Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 32: Return Home

I'm stuck in traffic, so I must be in Tampa....
Made it out of the traffic and back to St Pete safe and sound.

Final stats for trip
Miles: 4915
States: 15 (FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, PA, NY, CT, MA, NH, ME, VT, NJ, DE)
Homes visited: 10
Nights of mooched "hotel": 21
Nights in actual hotel: 0
Blue cheese burgers consumed: 4 (I think)

There's a "priceless" joke here but I don't know it. The trip was a blast. I'll start planning the next one in a few days.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 31: Atlanta

Mellow Day with Anne and Terry.

For the first time, I don't have a "next stop" and am in fact interested in going home.

Day 30: Raftin' on the Nanny

yes, that water is cold
very cold.

Day 29: Drivin'

Another long day of driving, but Google Maps had the time all wrong (or I just sped on the state highways).
Got to the campsite and joined in Happy Hour.

Day 28: Nahfuhk

Had a great time biking around town today.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day 27: DC to VA

Great late breakfast at the Diner in Adams Morgan and then a very easy ride to Norfolk.

Checked out the Norfolk downtown area and dined with Mike and Lin.

Day 26: pilgrimmage to Red Bank

So I went about 2 hours out of my way in order to visit Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank. It was i'll i'd hoped for and I won't reveal what I spent.

Made it to DC in the early evening and had a blast with Charlie and Lisa at Tonic (where were you Patrice?) and Reef.

Day 25: NYC and NJ

Dave led me on a great trek around the Village and we had some fantastic pizza.

After I got to Jeff and Sandy's place, we had a great visit. Jeff and I made a horrible choice for dinner in Morristown by passing up the Funky Monkey for the Dublin Pub

Day 24: NYC

Google Maps is really fantastic - once again perfect directions to a big city.

Of course, since I was in the Big Apple, famous people were everywhere - Rosie Perez was just a few tables away at Pastis. Its pricey and crowded, but this town is definitely fun.

Day 23: Boston

Walked around Brookline and Back Bay before heading over to the Common.

Dinner out with Ashley and Mitch was great times. Via Matta connects Laura and Ashley to show that even Boston is a small town.

Day 22: Boston

I'm definitely on the downside of the trip since my motivation to do tourist things is waning - no trips to Cabot or Ben & Jerry before I left Vermont today.

Got to Laura's place in Boston with little problem.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 18-19-20-21-22: St Johnsbury

Just hanging out here at the workshop.
Great food at the Academy and good times at the Tavern on the Hill.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 17: St Johnsbury

Headed from NH to StJ today.

I really need a shower and laundromat.

Day 16: White Mtns

I went to Pinkham Notch and made several short but worthwhile hikes. Today I hit the AT for the first time. All in all, I've hike about 1.5 miles of the AT, so I only have like 2000 or so to go. Saw the Crystal Cascade, hiked Old Jackson Road, Lost Pond and Diretissima.

After many "No Vacancy" sites among the NH state parks, I found "Sugarloaf 2" which was a great out of the way, primitive (by my standards - pit toilet, hand pumped water, no shower) campground. I had what I expected will be my last camp food of the trip :(

Day 15: ME to NH

A rather uneventful drive along Route 2 in Maine and New Hampshire.
Camped at beautiful Moose Brook State Park and did some very cold

Day 14: MDI

Spent today discovering some of the best of Mount Desert Island.
Gringo's is known to have the best burrito in town. Overstuffed with lots of creative combinations with a very cool decor.

I fell in love with the tiny Bar Harbor Brewery. There are only 2.5 employees, but the brew is fantastic. 90% of their stuff is sold on the Island, so you'll have to hope some of what I bought makes it to you.

The best display of boat models on the island is at Great Harbor Maritime Museum which opened tonight.

Reel Pizza is a fun place to see a flick and get some creative pies.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 13: Acadia

Matt and Sara regaled us with the stories of Agnes at the Bagel
Factory and her fantastic bagels. Luckily, we there were bagels for
sale today when we arrived. I can never return to chain bagels again.

The Queen Mary 2 landed in Bar Harbor for the day. I saw the
original back in 1984. This one looks newer (ha ha). I'm told that
there are around 100 cruise ships in Harbor every year, to the dismay
of local outfitters and the delight of t-shirt sellers.

Every time I've visited Vacationland i've swam in her colder than a
bathtub waters. Despite warnings from everyone that this was no
longer the 'warm' water of southern Maine, I chose to hop in at Sand
Beach. There were lots of folks on the beach and some folks playing
in the waves (I noticed later that none of them were deeper than
their knees). I waded determinedly to about mid-thigh, then dove
into an oncoming wave. The water literally takes your breath away. I
stayed in long enough to settle my breathing, got out, walked the
beach, then dove in again, just to prove to myself that I could. I'm
glad I didn't read until afterwards that water temps in the summer
are between 50 and 55. I found out later that my cousin gained some
celebrity by diving in here on January 1st - I feel a little less
bold about diving in on July 5th.

For my hikes today, I set about to go to Otter point and the Otter
cliffs. I really enjoyed myself and snapped lots of photos, but was
disappointed to see no otters ;)

Checked out the Great Harbor Maritime Museum and after emptying their
trash, saw some very nice boat models, and all before opening day.

The afternoon Fenway hike was to the top of Bald Mountain. I've
realized that Matt and Sara see this scenery so frequently that they
sometimes forget how unique it is.

Dinner tonight was at McKay's, a fantastic year-round establishment
in town. The risotto was awesome.

Day 12: Bar Harbor on Independence Day

After my harrowing trip into Maine and short nap at a rest stop just
south of Bangor, I completed my drive to Bar Harbor at about 6:30 on
July 4th. Not wanting to be that guest who wakes his hosts, I set
out to explore town, since the sun was already high in the sky. I
discovered the Bar Harbor Shore Path and its lovely views of
Frenchman's Bay.
Bar Harbor has lovely views, but I didn't spot the public restrooms,
so I did end up waking Matt and Sara around 7:30. After breakfast,
Sara took me into Acadia and we did a morning hike up Gorham Mtn for
more fantastic views.
We returned to town to find that the 4th of July parade goes down
their street, so we detoured to the town festival to bet on some
lobster races - the photo here doesn't do justice, i'll show you the video
All the excitement must have tuckered me out as I crashed in the
afternoon, but recovered for dinner and a very foggy fireworks display.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 11-12 drive to Maine

So, this was easily the scariest drive I've ever been behind the wheel for. All was cool until about 3:00 AM when the first Moose sign appeared. I slowed down and turned on the brights. This may have caused issues for other drivers, except I was literally the only car on the road.

After stopping at a rest stop and reading the Maine DOT's warnings and advice about driving and wildlife, I only became more concerned. Apparently, deer eyes are roughly at headlight level and so reflect well, but moose are too tall and you don't see them until you are slamming into them. When I returned to the road, I drove even slower and began to wish i'd invested in one of those deer whistles.

At around 4:00, I was exhausted after another long Moose Alert zone, so I pulled over for a nap. I woke up at 5:00 to the sun already high in the sky - love those northern summers.

Never saw a moose.

Day 11: New London

Brian, Bailey and I went to Devil's Hopyard SP this morning. The top attraction is certainly Chapman Falls
Today is Swab Day at the CGA, with 250 new cadets getting sworn in and 6 weeks of hell beginning once their parents drive off.  From all I could tell, there seemed to be a lot of yelling and chanting, but I left the festivities for a little touring of campus.
After some fantastic smoked meats (thanks Barret), I began the long drive northward to Bar Harbor.

Day 10: Connecticut coast

I started the day at the annual Sousa show at the USCGA. Brian's band performed well. Although I gather this is not their favorite collection of music, the audience ate it up.

After a short side trip, we headed to the beach at Westbrook and the fantastic New Deal Steakplace. It doesn't really matter what they served, with that name and pictures of FDR all around, I was gonna love it.

Later, we enjoyed cold Genesse Ice on the beach, July 2nd fireworks (because Connecticut knows when that paper was signed) and a trip to the summer only Dairy Queen. After returning to Oakdale, Brian and I had a pitcher at Mugsy's, a fine local establishment, where we learned about the upcoming pig roast and demolition derby - Sadly, I will be rafting that day...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day 9: Connecticut

After a brief stay at a fading house party, Brian and I went up to
the Mohegan Sun Casino. I was definitely skeptical of Brian
enthusiasm, but WOW, what a place. We caught the encore of a TMBG
free show ("I Was Sad", "Istanbul" and a tune I couldn't place) and
walked around the facility. It struck me that there were many
similarities to the Atlantis in the non-gambling embellishments.

Incidentally, I think there is a commentary to be made about a WNBA
franchise that not only plays in a casino, but is named for it when
the league doesn't want to put a team in Vegas....I just don't know
what the commentary is....

Day 8-9 Wilkes-Barre

So, I think Mark and Rochelle now hold the record for earliest
evacuation in a new town at just 7 days (or 6?). You'd never know by
seeing their place: I must say that I'm impressed how together it
looks after just a week - my apartment doesn't flow that well and
i've been there for 2 years.

For all the ribbing Mark does, WB seems like a nice place, and
apparently there are some great laundromats just across the river.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Day 8: Gettysburg

These berries are growing all over on Little Round Top. I don't know
if they were here 143 years ago and I imagine that the men who
fought here weren't paying much notice.

This place is so serenely beautiful. As with any battlefield, it is
hard to envision the horror that touched these fields.