Sunday, June 6, 2010


I like to write a final post of my trips, an overview of thoughts, experiences, and things of interest to me when the trip is done. So, I'm doing it now.

The trip was what I wanted it to be. The original purpose was to spend time with Big Sis. And we had two weeks of time together. Good time. Precious time. She's a wonderful sister; I wish we had been closer for more of our lives....

Parts of the trip were a revisit of the ride Gary and I did last year, so I was familiar with some of where we were. Other parts were totally new ground, and I enjoyed exploring those areas with my sister very much.

We traveled 2,404 miles together over the two weeks. Even though the Seagull Grill on the bridge of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was closed, and it was ugly weather when we crossed it, we discovered US 1 and enjoyed it very much.

US 1 is slow-going, with much of the road at 45mph or below. But the little towns and villages were great to see. Interesting things along the way. Neat places to eat. You really get to see a side of America that is missed by the Interstates. I liked our travels on US 1 and seeing things along the way that made the trip special.

We ate too much. Many days included hotel breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and sometimes snacks as well). Later in the trip, we tried to do only two meals; breakfast and dinner, in hopes that we would not gain so much weight. I "only" gained about 5 pounds over the two weeks. We ate too much!

We spent a lot of time in memory lane. Talks of our childhood, interspersed with visual images of those times, brought back so many things I had not thought of for many years. We were in agreement that we were raised by parents who taught us good values and did the very best for us that they could do under the circumstances of limited education and resources. We did have a good childhood. I had wanted to go down that road of memories, and it was very satisfying to experience them.

The sights we saw along the way were amazing. Structures that were too beautiful to describe properly. Natural sights that were stupefyingly pretty.

The people we met along the way were very nice and helpful. Even though we were among Yankees along the way, they were, to a person, very friendly and interested in helping us. I have no complaints at all about how we were treated by those with which we came into contact.

Hotels were ok. None were fancy. Some were pretty spartan. The last several nights, we had major problems with Internet service, making surfing and blogging very difficult and frustrating. I think we experienced the most problems with Internet service on this trip of all the trips I've done over the past few years.

I had a good time with Big Sis. The trip was what I wanted it to be. And I believe she had a great time as well. It was definitely a "do-over" trip!

Washington, DC to Home

Sorry it's been a couple days since my last post. I'll try to finish the trip in this post and will do a final, wrap-up post later today or tomorrow.

The final day of our adventure started out like most of the days on the trip. I woke up first, got my shower, and got dressed, as Bar woke up. She woke up with her usual bubbly, excited state-of-mind. She was excited about the start of the day. Over the trip, I was amazed at her enthusiasm for the day and her getting ready to go so quickly! She usually had to wait on me, even though I had a head start almost every day. She's an amazing woman!

We had the usual quasi "deluxe continental" breakfast and headed back to Arlington National Cemetery to board the Tourmobile for more touring on the big busses.

Having made the trip the day before, and knowing how the roads worked, it was an easier commute this time. Piece of cake!

The sights we specifically wanted to see included the Vietnam Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, John Kennedy's grave, and the Robert E Lee homesite in Arlington.

All were great. The Vietnam memorial is a sobering experience. With over 58,000 names engraved in the marble, it's overwhelming to me. Such loss. So many tragedies. So much sorrow. It was my second trip to the memorial. My first trip included me sitting on the walkway and crying; it was just so emotional. This trip was easier. We found the name of a neighborhood boy who died in 1970, Joe H Rufty.

The Jefferson Memorial was pretty awesome. When you come to know his contributions to our nation's beginnings, I am dumbfounded by his wisdom. Reading the plaques in the memorial, I was stunned with things he wrote. An amazing man.

The Kennedy grave site was solemn. I had seen it on an earlier trip, so I knew what to expect. The eternal flame is something to see. One memorable thing on this trip was two deer, grazing in the cemetery about 150 feet away from the Kennedy gravesite. It was a peaceful place.

Finally, the Arlington House, Robert E Lee's home was pretty neat. The most memorable thing is the view from his font porch. Awesome!! It lies on top of a big hill, overlooking most of Arlington Cemetery and, in the distance is the Potomac River and Washington City. Beautiful and magnificent.

So, the trip was almost over--only the ride home remained.

We pulled out of Arlington Cemetery around 3:30 pm and got on the roads home. And they were PACKED. Stop and go for about 90 miles! Very aggravating travel. Move. Stop. Move. Stop. On and on or almost 90 miles.

After a while, we decided to stop for dinner; we had not eaten since breakfast at the hotel. So, we found a place on the GPS that looked interesting about a mile off the Interstate.

I guess we should have given it more thought when we found the place and saw that all the establishments in the shopping center were Hispanic. In spite of that, we went into the place, even though it was clear that the air conditioner was not working (door was propped open).

We went inside, and were greeted by a beautiful Hispanic woman who clearly could speak or understand the English language. I asked what beer was on tap, and she had no idea what I was asking. So, I stuck with water. While the food was ok (mine was ok; Bar said hers was good), the women were interesting.

There were no other customers in the place, but there were about 5 beautiful young Hispanic women there to wait on customers. They were wearing high heels and extremely short skirts, with blouses open to show as much as possible and stay legal. We wondered if the place was a front for a bordello! Who knows...

We got home about 9:45pm, after a long, tiring day of touring and traveling.

It was a good day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It was hot! Humid,too. And traffic everywhere you looked. But a good day in spite of the aforementioned detractors.

We got up, ate breakfast (semi-deluxe) and headed to the Arlington National Cemetary, some 2.5 miles away. Only took about 35 minutes to get there. The deal was to park there, purchase tickets to the Tourmobile, and ride it to the various points of interest.

There were two choices--one set of busses goes into DC and most of the monuments and buildings. The other set does tours of Arlington National Cemetery. Our tickets are good for both. We decided to take the city tour first and then do the cemetery.

So, we got on one of the busses and headed into DC. The first stop was at the Lincoln Memorial. Since both of already needed a potty stop, we got off and looked at the memorial, which is very impressive. Next we walked over to see the Korean War Memorial, which was also very good. Then we walked to where they told us the bus pickup would be. They said a bus would be by there about every 25 minutes or so.

After about a half hour of waiting in a boiling sun, a bus pulled up. However it was the bus back to Arlington Cemetery. But the driver promised to take us over to the Vietnam War Memorial. So we got on that one. The driver lied! We made a loop and then back over the rive to Arlington!! We wasted about 45 minutes or an hour in the broiling sun for nothing.

We got on the next bus to go back into the city. This trip went better than the other one. we made it as far as the White House Welcome Center, where we got off intentionally (another potty stop!). They caught me with my new knife, so I thought I'd lose it. However, a nice looking young female guard said she'd hold it and return it to me when I left (which she did).

We then walked over to the Washington Monument, a very impressive structure on a pretty hill. I'm always impressed with that monument in our capital.

From there, we got back on a Tourmobile and rode the route back to Arlington, where we boarded a bus to the cemetery. It's a beautiful, peaceful place. Our luck improved there; we arrived just in time to witness the changing of the guards. Very impressive ceremony. Some high-school aged kids gave a wreath which was displayed as a part of the ceremony. This sight is worth seeing.

Back on the bus, we rode back to the terminal and boarded another bus to the city. This time, we didn't get off, but instead decided what we'll see tomorrow.

If it weren't for the traffic and heat, it would have been a very good day. It was still good, but somewhat tiring and trying.

Tomorrow--more of the same and head to home.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Three into One

For any of you who might be following this blog, I apologize for the lack of recent posts. Two nights ago, I was very tired and didn’t try. Should have—I had a good Internet connection. Last night, I had a very poor Internet connection, so I gave up. Tonight’s connection is good, but extremely slow (about 2 minutes between click and a page loading). So much for “free high speed Internet”. But I will write one post for 3 days and post them tonight.

Monday, we drove from Bar Harbor to Philadelphia, an all-day drive down the Interstate. The 560 or so miles went well, and we arrived in Philadelphia late in the day safely. Nothing noteworthy occurred on the trip south.

On Tuesday we drove downtown and bought tickets for the tour bus company. The double decker busses looked like fun, so that’s the type we chose to use. The busses had 21 stops along the way, and passengers can get off at any stop and get back on at any stop. We didn’t get off the bus!

The sights were great, so many historic places in this city of Brotherly Love. Old and beautiful places all along the way. And, yes, we did see the steps that Rocky Balboa ran up in the famous Rocky movies (at the Art Museum). They also had a statute of him celebrating his triumphant run up the steps.

It was HOT, and there was a high chance of thunderboomers virtually all day. Well, the boomers did come, and the umbrellas we had been hauling around all day paid off; we stayed fairly dry even though others were drenched. We were walking to the Tomb of the Unknowns when the shower hit.

Got lunch and decided to do another round on the bus. So, we jumped on and saw the sights again, this time with a better tour guide. Same places and same sights, but slightly different dialogues.

After the tours, we jumped in the car to drive to Baltimore, a fairly short distance away. Got to Baltimore and found a place to stay for the night.

In Baltimore, we drove into town and, after a bit, found the Visitor’s Center. Tons of traffic, combined with one-way streets, made driving pretty difficult. After talking with one of the helpers, we decided a bus tour (that does not allow you to get on and off the bus) was the best for our time and interests.

We were there at 10:30am, and the tour was at 11:00, and parked in a :30 minute space at the Center. The guide suggested that we park in the International Hotel lot across the street, and said we’d have plenty of time to get parked and get back.
What he didn’t tell us was that you can’t get there from where we were. Thinking we could go around the block and come back, we found that a turn in a direction we needed was impossible, and we got on a street that became a ramp for I-95, with no exits except North to New York or South to Washington. I picked Washington, and drove south about 5 miles to the first place where you could get off and get back on headed northbound.

It all worked out okay; the fast out-of-town route worked in reverse, and we basically backtracked to the International Hotel (which cost us $25 for 4 hours of parking). We actually had 5 minutes to spare!

The tour was very good, informative, and interesting. At the end of the tour, we were hungry and wanted to find something good to eat. Looking for the right place, we walked by the World Trade Center for Baltimore, a 28 story, five-sided building with an observation floor on the 27th floor. We paid our $4 each and rode to floor 27. What a view! Large windows in every direction, with a great view for many miles. A good decision to stop and do it.

After the viewing, we found Moe’s Seafood and Pasta a few blocks away and had a killer lunch. Lump crab crab cake was excellent! Big Sis made a good call to go there.
Walked back to the car and decided to drive on to Washington. Decided along the way to stay in Arlington, near the Arlington Cemetery, where the tour busses have a pick-up. Tomorrow and Friday we’ll ride those busses and see the sights we can find.
So, three days into one post. A long drive and lots of sights from busses could summarize the three days.

Tomorrow—Washington DC.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Boston/Bar Harbor

Today is a twofer--two days for the price of one click! Didn't post last night, so I'll include the drive from Boston to Bar Harbor and our day in Bar Harbor in this post.

The drive up the coast was good. We took US 1 most of the trip, but did maybe 25% of the mileage on I-95. The weather was outstanding; blue skies and very nice temperatures in the low 70s.

If I had to describe the trip in two words, I'd say "Yard Sale". They were everywhere you looked. I bet we saw 1,000 yard sales along the way. I guess it was New England Yard Sale Day! We stopped at a thrift shop (Big Sis loves thrift shops) just to look around and to fill her need to check one out. I bought a little thing--chest, I guess, that looked old and neat. It has a drawer and a cabinet door. It's painted and has some flowers or something painted on it. She bought a collander and bowl.

We drove into Kennebunkport, to see what it looked like. Busy with tourists. While riding up the road, she spotted a little fire truck that children ride in at a yard sale up the street. So we stopped to check it out. Turns out that the street was lined with yard sales, so we checked all of them out! I bought a Brass scale (0 to 50 pounds), the kind with hooks. Up the street, I found a Coleman two-burner stove in a box that the owners said they had never even opened. Got it for $8. Bar found several items on the street, but did not get the yard umbrella that she wanted because it wouldn't go into the car. She also got a pretty thingy with glass balls in copper that you hang up outside. And a few other things. If we keep up this pace, we're going to need a U-Haul trailer!

When we had finished our shopping, we headed to Freeport, ME, to see the LL Bean store. I guess we had not done all the shopping we needed to do. We actually only went to the Outlet store, looking for bargains. In the end, she found a good deal on a quilt, and some clothes. I found a small multi-tool that I liked. And that brought to an end our shopping for the day.

From Freeport, we jumped back on US 1 and went on to Bar Harbor and our motel, the same one that Gary and I had stayed in last year prior to taking the ferry to Nova Scotia.

Today we got up to a wet world; it had rained overnight quite a bit. We found a place for breakfast and then went on to the welcome center for Acadia National Park, where I bought my Senior Pass. I had been wanting to get one since I turned 62 years old. It's one of the best deals in travel--unlimited visits to national parks and many other national attractions for $10 as long as I live. A great deal indeed.

Drove to Cadillac Mountain, some 1,530 feet above sea level. It's a monolithic piece of granite that has views that are so pretty. It overlooks the town of Bar Harbor, and behind it, the ocean and bays. Numerous islands dot the sea, with green trees on most of the islands. It's clearly one of my top 5 prettiest places in the world. There's something about having the ocean and islands as a backdrop to a huge block of granite that I really like. I believe I overstated it to Bar; she liked it, but not to the same extent as I do.

We then went to Sand Beach to see the beach and put my hand in the cold water. It was crowded there, and we had a hard time finding a parking place. But we did find a space and walked down to the water. The beach is neat; about 500 feet long, with lots of little children running around and playing.

From there, we went to Thunder Hole, where the waves wash in to a narrow space between the rocky shore. It was peaceful, and we sat on the edge of the rocks watching the sea wash into the "hole". I think both of us enjoyed our stop there.

We rode around in the park a while, and then over to Northeast Harbor, on the other side of the island. It's a pretty place. Then back to Bar Harbor to walk around town a bit and look in the shops. Had a late lunch there, walked around and, around 7pm, headed back to the motel. It was a good day with Big Sis.

Need to decide where the road will take us tomorrow--either west to New Hampshire and the mountains, or south towards Philadelphia.

Friday, May 28, 2010


The day broke bright and sunny, with a little coolness and dryness in the air. Beautiful! A good day for a tour of the city.

We had booked one of the tour bus groups to do a day-long tour of the city. Our guide/driver, Rob showed up a few minutes early, and we boarded the bus. He explained that he had a small group today, and that it would be good because it would be more personal. Rob was a character!

Interestingly, we got into a conversation about cars and motorcycles on the ride into town. Turns out that he has a Series 3 BMW car that he races. He mentioned that he had been to Greensboro and had a track day at a track north of Greensboro. VIR! We talked about the track; he really likes it and wants to go back.

One "special" place he took us was Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play ball. We actually went into a bar that is housed at the green wall, at left field. From inside the bar, you could see inside the park to home plate. I'll post a pic of me and Big Sis.

We did all of the usual touristy things; I liked the Old North Church best. It's hard to imagine there being so many buildings 200+ years old. This is an old, historic place.

Rob returned us to our home away from home about 4:30pm, safe and sound. It was another good day on the road.

Tomorrow--Travel to Bar Harbor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old Saybrook to Boston

Well, today was a good and easy day. During the night last night, we had a pretty severe thunderstorm, with lots of thunder and lightning. Rained pretty hard. So, when we got up, there were clear skies and much cooler temperatures. Welcome cooler temps!

Left the hotel and headed to New London to do a little looking around. It was a nice place, with lots of interesting sights. We didn't stop to get out of the car, but found that it was a nice-looking community.

Leaving there, we decided to go to Providence, RI, just to look around. I got off the Interstate at the wrong exit, and got on some small local roads. At one point, we had to stop for some geese and goslings to cross the road. Pretty neat! Had I not messed up with the directions, we'd never have seen them.

It is a very unique place, with very steep hills and very narrow streets. And tons of old, pretty houses and buildings. It is the home of religious freedom; there were several places that highlighted that theme. Driving around in some of the steep, narrow, curving streets was a challenge. I think the locals are used to it, but I surely was not used to it at all. Bar helped by telling me where to turn and looking out for traffic.

After Providence, we decided to go to Plymouth Rock, to see the sights there. Along the way, we found Pop's Cafe and stopped for a very good chicken salad sandwich and fries. Very good! I think every meal has been excellent so far. I'll get home and will see another unwanted 10 pounds from this trip. But the food is just so good.

It seems that we need a potty stop every 30 minutes along the way. Fortunately, our bladders seem to be on the same schedule, so I don't think either of us is getting aggravated with the other. I told her that I should rename this blog to "Two Weeks with Big Sis and Potties"! This getting older is a pain!!

Plymouth rock was neat. We went on the Mayflower II, a replica ship of the original ship to the new colonies. It was pretty neat,with the "Captain" there doing a lot of talking and ad-hoc answering of questions in the old dialect. It was enjoyable.

From the ship, we walked over to the "rock", looking down on it from a viewing area above. I wonder if it's THE rock, and if it's in the right location. Who knows, they could have picked out any rock to name "Plymouth Rock". Neat to see it just the same. Then we got some ice cream and jumped back into the car for a short ride to Boston.

Got to Boston before 4pm and decided to book a tour of Boston for tomorrow (Friday). Booked it and have been taking it easy for the past hour or so. This is the first time we've had any time to just relax with nothing pushing us.

We've decided to stay here two nights and leave Saturday morning for Bar Harbor, ME. I'm a bit concerned over lodging there; we're planning to be there the first big holiday of the summer, and have no reservations yet. Hopefully it will work out and we'll find something suitable.

Gotta wash clothes tomorrow night; the "dirty" bag is getting bigger than the clean stuff. Hopefully one washing will work out.

It was a good day.