We’ve been in the heartland of the US for the last few days, in Missouri and Kansas. Stopped to camp at a lake near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Nice spot, wide open campground and the trees in the lake gave it a swamp feel. The host warned us of the “skeeters” that would come visiting when the sun goes down.
We stopped at Big Springs, an underwater river that re-appears out of the rock wall with a few million gallons of clear, blue water every day.
We then stumbled upon the trout fishing capital of Missouri, Bennett Springs State Park. This campsite was nearly full with fishing folks. It’s right next to the hatchery and the water is clear enough that you can see the trout swimming in the stream. The park diner there will even prepare your freshly caught fish for dinner if you want.
Today we stopped in Greensburg, Kansas. This was the town leveled in 2007 by a 1.5 mile wide tornado. It is also the home of the largest hand dug water well – one of the top 8 wonders in Kansas according to the guide. You could climb down into it – so we did.
We’re stopped now for a laundry break and will be into Colorado tomorrow.
We started our Kentucky experience at Blue Lick Battlefield campground, where the last battle of The War of 1812 took place. Daniel Boone and others took part in the fight against the British and Indians. The Lick was named for the salt licks in the area that were used by wildlife and the folks for centuries. We hiked an old buffalo game trail that tramped the trees centuries ago when they were in the area so that a unique goldenrod plant could grow. Hopefully one day they find that the now protected weed is the cure for some awful disease, since I would be inclined to weed-wack the plant off the trail.
As we traveled down to Mammoth Caves we found ourselves in some beautiful horse country near Lexington. Not a low rent district. It also happens to be part of the bourbon trail – so we stopped at my favorite, Wild Turkey, for a tour and some samples. Picked up a bottle of American Honey and a nice Wild Turkey tumbler to enjoy it in.
Did two different cave tours today at Mammoth. The cave system is over 400 miles long through the limestone. Some rooms are huge and others are not (one passage was appropriately called Fat Man’s Misery) – but I made it through without a problem.
The second cave tour had more water coming in to form more vertical shafts, tube-type interesting passages and formations to view.
Tomorrow we’re turning west towards Colorado, but may only make it as far as the Kentucky – Missouri border.
As we were heading west in Ohio I noticed that Dayton was on the way, and the USAF museum – had to stop.
However, we had to delay our trip to the museum a day because we spent some time on the highway waiting for U-Haul to send someone out to repair a blown trailer tire. Must be something about the right-rear tires on this trip. However, waiting in the Roamer with food, drinks and a comfortable place to stretch out and read is not so bad.
We’ve noticed the campgrounds are getting real empty, especially in the areas where you don’t need electrical hook-ups. We had the entire circle to ourselves – almost like dispersed camping – lol.
The USAF museum is huge. We spent 6 hours at the museum going through the several hangars they have for the different generations of aircraft. Unlike when we were camped on Mokie Dugway, we did get the B-1 picture this time. It was about the same distance away and below as before, but moving significantly slower this time.
Visited the R&D hangar and saw some UFOs. I knew the guy who worked on this at Avro Canada. Every aircraft has many good stories to them as does this one based on my discussions with John.
They also had a C-17 on the ramp outside, the plane both Pam and I worked on in Long Beach many years ago. This one was T-1 (test aircraft 1) where its credits were not combat missions, but Hollywood movies it had flown in (Superman, Ironman, etc).
We drove out of Ohio and are now in Kentucky, Daniel Boone country. The campground tonight was so empty that we got a spot and firewood for free. I’m starting to like this time of year…
Got the Roamer a new pair of shoes. 4 new shoes and the truck hummed from Maine through all the Northeast in what seemed like very little time. I’ve never seen welcome signs for states go by so fast, and we weren’t even driving as fast as the speed limit due to the trailer.
We made our way to Slippery Rock, PA to visit with my sister and her husband. Very relaxing, great food and then met up with a high-school buddy on our way out of town that will hopefully lead to a future trip together.
Crossed the border into Ohio and stopped in Wooster to have lunch with my nephew going to school there. Wooster has the college, but as we found out, it’s also the home of Goodyear, Smuckers and Rubbermaid. In fact Rubbermaid has a store with just about all of their products that we had to visit.
After our last 4 long driving days, we decided to get back into our normal travel routine and stopped at a park just south of Wooster for the night. Looks like the leaves are starting to change and everyone’s predicting another cold winter for the east.
What is a summer without a good country fair? John, Pam and I went to the Farmington, Maine Fair all day today and had a blast. It was what you would expect from a country fair. We toured the co-op displays of great produce.
Visited the chicken and duck barn.
.. and found a duck boxing promoter, named Don something..lol
Saw my first ever horse pull competition and got the low down on the several different categories that were to be contested from the locals.
Unfortunately, we’ll miss the lawn mower pulling competition this weekend. Given the lawns and the amount of mowing that goes on in the east, I can only imagine the modified lawn mowers with huge exhaust pipes competing for the ribbon and a year of bragging rights.
There was horse racing at the fair too. I would have come out ahead for the day in the betting, but my last horse got boxed in on the rail and lost in a photo finish. So close…
I chatted with the members of the Western Maine Blacksmith Association and got some critical questions answered on how to create the spun wooden bowls by a lathe operator at the fair. We also heard some great stories during the Maine Storytelling period at the old school house on the fair grounds.
But what is a fair without the 4H competitions? Had to watch these pre-teen kids show their 10-times-their-size cows when the cows were sometimes agreeable to what was being asked of them.
Lobster roll and fries for lunch, made for an all around great day in Maine.
Tires arrived today so we’ll see about getting them mounted tomorrow and heading west.
Pam and I were going to change out the tires in Salt Lake City on the way home, but since the one blew we decided to change them out now. The tires are not stock items (Continental Tire MPT81 335/80 R20) so we have the tires coming in from South Carolina and the rim o-rings coming in from Colorado to hopefully result in a change out this Thursday.
In the mean time we are here at Pam’s cousin helping to pass the time. We went on a nice canoe ride yesterday on one of the many lakes around the area.
Also helped John catch up with some tasks that needed to be completed before winter. A new roof vent project that John and I completed just before the rain started:
And Pam and I stacked the first of 2 and 1/2 chords of wood (the remainder comes tomorrow):
If things go as planned we’ll be on the road again with new tires and a spare on Friday and into western PA at my sister’s on Saturday.
Pam and I left Nova Scotia today after a great three-week stay. Saw a lot of beautiful coastlines, ate some great seafood, caught up with relatives and met many of Mom’s friends in her town.
The tides are always something to see where one minute there is water and seemingly the next there is none (or 6 hours later – it’s tough to keep track of time when you are retired). Far across the bay the dock is about 20 feet tall to give some perspective.
The Roamer is now hauling a trailer.
The ’46 Willys jeep is covered for the trip home. This was a good thing since it was light mist and rain most of today during our trip into New Brunswick.
However, the most interesting thing today is I now know what it takes to change a Roamer tire: 1 hour 45 minutes, 3 guys and $60. We blew a tire outside of Windsor (the origin of hockey for those of you who did not know).
Pam called Roadside Assistance from Progressive and was disconnected. We need to see about that in the near future. Called AAA, who called CAA and while they did not cover RVs they sent a couple of guys to help.
The blowout could not have happened in a better place: level ground, next to an off ramp so we were one lane from traffic, and on the right side so we had soft ground to dig a clearance hole. Got the tire down and mounted without the winch system provided. I’ll have some design changes for our use in the future to make it a little easier. Instead of remounting the spare, we secured it to the trailer to balance it a little better, and it holds the jeep in place when the front tire towing straps work their way off on the rough roads. Bummer not to have a spare, but the blowout now has the job of keeping the jeep on the trailer.
We are in Fundy National Park now and will be heading across the border into Maine tomorrow after a morning hike here.
I’m nearly done with my Mom’s list of things she wanted fixed and her awesome fish chowder ran out today. Therefore, it must be time to head on back west. We pick up my Gramp’s old jeep (1946 Willys) tomorrow now that all the paperwork is in place to get it across the border (we think). Should be something to see being towed behind the Roamer (future picture no doubt). We’ll be heading back towards Maine on Thursday, spend a night in New Brunswick and cross the border Friday if things go as planned.
We’ve been sight-seeing around Nova Scotia and visited new and old (places I’ve been to growing up) places across the Province. Visited Grand Pre, where the Acadians were removed by the English during the settlement of Nova Scotia.
The cat that was there 4 years ago, when we were last there, was still in the chapel.
The grounds around the place are very nice.
We had lunch at the Luckett Winery outside Wolfville. The red phone booth in the middle of the vineyard is a free phone for anyone to call anyone in North America – really. The red bluff of Blomidon is off in the distance across the bay.
Had to stop at Halls Harbor and we happened to arrive at low tide. The moon is full tonight so the tides are at their extremes. Heading out or returning during low tide is not an option for these ships.