Moving on – to Florida, NY

7/27/14 Sunday in Florida, NY (Black Bear Campground-Private/$60/night)

I learned something this morning: my GPS can find its satellite far more easily when we are sitting still than when we are moving. Once we’re moving it can keep an eye on its satellite even through deep trees. Heck, it found it in the first place in the deep trees of our campsite. On our way by 8 am. Nice quiet Sunday on the road.

Something I keep forgetting to mention; Dunkin’ Donuts is hugely popular in the Northeast. We were talking to a gentleman at South Station who explained that it started in Massachusetts. He said Krispy Kreme and others have tried to get a foothold to no avail. Starbucks has managed to hang in here.

Hello Rhode Island. Why do they have to put their signs behind posts or other signs?

RI 1

I was worried about merging onto I-95 from I-195 right in Providence. Week day traffic reports always showed slow downs there, that’s a big part of traveling on Sunday this trip. There was a lot of traffic but plenty of lanes to handle it. Good signs too.

Hello Connecticut. Their sign was on the left of the road so of course I didn’t see it! Lots of green in this part of Connecticut, so I’ll share that. They do seem to be short on rest stops. Our map shows several that don’t exist or are closed now, so we had to drive 2.5 hrs to our first one. There was one at the border of MA and CT but we thought there’d be plenty just after it….

CT 1

A lot of construction in and West of New Haven, CT. I-95 along the coast of CT sure was busy, even on a Sunday.

Our second rest stop was an adventure. Their layout was confusing and John followed a sign that said Truck Detour. Unfortunately it meant for us NOT to travel that way because it was gated at the end. By this time we’d committed to that road, so we had to unhook our toad and back up the RV. I was grateful that NOW we actually had a working rear camera for John to use. Of course we had to hook up again. The car’s battery managed the 2.5 hours before the first rest stop but this time we realized the brake fuse had blown. Must have had to brake sharply at some point.

New York

CT 2 NY

After our adventure at the rest stop (car), we crossed the infamous Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River. 6 lanes wide, traffic was going about 35-40 mph. I liked that on this narrow place. No toll for cars going west (they’re happy you’re leaving New York City I think), but a toll for buses, trucks and the like. Curious what our EZPass will compute as the charge. Our friends with a similar rig and toad (towed car) paid $25.

bridge 1 bridge 2

I-87 up in the Adirondacks was a gorgeous road but down here North of the Tappan Zee Bridge it sucks. The last half of our time on I-87 smoothed out thank heavens.

Notice the city we’ve come to..Florida. One more example of New Yorkers using other countries, states, city names for their own. Are you wondering why we, frugal as we are, would be paying $60/night (7th night free)? It started with our plans for Croton Point Campground (which was $50/night, I think because they are so close to New York City). While asking a trucker about the best roads to take there he just couldn’t find a good one for a big rig in the last 20 or so miles. At the same time we were with friends who were coming to this park in Florida because they also could get a guided tour of New York from here. We also were only about 1 month from our scheduled time to be there and were concerned about spending time to try to find a better option. So sometimes we consider the benefits of spending money and take that path. Later we found out that we could have gone to a ROD park about 30 miles north of this one which would have been “free” for us, but farther from New York and possibly no guided tour bus….

I thought that having to pay $60/night we’d get the star treatment. Not so much-no level concrete pad to put the rig or another for a patio. They do have asphalt roads and we did get a pretty level site (both slides are out) with full hookups (50 amps, fairly strong). We also have satellite TV (first time in 2 months) and free Internet. Seems to work fine from our coach.

It was a very warm humid day, with some light rain a couple times. We were grateful none of the predicted severe weather thunderstorms came through where we were. Poor John was sweating like crazy trying to set up while I enjoyed the glorious air conditioned Miss Zanzibar. It was after 2 pm before we could relax, John checking out our next route and I looking into New York City sites beyond what we’ll see on our tour.

We took a sort walk around the campground and met a couple who work here (living in their Winnebago). No mosquitoes, they assured us!! For a final rest we watched “Big Time RV”, mostly a Lazy Daze ad but fun for us who are looking.

A bit if summer:

flowers 8

Posted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pre Travel Day

7/26/14 Saturday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

In preparation for our long travel trip tomorrow, John worked on his monitor/rear camera project (including a trip to Lowe’s to get a 3/4” drill bit for the hole in the camera’s shroud) while I worked on the blog and got lots of laundry done. By lunchtime he’d finished and it all looks SO good. I’m SO proud!

Meanwhile, I saw Gloria and Ron about to leave so I ran to ask how their day went yesterday. Very well apparently. They missed the little commuter rail sign (very hard to see-on the ground amidst lots of other signs) and went 5 miles beyond. They got help from their On Star and found the station only to see the train, then watch it pull away as they got out of their car. They decided to just drive to Boston rather than wait another hour for the train. Luckily, the trolley information that I’d given them advertised parking for $4.00 a day (same as at the train station), so that’s where they parked when they arrived in Boston. Since it was Friday they were advised to wait out the traffic until 7 pm, so they had a lovely dinner, then came home. This way they didn’t have to pay for the train ride, so today they were about to leave for Boston when I stopped them.

We had meatloaf sandwiches on this hot day. Mmmm good. This afternoon John cleaned up his tools, even vacuuming out the car and a storage compartment. I struggled to get on the Internet, first with my own hotspot, next with the campground’s WiFi, to no avail. So frustrating!

After supper and completing our pre trip jobs, I tried the Internet again. Hallelujia! It worked! I could post my blog entries now.

We’re headed for New York tomorrow, a long 255 mile trip. Before we leave Massachusetts I’d like to note a couple things. They often say Mass instead of the whole word, like Mass weather, Mass candidate. They even used it on an old sign, Mass life saving volunteers. I can sure understand that abbreviation. Something else that was cute: a road sign “Thickly Settled, 30 mph.” Also, in the 3 miles from here to a certain stop light near the freeway there are 8 speed limits with 6 different speed limits…25, 30, 35, 40… Another interesting thing I’ve noticed; we’ve seen more black people camping at this campground than any other so far. Good to see.

A spot of summer for your viewing pleasure (this was from a garden at the Plimoth Plantation):

flowers 10

Posted in Massachusetts | Leave a comment

Boston

7/25/14 Friday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

Last night we told our neighbors (Gloria/Ron) that we were going to Boston today. Our purpose this time was to enjoy parts we’d missed at a more leisurely pace. They said they planned to go too, so this morning I brought over some information, letting them know the route we took to get to the train station. They said they wanted to catch the same 9:38 am train. We left just after 9 am, but they hadn’t yet. I was concerned because they hadn’t been there before, so they might miss the last turn. We arrived at the station at 9:26 am with just enough time to push in our 4 dollar bills for parking and get on the train. We never saw them.

The good news is we got to talking to the couple in front of us. They were from our campground, so we had so much to share that we kept talking the whole trip. We lost them at South Station yet they came upon us as we were heading along Atlantic looking for the Harborwalk. They showed us where to enter it – under an archway. They’re the couple in front of us in turquoise tops.

boston 1 boston 2 boston 3

It was hot there, really revving up my mosquito bites, so we went back onto Atlantic in the shade of buildings until we came to the red line of the Freedom Trail, entering the North End from another angle, at one of those “emerald necklace” parks that Olmstead designed.

On to Paul Revere’s House where we paid the $3/senior rate this time plus a photo of the other side of his house. Strange angles. Sadly, they didn’t allow photos inside. You enter on the first floor and exit at the second floor. There used to be a third floor where the children slept – the hottest place in the summer and coldest in the winter. Since 5 of his 16 children died early on, generally only 5-9 lived in the house at one time. From their pamphlet: It was built around 1680, owned by Paul Revere 1770-1800. After that it became a tenement with the ground floor remodeled for shops. During the 19th century hundreds of immigrant families made this house their home. In 1902 Paul Revere’s great-grandson, John P Reynolds, Jr. purchased the building to ensure that it would not be demolished. Money was raised and it was restored under the direction of architect Joseph Chandler, opening in 1908. It’s been available to the public since then. The first floor has artifacts from the time of the first owner, the other rooms contain artifacts from Revere’s era, including Revere family furniture and silver made in the Revere shop. There was even a needle work project on the wall by Revere’s great granddaughter. My favorite was the display of Revere’s work – just beautiful. The man must have been a talented artisan, as well as a dynamo. Heavily involved in family, politics and managing businesses. Among them was the first successful copper rolling mill in the US, which eventually merged into the company that first made the copper clad Revereware we’re so familiar with. He died at the age of 83. That’s remarkable for his time as well.

boston 4 boston 5 boston 6 boston 7

The multicolors in the window panes are due to aging of the glass. In Revere’s day these were a sign of poor glass, not loved for their beauty. We continued on the Trail to Sacred Heart Italian Church where we saw a comprehensive sign explaining the history of the North End and this church.

boston 8 boston 9

Not much further up the street I spotted a Boston postcard I wanted to buy and as I was paying for it I asked if the shop owner had any recommendations for lunch in the area. He did and it was the very place I thought might be good, across the street from the Freedom Trail line: Cantina Italiana

boston 10 boston 11 boston 12

He was right. Elegant on the inside, with great service and the best food. The bus boy asked if we wanted basil and Parmesan added to our plate of olive oil. John is silent but I said sure. We were there for the Italian experience, why not go for it all. Well, his basil is known in my world as balsamic vinegar! They even put my bread on my plate but John had to get his out of the basket himself. When I asked the waitress if the pizza was small, she said it was 8 pieces and unless I was very hungry I might want to share it. Very thin crust. Well, John wouldn’t want what I like (veggies like roasted tomatoes, artichokes, Calamari olives) so I just said I’d take the pizza. Then I saw them bring pizzas to our neighbors, who were sharing!!! I managed, with John eating 1 piece (minus the veggies). So good and flavorful. That mozzarella really stretched.

North End roads and alleys are really narrow, the parking is so hard to find. The buildings look like they’re squeezed too.

boston 13 boston 14 boston 15

Here we took a moment at Copp’s Hill Burial Grounds. Last time we saw the Granary Burial Site. The tombstones for the children seem to have more of a skull than a cherub face….

boston 16 boston 18 boston 19 boston 20 boston 21

Now a long walk across the Charles River to Charlestown Navy Yard. This was the oldest boat making, rebuilding yard of its kind until it was closed in the 1970’s. Thankfully the National Park Service got a bit of it so we now have the Boston National Historical Park Charlestown Navy Yard. Note that the Charles W Morgan whaling ship that we saw next the USS Constitution was only here from 7/18-22. We now know it’s at the Cape Cod Canal for their celebration this weekend.

boston 21a boston 22 boston 23

Now for a little history on the USS Constitution: It was under construction in Hart’s Shipyard in Boston from 1794 until 1797, of innovative design. Most impressive is that the hull was formed on the outside of copper sheathing (made by Paul Revere). Inside that was 2 layers of white oak, with a layer of the very dense live oak between. This is so dense they needed the white oak to lighten the weight. This ship was a deciding factor in our war with Britain in 1812.

boston 24 boston 25 boston 26 boston 27 boston 28 boston 29

Now the actual ship as she is today and she is a beauty! First the top or spar deck:

boston 30 boston 31 boston 32 boston 33 boston 34 boston 35 boston 36

Next the gun deck. The ceiling are on the low side (average man then was 5’6”) to lessen the weight topside. The sailor is explaining how the Marines would guard the “grog” (50% whiskey or rum, 50% water) so everyone either got their drink, or a tally sign (for later drink). Many would add their citrus juice to their grog to make it taste better, thus we have cocktails today.

boston 37 boston 38 boston 39

The berth deck is where everyone slept and ate. The captain got his own private room, the sailors got hammocks. The holes to the outside were for ventilation. They weren’t installed until 13 years after it was built.

boston 40 boston 41 boston 42 boston 43

Back up the steep steps (must go down facing the steps) to the top floor and another great talk.

boston 44 boston 45 boston 46

Goodbye USS Constitution. Thanks for your service then and now.

Back across the Charles River to downtown and then the Hay Market (farmer’s market) on Surface which parallels Atlantic. Good looking produce at great prices there! I especially loved the art in the sidewalk. Got myself some strawberries since we’re on our way to the train station.

boston 47 boston 48 boston 49

At South Station we saw we had a while to wait so we found a table and munched on our strawberries. Quiet ride home. Neither of our friends (across the way and just met this morning) were back from their excursions. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how they fared.

Posted in Massachusetts, National Parks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cape Cod Canal and the Corps of Engineers

7/24/14 Thursday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

This morning I gathered information on the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center and caught up on Internet reading. John mostly worked on his monitor mounting project. After lunch we headed to the Canal. On our way we dropped off the old monitor at Major’s RV who were very helpful and willing to do our installation. We decided not to go that route because our warranty wouldn’t cover it (rear end cameras are not mentioned in our contract) and it could have been pretty expensive. Major’s can use our old monitor for testing on other old rigs so that’s much better than throwing it away.

The rotary/roundabout at the west end of the canal has a nice decoration. Traffic is always backed up for these places to enter/exit the canal.

canal 1

The Corps of Engineers runs this Visitor Center and the Canal. We got a great explanation of their beginnings and purpose. When we asked for a map of their campgrounds they gave us a DVD, so that will be helpful.

coe 1 coe 2

The Canal was proposed by many, even from colonial times. It was actually accomplished 100 years ago, July 29, 1914 by a wealthy financier, August Belmont, Jr. and his company, Boston, Cape Cod and New York Canal Company. They’re celebrating those 100 years this weekend (we avoided the crowds by coming Thursday). Part of the celebration is that the whaling ship we saw in the Boston Harbor, the Charles W Morgan, is now docked at the west end of the canal, for viewing of the celebrators. The second photo shows it as it was, parked next to the USS Constitution.

morgan 1

morgan 2

Unfortunately Belmont struggled with the costs of constantly dredging and the ships struggled with the narrow width, low bridges and high tolls so by 1928 he sold it to the COE. Here’s some history of the Canal and images of it now, from Scusset Beach. Three bridges cross it. The railroad bridge is the one that’s not curved. The whole bridge will drop to near water level when a railroad must pass over the canal. Ships have priority over the railroads! Then there is the Bourne Bridge on the west end, east of the railroad bridge. On the Scusset Beach/east end is the Sagamore Bridge currently under renovation. It sure needs it!

canal 2 canal 3 canal 4 canal 5

Scusset Beach and the opening of the canal out onto Cape Cod Bay there.

canal 6 canal 7 canal 8 canal 9 canal 10 canal 11 canal 12

We proceeded home in time for supper (a big meat loaf and mashed potatoes affair), then a quiet evening inside. The mosquitoes are really giving me a tough time.

Posted in Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rear End Camera Installation

7/23/14 Wednesday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

The day started out warm and lovely but we knew it would become very hot and humid. Part of the ebb and flow of weather in the East. We weren’t inclined to get hot walking as tourists or especially sitting on a hot, sunny beach so John got busy setting up the rear view camera all morning.  It’s a Voyager WVCMS10B-Digital Wireless Color CMOS Camera that we’d purchased from http://www.rvcams.com.   I cleaned house plus I worked at cleaning off the silicone from the Zanzibar’s camera cover, so we could attach it with new silicone successfully.   Thank heavens for air conditioning.

More inside efforts during the afternoon: I worked on the blog while John figured out (with some assistance from Monaco) how to get the 12 volt power to the monitor using the original wires, then to the camera. The new wireless set (camera and monitor) are smaller than the original so he also needed something to mount them on. After getting the power working, he rested (napped I say). When he got up he’d figured out how to mount both monitor and camera. We’ll see how it pans out tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain all day so it’ll be great for this sort of project. I’m just thrilled with what he’s accomplished at this point.

This rhododendron was at the Plimoth Plantation. Rarely see them in partial bloom like this.

flowers 12

Posted in Massachusetts | Leave a comment

Hyannis: JFK Museum and Memorial, Korean Memorial, Cape Cod Potato Chip Tour then Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

7/22/14 Tuesday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

This was a gorgeous sunny dry day, so we felt it was good for more exploring.

Hyannis (on Cape Cod) where JFK experienced his most relaxing times with family. A quote of his: “I always go to Hyannisport to be revived, to know again the power of the sea and the master who rules over it and all of us.” They said he really loved the water. The little museum there had lots of neat family photos and videos of Ted Kennedy sharing. The boat is a replica of the one he sailed since he was 15 until late in his life.

museum 1museum 2 museum 3 museum 4

The Kennedy Compound on Hyannis Port is not as accessible at the Bush Compound. If you go my car you’re greeted with a very tall stockade fence. If you take the harbor cruise route you won’t actually see the Kennedy homes because of the angle of vision you’ll have. So we were satisfied with photos of there. The big house is where Rose and Joe lived and where the whole family would gather over the years.

museum 5 museum 6

On to the JFK Memorial (also in Hyannis): You could park here for free for 30 minutes. Other than that you paid for parking in this town! It’s right next to the Korean Memorial and next to that is the Veteran’s Park. We were tempted to eat our picnic lunch there on the shaded picnic tables but it cost $15 to park there! So we drove on to the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory (on the outskirts of town, so free parking).

You see the harbor from these memorials which was a great symbol for them.

memorial 1 memorial 2 memorial 3 memorial 4 memorial 5 memorial 6 memorial 7potato 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4

It was a short but well organized tour. Do you know the movie playing in 1980? “The Empire Strikes Back”. Nice informative posters as you walk along a hall looking through large glass panes at the activity inside. Short with a prize at the end – a small bag of potato chips. Since I don’t eat potato products John got both of them. The beauty of it is they had 1 picnic table along the path you take to the factory building from the parking lot. So we enjoyed our lunch there. As one lady was leaving she commented what a great “idear” it was!!

Off to another town, Woods Hole. Strange name you say? You’re right! We came there to see the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, so first stop was their information center (in town, just after you cross the little drawbridge, at the blue and white striped awning). We’d stopped prematurely at a big silver sign for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute only to find out that was one of their many big labs. Anyway, the lady at the information place gave us a copy of the article that explained the name. John went to plug our parking meter while she was doing that. I got to read some before he returned. I’m explaining all this because I can’t find it!!! What I remember: When someone wanted to purchase the land it was described to them as “Wood his own Hole” his own was an old fashioned way to say the possessive (Wood’s). Hole meant a dreary place. Someone tried to change the name to something nicer, like Wood’s Holl, but it didn’t fly, so there you have it!

They had a great exhibit of the Titanic that sank in 1912 (I sure didn’t know they were the ones who found it) and of the submarine (Alvin) that carries 3 people deep down in the Ocean. Bonus, you get to see me taking the photo of the replica of the ship 1 hour after the iceberg hit.

ocean 1 ocean 2 ocean 3 ocean 4 ocean 5 ocean 5a ocean 5b ocean 5c ocean 6 ocean 7 ocean 8 ocean 9 ocean 10

Then we walked past a cool vine covered building of theirs to a cute really small museum where a very wise looking docent explained things to us. He was quite the talker and soon we had to get back before our meter ran out. But I really wanted to take his picture. Not the best, but people change when they know you’ll take their photo.

docent 1 docent 2

This time we were headed for home earlier, so there wasn’t as bad a hold up at the roundabout near the bridge and we were back before 4 pm. First thing as we arrived at our campground was to see if our wireless rear view camera/monitor were here. They were! Yay!!! John checked them out a bit before supper.

When we got home our neighbors (Carole and Dave) invited us to share where we went (and we were interested in their exploits), so as soon as we got our stuff in the rig we commenced visiting until supper time.

As I was finishing the supper dishes I noticed John talking to neighbors across the way (Gloria/Ron) who have a 36 foot Journey, so I had to see what I may be missing. Thus we were busy until time to get ready for bed. Then our friend, Greg, called. Dang. I was supposed to call him but kept getting distracted. So we talked awhile out at the picnic table (for better cell service) but the mosquitoes were having a feast on us, so we retired to the rig. Thank heavens the cell phone worked well enough there so we continued our conversation. Ah such a big, fun day!!!

Posted in Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cape Cod National Seashore and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station

7/21/14 Monday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

It rained all night long but we still went to the end of Cape Cod today, taking a couple hours to get there. You have 1 two lane road covering a long narrow peninsula (actually the Cape Cod Canal has made it an island as John likes to point out), so it’s similar to the Keys – you have to be patient.

map 2

It’s a pleasant, tree lined trip so that was good.  This shot is from the beginning.  It did become a two lane road soon.

cape 1

When we reached the Visitor Center at Salt Pond, we asked about trails and recommendations. Here are the trails and places we enjoyed:

Nauset Marsh Trail

cape 3 cape 4 cape 5 cape 6 cape 7

Marconi Station Site, sits at the elbow of “the Bared and Bended Arm of Massachusetts” as Thoreau put it. Here is where Guglielmo Marconi first sent a successful Transatlantic signal to England in 1903. Over time remains from the wireless station have been lost as the shoreline has eroded. We could see where asphalt was broken and gone bye bye to the ocean. They used to have a shelter and concrete pad here but that’s gone too. They’ll put something up near the parking are in the future. The ranger at the visitor center jokingly said you could see to Europe. Maybe on a clear day.

cape 8 cape 9 cape 10 cape 11

Highland Lighthouse

cape 13 cape 14 cape 15

Beech Forest Trail

cape 17 cape 18 cape 19 cape 20 cape 21 cape 22 cape 23 cape 24 cape 25 cape 26

I took this last photo attempting to catch a bird shot.  I think it turned out nicely despite the missing bird!

Province Lands Visitor Center and the last surviving US Life Saving Station Building (Old Harbor), built in 1898. Two groups, the Life Saving group and the Revenue group combined in 1915 to form the Coast Guard. The wood in the last image is from a ship wreck-you can see the pegs that kept the pieces of the ship together.

cape 27 cape 28 cape 29

Inside the Life Saving Station: Kitchen, Storm Clothes and Mess Rooms where they’d gather after touring the beach in the cold stormy winds to find warmth and comfort.

cape 30 cape 30a cape 30b cape 31 cape 32 cape 33 cape 34

These are part of their tools. The thinner rope is wound so it will come off quickly,easily and it’s shot from the mini canon. Once it has reached the distressed ship, it’s tied to the mast, then they can pull it along so the thick rope (attached to the thinner rope) will follow onto the ship. Now they can send a basket over for a man to climb in, then be pullyed over to shore. They used that metal structure to the right of the building to practice this skill. The boat is called a surfboat – they’d walk it into the sea and row to a distressed ship.

cape 35 cape 36 cape 37 copy cape 38 copy

Nearby was a cute fox who was happy where he was, knowing we were roped off from his territory.

cape 39

We also saw more beach roses, as everyone calls them, but discovered they are actually considered a salt spray rose. This was a deeper pink than I’d seen before. Gorgeous.

cape 40 cape 41

Off to Race Point Beach. The sand was so deep and fun to scrunch your bare feet in… The sand moves unless vegetation stabilizes it. They have piping plovers and other birds nesting on the beach area, so a lot of the beach is fenced off and dogs aren’t allowed. John always likes to see how cold the water is so here he is waiting for it. His determination: very cold, like the Pacific Ocean. I was amazed how many people were there on such a cold dreary day.

cape 42 cape 43 cape 44

cape 44a

Another stop was Provincetown, way at the end of the Cape. It was packed with people and cars. No place to park so John drove to the full parking lot and turned around. I snapped what photos I could as we left. This is not a place for cars-not only short on parking spaces but narrow one way streets everywhere. The tall tower is the Pilgrim Monument that marks where they landed. They stayed here 36 days before sailing on to Plymouth. They were lucky they didn’t crash on the sand bars like so many did then.

cape 45 cape 46

Now the long trip home, during commuter traffic time. Oh well, good practice in patience, especially at the roundabout before the bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. They call these a “Rotary” here….

cape 47

Back at Miss Zanizibar we spent our time before supper discussing our day with our next door neighbors Carole and Dave. Quiet evening.

Posted in Massachusetts, National Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment