We left PEI and headed back to Maine on a very rainy day, but the trees were really starting to turn and we followed the Bay of Fundy so was able to see great scenery (through the rain). At Borden-Carleton PEI, we got on the Confederation Bridge which joins PEI and New Brunswick over the Northumberland Strait. The curved, 9 mile long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice- covered water and a decade after its construction, it endures as one of Canada's top engineering feats of the 20th century. It took 4 years and 5,000 workers and opened in 1997 at a total of one billion dollars. It is a toll bridge, naturally, and it cost us $55. Trip was going fine until we hit the border which is just past St. Stephen and the backup was about a mile long, so it took us time to get to the crossing. With the backup going right down main street the locals were really having problems getting through. I couldn't deal with that day in and day out, plus it wasn't a very pretty town. Anyway, when we finally got to the border we were pulled out of line, naturally. All the inspector did though was ask us a few questions, looked at my plants and checked out our refrigerator. I guess we could have had contraband in there. He directed us down a road that led right back to the highway. Unfortunately, it was a direct right turn and there was a telephone pole right there. We couldn't make it and there was a line up coming the other way so we had to wait until they could pull ahead enough so we could get through. In the meantime, of course, we had our side the road completely blocked. Luckily enough there was a gas station directly across the road so we were able to maneuver straight ahead and made a u-turn in their lot. The people were nice enough to leave us enough room to cross over and get on our lane. We did make some contact with the pole, but nothing serious. We got to the place we were going to stay for the night, but it still early, so we decided to go on to Phippsburg. Bob decided to take US 1 as it was shorter, which ended up costing us a couple of hours extra. The roads were so bad that in some places the pavement was so eroded the vibration literally moved stuff in the RV that was never bothered before. I can't believe that they could let a US highway deteriorate that bad. That really slowed us down, plus a lot of construction and wonder of all wonders, some repaving. We didn't get in until 6 and by that time my nerves were shattered (in other words, I was cranky!) Sophie took the trip very well. The minute we start stowing stuff she heads under the couch and stays there until we stop. We finally got set up and the next morning I started through all the cupboards untangling everything. What a mess. It was a great trip and all in all I liked Nova Scotia the best – mainly because I like rugged coastlines and all the little coves. With all that sitting my butt is really sore so am glad to be back get back to normal, plus getting back to US news.
Bob just came back from the ophthalmologist and he has to have surgery on his eye which will happen on Nov. 4 with a follow-up in 3 to 6 mos so it looks like we will be staying here until Spring. We are finally going to get the winter we have wanted. I'll be having glaucoma surgery (3rd time) on my left eye. (Bob) They first told me they couldn't get me in until late December and then 3 to 6 months of follWe headed back to Freeport, Me today to do some shopping at L. L. Bean. We had received a gift card for them and decided to get there before the Holiday crowds started to shop. They had the store partially decorated and were decorating their outside tree, a 65 foot tree decorated with thousands of LED lights. It is the only tree in the state using energy effiecient LED lights. The lights were strung by a local artist and designer Pandora LaCasse. The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow night. It should be quite a celebration. But since parking is minimal and walking a must and the crowds are expected to be large, we will bypass the ceremony and go back later in the season to see the lighted tree. They also have a huge gingerbread lighthouse created by a local company, Monaco Baking. It is quite impressive. ow up. Then they came up with a cancellation and I will be getting the operation in November also. So with the follow up we will probably be here all winter and into the spring. Well, we wanted to spend a winter in the New England area. We are getting our wish. The owner is associated with the Boy Scouts and they put on a Halloween hayride through the woods every year complete with all the associated scary scenes and ghosts and goblins – even a girl gliding over the wagon. It was this past weekend and was a total sellout. The job the boys did was awesome. We had a big fire Fri. & Sat night that people from the park gravitated to so it was pretty fun. Sat. night was very windy and cold, but we just bundled up. It really got bad later that night. The wind was so bad the rain literally came down horizontally. It cleared up Sun and Bob had to hunt down some of his Halloween decorations.
Merry's 2nd eye surgery was scheduled for Monday Oct 27. So we headed to Portland again. Her eye surgery went well again as expected. We stayed in an old hotel downtown that was a little upscale and really nice. They had a bar with a menu on the 12th floor which gave a great view of the city and ocean. Right after we got there the fog started rolling in and within 15 minutes couldn't see anything. Oh well, the drinks were expensive anyway. Later we went to Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse in South Portland and Bob had the best steak he has ever had. I had prime rib, which is hard to find the this land of seafood. It was really cute with an outdoorsman theme with skis, snowshoes, canoe, etc. on the walls and a talking moose that was really a kick. We had a great time and Bob even wants to go back his birthday on the 8th. The eve ended with a hard bed and wimpy pillows so not much sleep. Merry's follow-up apt. was at 8:15 and only took 15 minutes so we decided to go to Kennebunkport which was only 40 more miles. It was beginning to rain, but didn't look serious as the time. The closer we got the bigger the houses got (in the $750k range) and absolutely gorgeous. The town sits right on the ocean and the coastline was awesome and the houses were in the 1-2 million range. I fell in love with the place. Next door was Kennebunk which is an older town (1653) and not as affluent, but has beach after beach which we really enjoyed. We did notice that in both towns there were a lot of homes for sale.
We also visited St. Anthony Monastery and Shrines that was established in 1947 by Lithuanian Franciscans. Throughout the years many shrines were constructed and in 1965 St. Anthony's Chapel was constructed and is totally awesome. Some of the more awesome monuments are The Lithuanian Wayside Cross, The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, The Chapel of the Stations of the Cross, The Radient Shrine of St. Anthony, and the Chapel itself. The It was a very moving experience.
We then went to Old Orchard Beach which is famous for its gorgeous beaches; however, the shoreline is obscured by houses, condos and hotels. We did get to a point that we were able to walk to the beach (in pouring down rain). There is supposed to be a Victorian Square complete with an amusement park with rides, but everything was closed down. If fact, stores and everything around the beach close down so is a very seasonal town. We finally found a restaurant outside of town for lunch. We didn't get back home until 5:30 and we were both exhausted, but it was a fun time. Now back to reality and Bob has to get busy insulating the underneath.
We headed back to Freeport, Me today to do some shopping at L. L. Bean. We had received a gift card for them and decided to get there before the Holiday crowds started to shop. They had the store partially decorated and were decorating their outside tree, a 65 foot tree decorated with thousands of LED lights. It is the only tree in the state using energy effiecient LED lights. The lights were strung by a local artist and designer Pandora LaCasse. The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow night. It should be quite a celebration. But since parking is minimal and walking a must and the crowds are expected to be large, we will bypass the ceremony and go back later in the season to see the lighted tree. They also have a huge gingerbread lighthouse created by a local company, Monaco Baking. It is quite impressive.
No snow yet, but lot of rain and it gets down in the low teens at night. One day and night we had a driving rain with 70 mph winds. The RV really rocked and it blew our TV dish (which is mounted on a tripod outside of the rig because trees block the roof mounted antenna) into the truck making a few scratches, plus it played havoc with the insulation. It was quite a night. This storm also hit Freeport, ME hard. Freeport is where L.L. Bean is located. The Christmas tree outside of the store was blown over. However, they were able to put it back up and the decorations weren't damaged to badly. I had my final appt with the eye surgeon so I am all done except getting my eyes checked for my glasses which is the 8th of Dec. We had a quiet Thanksgiving and I cooked a turkey in my convection oven for the first time. It came out okay, but I learned a couple of things for next year.
The day after Thanksgiving means it is time to begin decorating for Christmas. We got the rig decorated inside, but the outside of this rig does not lend itself to attaching lights. I have some of them up but still have more to go. It's the end of the month so will close for now. Hopefully next month we will get to Boston so I will have something to write about.
We got our first snow that lasted a couple of days before it turned back into rain and heavy winds (what they call a Nor'easter), but in the meantime it was beautiful (however the photos did not turn out). We did find out though we will be getting new all weather tires on the truck. We did have a couple of mini-skids. Nothing serious but enough to say we needed some new all season tires instead of regular treads. The temps took a nosedive into the single digits, then warmed up a little then back down. A few days after the rains we got an awesome ice storm state wide and took out power all over. Ours was out 8 hours during which time we had to run our generator, which we were thankful to have. I had a doctor and eye appts that day which got canceled because of the power outage. There are some areas that won't get their power on for almost a week, but most seasoned Mainers are prepared. There was a much worse storm in 1998 when twice as many homes were without power. NH was hit much harder and the worst in their history. On one of the days of single digits we came home from shopping and our kitchen was covered with water. A valve cracked on our ice maker (yeah I know – we are spoiled) causing it to leak. Luckily there was a shop vac in the garage so we were able to vacuum up the water from the carpet and floor without any damage. The water leaked into the furnace and shorted it out so Bob had to call the local RV repair man and he was able to walk Bob through getting it fixed. He had to stand out in that cold with my hair dryer getting it dried out, but he learned a lot. We got the furnace working again, but will be without the ice maker for the rest of the winter. Bob had to send for a new valve, but even though it is insulated it won't hold up to this cold of temps.
So far the economy here has only been felt in the infrastructure (schools, organizations, etc.), but the Brunswick Naval Air Station is going to be closed by 2012. The first squadron has already left and they expect over 645 housing units to go on the market. This will really devastate Brunswick and immediate surrounding areas. They are talking about keeping the NEX and commissary open because there are a lot of retired military here. We use them both quite a lot, but strangely they are in two totally different towns.
It never ends – we came home from town and the furnace had quit working, which Bob deemed it was the thermostat so he was able to move some wires around to bypass the thermostat itself and put a temporary switch in. The big problem was either the heat was either on or off, so Bob had to get up during the night to keep switching it back and forth. Thank goodness it wasn't as cold that night as usual. The next day we had to drive to Auburn (about 40 mi) where the nearest RV repair facility is to get a new thermostat, but it worked and we got back to normal – again.
Yeah – I can see again. My new lens came in and I can see perfectly in the distance and near. I am all through with the eye people, but am just starting with the doctor. I went to get a cortisone shot, but he wants me to take physical therapy instead, plus hit the swimming pool at the college to help with my back. I just got new x-rays through my chiro so Tues. I go to him and see why it has gotten so much worse, then go from there. Bah humbug!
We have had more wind and yesterday had a couple of inches or snow and more expected this weekend with single digit temps. We are driving to Boston tomorrow for the weekend so hope we don't hit too bad a storm.
Off we went to Boston (140 mi) and had to go through 3 toll booths ranging from 65 cents to $1.75. The closer we got to Boston we started to see storm warning signs and there was any kind of vehicle that could push a plow on every other bypass all warmed up and ready to go. It hadn't even started snowing yet, but that didn't last long. We thought we could get to the hotel before it got bad, but we didn't take into account how many times we would get lost. To make matters worse, Boston has really crazy drivers and pedestrians don't care about cross walks – they cross anytime they feel like it, traffic or not, plus a side note that Mainers really like their vanity plates. It really started to blizzard, but we were almost there when we took a wrong turn (their is no way to just go around the block here) and we ended up going into a long, long tunnel to Logan airport and couldn't turn around until we were there. Finally got turned around (all this time Bob is really getting aggravated and yelling at Rosie, our GPS, which is a little outdated) when we hit another toll booth that charged us $3.50 to take the tunnel back. Bob was livid, but I started laughing, which didn't help matters. We got back to an area that looked familiar, but the snow was getting so bad that Bob was going to pull over and ask when he discovered we were right in front of the hotel. I was laughing hysterically by then.
We are staying at the Bulfinch Hotel, which is an old flatiron style hotel so the rooms are irregular, but interesting and we are only paying $30 for a normally $120 a night room. The rooms are small, but clean and the customer service is excellent. We got checked in and unpacked when Bob discovered we were not getting any heat, so packed back up and got switched to another room. The restaurant downstairs was rather pricey and a glass of wine averaged $10-12 a glass! So we decided to brave the snow and go a block down the street to another place. We were facing into the storm and by the time we straggled in I was hurting and we were covered in snow. The place was jammed as both the Celtics and the Bruins were playing and this appears to be the place to go before the games. At least wine was only $7.50 a glass (what a deal). The walk back wasn't as bad as the wind was at our backs. We had reservations for the “duck” ride, but because of the storm it was canceled, but we still have a reservation for a trolley tour of the city tomorrow.
When we headed out for our Trolley tour, we had to go about 3 blocks to the trolley stop. So we called a cab. When the cabbie heard where we wanted to go he had a fit because it was such a short distance. When we explained that I couldn't walk that far, especially in 10 inches of snow and bitter cold he kind of lightened up and took us to the trolley stop. We had to wait about 15 minutes for the trolley to come and by that time we were really cold. The trolley only had one other couple on it when we got on. So we had a choice of seats. The driver was a real character, continuously making disparaging remarks about the Boston drivers, the stupid pedestrians, and the local politics. You could get off at any stop and walk around and see the sights but due to the weather and my not being able to walk very far, we just stayed on and took pictures through the windows. Finally we got down to the waterfront and Bob was getting hungary and the trolley stop was right next door to a restaurant. So off we got and went in for lunch. It was a sports bar right on the water front so we had an excellent view. Had some excellent chile for lunch and then back out to get the trolley. It came just as we were getting ready to go out and since we were not at the actual stop, it didn't wait so we waited another 20 minutes then went out early to make sure we didn't miss the next one. We had to wait out in the open with a very strong wind and snow. Almost froze before the trolley finally came. The tour was really interesting, covering a lot of the old historic sites and buildings in Boston, including the Trinity Church which is really a beautiful building. Would have liked to go inside but weather just wasn't that good to walk the short distance to do that. We finally got back to the stop where we got on. Luckily there is a cab stand right there so we didn't have any trouble getting a cab, except again the cabbie was real upset that we were only going a couple of blocks. I thought for a minute he was going to refuse to take us. Back to the hotel and we decided to just eat in the hotel restaurant. Their prices were high and the food choices not to my tastes as it was a lot of "gourmet" meals, none of which sounded good. Bob had trout which he said was good and I had french onion soup which was so-so. That was our day in Boston.
It was still snowing the next morning, but with only one wrong turn we were able to get on the freeway without too much trouble. The freeway was fairly clear because they had every type of vehicle that could push a plow blade in service and they would line up across all lanes and once and start plowing. Once we got to N.H. It started getting worse and in some places in ME it really got bad, but we made it home in one piece. Then it really started snowing.
We woke up to 16 in of snow and single digit weather. Mon. night our outside water froze, but we still could run water from our indoor tank. Bob had to get new hoses and more heat tape, plus a new sewer hose that broke into pieces, but he got everything back running Christmas Eve.
We had a quiet Christmas with just a simple ham and yams, but was plenty for us. I really missed family this year and I think I am getting cabin fever. We have never been in one place so long since we started our journey. After the snow it warmed up and rained, ruining all the snow so was pretty gloomy. We had lobster Christmas Eve and New Years, but right now I would trade all my remaining lobster for some King Crab. I didn't think I'd ever say that. We went to dinner for my birthday. The place we were going evidently closes for the winter so we ended up at a roadhouse. I wanted prime rib, but had Maine shrimp which is like our popcorn shrimp, but wasn't too bad. Driving around we noticed that not many people really decorate here – a few lights here and there. Too bad. The weather turned cold again (single digits) and wind always seems to blow here, we we have to very careful to keep the water running. Even though we have heat tape on the hose, the water wants to freeze at the pump. We closed out New Year's Eve at Misty and Chris' who had a few of their friends over for a few drinks and lots of good cheer. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR FRIENDS.
It's almost the middle of Jan and there hasn't been much to write about other than all our appointments and the weather. We had a big snow storm last weekend that dumped about 10 in. The owners were gone that weekend so Bob got to use the snow plow. He was getting pretty bored so it was a change. I was jealous but he wouldn't share. He even got so bored he cooked dinner a couple of times. I never get that bored! The weather hasn't warmed up so the snow is still around. They do a good job here keeping the main roads open and clear. The minute it snows they are right on it. This week we are in the minus digits, but there isn't any wind so not as bad as other areas. We sure go through the propane though. Well, that's about it for January.
Februrary has been another slow month. We didn't do any sightseeing or touring because Bob had eye surgery in Jan which trrigger a migraine which lasted for a month. Merry was stuck with all the driving. However now it is pretty will cleared up but still have doctors appointments for the rest of the month. Hopefully March will see some more sightseeing. It warmed up enough to start melting and then it rained so the roads got slushy and dirty (I hate dirty snow) so wasn't too pleased. A couple of days later it rained again then turned into a heavy wet snow. We got about 2 feet and because it rained and saturated the trees, then with heavy snow a lot of trees and limbs went down closing a lot of roads and loss of power. Our power went off on Sun night and we didn't get it back until Tues night. They had to bring in help from Canada or we would still be without power. It was absolutely beautiful, but the snow piles are getting so high in parking lots it is really cutting into parking spaces and one mall was told they were going to get fined if they didn't get some of it carted off because it was cutting off a road. This is really going to be a mess if we have a fast meltdown. We have a generator so as long as we have diesel left we are fine; however, the tank was getting very low so if the outage had lasted much longer we would have had to get some gas cans and fill our tank. The power was out for a total of 40 hours, burned about 20 gals. of deisel. At the time we wouldn't have been able to get the RV out because of all the limbs down, plus the trees were so heavy with snow the remaining limbs were very low hanging across the roads. We are still going to have to get diesel in case we have another outage. The only other problem being without power is water. The main pump on the well doesn't work without electricity so with no water coming into the rig we have to use the water from our inside tank and when that is gone – no water. If we really conserve we can go about 3 to 4 days. I reminded Bob that we had an abundance of snow so could melt that. We had to do that all the time in Alaska in the winter when I was a kid. Anyway, we stocked up on bottled water so we were fine. We are lucky that we have it as good as we do, but I really felt sorry for all the people who didn't have generators. Almost everyone got it back by Tues night. It helped that it didn't get as cold as it did the last time.
The campground is getting spruced up and a lot of raking and log cutting going on. I help rake as much as I can and that's where we figure I lost the glasses. I never take them off, so is a total mystery where they are. We have scoured everywhere. Luckily, I have a few pair of old glasses that I can use to read, but not for distance. The first pair I got out I sat on and demolished them. Thank goodness I has an extra pair. We have to clean 40 sites before Mother's Day Weekend when the work campers come in and do the rest. With all the brush we do have some great campfires though. It is a lot of work, but at least I am finally getting a little exercise. Getting out of bed the next morning though is a sight to behold. Moaning-groaning and crawling to the kitchen for coffee (a little exaggeration, but not by much).
We went out to dinner for our anniversary (our 6th) at the Taste of Maine restaurant in Woolwich, ME which is just across the Kennebec River from Bath. It is one of the few really nice restaurants in the area and Merry had lobster and Bob had prime rib. Excellent dinner.
We left early to go to dinner in order to take a drive to Reid State Park. It is about 10 miles from Woolwich. It is mostly wetlands off the ocean but has beautiful beaches and a little lagoon where they have established a swimming area with changing rooms and concession stand. Really cute. It is supposedly very busy in the summer as it is one of the more popular beaches and swimming in the area.
May started out on a good note. A camper came in and parked at one of the spots I had helped rake and found my glasses unharmed. We were really glad even though I had already gotten new ones. Also, the camp office got some lobsters in and cooked 25 of them for us to freeze, but we ate 3 of them already. Every place we have been the saying has always been “if you don't like the weather – wait 5 minutes and it will change”, which is the case here more than any other place we have been. One minute it will be sunny and then next pouring. This weekend is the “work” weekend and after almost having the place to ourselves it is strange to see so many people here. 40 rigs came in Fri. and almost everyone has dogs and kids. They are all in the woods raking today and Bob is helping run the tractors. Tonight I will probably have to work in the office. We are staying an extra week because I haven't gotten my test results back yet, plus we still have to get all our medical records. We had to change sites because our spot had been rented out and, of course, it didn't go smoothly. When we bring the kitchen slide in a big hole is created and it turned out our vacuum charger fell in. What a pain to try to get out. One time our cookie jar went down and when we put the slide out it really chewed it up. Then Bob put the jacks down and our weight pushed the jacks way down in the gravel so Bob had to dig them out and put boards down. He was not happy. We finally got all our records together after a hassle from the mamo dept. They never received last years films from CO and I had to get an ultrasound and get extra x-rays done and they finally read them and I got to pick them up Thurs. So we are all set to leave Sun. the 17th. Tonight we are going to have our final lobster dinner and there is going to be a big bonfire. The last of the camp hosts from last year just came in so had a good bonfire and they all were up in the morning to see us off. It was hard to leave as they were just like family. It was pouring down rain which made getting the rig ready miserable, but finally got on our way. Before we left I started my weaving project and was trying to learn it on my own, but one of last year's camp hosts came back that knows how to do it and told me that what they sold me as monk's cloth was actually huck's cloth, which is twice as dense a weave which means that I have to do twice as many stitches. My colors and design is really pretty, but will take me twice as long to get done. Oh well, I never take the easy way and Sophia isn't helping any. While we were gone one day she got into the bag and chewed through my yarn. Thank goodness, I had just started that row or she wouldn't have gotten any treats for a week!
The drive drive to Strawberry Park in Preston CT was pretty with all the trees and greenery. CT has made it to my top 3 prettiest states (TN & KY being the other 2). The homes and property were very well kept up, which made it so pretty, plus a lot of rock walls. We've mentioned ME had the worst roads, but had forgotten NY's roads. They were terrible and had to pay over $30 in tolls for the privilege. Mass has tolerable roads and CT has the best so far. NJ was good in spots and bad in others. Strawberry Park in Preston CT is a family oriented park with 450 sites, most of which are privately owned park models. Most of the models had additions added on and were really nice (there are pretty stiff codes here). We parked way in the back in a mostly RV section, but the roads were really narrow with loads of kids running around. It is not big rig friendly, but we finally made it. There are over 30 supervised activities going on, plus 3 large pools and 2 adult whirlpool spas. This place will be a zoo in the summer, so glad we won't be here then. We were so busy while there that Bob didn't get any pictures of the park.
Our first stop the next day was Mystic CT where we took a tour of the Mystic Seaport Museum, which included the 1841 wooden whaling ship Charles W. Morgan (in restoration) that has outlived all of her kind and a re-created seafaring village of the 19th century maritime America. Thank goodness I had my scooter, but it was a major school day outing so I kept having to dodge kids. Mystic has the most beautiful cemetery I have every seen. It is huge with lots of trees, bushes, flowers and just immaculate. The name Mystic is derived from the Pequot Indian name “missi-tuk” which means “great tidal river” as the Mystic River is really an estuary and it's waters advance and retreat with the tides. The community of Mystic was first founded in 1654. The Mystic Maritime Museum was founded on Christmas Day in 1929 and the seaport museum has grown into perhaps the world's premier maritime museum.
The Thames River forms the border between Groton and New London and a lot of history here. We stopped at a little deli in Groton to get one of their famous grinder sandwiches for lunch. Their grinders are a superb sub sandwich made of italian sausages, salame etc. They were a favorite of Bob's diet when he was stationed their in 1960. Points of interest in New London/Groton area include the US Coast Guard Academy, the Electric Boat Co (manufacturer of nuclear subs), the residence of Eugene O'Neil and nearby Norwich, home of Benedict Arnold.