini 5101 - it works great!! It's now a fast little computer.

Found another link you might be interested in - for the power user -


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tempe Art Festival

We attended the Tempe Art Festival yesterday. Many very fine artists were displaying their wares. This year we tasted Arizona wines. I'll say they aren't as good as the WA-OR-CA wines, but they might be improving. For the money, I'll stay with what we've been drinking at the Wine Tastings. For everyday wine use, we still like "Kitchen Sink" and "Menage a Trois". We've recently tried "Tormaresca Neprica Puglia" from the boot heel of Italy. It's a blend, similar to the first two mentioned, and contains: Nigroamaro, Primitivo, and Cab Sauv. It's pretty good, too.

See you Tuesday at this month's tasting: Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel

Monday's Discussion Group

This Monday we'll again have a Google Wave demonstration.

Bring your laptop and logon to the internet using our WIFI hot spot. We'll discuss anything related to computers and technology. Might not know the answer, but I'll bet we can find it on the web.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Google Wave

I've several invitations available for Google Wave. If you're interested, give me a call/email. I think it'd be a good thing to use to solve computer problems via a group discussion.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Have a Good Thanksgiving

I've finished the dressing (aka, stuffing) and it's ready for the oven. Didn't follow a recipe - you can't make a bad dressing, can you?

Thanksgiving Day Apps

Lifehacker just published the 61 free apps their thankful for --

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chrome OS

Have you heard of it? Maybe the next big thing in computers - a browser that is the OS. Take a look at this video --

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Discussion Session

Only one person attended my first discussion session of the year. So, it was pretty informal.

Let's talk about Google products next Monday. Specifically, Google Voice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our New Summer Job

Donna and I have decided to spend the Summer in Gold Canyon and provide caretaker services to some residents in the Park. Our current caretaker, Bob Brook, is selling his Park Model and moving to a nearby development. So, instead of setting up a mail service, hurriedly travelling back and forth to the midwest, AND spending 4-5 straight months in our small RV, we'll spend most of our time in Gold Canyon. I know it will be hot, but our goal to rise early, take an hour bike ride during which we check the status of our client's homes, perform necessary caretaker services, swim a little, and get ourselves in shape. We hope to take short rv trips to nearby higher altitude sites, and visit family and friends.

We're looking forward to this.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A New Tivo Owner

Gail just ordered a Tivo! Glad to see another geek in the neighborhood.

Enjoy that new toy, Gail.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This is not political, nor is it Geek-related, but I just watched a movie that all should see --

It's about our planet (Home) and what the future holds. All your friends and all of your family should watch it.

Be concerned.


I just watched a profound movie - "Home". The story of our planet.

Please watch it. Have all your friends watch it. Have your family watch it.

I believe it and I'm concerned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


If you're into trying new web sites and new software, give this a shot -

I haven't tried it much yet, but it looks like a wealth of possibilities.

Windows 7

Oh, did I say that I've installed Win7 on three computers and enjoy it very much?

I know that Vista got a lot of bad press, and many people don't like it, but after the first few months of it's release, I found it to be a very good OS. Win7 is a little better, but it's received good press, so folk think it's much better. It does seem to load and shutdown a little faster, and it does have some better features, so it must be better.

Anyway, I've used it for several months, and when I see XP, I'm glad I updated. XP seems so old, now. If you have the opportunity to upgrade to Win7 - do it!

Multimedia Computer

I've had Mediacom for a few days, and the speed seems consistent at about 9mbps. This is somewhat slower than the advertised rate, but I'll give them a few weeks before I question it.

Ok, back to the multimedia computer, the internet, and my TV.

I'm currently using an HP laptop with an AMD Turion Dual Core ZM 82 and 3 GB of memory. This pc is connected to my TV via an RGB cable and an audio cable from the headphone jack. The TV quality is very good. And, any audio that supplies 5.1 surround sound is adequately reproduced by my somewhat inexpensive amplifier. This system setup works quite well in my small space. I can get music from a variety of free providers (e.g., Pandora,, but the Genius feature of iTunes does a very good job of generating a mix of music from my collection.

The pc is a little noisy with the cooling fan running most of the time (I do have it set on high performance), and the heat generated is significant. So far, I've not had any heat related problems, however.

As long as Donna does not want to use the TV for "tv", I'm able to do all my internet stuff using the TV. I'm currently using media programs such as Hulu, Boxee,, Netflix, Blockbuster, etc. - all on the PC. And, with the higher speed Mediacom internet, most things load and run quite fast. I would like to use a more suitable PC, however. Not sure why, but using the laptop seems to be a waste.

I get several RSS feeds that give the latest news on gadgets and the latest media toys. It appears that Dell will have an Inspiron 400 in a couple of weeks that would be very nice as a media computer and a company called AsRock has a computer that is equally nice - it has a Blue-Ray player. Take a look at this video -

If anyone in the Park would like to pursue this sort of multimedia stuff, please let me know - I'd be happy to show you my system setup and talk about options.

Winos Revisited

We bought the wine yesterday. Based on some of the prices - there is some good stuff in the mix. If you didn't get tickets, I'm sorry you missed out on this one.

Friday, November 6, 2009


The winos have returned! It looks like we'll have around 90 people at next Tuesday's tasting.

And we're only tasting Rieslings and Pinot Noirs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


For those of you on Mediacom, and haven't been told, you now have access to

Now you can see many of the sporting events (like college football) that you haven't been able to see on TV. Pretty neat. And, if you can connect your computer to your TV, even neater.


Speeds are still there. Yeah!!!


Mediacom still works well this morning. I'm getting speeds that average 8.5 Mbps. That's about 4x faster than the Alltel Broadband Card could do. So, I'm happy.

I think that most residents that have asked for the service, are finally getting it. Maybe not on the day promised, but it is happening. I think all will be satisfied; we're now experiencing what most of the real world experiences. AND, we are living in a Resort!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


After many phone calls - it looks like I'm finally getting some speed. Almost 10mbps at this time. Hope tomorrow morning is just as good!

Mediacom 7

OMG! I'm getting almost 10mbps right now. Speed is fluctuating, but maybe it's finally gonna happen!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mediacom 6

Finally called Mediacom Tech Support. Said my trouble report had not been entered and that the installer would not be back. They apologized and reentered the trouble ticket. Said it might be completed later this evening and that I should call back then. They "looked at" my modem and said everything seemed ok with it.

Guess most things are good - except I don't have internet.

Mediacom 5

A Mediacom installer showed up today around 11am. He asked what he could do and I said "internet" and "cable cards for the TIVO". He admitted he hadn't installed cable cards in a TIVO before, so said he'd do that one first because it'd probably take more time than the internet install.

It didn't take long to insert the card and after a few minutes, Tivo recognized the card. A couple of phone calls later, Mediacom's network had communicated with the card. After a rescan of the channels, I was good to go.

The internet, as it turns out, is evidently much more complicated. The installer said they have been having problems with the modems recognizing the network (or is it the network having trouble recognizing the modem?). Once again a couple of calls and then he left a little over two hours ago, telling me it takes about on hour for the connection to take place. He hasn't returned and the modem is setting here with solid green lights - I don't think any communications is taking place.

I did a quick bike ride around the park - didn't see my guy, but saw several other Mediacom trucks.

Again, I wait.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mediacom 4

Yesterday I received good news from the Front Office - "stay home because Mediacom will be there this afternoon". So I stayed home. Guess what? They didn't show up.

It's now late in the day on Saturday. They still haven't shown up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mediacom 3

Mediacom will be at Coffee & Donuts tomorrow to take orders. A good rumor is that internet will be installed for the lucky "85", sometime on Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Re: High Speed

Still no internet access, but we do have Cable TV throughout the park.

Mediacom 2

Cable TV is working throughout the park. It was nice to see many football games this past weekend.

I'm still hoping that internet installation will happen soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

High Speed

I've been back in the Park for a while and have some updates to the other blog; failed miserably in getting this one updated. Sorry.

Once we get Mediacom installed and I'm satisfied with the speed, I'll provide some information on the programs I'm using to get media from the internet. Maybe someday you won't need cable tv service! In fact, Blockbuster Video has just been added to TIVO and we can now download videos instead of getting them in the mail from Netflix (Netflix has that service, also, but the selection is slim). The price is $4 per video (a dollar cheaper than Amazon) and may be a cost-effective alternative to Netflix.

Mediacom 1

Latest rumor - Mediacom might install first customer this Friday.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Mediacom has been in the park the last few days. I've seen guys walking around with blueprints; they've delivered, and installed, several new covers for the cable junction boxes; and, they're testing connectivity at all the pedestals in the park. I can't tell that anything has been buried from the highway into the park. Still thinking that "service" will be 10/15 - don't know who will be the first.

I've got everything set up in the Park Model - currently using Boxee and Hulu. Just waiting for the higher speed!! Wish I could get now - lot's of football games to watch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Several Days after "Tomorrow"

Mediacom has yet to begin construction in the park. Too bad they couldn't get their act together before the opening.

The cardiologist wants me to have a sleep study!!! Donna and I are still discussing that. We both see our GP tomorrow; I need a prescription update and Donna needs to talk about her recent blood test. No wonder health care is so high. These doctors always want to do something. They act like they need more money.

We have the rock installed; decided to just get it done. My back is a little sore, but thanks to Don, the job went a lot quicker.

Oh, and we did get a carpet cleaner - the deck almost seems new, now. The cleaner sucked up a lot of mud from the older side of the deck - looked like it had never been cleaned.

Donna starts work on Thursday - forecasted to be the first comfortable day this summer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I visit the cardiologist tomorrow - always a fun time.

After that visit, we plan to hit Wal Mart and see what kinds of carpet cleaning machines they have. It's time to clean the carpet, both on the deck and inside. I've seen some good reviews on a Hoover model. I've read that I should clean the deck carpeting at least once a week. That does sound like work.

Today we measured our "yard"; tomorrow we'll find out how much new rocks cost - better than cutting grass.

We did get a new range to match the microwave. The trim was completed on the flooring. The wine rack is full. Now, if someone will show up in the park, the parties can begin.

Oh, and also tomorrow, Mediacom is to begin the installation of facilities for cable tv and internet. It's gonna be a busy day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The sunsets are still beautiful here. In addition to this beauty, I was able to watch the International Space Station/Shuttle fly over a little later. I'm still amazed how fast the transit takes. I read it took only 5 minutes from horizon to horizon.

We've been busy upgrading some of the things here - new kitchen sink and faucet, and new tile for the kitchen and bath. Donna is so happy.

We're contemplating the replacement of the range. I think it is the original, and is a little dated. Both Home Depot and Bestbuy have one on sale with a glass top. This possible replacement is styled a lot like the new microwave we installed last year. Little by little ...

We're still discussing the need for larger rocks in our yard - still too hot to pursue that at this time.

There is a contact for Mediacom and we have talked to her a couple of times. She appears to be new on this job - hope she can last. At least she'll learn something about the cable industry - I'm not sure I want to be one of her trainers. They still are promising service the first of October, and, yet, no activity is seen in the park.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It's pretty warm here in Gold Canyon. Yesterday's high temperature on our deck was 113. As I post this, just before noon, the same thermometer shows 106! Today may be slightly warmer.

To all of you that wait until November - December to return to Gold Canyon: you're missing out on some great wine tastings. Actually, the wine tasting group is very small at only two people, and the wine rack is full.

Donna's birthday will be celebrated at the North Rim - we plan on having a happy hour with Barb around 4pm on Monday. Dinner at 8pm. Will return on Tuesday.

What is this?

This blog is a diary of our 2009 RV trip to PEI and Nova Scotia. We attempt to describe our experiences and to provide access to some of the photos of the trip.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Palm Tree Slaughter

We don't have much shade here in the Park. After today, we have even less - the palm trees have been trimmed. It always looks like they trim too much - only three fronds on each tree have been left. With a little bit of rain, they'll grow back quickly. Now, if we can just get a little bit of rain.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We're back home and really enjoying the heat - 106 yesterday. At least it's getting cool at night - 78 degrees. Not sure when that 78 is happening, because it's still in the high 80s when we go to bed.

We can get about two hours of outside activity (work) done before we have to get into our metal cocoon. Starting about 10am, the A/C runs non-stop until 8pm-ish. Whew! The next electric bill should be impressive.

Thanks to all who followed our Nova Scotia Blog - it was a great trip, but we're glad to be back home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 43 (8/3/09) - Herkimer to Westfield, NY

This blog is winding down - we're getting closer to Missouri.

Today we're tooling down I90 in New York when the traffic stopped. We could see that the jam was very long, so we took the nearest exit (luckily it was right next to us) to bypass the mess. Along our detour on highway 20, Donna noticed a museum in LeRoy, the town in which Jell-O was created! We stopped. Donna was so excited she agreed to pretend to be the Jell-O girl. To learn about Jell-O history, go to It's interesting to note the inventor only received $450 for his invention. The neighbor who bought it from him, later made millions of dollars from the brand.

West of LeRoy we returned to I90 to find that traffic was moving freely, but there was a lot of it. It's amazing the amount of traffic on this road. Shortly after Buffalo, we drove for miles surrounded by vineyards. Steve commented that these must be industrial grapes, there were so many. We later discovered that Welch's has a plant in Westfield, NY (also the home of tonight's campground). That's why there are so many grapes around here.

We plan to be in Indianapolis tomorrow evening, and Desloge the next. After spending a few days with Donna's parents, we'll travel to Fort Smith to help Steve's mother move into her new apartment. After that, it's on to Arizona. We want to be home by mid-August.

Thanks for following our adventure. We are a little tired of moving around so much and are really looking forward to some quiet time in Gold Canyon before the "season" starts.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Days 41 & 42 (Aug 1-2) - Cavendish to Herkimer, NY

It has been a long two days, but we're about 860 miles back toward Missouri. We left Cavendish at 7 am, crossed the Confederation bridge into New Bruswick at 7:50. The cost to return over the bridge was $42.50. Breakfast was in Moncton at Jean's Cafe.

In Fredericton, we bought a light bulb for our flashlight, laundry soap, and some fuel, thereby spending all of our Canadian money except 3 cents! I know fuel is much cheaper in the US, but I didn't want to convert funds at another stop.

We got to the border at 12:12 EDT and waited 30 minutes for our turn at the questions. We had already listed our purchases, so all the agent had to do was read the list, make sure the vehicle was ours, and that no one else was setting inside. Our time under questioning was shorter than many of the RVs in front of us. I guess we had less space to hide things than did the 5th wheels.

In the Trailer Life Directory, we found an RV Resort in Bangor that specifically said they catered to adults. We thought that'd be great, so we headed to Bangor. We did not call ahead. In Bangor we found the park, Pumkin Patch RV Resort, to be full. As we were too tired to go on, and the park was extremely quiet, we let them put us in "overflow". This parking was on the perimeter of the park, near the showers and laundry. We had 20 amp power and nothing else. The A/C and tv worked well with 20 amps. Showers were spotless and the laundromat, too. All this cost us $11 and that included $1 for wifi. A really nice park that adults should spend some time in. Not a popup or tent to be seen. We'd give this park the highest of ratings.

Today we drove 460 miles to the Herkimer Diamonds KOA. Donna spent a lot of time researching where we'd stay tonight and couldn't come up with a park in the 350-400 mile range.

There is a tremendous amount of traffic around Boston (we took I495) and on I90 all the way to Herkimer, NY (that's where we got off). Several hours of the drive were in hard rain - didn't slow down anyone. The most amazing amount of traffic was in the opposite direction to us - lot's of people returning to NYC and Boston areas. There are many toll booths on these roads, and in some cases cars were lined up for miles (and I do mean - miles) waiting to either pay or get their tickets. We're used to turnpike service areas as being places that a few cars might stop - on I90 (Mass Turnpike and NY Thruway) these places were full of cars (see SmugMug pictures).

We had originally made a reservation for a river-front site at this KOA. Because it had rained for several hours, the Weather Bureau issued a flood warning. Upon arrival we changed our site to one a little more up the hill AND with a gravel pad. We were told it was a large pull-thru site at a premium price. I think it's the most we've ever paid for a site - $55. But when you average it with the $11 site of last night, the two nights were only just high, not outlandish. It is a very large site.

We'll try to make Ohio tomorrow.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 40 (7/31/09) - Cavendish

After an all-night rain, it was a relief to see the sun for our last day of touring in PEI. We left early (7:15 am 66°) because we weren't sure how much time it would take to travel the North Shore. We ate breakfast out again (we must stop this); this time at Chez Yvonne. We both had French Toast that was ok, but we're starting to miss a Cracker Barrel.

Our first stop was Lennox Island, home of the Mi'kmaq indians. Do a search and read all about them. We wanted a Native souvenir for home; we bought a small basket.

Next was Tignish (,_Prince_Edward_Island). Not sure why we stopped, but Steve liked the name and wanted to see the town.

From there, it was a very short drive to North Cape, the windiest area in Canada. Consequently, they have wind farm, the first in Atlantic Canada. Also at the Cape is the North Cape Lighthouse - the northernmost point in PEI.

Continueing down the other coast, we visited West Point Light House - Canada's only lighthouse that has been converted to an inn. The roads on this portion of the island were very enjoyable. Much smoother than elsewhere.

We returnd home to our a site (now much drier) at the KOA in mid afternoon - the day's drive being much shorter than anticipated. Relaxing in the comfort of a shade tree, we waited for the arrival of Gerry and Wendy. They drove up from Harrington to have dinner with us on our last night on the island. Wendy surprised Steve with a homemade RHUBARB PIE! Pretty darn good. He's hoping Wendy will visit us in Arizona and bring some rhubarb with her. Oh, and Gerry can visit, too.

It's time to go to bed - we leave for Bangor, ME in the morning.

Distance: 212 miles (338 km - the last time I get to give you metric stuff)
Time: 5.6 hours
KPG: 39.2
No fuel
Camping: $32.60

Picture Upload Progress

I've resorted to uploading smaller pictures in order to get them on the web. Days 34 - 38 are now in SmugMug. I'm in the process of sorting and labeling them. I'll try to remember to get a higher quality picture uploaded when we have high speed access once again.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 39 (7/30/09) - Harrington to Cavendish

We left at 9:10 am (72°) under very muggy conditions and a forecast of rain.

We stopped for breakfast at the PEI Preserve Company in New Glasgow. Another good breakfast, but a little more expensive than yesterday's. The coffee at this place cost $2 and we were not offered a refill.

We got to the KOA about 10:30 as it was a short drive from Harrington. We were too early and were told that check-in time is 2 pm! We needed to do laundry and we found one nearby. Shortly after Donna started loading her washers, many more people found the laundry, too. By the time she had finished, quite a large crowd was waiting for their wash. Evidently, it's a good thing to do on a rainy day.

After the laundry, we toured a little more along the Northern Coast. Not nearly as pretty in the rain. It was at this time we discovered that diesel is not readily available in Cavendish. We had to drive about 40km out of our way to find the stuff. At least we traveled on different roads, and, guess what, more churches.

At about 3 pm we returned to the KOA in a steady downpour. It is so much fun to set up camp in the rain in red mud. As we type this entry, we are noting the possible brightening of the skies. Maybe tomorrow, our last day of touring the Island, will be a little sunny.

Distance: 95 miles (152 km)
Time: 3.1 hours
KPG: 36.7
Fuel: $81.05 (89.75 liters @ 90.3 cents per liter)
Camping: $32.60

Day 38 (7/29/09) - South Central Coast

Because it was sunny, and predicted to be that way all day, we hit the road early (7:15 am & 65°) to take advantage of the bright light. We had breakfast in Cornwall - another good meal with an added feature - eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, and coffee for only $5.99. That's before tax. The tax in PEI is around 15%, so I don't want to hear anyone complain about the high tax in Arizona.

The next stop was Fort Amherst Historical Site. We were there before 9 am and had the site to ourselves. A pretty location with many informational signs. It's another site of interest to Acadians - the orginal French settlers in the new world.

We proceeded along the scenic coast to Victoria-by-the-Sea where Donna had read, in Frommer's, "a tiny and unusually scenic village that has attracted a number of artists, boutique owners, and craftspeople". It was first settled in 1767 and the entire village consists of four square blocks. We drove all four blocks and found mostly residences. We did see a few shops, but they had not opened at that time. Donna is losing faith in Frommer's descriptions.

Further along the coast, on the way to Summerside, we had an excellent view of the Confederation Bridge, linking PEI to New Brunswick - our route off the island. The bridge is 8 miles long and took less than four years to complete. Our contribution to the structure will be $42.50 on Saturday.

An exiting stop was made at the Bottle Houses ( Turns out this is a very popular site. At $6 a person, the Arsenault Family has no retirement worries. We did take a few pictures and will upload them when we can (I think we have to return to the US before I can get a fast enough connection).

The scenery along Hiway 2, through the middle of the Island, was some of the best. We should have counted churches - it feels like every road on the Island has a church. And these are not small churches. They are frequently Catholic, and have very tall and impressive steepels. It is very difficult to believe there are enough people to even partially fill these structures.

The last stop of the day was at the Cheese Lady's Gouda where we watched a short video on the making of gouda cheese the traditional Dutch way. Sampled some cheese and, of course, bought some. I don't think it will make it home. Good stuff.

Distance: 160 miles (254 km)
Time: 5 hours
KPG: 37.4
No fuel

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photo Update

We have photos ready to upload, but don't have a fast enough connection. Maybe it'll work at our next campground in Cavendish on Thursday. I'll try tonight, but it hasn't been working well.

Day 37 (7/28/09) - Charlottetown

Today we rode in Gerry and Wendy's truck for a tour of the city. After giving up finding parking in the center of town, we found an almost empty lot by the wharf - a short distance from the center. Even though Charlottetown is PEI's largest city, it is still small enough to walk most of the downtown streets.

Our first stop was Cow's Ice Cream at the wharf - voted the best in Canada (some say "best in the world"). Steve had a scoop of mocha, chocolate something; the rest of the group declined. More on this, later.

We walked by several impressive churches (PEI is big on churches), gift shops, and even tried some beer at Charlottetown's only hand crafted ale purveyor. With the beer, we shared an appetizer of sweet potato fries with a nacho-type topping. Interesting, but quite good.

The girls decided we should walk on to Victoria Park; a pleasant boardwalk hike with another lighthouse view. This "pleasant" walk turned out to be over three miles. Whew! By the time we returned to downtown, the temperature had risen a few more degrees, and a rest was in order. Lunch was at Merchantman Pub. Three of us had salads; one had fish cakes. Again, a nice restaurant with friendly people.

On the drive back to the RV park, we stopped at Cow's Creamery. The mother ship of the Cow's Empire. Very busy serving the same expensive ice cream that Steve had earlier in the day. They advertise a "cowie wowie coffee toffee crunch" that Donna had her taste buds prepared for. Not today - they were out. So, we have to stop at Cow's again. Victoria-by-the-Sea has one and we hope to visit there tomorrow. Maybe Donna can give a positive report on that flavor, then. Anyway, the ice cream is good. Difficult to say that it's the best in the world, but some travel company has said that and it is posted in very large print in the Creamery. It shows the top 10 ice creams in the world with Cow's at #1 and Ben & Jerry's at #10. Go figure.

Back at the park, Gerry and Wendy brought out their Bocce Ball game and the guys proceeded to whip the girls.

A fun day. And, Steve didn't have to drive.

Day 36 (7/27/09) - Eastern PEI, Day 2

Day 2 of our tour of the Eastern part of the island, began with a trip to Home Depot and Canadian Tire. The shower had started leaking again, so we purchased the necessary parts for an attempted fix. We drilled holes in the floor of the shower and sprayed expandable foam into them in hopes that it would provide support for the floor. A fiberglass repair kit was used to fix the crack in the floor and cover the newly drilled holes. The floor looks pretty ugly, but maybe the leak is fixed.

We then traveled to Georgetown to see the MacDonald Memorial Garden. He was Georgetown's Father of the Confederation. Although a pretty place, it was not as expansive as the literature led us to believe. As a side note, most of the towns in PEI are very small, and have very few businesses. So, Georgetown was not unusual, but we had expected more.

Next was Montague. The reverse was true here. We expected a hamlet and found a small city. In fact, they had two car dealers - still in business. We had read about a small restaurant overlooking the bay, so we stopped for lunch. Donna had a small pasta dish - seafood linguine. Steve had the fish cakes. Both were very good, and a strawberry shortcake completed this excellent dining experience.

We stopped at PEI's only winery. I'm sorry I failed to get pictures, but it was a beautiful location overlooking the Northumberland Stait. They're proud of their wine, too.

We returned to the RV park just before a thunderstorm passed through. It served to increase the humidity a tad. However, it wasn't so bad we couldn't set outside and share a bottle of the local wine with the neighbors from Houston.

Distance: 123 miles (197 km)
Time: 3.4 hours
KPG: 37.2
No Fuel
Camping: $30.60

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 35 (7/26/09) - Eastern PEI

This morning we slept a little later than previous days; left for the days' journey at 9:40 (67° and partly sunny). Our trip today began in PEI National Park, a sand-duned, ocean front park. The beaches have redish sand, which appears to be typical for PEI. The trip was a loop to the northeastern side of the island, with stops at a light house and a distillery. We also stopped at the gift shop at Dalvay by the Sea (, the summer cottage of Alexander MacDonald, a president of Standard Oil in the 1800's. A very beautiful "cottage".

We got back to the campground about 4pm to find that Wendy and Gerry at arrived. Spent a pleasant evening with them and Ken and Sheila. All of us are here for about a week; we look forward to spending more time with them.

Distance: 155 miles (248 km)
Time: 4 hours
KPG: 39.9 kpb!
Camping: $30.60

PS - We still have slow internet, not sure if pictures can be uploaded at this time.

Day 34 (7/25/09) - Pictou, NS to Harrington, PEI

It seemed like it rained all night last night; didn't have much trouble finding our way out of the campground - there were arrows showing the way. The site only cost $24.50 and we were on our way at 8:30 (65° and light drizzle).

Arrived at the ferry terminal at 8:45 - 15 minutes after the first one left. We were the first in line in the parking lot, so we had some time to wait before the 10:30 ferry. Steve had breakfast in the terminal building - bacon and eggs - not as good as the Clucking Hen, but for $5.50, including coffee, it wasn't bad. The 10:30 ferry arrived before 10am and by 10:15 we were parked onboard. The ride across took only 75 minutes, and was quite smooth.

After a quick stop at the information center in PEI, we were on our way to Pine Hills Campground, just North of Charlottetown. We set up camp and met our neighbors, Ken and Sheila, from Houston, TX. They have a dog (Blue Heeler) named Bungles who really needs some sheep to gather. To fill the void, he has a soccer ball he "herds" with a passion.

Distance: 83.6 km
Time: 1.5 hours
KPG: 38.8
Campground: $30.60/day (we're staying 5 days)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 33 (7/24/09) - Baddeck to Pictou

We awoke to an overcast morning, and thought, "oh no, another rainy day". We left early, 7am, to try to make it around Cape Breton Highlands National Park before the end of the day. This drive is the famed Cabot Trail. A few miles down the road, we stopped at the Clucking Hen Cafe and Bakery for breakfast. We're glad we did; Donna had very good French Toast, and Steve had the best over-easy fried eggs in years. He even hugged the cook.

Sun broke through shortly thereafter, making the scenery much better. During the first part of the trip, we experienced grades of 13% for about 2km, both up and down. It's a good thing we weren't pulling Doodle. Look offs (as they say on the signs here) were beautiful; pictures certainly can't reproduce the effect.

The drive didn't take nearly as long as anticipated, maybe our stops were fewer than average. Towards the end of the Trail, we were lucky enough to see our first Moose of the trip. And what a Moose he was. Very large antlers with velvet.

Some of the more picturesque country side was seen just outside of Margaree Harbour. Many colorful and uniquely shaped houses. We stopped for lunch in the parking lot of one of the many churches along the way. Very serene. We then invested $7 at a car wash (Junior hasn't had a bath since we left home) in the area; within two hours it started to rain. As we input this blog this evening, it is raining still!

Steve decided to push on to a spot closer to the PEI ferry, and we ended up in Pictou in a most interesting campground - Harbour Light Campground. We tried to make a reservation with a phone call, but the girl who answered the phone said, "I'll call you back after I find out if something is available." She did call back with a positive confirmation. Upon arrival, the same girl had to wait until "he returns" to find out what site we'd have. Once "he" told her the appropriate site, she led us there in her car. It turns out this is a huge RV park with many seasonal occupants, and people are, seemingly, randomly place in the park. There appears to be no defined rows of sites - we're not sure we can find our way out in the morning! Further, we don't know what the cost of the site is - they wouldn't take money at check-in and told us to pay when we got around to it. We hope they're open in the morning when we leave; we don't want the RCMP after us. It is times like this we think back to that wonderful state park in Ohio and how great it really was.

Distance: 313 miles (500 km)

Time: 7.3 hours

KPG: 36

Fuel: none

Camping: Yet to be determined

PS - we still don't have a connection good enough to upload the pictures. Hopefully tomorrow's park will have

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 32 (7/23/09) - Baddeck

Yeah - sunshine today!

We ate breakfast in the campground's cafe and left at 9:30 (61°) for a tour of the Sydney area before our 1:30 boat trip to Bird Island. We stopped at Englishtown to check out the location of the boat and discovered a tour leaving with seats available. We took the 10am tour instead.

The seas were a little rough because the tide was changing and the weather was still clearing. There was some concern that it might be a little too rough for the trip. In fact, one passenger turned so green he had to relocate to the stern. The tour leader said it was the first time in 14 years that someone barfed in her boat - heretofore, they had made it to the railing. And, we were there!

The seas remained slightly choppy all the way to Bird Island. We saw numerous bald eagles - the tour guide threw out fish to attract them, and they complied by flying low and close to the boat - no more than 6 feet away. An impressive sight.

Numerous types of birds were seen on, and around, the island. But, the bird we were there to see was the Atlantic Puffin. We were not disappointed. Many of the cute little buggers were seen bobbing in the ocean like rubber ducks. We could see some in holes in the cliffs were they were nesting, and other flying about, rapidly beating their small wings. They have to work hard at flying. Also seen were several types of gulls, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, cormorants, and herons.

Most of my pictures were taken through wet windows on a rocking boat so they weren't so good. A few are shown on Smugmug (probably tomorrow - internet extremely slow). If you're reading this blog to get information on a trip of your own, I'd recommend taking the other tour company to Bird Island - Bird Island Boat Tours. Their trip leaves from a point closer to Bird Island and we noticed their boat had open windows for all of their passengers. An open window would have allowed us to take much better photos. And, the guy that barfed was not on their boat.

A note about the current campground - Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground. This is the best campground we've seen on this trip. The sites appear to be level and each site is separated from the next by large evergreen trees. Even the road to the campground is paved. Very nice.

We ate lunch out and Steve got his piece of rhubarb pie (with a little bit of strawberries) and ice cream.

A great day with no rain! Tomorrow we begin our trip around Cape Breton Highland National Park - the Cabot Trail.

Distance traveled: 90 miles (145 km)
Time: 2.2 hours
KPG: 33
Fuel: $54.84 (62 l at $.91/l)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 31 (7/22/09) - Antigonish to Baddeck

Today was a short day. 94 miles from Antigonish to Baddeck, home of Alexander Graham Bell's National Historic Site (Museum). It rained most of the way.

The museum shows that Bell was so much more than the telephone. In fact, much of his life was spent in helping deaf people learn to talk. He spent much time with flying things - kites and airplanes. The museum is filled with his many models involving transmission of sound, either via electricity or light; and structural components.

Photography was difficult in the museum, but I have uploaded one taken of a model of the hydrofoil built for the military to track submarines.

Since tomorrow is expected to be partly sunny, we've scheduled a boat tour of bird island to see the Puffins.

KPG: 34.1
Campground: $31 C

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 30 (7/21/09) - Peggy's Cove to Antigonish

Steve checked the miles on all of the touring in the Halifax area - 286 miles. It seemed further.

We departed Peggy's Cover in sprinkling rain at 8:15 (66°). The first leg of this journey was to Mahone Bay to see the most photographed spot in Nova Scotia - the three churches. They would have looked much better in bright sun light. A few km down the road was Lunenburg, the home of Bluenose II. The Bluenose II led the Tall Ship parade yesterday. A sacred ship to the Nova Scotians (only because it won every race against the Americans!). See the appropriate web sites regarding Bluenose and Bluenose II - it's an interesting story. Lunenburg is one of NS most historic villages. UNESCO declared the downtown area a World Heritage Site. We were there early enough this morning to miss the crowds. The Bluenose II had returned to her berth and the crew was preparing her for Lunenburg's Tall Ship festival - some of the ships in the Halifax celebration were at Lunenburg.

We then got on one of the major NS highways (much smoother road) toward Antigonish. Along the way we detoured to Cape George to see the light house. Once again the roads were rough, but the view was spectacular (albeit gloomy). We arrived at our campground in downtown Antigonish to a light sprinkle.

The weather forecast does not look good for tomorrow - a good day for a museum and a laundromat. Alexander G. Bell's museum is a short distance away and get's rave reviews from everybody we talk to. Since we are old Bell System employees, we must go!

Distance Traveled: 285 miles (455 km)
Time Traveled: 6.1 hours
KPG: 35.9
Fuel: $46 (51.5 litres at .89/liter - full service; this means the fuel was pumped for me, I had to wash the window)
Camping: $37.50 C

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 29 (7/20/09) - Halifax

On Sunday we had scoped out a viewing spot for the Parade of Sails.  Rumor had it that this was a popular location for viewing, so we knew we had to get their early.  We left Peggy’s Cove at 7:45 am – sunny and 58 degrees.  We headed for York Redoubt Park (an old artillery installation that was used in WWII, but the attack never came) just SE of Halifax.  We arrived at 8:30, the second car in the parking lot, and claimed our spot.

The Parade of Sails was to start in the Halifax Harbor at Noon.  The first ships came by us before 11am.  And, by that time our secluded little spot was inundated with people.  EVERYWHERE!  The ships passed us, turned, and went back towards Halifax to circle the harbor.  It was a long process, as they were to travel no faster than 5 knots and it seemed a lot slower than that.

We did get some good pictures of several of the tall ships, but can’t upload them until we find a better connection.  I think we forgot to upload Day 22 as well.  We are getting behind – too much to do. 

Now, we’ll go outside and watch the sunset with a glass a wine.

Tomorrow we travel to Lunenburg, and then backtrack toward Cape Breton.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 28 (7/19/09) - Halifax

The first good day at Peggy's Cove. A great sunset tonight.

Today we took a shuttle bus into Halifax to be part of the Tall Ships festival along the wharf. Many, many people! Too many to make it fun. We walked by all the ships; took a few pictures and headed for a place to sit. We ate a light dinner with Gary and Wendy - people we met a few days ago.

Tonight was a great sunset at our RV park. I think we could spend several days here, but we must move on. Tomorrow we'll view the Parade of Sails. Hope to have some good pictures of that.

Stay tuned.

Day 27 (7/18/09) - Peggy's Cove (Halifax)

Not too much to preport today. Dense fog and rain!

We did drive into town in an attempt to scope out the parking situation. What an experience! Narrow and crowded streets. A lot of the parking is already reserved. Hills. People parking in the street. Streets barely 2 lanes wide. In other words, don't take your RV into downtown Halifax. And, this was on a rainy day when the crowds were smaller. It does look like an interesting city in which to walk around. We did see the masts of the tall ships.

A part of this day was spent shopping at Costco (we've purchased yet another GPS in hopes of finding one that will actually help with the navigation chores - this one was only $149 - something around $120 US). It's another Magellan and does have a readable display. Donna got her hair shortened quite a bit, but she says it is a good cut. In this humidity it was taking way too long to dry - this should help.

The fog is supposed to lift before noon today (7/19/09) and we plan to park in a shopping center and take the shuttle into town. Hope to meet Gerry and Wendy for dinner. We met them in St. Martin's, NB.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 26 (7/17/09) – Truro – Peggy’s Cove

Scotia Pines did live up to it’s name as a Quiet, Family Campground.  A very restful evening in the drizzling rain.  We departed at 8:50 and 63 degrees.  A little fog.  Decided to eat breakfast out at a restaurant we had seen the day before.  It was closed.  So, it was a breakfast sandwich at Tim Horton’s (which, by the way, are all over the place – the Starbucks of Canada).

The first stop was Burncoat Head, location of the highest recorded tide in the world.  On October 5, 1869, the difference between high and low tide was an astounding 54’.  At the tide’s peak, extensive flooding and damage along the coast by a violent storm which became known as Saxby’s Gail.  Saxby was an astronomer that predicted a high world-wide tide at that time.  He was right!

There was an interesting quote by Joseph Howe, a local politician in the 1800s “brag of your country.  When I’m abroad I brag of everything that Nova Scotia is, has, or can produce; when they beat me at everything else, I say, ‘how high do your tides rise?’”

We saw our first eagle of the trip, guarding his territory from a high treetop.

The on the Windsor, the birthplace of hockey.  It was very exciting for Donna, the former diehard hockey fan.  The Heritage Museum was closed for lunch, so we ate out meal #2 of the day. 

On our way back to the RV after visiting the museum, we encountered two older, local gentlemen, one in a St. Louis Cardinals t-shirt.  Steve struck up a conversation and found that wearing red on Friday was to show support for the troops.  The conversation quickly turned to things like – what do we think of Obama, bailouts, war, economy, etc.  Those Canadians like to talk politics.

We planned to go to a winery near Windsor, by one of the gentlemen said to skip it and go to one near Grand Pre’.  Good recommendation.  Good setting.  Wine way pretty good, but we passed.  The Grand Pre is very important to the Acadians – the original French settlers.  Do a search and read all about how they were treated.

We continued through Wolfville, a charming University town with stately trees and beautiful heritage homes.  They win the house prize, so far.  Made a quick stop at the Fox Hill Cheese House and bought a small hunk of cheese made with milk from only Canadian cows.

Our goal for the night was the Kentville area.  We went to the largest and highesst rated campground in the area and discovered an ocean of pop-up trailers and kids.  Called two other places; they were full, as well.  Seems every family in Nova Scotia camps on the weekend.  We were not too far away from Saturday night’s reserved campground – King Neptune in Peggy’s Cover – we called them and secured a site for Friday.  Arrived at King Neptune around 5:30; found a nice site real close to the shore; and were told to get to know our neighbors.  Turns out our neighbors own a house in Mesa (they are from Ontario).  Another couple nearby is from Tucson, and a third couple is from NJ and dreams of living in Arizona.  We went to dinner with them – our third meal out of the day.  We’ll be better tomorrow.

We have reserved this place for four nights.  We’ll tour the area some (if the fog lifts) and see the tall ships on Sunday and Monday.  Monday the Sail Away Parade and the current weather forecast is for sun!

Our internet access here is VERY slow, so update will not be current for the next few days.

Distance: 240 miles (384 km)

Driving Time: 6.1 hours

KPG: 37.2

Fuel:  none purchased

Camping: $29

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 25 (7/16/09) - Hopewell Cape, NB to Truro, NS

Our journey continued this morning at 8:50 (58°). We drove the last leg of the uncomfortably rough roads of NB and arrived in Nova Scotia at 10:20. Finally, paradise, but guess what the girl at the welcome center said? "Our roads aren't much better!" However, our selection of roads today were considerably better than NB.

We did receive a lot of good information at the center that should help us in Halifax when visiting the tall ships.

While having our picture taken at the "welcome" sign, we talked to a family from the NW Territory - so, others have come a long way, too.

Our first stop was the Joggins Fossil Cliffs ( This area is renowned for it's extensive deposits of 300 million year old fossils. The visitor center is newly opened and displays an extensive collection of both plant and animal fossils. It was kind of strange finding it at the end of a country road in a very small town. We walked on the beach along the cliff and tried to find "new" fossils, but were not successful.

Next was Cape d'Or Lighthouse at the end of a hilly (steep at times) dirt road. Interestingly, none of the information, either printed or displayed along the road, mentioned anything about the access. Larger motorhomes and trailers would have had a very difficult time getting there. It is at the base of a sheer cliff rising 492'. It was established in 1922 and manned until 1989. It now serves as a restaurant and bed and breakfast.

After driving through numorous little villages, we stopped at Parrsboro to view the warf area at which some of the highest tides in the world are experienced. Along this shore, tides rise and fall as much as 50', and twice a day they completly drain the town harbor, leaving boats resting on the sea floor. The incoming tides lift the dockside fishing boats as much a 2" a minute.

We're now at a nice and quiet campground in Truro. After many days, we visited our first Canadian Wal-mart this evening. We saw something being sold there that we've never seen in Arizona's stores - hockey sticks and pucks!

Driving distance: 242 miles (387 km)
Driving time: 6.9 hours (lots of slow driving)
MPG: 38.6 Km/gal
Fuel: $42.33 C (46.7l at $0.91 per liter)
Camping: $32.54 C

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 24 (7/15/09) - St. Martins to Hopewell Cape, NB

We almost spent another day at Century Farm Campground - it was a very nice spot close to the beach. But, Nova Scotia beckons. So, we departed at 9:05 (temp 58°).

We took a scenic drive up the Fundy Trail Parkway, sort of like a National Park. However, this park was very clean - almost looked new. And, there were very few people. We had some great views of ocean cliffs. We saw a single Cedar Waxwing; according to our bird book, a single bird is a rare site.

We crossed the Big Salmon River on a suspension bridge. One of the hills in the park had a 16% grade; probably the steepest we've driven Junior.

The highlight of the day was spending almost $15 doing laundry in Sussex. And, still, the towels were slightly damp. The towels haven't been dry since we left New Mexico.

As we traveled the very bad roads of NB, we found a winery that produced rhubarb and blueberry wines. Neither wine really tasted like those fruits (is rhubarb a fruit?), but they were pretty good. We bought more wine. BTW, we did a wine run in Sussex at the provincial liquor store and paid almost twice the price as stores at home.

We arrived at Ponderosa Pines RV park at 4:45pm. It's another nice spot near the beach - we can't see the Bay of Fundy from our windows, but we can hear it. Kind of sounds like interstate traffic. Tomorrow Nova Scotia!

Distance Traveled: 131 Miles (209 km)
Time Traveled: 4.5 hours
MPG: 36.7 kpg
Fuel: none purchased
Camping: $37.60 C

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 23 (7/14/09) - Campobello to St. Martins, NB

This morning it was 63° when we left Herring Cove Campground at 9:15. We decided not to take the ferry, but to drive the rough and tumble highway 189 in the US toward Highway 1 up to Calais, ME. We crossed into Canada to St. Stephen. There was a short line into Canada, but a very long line into the US. It seems the Canadians prefer to buy their fuel in the US where the price is about $2.70 a gallon; Canada charges about $.96 a litre (~ $4.00 gallon). On the way to Calais, we passed the 45th parallel - halfway between the equator and the north pole! You had to be there to believe it.

We stopped at the St. Croix Island overlook to have lunch. A French colony was established on St. Croix in 1604. Most of the settlers died of scurvy. Their survivors moved on and established Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

The next stop was the Atlantic Salmon Interpretive Center in Chamcook. We now have a completely different appreciation for this tasty fish. It seems they are much smarter than we thought.

We are camping at Century Farm Family Campground at St. Martins. A beautiful view of the bay. We were invited to dinner by a couple camping behind us - Gerry and Wendy Vickers from Alberta. Turns out they spend their winters in Casa Grande. Maybe they'll try Gold Canyon.

Driving Distance: 283 km - it's Canada, eh?
Driving time: 4.5 hours
KPG: 36.8
Fuel: $30.19 US (11.4 gal at $2.64 per gal)
Camping: $26.44

Day 22 (7/13/09) – Harrington, ME to Campobello, NB

Sorry for the late post, be we were camping in a dead spot for communications.

We left Sunset Point RV Park at 9:10; delayed slightly because we had to make a couple of phone calls. The park looked a lot better in the morning sun. We walked to the beach and took a few pictures before departure. Temperature was 71°.

Our first stop was the Ruggles House in Columbia Falls, ME. It is noted for it’s flying staircase; alas, it had not opened when we arrived. Next was a quick stop at “Wild Blueberry Land” for a magnet search. There was no customer service; even if they’d had a blueberry magnet, Donna is sure she wouldn’t have purchased from them. See a picture on SmugMug.

The first highlight of the day was the Burnham Tavern Museum in Machias, ME. One of 21 buildings identified as having the most significance to the American Revolution ( It served as the meeting place where plans were formulated for the first naval battle of the revolutionary war, which resulted in the capture of the British-armed vessel Margaretta. It’s been run by the DAR since 1910; however, it was depressing to see several pieces of needlework (x-stitch samplers & hooked rug) being given less protection than they deserve. These were symbols of American History that soon may be lost forever. Our guide agreed with us. Photos were not allowed due to security reasons.

Next was West Quoddy Lighthouse – the Eastern most point in the United States. This Head Light was built in 1808 and rebuilt in 1858. It was there we had our picnic lunch. A very nice spot.

Lastly, we crossed into Canada on the FDR Memorial Bridge to Campobello Island, NB. Campobello was the Summer home of the family of FDR. “ From 1883, when Franklin was one year old, until he was stricken by polio in 1921, he spent most of his summers at” this 34 room cottage. This International Park is very well-maintained and displays some of the original furnishings.

We camped at the Herring Cove Provincial Park – the only campground on this island. No phone service, no internet, no TV, and our credit card does not work in the local ATM. We hope the card works better on the mainland of New Brunswick.

Miles: 92 (146 km)

Diving Time: 3.5 hours

KPG: 31.5

Camping Cost: $24.50 Canadian

Fuel: none purchased

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 21 (7/12/09) - Shelburne NH to Harrington ME

After a drizzly night, a beautiful morning greeted us. We left at 7:50 (59°) because we were eating breakfast out! We saw a review online for The Moonbeam Cafe in Gorham, NH, just up the road. It's a small place and the review said if we didn't get there by 8am on Sunday, we'd have to wait in line. We arrived shortly after 8am and were seated immediately. Quaint little place that used to be a barber shop. Steve had blueberry pancakes with "local" maple syrup and Donna had her maple syrup on french toast made from Portuguese Sweet Bread (whatever that means). Both were very good.

On to Maine via highway 16. We didn't stop at the Wilhelm Reich museum - it didn't open until 1pm and we passed it's entrance at 10:30. Guess we'll never know the "secrets" he uncovered.

By the time we got to Rangeley, the scenic route mode had become tiresome. So, we took Hiway 4 towards Farmington, ME. During that stretch, we encountered some construction. At one point we rounded a bend and a sign stating "pavement ends" greated us. There was no indication from signage regarding the length of the non-pavement. We flagged down an oncoming motorist with Maine plates and were told it only lasts a couple of miles. Whew! We rewarded ourselves with ice cream at Gifford's Ice Cream ( in Farmington.

We proceeded to I95 in Waterville and took it to Bangor. We then headed South toward Acadia National Park. Since we had been there before, we elected to bypass this park and head NE on Hiway 1 along the coast. Finally found an acceptable rv park (maybe because it was the last one for many miles) in Harrington. It's called the Sunset Point RV Park. Just as we pulled in, a large fog bank arrived. It's been here ever since. When we checked in, I asked the owner where we should go to view the sunset and he suggested Florida or Arizona! I think they're getting a little tired of the rain here.

We head for Campobello International Park in the morning.

Distance: 279 miles
Driving time: 7.1 hours
MPG: 24
Fuel: $50.00 (19.2 gal at $2.60/gal)
Camping: $22 (no discount for lack of sunset)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 20 (7/11/09) - Colchester, VT to Shelburne, NH

After departure at 8:20 (70°) we drove through Burlington, an interesting, laid-back, bohemian-looking town, with lots of stop lights - all red!!

Just outside the city at Richmond, we stopped to see "The Old Round Church." A 16-sided building, constructed in 1812-13 as a worship place for five different denominations ( Today it's used for special events, such as concerts and weddings. We arrived too early and were unable to see inside.

Stopped at a small shopping complex, near Waterbury, wherein they sold Cabot Cheese, Vermont Wine and Chocolate. The manager of the Cabot Cheese store had just returned from a week in Nova Scotia and PEI. She thoroughly enjoyed her trip, though the weather was somewhat dreary. There were few visitors and, at times, she was able to drive for 30-45 minutes without seeing another car! Due to the lack of tourists, service personnel were very attentive wherever she went. We can hardly wait.

The highlight of the day, I guess, was a visit to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. We had the obligatory ice cream (it WAS very good) and purchased a small souvenir. The crowd was much smaller than we expected; we were the only RV in the parking lot when we left. In fact, we have seen very few RVs during this part of the trip.

We drove through some pretty scenic stuff in the White Mountains of NH. Lots of weekend visitors from MA, ME, NY, CT, and RI. Some crowded roads. We're now in a very quiet RV park (only two kids!) near the Maine state line. Supposed to be a heavy thunderstorm in a few hours, but might be better tomorrow.

Tomorrow we may stop at the Welhelm Reich museum. Didn't know anything about him, but found out he might have been a little strange. See a wiki about him at - Maybe we'll learn a little!

Distance: 191 miles
Driving time: 5.6 hours
MPG: 23.1
Fuel: none puchased
Camping: $29.43

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 19 (7/10/09) - Lake George to Colchester, VT

We departed Ledgeview RV at 8:10 (57 degrees). First stop was Ft. Ticonderoga. To our surprise it is not a National Monument. It is a non-profit site that wants $15 to walk around the Fort. Seemed a little steep, so we moved on.

The next stop was the Shelburne Museum ( just South of Burlington. Frommer's said it best ..

"Think of this sprawling museum as New England's attic. Located on 45 acres on the shores of Lake Champlain, the Shelburne Museum not only has the usual exhibits of quilts and early glass, but also entire buildings preserved like specimens in formaldehyde."

The Tiffany Glass and the hooked rugs special exhibits were the most impressive to Donna. Her favorite "formaldehyde" building was the 195o's house.

A couple of buildings were closed for a special event, which we learned was a visit by the Governor, Senator Leahy, and the French Ambassador. Turns out the Ambassador was presenting the wampum belts for a special exhibit. They must have had some scheduling problems as that exhibit was supposed to open on July 2. Bummer.

Next was a visit to "Snowflake" Bentley's Museum in Jericho (a Frommer recommendation). Housed in an old red mill, in a small town, the photographs of Wilson Bentley ( were displayed. "From the time of his first successful print in January 1885, he took over 5,000 microphotographs of snow crystals. This was done with the simplest equipment: a microscope, a bellows camera, light from a window for his exposures, sunlight to develop his prints, and a brook to wash negatives" - Museum Brochure

Bentley's work was published in National Geographic, Scientific American, and the National Weather Service Research Journal. He died in 1931 shortly after his book, "Snow Crystals", was published. He was one of the first to profess the uniqueness of each snowflake. "Each snowflake is as different from it's fellows as we human beings are from each other."

Distance Traveled: 126 miles
Travel Time: 4 hrs
MPG: 23.9
Fuel: $37.07 (13.7 gal at $2.69 per gal)
Camping: $44.52!!!! Might as well stay in a motel. Seems a little high for camping next to all these kids.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 17 (7/8/09) - Lantz Corners, PA to Lake George, NY

Departed Foote Rest RV Park at 8:55 (temp 57). Found out that camping cost $30.18 and the terrible tasting water "had been tested by the PA Dept of ... and found to be ok to drink". It was full of iron and left a rusty spot on the RV! We were told that all of NW PA's water tasted the same. We are now buying distilled water for our drinks.

Our orignal plans were to spend the night in the Seneca Falls area after visiting several wineries. Instead, we chose the "shorter" wine trail along Keuka Lake, and only stopped at two wineries. Both were good and we have a case of white from the Fox Run Winery being shipped to home. We'll use one of those wines as our "wine from home" next season.

The first winery was Macgregor's. This winery was way up the hillside and afforded great views of the lake. We only tasted one wine there, so didn't have to pay the tasting fee; we did buy the wine. A very good unoaked chardonnay. Talked to the owner a little bit and petted his Portuguese Water Dog - Max. He said, "You may not believe this, but I used to live next door to Barack Obama in Chicago. I like to think that Max and I were the reason he picked his dog, but I know it probably was because of the Kennedy's. However, several people in the neighborhood had Portuguese Water Dogs. So, who knows?" Interesting gentleman.

Oh, BTW, Smethport, PA is home of Wooly Willy. Look him up.

Sometime during the day of driving through many, many small towns, I made the decision to return to the interstate for a while. I needed the rest; too many speed changes. At that time we decided to drive on to Lake George and spend two nights there. I'm glad we changed plans, yet once again, we saw 5 different rainbows on the way. One was complete and appeared to begin over the interstate lanes to our left. Beautiful scenery.

I may have mentioned this before, but our two GPSs failed early on in the trip and we bought another - a Mio S501 - Samantha. The iWay's screen failed to respond to touches (it's now in a trash can somewhere) and the new Magellan has no longer allowed us to create routes (it always wants to restart). So, Samantha has been our routing friend/foe. Donna continues to use the map and other paper guides, in case Samantha wants to take us down some country road - which sometimes she is wont to do. Many times I'd like to throw Samantha out the window. However, yesterday afternoon we let Samantha have her way and drove through downtown Saratoga Springs. What a beautiful, quaint, and vibrant area. Many restaurants with outdoor dining and people everywhere. The attraction seemed to be the New York City Ballet performing in town.

Made it to Ledgeview RV just before sundown - happy to get out of the rig for a little while. A pretty quiet park, but a little pricey at $39. Today (Thursday, July 9) was spent doing washing and ironing, and planning the next few days.

We'll try to leave a little earlier in the morning because the weather forecast sounds good and there are some neat things to see in Vermont.

Miles Driven: 393
Driving Time: 8.7 hours !!!! Let's don't do that again.
MPG: 22.6
Fuel: $47.62 (17 gal at $2.80 - and it's getting higher)
Camping: $78 (two nights)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mini - Post

We're in Lake George, NY. We didn't win the $133M Mega-million jackpot, so we have to continue our trip. Plan to be here for two nights. I'll update the blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 16 - West Branch to Lantz Corners, PA

We left at 9:30 (we've got to start earlier) and it was 68°.

We took off for Pennsylvania. Donna saw on the map, several days ago, the Great Blue Heron Sanctuary near Greenville. We looked for more information online and through the AAA function of our GPS, but found little about the place. It was mentioned in various web sites. Red Flag No. 1!

As was we got closer to Greenville, we saw no signs directing us to the sanctuary. Red Flag No. 2!

We continued to follow the map and found the location which, obviously, hadn't been used in years. See the pictures on SmugMug. Donna was bummed!


The next point of interest we had selected on the map was DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin, PA. It did not disappoint. This is a see and hear museum that presents an extensive collection of old-time mechanical musical instruments ( Mechanical music is defined as any music produced by other than human hands - player pianos, nickelodeons, carousel organs, and music boxes. From a web site -

" This collection was begun about 50 years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Jake DeBence, then dairy farmers in Grove City. Although neither of the DeBences were musicians, both loved the music produced by these wonderful mechanical marvels. After retirement in 1960, the DeBences moved to the Franklin area and kept their music box and antique music machine collection in their barn a few miles outside of town. After Jake passed away, the museum became a non-profit organization and relocated to historic downtown Franklin."

It's the second don't miss-it location we've found; we're glad we had to reroute our trip. And then we ate out. We're spending the night at Foote Rest RV Park. The office was closed when we arrived, so don't know for sure how much this costs. The park is filled with tame rabbits (the large pet variety).

Distance: 188 miles
Driving Time: 4.6 hours
MPG: 24.3
Camping Cost: ??
Fuel: Did not purchase

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 15 - Bluffton, IN to West Branch State Park, OH

Departed Bluffton at 9:15 and 69°. We took highway 30 across Ohio; really nice because the truck speed limit was 55 and cars was 65. And, it is a mostly smooth divided highway.

The AAA information on our GPS indicated we should stop in Mansfield, OH to see the Richland Carousel Park; we thought it would be a good lunch stop. After all, it is a park. However, the "park" was a building on a street corner that housed the merry-go-round. Didn't look that special, anyway, so we moved on to Kingwood Center, also in Mansfield. This is the estate of Charles King ( It is 47 acres of landscaped gardens, trails, and ponds. Lot's of pretty flowers, but it was probably best early in the Spring because they have one of the country's largest displays of tulips and daffodils. Pictures have been uploaded to SmugMug. We enjoyed our lunch under a shade tree by the parking lot!!!

We were tired of hiway 30, very little to see on the way, so on AAA recommendation, we headed down highway 39 through Amish Country (BTW, Berlin is very crowded with tourists at the "Amish" stores) towards Dover to visit the Warther Carving Museum ( Everybody should visit this place!! "Mooney" Warther found a pocket knife when he was 5 years old, began to carve, and continued until he was 85. There are amazing displays of locomotives in ivory, ebony, and walnut. You have to see it to believe it. His early works were multiple pliers made from one piece of wood (see pictures on SmugMug). While he carved, his wife collected buttons. Over 73,000 of them! She made elaborate framed displays - again, you have to see it to believe it. He also collected great quantities of native american arrow heads (Don, take note!). I'll upload as many pictures as I think needed to show the collection. The staff was very nice and offered us free camping in their parking lot. However, it was too early to stop, so we moved on to ----

West Branch State Park near Ravenna, OH. One of the nicest State Park camping grounds we've seen. It cost $25, but it's work it. The bird of the evening is the Grey Catbird.

Tomorrow - Pennsylvania

Distance Traveled: 300 miles
Driving Time: 7.2 hours
MPG: 22.7
Camping Cost: $25
Fuel: $49.94 (19.3 gal at $2.49/gal)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Update to Today

Needed to say that both Illinois and Indiana have LOTS of corn. There is another crop that I suspect is some sort of bean (soybeans?), but I don't know what it is. It's a close second after CORN.

Update to Today

The KOA in Bluffton has wifi. Normally wifi at a campground is not good. Most of the time you can't even get access. HOWEVER, this campground has the best wifi I've ever seen - over 3mb/s!! If only Gold Canyon could be so good.

Day 14 - Petersburg to Bluffton, IN

We left the Ray's at 8:15 - 62° and raining. As we left their park, our directional signals failed. Steve removed the relay and reinstalled and they started working again. Was it rusting already? We did note the part number, just in case.

Gibson City we stopped at another city park to stretch our legs. This little park had just completed their installation of a small campground for RVs! Probably 10 sites. Very nice; water and electric for only $10 a night. Consider it if you're in the area!

We ate lunch in a city park in Watseka. We hit the Indiana state line at 12:25 (central time). At Monticello a Wal-Mart stop and a stop at the Whyte (this is the correct spelling) Horse Winery - a nice setting, but the dry white wines were about $25, so we moved on.

That was on to Peru, home of Cole Porter. AND, the Circus Capital of the World (we've noticed that a lot of places are "The Captial" fo something). We tried to visit the Circus City Festival Museum, but because it was Sunday, they were closed. However, there were workers preparing for next week's 50th Anniversary Amateur Circus Festival offered to show us around. The museum was locked, but he took us into their performance arena. Each year approximately 200 young people, ages 7 to 21, supported by a tremendous number of adult volunteers, present 10 performance during an 8 day period in July. Some were practicing in the arena at the time. We wanted a refrigerator magnet, but because the sales cases were locked, our nice guide gave us a name badge sticker with the festival logo that Donna will make into a magnet in the Fall.

We're spending the night at a brand new KOA in Bluffton, IN. The park isn't completed, but it is in a very nice and quiet location near the Wabash River. Glad we stopped here. Tomorrow is Ohio.

Distance Traveled: 286 miles
Driving Time: 6 hrs 30 min
MPG: 23
Camping: $32
Fuel: $44.99 (17.3 gal at $2.60 gal)

Day 13 - Rainy 4th of July

It rained all day on the 4th, so we went to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield. Very interesting place; the normal letters, dresses, cups & saucers, but this museum also had high tech audio-visual presentations. If you get a chance - go.

That afternoon Jim cooked a pork loin, potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, green beans, and rolls. We must say that Linda helped, too, and also made a great fruit salad. Afterwards, Jim and Steve made ice cream ... at least they sat and watched the freezer turn!!

A very good weekend in spite of the rain.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 12 - Desloge to Petersburg, IL

Corn, corn, corn and we're not in Iowa. Lot's of corn here. We had our picnic lunch at the American Legion ball field in Carlinville, IL. All by ourselves.

Just watched the fireworks show at Jim & Linda's place outside of Petersburg. They paid $500 for their lot a few years ago; their monthly fee for everything except electricity is $45. What a deal.

Internet access is slow here, so I can't add much more. We'll leave here on Sunday - Day 14.

Miles Driven: About 195
No other information available.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 10 - Ft. Smith to Desloge, MO

Departed Ft. Smith at 8:45 - Humid and 84° F. Camping near the river in that weather is a little different than Arizona! It's almost like living in ... Iowa.

We met Steve's niece for lunch in Bentonville. She used to be a blond, so it was a shock to see somebody else.

As we've said before, interstates are the pits. And this day was no different. We don't think we've seen as many trucks as on this day's travel. We believe more than half the traffic is freight. What would we do if the trucks stopped??? A small construction project (one side of the road for only a 100'), tied up traffic for about 45 minutes. The delay was caused, in no small part, to people refusing to merge until the last possible moment.

We found a nice city park with swimming pool in Cuba, MO. This is where we had our dinner sandwich. Very nice. We hope the city parks continue to make themselves available.

At Donna's parents today we worked. Donna has been washing and ironing (and helping Steve). Steve has been caulking the roof and trying to provide support under the shower to eliminate further plastic flex. Donna was successful; hoping Steve was, too.

Tomorrow morning it's on to Jim and Linda's place with a stop at Costco in St. Louis for some supplies (the grape kind).

Miles Driven: 398
Travel Time: 7.9 hours
MPG: 20.5
Fuel: $52.25 (20.9 gal @ $2.50/gal)

Camping Cost in Ft. Smith was $36 for two night.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 8 - Ft. Smith

We are in Ft. Smith, AR visiting Steve's mother.

Didn't stay in Junior last night (applied glue to a cracked shower floor - had to let it set), but, rather, slept on the floor in her apartment. This evening we have moved to the state park campground about 8 miles from her place.

We expect to leave here Wednesday for Donna's folks in Desloge, and leave there on Friday to really begin the trip.

It was very difficult to find a campsite for Friday or Saturday of this week. Luckily, Jim and Linda will be home and offered us a campsite at their place for those two nights. They spend the Summers just North of Springfield, IL and have an extra RV site for guests. Jim says we'll get to see a large fireworks display on the 4th. Jim and Linda usually spend some of their Winters in Apache Junction. Some of you may have remembered them from a couple of years ago when Jim workamped at Gold Canyon. Thanks guys - see you Friday.

This will change our trip slightly; we'll cross the country a little further North in IL, IN, and OH, but expect to miss the major cities and return to the original plan in NY.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 6 - Amarillo to Checotah, OK

When we left Amarillo at 9am it was 82 degrees - looking back, now, that was pretty cool!

A very long day of travel across Texas and Oklahoma. It's not because I'm from Kansas that I say this, but I really don't want to go through Texas or Oklahoma again. I can't get on my soap box on this blog (says Donna), but the United States is changing.

Saw a couple of long trains transporting military vehicles - all painted desert beige. Had never seen that kind of train before. Hopefully, one of the pictures turned out ok and I'll upload it.

We stopped for lunch in Dill City, Oklahoma, thinking for sure every small town has a City Park. After driving around town for a while, we gave up and parked by a deserted building on main street. Fired up the generator to power the air conditioner (it was 100 degrees), and ate our sandwiches. As we left town, we passed a cute little city park - it would have been too hot to eat outside anyway.

Did you know the home of Johnny Bench is in Binger, OK? Well, neither did we. By the way, Henryetta, OK is the home of Troy Aikman. We're staying at the KOA in Checotah (home of Carrie Underwood - American Idle Winner). So, I guess some good things come from Oklahoma.

We'll be at Steve's mom for a couple of days and then some time at Donna's folks, so don't expect a blog update until about the 4th. Oh, by the way, we're having problems finding places to stay this next weekend. Something about a holiday.

Miles Driven: 385
Travel Time: ~ 6 hrs
MPG: 19.7
Fuel: $30.52 (11.8 gal $2.59/gal)
Camping: $22.45

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 5 - Raton, NM to Amarillo, TX

Welcome to Chris and Mary.

We left the Raton KOA at 8:50; it was 71 degrees and sunny. The main site of the day was Capulin (cah-poo-Leen, Spanish for Choke Cherry shrub that grows throughout the park) Volcano National Monument (and with my new Senior Pass - it was FREE).

"It erupted into existence sometime between 56,000 and 62,000 years ago. Capulin conical form rises over 1,300 feet above the plains to 8,182' above the sea level. The cone consists chiefly of loose cinders (one found Steve's eye), ash, and other rock debris formed by gaseous lava that cooled quickly. The volcano's symmetry was preserved because subsequent lava flows did not come from the main crater, but from the boca (Spanish for mouth), located at the Western base of the cone. From the highest point on the crater rim trail on a clear day, visitors can see formations in Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Some claim to see Kansas, but since there are no high points in western Kansas (Steve says there are some high points in Kansas - he's not sure where), it's hard to tell. The last formation in New Mexico to the east, Rabbit Ear Mountain, is visible on clear days and anything beyond it is Texas."

The main reason for revisiting Capulin was to see the ladybugs. From the Monument's web site -

Convergent Ladybug Beetle(Hippodamia convergens)- this beetle gets its name from the converging white lines on its thorax. They usually have 13 black dots on an orange elytra or shell.

Each summer at Capulin Volcano a new generation of ladybugs participates in a passive, or wind-carried, migration and takes up residence at the highest points of the volcano. After feeding all summer, they hibernate through the winter on the volcano. Surviving beetles then catch a warm current off the volcano in February to the south to reproduce. Since the wind carries the ladybug in its migration, it has a hard time controlling its destination and may go to aphid-infested fields near the volcano or maybe to aphid-rich wheat fields in Texas.

During a lifespan of a few months, the females lay up to 500 eggs on leaves and twigs. The eggs hatch and the larvae engorge themselves on the aphids. After the larvae clear the area of aphids, they pupate. Since the larvae usually clean the area of their favorite food, aphids, the adults migrate back to Capulin Volcano to await the opportunity when they too can go back to these aphid-rich areas and lay their eggs.

We had seen them many years ago on a motorcycle trip with friends from St. Louis. Donna was so impressed; she wanted to see them again. This is, afterall, a trip to "smell the roses" or "see the ladybugs." We succeeded. See the photos for a few examples.

We changed our itinerary to Amarillo so we could do laundry. We're staying at the Overnite RV Park. We've stayed here before and now note that things have changed a little. Upkeep is lagging.

Tomorrow, we know not where. We have yet to find an acceptable campground in Oklahoma on our "Blue Highways" route.

Distance: 237 miles
Travel Time: 4 hrs 37 min
MPG: 18.1 (it was really windy)
Fuel: $38.81 ($2.60/gal)
Camping: $27