October 13-22, 2021
After leaving Wilmington, North Carolina, we landed in South Carolina at Dreher Island State Park and spent a great few days there.
The park is located on an Island within Lake Murray a 50,000 acre man-made lake. We walked our immediate campground and to the one located a few miles away on the other end of the State Park. If you like fishing and have a boat, this is your kind of place. Also a great spot to just relax for a few days.
From Dreher Island we traveled to our friends' home, The Lodge At Shook Branch, in Tate City, Georgia, located in the mountains of North Georgia near the headwaters of the Tallulah River.
We spent a week there enjoying really nice Fall weather, taking nice walks along the Tallulah River on the Tate City Road and even hiking the Holden Cove trail to the Appalachian Trail one day. We had lunch at the Muskrat Creek Shelter along the AT and then made our way back.
While we're currently located in Columbus Georgia for my (Steven) 50th High School class reunion tonight and tomorrow, Miranda remains in the mountains at our friends' home under the watchful eye of our friend, John. We'll return for a few more days in Tate City after the reunion is finished.
I'll pick up our day-to-day nomadic existence once we're moving again. Cheers.
October 6-7, 2021
We spend three days with our friends at their great spot Sunrise Over Salvo before heading off Hatteras and south again.
During our time on Hatteras I'm able to bike ride from Salvo to Avon one day and our friends took us on a ferry ride to Ocracoke Island for a day trip.
October 8-9, 2021
We're awake around 6:00 a.m. or so. I'm up, gather a few items to take with me to the van and then I'm out the backdoor of our friends' home and down the stairs to Miranda to make coffee.
Back in our room we sip a bit of coffee before more packing up ensues. It's a travel day for us and we have a 160 miles ahead of us.
After we're packed up, we find breakfast in Nag's Head at Grits Grill. It's a popular place with the locals and there's a wait for a table so we choose the no-wait-bar in front of the griddle. Breakfast is good and we're on the way in good time.
We arrive at our campsite at New Bern KOA, set up and go for a walk down to the Neuse River and enjoy some of the afternoon there.
Returning to the van, we prepare to move again. We're going into New Bern for dinner at Captain Ratty's. There's a Mum Festival going on in New Bern and we're glad to find parking relatively easily.
Dinner is as good as we remember when we ate at Ratty's years ago now. We were dropping off our son, Richard, for an Outer Banks kayaking adventure then.
We make it back to our campsite and set up the van, stream some and sleep.
Saturday morning finds us up around 7:00 a.m. We sip coffee, have breakfast and Melanie begins her work day.
Saturday is full of college football for me and intermittently, for Melanie after work.
I manage enough energy to clean and empty the grey and black tanks in anticipation of further travel tomorrow.
Melanie is asleep at about the half of the Alabama football game with Texas A&M. I'm finally asleep just after midnight.
October 10-11, 2021
Melanie is awake before me, but I'm up at around 7:00 a.m. Not enough sleep, but I'm feeling pretty good as I'm up to make coffee. We're traveling again today headed farther south to Wilmington, NC.
We drink our coffee, eat breakfast and read some. Melanie begins her work day.
I leave for a bit to get a shower using the campground facilities.
Shortly afterwards we've prepared the van and are on our way. We've got about 90 miles of travel today. I mistakenly put in wrong geo-coordinates and we travel about 20 miles out of our way before stopping to make a correction.
The trip is otherwise uneventful and arriving in Wilmington decide to go for lunch at Wrightsville Beach. We ate at Oceanic located there the last time through Wilmington and found it good. The last time the weather was very rainy, this time cloudy and windy, but pleasant.
Lunch is good again and we take a walk out on the pier to watch surfers catch a few waves afterwards.
We travel to our campsite at the Wilmington KOA and check in. We quickly set up and Melanie works a bit and we get a bit of exercise walking around the camp.
I've made a dinner reservation at PinPoint for 6:00 p.m. We take our first Uber ride in a while to downtown Wilmington. We realize that despite being in Wilmington a few times before, we've never been downtown.
We have a nice dinner. Melanie starts with Raw Oysters on the half shell, I have the Local Lettuces. Melanie's entree is a bone-in Pork Chop, mine Softshell Crab Carbonara.
We Uber back to the van, stream a bit and sleep.
It's Monday and Columbus Day for some, Indigenous Peoples' Day for some. It's a work day for Melanie.
We sip our coffees and have breakfast. Afterwards we both take a walk around the campground. Many folks are leaving this morning.
We make a grocery run to the local Publix late morning and then we make our way to lunch nearby at Cape Fear Seafood Company. Lunch is fine and we're back to our campsite around 2:30.
I spend most of the afternoon catching up on my journaling and photo processing. Melanie gets a walk in and works a bit more.
We both walk in the evening and snack a bit before more streaming and sleep.
October 12, 2021
The alarm sounds at 6:00 a.m. For whatever reason, I was awake for a time during the night and so the alarm is unwelcome. I snooze through a couple of intervals and then I'm up making coffee.
Travel Day. We'll move 250 miles to our south and east today to Dreher Island State Park in South Carolina. We'll be positioning ourselves to then move into the mountains of North Georgia and our friends' home in Tate City.
I have a bit of breakfast and Melanie goes for a shower in the campground. I finish and move outside to empty and clean the black tank and empty the grey tank.
We leave our KOA before 9:00 a.m. There's a bit of traffic moving into downtown Wilmington, but we're out of that soon enough and head west.
We stop after a while a get breakfast for Melanie (and me too). We eat fast food biscuits and hash browns in the van and are moving in about 30 minutes.
Highway 74 intersects with I-95 going south and we don't get very far until we reach roadwork and traffic that has us stopped. Traffic is merging into one lane down the way and we're delayed about an hour getting to the other side.
We decide to wait until Columbia, South Carolina for lunch.
Miranda also needs fuel and all the places along major roads are selling diesel in the $3.50+ range. I check my Gas Buddy App and see prices at $3.19 and lower, but all of the places are well off the interstate and not worth the extra time and expense involved getting to them.
I've been getting 17+ MPG the past few times we've moved and doing some calculations I figure I most likely will be able to wait until we are in Columbia for lunch.
Melanie finds us BBQ in Columbia at The Pot Smoker BBQ. By the time we arrive it's nearly the middle of the afternoon. We order at the counter and find a nice spot on their porch. We're the only ones eating.
Lunch is good and we're soon on our way again. We still need fuel and I'd spotted a place not too far away as we looked for our lunch spot. The price on the marquee was $3.11 a gallon. That, however, is the cash price. I forgo the cash price and pay $3.19 a gallon still $.30 less than along the interstate.
Miranda, like most vehicles, has an indicator when she's using "reserve" fuel. A light and "reserve fuel" readout comes on when there's about a quarter of a tank left. You can track how many miles of travel you can make, but when the fuel level gets down to about 2 gallons remaining, the indicator stops giving a reading for the number of miles you can travel and simply says you need to get yo' ass to the nearest place for fuel. Now would be the time.
The only other time that's happened was when we were traveling to a campsite on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We'd left our camp in Fort Collins very early (5:00 a.m.) so we didn't have to have a reservation to get into the national park. You could enter without a reservation before 6:00 a.m.
Very early meant no filling stations were open around Fort Collins and I made the decision to try and make it through the park. We were just about half way up on our climb to 12,000 feet in the park when the reserve light came on. We hadn't quite stopped climbing when the readout no longer allow me to gauge how many miles of travel remained.
It was beautiful that time of day, but it was stressful not knowing if we'd run out of fuel.
We made it to fuel in Grand Lake as we had a very long downhill run on the western side of the park. Two times of being close to empty in nearly three years.
We get to our campsite before 5:00 p.m. and I get us hooked up while Melanie has a work call. She sets up the inside afterwards and we sip an adult beverage and enjoy the cooling evening with a nice view of the Lake Murray.
We walk around the campground and retire to the back of the van for streaming and sleep.
September 29, 2021
We're up around 7:00 or so, can't remember even though it's just yesterday now. Travel Day again. This time we'll move east and south for just over a 100 miles.
Melanie gets out for a brief walk around the campground then readies the inside while I move out to unhook us. I won't empty the tanks this morning, they're still relatively empty as we were living outside Miranda for three days. Our fresh water is also reading 100%.
We move and on the way out encounter another couple from Iowa driving an Leisure Travel Van (LTV). They're headed to Virginia to visit a son who lives there. Nice to see fellow LTV owners. We're a precious lot. 😜😎
Melanie finds breakfast for us at a local Milton, West Virginia haunt. Shonet's comes with all the "patriotic" decor one can muster. Flags and remembrances of those who have served in various conflicts and wars.
Breakfast is fine and we're on our way.
Melanie suggests we travel a few miles past Little Beaver State Park to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve to check out our newest National Park.
We arrive at the Sandstone Falls Visitor Center and check out the displays there. We get directions to Sandstone Falls that, much to Melanie's chagrin, are 20 miles away when, looking at the map, they appear to be within rock throwing distance of our current location.
We drive the 20 scenic miles to the falls and enjoy a nice walk along a boardwalk the park service has constructed there. A nice diversion it is.
We drive back towards our campsite at Little Beaver State Park, check in and set up. Melanie goes for a walk and I follow her after a bit. We both enjoy a nice walk around Little Beaver Lake as the sun heads for another setting.
She's snacking when I return, breakfast apparently left her some time ago. I make a cocktail and snack a bit. Tate texts and suggests he'll be ready for our weekly FaceTime as soon as he showers.
FaceTime happens and I make dinner while Melanie enters a Zoom Call for one of her board members who is being ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church.
We have a nice, if simple, dinner of short rib ravioli we purchased in Summit and a salad.
Once the dishes are clean, we stream and sleep.
September 30, 2021
After a very nice sleep in Little Beaver State Park I'm up just before 7:00 to make coffee. It's 49 degrees outside so I close our windows and crank up the furnace to knock the chill off.
We enjoy a beautiful morning sipping coffee. We decide to get the bikes out and ride 7+ miles to the Main Overlook at Grandview in New River Gorge National Park.
Late morning I get our bikes out and ready them for the short run up the road to the overlook. The ride is scenic and the road not too busy. We arrive at the overlook and find there are not too many folks around.
Locking up the bikes we walk the 100 or so yards to the spectacular overlook which gives us a view of the New River and the new National Park. Grandview, indeed.
We're hungry and options in the van are slim so we decide to try the diner on the way back to the state park. Note to self. Have better options in the van. I sometimes get lazy when it comes to grocery shopping between camp spots and should have stopped along the way to Beaver. 😐
We return to the van and take an afternoon walk around Little Beaver Lake. We get back to the van and enjoy the evening a bit before walking 50 yards up the hill to the very nice and very clean bathhouse for showers.
Since lunch was later in the day, we snack a bit, stream and sleep.
October 1, 2021
The alarm is set for 6:30 a.m., but I'm awake before it goes off. I'm up making coffee, closing windows and again cranking up the furnace. It's 45 degrees this morning. We've another travel day ahead of us. We'll be traveling 229 miles to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to a Boondockers Welcome location in the city. Lucky us.
Our campsite in Little Beaver State Park is a water electric so, since we've been camped for a few days and we'll be off grid for a the next few days, I fill our fresh water before unhooking. We travel the short distance to the park dump station and I empty our black and grey water tanks.
We sip coffee and move along. Melanie will find breakfast for us off the interstate.
It's a beautiful drive along I-77 through the mountains. There's fog in the lower lying areas. Breakfast this morning is Bojangles. Melanie likes their chicken biscuits. I opt for a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. Meh.
Miranda hasn't had a bath since the middle of August when I hand washed her in Maine at our friends home in Georgetown. She's not too dirty, but could use a good wash nevertheless.
I find a Blue Beacon truck wash off I-77 in Fort Chriswell, Virginia. We arrive and are 13th in line. They have two bays going. Melanie has a work call and I read as we inch our way forward. Even with two bays it takes about two hours to get Miranda washed and back on the road.
We decide to eat in Winston Salem, North Carolina. One of our favorite restaurants, Mooney's is closed permanently, another casualty of COVID.
Melanie finds another spot nearby, Mojito Latin Soul Food. We secure a table outside on a really beautiful day. Lunch is outstanding. I have a Cuban Deluxe sandwich and Melanie has Steak Sandwich. I have Red Beans and Rice as a side, Melanie has Mashed Plantains. Recommended.
Moving along we briefly stop by the downtown postoffice.
Melanie has a poster she intends to use for the Women's March protesting the Texas Abortion Law in Durham, NC on Saturday afternoon to pick up in Chapel Hill. It's busy in downtown Chapel Hill when we arrive at the FedEx location for her poster, but I manage to luck out and find a temporary spot close by to park Miranda while Melanie goes in for the poster. She quickly returns with her prize.
We move along to our Boondockers Welcome spot about 2.5 miles away. We're greeted by our hosts and give a quick tour of Miranda to them and then we're parked near one of their horse pastures.
Late lunch means a snack for dinner. We stream and sleep.
October 2, 2021
I awake, look out Miranda's window and can't believe we've landed only a few miles from downtown Chapel Hill, N.C. We're staying on 8 acres inside the city limits where horses once roamed. There's a barn and the pastures are nicely fenced. We're only a few short miles from downtown Chapel Hill.
I make our coffee and we eat breakfast. Melanie gets into her work day.
Two deer run by and I catch the briefest of glimpse of them.
We get the van ready for travel. Melanie will march with one of the members of the Palestine Israel Network, Donna, and other women in Durham to protest the Texas abortion law. While she's at the protest, I'll ride a portion of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT).
We drive into downtown Durham and find a great spot with plenty of sunshine for our solar panels to use.
Melanie leaves me to grab a bite to eat and I get out my bike travel a short distance to the terminus of the ATT near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The ATT runs 22.2 miles south out of Durham. It's an asphalt surface until New Hope Church Road. I ride out for 15 miles, sit and eat a protein bar, drink some water and make my way back to the van.
I arrive to find Melanie giving Donna a Miranda tour. They move outside and chat for bit while I settle into the van to watch a bit of football and drink more water. It's a warm Fall afternoon in Durham.
I eventually turn the van around facing the opposite direction on the other side the street so we can sit in the shade outside and watch the first half of the Alabama game.
Game well in hand we decide to make reservations for dinner at Jujube in Chapel Hill near where we're camped. Jujube is located in a strip shopping center and we find a convenient spot in the back of the shopping center where we feel comfortable leaving our generator running and air conditioner on. It's still a bit warm out.
We enjoy a great dinner outside on their patio. We started with Pan-Fried Chicken and Shittake Mushroom Dumplings and Vietnamese Salad Rolls. Melanie's entrée was Crispy Chicken, I had Jujube Bolognese. Great service, friendly folks. Highly recommended.
We make our way back to our spot next to the pasture, stream a bit and sleep.
October 3, 2021
We're up around 8:00 this morning..., well, I'm up around 8:00. Melanie is awake before me and tells me she's seen a couple of foxes pass the van. She shows me the very grainy images of them taken through Miranda's window.
Coffee gets made and we skip breakfast and get the van ready to move. Travel day.
We'll move Southeast to just outside Washington, North Carolina. We'll stay in Goose Creek State Park tonight. We camped at Goose Creek last year in December on our way to the Outer Banks. So, less than a year has passed.
We make a stop in Chapel Hill at Whole Foods where I shop for food that'll get us to Salvo, N.C.
We decide to eat lunch around noon and Melanie finds Marty's BBQ in Wilson, North Carolina.
We drive off the main road for what seems like an inordinate amount of miles. I'm thinking (to myself) this better be good and trying to remind myself traveling is not always a linear experience so stop with the thinking we're too far off the beaten path business.
We arrive at Marty's and find there's a line of cars all the way around the building and for several blocks down the street. Damn. This must be the place. There's overflow parking around the back of the building and we park Miranda there and crank up the generator and the AC. It's getting warm.
We walk in and make a to-go order, wait maybe 10 minutes and go back to the van to eat. Several people in the line of cars queuing up for BBQ ask about our van. She is, after all, a beaut. I ask if the line of cars is always this way. I'm told on Saturday and Sundays, yep, it is.
The BBQ is worth driving a few miles out of the way. Recommended, if you find yourself in Wilson, North Carolina.
We decide to travel to Washington, North Carolina, close to our evening camp, and park on the street in downtown. Melanie has a work Zoom call at 4:00 and we're unsure of connectivity at our campsite.
Washington is located on the Pamlico River and Pamlico Sound.
Melanie gets on her Zoom Call and after a few minutes I exit the van and walk around downtown Washington eventually finding Two Rivers Alehouse. I drink a beer and watch a bit of Sunday football, then make my way back to the van as Melanie is finishing her call.
We travel the 12+ miles to our campsite at Goose Creek, set up and take a walk out into the marsh on a boardwalk nearby. I'd been looking forward to this all day, but much to my chagrin, the boardwalk has not been repaired from damage suffered last year during hurricane season. Drat! It's a nice walk regardless.
We walk back to the van and snack a bit before moving to the back of the van, stream and sleep.
We're up just before 7:00 a.m. There's a nice sunrise out Miranda's window this morning. It's not as cool, but nice regardless. We're in the low 60's with highs today reaching the low 80's on Hatteras where we'll be this evening.
We have breakfast and I go for a shower. Melanie prepares the inside of the van and I top off the fresh water tank, empty and clean the black tank, and empty the grey tank.
We're camped at Oregon Inlet on Cape Hatteras tonight. Dry camping (no water, electric or sewer).
We find a good price for diesel in Plymouth, NC on our way and make a quick stop at the post office there.
Melanie finds lunch for us in Kitty Hawk, NC, I've Got Your Crabs Shellfish Market and Oyster Bar. Food's good and it appears to be a favorite for locals.
We travel south after lunch and make a quick stop at Publix for a few items.
We reach Oregon Inlet Campground around 2:00 p.m. There's a momentary pause as we try to figure out why our connectivity is not what it should be when all indicators are we should have good Verizon service.
Melanie is able to get online to do some financial work for EPF and I sit and look at the NYT which tells me Facebook is having problems. That's what we checked for our connectivity when we arrived. All other sites are good.
We FaceTime with our friends, the Hicks, at 3:00 p.m. and have a nice chat catching up. We've only been away from Louisville a week since a memorial service for their daughter. It is still an emotional time for them and for us.
Melanie has a work call at 4:30 p.m. and I journal and process photographs.
We enjoy a couple of adult beverages and walk out to the beach to see what's up. There are a number of vehicles on the beach with fisher persons near them. The temps are now pleasant.
Back at the van, Melanie makes us a nice dinner salad complete with left-over shrimp she had from her lunch. We eat outside.
I clean up the dishes and take the trash to the camp dumpster.
We stream and sleep.
October 5, 2021
We're awake at 6:00 a.m. in hopes of catching a sunrise at our beach location. Alas, it's not to be as a line of rain showers and accompanying clouds has moved off the coast and blocked the sun.
After coffee and breakfast, we prepare the van for our next move.
We don't have far to go to our friends' spot in Salvo, NC, but Melanie wants to first take a tour of Duck, NC and eat lunch before we go to Salvo. We crank up the generator, turn on the AC in the van and travel to Duck.
We make a brief stop at a grocery store for toilet paper and milk.
Just north of Duck we turn back and arrive at The Village Table and Tavern as they are opening for lunch. We'd eaten here in December of last year before vaccines and in the off-season. Today we enjoy lunch outside on a pleasant Fall afternoon.
We then make our way south to Salvo and park in our friends' driveway. They have a great AirBnB, Sunrise Over Salvo. Highly recommended.
We're here between guests for a few days to catch up and enjoy their great space.
We enjoy a nice light snack "dinner" with them in their home upstairs and catch up over the evening hours.
Melanie and I go to our room and stream and sleep.
September 22, 2021
We're up around 7:30 and I make my way out to Miranda from our upstairs bedroom location in our friend Diana's home in Summit, New Jersey. Happy first day of Fall. It'll be partly cloudy and may make 80 degrees by afternoon. There's a slight chance of rain.
We sip the coffee I've made when I return and Melanie has a cup of yogurt. Late morning we make our way over to a local bagel shop where she gets a bagel and I have one with lox, cream cheese, tomato and onion. Orange juice to drink please.
We check out the various pasta dishes that The Meat House has on our way back for future reference and our freezer when back on the road.
We decide to walk about 3/4 of a mile to Reeves-Reed, a local arboretum and check it out. The walk from Diana's home is pleasant and the arboretum proves to be a nice morning adventure. There are still blooming things and the trees are beginning to show the colors of the season.
We stroll back to the van, then Melanie goes to a local store to find a needlepoint project. I leave her and walk around the corner to the Trek bike store to check the status of our bikes that are being serviced.
I'm told late today or tomorrow for the bikes. Melanie has her project and we make our way the few blocks back to Miranda.
Melanie gets into her needlepoint project and I journal and process photos in the van. She eventually makes her way back to me and has a bite of lunch.
She and Diana work inside and I remain outside during the afternoon hours.
I set an appointment in Louisville to have our windshield replaced. The good news is there's no deductible for the replacement or recalibration that has to happen.
I also contact Cummins in Gainesville about a part for our generator. I've just been informed that Buffalo and Gainesville disagree about whether the part is still covered under our warranty.
Since the only thing I've ever done is check the oil, someone needs to pony up. I'm not happy about this, but I'm willing to wait until I get final word.
Melanie and Diana make a salad for us for dinner. I'm on FaceTime with Tate and eat after we're done.
We walk into downtown Summit after I finish dinner and go for ice cream.
Melanie and I finish watching a series and sleep.
September 23, 2021
I'm up around 6:30 a.m. and make my way to the van for coffee making.
We sip coffee and eventually dress for the day and go for bagels again in Summit. Why not two days in a row? When the bagels are good and fresh and you don't often indulge, you go for bagels.
After breakfast we walk back to the van and I begin doing our laundry. Melanie works downstairs in Diana's house.
Melanie has an eye doctor appointment at 11:30 and just before she's to leave, I get word from Trek Bikes Summit that our bikes are ready to be picked up.
I walk with Melanie and she peals off at her designated spot to get her eyes checked. I ride the bikes back to the van and store them away just as it begins to sprinkle rain.
Melanie makes her way back to the van and shortly afterwards we go for lunch in Summit. We eat pizza slices at Village Trattoria. Good.
We make our way back to the van and at 2:30 Melanie goes for a hair appointment.
Afterwards we take one of Diana's cars to do some grocery shopping at Whole Foods nearby.
Once we're back we walk to get coffee beans at Boxwood Coffee Roasters. They're a known entity to me and, as I've mentioned, nomads who love coffee don't pass up an opportunity to stock up on beans when they are close at hand.
One the way back to the van we almost make it before the monsoons hit. We've got our raincoats on which helps, but my shorts are pretty soaked when I enter the van. Melanie makes her way into the house. She too is soaked.
Diana and Melanie go for Ethiopian food takeout and we dine in Diana's kitchen.
We move what few things we have inside to Miranda and I ready the inside of Miranda for an early departure.
We stream and then sleep.
September 24, 2021
The alarm sounds at 5:00 a.m. I can't remember now whether any snoozing happened, but regardless, I'm up and out to the van shortly thereafter. After making coffee, I return inside and we visit with Diana for a few minutes over a cup of coffee.
We're on the road just after 6:00 a.m.
We both enjoy traveling as the sun is coming up. Today we're fortunate to be traveling west out of Summit so the sun will rise behind us.
It's been a long while since we've broken our no-more-than-200-miles-and-stay-for-at lest-2-days rule, but today we'll be traveling nearly 500 miles. We want to get the majority of what will be 700+ miles in two days behind us as we need to be in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday.
We'll be traveling Interstate 78, 76, and 70 to Buckeye Lake, Ohio, through four states.
We stop in Washington, Pennsylvania for fuel and DEF and Melanie has a Zoom Call which takes about an hour. We stay in the lot of the filling station and hop back on the interstate afterwards.
We're both hungry by then as it's after 3:00 p.m. and our Cracker Barrel breakfast is long gone. Melanie finds lunch in Wheeling, West Virginia at a local barbecue restaurant.
Hangover BBQ is a small operation with no inside seating. We order and Melanie sets up the table in Miranda and we, or I actually, enjoy our late lunch. Melanie's miffed because, while they said chips were available with her sandwich, they only had Goldfish and Chex Mix. Her BBQ sandwich is sliced, not pulled.
Who eats Goldfish with a BBQ sandwich, she explains. And who in their right mind eats Chex Mix? Plus, she says, fuming, I ordered pulled pork and I have a sliced pork sandwich. Is it good, I ask? Does't seem to matter. No chips is a real deal breaker.
I, on the other hand have most wonderful Cuban sandwich which was one of the several specials offered. Great pork and great ham on the nicely pressed sandwich.
While I wait for our order I spy a freezer full of ice cream sandwich treats made in Pittsburgh. The Coffee/Snickerdoodle is too much for me to resist. Returning to the van, I stash it in the freezer for later consumption.
Back on the road we travel to Buckeye Lake, Ohio and check into our campsite, a KOA. It's a nice, well-kept park about 2 miles off the interstate and near Buckeye Lake. I make an adult cocktail and we take a walk around the park to empty our trash and check out the shower house.
We're both very tired after our travels and we stream for a short time then sleep soundly.
September 25, 2021
We're up and coffee's made by 6:45 a.m. There's another travel day ahead of us. This one's only 235 miles and I feel well-rested.
We shower using the campground showers that are nice and we're able to park Miranda just outside the building making it quick and easy for us.
We skip breakfast and opt for brunch in Cincinnati. Melanie finds Sacred Beast in downtown.
The food is great. We both have the Diner Breakfast consisting of three Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Soft Scrambled Eggs and Pork Belly. Recommended. Highly.
The drive into Louisville is uneventful. We park next to our friends', Jess and Ziggy's, in Deerpark. We are in Louisville for the memorial service of our dear friend, Jess' sister, Jamie.
We'll be staying with their parents, Pif and Chip, at their condominium. The service is on Sunday.
We have dinner at Jess and Ziggy's and meet new friends of Jamie's. Afterwards we return to Pif and Chip's and catch up a bit more over a glass of scotch and then retire.
September 26, 2021
We're up and having coffee in our room around 7:30 a.m. The condos where we're staying have hotel-type rooms for the guests of the residents who live here. Pif and Chip arranged for us to have a room while we're in Louisville. We also have Jamie's car to use while we're here making traveling between spots very easy for us.
The Memorial Service for our friend, Jamie Hicks, is today at 2:00 p.m. in Willow Park across from the condos. There's a brunch before the service at Jessica and Ziggy's home which is very nice.
Melanie and I get to meet and make new friends who were long-time friends of Jamie's. We're grateful for the time we also have with old friends, John and Kathy, we've not seen in a while since being on the road.
The service is moving and the speakers and musicians provide a most wonderful remembrance of Jamie.
Afterwards, we sit in the park and eat pizza with a few remaining folks and, in Jamie's honor, shoot tequila. 😎
Returning to Pif and Chip's condo we talk and, after a while, eat a bit more before parting ways for the evening.
Melanie and I stream a bit before sleeping.
September 27, 2021
Monday after the memorial service for Jamie finds Melanie working and us sipping coffee in our big ol' king-sized bed.
I go up after a while when Pif texts and drink coffee with her for a while.
In a bit I go back to our room, dress and drive over to Jessica and Ziggy's to show off Miranda to Bill and Hanna. The tour complete and a bit of breakfast eaten in the van, I drive back to the condos and bring a bit of breakfast to Melanie.
I journal a bit before we have to drive about 17 miles away for an appointment to have Miranda's cracked windshield replaced.
I sit in Miranda and await my turn for about an hour before the reception person comes out to inform me they don't have a part that was expected to be delivered that day. They won't be able to perform the replacement.
I had nothing for her, not anger, not what the fuck? who runs a business like this. The afternoon was warm and it was after 4:00 p.m. and all I could think was what a waste of a fine afternoon. The windshield remains cracked and I'm not at all certain I'll allow Safelite to do the repairs.
Upon returning to the condo, parking Miranda on the street in front this time, I journal a bit more and we then travel over to Jessica and Ziggy's for a light dinner.
Afterwards, back at the Willow condos, we visit for the last time with Pif and Chip. Melanie eventually returns to the room and I remain watching the first half of the Dallas Cowboys game, Ziggy in attendance.
September 28, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. Travel day. We've decided not to trek north again. Instead, we've contacted our friends who live in Salvo, North Carolina and they've said yes to their wonderful driveway and a visit. Cape Hatteras, we're on our way.
We make a few trips out to Miranda with our stuff and, after checking the room one last time and turning in our keys, we take our leave. We're traveling over 200 miles east and south to a KOA in Milton, West Virginia.
Melanie finds breakfast in Louisville for us at Wild Eggs just off Interstate 64. Okay. Just.
There are high clouds present as we drive east and the temps stay pleasant for a bit. We stop at a rest stop along the way and make coffee and continue.
Another hour passes before I decide the generator needs to be cranked and the air conditioner in the van utilized before we get any warmer. The outside temp will reach the mid 80's today. Better to get ahead of that.
I find the cheapest fuel I've seen in some time in Grayson, KY at 2.99 a gallon.
We stop just inside the West Virginia line at the Welcome Center for an afternoon Zoom Call Melanie has for EPF.
I find lunch for us in Huntington, WV. Huntington has a university and appears to have a very large medical complex.
Lunch is at Navarino Bay inside what's called The Market. We each have a good salad with added protein. Melanie shops for post cards. She's Miranda's corresponding secretary for which I am grateful. I get coffee ice cream with hot fudge.
The remainder of the drive is pleasant and we reach Milton and easily check in. Melanie sets us up inside and I hook up the outside and get our chairs out. She walks and I sit for a bit before she comes back and we walk over to a lake at the campground. It's pleasant out as the sun goes down. We leave when the mosquitoes insist.
Late lunch means we have light snacks for dinner. Stream and a good nights sleep.
September 15, 2021
We awake to a rainy day in Essex Junction. Melanie has the day off so we borrow a car from the Heermans and take drive north to Montgomery, Vermont, to Jay, Vermont and back to the Heermans.
Checking out the lay of the lands in Vermont.
We're gone most of the day. We get back and the Heermans make a very nice dinner for us.
After dinner, we stream, we sleep.
September 16, 2021
We're up around 6:15 a.m. and after coffee and breakfast we get the van ready to travel. We've made a plan with the Heermans to ride the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
We've decided to ride from Johnson, Vermont to the end of the trail as it now exists in Morrisville. Lost Nation Brewing is in Morrisville where we will have lunch.
It's another splendid Vermont day for a ride. We start out in the low 60's and the temps get into the low 70's. Our lunch is great and the beers John and I have are also a treat. The ride is about 20 miles round trip. We stop for maple creamies on the way back to Essex Junction.
Once we're back Melanie and I make a quick Costco run. She wants to stop at Michaels to get crocheting materials and we do that too.
We shower and I snack in the van then we do a bit of streaming before sleep.
September 17, 2021
The alarm is set for 6:00 a.m. and I'm up shortly after it goes off. Travel day. After a few sips of coffee I'm dressed and we start to get the van ready for travel.
Melanie readies the inside while I go outside to check tire pressure and store a few items we purchased on our Costco run yesterday.
We make our way south out of Essex Junction, Vermont to Waterbury, Vermont where Melanie finds breakfast at Hender's Bake Shop and Cafe.
Hender's is a take-out only bakery. We order our breakfast, Melanie, Silver Dollar Pancakes, me, the Hender's Salami Sandwich, both quite delicious. Recommended. Highly.
I also order an Apple Maple Walnut Scone for my breakfast tomorrow and Cold Peanut Noodles to accompany tonight's roasted chicken we picked up from Costco.
We drive through Montpelier and pick up another bag of coffee from Capitol Grounds. You don't miss an opportunity to purchase great coffee beans when you can.
We're then off to meet our friend John and his girlfriend, Kathy at Quechee Gorge. We meet them at Snackbar at the Gorge and walk down into the gorge catching up with John and getting to know Kathy whom we've just met.
Afterwards, John, Kathy and Melanie have lunch at the Snackbar. We say our goodbyes and travel to Springfield, Vermont. We do a bit of grocery shopping before traveling to our Boondockers Welcome location just outside of town for the evening.
Melanie works and I journal for a bit before she makes dinner. I clean up afterwards and we move to the back of the van and stream a bit before a really good night's sleep ensues.
September 18, 2021
I'm up around 7:00 a.m. and make coffee. Melanie is still sleeping when I come back to bed with the morning's brew and begin reading.
We located in a pasture next to a barn. It was a very quiet night for us with the occasional hoot of an owl nearby.
Melanie eventually is up and sipping coffee as begins her work day. We each eat a bit of breakfast and Melanie suggests since we're traveling through Bennington, Vermont that we stop and have lunch at Madison Brewing Company.
The drive to Bennington is great with splashes of Fall color along the way. Melanie tells me just before we get to Bennington that our friend, Kevin, is in town getting work done on his car.
I text Kevin when we arrive and get a great parking spot just down from the brewery. He calls me and says he'd like to join us. We have a great visit and lunch and my beer, an FBomb is good too.
After lunch we travel a short distance and park on the street again in Bennington. Melanie has a Zoom Call at 3:00 p.m. and we'll stay in Bennington for the call then travel a short 10 miles to our evening's campsite.
Melanie finishes her Zoom call and at half-time of the Alabama-Florida football game, we drive the short distance to our campsite at Pine Hollow.
Alabama hangs on for the win and we have a light dinner of Lean Cuisine. I indulge in a gin and tonic or two and watch Georgia annihilate South Carolina and Auburn lose to Penn State. And Sleep.
September 19, 2021
I'm up at around 6:45 a.m. and make coffee. We sip some it, have breakfast and each go for showers using the campground shower house.
Melanie expresses interest in attending church in Williamstown where the website indicates we'll need to be parked for her to go in at 10:30. We're less than 10 miles away from church.
Arriving at 10:30ish, we wait until close to 11:00 and Melanie exits and walks away towards the church which is about a block away. I leave to run a brief errand.
I get to the spot of my errand and the phone rings. Church services are about to be completed. Apparently, their website hasn't been updated to reflect a change in time for service. I retrace my drive and pick her up.
We run my original errand and I find a place for us to have lunch. We eat in Williamstown at Water Street Grill which bills itself as the Best Tavern in the Berkshires. Food's good.
While we wait on our lunch, I purchase tickets to Mass MoCA located a few miles away in North Adams, MA. We're in the parking lot of the museum while I'm composing this as we have about 30 minutes before our tickets' times.
Today is the last day of our time in Vermont, at least for a while. Tomorrow we head south to Summit, New Jersey for a few days' visit with our friend, Diana, on our way to a memorial service for a dear friend who recently died in Louisville, Kentucky.
Our visit to Mass MoCA is great fun. We spend most of Sunday afternoon there.
We return to our campsite. Melanie has a Zoom Call and we then sit outside and enjoy the evening for a bit before she goes and prepares a simple dinner of Costco chicken and a side of summer salad made by our friend, Cece, in Essex Junction and given to us before we left there a few days back.
I clean up dishes after dinner and together we take the trash. Along the way I notice Georgia and Alabama license plates. We strike up a conversation with those campers and find out the Alabama plates belong to folks who live in Trussville, Alabama.
Not only that, but they are the parents of a former associate who worked at Cabaniss Johnston where Melanie practiced law for 30 years. Small world.
We return to the van, stream and sleep.
September 20, 2021
My alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., but I linger and doze through a couple of 10 minute snooze periods. Coffee is made and sipped, but only briefly. We've got the longest travel day we've had in a while today at 195 miles.
We'll travel south to Summit, New Jersey to our friend, Diana's, home there.
I top off our fresh water as we'll be parked in Diana's driveway in Summit for 4 days. I empty the black and grey tanks and reset the flow of our toilet to low.
We're gone from our campsite around 9:00 a.m. After about an hour or so we stop in Coxsackie, New York for breakfast at Chrissy and Tim's Diner. It's a hole-in-the-wall place in the best sorta way. Solid breakfast and local color eating their breakfast.
We retrace our path back to the interstate and then south again. We make Summit and have time to unload our Trek EBikes and take them to Trek Bikes Summit. I'd used them before when they first opened. I had my front disc brakes replaced and they did a great job taking me in on short notice.
This time around and since we're nearing three years owning our bikes, they will replace my tires and give both bikes a major tune up and cleaning. Melanie's bike needs her lights repaired. My chain needs replacing. They agree to have them done by Thursday.
We travel on the Diana's home which is a couple of blocks away. She catches up a bit with us then she continues her work day while Melanie and I enjoy the cooling afternoon on Diana's front porch.
Diana and Melanie put together a very nice dinner as we continue to catch up a bit.
We off to bed not too long after Diana and Melanie clean up.
September 21, 2021
We slept in Diana's home last night. That's the first time we've slept out of Miranda in a good long while. It was the suggestion of a new mattress that cinched the deal. 😎 That's a joke, but the new mattress provided us with a good night's rest all the same.
Diana leaves for the morning walking of her dogs.
We're up around 7:30 a.m. and I go out to Miranda and make our morning brew. We sip coffee in bed and then get into our respective days. Melanie and Diana work downstairs and I remain upstairs reading.
I'm up around 10:00 a.m. and get a shower and move out to Miranda for a bit of journaling and photo processing.
The afternoon finds Melanie and me walking in downtown Summit. We find a place that does pedicures and indulge. A pedicure is something we haven't done since we began traveling.
It reminds us that in Birmingham we would show up at our local place and sometimes run into our friend, Martha Jane Patton. We miss Martha Jane.
We make our way back to Diana's home and wait until she's finished her work day. We all go to dinner at Ani Ramen House in Summit. It's a favorite of ours.
After dinner, we walk back home and spend some time together before going our separate ways. Melanie and I stream and sleep.
September 8, 2021
After breakfast, I finish a bit of journaling and Melanie prepares for a Zoom call she has scheduled. We're both still reeling a bit from the news our friend, Jamie has died, but it's a nice day in Vermont and we decide after her work call, we'll get the bikes out and ride into Barre, Vermont to check out the Episcopal church at which she'll worship on Sunday, have lunch and check out the town.
Barre/Graniteville, Vermont is the granite capitol of the world. We checked out the Hope Cemetery while we were in town. Great headstones carved by artisans.
September 9, 2021
Not much going on today in Graniteville. We walked over to Rock of Ages quarry mid day to check out the visitors center. Grave stones, various granite gift items, famous epithets, and various structures made from the granite quarried here.
There's a tour offered of the active quarry site not far away. Melanie expresses no interest in it so we walk back to Lazy Lions Campground. I grab a quick snack before walking back over for the 2:15 tour.
Take aways. They've taken a very large amount of granite from this quarry since inception. A Canadian company now owns the quarry and a number of others in the U.S., Canada and France. They work from March until Christmas each year. There's still enough granite at the site for another 4,000 years of extraction.
The price of admission was inexpensive so the meh quality of the tour was palatable. I'm really not into being buried when I die so a granite headstone isn't in my future, but some of the ones I saw at Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont were pretty amazing.
September 10, 2021
We have our usual coffee and breakfast in the van. Melanie begins her work day while I continue reading in the back of the van.
It's laundry day for us. We haven't done it in a minute so there's a bunch of clothes and we'll also launder the bedding too.
With Melanie's assistance, we make it over to Ruby's at the campground in one trip. I sit and listen to Ezra Klein's podcast from the New York Times website and check social media while the machines do their magic.
The podcast is worth a listen. He interviews the economist, Tyler Cowen.
It's also our favorite engineer's and our youngest son's birthday today. He's 25. We talk briefly with him before he's going out for dinner with his girlfriend, Zoe.
The evening is spent talking with our campground neighbors from Black Mountain, North Carolina around a fire I put together for us to share. They are relatively new to the camping experience having just taken possession of their 5th wheel camper three weeks prior to us meeting them.
They turn in around 9:00 p.m. and we stay around the really nice warmth of the fire until it's mostly out.
September 11, 2021
We've set an alarm so we can be up and moving. After I make coffee, we move towards the Cross Vermont Trail (Montpelier & Wells River). I've chosen a parking spot in Groton, Vermont where Melanie can be on Zoom calls while I ride the trail.
We arrive in Groton with about 30 or so minutes to spare before Melanie's first call begins and..., there's no cell service. This does not set well with me because we can't pull up a map quickly on our phones to try and figure out where next to try.
Melanie goes into the post office in Groton and is told there's a truck stop about 5 miles away and there's cell service there. We quickly move towards Interstate 91 and what we hope is cell service. As luck would have it the post person is correct.
I park the truck in the back of the truck stop, Melanie sets up for her call and I have a bite of breakfast. I check the rail trail map and see that I'm not too far away from the rail trail I wanted to ride, but much farther from what looks like is the most rideable section.
I'm a bit disappointed, but hey, it's a beautiful day with temps hovering in the 60's. A perfect day to be out riding.
My ride on the trail proves to be a bit of bust as the section is, as mentioned in reviews, in need of some TLC. I ride portions of the trail, but directional signs are not great and I end up riding more on Vermont 302 than not. I get in a nearly 30 mile ride and I'm back in the van before 2:00 p.m.
We get lunch from the truck stop which turns out to be better than expected.
After Melanie finishes her second Zoom call, we travel back into Barre, Vermont for groceries we need before traveling to our evening Boondockers Welcome spot in Orange, Vermont which is very near Barre.
There's no cell service at the Boondockers location so we sit and talk outside the van and enjoy the last bit of a beautiful day.
September 12, 2021
I'm up around 5:45 a.m. after my alarm goes off. It's Sunday and Melanie will attend services at Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre, Vermont. Reverend Kooperkamp has invited her to talk about the Episcopal Peace Fellowship during service.
She wants to take a shower before the service so after making coffee I remove items we usually store in the shower as we travel. We keep a bag of shoes, a cooler with bottled water and few other miscellaneous items. It takes no time to get the shower ready and after she's done I wipe away excess water and restore the items.
While we booked our current campsite for two nights, we decide to move along to South Hero, Vermont and camp at Apple Island Resort, a place we stayed a few months back, since we don't have cell service at our Boondockers Welcome location in Orange.
We travel into Barre and park close to the church about an hour before services begin. I stay in Miranda and catch up on a few things I need to do.
After services are done, Melanie texts and lets me know there will be visitors to the van. I show the van to a number of people and afterwards we are invited to have pancakes in the parish hall.
We sit and talk with Elizabeth and Earl Kooperkamp over our pancakes and afterwards one of the parishioners who has also joined us for pancakes, Tess Taylor, offers to show us an historic landmark, the Socialist Labor Party Hall.
It's a brief and very interesting tour of the famous meeting place of the once powerful socialist labor movement.
We then travel to Montpelier for coffee beans and brunch at Oakes & Evelyn. It's a very delicious meal. Recommended.
Our trip to South Hero, Vermont is then only about 50 miles. Enroute, we decide to check out North Hero before we check into our campsite. It's a great drive onto North Hero and back. We drive by several State Parks and make a note to check out Grand Isle State Park.
We travel on back to Apple Island Resort and check in before 5:00. The nice person checking me in asks if I had a reason for choosing the particular site I've chosen. I mention the bathhouse close to the site.
She says the site isn't to her liking and she upgrades us at no additional charge to another site also close to a bathhouse. We are very pleased with the upgrade.
Late lunch equals no dinner and we enjoy the evening outside overlooking Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains.
Streaming and sleep follow.
September 13, 2021
After a bit of coffee and breakfast, Melanie goes for a shower and I begin by cleaning our ceiling fans' screens. That task doesn't take too long and I move outside to fill our water tank, empty and clean the black tank and empty the grey tank.
We'll be off grid for a few days in Essex Junction, Vermont at the home of Cec and John Heermans.
We leave our spot at Apple Island Resort and travel north to Grand Isle State Park. We are granted permission to enter and check out the campground there. We're happy we did as many of the sites are very nice and the park is situated on Lake Champlain.
We travel into Burlington and have lunch at The Shanty on the Shore situated overlooking Lake Champlain. We're both pleased with lunch and our spot on their deck outside. It's a beautiful day in Burlington with temperatures in the high 60's.
After lunch we make a quick stop for wine and tonic at a local 802 State Store before driving to our friends' on Jackson Street in Essex Junction.
We get settled in our regular space in front of their barn. Melanie works a bit and we both get ready for a protest march and Burlington City Council meeting.
We travel with our friend, John, to another friend, Louis' home in downtown Burlington. Louis is going with us, along with a couple of others to the protest which begins in front of the First Unitarian Universalist Church.
There are a few speeches and the media interviews a number of participants. We then march down Church Street to City Hall where a few more people speak. The assembled crowd then moves into City Hall where a council meeting will take up a resolution asking that the U.S. stop military aid to the State of Israel.
There are many speakers and the meeting goes on for hours. In the end the resolution is withdrawn.
We end the evening at Louis' home for drinks and dinner, then back to Essex Junction.
September 14, 2021
The alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m., but since we weren't in bed until 12:00 midnight, I'm wondering why. We sleep a bit more before I'm up making coffee.
We sip coffee, eat breakfast and Melanie works. I catch up a bit on my journaling and John comes out after a fashion and says Louis is up for a ride around 2:00 p.m.
Melanie takes the Heermans' Honda for her haircut appointment which is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
Once she's back, she works a bit more, and we eat leftovers for lunch.
After lunch I get our bikes out for a ride we'll take with our friends. Everyone assembles at around 2:00 and before long we ride.
We make our way to Indian Brook Park and reservoir. We take a brief break, talk to a local man and then we're off again.
A couple of miles later three of the five riders make the decision to ride back to Essex Junction leaving Louis and I to ride farther out and back.
We are enjoying a great ride when, going up a rather steep incline on a highway, Louis' chain comes off and becomes lodged such that we can't free it. He pushes the bike up the hill and into the town of Westford, Vermont.
After making a few more attempts to free the chain, he calls John and John says he'll come get him and the bike. I ride on.
I make it back to the van before Louis and John and FaceTime with our son Tate.
Louis and John show up with Louis' bike chain still stuck. We all have a nice dinner prepared by Cec. John makes a fire for us to enjoy. It's a very pleasant Vermont evening.
September 1, 2021
When I wake up, the first thing I do is pick up my phone, it's 6:45 a.m., and look at the local weather page. It's 49 degrees in Twin Mountain. Welcome to chilly September, y'all.
We drink a bit of coffee and Melanie suggests, since she's off today, we get Miranda ready for travel and find breakfast along the way. We have a relative short distance to travel to day. We're headed south and east to Meredith, New Hampshire for at least two days.
Retracing our travels of a few days back we travel through the Franconia Notch area. This time through the clouds are high and we can see the mountains stretching out before us. Cannon Mountain Ski Resort is also completely visible this time through.
Melanie finds breakfast for us in Plymouth, New Hampshire. We leave the Interstate and travel into downtown Plymouth and park on the street near The Main Street Station restaurant.
As we near the end of breakfast, Melanie declares it possibly the best breakfast she has ever eaten. She shares this declaration with our waitress and explains that since we travel full time and have eaten breakfast in many parts of the U.S., she knows.
Our server thinks it's "sick" we travel full time. I show her a photo of Miranda and she declares it larger than her apartment. We surmise after she leaves she must be referring to her dorm room at Plymouth State University located in Plymouth. Melanie has often compared living in Miranda to living in a dorm room.
After breakfast, Melanie walks to the post office to mail some items and buy stamps. I go to Monte Alto and buy coffee beans.
We travel on. Seeing diesel fuel at $2.84 a gallon is a good reason to top off Miranda's tank at the Citgo on the way back to the Interstate.
We arrive at our campsite at a bit after noon. I go in to the office to check in while Melanie calls her father to check in.
The folks in the office don't have a record of me making a reservation. I tell them I didn't get a confirmation email as promised, but I do know I've paid as I recently checked our bank account.
One woman goes to another building to check payments, I go for my phone left in Miranda. I pull up our bank account and, yes, I'm right, I've paid. The woman comes back and verifies I'm paid in full. We finish the check in process and she apologizes for the delay. All I've got is time.
While it's her day off, Melanie has a Zoom Call scheduled. We'l travel back into Meredith to check things out afterwards.
After Zooming, we travel back into Meredith and walk around town for an hour or so before deciding on an early dinner at Lago Costa Cucina.
We enjoy drinks and appetizers and I order an entree. I eat about half of that and take the remainder back to the van for another dinner.
Once back in the van we quickly set up and move to the back for an evening of streaming. Sleep.
September 2, 2021
I didn't sleep well last night due to rain, but more specifically, rain falling on Miranda when she's located under trees. The dripping from trees creates an erratic noise that isn't conducive to sleep. Our campsite is, nevertheless, very nice overall. And there's no further rain in the forecast for today.
I'm up around 7:30 a.m. and make coffee. Melanie works some even though day off. I read and begin thinking about tomorrow. We're only here one night and the Labor Day Holiday is upon us. Campsites may be scarce.
We decide to stay here, if they'll have us. I walk over to the office and ask the person behind the counter if there's room for us one more night. A quick check and that's a nope. Full for the holiday weekend she says.
Our next decision involves where do we go from here. At this point we have only two firm obligations, one in Barre, Vermont on the 12th and Burlington, Vermont on the 13th.
While Melanie makes a work-related phone call, I begin to search northern New Hampshire and Vermont. I decide to take what is, generally speaking, the easy route and look for Boondockers Welcome locations.
I find what looks like a very nice spot in near Northport, Vermont. After a quick consult with Melanie mostly about work-related Zooming she has over the weekend, I request a stay. Within the hour, we're accepted. Good news, holiday weekend booked.
September 3, 2021
Travel day. We're not traveling too far today, less than 150 miles north near the Canadian border so I'm up around 7:00 a.m. for coffee making.
We sip for a bit before remembering we'll be traveling by Plymouth, New Hampshire on our way which means we could have breakfast again at The Main Street Station.
After I shower, we quickly ready the van for travel and we're on the way by 9:00. The distance to Plymouth is short and we're eating by 10:00. It's another good experience with the exception of the intermittently screeching baby in the booth behind us.
After Melanie makes a brief stop at the local post office, we're headed north on the interstate again.
We need to make a grocery store run so we choose the Price Chopper in Northport, Vermont. Melanie works while I go in to restock supplies.
Wanting to ride a local rail trail, I put in coordinates for the trail head of the Beebe Spur Rail Trail. I find the trail head and what looks like a good spot to park Miranda.
We travel a bit farther to downtown Northport and find a nice spot to park. We take a walk around town and on a nice board walk overlooking Lake Memphremagog. It's beautiful here and there are a number of people on the streets on this holiday weekend. And it's Friday afternoon around quitting time.
Afterwards, we travel about 8 miles out of town to our Boondockers Welcome location, Hurdland Farm. Our hosts were dairy farmers up until recently and are becoming retired in methodical fashion. They both enjoy travel and own a nice diesel pusher RV that they've graciously moved to make way for us and another couple.
Their farm is east of the Green Mountains which makes for a most bucolic setting. The sun setting over the Green Mountains and great conversation around a camp fire as the temps dip into the 50's. Perfect.
I've touted the virtues of the Boondockers Welcome service before, but when one gets the warm welcome we got and within minutes has fresh produce and an invitation to join them around a fire after dinner, it becomes camping at it's finest. We, of course, hope to see them again in the future.
We discover we have sporadic connectivity and realize quickly streaming is not going to happen when we retire to the back of the van. Melanie reads some and I finish an essay by Carl Sagan in The Sun magazine given to me a few weeks ago by a friend in Burlington.
I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate. Sometimes a kind of existential perception of the absurd comes over me and I see with awful certainty the hypocrisies and posturing of myself and my fellow men. And at other times, there is a different sense of the absurd, a playful and whimsical awareness. Both of these senses of the absurd can be communicated, and some of the most rewarding highs I've had have been sharing talk and perceptions and humor. Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds. A sense of what the world is really like can be maddening; cannabis has brought me some feeling of what it is like to be crazy, and how we use that word "crazy" to avoid thinking about things that are too painful for us. In the Soviet Union political dissidents are routinely placed in insane asylums. The same kind of thing, a little more subtle perhaps, occurs here: "did you hear what [comedian] Lenny Bruce said yesterday? He must be crazy." When high on cannabis I discovered that there's somebody inside in those people we call mad.
September 4, 2021
After sipping a bit of coffee we opt for getting the van ready so we can get breakfast and find a spot for Melanie to work for the day.
Melanie finds a local Newport restaurant, The Brown Cow. There's a short wait involved and it appears to be a place locals eat breakfast. The breakfast is good and we travel back towards downtown Newport.
We park in Gardner Memorial Park long enough to go to the local Farmers Market. We buy items mostly to be used as gifts for people who host us at Boondockers Welcome spots along our way. But there's also a jar of pesto I'm looking forward to trying eventually.
Cell service is not great at Gardner so we move downtown to near the historic public library, Goodrich Memorial Library.
Melanie continues her work day and I get out my bike to ride the Beebe Spur Rail Trail that runs north out of Newport to within a mile and a half of the Canadian border.
It's a beautiful sunny and cool day for a ride and, since it's a holiday weekend, there are a good many folks out riding and walking. The ride is relatively easy, even the last bit of road riding to the border.
Since connectivity has been a problem for us at our location in Newport Center, I stop by Prouty Beach Campground just off the trail coming back into town. I make a reservation for Sunday night and Monday night and get a spot very near the water and beach.
Returning to the van, we walk down to the Pick and Shovel. From the website:
The Pick and Shovel is a maze of aisles where you’ll find just about anything, because if we don’t have it you don’t need it.
We’re an adventure, not just a hardware store.
Melanie bought a tee shirt there while I was out riding and wants me to see the place. I buy shop towels for the van and we walk around and take in the many splendored thing that it is.
Walking back to the van, I pull up the Alabama football game and we both watch while Melanie works.
Melanie has a Zoom call at 7:00. Afterwards we watch a bit of the Georgia/Clemson football game before returning to Newport Center.
After trying without success to get the remainder of the Georgia football game, I give up and read a bit before sleep.
September 5, 2021
We up and out after a bit of coffee. Another breakfast at The Brown Cow calls us.
We ready the van and leave behind reading materials provided by our hosts and a small token of handmade soap we recently acquired in Brattleboro, Vermont at a Farmers Market.
After breakfast, we make our way over to Gardner Park again. Melanie saw a poster a few days back indicating Bernie Sanders will be hosting a Town Hall meeting there at noon. We're in.
There are benches placed in front of a gazebo where a band is setting up to play. We settle in on one of the benches on the front row. The band plays blues music.
Bernie arrives and talks about the infrastructure bills. He has three guest speakers, two from the Vermont legislature and a dairy farmer. They all speak highly of Bernie's efforts on the state's behalf. The Q&A afterwards shows a good knowledge of the issues by local folks. It's nice to hear folks talk positively about how the federal government can assist.
Afterwards, we check in at our new location at Prouty Beach Campground. Melanie showers and we move back into town for an afternoon Zoom call she has scheduled. Zoom call complete we travel the short distance back to camp.
I warm up some Moroccan Lamb Bolognese we'd purchase while on Cape Cod. I made a batch of rice and Melanie makes a Kale salad from Kale we received from our Boondockers Welcome host, Judy a few days back.
I clean up the dishes while Melanie takes an evening walk. We sit for a while enjoying the gloaming until rain starts and we're forced to move inside.
We're able to stream a movie, then sleep.
September 6, 2021
The rain has stopped and it looks like the start of the day will be sunny and cool. We drink our coffees and Melanie begins her work day.
We each have breakfast in the van and afterwards I get out my bike and Melanie decides to walk into town to the library for more work.
The ride along the Beebe Spur Rail Trail is nice. While there aren't as many people out today, there are a good number walking and riding. Labor Day.
On the way back I get caught in a shower of rain that wasn't supposed to happen until around 1:00 in the afternoon. I'm pretty soaked by the time I get back to the van. Melanie is still at the library in Newport and we agree I'll meet her there.
We discuss lunch and decide on Eastside Restaurant near our campground. Lunch is good, but we finish and don't linger as it appears we're about to get rain. Melanie is on foot so she leaves ahead of my settling the check.
We arrive at roughly the same time and I have just enough time to store the bike in it's carrier on the back of the van before the rain starts. It's a nice hard rain with a bit of thunder thrown in, but doesn't last too long. The afternoon brings sun and calm.
Many of the people camped here have gone in late afternoon.
We snack and enjoy the evening before moving to the back of the van for a bit of streaming and sleep.
September 7, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. It's nice out this morning, temps in the 50's. Melanie begins work and after coffee is made we decide one more of The Brown Cow breakfasts is in order before we leave Northport. It's a travel day.
It takes us about 30 minutes to prepare the van for travel, including emptying our black and grey tanks, putting away our zero-gravity chairs and sweeping and storing our mat.
Breakfast is again good and we depart for Graniteville, Vermont after we finish. We're about 70 miles from our campground there.
We decide to detour to Montpelier, Vermont for connectivity. Melanie's newsletter needs work and we also will need coffee in a few day.
We'll be positioning ourselves near Barre, Vermont for a church service at Good Sheperd Episcopal Church Melanie will attend this coming Sunday.
We drive into downtown Montpelier and park. She works on and finishes her newsletter and I take a walk to Capitol Grounds, a local coffee haunt. I'd purchased what turned out to be some very well-roasted beans a while back.
I purchase a few bags of coffee and a couple of cards for Melanie to send out. She's also a recording secretary and emissary of good-will for us on our pilgrimage/journey.
We leave Montpelier and reach Graniteville just after noon. I check us in and the nice proprietor, Steve, leads us to our site and I get the outside ready as Melanie prepares for a Zoom call she has scheduled. Connectivity is good here so Zooming is not a problem as it was in Newport.
After her call, Melanie eats a bit of lunch and then she suggests we take a walk. I'd scouted out a local trail and we make our way to it. Millstone Hill West Bike Path runs about 2.4 miles between Websterville and Graniteville, Vermont.
We get on the trail in front of Rock of Ages Quarry. See Also: Video
We walk to the Barre Town Middle & Elementary School on the trail and back. The trail is scenic and takes us through Barre Town School Forest.
Back at camp we sit and enjoy the afternoon sun. Steven, Lazy Lion proprietor, comes by with his dog, Buster, and we talk about local attractions including the trail of which we've just walked a portion. He mentions Hope Cemetery and Brookfield Floating Bridge.
Eventually, Melanie moves to the van and prepares dinner for us. Afterwards, she takes our trash and I clean up the dinner dishes.
We move to the back to stream a bit, but just as we're about to begin, we get a phone call from our dear friend, Pif Hicks. She sounds shaken as she tells us she has some very terrible news to convey.
She proceeds through tears telling us Chip, her husband, found their daughter dead at her home during that afternoon. She hadn't shown up for work and wasn't responsive to phone calls by the family so Chip had driven over to her home where he found her.
Jamie was a truly lovely woman with a quick smile, great sense of humor, and contagious laugh. She had a great sense of fairness and was politically active in her community.
Being a parent of three myself, I can't compose this without more tears. The loss of a child is the stuff of unimaginable grief. There isn't a parent alive who wouldn't, given the choice, say, please allow me to depart before my child. Rest well, sweet Jamie.
We so love our friends and their family and our thoughts and prayers are with them.
August 25, 2021
August 26, 2021
August 27, 2021
It's been very warm in Wellfleet the past few days. Today is not an exception. Melanie works in the van and I help Ann close down her home here for the season.
There are tables and chairs to be moved into storage. Cars are moved into the garage. Melanie and I travel to a nearby RV park to empty our gray and black tanks in anticipation we'll be off the grid a few more days after leaving Wellfleet.
I'm placing this here as a reminder of the insanity that is the Southern U.S. now:
A major hurricane is about to hit three states, including a major city, and there isn't an ICU bed to be had in any of those states.
Think about that. And then try to reconcile those facts with the goobers who are still - STILL - running around saying the virus is no big deal, we don't need masks, stop being afraid. And refusing to take the vaccine.
This period of time should forever be remembered as the most selfish and self-absorbed time in American history. People will literally believe anything if it reinforces what they want to hear and allows them to do whatever they want to do.
There isn't a state in America with a vaccine rate above 70% that has more than 30% of its icu beds filled with covid patients. Most of them, including two states with major cities and high population concentrations, have fewer than 10% of their beds devoted to covid patients.
But here we are in the South booing the vaccine and taking horse dewormer, screaming at teachers and doctors and nurses and anyone who dares tell you a truth you don't want to hear. As your friends and families - and now, your children, your BABIES - are dying from this plague. A plague for which there's a vaccine.
That's never happened in the history of the world that I can find. That a vaccine was developed for a plague but the people refused to take it and kept dying. That's how dumb this is. Congrats to you all.- Josh Moon
July 28, 2021
We're up at 5:30 a.m. and leave Wellfleet at 7:30. We're taking Ann to Logan airport in Boston so she can fly back to her home in Berkeley, CA. The trip to Logan is uneventful and we make good time, only encountering a bit of traffic as we near the city.
After dropping Ann off at the airport, we find breakfast in Medford, MA near where we will meet Reverend Bob Davidson at his home in Winchester, MA. Melanie will meet with parishioners at Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester on Sunday and Bob has graciously agreed to lend us a vehicle so we don't have to drive Miranda into the service.
We have breakfast at Paul Revere Restaurant. It's good and full of locals. We marvel at their strange and wonderful accents.
We have a bit of time on our hands after breakfast and find a spot near a nice park in Winchester. I need to make a minor repair to the privacy blinds that cover Miranda's front windows when we're parked. There's a hardware store within walking distance of us and we make our way there.
Melanie walks around a bit while I go in for washers I need. After repairs are successfully made, we make our way across the street for a few grocery items we need. Returning to the van, Melanie works while I catch up on looking at monthly expenses.
It's then time for us to pick up our loaner vehicle and visit with Reverend Davidson, his wife, Linda, and his grandsons, Bennett and Lenox (both sporting great stick-on tattoos) We have a nice time catching up and take our leave, Melanie following me in Miranda to our Boondockers Welcome location north of Winchester in Lowell, MA.
We're greeted by our host and settle in for a bit before Melanie finds dinner for us and we drive into downtown Lowell to eat at The Keep. Dinner is good and we're back in Miranda around 7:30 p.m.
We stream some and are asleep by 10:00 p.m.
August 29, 2021
August 30, 2021
We're up with coffee made by 7:00 a.m. still parked in the driveway of our Boondockers Welcome location in Lowell, MA. Today's a travel day and rain's predicted.
We leave our Lowell location before 9:00 a.m. headed north into New Hampshire, We'll travel approximately 140 miles to Twin Mountain, New Hampshire to the Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA for a few nights. We're looking for cooler temps and it looks as though we'll be getting them.
We stop to top off Miranda's diesel before getting on the interstate.
The phone rings and my friend, Trip, is on the other end of the line. We speak for a bit about our upcoming high school reunion and he verifies I'm still game to attend given the change of venue for the Saturday night dinner. I am and I assume he'll make his payment to hold his and Teresa's places.
We haven't spent any time together since sometime in 2019 so I'm looking forward to catching up with he and his wife, Teresa, and our friend, John, who's living in their cottage in the mountains, in October.
Rain begins to fall on us as we enter the White Mountains. Melanie finds lunch at Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa at The Harvest Tavern. The rain has ended as we arrive. I have clam chowder and a turkey club, she has a burger, both well prepared. And we have a nice view of the White Mountains too.
After lunch we travel the relative short distance to our campsite and quickly set up camp. Melanie continues her work day and after a while, we move inside as a line of showers is moving in. The rain comes and is brief.
I make cocktails and we nosh on smoked fish from a Wellfleet market purchased just before leaving there. It's the perfect dinner after having a late lunch.
We eventually move to the back of the van for evening streaming and sleep.
August 31, 2021
I awake early, but roll over and fall asleep. It's still in the 50's when I wake up at 8:00 a.m. to make coffee. Melanie is already typing away answering emails and putting finishing touches on her weekly newsletter.
After breakfast, it's nearly 11:00 before I get Red Ranger out for a ride on the nearby (5 miles away) Presidential Rail Trail.
The ride from the Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA is a scenic and relatively easy one along NH Highway 115. 115 has a nice wide shoulder for riding. I arrive at the trail terminus off Airport Road and begin riding the trail,
In summary, the Presidential Rail Trail is best ridden on a mountain bike. The first 4-5 miles are easy enough on a road bike loose gravel notwithstanding. But after that the trail is basically a single track trail that becomes increasingly more amenable to mountain biking.
I exit the trail and eat a snack standing by NH Highway 115 near NH Highway 115B. I've had enough of a jarring ride for the day. I take 115B back to 115A, then 115 and back home. It's a beautiful and pleasant ride back to camp. Nearly a 20 mile ride total.
Back at camp, Melanie continues her work day and I snack on chicken salad for lunch. I spend some time catching up on my journal entries and around 5:00 p.m. it's time for a cocktail on the veranda (see also, the area directly adjacent to the van).
We enjoy the nice northwestern breeze and intermittent sunshine and screaming children in the pool directly across from us.
I need a hair buzz and a shower so I get out the clippers and Melanie buzzes my head while I sit on our picnic table before I walk the short distance to the shower.
Since lunch was basically a snack, I get out short ribs I purchased while we were in residence in Wellfleet. I make rice to go with the short ribs and Melanie makes a nice salad to accompany.
Our son, Tate, texts us and says he's ready for our weekly FaceTime. After our call, we eat al fresco as the sun goes down.
After I clean up the dinner dishes, we adjourn to the back of the van hoping connectivity is better this evening than last. And Sleep.
August 18, 2021
As you may know, sleeping in isn't generally what we do, but this morning I'm not up until just after 8:00 a.m. I rolled over when I woke up at around 6:00 a.m. Oh, well.
Today is another travel day. We'll make our way onto "The Cape" for a visit with the The Reverend Ann Coburn in Wellfleet where she has a summer home.
Neither Melanie nor I have ever set foot on Cape Cod so we're excited to see what all the fuss is about. Over the past several weeks people to whom we've mentioned our intent to travel there have across the board been effusive about the place.
We leave our very nice Boondockers Welcome location and travel 6 or so miles to a local water treatment plant where they have a dump station for the price of $6.25. We receive a receipt that gives us access to the dump through the end of the year. With tanks empty, we're on our way to the cape.
Melanie finds lunch for us in Braintree, MA. Olympian Diner a relatively small diner and we get one of the last tables in the place which appears to us to be inhabited by mostly locals. We wonder if we aren't recognized as people who aren't from around there.
Lunch is good and, as we make our way back to the van, Melanie spots a Walgreens and says she'll get a pack of Scott's toilet paper we need. I go to the van, start the generator and van air conditioner. It's in the mid 80's and getting warm in the van.
I find a place to get diesel fuel and, after filling up our tank, We head again for Wellfleet. We've still got about 80 miles+ to go. The drive is nice and uneventful and we arrive a little past 3:00 Eastern.
Our host, Rev. Ann Coburn come out to greet us and we decide on a spot for Miranda in front of her garage. Ann is an EPF member and works with one of EPF's working groups, Palestinian Israeli Network (PIN). We sit outside on her deck and drink water and catch up a bit before we all decide an adult beverage is in order. Melanie and Ann have a glass of wine and I opt for a new double IPA I found in Portland, ME.
Ann and Melanie begin preparations for a nice dinner for us and we snack on some Brattleboro, VT cheese I purchased at the Saturday Brattleboro Farmers Market. I also retrieve Kimchi and pickled cucumbers purchased at the same Farmers Market to have with our dinner.
Melanie and Ann continue to catch up after dinner while I clear the table and clean up the dinner dishes. After I'm finished, Melanie and Ann come in and we part ways for the evening.
We make our way to the van, get ready for bed and stream a bit before sleep just after 10.
July 19, 2021
We up around 7:00 a.m. and I make coffee while Melanie checks emails and social media. We have breakfast in the van and Melanie, seeing Ann has emerged from her home, goes to check in with her.
After a while Melanie returns and goes to Ann's cottage and gets a shower. She tells me we're going out around 10:00 a.m. for a tour of Wellfleet and a visit to a house currently rented by her ex-sister-in-law that's within the National Sea Shore nearby.
Our tour and visit last for about 2 hours and once we're back, I get a saw from Ann's garage and prune some branches that overhang and are blocking Ann's driveway. Melanie makes our lunch salad and, as I finish pruning, she's ready for us to eat.
After lunch, rain begins to fall, I journal and Melanie checks email and works for a bit. Lying down in the back of the van seems like the thing to do. We'll run to a local market when it stops raining.
We drive into Wellfleet and park just across from the Hatch's Fish & Produce Market. It's dripping rain as we make our way past the produce outside and into the fish market that has a variety of seafood. Ann asks for help with mussels (part of our dinner tonight) and some smoked blue fish.
We in and out and back into a harder rain shower. Traveling back to Ann's house where Melanie and Ann prepare dinner. It stops raining, outside table and chairs are wiped down for left-over rain water and we enjoy a great dinner of mussels, fresh corn-on-the-cob and salad.
I'm up after we finish dinner and take dishes inside and proceed with the clean up. Melanie and Ann join me and Melanie assists in putting the finishing touches on cleaning up. We chat for a bit before retiring to the van.
Streaming and sleep ensue, but we're keeping an eye on Henri, a tropical storm threatening to become a hurricane as it makes its way towards us. First one to hit New England in 30 years they say.
July 20, 2021
I'm up around 6:00 a.m. making coffee. I check the weather and we're still under a hurricane watch. Not good, but we've got time to make a decision on whether we stay or try to move Miranda out of potential harms way.
Melanie begins her work day as we both sip coffee. Melanie goes for a shower in Ann's cottage and I continue to read and eat breakfast.
Ann comes out of her house and Melanie joins her. I clean up dishes and move outside to take the bikes out of storage and set them up. Batteries are plugged in to top off a full charge of a few days. I remove the rear caution light on my bike and plug it in too.
I also run hoses from Ann's house to Miranda and fill Miranda with fresh water. I leave the hoses connected so we can use that water instead of the water from our 30 gallon fresh water tank. I figure if we lose power and thus have no well water we'll at least have access to fresh water.
I join Ann and Melanie on the deck for more coffee and a brief discussion of the day about to unfold for us. Melanie and Ann will make a plan and I'm going out for a bike ride around Wellfleet.
I finish preparations for my ride and bid all farewell with the ring of my bike bell. I've decided to check out the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT). I'll travel about 1.5 miles from Ann's home to the terminus in Wellfleet and ride from there.
Highway 6 is busy. Almost always busy. It takes me a few minutes to be able to cross it and make my way down the way to the trail. Patience.
The CCRT is an asphalt trail. It's mostly smooth going, but tree roots have begun to buck up the surface which has been gratefully marked with yellow paint so a rider can anticipate them. I ride out 14 miles through mostly tree covered trail. It's a warm day and there are many people out using the trail, waking and riding and skating.
Just after my odometer turns 15 miles, I turn around and head back. I make it back to the terminus at around 1:30 p.m. and decide to get something to eat. PB Boulangerie is close by the terminus of the trail and I ride over, park my bike, and go inside to order lunch.
Because of COVID-19 and it's variant, all food is for take-out or outside consumption. I order a Salmon BLT, get a drink and a cookie and sit outside under an umbrella and enjoy. Recommended.
Returning to the van, I catch up with Melanie and Ann, then rest in the van for a bit before going into the cottage for a shower in preparation for our planned dinner outing to Winslow's Tavern in Wellfleet.
We get to the Tavern a little past their opening at 5:30 p.m. The place on the patio out front we'd hope to get before the dinner crowd arrived is not available. The place is hoping.
We quickly decide an inside table is better than a 45 minute wait for outside and Melanie, Ann and I move inside to wait on The Very Reverend Tracey and Emily. Tracey is a former Dean of the Cathedral in Cleveland, Emily Ingalls is her wife. Melanie had reminded me of a 60 Minutes segment of a few years back featuring Tracey and her battle with a form of dementia.
From her website:
The Very Rev. Tracey Lind and her spouse Emily Ingalls are traveling across North America sharing the insights they’ve gained from a life complicated by dementia. A retired Episcopal minister and city planner, Tracey was diagnosed with the early stages of Frontotemporal Degeneration in 2016. Emily, who spent more than 20 years in commercial real estate and project management, now considers herself Chief Logistics Officer, responsible for managing a life and home turned upside down by this disease.
Tracey and Emily arrive, we're introduced and the evening and food are very, very nice. Tracey and Emily are interested in making Miranda's acquaintance so as we part ways for the evening, we make a plan for them to come by Ann's house for tour.
Since we're under a Hurricane Watch on the Cape, we volunteer to assist Tracey and Emily going around to some of the older parishioners homes to help them prepare.
We drive and meet Tracey and Emily at Wellfleet harbor for a walk around and potential ice cream stop. Many of the boats have already been pulled out of the water, but it's very calm this evening and we can't stand in one place long as the mosquitos are out in force. Tracey and I walk and talk photography. None of use apparently need, nor want ice cream.
Once we're back at Ann's, we part ways, a bit of streaming and sleep follow.
July 21, 2021
I'm composing this day on Monday, the 23rd. Much has happened since Saturday and I'm not sure when I woke up or got up, but I do know with certainty and so do you, if you've read my postings for the past few weeks, coffee was consumed.
We have breakfast and Melanie begins her work day eventually joining Ann on her deck.
I know I must get out either on my bike or by car to buy coffee beans as we've consumed the last of that purchased in Freeport, Maine.
Tracey and Emily show up early afternoon and I give them the tour of Miranda as promised. Afterwards it's time for a swim and all the women folk go to Duck Pond leaving me to run my coffee errand. I'm also charged with procuring dinner for Ann, Melanie and me.
I use Ann's car to travel over to PB Boulangerie and grab dinner and dessert for us. The entree is frozen so I leave it to in Ann's house to thaw. Moroccan Lamb Bolognese. Yum.
I find a local coffee roasters. They're open until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and they're located just off the Cape Cod Rail Trail about 6 miles and change from Ann's house.
I get to the roasters at just past 3:00 and find that I should have pre-ordered any coffee I wanted. Drat. Okay, now things are getting critical since many places in Wellfleet close around 4:00 p.m.
Riding at a faster pace, I make it to the CCRT terminus and park my bike in front of Blue Willow Fine Foods and Bakery. As I get off, a woman inside turns the "Open" sign around to read "Closed." Oh, no.
A man inside seeing my reaction opens the door of the Blue Willow and asks if I'd like to come in. I do and quickly find coffee. He graciously grinds it for me and I'm gone, thanking him profusely for allowing me in at the last minute.
I get home and shower. By this time Melanie and Ann are on the deck having an adult beverage. I put water on the boil for pasta that will be served with the Bolognese. I join them for drinks.
Dinner is, indeed, quite good and we talk a while before those blood-thirsty creatures begin to annoy us. Ann volunteers to clean up dishes. Melanie and I begin preparations for Henri's potential impact on us. At the moment, it appears we won't have much about which to worry, but we move the deck table and chairs away from the large windows, put away the umbrella, and close all the windows in Ann's cottage.
We say good night and all of us hope the storm won't be a factor for tomorrow's church services at St. James The Fisherman Episcopal Summer Chapel.
Melanie and I stream a bit and sleep.
July 22, 2021
l've set an alarm for 5:45 a.m. I'm up making coffee before the snooze can remind me. We have a bit of breakfast and just after 8:10 a.m. we're outside waiting for Ann to join us so we can travel together to St. James.
I drive so I can drop Melanie and Ann off since parking is limited around the church proper. It has stopped raining about an hour before we set out and looks like we'll only have a windy day with little or no rain in the forecast. Henri has mercifully tracked well to our west.
I park the car and join the few folks who have shown up to participate join Tracey and Melanie for a Conversation on the Patio before services. There's a nice turnout for such a potentially inclement day and a nice bit of back and forth goes on. Wind is all we get from Henri.
After church services, we travel a short distance to brunch at Van Rensselaer's. There are eight around a table and conversation is lively and great. Brunch is tasty too. Recommended.
After brunch, we travel back to Ann's and Melanie and I go to Wellfleet Market Place in Ann's car and purchase a few items we need and then it's back to the van. I take a big dog nap.
Waking at around 3:00 p.m., I decide to take a bike ride to wake up. I prepare our steaks in a marinade for the evening's dinner and get on my bike headed for the CCRT.
I'm stopped by a phone call from my friend, Trip Tomlinson, who wants to know how Henri treated us. We catch up for a few minutes and Melanie, who said she wasn't interested in a bike ride, shows up on her bike. She's going to the post office in my general direction.
We ride together until she reaches the post office which is only a few yards away from the trailhead of the CCRT.
Since it's getting later in the day, I decide as I ride on to the trail I'll ride out 10 miles at a good pace and then come back. It's windy, but no rain, and there are a good many people, mostly folks with children, out for rides and walks.
I get back from my ride, take out and set up our griddle, get a quick shower and join Melanie and Ann for cocktails and a nosh. Melanie prepares potatoes, Ann a nice salad and when the time is right, I griddle the steaks.
We remain outside talking after dinner until, you know, mosquitos. Melanie cleans up the dishes, then I grab the griddle and clean it up too.
We talk inside for a bit before Melanie and I retire to the van for streaming and sleep.
August 23-24, 2021
Our routine hasn't changed any over the past couple of days. No alarms. We've been able to wake up when we do.
We continue to enjoy our time with our host, the Reverend Ann Coburn. We share a nosh in the evenings and our wide ranging discussions. Melanie and I are most grateful for Ann's hospitality in allowing us and Miranda a very nice spot for our extended stay with her.
The weather has been most cooperative with highs in the low 80's and low's in the 70's. We're happy to have dodged Henri's wrath such as it was.
I've enjoyed a few more rides on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I've ridden most every day and even explored the Nickerson State Park which has easy access off the trail.
On Monday evening I had dinner with the Very Reverend Tracey and her wife, Emily, at their rental home in Wellfleet. It was great evening of talking photography, among other things.
The lazy days of summer never looked so good. Jus' sayin'.
August 11, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. It's Melanie's Saturday, that is, the first of her two days off during the week. It's a travel day. We're not traveling too far to our next campsite, but we have to gather and store in the van a few things we've used at Bob's house. I'll check the tire pressure before we depart.
We eat our breakfast and have coffee, pull everything together and say our good byes to Bob. A day off for Melanie today means we'll first travel to Freeport, ME, home to L.L. Bean for a look around.
It's a short 40 miles, but all of it rural backroads. We take our time and Melanie finds a nice spot for lunch on Casco Bay. Lobster Rolls dancing in our heads.
The lunch spot is busy and we have to wait for our rolls for about 20 minutes, but we have a nice spot overlooking the Freeport Marina and the ambient temp is nice.
After lunch we check out downtown Freeport. On the way back to the van, we come across two young lads who've set up a kiosk selling various things they've made. Melanie purchases a sheet of purple colored paper made into a paper airplane for $3.00 from them.
We drive back near Main Street and L.L. Bean and other touristy shops and find great street parking. We look in various shops and Melanie purchases a few clothing items she wants, I make a coffee purchase we need.
We travel to our KOA campsite and quickly set up and sit for a while before deciding to take a dip in the pool which is located close by to where we're parked. It's warm this afternoon so the water feels great and reduces our core temps nicely. The bonus is there's no one at the pool for a while and we enjoy an adult beverage and time alone in the cool water.
When the sun finally goes behind some clouds on the horizon, we walk back to the van and Melanie prepares dinner for us. I clean up afterwards while Melanie enjoys the cooling evening air. We're both surprised there are no mosquitoes out since we'd just come from Waterford, ME nearby where they gave us some grief.
We retire to the back of the van for a bit of streaming and sleep.
August 12, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. After coffee and breakfast time are finished, I catch up on journaling and Melanie is champing at the bit to get ready to go on a bike ride I'd mentioned. It is, after all, one of her days off.
I finish up and we ready the van for take off. The Kennebec River Trail runs along the river between Gardiner, Maine and Augusta, Maine. It's a 6.5 miles long rail trail that is pretty easy riding.
Before leaving our KOA, I crank up the generator and start the air conditioner. It's going to ultimately be in the low 90's today and it's warm in the van already.
We park a the Hannaford Supermarket parking lot in Gardiner and I get the bikes out. It's really warm, but as we leave the van and begin our ride the breeze is welcome and makes the riding pleasant. We ride into Augusta and stop just past the Memorial Bridge to figure out our lunch spot.
Melanie finds the Cushnoc Brewing Company on Water Street. They have salads and pizzas and good beer and mixed drinks too. We have all the things. Melanie's new favorite cocktail is a blue berry lemonade. I have Cushnoc's double IPA.
Melanie runs a quick bank errand while I settle up. It's now hot, but we ride over the the Statehouse and then back to the rail trail and ride back to the van. It's hot on the asphalt. Too hot to be out on a bike and I load them in our KOMO Carrier as quickly as I can.
We decide, since we're running on reserve fuel and our generator won't run for the air conditoner, to make the trip into Augusta where the price of diesel is more than $.35 cheaper per gallon. After filling Miranda we make our way back to our campsite.
We quickly set up and head over the the campground pool which feels more than great in the afternoon heat. The heat makes more than bearable what would ordinarily be just another cold northern water experience. We have an adult beverage and languish around the pool for a while lowering our core temps.
After 6:00 p.m. we head back to the van, gather our shower stuff and we both get cleaned up. Melanie makes our dinner, I clean up the dishes, take the trash out, and we move to the back of the van for evening streaming and sleep just after 10:00 p.m.
August 13, 2021
I'm awake at just after 6:00 a.m., but I lie in bed or a while until I'm awake enough to move to the front of the van and begin coffee preparations. We left the air conditioner on last night as it was not going to be cool enough for the ceiling fans to run until well after midnight. We still have a few more days of above average heat before ambient temps become more seasonable.
Today's a travel day. We're not going too far from our current location, but we're meeting Jane and Bruce Freeman for lunch in Brunswick, Maine before we travel to the place we'll park Miranda for a few days in Georgetown, Maine along the coast.
After a bit of coffee and breakfast, I pack up chairs and mat and fill Miranda's fresh water tank. We pull out of our campsite and I empty the grey and black tanks before we head to Brunswick. We arrive in Brunswick with plenty of time to grocery shop at the Hannaford.
Jane arrives in the parking lot and gives us brief instruction to follow her to George J. Mitchel Park near where she and Bruce have rented a home for the past two weeks in Harpswell, Maine. It's about 12 miles away according to Google Maps. The trip is uneventful, but scenic as we head out towards Harpswell.
The Freemans have found an ideal place to park Miranda in the park and after a brief period to close shades and turn on fans to circulate air in her, I lock the doors and get in the car with Jane and Melanie for the short drive.
Bruce greets us as we arrive at the Auburn Colony and shortly afterwards Melanie and I are visiting with him and sipping lemon aid while Jane puts finishing touches on lunch. We enjoy a very nice lunch of Haddock, hash brown potatoes, green beans, and salad.
We spend some time afterwards catching up, but our time is too short and we have to get back to Miranda to travel towards our next stop in Georgetown, Maine and our friends there, Diane and Jim.
Our trip is only 33 miles, but it will take us nearly an hour to arrive in Georgetown. We park Miranda near the cottage at our friends home and they are not far behind coming over to greet us. We forego setting up Miranda for sitting on our friends back porch with them to have a drink.
Diane prepares us a very nice dinner and dessert and we enjoy each other's company until it's time to return to Miranda to set her up. We retire to the back of the van for streaming and we're sleep before 10:00 p,m.
August 14, 2021
I'm awake around 6:00 a.m., but manage to turn over and before I know it, it's nearly 8:00 a.m. Melanie begins her work day as I make coffee. After a bit of breakfast, Melanie moves inside and I do some journaling and processing of photographs.
About 10:00 a..m. or so, Diane and Jim come down to give us car keys to their second car in case we need to go out and to let us know they are off to take Diane to meet her daughter and grand daughter for a continuation of Diane's birthday. They will go to the movies.
Miranda hasn't had a bath since the middle of May when we were in Iowa. I also waxed her once we got to Barrington, Illinois a few days later. She dirty now, but she's worn dirty well. Today she'll get the hand wash.
But first, since our refrigerator need defrosting, I take all our food from the refrigerator and freezer in Miranda to the refrigerator and freezer in our friend's cottage. I remove all the shelving from the fridge and place towels in fridge and freezer compartments and keep both doors open to allow them to thaw.
I wash all the fridge shelves in the cottage and leave them to dry then I'm outside to hand wash Miranda. I finish giving her the wash at around lunchtime. But not before noticing the large crack in the windshield. Thank goodness for a zero deductible for glass replacement with our insurance carrier. The crack is over the sensors for front end collision assistance. Stuff happens.
After lunch I finish up cleaning Miranda and then move on to finishing the fridge and freezer. There's now just a bit of ice remaining to be easily removed by hand. I clean the fridge, place the clean shelves back in, turn the fridge back on. I'll wait for about an hour before transferring all our food stuffs back into the cooling fridge.
I return to journaling and it's not long before Melanie comes out and tells me Diane thinks it's a good idea to walk down to Five Islands Lobster for dinner hopefully before any line forms. I shower and we're walking towards dinner a little before 5.
We get there and, surprise, there's no line at all. Our friends wonder aloud where everybody is on a beautiful Saturday evening. All the outside tables except one overlooking Five Islands along the Sheepscot River. It's a really pleasant evening especially after the past few days of 90 degree heat.
Dinner is good and Jim and Diane take us for a cruise around Mink Island and over towards Crow Island before we return to the harbor. It's a great way to end the evening.
After returning to Jim and Diane's, we part ways. We retire to the back of the van and stream and then are asleep around 10:00 p.m.
August 15, 2021
I've got an alarm set for 6:00 a.m., but I'm awake before it goes off. Melanie's had a bit of a tough night and I know she's not feeling well, but when I stir, she's up and goes inside to get a shower. I make coffee.
Melanie comes in and gets some coffee, but she tells me she's still a bit tenuous. I check social media and read a bit before Diane and Jim come by for the refreshments that are stored in the cottage that are to be served at Grace Episcopal Church after services there this morning.
Melanie, Diane and Glenis, along with Grace's priest will talk about EPF during services this morning. We'll leave here at around 8:00 a.m. so we have a few moments before services for Melanie to meet the Priest-in-charge, The Reverend Pamela Mott.
We leave around 8:00 a.m. as planned and get to church with lots of time before services. I'm able to make a few photos for Melanie before we sit towards the front of the church. I'll make a few more photos of the discussion about EPF during the service.
After services we go to coffee hour, refreshments are good and we meet some nice parishioners.
We part ways with Diane and go to lunch at Taste of Maine not too far away. We'd eaten at Taste of Maine the last time we visited Bath in September of 2019. My recollection is of a Lobster and Crab roll they serve there. My recollection is fond.
I'm in luck. We arrive just as they are opening and we get a great table overlooking Nequasset Brook. The tide is out and there's a vast tidal plain in view with lots of sea birds in evidence. And. And that Lobster and Crab Roll is one of the specials for the day. And it's just as I recall, 7ounces of wonderfulness on a brioche roll.
We return to Miranda and take both take big dog naps.
I'm up after an hour or so, Melanie stays in bed a bit longer. The temp to day is reaching the mid 70's and, with our overhead fans running it's very pleasant inside Miranda.
I journal for a bit, Melanie moves inside for more work. We'll have dinner with our hosts this evening.
Diane and Jim prepare a very scrumptious salad served with fresh corn on the cob and a baguette for our dinner. We sit and talk about, among other things, the day's event at Grace Church. Desert is vanilla ice cream with Maine Mud, a delicious dark chocolate sauce.
Melanie and I retire to the van and stream a bit before sleep.
July 16, 2021
I'm awake just around 6:30 a.m., but don't get up to make coffee until around 7. It's 58 degrees outside this morning so snuggling in for a bit feels great.
After a round of coffee, Melanie moves inside to begin work. I laze around for a bit reading. I have MUSH oatmeal for breakfast, something my friend, Adam, tuned me on to while I was visiting him in Maine. I'm not a huge oatmeal fan, but this brand is tasty and I find it stays with me until lunchtime.
Tomorrow is a travel day and I'll use today for another task in Miranda, cleaning her window and overhead fans screens and the van windows inside and out. This takes me a couple of hours to finish. Melanie suggests we walk down to Five Islands Seafood for lunch.
It's very pleasant out today, high temps will be in the mid 70's. There's a bit of crowd as we arrive, nothing like what she saw on Saturday, Melanie tells me. We wait on line for maybe 15 minutes to order and Melanie finds us a spot on one of the picnic tables while I wait across from the pickup window for our lunch.
She has a burger and chips, I have a Haddock sandwich topped with a crab cake and fries. We're both happy with our lunch.
After lunch, Melanie suggests we walk over to Ledgemere Nature Preserve. It's on the way back to Diane and Jim's home. We make our way down the paved path to another natural path leading to the rocky shoreline. The tide is out and more of the rugged coastal rocks are exposed. We sit and take it all in. Portugal is just across the pond from us.
We end our diversion by going to another place nearby in the preserve which contains a bit of a sand beach and offers us a good view of the the docks where we'd just had lunch.
There's a load of laundry to be done so we make our way back to the van. I start a load of laundry and do some journaling, Melanie goes back to work.
I'm told we'll travel to Bath for our last dinner with Diane and Jim this evening. We've had another great visit with them these past few days. They are both very generous and delightful people and we enjoy their company. Melanie and I are very fortunate that EPF brought us together.
We decide on Kennebec Tavern, a restaurant at which Melanie and I had lunch the last time we spent time with Diane and Jim. It's very pleasant out and a light sweater is helpful since we're outside eating. The dinner makes a nice punctuation for our visit.
We part ways once we're back in Georgetown, but not before Diane and Jim gift us with a jar of Maine Mud, the aforementioned dark chocolate sauce, and a Classic Wicked Whoopie. The Classic Wicked Whoopie looks a Moon Pie on steroids. Yes!
Melanie and I are asleep around 10:00 p.m.
August 17, 2021
I've got an alarm set for 6:00 a.m., but I'm awake at around 5:45. I'm up to make coffee shortly after. It's a travel day for us. We'll travel south about 125 miles to coincidentally, Georgetown, MA.
We'll be at a Boondockers Welcome (BW) location in Georgetown for the night before traveling on the Wellfleet, MA for another EPF event. We'll be staying with our friend, The Reverend Ann Coburn at her home in Wellfleet until the 28th of August.
We drink coffee for a bit and Melanie goes into the cottage for a shower and I begin to get the van ready for travel. When Melanie gets back from the cottage, she pitches in getting us ready for the road and I move outside and clean the (cracked) windshield and unplug us from our electric hookup to the cottage.
After we've gotten the van ready for travel, we walk over the Diane and Jim's home and to say our goodbyes. We spend a few minutes together and we're off to Portland, ME for Whole Foods and to find Melanie a bathing suit.
We get in and out of Whole Foods and travel to the Maine Mall to Macy's and Melanie finds a good deal on a bathing suit. She has a Zoom call scheduled and we stay put in the parking lot for that call which takes roughly an hour.
It's past lunchtime, but we decide to travel towards our BW hosts and Melanie finds us a lunch spot in Portsmouth, NH. We get to the spot hungry and find there's a longer wait time to get a table than we want. Luckily Portsmouth Gas Light Company is a short walk away. There's a wait there too, but much shorter.
Lunch is good and we are back in the van and on our way around 3:30 p.m. with a short 30 miles left to get to our BW host location.
We arrive before 5:00 p.m. and after I show our hosts Miranda, Melanie puts finishing touches on her weekly newsletter, I read it and check links for her and she then gets on a work Zoom call.
We'll FaceTime with our son, Tate, after she's off the call.
Late lunch equals no dinner tonight.
We FaceTime with Tate and he gives us the tour of he and Zoe's new apartment in Nashville and a recap of their brief visits to Portland and Seattle.
Afterwards, we stream a bit and then we're asleep around 10:00.
Steven and Melanie