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Friday, December 14, 2018

2700 Clicks To The End

While yesterday’s travel was slow, everything went great today. No more congestion as I followed I-84 to I-495 and on to I-95. Every time I get back to Maine I am relieved to see traffic thinning out. There is just the highway stretching out before me. Weather was great as well and at 12 noon I reached Bangor.

I-95 Maine

Customs didn’t make any fuss over my van, got the paperwork done, paid my dues and off I went for the last 5km.

As soon as I had parked the van, Dixie shot out the door going totally bonkers of joy to see me home again. The joy of a dog seeing its owner, is just so heartwarming. Of course, Bea also was glad to have me back.

We celebrated with coffee and some goodies from ALDI.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Challenge

Today, breakfast was at 6am and I (again) was the first guest. This “Red Roof” was organized the same way as the one in Walterboro, though quality was somewhat lower. But so was the rate. Pulled the bed cover over my head at around 9pm and that was not too early.

It was still dark when I got the van rolling this morning. However it didn’t roll very fast. As soon as I hit the Interstate, I was part of the congestion. At 6:30am and still some 50miles from Washington DC, I was a bit surprised. And so it kept going, sorry, I mean crawling.

And it got worse. Alexandria was as fast as if I walk in a garden picking flowers. Then, finally, Washington itself. A sign beside the road warned of “Gridlock”. As if we didn’t know it. From a high elevation overpass I could see the Capitol. And lo and behold there, I swear to all political gods, right there in front of the stately building, I saw Trump puking all over the front stairs. The Cohen case must have been just too much for him.Capititol Hill

But albeit the journey was slow, I noticed signs to f.ex. “Pennsylvania Avenue”. (Number 1600 is soon to be vacated and may be ready for President Pelosi). Then there was “U.S. Senate”, “Capitol Hill”, yup - kind of interesting to see the places the rest of the world used to have respect of. Sad!

There was another much smaller congestion around Baltimore, but really hardly worth to mention and I hardly noticed Philadelphia staying behind. New Jersey was next and I wonder why those Jerseys put up signs at the toll stations sayin’ CASH right lane when the right lane is for E-Z-Pass only. Well, I just been sliding through there – who cares?

Manhattan was hardly visible from the Jersey side. The sky was very grey and a cold nasty air obscured the view. I followed through towards “George Washington Bridge”, and crossed it at precisely 1:15pm. Bridge toll is now $15 pr. car!GW-Bridge

And here I got into another congestions of sorts, yet I have to say that Washington beats New York, by far!

Heavy traffic continued all the way through Connecticut until I finally got onto I-84 towards Boston. But now it started snowing, not heavy, but steady. And it got dark. And one shouldn’t believe this, but if you remember the posting from March when I came from the west with a Mercedes from Manitoba and I had to get off the road at Sturbridge,MA, …..well it happened again. However, I was not going into that dreary “Days Inn” again. No Sir, this time I had set my mind on something better and chose the Comfort Inn. It is 70Dollars less than the “Days Inn” and super nice. A large comfy (and warm) room, a warm breakfast in the morning and friendly front counter staff ladies. And you wouldn’t believe that just another New Brunswicker was checking in when it was my turn. Small world.

Once I had set up in my room, I skype-called Bea. Told her about my day and she said she’d been out with Dixie for a long walk in the park and also had a great chat with our neighbour at their place.

Even though I had no plans for a big dinner, I changed my mind when I discovered that the hotel had a Cracker Barrel as closest neighbour. Me, I have never been in one, so had to check it out.

Food was great, but their merchandise is expensive and…well kind of not my taste. You go there for gifts, you increase the clutter in your house.

And that,friends, was all about today. I’ll be home for Christmas, and not only in my mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rollin’,Rollin’, Rollin’……

Is it a wonder that I slept a lot last night? Called it off early and slept until 6am. That gave me 30 minutes to get ready for breakfast. Stepping outside was like stepping into a freezer. Since my room was at the very end of this long building, I moved the van to the front entrance. The receptionist lady just opened the door, so I was the first guest in for breakfast. It was all rigged up in a former double hotel room. There was much more than one would expect in a motel. I could have made pancakes, had some cereals, and toast with a small burger patty and egg. I chose the toast, the patties and the eggs. Coffee, tea, juice or milk, what ever one might wish. Did I mention that I paid only $59+tax for the room? Not much to complain there.

I left town at 7am rolling north towards North Carolina. First daylight was soon replaced by bright sun. Traffic was light to begin with, but got more dense every time I got close to a town.

Reaching the northern parts of North Carolina I saw snow in the woods and fields. Once in Virginia, snow amounts increased. The chaos of the last weekend was still visible here, though the roads were clear and dry.

I avoided getting sucked in to traffic at Richmond, VA, by choosing the I-295 around the city.

But now I am back on I-95 and the next challenge is the Washington/Baltimore area. But I have saved that for tomorrow. Tonight I stay at another Red Roof Inn in Warrington, VA, which supposedly is part of Fredericksburg.

paradise-diner-americanBeing hungry, I rolled down Main Street and discovered the “Paradise Diner”. Had to make a 180-turn to get there, but it was worth it. The place is serving Greek and Italian food besides of a few American dishes. I had a Souvlaki sandwich with a Greek salad, and let me just say they don’t save on feta cheese! The marinated pork was doused in Tzatziki sauce and served on a Pita bread.  While looking around, I saw a Greek looking nose walking back and forth behind the counter, so I asked the server. Yes, the owners are Greek. Of course they are, nobody else is using the same amounts of feta cheese and garlic. It might be a good thing that I am all alone here and nobody is gonna join me in the van tomorrow!!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Continue for 900kms…

…that was what my friendly GPS-lady told me after I had crossed the northern Part of Florida today finally reaching the east coast and I-95. And that was all which was necessary to get me settled in on the old routine of eating up mile after mile. And boy how did that ever feel good. I was in for the home run, the destination was set and I cozied myself into the driver seat. I had thrown in a nice CD which I had taken along from home, and thoughts were spinning from long gone days on the road to future adventures. From my position, this van felt just like the big motor home we once had, just comfy and quietly sliding along on my way north.savriv2                                The Savannah River, as I saw it from the highway

I left Florida behind and still had Georgia on my mind, when I crossed the Savannah River sliding into South Carolina. The sky was deep blue and the sun started to warm through the windows, so I had to turn down the heater. welcome SCA few stops for gas and before I knew it the little hand on my watch was pointing to 4pm. The sunlight turned golden and soon it would be dark. I had done enough and asked the GPS-lady for a place to sleep tonight. She offered the Red Roof Inn in Walterboro, SC, and that was only 10 more km. And that’s where I shut her down. I had started the day shortly after 9am after finding out that Fruitland Park,FL had an ALDI-store. I can never resist to visit German ALDI places. They have all the German Goodies I know from long-gone era of German Christmases. But I had to hang around their parking lot until they opened up at 9am. I won’t have to do that tomorrow, as breakfast here at the Red Roof Inn is ready from 6:30am. So I should be out early enough.

Now, being the only person in the van, I could not snap off any pictures. So what ever is here, I found online.

And if you want to know what Bea has been doing meanwhile you can click on her blog: http://gosidewalk.blogspot.com/2018/12/up-and-down.html

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Here I Am …. In St.Petersburg, FL

The flight was less than 4hrs. We landed 20minutes early, so I had to wait a bit for my ride. A former neighbour, living down here now came to the airport to pick me up.

Slept like a baby until 7:30am, after first coffee we went for a Mega Huge breakfast in one of those eateries. Then it was time to meet the dealer. Van was parked outside lookin’ good. Had it for a test drive and finished the deal.

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This van is a pleasure to ride. Suspension soft and comfy, seats like in heaven. It is an Explorer Limited version.

Planning to leave town tomorrow morning, even though it is tempting to stay to explore the city. But I’m gonna see two RVers in Fruitland Park,FL which is only a couple of hours away. So no long drive tomorrow!

Tropical Garden in FloridaWaking up to this scenery wasn’t so bad either

Friday, December 7, 2018

December Is Finally Here, But Snow Is Gone For Now.

After the snow, came the cold. We don’t see our neighbours anymore, unless zipping by in their vehicles. It has been chilly on the beach, so more and more of our walks with Dixie has been happening in the woods. Some times we meet up with Dixie’s friend Beau.

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                                     Oops, did I kill him…?

The other friends of her, the poodles, are gone. They are on the Florida panhandle with their owners.

Flooded by the low light of the sun the forest is changing character

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                          Lots of nice trails in the Provincial Park

Tomorrow, I will be boarding a flight to St.Petersburg,FL where I will pick up a new vehicle, replacing Bea’s Buick. It’s a beautiful Chevy Conversion van. So there will be days spent on the road next week. So far the weather forecast is looking favorable for traveling.

A bit of a downturn today were the evolving headaches and nausea. I have been spending most of the day on the couch tucked away under blankets. Whenever I get these problems they last just one single day.

DSC_0118 DSC_0129                    Winter sunsets are the most beautiful

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Love Story

While another storm blew across the island we cozied up in the house. The most giving moments we live and experience in our own home, in our own surroundings.

Dixie plays a major role in my well-being and I savour the moments of interaction.

The photos taken by Bea the other day show just a few of those wonderful moments and words are not necessary.

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And what you see above is Dixie’s new bed. I made it off 2 headboards I had sitting around in our basement. We are now looking to buy a fitting mattress for it. Until that we filled it with blankets. It took a few days until she accepted it as her new cozy spot.

I recommend to look at what Bea wrote about this. Her captions are extremely entertaining. LOL.  http://gosidewalk.blogspot.com/2018/11/couch-time-is-over.html

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Oh So Pretty, But So Much Work!

Dixie is really enjoying the snow, and let me tell you, we got a whole load of it. This morning we woke up to 4inches, spread evenly on the grounds. Luckily we did not get a major wind with it, so no snow drifts. Our vehicles were only white heaps in our driveway and of course, that damn snow plow had created the usual barrier down at the road. Good thing it wasn’t frozen yet.

After shoveling our 80ft of driveway I went down to the wharf and shoveled 600ft of our floats. I needed a break after that and we had lunch.

It is only under the most extreme weather conditions that we will drop the dog walks. And this snow doesn’t qualify. So off we went in the early afternoon. Down to Herring Cove and then up into the campground where we could enjoy the beautiful makings of winter. The tree branches were heavily loaded and many were hanging low across the trail. The going wasn’t so easy for me, heavy boots and all, but Dixie raced ahead and really had a ball.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

We Got Some Snow And Dixie Loves It

After trying over and over again I found that the Open Live Writer application again works with Windows 10. What a relief, being able to write my blog postings offline. Finally, I can format and place pictures where ever I want, then doing the upload.

Weather has been full of surprises lately. After lots of rain and wind it got colder and rain turned to snow. Yesterday it snowed most all day and with the wind still blowing it was not a day for being on the road. So we stayed put.

Except that Dixie needed her exercise. So I drove over to the Provincial Park and we had a walk in the forest. The fresh snow looked beautiful, but we were both getting wet. However, Dixie was going totally bonkers in the fresh snow. She was racing around like a bullet.

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Today we woke up to utterly blue skies and after breakfast Dixie and I went back to the forest trail. The sunlight was making this forest into a fairy-land with snow crystals reflecting the light. There is something so incredibly peaceful over a wintry forest.

DSC_0113DSC_0114Thoughts were wandering into early childhood days when winter always was a great time for sledding and playing outside.

Ah, those memories….

Afterwards we went down to the beach and the bright sunshine was so intense that I could feel the warming rays in my face.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Just A Joke

An American had passed away and when standing at the Pearly Gates facing St.Peter he saw thousands of clocks on the walls. "What are all those clocks for over there? he asked. St. Peter replied "Those are lying clocks. Every one has a clock here and when ever a lie is done the hands will move. That clock over there is Mother Theresa's clock. It never moved as she always told the truth, and that one there is George Washington's clock. It moved twice as he lied only twice in his life."
" Where is President Trump's clock? the man asked. 
"It is in Jesus' room. He uses it as a ceiling fan!

Monday, November 12, 2018

November Walk

Temperatures have been dropping fast. Ever since the middle of October we have had very strong winds, and doesn't seem to be letting up. 
But as dog owners we have this obligation to take Dixie out every day. You can imgaine that a young 76-pound dog will start to bounbce off teh walls, developing destructive behavior if it doesn't get enough exercise. So we get a lot of that exercise as well. In fact, I have never been walking so much in my entire life. So much and on a regular basis. But we feel rewarded by Dixie developing into a real quiet and content dog.

On Campobello Island we have miles and miles of hiking trails. They can mostly be found in the two parks, the Roosevelt Campobello International park and the Herring Cove Provincial Park. Together they have in excess of 4000 acres of forested area.

The Provincial Park is closest to our home and not even 2km to drive to. So twice a day we load Dixie into the dog-mobile (aka: former ambulance) and off we go on another hike. Of course, with all that wind, trees are now bare of all leaves. But that is OK, the forest is now less dark and sunlight filters through the trees, converting mossy grounds into a fairy-like landscape. 
It really reminds of my imagination I had when I was a child. I have always been glad in the woods. And now, I feel my batteries being recharged every time. We let Dixie run off-leash. With tourists gone, other hikers are now extremely rare. 

                       Dixie digging out a mouse?

Dixie is a really good girl and mostly stays in sight of us. She is not a hunting dog, but would protect us from any suspicious occurrence along the trail. The other day we were crossing a tiny stream when she saw a ball of foam down below the bridge. It was water foam. See following explanation:

What causes foam to appear on rivers, lakes and streams?

As with most liquids, water molecules are normally attracted to each other. This attraction creates tension at the surface of the water, often referred to as a thin "skin," which allows some insects to glide across it.

When leaves, twigs or other organic substances fall into water and begin decaying, they release compounds known as surfacants.
This interaction breaks the surface tension, which in turn allows air to more easily mix with water and creates bubbles. These bubbles congregate as natural foam.
However, not all foam is natural. Certain man-made products, including detergents, can cause foam that is similar in appearance, but may be harmful to fish and other aquatic life.


Seeing that white foam ball Dixie is jumping from one side of the creek to the other growling at it. It was just too funny to watch.

     

Today's walk led us down a narrow trail where we discovered two old man-made water ponds. An old fence line separating them from the trail. We wondered why they were built and what the purpose might have been, far from any habitation. 

They were too small for being fish ponds. There was no surface water inlet, but we did see an old grown-over outlet.

We do know that ice blocks were produced in some areas on the island. Ice blocks were used in ice-houses which served as fridges over the summer. One of these ice houses still exist in the Roosevelt Park. Could these small ponds have been used for cutting ice? The area is full of history and hidden away secrets.


Today's hike took a little more than one hour. It is satisfying to see Dixie resting afterwards. While she fell asleep we enjoyed a piece of my home-made Black Forest Cake. And that's how we spent Veteran's Day.