Monthly Archives: August 2014

Day 234, NYC here we come!!!

Woke up excited and went through all other possible emotions as the day went on…

1.  Got on the road behind a paint striper truck that took 30 minutes to go 5 miles. Frustrated but happy.  At least it wasn’t raining.

2.  Drove through the worst traffic since Houston.  Really, people, use a signal!  Don’t cut so close in front of us, we cannot stop on a dime.  Quit looking at our Oregon plates and then staring at us, not smiling. We are not aliens!  We were frustrated, but amused.

3. Dan wrote down the directions we needed to follow because we had so many lane changes for exits.  I was so grateful.

4.  The on board computer wanted us to go into Manhattan. With an RV our size. That gave us a good laugh.

5. We drove over the George Washington bridge.  49 million cars and trucks go over it each year. We had a beautiful view of the water and the city and we were so happy to almost be to our campsite.

6.  Pulled into Liberty Harbor RV and Marine, Jersey City, New Jersey at 2 p.m. and we were pleasantly surprised.  We were expecting much worse, so we were relieved.  It’s a big parking lot, “converted” to RV spaces, and online it looks like the spaces would be so tight you couldn’t get your awning out, but Dan was able to back right in and we had room for the tow in front of us.  Surprised, relieved and  so excited to be so close to NYC!  So proud of Dan to have accomplished driving there safely.

7.  We went to turn on electrical items, and nothing was working. The right side of the rig wouldn’t light up and even plugging into shore power did nothing.  We were so worried and upset. What could be wrong NOW?  Again, really?  Could this dang thing just work?!  Called Oregon, they thought it was one thing.  Called our back up, he said to take it to an RV shop 130 miles away – in a week.  Called an RV repair guy that the park recommended on our check-in information and Paul happened to be 30 feet away, in the RV office, shooting the breeze with the guys before he left for another call – hours away. He came right over and between he and Dan, they fixed it and the faulty charging outlets.  In less than an hour!  How happy were we!  

8.  Looked out the driver’s side window, and there through the trees and masts was the Statue of Liberty.  In plain sight!  We were excited.

9.  We walked along the little inlet to the Hudson River and a spectacular view of New York City.  We picked this campsite so we could be close to the city, and not have to drive into it from another campground 60 miles north each day.  We were so thrilled that our choice turned out to be right.   It had been a long day, but we made it safely, and we were at NYC for the whole week. We were looking forward to what it would bring and were so pleased that we had made it to such a huge goal of our trip.  To say we were happy is an understatement!IMG_8593

Day 232, Cape Cod to Maureen in CT

Today was one of those days I never want to forget… not for the big stuff, but for the little important stuff.  Before we left, Dad wrote our family history down for me, and we stuck it inside the National Geographic Our Fifty States book he bought for us.  As we’ve gone through the states, we read about the state we’re going into, and I’ve referred to it to see where my ancestors lived.  Very cool.

So today we left Cape Cod early in the morning, and drove to Norwich, CT.  in 1659, Thomas Waterman and 34 other families founded Norwich.  Waterman was 9 generations back on my Dad’s mom’s side.  I wanted to see what they had started! Time has not been kind to this little town, but that doesn’t matter.  Dan was able to find a place to park our big rig, and we’d only gone a few  fee when a man driving by rolled down his window to see if we needed any help.  Wow, nice!  Then we walked down to the town museum… which was closed. Which I knew, but we were still going to get that picture for Dad! 

We took a picture in front of the museum, and then walked over to the town sign for another.  The kids were mortified that I would stand there for a picture at this major intersection, but when I said it was for Poppy, they understood. Still, we were all a little embarrassed.  IMG_8485 

I posted the above picture on Facebook later and Dan’s cousin quickly replied that Waterman’s Aunt Sarah was 10 generations back for the Jacobsons.  What?!  Gross!!!  We are distantly related?!  Even more glad we didn’t have biological children! 

Then we hopped back in the rig for our next adventure.  Whatever you do, don’t drive through Hartford, CT!  Everyone we talked to later said, “oh yes, well it’s Hartford.”  We didn’t read that warning anywhere!  It took us 4/12 hours to do a 90 minute drive. We took the strangest detours, not ones that made sense at all.  We did see things we never would have ever seen otherwise, and I was glad that there was a heavy lock on the RV door.  And this was broad daylight!  I was joking about Chevy Chase and the wrong turn he took in one of the Vacation movies… The saddest part was going from slums to mansions in less than a mile.

We barely made it to the campground, and it was another rodeo to get parked, as Dan would say.  Really, they advertise that they are for big rigs.  They say they have wifi.  Clean restrooms.  Occasionally, they lie!  I didn’t even want to take the tow vehicle down the road, it was so bad.  Dan got it in, of course, then the staff person who led us there made us pull up into the next site, against a tent and trailer there for the season.  He said they might need it in case another big rig came in, because it was the only other spot.  Beautiful little valley and we’re smack dab against others.  Luckily, they weren’t there!  We Jacobsons really like our space and some RV parks just don’t have it.  Yes, I know we’re on the adventure of a lifetime and we are grateful for everyday, but we would still like a little breathing room!

The chargers in the rig weren’t working, so my phone was dead for the day.  Strange not to listen to music as we drove and I couldn’t use the map function.  The onboard map was still working, telling us where to go, but sometimes we don’t like where it says to drive.  And I couldn’t call Maureen to tell her I’d be coming to see her later because I didn’t have her number written down anywhere. Ah, technology.

After getting the rig settled, I jumped in the tow and raced into New Milford to see Maureen.  I got lost, of course, because I was in a hurry.  Finally made it about 430 p.m. and she closes at 5! Argh!  SO GREAT to see her.  I just love this woman.  I met her my junior year at University of Delaware.  She was in charge of our dorm area, and was so kind that she took Linda and I home for Thanksgiving.  (The next day she reminded me that we left her home at 4 a.m. to get back to school, and Linda and I slept in the back seat the whole time!  How grateful were we?!)

Maureen had a 30 year career in banking, before recently retiring and starting up a store – Nutmeg Olive Oil Co.  You can go online and she will ship to you!  It tastes so much better than what we buy in the store and all the different flavors are neat to cook with. We bought the hot ones, of course!  The vinegars have their own unique taste and again, are so much better than from the grocery store. We’ll never go back.  The pasta is made in Richland, Wa, as was the garlic sauce and both were excellent.

So Maureen and I had a short, fun chat and I headed back to the rig in the pouring rain.  We had picked up right where we left off 31 years before and oh, how I wish she could live in my neighborhood, too. Why can’t I have everyone I love in one place?!

The next day her sister Kathy had most of their extended family and ours over to her beautiful home in Newtown for dinner.  It was fun to see them again, and not all of them thought we were crazy for our adventure, so that was nice.  Maureen’s mom was a little surprised I didn’t still have brown hair, but Maureen pointed out that it had been a few years!  Our kids had fun playing kickball and dodge ball with the cousins in the yard, while Dan and I enjoyed talking to the adults.  We ate too much, of course, and left grateful for the friendship of the evening.  IMG_8521

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 226, By Nate

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Yesterday we went into Salem, it was a lot different then I thought it would be because I thought the people who lived there would have set it up so it would look like the same as it was along time ago. It was just basically a regular town. We went

to see a customs house that had a wooden eagle that was hand carved to be put on the of the building.   It was really big. The guide said it was carved in pieces so it would be easier. The one currently on the building is made out of plastic with gold paint instead of wood and gold leaf. Then we went to the harbor right across the street and got to look around a boat that volunteers and park service people were restoring. After that we started to walk back to our car to have lunch at the park.

 

            In Toronto dad and I did the Edge Walk around the CN tower. The Edge Walk was at 1168 feet, but the tower was taller than that. We had a harness that connected us to a rail above our heads and that was it. There wasn’t a rail, the floor was a metal grate that you could see through, and the walk way was only a few feet wide. It was really fun.

 

            Boston was really cool to see but it was like every other city we’ve been to. On the sidewalks and roads there was a strip of red bricks that we walked along, it was the Freedom Trail. We learned some stuff along the way and went to an old cemetery. It was fun.

 

            We went to a Minuteman museum and got to see where everything happened, we stood where the first shot was fired and watched a short movie on it. After that we went to see an original building that was an old tavern, it was cool.

 

 

 

Day 229, Bike ride on Cape Cod

IMG_8278We haven’t done as many rides as I thought we would, but this dorky picture shows how happy we are when we do!  Cape Cod turned an old railroad track into a riding trail, and we took advantage of it one morning.  Glad we went early, because just like everything else on the east coast, it was packed with people.  Beautiful ride, only about 14 miles.  My recumbent screams down hill, it is so fun.  To go uphill I have to work twice as hard and can’t keep up with Dan.  He waits patiently and then off we go again!

Day 228, Boston to Cape Cod and family

IMG_8253We got to see Jen and Hawk and the girls again!  Third time we’ve seen them on this trip… their home in  San Diego, the horse show in Tucson, and now Cape Cod!  So wonderful.  Wish we all lived closer.

We left our campsite outside Boston early in the morning, so we could to make it to Hawk’s parents for lunch.  They happened to live 10 minutes south of our campsite, small world.  We got the rig set up, took care of the dogs, and headed out just in time.  Jen is as organized as me, so we had no problem finding them.

We had a fun lunch, just talking and laughing, before they had to head off to the airport and we headed to the rig.  It was hot, but not too humid, so we had a great afternoon.

After dinner, Eliza and I went to find the best beach close to us.  We didn’t like the first one because it was too big and crowded, but fell in love with the second one.  We stayed for the sunset below.  I was a little weepy because one year from today we’d be home again.  Only 365 more days of our adventure left.  Still, it was a perfect day.

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Day 224, Minute Man Trail

IMG_8119Oh my gosh!  We are here! Thanks to Al Crouse!  I had read about this area, but didn’t think we’d have time and it didn’t look that interesting, but Al said to go see it … so glad we did!

This is the spot – “the shot heard round the world”!  How many times have we read about it?  Just up the hill to the right in the picture is a huge brick mansion.  There are fields below and the river running under the bridge made it a good place to farm.  It all looked so normal and so it was hard to believe that this is where the revolution started to get really bloody.

This is also the place where we all started to understand the Freedom Trail that we’d done the day before.  So the British were marching out from Boston, toward Lexington and Concord.  Paul and 2 other men had warned people that “the British were coming”, so the munitions that they were coming for were well hidden.  The British had been marching for almost 14 hours by the time they reached this bridge.  They were tired and hungry.  The Patriots had been camped near the mansion, with more men flooding in to help.  

The two groups met on this spot.  The Patriot leader said to hold all fire, and to this day, no one is sure who shot first.  The Patriots held back until their leader said to shoot back.  What mayhem it must have been.  Lined up facing each other, the British with their perfect red uniforms and white crosses across their chests making a good target, and the rag-tag Patriots who were fighting for their land and way of life.  Farmers, doctors, craftsmen, young and old, fighting for what they believed in.  The patriots had less men, but they still turned the British around and as they headed back a very obvious, wide open path back to Boston, the Patriots shot them from every hidden location.  It was demoralizing for the British.

We walked the path, saw an incredible 3-D version of the story, and talked about what it would have been like to be part of the shooting.  We had spent the morning hiking around Walden Pond, so the difference was immense.  From peace to war in one day, whew.  So glad we took the detour to see it all. Thanks again, Al!

 

 

 

Day 223, The Freedom Trail, Boston

IMG_8030Boston!  We were so excited to get here and I was so excited to walk the Freedom Trail with my family – and 5,000 other tourists!  It was jam packed every inch of the day.

Including the parking garage where we started out.  We choose to drive into Boston because we wanted the car to leave early or late, depending on our moods.  I’m so glad we did.  We thought there would be less people because it was a Sunday morning, but it was still crowded.  Fun crowded though, because everyone was doing the same thing.

We walked up and out of the parking garage, right into the middle of a field.  On our phone maps, we couldn’t tell which way to go, so we headed south, which was the wrong way, so we turned around and headed north. Finally found the visitors center and immediately opted to not take the park service tour – 25 people already waiting.  The kids and I went in to buy the visitors guide and map and they were just thrilled when I bought the teacher’s version!  It’s a small book, with the full history of each stop on the walking Freedom Trail, so we really learned as we went.

Amazing to see all the history where it actually happened!  History was my favorite subject in high school, thanks to John Horn, a great teacher and now a great friend.  He inspired me to wonder what happened and to appreciate all that had come before I was born in my little tiny corner of the world.  I loved being in the middle of all of it!!!

It was so crowded on the streets that we bypassed some stops, just reading about them outside.  The church that was built around another church and then the old wood thrown out the windows of the new church.  The city hall with famous quotes.  The reenactment of the tea party. Too many cemeteries.

The picture above is of the church that shown the light of Paul Revere fame – “one if by sea, two if by land” – the man who lit it had crawled out a second story bedroom window to avoid the British from asking where he was going.  He climbed his way into the steeple, and then another man nailed him in so someone wouldn’t find him.  The light in the steeple warned people that the British would be leaving Boston by sea, as Revere and another man took off by horse on two different routes to warn people.  

And this is where I just about lost it.  Paul Revere was married twice.  The first time his wife bore 8 children and died in childbirth.  He married again with the exact same result.  What? I never knew he was married and the father of 16 kids!  Those poor women. The feminist in me just wanted to scream, and it wouldn’t be the first time that historical living conditions for women made me mad.  This was normal? Expected?  Crazy more like.

Anyway, off my soap box and back to the walking tour… 

We walked over the river and up Bunker Hill.  There was a huge monument like the Washington monument, and of course we had to go up the 291 steps inside.  It was packed with people, so you bumped into them the whole climb.  It had no ventilation.  The steps were worn by years of use.  The view from the top was worth it!  Once again, climbing up high in a city makes it so fun to see the view from a good vantage point.  We understood why the British wanted this hill and why the Patriots were so happy to win it.

After many more hours of exploring, snacking and heat, we headed back to the car. With all the add on’s we’d done on the tour, we thought we had walked about 7 miles. Eliza and I were delirious from the heat and the pain of our feet.  We were in the silly zone and just couldn’t stop.  It did make the walk back go easier and we were very happy to have seen Boston.

 

 

 

Day 220, Concord NH Capitol to Derry NH

IMG_7930Oh so sad, to visit this capital while the Vermont one is still fresh in our minds is just not right. This one is pathetic.  Dirty inside, smelled of must, no tours other than a mimeographed brochure that was illegible… it just wasn’t nice.  We learned that they believe in a population representation of one member for each 3200 people in their house -that means they have 400 representatives!  Working in their old digs, those hard working people are crammed into old theatre style seating when they are in session.  Not even a desk!  They only have 25 senators in the other chamber.

While I was reading about the portraits in the hallway, the kids and Dan were using the wifi in the house visitor area.  They said one of the house reps came by and introduced himself, but politician that he was, he was “too busy to stay and chat”!  So glad I wasn’t there to ask him any sassy questions.  

All but 6 of the portraits are of men.  I found many Nathaniel’s and made Nate pose by the one I liked – the picture will never be shown anywhere because he was not happy about it – hilarious!

One of the female portraits was of Mary Baker Eddy – the founder of the Christian Science Church.  From right here in little New Hampshire!  We had no idea.  There is so much that has been created on the East Coast and we run across this almost daily.

After our quick tour, we headed south to… Walmart!  We had a huge shopping to do, and since we changed our plans, needed a night before our next campground.  We haven’t stayed in a Walmart since our fun experience in northern CA with the cop car chase, and we were all hoping for something similar.

Unfortunately, it was smooth sailing.  We filled up every available nook and cranny with groceries and sundries – our last chance at no sales tax until Oregon.  It was a new store, set on a bluff.  Dan asked the manager if we could spend the night, as many cities don’t allow it, and he said “yes.”  When I was in later and told a clerk, she said they never let people camp overnight anymore because they’d had so many problems.  Once again, my very kind husband won someone over!  No surprise.

 So it was another fun day on the road.  We celebrated 220 days of freedom and adventure with a little exploring and a little shopping.  Together.  Still talking to each other.  Perfect.

 

Day 218, Quechee State Park, Vermont

IMG_7878We call Vermont the mini-Oregon and you can see why by this picture!  It’s green, tons of hills, and has rained on us quite often.  But we still love being here!  it is an awesome little state and the people are wonderful.

Took this picture on our drive from Burlington to Quechee State Park.  Dan proposed changing our plans that morning and bypassing NY to go south instead.  I was all for it.  We’ve been in the woods a lot, and going south, closer to Boston, would be less driving.  I found Quechee online, and we were hoping it would be nice.

Not that I mind one minute of our windshield time!  I mind the cost (.50/mile), but not the views out our huge front window.  Dan and I really like seeing what’s around the next corner, what the little towns look like, and how silly other drivers can be.  Really, we could have kept a blog just on drivers!  My favorite town recently had flags all along the whole village road, from end to end.  Beautiful.

IMG_7909This was our campsite!  We were so surprised to have it be so big and with great trees.  We’ve been in quite a few recently where Dan had to be really careful backing in.  This one was so easy I could have done it if he would ever give up the wheel.  After hiking to the nearby gorge (they call it the little grand canyon), and over to see an old mill pond (the kids say we could have stayed home in Bend for that) Nate and I built a huge fire to BBQ our chicken dinner.  We had 3 days at this park and we are so glad we changed our plans.  This was a hidden gem in Vermont and we were sad to leave such a beautiful spot.

P.S  Check out the bumper sticker on the tow vehicle… we’ve gotten so many honks and waves since putting it on,  Definitely our motto for now!

Day 214, The Capitol and Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont

IMG_7758Montpelier is a cute little town, and their capitol fits right in.  Vermonters are an independent and frugal lot, and the capitol reflected that.  It’s not the smallest capitol we’ve toured, but it had the best tour guide.  Susan gave us an interesting tour and loaded us up with more facts than we knew what to do with.  There were only 4 of us on the tour, and no other tourists in sight.  The funniest part was seeing the statue of Ethan Allen on the front porch. What was a furniture guy doing at the capitol?!  Turns out he was actually a hero in the Revolutionary War.

Contrast the peace at the capitol with our next stop down HWY 2 – Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory.  We had to pay $4/head to take the tour that starts every 30 minutes, 7 days week, 8 hours/day.  The 3 parking lots were packed and we had to wait in line to buy tickets to get in.  There were about 75 of us on the tour.  Crazy!  No one at the capitol to learn history but give an ice cream tour and the whole country stops by! And pays for it!

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