O HI O

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.

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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.

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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.

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Farmington Fair

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.

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Visited the chicken and duck barn.

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.. and found a duck boxing promoter, named Don something..lol

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

Tired in Maine

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.

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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:

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And Pam and I stacked the first of 2 and 1/2 chords of wood (the remainder comes tomorrow):

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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.

Homeward

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.

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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.

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The Roamer is now hauling a trailer.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Heading West Soon

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.

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The cat that was there 4 years ago, when we were last there, was still in the chapel.

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The grounds around the place are very nice.

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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.

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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.

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Prince Edward Island

Pam and I took my Mom on a trip to PEI. The bridge to get from the mainland to the island is very impressive, over 7 miles long. You can’t even see the halfway point in the picture where it is even taller for what must be for some really huge ships to pass under (aircraft carrier size).

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PEI is the smallest of the Canadian provinces, but produces 30% of the potatoes for the entire country. Therefore, we had to visit the potato museum. There was a lot to learn about potatoes that was pretty interesting. The size of the farms and the John Deere equipment on the island was impressive.

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We covered the island, stopping at many of the craft workshops and museums around the island. One was the basket weaving shop where they weave the ash wood potato baskets by splitting the wood, shaving it down to the right shape and then separating it along the yearly growth rings to make the basket reeds.

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We also stopped in the “bottle house”, a place on the “1000 places you need to see before you die” list. There were actually three houses there made of glass bottles and in one a group was playing some foot-stompin’ music as part of the ongoing Acadian celebration this weekend. We now only have about 900 of these places to see left…

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They were having the 150 year celebration of the meetings in PEI that led to the forming of Canada. Some tall ships were in Charlottetown for the celebration along with many other folks and things to do downtown.

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We’re back in Granville Ferry now and back in the Roamer. We drove my Mom’s car there and back and it was just not the same.

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Slowly working Mom’s list of things needing repair around the house. Just finished pressure washing and rolling the first coat on the deck. Not bad when you’re being paid in lobster sandwiches and moosehead beer.

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Went over to the farmer’s market and picked up a few good things to eat for the next few days.

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Walked by Ft Anne and took this shot of the hills we used to run and side down as kids. The cannon is the one Taylor slipped on and gashed his head to become a real wounded person during a revolutionary era re-enactment they were doing about 15 years ago when he was much smaller.

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Went to the theater here to see a dance show where the dancers were 60 to 81 years old. Obviously there was no leaping but it was interesting. Pam and I were definitely some of the younger folks in the crowd.

We’re heading up to PEI (Prince Edwards Island) later this week to see the tall ships that will be in port for the holiday weekend. Then I think the week after that we’ll be heading over to Newfoundland.

Nova Scotia

Pam and I hiked Acadia NP while we waited for our oil change appointment.

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There was an interesting trail through the grass marsh as we looked for a 3 foot tall woodpecker.

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Signs that it was in the area were all around, but we could not find one (must be hanging with the moose).

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Climbed up a great trail to the mountain edge.

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Looking out it was hard to decide if I would rather have the yacht, the house or the schooner….

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We then took off for Nova Scotia, but missed the ferry from Saint John to Digby so we drove all the way around instead. Made for a long day, but arrived to some of Mom’s great seafood chowder and some cold beers we picked up at the Atlantic Brewing Co. in Bar Harbor the previous night with some great BBQ. Their slogan is “Save the Ales”.

We’re now parked in Mom’s back yard and we’ll decide what will make up the second half of the trip back home.

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Maine

We drove to Maine for three reasons: 1) to see Pam’s cousin, 2) to climb Mt Katahdin and 3) to get to Nova Scotia. We also wanted to see a moose. Pam’s cousin is just getting over a recent illness so we’ll see him on our way back through Maine on the way home. Mt Katahdin has vehicle size restrictions for Baxter SP that ruled out the Roamer (9 ft tall, 7 ft wide and 22 ft long – we missed on all three – bummer).

We did camp just outside the park for a nice evening in the woods. We have been eating well on the trip. Here was the honey mustard chicken and asparagus we had for dinner – cooked over the open fire.

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The area around the campsite was known for moose.

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We did not see a moose but heard something in the night that sounded like a 200 pound cat gagging up a hairball. We did drive around this morning in search of moose but no luck. They must be smaller than I thought….

We did get a picture of Mt Katahdin so we can return in a Prius and climb the thing.

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Our truck reminded us it was time to change the oil so we made an appointment in Bangor for Thursday.

To kill some time and get another passport stamp in my National Parks book, we headed down to Acadia NP where you effectively have to guess which direction is correct due to the lack of signs. We turned onto one road only to be met with a stone bridge that was 10 ft 7 in high (the Roamer is roughly 12 ft). Good thing it can turn on a dime since I had to pull off a nice three-point turn on a tiny, wooded road with no shoulder. The next road we turned on (a one way road) had a stone bridge of 12 ft 2 in that we cleared under, but I’m not sure by how much. We finally found the visitor center and the map they give you states “Warning – low bridges! Five low-clearance bridges – advance route planning necessary for RVs and tall vehicles”. Thanks… at least I now know where the other 3 are within the park.

I was just about to rule out Maine as a place to ever visit again until we got to the campsite. Similar to other sites we’ve been to there was a sign at check-in with local food that can be delivered to the camp (mostly pizza). However, our campsite had local lobster delivered to your site for $5 per pound.

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Three pounds of lobster and a few ciders tasted great. Maybe I won’t rule out Maine yet.

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New England

Pam and I have been in Vermont and New Hampshire for the last few days. We spent a night with Mike’s dad and girlfriend in the 1000 island area.

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Then we drove into the Adirondacks for a good hike before stopping for the night at Ft Ticonderoga.

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The fort is in restoration and the gardens were very nice.

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From there we jumped into Vermont. We realized Ben & Jerry’s is in Vermont so we had to stop for a tour.

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I liked the sign in their new flavor creating room.

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The campsite in Vermont was very nice. I’m still deciding if is should move into the top 5, very possibly.

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We then traveled into northern New Hampshire on a Saturday. Not a good idea. Every trail head and stop was packed with folks looking for some outdoor fun.

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We then headed up Mt Washington on the COG railroad.

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The weather at the top could have been better, but it is known as the world’s worst weather location.

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Made our way into Maine yesterday and camped there.

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Did a good hike today in northern Maine.

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We stopped in a little town’s parking lot along the way to tonight’s site since cell coverage in the east is not that great in the wilderness. Needed to catch up with the blog and take care of a few retired issues via Boeing online. Should be in Canada and at our half-way point of the trek in a couple of days.

45 days on the road and having a great time. Driving the ultimate tent doesn’t hurt either.