Saturday, October 12, 2013

11 October 2013

Off and on rain, sometimes heavy, during the night. The weather radio forecast more rain and local flooding.

After a good breakfast in the restaurant, we headed out about 9:30. We ran in occasional rain all through what was left of Pennsylvania, then Maryland and West Virginia. Interstate 81 crosses those two states where they are very narrow. It took a little less than 40 minutes to go from Pennsylvania to Virginia.

Between Winchester and Harrisonburg we ran into heavy rain and fog, giving us some concern about the conditions we might meet on Afton Mountain. However, about Harrisonburg the weather cleared and we occasionally ran on dry pavement. The sky remained overcast and we could see that the mountain tops were in the clouds.

As it turned out, everything was clear when we crossed the Blue Ridge at Afton Mountain. The farther south we drove, the better the conditions became (though the clouds never cleared). We got home about 4:00.

The statistics: We were gone eight days
                       We drove a total of 1,861 miles

All told the trip, which actually consisted of just the Vermont portion of what was originally planned, was a great success --- even including the pump problems. Now we can look forward to the Eastern Shore part that we postponed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 October 2013

No pictures today. It is strictly a travel day and has heavy overcast. Eventually, it turned to off-and-on rain. We stopped at Target to pick up some supplies (which we may not need), and then jumped right on the interstate.

We are basically following the blue line; that is retracing our route north, which is shown on the GPS as a blue line. Seeing all the same stuff, but in reverse order.

Stopped for sandwiches and chips at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, where Jean walked YumYum and Gene got a new map. Exciting stuff. Didn't know how far we would get today, but it turned out to be less than we had hoped. From about Harrisburg south we ran into very heavy, stop-and-go traffic. For about 50 miles we averaged 10-15 MPH. Finally dragged in to the Cracker Barrel in Carlyle about 6:10.

Ended up in a nice, level parking spot in a corner behind the restaurant. We had dinner in the Roadtrek, we will have breakfast in the restaurant.  Maybe home tomorrow if the traffic gods smile.

9 October 2013 --- Leif Ericksson Day

The day dawned foggy and cold, but the fog soon burned off and the day became pleasant. After breakfast in the van, we went down to the farm store and bought our maple syrup for the year as well as a couple of other things.

About 11:45 we headed out and went to the Plainfield Co-op (as per Amanda's advice). We needed to get some dog food for YumYum since the container we used didn't hold enough. The Co-op is a true country store in a old building with uneven floors. It is not very big, but contains an amazing variety of stuff, much of it found only in specialty stores. There are a lot of items sold in bulk (bring your own containers) and only a few examples of most packaged things. Besides the dog food, we got cheeses, bread, and some home-made cinnamon buns for breakfast.

Then back to Montpelier for lunch. We found on-street parking right downtown, and had a delicious lunch at the Skinny Pancake, a place that specializes in crepes. We are sorry to report that a chocolate croissant from Le Brioche (bakery for the New England Chef's Institute) was not as good as the ones from Fresh Market.

We decided to head for home, so we got onto Vermont 100 which is a scenic drive through the Green Mountains. The going was slow but the views were great.

In one of the passes, there is a small parking place beside the road and a path with a bridge to a waterfall. The last time we went this way we didn't see the fall until after we passed the parking. This time we were ready for it.

 We had planned on staying at the Walmart in Rutland, but when we got there we read a couple of chancy reviews of it and decided to press on to Bennington. The Walmart there said that they did not own the parking lot, and while they didn't care if we stayed there, we might get chased out by the police. Giving up on Walmarts, we opted for the nearest Cracker Barrel, which is in Clifton Park, NY. Putting the address into the GPS, we headed off into the (very beautiful) sunset. After traversing every conceivable back country road in the pitch-black night we arrived, exhausted at the Cracker Barrel about 7:40 at night. We elected to have supper in the restaurant.

I couldn't catch up on the blog afterwards because my phone battery was dead (and I use it as my portable hot spot). Thus I will need to catch up tomorrow.

8 October 2013

Jean & YumYum by the lake

 Everyone off to work, but the door was open and Alan had left some donuts on the counter, so that was breakfast. Went through morning chores casually, and Alan came home to wish us farewell (and lock the door) at 11:15

We did a little shopping in Burlington: Lake Champlain Chocolates (of course), TJ Maxx and Home Center for Jean, grocery store for Gene to buy some paper plates and water since the pump is turned off.

Then we headed toward Montpelier --- not on the freeway. Lovely drive through the Vermont countryside.

Partway there, we stopped at a cemetery and made a quick lunch. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny with the hills a mixture of colorful leaves and pines. A perfect Vermont day.

Driving through Richmond, we spotted a sign for the Round Church. This edifice was built in 1812 and served five denominations as well as being used for Town Meetings for about 160 years.

It was in the center of the town of Richmond until the railroad came through and the town center moved north to the tracks.

In Montpelier we found a parking place for the Roadtrek a couple of blocks from downtown. We walked to a couple of our favorite stores, Rivendell Books and a place that has an amazing collection of bumper stickers as well as old LPs and similar interesting stuff.

About 5:00 we headed out to Bragg Sugar Farm. They are a member of Harvest Hosts (as are we). These are farms and vineyards that provide free parking for member RVs. We had a good, level spot on the hill behind the farm store.

Another day in Paradise.

Monday, October 7, 2013

7 October 2013

Monday: The day started overcast and went downhill from there.

The rug under the bed was still wet after we "cured" the problem yesterday. Gene tried looking in a different place and found the problem. The water pump for the plumbing system is leaking. Every time we open a faucet, the pump leaks a little. So we turned off the pump and will have to use bottled water for the rest of the trip. We had been considering dropping the Eastern Shore part of the trip, so that kind of settled the question. We will spend another couple of days in Vermont and then head for Forest (though at a slower pace than the trip up).

Our next job was to get a prescription filled.  This is normally a simple procedure. You take your old bottle to a nearby pharmacy; they contact your home pharmacy, who transfers the prescription; you pick up the new one a short time later. But this was Pradaxa, which sometimes turns into a problem.This was one of those times.

The problem is with the insurance. Besides my regular prescription insurance, I have an additional card from the company that makes Pradaxa that gives me an additional discount. This time there was a total mix-up between the insurance companies. In the long run I got the medicine at no cost, but a warning that I would not be eligible for the additional discount for another year. When I get back home I will take the problem up with my regular pharmacist.

After that we dumped the tanks and went to meet Alan for lunch. Then we drove down to Shelburne Farm Museum, a large outdoor museum just south of Burlington. We decided today was not the best day to go in, due to the lateness of the day and the threatening weather. So we headed for the Vermont Wildflower Farm. There we discovered that they were closed for the winter.

On the way back to town the threatening weather occurred --- torrential rain and strong winds. We passed up the other stores we wanted to go to and went back to Alan's and took a nap.

About the only thing that was worth photographing today was the sunset behind the mountains. Black clouds above a narrow break and then the mountains and a slate-grey lake.

Maybe more to write about tomorrow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall 2013 Trip

Sunday, 6 October

This trip actually started on Thursday, the 3rd. The plan was to drive straight to Burlington, VT, to visit Gene's son Alan. Spend some time in Vermont during the fall foliage season, then head to the Eastern Shore (of Maryland and Virginia) for a few days.

So we left Thursday morning and headed to Williamsburg ?! We both needed haircuts and prefer Gene's long-time barber/hairstylist; and what's a 200-mile side trip to serious travelers?

After buying a new leash for YumYum and getting some lunch, we rolled out of Williamsburg about 3:00pm. We were on a "get there as soon as possible" roll. We took a diagonal back across Virginia to I-81, and stayed on interstates for the rest of the day. We made Martinsburg, W
V that night for 407 miles; then back on the interstate the next morning. We usually try to avoid the interstate, and travel at more reasonable speeds, but we spent most of the day on interstates --- pushing all the way. We ended up making two fuel stops, the second after we got off the interstate at Glens Falls, NY. We made it to Burlington at 8:45 for 552 miles for the day.

That foolishness over, we could drop back into our usual relaxed mode for the rest of the trip. Saturday the 5th we slept in, then helped around the house for a part of the day.

Alan and Valerie took us to Stowe to do some leaf-peeping. We bypassed many of the usual tourist stops and went straight to the Trapp Family complex. The hills were sprinkled with leaves in a variety of colors, with an emphasis on yellows and reds.

It is hard to match this area for bucolic beauty. We were wowing all the way up, and walked around goggle-eyed.

After a delicious meal at a nouvelle cuisine Mexican restaurant we got home well after dark. Valerie poured wine and we sat around and talked until late in the night. A great day in a beautiful place.

Sunday: apparently yesterday was the last of the sun for a few days. Sunday began overcast and eventually turned into rain. After a few jobs, including Alan finding and curing a mysterious water leak in the Roadtrek (it was a plugged drain from the refrigerator) we pretty much hung out for the day. Late in the afternoon, we went out for pizza and a movie (The Butler).  It is a well-done movie. Tomorrow the Old Pair of Jeans will be pretty much on our own in Burlington. Keep tuned.