Washington, DC to Memphis, TN

We leave Washington a little sad after having such a wonderful time.  But we need to move on and head south.  The next few days are going to be transition days so not much to report.  Although we do take a short scenic detour through the Blue Ridge Mountains and found the scenery to be absolutely breathtaking.  I look at the map and tell Frank we are not going to use the GPS because she will take us back to the freeway.  So basically we navigate the way people used to using the atlas.

Everything was going ticketyboo until we come to an intersection and have to decide which way to go, the signpost is telling us to go one way, but looking at the atlas I say we can take a short cut back to the freeway.  Famous last words, we soon find ourselves in a situation where we realize that maybe we shouldn’t have come this way, the road is very narrow with hairpin turns and of course we are coming down a mountain so the grade is very steep, if we had just been in the car it would have been OK, but the motor home didn’t like it at all.  We have a bit of traffic behind us and the first opportunity Frank pulls over to the side, barely off the road.  When we come to a stop, we see billows of smoke coming from the front and back of the motorhome.  Frank is not too happy and tells me we have burned the brakes out and have to wait for them to cool down.  The smell is awful, but we sit in the motor home playing cards for about an hour.  Then we unhook the car and Frank very
tenuously drives the rest of the way down the mountain with me following close behind.

When we get to the bottom, we call a Ford Dealer in Roanoke, VA to see if we can get the rig in to be checked out.  They tell us to bring it in the next morning at 7am.  We spend the night in the local Wal-Mart parking lot and are at the dealership first thing on Friday morning.  We leave it and go and have breakfast, coming back we realize they haven’t even looked at it yet, so we come to terms with the fact that it’s going to be a long day.  We decide to take the Honda to have an oil change while we wait.  We call the Honda dealer and they tell us to bring it right over.

That takes another couple of hours and when we return to Ford they tell us the bad news.  The rear brake components overheated and the rotors became warped and it was going to be a big job, very labour intensive but that the technician said he would stay until the
job was done that day.  So meanwhile Frank and I take off to explore Roanoke.  It’s a medium sized town with a neat downtown area that had an outdoor market selling local fruit and vegetables.  We stroll for a while and then head to the mall, where I decide to take care of another task and get my hair done.

We head back to the Ford dealer around 5pm and the motor home is ready.  That little detour through theBlue Ridge Mountains cost us $1200.

We spend the night in the Roanoke area and continue heading south into North Carolina
and Tennessee.  We spend the night in a small RV park in Maggies Valley, a small town in the Smokey Mountains; once again the scenery is breathtaking.  The place we are in is full and when I ask how come it’s full in October, the owner tells us it’s because the town is full of “leaf lookers”, people to come to town to see the leaves changing colour.

The next day we head toward Knoxville, TN and once again experience some hair raising sections of the drive.  The next RV Park is called Mountain Glen and we should have realized by the name that it was actually in the mountains.  More narrow roads with hair pin turns and very steep grades.  We actually unhook the car again and take it easy and arrive unscathed.  The RV Park is in a beautiful setting on top of a mountain overlooking more magnificent scenery.

We are doing one nighters at the moment and the next night is in an RV park close to Nashville, this one couldn’t have been more different than the last, it was reminiscent of the one we stayed in when we were in Montana, another Trailer Park Boys environment.
Oh well, its only one night.  Next stop Memphis.

We plan on spending two nights in the Memphis area; we actually stay in an RV park in Mississippi 40 minutes from Graceland.

We drive into Memphis and straight to Graceland, because although neither of us are Elvis fans, we both feel that you can’t be in Memphis and not go to Graceland.  The first thing we realize after we pay the $32 each entry fee is that we are very underwhelmed.

The house itself is quite small but it is on a very large piece of property.  Once inside the first thing we notice is that there are mirrors everywhere, walls ceilings, and doors.  Because the house has remained untouched since Elvis passed away, the décor is very 60/70’s, there is shag carpet everywhere and in some rooms on the walls and the ceilings, not very attractive to our 21st century tastes.

The man accomplished so much in his lifetime; he really was an icon in his field.  He was also very giving in that he helped anyone in need, all they had to do was ask.

His musical achievements covered the walls in many, many gold and platinum records as well as the Grammy’s he received.  There were lots of other mementos in the house and surrounding buildings that have been made into museums in his name.

The Meditation Garden that he had installed so that people had a place to go to enjoy some quiet time is where he is laid to rest alongside his mother, father, paternal grandmother (who as a matter of fact survived them all, she died in her nineties) and there is also a small plaque remembering his twin brother who died at birth.

He also has two planes across from the property that he used for touring, one of them is a Convair called “Lisa Marie” and the other was small jet.  We did get to tour the planes
and it was neat to see how the other half live when travelling the skies of the world.

After spending about 21/2 hours at Graceland to head into Memphis to see Beale Street, the home of rock and roll and of course the blues.  What a disappointment that was,
there was a desolate feeling about the whole city.  It was dirty, depressed and generally not
very welcoming at all.  We did drive to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated and find that it has been turned into the Civil Rights Museum, we didn’t go inside, it was enough just to view the outside.

All in all we are glad to have experienced Graceland, but we could have happily given Memphis a miss.

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WASHINGTON, DC

WASHINGTON, DAY 1

We drive into Arlington Cemetery where we can park the car for the day.  We leave the car and set off for a “walk” into Washington.  We walk over the Memorial Bridge and the first thing we see is the Lincoln Memorial, after seeing it so many times on TV it is absolutely awe inspiring to be there up close and personal.  Lincoln’s Statue inside the monument is huge and there are copies of his first and second inaugural speeches on either side of him.
We stand at the top of the steps and look towards the Washington Monument at the other end of the reflective pool, which was not reflecting at the time because of construction.  Anyone seeing Forrest Gump will remember the scene where Forrest and his “girl” friend run through the pool to get to each other.

From there we walk down Constitution Avenue towards the White House.  The first impression is how small it is.  The OEOB (Old Executive Office Building) next door is much larger and more elaborate.  But it is very impressive just the same.

We see a huge line of people and a couple of park rangers letting them through a checkpoint.  We ask what it was all about and the ranger told us that there was a “fall” garden tour of the white house and you needed a ticket which was free but that they had
stopped giving out tickets for the day but we could come back tomorrow.  Eileen was not very happy about that and told him in no uncertain terms that we couldn’t come back tomorrow because we were heading home to Canada and we walk away.  We get about hundred feet away and he comes running after us saying that he needed to “take care of
neighbours to the north” and gave us all a ticket.  So as an added benefit we get to tour the
gardens of the white house and get up close to the house itself including the
“outside” of the oval office.  What a treat.

From there we start heading back to Arlington Cemetery and our car.  On the way we see that there is an awful lot of police presence, we just thought that it was because it was the capital.  We find out that, the next day President Obama was giving a speech dedicating the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  There was to be a concert featuring among others, Aretha Franklin.  We were also told that there would the thousands and thousands of people in the area the next day.  We wondered how it would affect us because we were doing a hop-on, hop off tour. I guess we would find out.

Anyway we arrive back at the car absolutely exhausted we figured we had walked about 6 miles.  Eileen and Ed kept us with us but we were all flagging except Frank by the end of the day.

As if that wasn’t enough for us, we decided to drive to Maryland because there was an antique pen shop that Frank wanted to visit.  What was supposed to take us 10 minutes took over an hour but we made it.  It was all vain because they didn’t have what Frank was looking for.  We decide to stop for dinner in Georgetown and oh boy what a happening place that city is.

Georgetown is like Robson Street only bigger, we got caught in the Saturday night traffic on the drive home and saw driving like nothing we had ever witnessed before.  I was driving in bumper to bumper traffic.  On my right I see a car trying to make its way into the line of traffic, it was a Cadillac driven by a small black lady who could barely see over the steering wheel, being the nice person I am, I let her in, only for her to put her ticker on to turn left.  We all thought oh boy, and settled in for a long wait.  We didn’t have to wait long, she just slowly pushed her car into the oncoming traffic which eventually stopped
and she did a “u turn”.  All of our jaws dropped.  We did eventually arrive home in one piece and dropped into bed exhausted, with visions of this happening every day we are here.

Day 2

We drive into Arlington Cemetery again to park for the day and to pick up our 2-day hop on, hop off tickets.  The first thing we do is tour the Cemetery, and the first stop of course is the eternal flame at JFK’s burial site, he is buried alongside Jacquie and their infant son and daughter.  A short distance away is Bobbie and Teddy Kennedy.  The graves are very
non-descript, just a small cross and a small rectangular marker with their names.

We also see the tomb of the unknown soldier, which was as you can imagine, very elaborate.  There was some kind of ceremony going on which we were able to witness, it was very touching.  A short distance away is the memorial to the astronauts that lost their lives, among them the Challenger.

There are so many famous people buried at Arlington, it would be difficult to mention them all, but a few of them are; Audie Murphy, General Pershing, Robert E Lee, Teddy Roosevelt, General Eisenhower etc.

Another snippet of information, there is a house on top of the hill in Arlington
Cemetery, called Arlington House.  Surprisingly, it was owned by Robert E Lee and when the civil war erupted, even though he was a serving US army officer, he felt loyal to his southern upbringing and served in the Confederate Army.  When Washington was taken by the Union forces the house was seized by the Union and Lee’s family was evicted.  The house is now a museum and we were able to tour through it.

From Arlington, our tour takes us into Washington DC to tour the interesting aspects of the Mall.  We had seen some of the sites yesterday, but it was nice to sit in comfort and listen to the commentary.  Of course a lot of the streets were blocked off because Obama and the Vice President were attending the dedication to Martin Luther King.  But we saw the outside of all the usual suspects, the Lincoln and Washington Monuments, the Smithsonian, all the government buildings, the Capital and the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and Union Station.  We also passed the Korean, Vietnam and World War II memorials.  Today was a day for scoping out where we wanted to go in the next few days.  We have already decided that we are going to need at least 3 more days.

We have lunch in Union Station and get back on the bus for the tour back to Arlington
for our car.  On the way we pass the Jefferson Memorial and because the streets have opened up again, we pass by the site and see the aftermath of where the President was earlier in the day.  We also get to see the memorial to MLK.  We get back to our car and the drive home is uneventful.

Day 3

Once again, we drive to ArlingtonCemetery; I am beginning to feel like a local although our GPS lady insists on trying to take us a different way each day.  Our first stop is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and spent a fascinating (Frank’s words) 2 hours here, not nearly enough.  There were V1 and V2 Rockets, old airplanes, Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis”, a DC3 in Eastern Airlines livery and much, much more.  There are US and Russian
spacecraft; Apollo and SOYUZ satellites and missiles; once again Frank’s words.  I wouldn’t know one airplane or rocket from another.

From there we get back on the hop on bus to take us to the US Capitol Building.  Security is so tight in Washington; we get searched in every building we go into.  At least in the Smithsonian we get to keep our water and granola bars.  In any government building we have to throw them away.  We are so sick of this that when we get to the Capitol Building and they want us to throw away our water and granola bars, we say thanks but no thanks, we will come back tomorrow and leave.  We eat the bars and drink the water while walking over to the Supreme Court.

We sign up for a tour which begins in 45 minutes and while Frank goes to the washroom, I explore the ground floor.  I come upon a young lady behind an information desk and she asks if she can help.  I tell her that I was just looking around while waiting for our tour, she asks if we are on the 2pm tour and I told her no the 2:30.  It just so happens that she was the one conducting the 2pm tour and told us to join her so that we wouldn’t have to wait.

The tour consists of watching a 10 minute introductory movie and then entering the Supreme Court and hearing a lecture given by my new friend.  It was very majestic and we felt honoured to even be sitting there, although we were not allowed to take photos, just being there where so many important decisions have been made was worth it.

From there we head across the street to the Library of Congress again I am going to let Frank take over the explanation, it is magnificent and houses many priceless objects – it has one the three best preserved Gutenberg Bibles in the world ( the other two are in London and Paris).  There are many rare texts from the Spanish Conquest of the Americas
including an original letter with a very rare Francisco Pizzaro signature.  There was also the first world map which uses the term “America”.  It was drawn up in 1507 by a German Mapmaker whose name was Martin Waldseemuller, who honoured his friendship with Amerigo Vespucci by naming the new continentAmerica.

While we wait for our bus to take us back to the car, we stop in Union Station and buy a couple of ice creams.  The most I have ever paid for an ice cream anywhere, $7.  We arrive back at the car to find E and E already there so off we go.  Once again our GPS lady took over and we took yet another route back the RV Park.  This time however she really screwed up.  We didn’t get home until 8pm more than 2 hours for a 45 minutes trip.
Oh well tomorrow is another day.

Day 4

The double E’s leave this morning to continue their journeysouth then west, we will catch up with them probably at the 4 corners.

Frank and I drive into Arlington again and this time we get a metro day pass and catch a train to the Capitol Building.  It is quite early around 10 am, so the crowds were manageable and we manage get on a tour within 10 minutes and we start with a short information movie about the history of the building which in itself is quite elaborate.  The inside of the cupola is beautiful and reminds me of a smaller version of St. Peters in Rome.  There of course are statues of every president, except we didn’t see one of Nixon, hmmmm.  There are also statues of 2 people from every state, which could be a president, senator or congressman/woman.  Also in the Capitol Building are the small rooms that were occupied by the Supreme Court until 1935 when they got their own building.  We were not allowed into the Senate or House because that needed a separate pass and you
needed to make an appt ahead of time.

After the tour we eat in the Capitol cafeteria with all the bureaucrats and then continue with our day.  We take the metro to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which has exhibits including, dinosaurs, ocean, minerals, animal life and many others.  We only had time to cover the first floor so we plan on finishing the next day.

Frank has researched some special interests of his own and we take the Metro to a pen shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, an upscale store not far from the White House.  I leave him there for an hour or so and explore the stores nearby on my own.  I go back to collect him and of course he has purchased another fountain pen, this one being a “user”.  He has
already used it to write a postcard to Danielle.

We head back to the metro to take us back to Arlingtonto pick up our car, the drive home tonight was better and we arrived back in good time to eat, play cards and then bed.

Day 5 our last full day inWashington, boohoo.

The heavens opened during the night and we thought maybe we would be floating down I95 for our last day in Washington.  We had done some research, better late than never and find that we can drive to a park and ride and take the metro into DC, which we do.  Its only $4.50 a day to park, better than the $18 we had been spending at Arlington.  The weather is awful, but we make the best of it because we are going to be inside most of the day.

We take the metro to the Smithsonian and walk a short distance to the Museum of Natural History to finish exploring the exhibits.  We see the Hope Diamond which is quite garish actually, but I suppose you have to admire the size of it and of course the blue colour.   There were so many exhibits of gold, silver, platinum, crystals and so many other precious stones that I never even knew existed.

There was an exhibit on the earth’s core and there was a machine showing that there were earthquakes happening around the world every second. There was a special exhibit related to the rescue of the miners in Chile which was inspiring, it’s hard to image that they survived in the bowels of the earth for 62 days in good spirits before they were rescued.  There was so much to see, we just glanced over some of it.

We stop for some lunch in the old postal plaza and then continue on to the Museum
of American History.  This was fabulous, again so much to see and I wanted to see it all, but could only walk through most of it.  Frank spent quite a bit of time in the transportation section and I spent time in the sections on civil rights and pop culture which included the one and only ruby shoes from the Wizard of Oz.  They even had Julia Child’s kitchen.  There were quite a few exhibits missing from pop culture because they were renovating.

There was a section on the first ladies and the gowns they wore for their respective husbands inaugural balls which were given to the Smithsonian for display.  It was really
interesting the see the different styles of fashion going back to the late 1700’s.

There was 1950’s kitchen complete with 3 vintage TV’s showing shows from the 50’s.  We spend all afternoon here and leave only when the security guards are shoving us out the door at 5:30.

A definite decision to come back again, but next time we will not be driving.

It is raining heavily and we run to the metro to get the train back to the park and ride to pick up our car.  Once on the road, it was a nightmare, the drivers are very inconsiderate and are impatient; it’s hard to see with the rain, its dark and bumper to bumper traffic on the freeways.  I am driving and am having a hard time negotiating the traffic and having to move over 4 lanes to get to where we need to be, because no one will slow down and let you in.  There were times when I just signalled and moved over and hoped that whoever was there would see me, they did, because we eventually arrived home safe and sound after a stop on the way for dinner.

Tomorrow we move south towards, North Carolina and Tennessee.

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Looking for Fall Colours in Vermont and New Hampshire

We left Massachusettson Saturday, Oct 8 and headed back north towards New Hampshire and Vermont.  The colours are late coming out this year, just our luck, but we are going in search of them via Hwy 91 inVermont.

We spent the night as guests of Wal-Mart in Brattleboro, VT and the next day Ed, Eileen and I drove 50 miles north on Hwy 91 looking for some change in the colours, they were fabulous and we found a really small town called Windsor, that had the longest two span covered bridge built in 1866.  We left Frank exploring the town of Brattleboro, just his kind
of place, lots of book stores and an antique mall.

The weather has been very kind to us, very warm, 80 degreesF and under a cloudless sky.

That night we decided to treat ourselves to dinner in a restaurant that was recommended to us by the bartender in the local legion.  It was called “Gilley’s”, a casual place, which was good because no one had dressed up.  E and E had lobster and Frank and I had seafood linguine it was wonderful.  We are definitely getting spoiled with this New England food.

CONNECTICUT

We leave the next day for Connecticut and an RV campground in a really cool town called Old Mystic.  Once again the weather is lovely, hot and sunny it really is an extended summer.  We have finally found the foliage we have been looking for, and Eileen and I are happy to be passengers taking in the beautiful scenery.

We pass through a couple of large cities and through 4 different states, Springfield, MA;
and Hartford, CT as well as Vermont and New Hampshire.  We travel along the coast and are reminded of the US Naval Submarine presence here.  We finally arrive at the campground and find that E and E had arrived an hour earlier.   We are pleasantly surprised with the RV park; it has wide grassy sites, friendly people and musical
entertainment in the evening.

We were only supposed the stay one night but we felt so at home that we stayed for three.  The next day, Monday, Oct 10, we take a drive around the area and find a couple of huge
casinos.  OMG it reminded me of Vegas, there were so many people and the noise level was overwhelming, it wasn’t enjoyable at all.

The following day Ed and Eileen decide to just have an R and R day at the RV so Frank and I drive to Newport, RI to see the “Gilded Age” mansions.  We saw two; The Breakers and Marble House both owned by the Vanderbilt’s.  Fabulous exteriors and interiors but we came away with mixed emotions, the conspicuous consumption to impress and on the other hand, the poverty of the time.  But the settings were fabulous, right on the edge of cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  We arrive back at camp late so just pick up Chinese food for dinner.

The next day was one of two transition days, we are headed towards Washington, DC but we know its going to take us a couple of days to get there.  We are on I95 South headed to Pennsylvania.  The route takes us through New York City, it was OK but extremely slow going over the George Washington Bridge which was a virtual parking lot.  We dealt with the usual tolls and bad roads but we make it through catching glimpses of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings in the distance.  We finally make it over the bridge into New Jersey and then finally to our stop for the night courtesy of Wal-Mart.  Another day of traversing 4 states in one day (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania).

Day 2 of the transition takes us to Delaware.  It was an uneventful 3 hour drive and we take advantage of the free parking in a casino, we have a couple of hours of free entertainment and Ed Eileen and I all end up ahead of the game at the end of the day.

Yeah, the day has finally come; we are headed to Washington, DC.  The closest RV Park we can find is 45 minutes south in Stafford, VA.  The park is called AquiaPines and it’s in a park like setting.  We arrive before the double E’s and I start the never ending laundry so that it’s done and we can enjoy being in Washington.

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New England

Ok everyone, its been a while since I have posted a blog, we have been having way too much fun and there are not enough hours in the day or days when we actually have internet.  But here we go with an update, not a complete update but an update nevertheless.  It covers our time in New England from Maine to Massachutsetts.

Maine

So here we are October 6, we are having such a good time here in New England that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog since we left Quebec City on September 26.

We had a 2 hour drive to the border and another 31/2 hours to our next campsite.  Smooth sailing through the Quebec/Maine border.  Maine is gorgeous, rolling, wooded hills stretching away to the far horizon.  Lots of small lakes in the distance, shimmering blue under the clear warm sky.   We stop for lunch at a view point overlooking the Kennebec Watershed, interesting because the border was determined by which way the waters in the watershed divided into two separate watersheds, US and Canada.

After lunch we continue on our way through quaint little towns in back country Maine till we arrive at our “home” for the next 4 days, the Pumpkin Patch RV Park, a really nice, well
kept resort, which, because we belong to PassportAmerica only cost us $16 a night.

Our New England adventure begins on September 27 with a trip into Bangor, ME.  Not
really a lot there, the main street was just like a lot of main streets in the US everything
having been eaten up with larger malls.  There were a couple of little shops and antique stores that kept us busy for an hour or two.  The real New England is in the smaller towns and villages.

September 28 sees us on a little road trip to Bar Harbor (or Bah Hahbah) as it is said here.

It is situated on the island known as MountDesert.  It is a beautiful drive in spite of the overcast skies.  With white painted, clapboard houses and sedate rolling country side.  We reach our destination in about 1 1/2 hours.  It’s a lovely eastern seaport town, lots of lobster restaurants; I fall in love with the place.

We stroll the shops and buy a fleece jacket for Frank, because he left his other one in Hope before we left.  I wanted a memento but couldn’t decide what, so I left it until we had
lunch.  We found a fabulous waterfront restaurant and were seated on the balcony, overlooking the Atlantic.  What a feast we had, because it was lunch we decided to share, clam chowder, a whole lobster, mussels, corn, and potatoes followed by blueberry pie and whipped cream.  It was very satisfying.

After lunch we went back to one of the first shops we had been in and I bought my memento, a print depicting a Bar Harbor lighthouse.  We then took a bus ride through Acadia National Park.  The heavens had opened and we were glad to be in the bus, but even though it was a downpour, the drive was beautiful, we drove through the park with lots of views of the rugged Atlantic coastline.  We drive home in the rain and arrive back thoroughly exhausted but pleasantly satisfied with a fabulous day.

Friday, September 30 we finally are in touch with Ed and Eileen, they have completed their time in PEI and are headed into Maine.  We decide to meet at our next port of call a
small town called Rockport on the coast of Maine.  The journey is absolutely delightful, we travelled though some colourful countryside via secondary roads and arrived at our rv resort in early afternoon, we had just come through a small seaside town that had some
interesting book stores, so after hooking everything up, Frank went back to explore the town and do some “antiquing” while I had some r and r at the camp.  Ed and Eileen arrive a couple of hours later and we spend the rest of the day and evening catching up on our
respective travels.  We have decided that we are going to spend the next few weeks travelling together until our different interests separate us again.  In the meantime it is nice to have them with us, we have some fun nights playing cards and of course share the odd tipple or two.

Still in Mainewe travel to a Portland, I have discovered there is a Trader Joe’s there and I am anxious for some good cheese and of course a case of two-buck chuck.  We spend the day travelling in the rain on mostly secondary roads until we happen upon the Maine
turnpike and have to stop every few miles or so to pay the “tolls”.  We have decided that because we are just travelling through, to spend the night courtesy of Walmart.  Nothing very exciting, we hole up in our motor home, drink wine, play cards and off to bed.

The next day we continue our journey from Maine into Massechusetts, it should have been a 3 ½ hour drive, but of course I decided that because we are so close, we should go into Salem and check out the “witches museum”.  We get lost a couple of times, but finally make our way into the narrow, crowded streets of Salem.  A really bad idea with two motor homes, one of them towing a car.  We end up driving in circles and after about an hour finally manage to make our way out of the town.  So back on track, by now about 1 ½ hours behind our schedule.  Little did I know, the little excursion, took us off our route and we ended up on a highway that took us right through the centre of Boston.

OMG I don’t know what was worse this or the day we tried to drive through Montreal.  The only saving grace was that this was a Sunday afternoon, but still it was a nightmare.
We ended up on a road that took us to a tunnel, right in the centre of town, not only was it a toll tunnel, we shouldn’t have been there, because we had propane on our vehicle and it was prohibited.  We were told to park off to the side and a state trooper showed up to escort us through the tunnel, he told us how to get back on the right road.  Unfortunately
his directions were not very helpful and Frank and I ended up going round in
circles and ended up going back over the same ground, through 3 more tunnels and paying more tolls.  By the time theday was over we had paid over $30 in tolls.

We did eventually get back on the right road, and we arrived at our campsite about 4 hours later than we thought we would.  Ed and Eileen were already there, even though
their experience coming through Boston, was just about as bad as ours.  I apologize profusely for suggesting the drive to Salem.  We are thoroughly exhausted and ready for some down time.  Perfect timing seeing as how we are here for 5 nights.

MASSECHUTSETTS

On our first full day in Massachusetts, we explore Cape Cod, we take off in “Little Willie” (the name we have given our car) our first stop being Falmouth, a small town on the Cape, we stroll the shops, some unique and some very predictable, but we end up buying a couple of things and we continue on to Hyannis, and we stop for coffee and muffins in Hyannisport, of the Kennedy’s fame.  We do some driving around the area looking for the “compound”, we can’t be sure we found it but we probably caught a glimpse of it from a distance.  The houses are beautiful, can see why the wealthy flock to this area in the summertime.

Back on the road and we continue to drive to the very tip of the “hook” of Cape Cod, a town called Provincetown, not very much there but the scenery was spectacular.  We take a more direct route home and arrive back in time for dinner at Chez “Big Willie” (our motor home).

The next day, for some reason I sleep until 10am, we were supposed to go into Boston today, but it was a little late so we drive to Plymouth instead.  We see Plymouth Rock, which we decide is a little disappointing, it’s about the size of a coffee table and had
been moved several times and doubt exists regarding its authenticity.  We visited a recreation of an Indian village and the first English settlement, there were actors in period costumes and it was really well put together.

We also visited a full size replica of the Mayflower, built in England and sailed to America in 1957.  We strolled around the shopping district, then headed home, another good day on our trip.

Day 3 in Mass, we are up at 6:30 and drive to a commuter train station and join the hordes of workers heading into the city for our day in Boston.  The journey was just over an hour and we arrive at South Station and buy tickets for a hop on-hop off bus tour combined with a harbour tour.  We took in downtown Boston, and the Cambridge area with a visit to Harvard and M.I.T.  It was a bittersweet to drive by Boston Garden, but Frank was delighted to see a bronze statue of Bobby Orr depicting his famous victory flight.  We also got to see the famous “Cheers” bar.  One day was certainly not enough time to see and do everything we wanted, but we got a taste of what we would like to see next time.

We all met up again at 5pm for our return train trip back to pick up the car and drive back to the camp.  We decide to have a day just “chilling” and the next day we got caught
up on chores; laundry, rearranging and general clean up.  A good end to our time in Massechutsetts.  That was back on Oct 6.

Will continue with the next update over the next couple of days, so stay tuned.

 

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QUEBEC CITY

Okay so Quebec Province has redeemed itself after the fiasco in Montreal,   I have even forgiven them for having every sign in French.  Quebec City is wonderful, we spent the day on a guided tour of the old city then had the afternoon to explore on our own.  From the cobbled streets to the european architecture and the funicular to get back to the top after the very steep walk down to the lower level, it was a very enjoyable experience.

There was one occasion when we were in a certain square when I could have sworn I was in Innsbruck, Austria.

The plains of Abraham were a little disappointing, this is a place where so much history unfolded and although it is in a park, the place itself is a football field.

I must admit I didn’t know anything of the history surrounding Quebec, even though Frank tried his hardest to encourage and educate me I just thought the French were whiners.  But now I know that the French arrived and settled here in 1608 more than 150 years before the British.  But the British being who they are, they just wanted to rule the whole world and so in 1759 the Battle of the Plains of Abraham happened and the French were defeated.

After the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the war, the British granted the citizens of Quebec the right to retain their religion and their culture.  Although this doesn’t really excuse the fact that every sign is in French and the citizens speak nothing but French, Quebec is still part of Canada after all.  It goes a long way to explaining it.  There endeth the lesson.

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Montreal – OMG

Okay so we leave Niagara after taking care of some business with the motorhome, oil change etc.  Frank is driving and it is an uneventful day, we are headed to Montreal but it is two days away so we spend the first night in Kingston, ON, nothing to write home about until about 1 am.

I had gone to bed early and Frank has stayed up to watch a movie.  I was rather abruptly woken up with Frank saying honey we have a problem.  The toilet had flooded into the kitchen and living area, the carpets were soaked and we couldn’t find what the problem was, after much head scratching, Frank turned the water off, we baled out and moped up and went to sleep thinking that there wasn’t much we could do about it and we would take care of it in the morning.

After a good nights sleep, we woke up refreshed, and started to tackle the problem, it was infact nothing serious, but it put us behind a couple of hours for  leaving.  We didn’t get on the road until 11:30 but not a problem we thought, Montreal is only 3 hours away.

Frank drove for a couple of hours then I took over, and was having the time of my life, thinking wow this is easy, just tootling along big roads, lots of  lanes and no traffic.  Aha, I spoke too soon, all of a sudden, we were in the middle of rush hour in Montreal on a Friday afternoon.  Picture this, Barb at the wheel of this honking great big motorhome pulling a car.  We are on a 4 lane freeway that all of a sudden becomes a 12 lane freeway with 4 lanes of traffic joining us from both sides.  We have the GPS on and I’m not too worried, I figure everyone can see me and I am bigger than them.

Things go from bad to worse there are roads upon roads and we have to cross 4 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic to get to an exit, the GPS lady keeps saying recalculating, recalulating and I swear to god she’s getting angry because we are not following her directions.  After 2 hours of being stuck in this situation, getting on and off the freeway, and taking detours, I think Frank was about to have a heart attack.  I was actually having fun which made it even worse for Frank.  All of a sudden the GPS stopped working and there we were stuck on some random freeway in the middle  of Montreal and no clue as to how to get anywhere, now I’m not having fun anymore and we finally  manage to get to an exit and pull over to  see what the problem was with the GPS, still haven’t a clue, but she is working now and we decide we have had enough of Montreal and couldn’t wait to get out of there.  So we set the sat nav for Quebec and off we go.

Sorry Jamie, I know you went to a lot of trouble to tell us where to go on our one day in Montreal, but our sanity got the better of us and we decided we’ll cover it another time.

We are now in Quebec City, settled into our RV site for 3 nights, waiting for Ed and Eileen to catch up with us, because they went to Ottawa instead of Montreal, smart people, I think.  No pictures this time, we’ll save them for old Quebec City.

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NIAGARA FALLS

Well as the weatherman predicted, the day is warm and sunny.  Just great for a trip to the falls.  We took the shuttle from the RV park and we drove for about 20 minutes.  OMG I was not quite prepared for the spectacular sight that greeted us, when we got off the bus we walked to the promenade at Table Rock, we could hear the sound of water but at that point could only see the rapids cruising toward the drop off.  As we got closer we saw where the noise was coming from, drowned in a sea of mist was 34 million litres of water cascading over the falls every minutes.

For anyone who has not been to Niagara Falls, in my opinion it is an absolute must see.  I can barely express how I felt, awestruck, gob-smacked, stunned.  I was grinning from ear to ear, Frank was quite amused at my reaction.  We stood at the railing, getting soaked from the mist but it didn’t matter.  We saw the renowned Maid of the Mist, which we were going to take later in the day, getting closer and closer to the water of the falls and smiled in anticipation.

Frank and I decided to take in the Journey behind the Falls, which is an attraction that takes you by elevator down 150 feet to some tunnels that take you behind the falls.  When we got of the elevator, we were given plastic yellow ponchos to protect us from the neverending spray of  the mist.  The thunderous noise was overwhelming and it just makes you aware of the power of millions of gallons  of water passing over these rocks for centuries.  Thankfully it is now being utilized by the Province of Ontario to make electricity.

After about 1\2 an hour we ascended in the elevator and met up with Ed and Eileen for coffee and donuts at where else, but Tim Hortons.  After our snack we walked about 30 minutes along the promenade to pick up the Maid of the Mist for our trip towards the falls, on our walk, we caught sight of the US side of the falls and they are by far miniature in size.

We arrived at the ticket booth and was given yet more ponchos, blue this time and were herded along with hundreds of other people to one of the many boats,  we secured a spot by the railing and prepared ourselves for the onslaught, the boat took off and we got a close up look at the US falls, which weren’t really that small, just looked that way compared to the Cdn falls.  We were tossed around like noah’s ark as we made our way closer to the great cascade of water, thank goodness we had those ponchos on, we were soaked, but exhilerated.  Later that day we took the funicular up the the “hotel” district and were able to see a different perspective of the falls.

We got back the the RV site and had wine and appies with the Reeds and played cards.  We went to bed around 11pm the some special memories of the day.

The next morning we awoke to bright sunshine again, we had a lazy morning and Ed and Eileen got their windshield repaired by the mobile glass technician.  In the afternoon we decided to take a 25 minute drive to Niagara on the Lake.  What a pretty little town, the main attraction was the Prince of Wales hotel which has been standing there since 1864.  Beautiful building, with inlaid wood floors, authenic victorian furniture and lots of pictures of various parts of the royal family, including of course, the namesake, the future King Edward VII, very high class.  We spent a couple of hours browsing the shops, it reminded us a little bit of Victoria and White Rock.  We drove down to the lake, which happened to be Lake Ontario and Frank waded into the water, just because.

We plan on going back to the falls this evening for dinner and to watch the laser show over the falls.

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