Saturday, June 30, 2012

shopping and maintenance day....

Had a busy day going to Home Depot, Target, haircut, and a salon stop for - well, maybe you don't need to know that! We finally purchased the vent covers I have been coveting for the last two years and I think just in the nick of time. With all of the summer storms in the east and mid-west it's nice to be able to leave our vents open without the threat of rain coming  in through them. The guy at the RV store said that it would only take Bill 10 minutes to put them on, ha ha, why do they always say that?! Bill knew from prior experience that the first one would probably take 3 times that long and maybe the second one would be closer to the 10 minutes. We also finally exchanged the tool belt I had bought Bill for father's day to a lighter weight one with more pockets, so he suited up and off he went up to the roof.

Notice the special beer pocket!
Mission accomplished and we were off to check out a cool spot for drinks and music I found in downtown Bangor - the Nocturnem Draft Haus.This place appealed to us on so many levels. First was their approach to martinis, then their beer selection, but most of all their philosophy "...we hope that you will find comfort in the simpler side of things." I mean, that's what we're all about - every day, striving to live our lives more simply. The place did not disappoint and we had fun listening to some sweet jazz and tasting some new beers and a locally made vodka.

Today we are off to the White Mountains of New Hampshire - it's a rough ride on a small highway full of pot holes and unlevel, narrow roads...Bebe is taking a beating and our auxiliary brake on the Subie went out almost as soon as we began our journey. We need to win the lottery to replace that thing!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bangor, Maine

Nature smiled down on us this morning as the sun showed her bright face while Bill was outside finishing our packing up - we had a great time in Acadia National Park, but it rained most of the time and we did not get in all of the hiking we had planned on...but I guess we just have more reason to come back!

We stopped at the L.L.Bean outlet on the way out of town and were extremely underwhelmed, another stop to fill up our propane and it was just a short 2 hour drive to the Pumpkin Patch RV park. Two nights of full hook-ups, including cable tv and 50 amp electric for a total of $36 - love Passport America's 50% off program! Spent the afternoon doing 6 loads of laundry and then cocktails in our chaise lounges in the waning afternoon sunlight. It's supposed to be quite warm tomorrow and maybe we'll go play golf! There is a golf course right around the corner and I think it's been since Palm Desert, in December, that we last played. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

All caught up....

...and it only took 2 years! Wow, is all I can say...I am happy to be writing this from Acadia National Park where we've been for about a week. Our friend's Sini and Bob left today and we leave tomorrow to start our trek west. We had a great time with them and were introduced to the fun of Wii Games which was an excellent way to pass the rainy evenings here. We love Maine! Unfortunately the weather didn't quite cooperate with all of the hikes we had planned and we have been deluged by rain and thunderstorms, but we got in a few little ones and I guess we have something to come back for!

Bob and Sini found Cap'n Nemo's, a great little bar/restaurant close by the campground, and gave us a call to come meet them after a motorcycle sightseeing trip the other day. What a great find! They had quite a few local brews on tap and I had my latest fav - a dark & stormy. Bob, aka Cap'n Nemo, started up a great campfire and we all ordered the smoked baby back ribs, the house favorite, and were they ever good - fall off the bone yumminess! We came back the next afternoon - another rainy day and hung out playing pool and drinking my local favorite the Drop Dead Red Ale from Black Bear Brewery. Seems Cap'n Nemo travels to Alaska often and there was a fateful trip, in the 80's I believe, with his wife and  5 kids when his RV crashed on a bridge in Seattle (right where Sini and Bob live) and was hanging off the bridge - he was stuck in Seattle for 11 weeks camping under the bridge while fixing his rig! The place is totally funky, with locals kid's drawings decorating the walls and Cap'n Nemo's own murals he's painted all over the place. Locals abound and I can't wait to go back!!

Last night we went to our first "Lobster Pound" - lobster pounds are all over Maine and we had quite the discussions as to why we thought they were called lobster "pounds" and it turns out we were all wrong and lobster pound, in Maine, is just another term for lobster shack. But you do order the lobsters by the pound and after eating Lobster in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and now Maine, Bill and I both agree that Maine lobster is the tastiest, by far! Sini and I were even able to order soft shell lobster, which were a bit smaller, sweeter and oh so easy to crack.

Bill is outside starting our last campfire here, burning our shredding and getting things set up to leave. Seems a neighbor who just pulled in has a dead generator and house battery - Bill was happy to come to his aid with his beloved battery charger. He brought several extension cords and with the help of another neighbor they had enough to hook up to the bathroom electricity to get him charged. That battery charger has to be one of the best purchases we have made! Picked it up at Walmart for a song and on those long drives when our auxiliary brake is plugged into the car battery and our car won't start when we get to our destination, yes, that is when we love it most. There have even been times when we started Bebe's generator to power the battery charger just to get the Subie into a safe place. And it's ever so nice to be able to help another person out when you can.

We leave in the morning for a short drive to spend two nights with full hook-ups - after 8 days of boondocking we need to recharge Bebe's batteries for the next week when we'll be boondocking again in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Oh - if any of you have a Wii console you're not using we would love to have it!!

My Wii mini-me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Acadia National Park

Our plants were so happy to be outside soaking up the sunshine!
On Thursday, after we got settled in, Debby and I took the bikes to the picnic area across the street from the campground. We took our beach chairs and although there was no sand on the shoreline, the tide was out so we set up on some relatively flat rocks not far from the water. It was a glorious day and we had the "beach" all to ourselves. This was when we really fell in love with the place and decided right then and there that we had to stay at least a week - not only for the beauty of the spot but also because we needed to just stay put for a while. After a couple of hours the sun went behind the clouds and it was time to head home. Sini and Bob were just arriving as we biked into the campground and it was just like old times in Slab City - only with trees.

On Friday, we set out for a short hike in the hills a few miles north of the campground. I had checked out the trails on the map I got at Bar Harbor and found a loop that took us up two “mountains,” each about 680 feet tall. We started on a trail that climbed gradually through the woods up to the summit of Mt. Sauveur. The terrain and vegetation were very similar to Lake Tahoe and there were even views of some beautiful lakes to complete the picture. From the top, we took the East Face Trail, which as the name implies, took us along the top of some very steep terrain with spectacular views of the ocean and the mansions on the other side of the bay, then dropped down steeply all the way back to sea level at Somes Sound. The hike up Acadia Mt. was quite steep and required some rock climbing along the way, which made it all the more fun. About halfway up, we stopped to enjoy a few sips of Pinot Grigio and  a snack and at the top we found a nice sunny spot with a view and had our lunch. All in all it was a great hike and we came home exhausted and happy.

Saturday was a rainy day and a perfect opportunity to go to the Bar Harbor post office to pick up our mail and stop by the Atlantic Brewery on the way home. Turns out the brewery has a special on Saturday—all you can eat BBQ including pulled pork, chicken, sausage, ribs, and all the sides. While that sounded great, Debby and I opted to split a sampler plate, and that turned out to be the perfect amount. Before eating, we went to the tasting room and tried just about every beer they make. I had high hopes for the Scottish Ale, but it really wasn’t anything special, not like the Moab Scottish Ale or Kilt Lifter, but I brought a couple of bottles home anyway. They had a honey ale, which they described as a mix between a meade and barley wine. At 12% it was a sipping beer and Debby can attest to its potency after trying a small glass with lunch. They also had pickled fiddleheads, which looked like nothing I’d ever seen before—something like a cross between a mushroom and a snail. Turns out they are ferns that are harvested before they unfurl. Didn’t try any, but the girl at the counter said they tasted like pickled cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. After we got home, we went for a hike around the campground with Sini and Bob and also went across the street to check out the picnic area again. The highlight of the hike was coming across a small graveyard in the campground with a few headstones dating back to the early 1800’s. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bah Hahbah!

Scott and Karen's house was the perfect stop on our way to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It was only 200 miles away but driving Bebe it took us about 5 hours. We checked into the Bar Harbor Campground which was a 5 minute drive to town and sported full hook ups which we needed because I had an online tax class the following day. It was a nice, clean campground and in a good location to see the town.   We drove over to the Acadia National Park Visitor center to get Bill's Golden Age National Parks Pass at Acadia National Park - once you turn 62 this lifetime pass is $10 and will get you into all of our National Parks including discounted camping fees!

We drove into Bar Harbor early one morning to have a fabulous breakfast at Two Cats and then walked the Shore Path, created in 1880, along the eastern shore of Mt. Desert Island. The views of the Atlantic with it's rocky granite shores and beautiful mansions were breathtaking. Bar Harbor is your typical little tourist town, of which we've seen many, but we were both anxious to get to Acadia National Park!

Goat Island Light Station

We met some wonderful people while wintering in Cedar Key hanging out at the Tiki Bar and Scott and Karen were two of them! They have homes both in Cedar Key and in Kennebunkport, Maine and for the last twenty years they have been the caretakers for the Goat Island Light Station. We talked about visiting them on our travels and they said "come on up"! At the time we hadn't really discussed our route north and then west for the summer but I had never been to Maine and this was a perfect opportunity. These last two years of travel seem to be more about going to visit people than anything else and that's maybe because it's just who we are! 

Kennebunkport is a very small town of just a couple thousand people, but so quaint and "New Englandish" - it's just how I imagined it would be. We got a very late start out of Cape Cod due to a plumbing hose "malfunction" (let's just say "YUCH") and we weren't too sure that, timing-wise, our visit would work, but Scott and Karen had measured their driveway and encouraged us to come, so off we went. We fit in their driveway without an inch to spare and with no room for our push outs but that was not a problem. We quickly took off in the low-tide to boat over to the lighthouse with pooches Lauren and Folly. It was a beautiful day and just a short ride over from their home.

Last year they rebuilt a covered walkway between the house and the light station, which was washed away in the Blizzard of '78, the bell tower and a fuel house building were also reconstructed. This year they are busy renovating the keeper's house to it's 1950' glory. It was fun to see it in person as we had just visited the website and seen the live webcam. Scott and Karen were getting ready to move back into the keeper's house next week and  had a lot to do amidst all of the restoration.

The tide was moving out quickly so Karen ran down with the dogs to paddle the boat over to a deeper area.

Scott showed us the town of Kennebunkport while Karen took Folly to dog-training. We saw President George H.W. Bush's home, a couple of the other little island communities and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust building. Within a block of their home are two restaurants and a little market with a great meat counter where we picked up something for dinner and slept in Bebe with the slides in - first time we've done that since the day we brought her home!
Thanks again, Scott and Karen for being such gracious hosts and can't wait to share our summer stories with each other at the Tiki Bar next winter!

Cape Cod

as you come off the bridge onto the island you are greeted by this lovely landscaped sign

Bill’s mother’s family name is Doane and when we all found each other on Facebook a few years ago we had a Doane Family Reunion in Colorado Springs, where the majority of the family live. Someone mentioned at the time (we think it was Janice Doane) that there was a rock in New England named in honor of the family, when the first settlers came over sometime after the Pilgrims landed. Luckily Bill has a great memory and when we were in Rhode Island he mentioned that he thought the rock was in Cape Cod just a few hours away and we should go try to find it. So we bid a fond farewell to Cheddar Yeti and off we went in search of Doane Rock! But first we needed to find some Lobstah!

We found a great little campground in Eastham, a few miles from the tip of Cape Cod, which backed up to the bike trail. One thing we were super impressed with were the bike trails on Cape Cod – wow - beautiful, wide, paved, 2 lane trails that go all over the island. We discovered Arnold’s – a great little spot right next door to our campground and ate their twice – I had an amaaaazing lobster roll just loaded with big chunks of fresh lobster and Bill had the whole lobster, another night I had the lobster bisque (YUM!) and fresh oysters that they shucked right in front of you at the oyster bar and Bill had the salmon special. Everything was delish!

At the rv park I got a map of the area and started looking at our options of what to do and where the bike trail went and low and behold look what I found!

The weather was pretty cold while we were there, but one day the sun came out and off we went to find our rock!

Doane Rock, also called Enos Rock, is 45' long, stands 18' high & extends below the ground an estimated 12'
Site of the Doane Family Homestead c. 1644

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rhode Island Friends....

Rhode Island is probably one of those states we would have flown by had we not known anyone there. My fondest thoughts about the state take me back to grammar school and my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Moberg, who hailed from there. This teacher was one of the good ones! She took a personal interest in her students and even  hosted an end of year swimming party for our class. Can you even imagine that happening nowadays with all of the issues just screaming at you!! She was very interested in the Jewish religion and came over for a Shabbat Dinner one evening and went to Temple with us. I, in turn, came to church with her one Sunday as I was always interested in other religions - I still am fascinated by them. And my mom just informed me that my paternal grandfather was from there too. But still, had our friends Jeanette & Dennis from Cheddar Yeti fame, not been there we would have passed it by! Dennis comes from a huge family who have lived in Jamestown, Rhode Island for generations. They were spending the summer there and if you ever have a chance to visit you will know exactly why. We first went to Narragansett and stayed a few nights at the Fisherman's Memorial Campground. Nomadic friends, Bob and Sini, who we first met at Slab City, were following in our wake, and joined us there for a few nights.
Fisherman's Memorial - Narragansett, RI

 It was a beautiful campground and close to everything in town. We were planning to do some bike riding with Jeanette and Dennis and I have been dealing with some gear & brake issues lately so Dennis recommended a good bike shop, and she's now purring like the sweet little kitty she is! But first we were off to Newport for a local's tour. We had fun pub crawling through the town, oohing & awing over all of the yachts, and window shopping. Dennis drove us out to see the Breakers & the Cliff Walk which we did not have time to tour.  Must go back!

Jeanette, Bill, Dennis, Sini and Bob

Fort Getty - Jamestown, RI
Jeanette at the Jamestown Harbor

On Friday we moved to Jamestown to stay at the Fort Getty campground – another fabulous spot a mile from town. Dennis and Jeanette came over and we jumped on our bikes and toured the town, stopping for some libations along the way. We got to meet Dennis’ dad – the first real New England accent I had heard! They have a great home with a sweet little spot for the Yeti to park.
Friday night we were “doing the town” and went for a great meal and to a local bar for some drinking, dancing and pool playing – had an awesome time and met some more of the family. There is absolutely nothing like having a local show you their town – thanks guys!!

More pics from Sini and Bob:
a great sign I found on the street - would have loved to have this in Bebe!

the snowman was live & jumped out to startle Dennis

very cool bar table that you can peddle down the street

we had such a great time!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Berkshires...from Bill

It had been about six years since I’d seen my friends Van and Peggy Shields and we were excited about the opportunity to visit them in the Berkshires. The last time we saw them was at John and Laura Nestico’s wedding in North Carolina when Van was living in South Carolina. Last year, Van moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts for his new job as Director of the Berkshire museum and Peggy had recently joined him after renting out their home in South Carolina. Van invited us to stay in his driveway and assured us there would be room. Debby and I had our doubts, but it turned out to be a perfect fit.

Getting to the house turned out to be more of an adventure than we had bargained for.  After planning carefully to avoid the Parkways in New York, and another ticket, we had a relatively uneventful drive until we got close to the house. We were allowing the GPS to guide us in, but didn’t count on there being low bridges. After turning onto one small road that would have taken us very close to the house, we came upon a bridge with a clearance about a foot lower than our rig, so we had to stop, turn down a dead end street and unhook the car. There’s no backing up with the toad attached. We only blocked the road for a few minutes as we got unhooked and turned around. From there, Debby was leading me in the car while getting directions from Van on the phone and following the GPS, when we found ourselves blocked by another low bridge. We hadn’t turned down the road yet when we saw the sign so we were able to go around the block to get out of there, but just barely. I had to take the left lane to avoid a low hanging branch on a tree over the road. Eventually we found a way to avoid the bridges and made it safely to the house, but the rest of my driving in New England has been filled with worries about low bridges.

Pittsfield is situated in the Berkshire Mountains in northwestern Massachusetts. The Berkshires are relatively low hills with lush vegetation and they’re an excellent place to hike. One day, Debby and I joined Van and Peggy’s son, Elliot, on a walk in the nearby state park with the dogs, Juno and Dakota. Juno is a rescue dog that is very skittish around strangers. We seemed to get along all right when I was sitting, but even after several hours of hiking with her on leash, she still wouldn’t warm up to me. Elliot and Dakota, the old dog, turned back early and Debby and I took Juno on what turned out to be an 8-mile hike in the woods with no idea really where we were. Debby had forgotten her phone and my battery was dying, so we used the GPS sparingly and somehow managed to find our way home. Along the way we stopped once to get our bearings, and Debby spotted a tiny fawn in the bushes next to the trail. It was totally frozen so as not to be seen by us. It couldn’t have been more than a few days old. We must have been there for a good five or ten minutes and Juno never spotted the fawn.

One of the better things that happened to me in the Berkshires was getting laid off from my job at AECOM. Work had become less than fun and mostly just a source of stress without much compensation, so when they “let me go” due to the company’s continuing financial problems, that stress was gone, I was eligible for unemployment, and I could fill out my claim forms online. So I am now effectively retired, although technically still looking for work, just not too hard.

Afternoons in the Berkshires usually involved cocktails and appies with our hosts on the backyard deck while we watched the beavers swimming around, working on their dams and a multitude of birds feeding at the birdfeeder. Peggy’s mom, Chris, came to visit a few days after we had arrived and she added a new and delightful dimension to our happy hours. Peggy fixed us several delicious meals, which we enjoyed on the deck and Elliot recommended some great movies to round out our evenings.

We paid a visit to Van’s museum and got to see all the displays that he’d been telling us about. The exhibits were excellent and we learned a lot about birds, Audubon, and the Audubon society and a whole lot of other stuff. The highlight however was watching a pair of turtles mating, or turtle wrestling, in the aquarium. Reminded me of taking my daughter’s girl scout troop to the zoo and having a baboon start…..well let’s just say it was awkward.  
We also got to watch a movie documentary about a local artist, Gregory Crewdson at the Berkshire International Film Festival ( Gregory creates some incredible images and the film documents 10 years of his work on one of his projects - pretty amazing stuff. 

To round off our cultural experience, we drove to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Mass MoCA, where we saw an interesting exhibit of art from Canada, some very large pieces that reminded us a bit of Burning Man, and some incredible wall art by Solomon LeWitt—another fantastic experience.

These signs are in windows all over town.
Van and Peggy have both gotten into yoga in a big way, which was great for Debby. She went with them several mornings and convinced me to join them for an easy session, which I loved. On the way home, we stopped at a new bakery in town that specialized in rye bread. Debby and I love Trader Joe’s corn rye bread and stocked up with as much as we could store before leaving California, but we ran out a few months ago and have not been able to find any since. This place had just what we were looking for and we bought enough to keep us supplied for a couple of months. The owner of the bakery was chatting it up with the customers and when he heard we were from California and excited about finding the corn rye bread, he grabbed a loaf of something he thought we’d like and gave it to us. What a treat, it was delicious. 

The low point of our visit was probably when I decided to wash the RV. It had been months and many layers of road grime since it was last washed, and now that I am retired, I was out of excuses. I started the job while Debby was out running errands and nobody else was at home. Everything was going swimmingly until I decided to wash the awning over the rear slideout. The ground on that side of the RV wasn’t very level and after I climbed the ladder (it’s the kind that leans against something) with the hose to rinse off the awning, over it went. I’d been through this scenario in my mind many times as I climbed that ladder and as I felt the ladder start to fall, I executed plan A, jump off and do a PLF (parachute landing fall). This was when I learned one of the basic laws of physics—you can’t jump off a falling object. I was lucky to get away with a few scrapes and bruises, but now I know—if you’re ever in that situation where you’re in a falling elevator and you think about jumping up just before it hits the bottom, forgetaboutit! 
good friends for the last 40+ years

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eating the Big Apple

Friends Jeanette and Dennis told us about the Croton-on-Hudson rv park that was a mile from the train station that takes you right into Grand Central Station. It was a perfect place to park although we did not spend any time there, other than to sleep. We got up early and made our way into NYC. I have several cousins that live there and had not seen any of them in a very long time. With very short notice, we were going to meet my 2nd cousin Pam, who I had not seen in 30 years, for dinner. But first we needed to hit Katz's Deli, a quintessential Jewish deli featured in the movie "When Harry Met Sally" - where I had "what she was having!" We only had time for one deli stop and most of the reviews I read agreed that this was the best. We got off the train and made our way to the subway to go to the "lower east side" - where my "people" settled. We figured the subway couldn't be that different from taking BART and we could figure it out and we did! We split a corned beef sandwich and, while eating, the owner came over to chat - super nice! At this point we had dealt with a few New Yorkers in person and both of us commented about how friendly and helpful everyone was - once they were off the road, that is!  

After lunch we made our way to the "upper west side" to go to subway hitch here as we got on an "express" train and flew by our stop by quite a bit! I have been wanting to go to Zabar's for about 10 years, when I was last in NY, and ran out of time.

Zabar's is the BOMB!! Bill was blown away, so much good stuff and all in one place! Cheeses and breads and deli meats and fabulous desserts, we had fun putting together some treats to take to his friends, Van & Peggy in Massachusetts, our next stop.

By this time we were due for some libations and found the cutest little restaurant bar, Nice Matin, on the corner of 79th & Amsterdam. My phone was running out of juice since we were using it so much for navigation and pics so I asked if anyone there had an iPhone charger - and helpful again, they found one for me. We sat there for several hours watching the world go by, entertained by a very friendly bartender, having some interesting drinks and a few delicious appetizers. We HAD to stay all afternoon just to charge my phone ;). 

We were meeting my cousin Pam a few blocks away and she had no idea what we looked like so I texted her this pic of us while we were waiting for her!

We finally found each other and it's a good thing I sent the pic because we would never have recognized each other on the street. We all jumped back on the subway and headed to Chinatown & Little Italy, her two fav NY neighborhoods. Pam has lived in NY since the last time I had seen her when we both lived in Los Angeles, this was "her" town and it was fun to see the city through her eyes. We spent a lot of time catching up on our lives and our families and after more food and treats we bid a fond farewell taking the subway back to Grand Central Station and getting to the train just as it was about to pull out...exhausted and satiated we found our way home.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Making our way north...

We had a short drive from Delfest to visit Bill's Aunt Meredith in Ashburn, Virginia, thank goodness because after 4 days of revelry and packing up after a soaking thunderstorm we had very little energy left. We found a Walmart close by and got quickly settled before we unhooked the Subie and went visiting. Bill had not seen his aunt in about 15 years so they had a lot of catching up to do. She took us over to meet her daughter and we went for a great Vietnamese dinner afterwards. I was soooo tired I actually was nodding off during dinner! We got home early and both of us passed out pretty quickly.

Tuesday morning we awoke to more rain and high temps and we hooked up quickly and drove north. We were looking for an interesting stopping place about 1/2 way to Croton-on-Hudson, as that was a 6 hour drive. I have read quite a few blogs lately that talk about the importance of keeping your driving hours short and even about not driving two days in a row, so we figured a 3 hour drive each day would get us there easily. After doing a bunch of web-searching for campgrounds and attractions I was a bit frustrated because unless we wanted to drive another hour and a half to the Atlantic City area (where I've never been) I couldn't find a good campground or any other "sites" to see. So, as I usually do, I put out a plea on Facebook. There is a new group on FB that is for nomads, or wannabe nomads, and I thought that would be a great place to post my question. Within 5 minutes I had one response and after about 20 minutes we hit "pay dirt" when Cherie of the Technomads mentioned a great winery they had been to. After a little research we were on our way with a campground close by. Thanks to Cherie, again, and all the others out there who post campground reviews, we had a heads-up about some "issues" at the campground and were able to request a good site.

We got to our campground around 3; made it to Heritage Vineyards by 4, and spent a couple of hours tasting their wines and sharing information with the wine steward. After buying 6 bottles we ordered two glasses of our favorite, some brie with fig jam, and sat out on their patio in the waning afternoon sunlight. It was a perfect mid-way stop with much needed relaxation.

Thank goodness we did stop and have some time to rest because we had no idea what was in store for us on our drive to New York! I had read somewhere, recently, that it was important to check for height restrictions on your route - something we don't even think about driving in California! And boy am I glad I had the great little iPhone ap Allstays Camp & RV. One of its features is that it will show you where the height restrictions are on your route. You can set your filters to accommodate for your particular height, and boy did this little ap come in handy! What we weren't aware of was the outrageous tolls that NY charges - especially if you're an rv and especially if you're towing! Within an hour we had spent almost $100 in tolls - one alone was $56! And all cash, thank goodness we had cash! Then we had to deal with the incredibly RUDE NY drivers!! OMG - we ended up on the wrong deck of the Washington bridge (I'm sure due to the $56 toll shock) so when there was an option to merge on to the other side, so we could make our exit, the drivers started sneaking around us to get in front of us as we were moving over - it was crazy, people honking and yelling and Bill almost had a heart attack, wait a minute, that was me! I couldn't believe the nerve of some of these drivers! While researching the route we were going to take (before hand) there was quite a bit of discussion on the rv forums I was linked to regarding whether or not RV's can travel on the NY Parkways. One post stated that they had actually called the NY Department of  Transportation or the police, I can't remember, and asked if they could drive on the Parkways. There are numerous signs that say "No trucks or commercial vehicles", the information he received was that a motorhome was neither of these; so I felt pretty secure directing Bill to stay on the parkway, which was the most direct route to Croton-on-Hudson. We had been on it for a bit when a cop came by and flashed their lights, we thought there was some emergency and to get out of the way, there was an exit right there so Bill pulled off and as we were getting back on the parkway we saw the "Cars Only" sign...we were a bit confused but figured we're not a truck so what the hey... We got back on the fwy and immediately there was a cop on our tail pulling us over. We got off the freeway, we explained ourselves and she told us we could not be on the parkway and cited us. She also mentioned that there was just one citation which was zero "points" but that she could have cited us for many different infractions! She did give us directions to get us where we needed to go, but we were very confused because on the map it looked like the road she told us to take was also a PARKWAY! We finally made it to the campground, incredibly shook up and ready for a couple of stiff ones!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Delfest Bluegrass Festival

We first heard about Delfest from our friends Amy and Levi in Cedar Key. Delfest is a Bluegrass Festival in Cumberland, Maryland, which is about as bluegrass as you can get. Cumberland is situated in the western part of the state in the Appalachian Mountains very close to West Virginia. Getting to the festival was a bit like riding a roller coaster through the mountains and Bebe hung in there like a champ. Once off the freeway, we had to follow a special route for RVs to avoid some low bridges on the way to the check-in, where we saw Brian, Maria, Amy, and Levi doing their volunteer duties. On the way from the check-in to the festival site, which was a couple of miles away, I spotted a couple of young folks looking very much like they needed a ride, so I stopped and offered them a trip in the RV. They were thrilled and we talked Burning Man all the way to our campsite. A couple of days later, they found us in the crowd at the festival and treated us to one of their beers.
with Amy & Levi, sporting our Trailer Trash & Roaming Pint shirts & the new sticker on their airstream

At the festival, we were directed to a great site not far from the main stage (like 3 rv's away from the entrance) and close to our friends. We got set up and made our place look like home, complete with our pink flamingo and houseplants that drew a lot of attention from people passing by throughout the weekend. When people saw our Californian license plates, they often stopped to chat and ask if we had driven from California for the concert. One lady stopped when she saw me replanting our cilantro and she said that she thought she’d seen everything at Delfest over the years, but never someone doing their gardening.

Levi and Amy were hosting three guys that were hiking the Appalachian Trail and had taken a break to go to the festival. They all had fun nicknames, like hashers. There was Yukon, a friend of Levi’s and two guys he met on the trail, Squatch and Boomer. These guys looked like they could use a rest from all that hiking and they seemed to be able to sleep almost anywhere.
Levi showing us how it's done...

The weather was a major factor for the weekend. We started with lots of rain, mostly in the afternoon and at night, which kept us pretty much hunkered down in the RV. By Saturday, the skies has cleared and record high temperatures were in the forecast, so it was time to take advantage of the river that runs by the festival site. We inflated our rafts and hiked up to the drop in point. The river was shallow, but running pretty fast, so the ride was only about 20 minutes before we needed to pull out. We took several trips down the river, and when the timing was right, we could enjoy the music coming from the main stage as we floated by.

Beer Belly Brothers!
One day, we were sitting outside the RV when a couple came by yelling "On On" and announced they were from the DC hash and had seen our hash flag. This is only about the third time we’ve flown the hash flag, and the first time someone from another hash had stopped by because they’d seen it. They said they were camping with a bunch of DC hashers, and later that evening, about six more hashers from DC dropped in and we shared some beers and whatever it was they were drinking (some sort of iced tea vodka thing). We talked about the possibility of setting a trail the next day and set up a tentative start time of 11ish. But that never happened. I was all set to go, but no one showed up—probably too many stayed up for the late show, we also went to. Staying up until 3:00 a.m. was a new experience for us old folks and we definitely felt it the next day.

My brother Scott drove up from Richmond for the weekend and got a room in a hotel in town. We didn’t see too much of Scott, but he did bring lots of beer to share, and we definitely appreciated that. He brought a couple of his fiddles and got to participate in a workshop one day, so that along with the music and some time with family made it a worthwhile trip for him.
Bill's birthday fire balloon

Debby found a yoga class that she could attend in the mornings in one of the buildings on the grounds. I went with her on the first morning, but it was pretty crowded so I opted for a shower instead. The yoga was a great way to start the day after a hard night of partying at the festival.

One of the nice things about hanging out with Brian and Maria and our other NuRVer friends is that we do a lot of crowd-sourced meals, which makes for some mighty fine eatin’. Saturday was definitely a Mexican kinda day, especially for me. I started the day with a breakfast burrito from one of the vendors at the festival, then had chicken quesadillas for lunch, followed by Maria’s burritos for dinner. Before leaving for the festival, I had made some of my famous salsa fresca, which went well with all the food and was devoured in short order.

After four days of Bluegrass and bluegrass influenced music, we were ready for a change of pace. We bid a sad farewell to Amy, Levi, Maria, and Brian, who were headed to Virginia to work on Stanley and explore the craft brew scene in the DC area.