Monday, February 09, 2015

WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING

Since I've been posting over on the Walking My Camino blog, I seem to have been neglecting the ongoings at Gassaway's Adventures.  Although we haven't been traveling to some exotic spot, we haven't been sitting on our hands either.

Don and Dorthory, who we met in Moab several years ago, took us up on an open invitation to do a little moochdocking in our back yard.  Now you may have heard the term "boondocking", which for an RV'er is camping for free in the boondocks.   Moochdocking is much the same except you're in someones back yard or driveway.  So first on the agenda is a tour of the USS Midway.  Don, who spent some time in the Navy, was in his element.  I was able to take him to the Combat Information Center, which is generally not open to the public.  This is an area where he worked while serving on board a ship.


Our guests had been to Borrego before, but just scratched the surface.  So, acting as tour guides, we headed out to the desert for a week of exploring.  We did some tame 4-wheeling, exploring Seventeen Palms, the Pumpkin Patch, Sheep Canyon, the arroyos of the badlands Spilt Mountain, and Hollywood and Vine.   Here's some photos:

CAMP IN ARROYO SALADO





No trip to Borrego would be complete without taking a look at the many sculptors that are on land that surrounds the town.




You and see many a different and strange things out in the desert.  How about a South African and a German camping in an 1959 Caddie.


Meet Johan, the South African and Kiki from Germany both of who love camping in Borrego in their spare time.  They bought the Caddie in Las Vegas, registered it in Utah and drive it around the west.  Of course they were invited to happy hour around the campfire for some great conversation.  Turns out Johan is the captain of the sailing yacht Kaori and Kiki calls herself the stewardess.  I think she is also the cruise director, purser, and wears any number of hats.  The Kaori is a 125 foot two masted sailing yacht currently berthed in San Diego.  Johan was gracious enough to invite us for a tour at the end of our camping trip.


So of course we took him up on the invitation and one evening we showed up at the dock. With a crew of 5 in addition to Johan and Kiki, they  have their hands full.  Recently they hired new crew members so training is in progress. Even so, we were given the grand tour, which included happy hour and story telling afterwards.

THE HELM

HOLDING TANK READOUT


THE SALON

MAIN CABIN WITH HIS AND HER'S BATHROOMS

THE GALLEY

CREW QUARTERS

JOHAN TELLING A GREAT STORY


You can do a Google search of the Kaori to find out more about the yacht.  Oh, if you have a spare $6,000,000 laying around, it can be yours as it is for sale.  Crew included for an additional price.

So what better motivation to get our boat in the water and do a little sailing.  We spent just shy of a week sailing each day with great weather and favorable winds.



 1st MATE RORY AT THE HELM

END OF ANOTHER GREAT DAY

So you see, we haven't been doing nothing.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

ACROSS THE STATES (AND SOME OF CANADA) IN 80 DAYS

Once back in the good ol' USA, we held up in Bangor for a couple of days for a re-supply. We didn't spend much time doing touristy stuff except for a short leaf peeping excursion. We are told that here in Maine the fall colors are at their peak.  We did see some really good fall foliage, but if we were a week later I think the would have been better.  Beautiful just the same.



As we weren't hiking, it was hard to find good photo opportunities from the road with all the wires and power poles.

From Maine we headed south making a stop in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.  New Hampshire doesn't have much of a coastline, just 18 miles long, so beachfront camping is scarce.  But for a price you can stay on the beach at Hampton Beach State Park.  Our main reason for stopping in New Hampshire was to pay a visit to friends Toby and Laura who after retiring in California made the move to Manchester.  They tell us they love it, and Laura can't wait for winter and the cold.  I guess you can understand it knowing that they lived in Victorville, CA for years. They have a beautiful condo right on the Merrimack River which runs through the center of the city.

Both Toby and Laura like to keep up on the latest in computers and phone gadgetry. When Toby found out that I was still using a flip phone and not texting, he took pity on me and gave me his old 3rd generation iPhone, in an attempt to bring me into the 21st century.  But, shhhh, don't tell the kids.


Toby and Laura took us on the short drive to Concord (everywhere is a short drive in N.H.) the state capitol.  After lunch we took a stroll through the capitol building, which by the way is the oldest state capitol building in the U.S.  Upon entering the building you first notice that you don't pass through any metal detectors and no one checks your I.D.





In New Hampshire you must buy your liquor from the State Liquor Store, so the state gets the best locations.  While you're there you may as well buy a lottery ticket.  This sign is no joke, by the way, as we saw one on the interstate between Manchester and Concord.


Upon leaving New Hampshire, it was time to head home.  We put some miles on the first day, driving to Central Pennsylvania and finding a beautiful camp in Bald Eagle State Park.  We didn't seen any eagles as they only show up during certain times of the year.


BARN IN PENNSYLVANIA

We continued our hurried pace across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois before stopping in Iowa for a visit to the Amana Colonies.  Yes they do make Amana appliances there, but the attraction is the several communities that were settled by German immigrants.  Calling themselves the Ebenezer Society or the Community of True Inspiration,  they first settled in New York state near Buffalo in what is now the Town of West Seneca. However, in order to live out their beliefs in more isolated surroundings they moved west to the rich soil of east-central Iowa (near present-day Iowa City) in 1855. They lived a communal life until the mid 1930s. Today much of the communities income is a result of the tourist which flock to the area.

This is a typical house in the Amana Colonies, built with the native sandstone.


Next we crossed into Nebraska making a stop at one of our favorite campsites at Walnut Creek Park in Papillion, just outside of Omaha.  We spent 4 nights at Walnut Creek, allowing me to get some much needed bike riding in.  We then made the final push home, with 2 overnights in Colorado and our final overnight in Mesquite Nevada.

So we made it.  No problems, the truck ran great and the 5th wheel behaved itself.  We drove a total of 13,208 miles, used 941 gallons of diesel and averaged 14 MPG.  We did all of this and still managed to stay within our budget.  Now that's a surprise.  The only downside, if there was one, was that the rain seemed to find us, but that happens just about every time we travel.

The next big adventure will be my 500 mile trek across Northern Spain in the Spring.  Be sure to follow along on my other blog, www.walkingmycamino.blogspot.com

Now for some final photos:


Fishing is big in the Midwest.  If the bait shop is closed you buy from vending machines.


CAMP AT WALNUT CREEK

BIKE RIDE SUNRISE

 CROSSING THE ROCKIES

ROCKY MOUNTIAN COLOR



  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE REST OF CANADA

We headed further east, to just about as far east as you can get without getting wet, at least in Nova Scotia.   Actually the easternmost part of Nova Scotia is Cape Breton Island, reached by way of a causeway, so a ferry is not required to get there.  We based ourselves in Baddeck, Nova Scotia because it's the start of the Cabot Trail, a 180 mile long scenic road that loops around the eastern end of Cape Breton Island.  I think the road was oversold to us.  Yes it's a beautiful drive, but Canada has a lot of trees and the trees block the views for the majority of the drive.  We took some short side trips off of the Trail where we were rewarded with some great views.  We had read that the roadway hugs the cliffs and might be uncomfortable for some. Whoever wrote that hasn't driven California's Highway 1.  The road wasn't scary at all, with the exception of some Canadian sized potholes, which are plentiful in this part of country 





The second reason for visiting Cape Breton was the Fortress of Louisbourg a Canadian National Historic Site.   The Fortress of Louisbourg is the largest reconstruction project in North America. The original settlement was founded in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British invasion during the turbulent time of empire-building, Louisbourg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760s. The site lay untouched until well into modern times, when archaeologists began to reconstruct the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today a visit to the Fortress is taking a walk back in time.  The reconstructed fortress and it's buildings were rebuilt using some of the same methods utilized in the 1700's.  Docents dressed in period costume stationed throughout the complex are there to answer questions and to do tasks in the same way as the first inhabitants.






Here in the garden and in other gardens in the complex, vegetables are grown and harvested.  They are then used in the kitchen where meals are made and served to visitors.  In trying to remain true to the times, many of the the varieties are genetically the same as the vegetables of the period.  I was given a carrot to sample, and once getting past the grit, it was pretty flavorful.


This is the laundress who was trying to remove a stain from some cloth in the pot besides her.  She told us that urine is a good stain remover.  We'll have to try that when we get home.


This gentleman was repairing this Hurdy Gurdy and gave us a demonstration on how it's played.  He was hand carving the replacement part.  He said in real life he is a musical instrument repairman but has never had a Hurdy Gurdy brought into his shop.




  
Here at the hotel you can purchase a meal made from food produced in the Fortress, including turkey pie, pea soup and bread baked in wood fired ovens.  We bought a loaf of bread from the baker.  A soldier of the period got one loaf every 4 days.  I tried to buy the bread at the going rate of the time, but they wouldn't go for my offer.  Hey, they're the ones playing the 1700's game, so I figured the prices would be 1700 prices. Not so.  The bread was really good though.




We opted not to eat at the fortress restaurant because we were finally giving in to the idea of Poutine.  If you remember from the previous post, Poutine is a Canadian staple consisting of french fries smothered with gravy and cheese curds.  It comes with other stuff too, if you desire.  So, on the way back to camp we stopped in Sydney and found Ziggys Pub and Grill. We shared a regular sized plate of Poutine which was huge.




If you think, potato, instead of french fries, gravy and cheese don't sound so bad.  We survived, but we shortened our life expectancy.

We are back in the States now and have begun our trip west across the country.  In two or three weeks we'll be home and start planning our next adventure.