Cross country: Bar Harbor, Maine Images

July 31, 2013

Sunshine! Yes the sun was out today, and how wonderful it was. I just wish it was out in full force yesterday. I know, I’m complaining again.

We went back into Portland today to see a couple of places that we didn’t get to experience on our trolley tour. While there, we found Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Naturally, I went shopping. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, etc.

I did get into the shots I took in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Tonight I’ll show you the Bar Harbor photos. Well, at least I’ll try to show you the photos.

Last night I found how dependent I am on my cell phone’s internet connection. Nothing was working right. I couldn’t load any photos to my blog. So, yesterday’s blog got posted this morning.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for more sun. That would be great, especially if the photos don’t load tonight.


Cross country: Wicked Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park & USS Constitution images

July 30, 2013

Wicked! That’s how Mainers say something is cool. Our overnight trip to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park was wicked.

I will admit that I was bummed by the weather yesterday; it was overcast and threatening rain. By the time we got to the park, fog was rolling in. We drove around the loop and stopped at various places but it was difficult to see, let alone take pictures.

So we did what anyone would do, we went out to dinner. Richard had his Maine lobster and I had my vegetarian pasta (I don’t eat shell fish). Then we went into Bar Harbor.

This is a tourist town and seaport. I wouldn’t opt to stay there. It’s too crowded. But, then remember we’re National Park folks. This is the first trip that we are visiting cities. I took photos in the fading light but haven’t looked at them yet. By night fall, I was depressed, but looking forward to the prediction of sun the next day. I was told that Cadillac Mountain, in the National Park was a must see. I was hoping the clouds would lift by the time we got there. So with the hope of sun the next day, we returned to our little cottage (we left the trailer in Scarborough).

Little is an understatement! No closet! No desk! I brought my computer to work on images and tried to do them on my lap. It’s difficult to do editing with the laptop, but this was crazy. All this for $115.00 a night! And, we were lucky to get it. Not all places take dogs. This was an old cottage room that had been updated. It was clean and fixed up really well.

As they say, “Tomorrow’s another day,” and it was. The sun came out late morning, and by the time we got to Cadillac Mountain, the sun was peeking through the clouds. It seems like the sun rejuvenated my spirit. I can’t say that it fixed my hair which has been a frizz ball for the last few weeks from the humidity. With renewed energy, I shot a lot of pictures this morning.

I hope to get to these images tomorrow. Today, I have the USS Constitution for you. I’m still amazed that this ship is still commissioned. I hope you think the photos are wicked!


Cross country: Portland, ME

July 28, 2013

Rain, rain go away. Yes, it’s going to be an overcast and rainy week. Should I say, “Again!”

Today we did shopping and went into Portland, Maine. Now, we’ve been coast to coast with Portland. Last year, we were in Portland, Oregon which is also a seaport. The difference between the two is amazing.

Portland, ME is a small quaint town while Portland, OR is a larger bustling city. And, of course, we took a trolley tour. It’s funny; the western city is where we began taking trolley tours. Today’s tour guide, a former New York cab driver, was entertaining and really had a love for Maine. I have a few images for you of the town in and out of the trolley.

I’m also posting images of our trip here yesterday. I was so glad the campground office had chocolate. We figured out it took us five hours to get here instead of the projected two. Most of it was traffic and getting off the highway, trying to avoid going through Boston.

Tomorrow, we are going off to Bar Harbor for overnight. I may not be able to blog, but I do hope to bring back some great photos of Acadia National Park. Our Maine neighbors across the road say it’s a must see. We’re doing something different—we’re leaving the trailer in Scarborough and staying in a hotel for the night. It was difficult to find one that would take Gem.

I’m just hoping we can get a break in the weather. Rain, rain go away!

Cross Country: Scarborough, Maine and more Boston pictures

July 27, 2013

What a day! First we had an adventure, then we learned a lesson and finally we got an unexpected treat.

The adventure began when we were trying to avoid going through Boston on our way to Maine. Our GPS took us on a route that didn’t put us straight on I95, but on I93. Then I saw a sign that said trucks should be careful in Boston for tunnels. Well, right away, New York’s low bridges came streaming back from my memory. We tried to avoid Boston, but couldn’t. But, the best part of the adventure was going through the “Big Dig” tunnel. Yes, we fit.  All that anxiety! I do have shots of it taken through the truck window. Maybe I can show them to you tomorrow.

The lesson learned is to check our GPS before we start, not as we are on the road. We have two Garmins and two cell phones with GPS capabilities. From now on, we will check their routes the night before we leave to make sure that we want to go that way.

The unexpected treat, in addition to the delicious ice cream at the camp store, was a band performance at the campground. They were great. Campgrounds on the west coast don’t do it up like this.

Now, we are tired, need to Skype the children and I need to get this blog posted. Yes, what a day!


Cross country: Boston, MA 2

July 26, 2013

I really get to know a campground or RV park—the short termers , the overnighters, the seasonals and those who live there. Walking Gem two or three times a day, I meet the people and see the changes. For instance, this morning as we walked in the rain, there was no activity. Kids weren’t riding their bikes, guys weren’t fishing in the pond, the tenters were hunkered down, and the only movement was me, Gem, the ducks and the occasional car. A campground/RV park is a micro city just waiting to be explored.

Speaking of exploring, we did that yesterday in Boston. This city is small and compact. There is a mixture of historical, old and new buildings. One of our guides said that 60% of Boston is man-made. That means they dredged the shore line and added new land mass. This also increased the port depth, making it a more viable port.

Public transportation is excellent. Commuter trains bring people work and return them home. The subway takes them around the city. We took the commuter train in and were driven to the station by our camp host in the campground limo! I’ll show you a picture of the old limo that’s just used to take guests back and forth to the station. Unfortunately, there was no mimosa waiting for me at 8:30 a.m.

Once in Boston, we chose our trolley tour. When you only have one day in a city, these tours are a great way to get the flavor of the area. Even with the great public transportation, many choose to drive their cars. As the tour guide said, you could walk faster than he could drive us. That’s because of the horrendous amount of traffic which was made worse because of a bridge closing. It was an interesting day that was highlighted by our tour of the USS Constitution, at more than 200 years, the oldest commissioned vessel still sea worthy and in the water. This was one of the stops where I had time to shoot images. I realized that I’ve been doing more shooting on the run than taking my time to compose and shoot. But, I am getting better at shooting out of windows. I’ll show you images of this great ship another day. There are many of Boston to show you.

If the USS Constitution was the highlight of the day, the greatest disappointment was that we were not able to walk the three-mile Freedom Trail where many historical spots are. Richard’s knees just won’t allow that type of walk. Another disappointment was the rain. We were prepared with an umbrella, but it didn’t really start coming down until late in the afternoon. It was raining hard enough that the tour driver asked me to roll down and secure the plastic window. With all the windows closed, we all were incased in a fogged up bus that was caught in the worse traffic.  So from there on, I wasn’t able to take pictures or really see anything. I think we all just wanted to get to our end stop, which was South Station for us.

We got back to our trailer about 7 p.m., and I immediately walked Gem, who had all four legs crossed. There were a few people out in the rain, the dinner smells got me hungry and one guy was actually barbecuing in the rain. But, most were not ready to face Mother Nature, and the campground was quiet.


Cross country: Boston, MA

July 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Carol!

Today we went into Boston and took another trolley tour. If you’re ever in a strange city, take one of these tours, at least to get acquainted with the town. I like the fact that you can get on and off, taking the day to see the city at your own pace.

Tomorrow is another relaxing day before we move on to Portland, ME on Saturday. Since it’s late, I’ll go through the Boston pictures tomorrow. In the meantime, Gem and I discovered a wonderland here at the campground. It is beautiful.

I have some images to show you tonight. Tomorrow, I hope to catch the parent swans and their baby. It was too dark to take photos of them last night. Today you’ll see the Dad, who hissed at me as I got closer to him. One of the campground staff told me that large birds swoop down and grab the swans’ babies, and that they have lost about 20. Yesterday, I only saw one baby.

And finally, even though you don’t know her, you can wish Carol a happy birthday too. She reads this blog daily.


Cross country: Driving to Boston, MA and Stonington, CT

July 24, 2013

I haven’t seen fireflies recently. Ever since Texas, I have seen fireflies on our evening walks. They light up and dance as they fly around. It made my dog walking duty enjoyable. We don’t have fireflies back home and I haven’t seen them here either. It was just an observation.

We are about half way through our trip and I’ve come to realize a few things. Most important, I’m a stay put gal. I knew I needed a home base, meaning that I could never wander full time. But I also like to stay put once I get somewhere. I do have a sense of adventure and want to see new things and new places, but I can’t do them staying put.  Maybe that’s why I like the trailer so much. I take my home with me and that makes moving on much easier. And, of course, the reward is seeing this beautiful country and visiting with relatives.

We’re on our way to a campground near Boston. They are three miles from the train station so we won’t have to drive into the city. I’ll finish this post after we get there. I’ve got to make the coffee and get the trailer ready for riding down the highway!

It was an easy two hour drive down the I95 and here we are in Mansfield, MA. The campground is large, and it is truly a campground. There is dirt, pine needles, gravel and lots of trees. It is pretty. The first thing, Gem jumped out of the truck and chased some ducks. Fortunately, he’s an obedient dog and came to us when we called. That will teach us to leave the truck door open when we’re getting the trailer backed in.

Tomorrow, we will take the 9 a.m. train into Boston and spend the day there. Because there is no parking at the train station, the camp hosts provide a free shuttle to and from the station. Nice! I’m hoping there will be a trolley like in Philadelphia that takes you around, and you can get off and on at will. It wasn’t great for shooting pictures, but it was easy on Richard’s knees.

Speaking of pictures, I’ve been only shooting with my 18 – 55 mm kit lens. It’s handy to carry. It’s just been too hot and humid to carry my backpack case. It’s okay for most images, and since I’ve been in the shoot and run mode, it’s working out fine. Maybe, I’ll find something in this wooded campground to shoot with my ultra-wide lens.

Maybe there will be fireflies dancing tonight too!


Cross country: Old Mystic and Mystic harbor

July 23, 2013

We didn’t get lost. We didn’t leave. We decided to stay another day in Old Mystic. Isn’t it great that we can do that!

Today we relaxed and after lunch, went into Stonington, another small village, to get some postcards. We didn’t find postcards, but we did find some nice houses, the harbor and a beach for me to shoot. You’ll see them tomorrow. It depends on how long it takes us to get to Boston.

Today you’ll see the images of Mystic and Irene’s dog and grand-dogs. They are so cute you just have to see them.

I did find some postcards in Old Mystic Village. This is a quaint shopping area in Old Mystic. And, the weather held for us as we did our touring. It rained last night and this morning, but this afternoon the sun came out. It’s 4:15 p.m. right now and the clouds are moving back in.

This kind of weather means my hair is still frizzy and I’m still taking a non-drowsy antihistamine. We will see what the area around and in Boston will bring. Yes, we are definitely moving tomorrow—we made reservations.


Cross Country: Old Mystic and the last of Manhattan

July 22, 2013

Getting out of NYC was just as much fun as getting in. Even though we called the city to find out which roads and bridges we could go on, got wonderful directions from relatives and checked the maps, we ended up on a dreaded parkway. Fortunately, just as we got on the parkway, we saw one of NYCs finest giving someone a ticket. We pulled over and asked for help. When he stopped teasing us, he told us we were okay and gave us directions.

My suggestion is that if you want to take any sort of vacation rig into the City and are not familiar with the parkways, expressways, ask for a police escort!

We made our way up I95 for what was supposed to be a two hour trip—it took about four hours because of traffic—and landed in Old Mystic. Originally we were going to stay three nights, but changed our mind and decided to stay two nights. No problem, except that they charged us four times for the three night stay! We thought $512 was a little steep for two or three nights! They are currently working on the problem and have given us our two nights free.  So, we are happy campers.

Today we went out to the seaport, had a great lunch and I took some pictures which I will post tomorrow. It’s a cute area and home to the Mystic Pizza restaurant on which the movie was based. I was told that the movie was actually shot in a nearby town, but the eatery was the inspiration.

Right now, Richard is getting the truck lubed and I’m doing laundry. It’s that sort of catch up day.

Tomorrow, we will move on and stop near Boston, Mass. I’m sure we won’t have any problems and find ourselves on the wrong road. At least I hope not!!

Cross country: Leaving Long Island and more of Manhattan

July 21, 2013

I woke up way too early this morning, but I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve walked the dog, did my emails for my square dance club through August, paid some bills and processed some more Manhattan images.

Regarding the images, last night I saw them on a huge (more than 50”) TV screen. Most looked great, but, in some, I could really see that I saturated the color too much. It is so difficult when working on a laptop because as you move the screen forward or back, the color and intensity changes. So, I’m asking your help. If you see that there’s room for improvement in the color, etc. of the images, please let me know. I’m learning by doing, and that means there will be some error along with the trial!

Next on my list is to find us a place to spend the next couple of nights. We were going to go into Massachusetts, but Richard is not feeling too exuberant so we will go into Connecticut to veg for a couple of days. But the RV parks don’t begin to answer their phones until 9 a.m. so I have some time for this post. Who knows where we will end up? That’s the fun of this type of trip.

So, enjoy some more of Manhattan. Maybe I’ll be able to take a nap today. Most probably, I’ll sleep as we’re driving.