A Sun, the Cape and our son

Thames river

The shuttle makes its way from the truck/bus lot to the RV lot

I wrestled the laptop away from Annie to write this next post. I wish the reference to the sun was indeed the warm and bright ball up in the sky with me basking beneath it, but that is not the case. The sun is Mohegan Sun (which has the potential to be on par with the real deal) our boondocking spot of choice for two nights to celebrate my birthday. Not that I didn’t greatly enjoy visiting the nearby RV supply store or spending quality time at Lowe’s, it’s just that dinner at Ballo’s topped off by free canolis scored a wee tad higher on the “how I’d like to spend my birthday” scale.IMG_0446 (800x600)

Cheers!

Cheers!

Mohegan Sun has two free oversize lots; one for trucks and tour buses and the other for RVs. They aren’t very level but we managed not to topple over the edge that looks out over the Thames River. You must complete a form to get your permit for an initial 7 night stay which can be extended once. The security guys are so eager for something to do that you are barely into the lot when one stops by. They are very nice and swing through often to be sure all is well. The free property shuttle bus makes the rounds every 15 mins; no sense waiting to throw your money away, so get right in there!

The waitstaff gets "RESPECTed" at Johnny Rockets

The waitstaff gets “RESPECTed” at Johnny Rockets

We chose the Cape (no, not Cape Hatteras, or Cape Lookout, but the Cape of all Capes) for a simulated getaway that would have the feel of “away” at only 120 miles and was a place we hadn’t visited in quite some time (by land). Our week at the low-key Dunroamin’ RV Park was mostly about getting to know our new home, ordering like drunken sailors from Amazon and restocking our pantry…with a dash of sightseeing tossed in for good measure.

An odd feeling to look down at the canal we transited less than two months before

An odd feeling to look down at the canal we transited less than two months before

This young guy was a hoot as he led us through how to make a glass-blown ornament at the Sandwich Glass Museum

This young guy was a hoot as he led us through how to make a glass-blown ornament at the Sandwich Glass Museum

One of the many beautiful displays of blown and cut glass

One of the many beautiful displays of blown and cut glass

A huge display showed the river (blue) that eventually became today's canal (dark). The yellow shows the first attempt.

A huge display showed the river (blue) that eventually became today’s canal (dark). The yellow shows the first attempt.

We stopped at the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center, housed in a former Coast Guard boat house and learned more than we could ever remember about the canal and its history.

Our big day out took us east along Rte 28 from Sandwich to Chatham where we worked our way back as far as Hyannis before jumping up to Rte 6 and Sandy Neck Beach for a taste of a north-side rocky beach.

Chatham lighthouse- note the light got caught in the act

Chatham lighthouse- note the light got caught in the act

Chatham Beach looking out toward the surf-lined tricky entrance to the small harbor

Chatham Beach looking out toward the surf-lined tricky entrance to the small harbor

The local vessels navigate with ease

The local vessels navigate with ease

Hundreds of dead horseshoe crabs lined the south shore beaches

Hundreds of dead horseshoe crabs lined the south shore beaches

Mother Nature creates spooky sand at Sandy Neck Beach

Mother Nature creates spooky sand at Sandy Neck Beach

??????????????????????????????????????????????????Our day out took us past the Cape Cod Mall and the plethora of shopping centers nearby. Our eagle-sharp eyes spotted a Not Your Average Joe’s in the mall and after noting a Pier 1, Kohl’s and Home Goods we decided to return the next afternoon for a healthy dose of home-stuff shopping culminating with dinner at Joe’s. Not only are the drinks and entrees delicious but the bread with cheese/garlic/EVOO is a meal in itself. So we had seconds, and when we had our remains boxed up (oh that sounds weird) our waiter insisted on giving us an entire fresh serving of bread and dipping oil. We ate like kings for days. :-)

At the end of the month our firmly entrenched in Vermont son drove down for a few days to check out the new ride/home/escape vehicle and spend time with us and friends. We quickly put him to work helping clear out the second storage unit we’d rented for one month.

The perfect plate frame for Benj; excellent choice Lily

The perfect plate frame for Benj; excellent choice Lily

The door stuck so every time we had to take a hammer to it

The door stuck so every time we had to take a hammer to it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that October is “get serious” month? No? Guess it falls to us to lead the way then. Work (for Russ), projects and more projects as we slowly give Anne those promised spa treatments with a few extras to make living aboard more pleasant.

VA to CT: RV Parks, Fuel, Tolls and I95

DSC00411I believe we’ve been introduced; Annie’s my name and plundering’s my game- oh, no? Guess that was my prior life; this one is traveling the high ways not the high seas! My little buddy, Ms Bonny is such a tag-a-long, always following like she wants to get high from my exhaust or something. But she’s no problem really and hasn’t broken away yet to take off on her own.
Life with my new owners began Sept 8 at McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV in Ashland, VA about 20 miles north of Richmond. I was a bit miffed when they left me on the lot for, get this, TWO whole months once they decided in June that I was the “one”. In fact I showed my displeasure by messing up the generator and a few other things on pickup day; nothing serious but a lady deserves respect. But we are getting to know each other and while the spa treatments are lengthy and numerous I think some time will pass before anyone will notice the difference!
My new owners- have you met them? Russ and Lori; former full-time catamaran cruisers and can you imagine only moving at 8mph, how did they ever get anywhere? I move along quite nicely at 65mph but they seem to prefer 62mph on the highways and I hear them talking about traveling roads like Rte 66 and not interstates. Fine by me; more scenic and less stress. I think too, less of those camera-toll things and the booths where you have to hand over wads of cash before you can continue on. I don’t like those. I suppose I should feel a kinship; pirates of the highways you know.

first you hook the black bars then the blue... or was it the red???

first you hook the black bars then the blue… or was it the red???

On claiming day surgery was scheduled immediately so that toad, Bonny, could join the caravan. Isn’t that an odd word- toad? Like towed, only toad, but meaning a dinghy. She’s nice though I guess but small like a toad.:-). We’ll become good friends I’m sure, as long as she knows her place… behind me!

What is wrong with this photo? Nose to nose we are.

What is wrong with this photo? Nose to nose we are.

Tuesday afternoon we hit the road; all of 30 miles worth. Russ and Lori had gotten the quick walk-through and took so many notes on how to use the tow package and all my lovely bells and whistles inside and out; they seemed overwhelmed at first. I could tell they didn’t trust me and needed to stay close to “home” in case of troubles.
The campground (CG for short) was a few miles off I95 near Fredericksburg and Lori was gripping the handle bar by her seat so tight I was happy the trip was only 45 mins. Russ seems to know what he’s doing and drives well but we’ll see how he does when the roads get tight and the construction cones close in!

The KOA check-in person was friendly and she took us to our pull-through spot (Anne sometimes has to follow others but she won’t tell you that). First step is the leveling process which I do with one touch of the “auto level” button. The new toys came out; water hose (that no kink kind), bright red sewer hose (like you are going to feel cheery about dumping!) and the awnings and compartment doors opened up. All seemed to work well, even that first black water tank dump bore no resemblance to the funny scene in “RV”.

Ok, let 'er rip!

Ok, let ‘er rip!

We moved further the next two days; about four hours each day which seems to be a long enough day but not so long that Lori’s hand becomes permanently attached to that handle. Poor thing; she’ll relax eventually. My 90 gal diesel tank had that empty feel so we found a Love’s truck stop. We use an app called “Allstays” to hunt down rest and fuel stops as well as RV campgrounds and free stops such as a Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lot. This time though we just saw the sign and took the exit.

Follow that fuel tanker!

Follow that fuel tanker!

Not sure how I felt with all those massive tractor trailers, but I got lots of Love … and Russ got oodles of trucker advice. All the guys (there were 8 lanes) wore leather gloves and headsets; kinda exciting seeing all those truckers in one place… maybe we will watch “Duel” soon.????????????????
The night’s anchorage was a short drive after fueling up and we got in, settled and out the next morning without trouble. Bonny stays attached when we have a one night pull-through; good that we don’t have to worry about her wandering off.

So this was in PA not too far from Allentown and the last leg of our “bring her home” trip (Russ & Lori make a certain face when they say that) would take us over the Tappan Zee Bridge to I95 North, ending up at Hammonasset State Park. My first toll station and whew I was ready. We all watched and read the signs; ok no EZ Pass for us and trucks and trailers keep right; uhh I guess that’s us. Can’t hurt to keep right. Lanes 1- 10- what’s that all about? Same deal? Oh and then we need to keep left after the toll; sure we can do that!! Sweet; we’re there and pull up to the nice lady who asks for $27!!! Whoa baby, looks like Bonny is the cheap date at $3 and I am Empress expensive. I’m with them; we won’t do this again.
As expected, I95 sucked big time, especially when we arrived in Madison and looked at poor Bonny. Her bonnet was dotted with pieces of tar; someone will have fun getting all that off. Our spot at the CG was wide and easy to pull in to. We’ll hang out here for a while before taking a run out to the Cape.

Lori Chimes in: I like this off-season time; easy to get a site and no battles for laundry. Scooting around in Bonny is great too without all the summer traffic. The interstates are no fun; they are all about getting there and not enjoying the trip. Although highways and secondary roads make the trip longer, we plan to use them a lot but not exclusively.  Fall is upon us, the colorful and crunchy leaves are a sight we haven’t seen much of in the past four years. This is the latest we’ve been in CT since heading south in Ortolan on 10-10-10.

Changeover: Sails to Wheels

Figuring out the best way to transition this blog from a cruising M.O. to one of road cruising in our land boat has proven way more challenging than the research and purchase of said “new” land boat.

First let me thank all who have faithfully/regularly/sometimes checked on the blog and without whose behind the scenes support I would have likely stopped writing by now. I know many will turn off the TV at this channel change from s/v Ortolan to m/h Anne and I will miss you. If you stick around for the land travels I hope you enjoy our adventures as we visit some old haunts and many new ones.

Introductions are in order.

Bonny: 2003 MINI Cooper. Seldom appeared in posts due to lack of floatation ability. Spent past four winters cooped up but isn’t sure being a toad behind a motorhome is any improvement. Travel days make her dusty and dirty and well, the rear end view of m/h Anne with her diesel exhaust isn’t any prize.

Stuff that MINI- packed full for the drive to VA and then we bought pillows!

Stuff that MINI- packed full for the drive to VA and then we bought pillows!

Anne: 2007 Winnebago Journey 36G. Named by our son as a nod to our pirate roots (see this post) (but that’s not the real reason) after lady pirate Anne Bonny. Get it? Of course. Clyde seemed the natural name but it wasn’t working for us. Believes she’s the new star of the show and we’re happy to feed that illusion as long as she behaves. Nicknamed Annie. Never been up north but so far handling the torn up NE roads and cold (she ain’t seen nothing yet)

At our first RV park we tested out everything possible and thought we had so much storage- ha!

At our first RV park we tested out everything possible and thought we had so much storage- ha!

Here’s a quick tour; more like “before” pictures since we are still hard at work on interior renovations (we tell Anne they are spa treatments) and sorry for the mess; the reality is even worse than the photos! I will backtrack after this and get you caught up on where we’ve been although Anne’s been itching to tell the stories.

Interior shot on Day 2- still at the dealer's lot

Interior shot on Day 2- still at the dealer’s lot

 

Space where a small sofa once lived made for a convenient dumping place

Space where a small sofa once lived made for a convenient dumping place

 

Less than 3 weeks later a kitchen island, sans casters with storage and a large 30"x40" hardwood top

Less than 3 weeks later a kitchen island, sans casters, with storage and a large 30″x 42″ hardwood top

 

Bedroom with new quilt, blanket and sheets. The entire closet and drawers below, to the right, slides in and out.

Bedroom with new quilt, blanket and sheets. Closets to the right slide in and out.

 

Fat back TV

Fat back TV

A large, very deep cavity remains when we remove the old TV

A large, very deep cavity remains when we remove the old TV

 

New flat screen TV  with blu-ray DVD player and mini sound bar.

New flat screen TV with blu-ray DVD player and mini sound bar.

The TV is attached to the wall in back by a moveable bracket. The slide, which you can see the edge of on the left, clears the corner of the TV by an inch as it moves in and out. When Russ is done, the remaining openings at the top of the TV will be filled in and the wires moved out of sight.

 

The water and laundry closet.

The water and laundry closet.

The toilet is separate from the shower/sink area which is a layout we both wanted. The m/h came with a Splendide washer/dryer combo which is no speed demon but gets the job done very well and I must confess to being very happy to have it. It doesn’t replace doing laundry in a laundromat (either in town or at the CG) but for small loads, delicates or just drying wet towels, it is simply splendid to have on board.

Guess that about does it for now. Happy trails.

Please Pardon Our Appearance

Working on the transition from sailing catamaran cruisers to road warrior motor home land cruisers. Difficulties with WordPress and simply struggling with which and how much “old flavor” to leave is creating major delays in moving forward with the blog.

Please be patient and I’ll get there!  For now, you may see changes come and go as I maneuver along the learning curve of WordPress and my Matala theme.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed at this formative time!!

Well Rounded and Broad

Pemaquid Point lighthouse as we rounded the point

Pemaquid Point lighthouse as we rounded the point

What’s round and broad with a hog in between? Our last stops and adventures in Maine. Round Pond, where we’d looked out upon the boats from shore over four years ago, was the perfect spot to spend a couple of nights. Padebco Custom Boat Co offers moorings and we got one with enough swing room. The snug harbor is protected every which way except east with room for pleasure and lobster boats alike. As you might guess Round Pond started out as a working harbor; in the 1800s residents quarried granite and hosted pirates like Captain Kidd. Even Joshua Slocum stopped here in his Spray during his round-the-world trip.
A few miles before Round Pond sits New Harbor (also located on Pemaquid Neck’s eastern shore) where Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf offers an outside deck and bar as well inside dining. We’d heard that several scenes from 1998’s Message in a Bottle were filmed here. The harbor is narrow and laden with pot floats and moored boats so we only stuck our noses in far enough to take a few pictures.

New Harbor on Pemaquid's eastern side

New Harbor on Pemaquid’s eastern side

Bob, the 84-year-old captain of s/v Vintage, required some assistance when a seldom used troublesome sail refused to be furled in.

Thursday we moved north up Muscongus Sound all of 3nm to anchor in Greenland Cove which happened to contain precious few pots and moored boats; we had a huge space all to ourselves in 11-20ft. Hog Island which lies across the narrow channel to the east of the cove’s entrance was our afternoon destination. The entire island (2 miles long) is a preserve and the site of an Audubon Society center for education. We walked several trails (footpaths really) that led us down the island’s eastern shore, crossed over to the west shore and back up and over to our starting point at the north end.
We came upon huge wigwams built over the trail in a few places. ??????????The woodlands changed in composition every few hundred yards but pines, dead, tall and new ruled the island. The island contains one of the oldest forests in Maine as it hasn’t been touched in over 150 years.????????????????????????????????????
????????????????????Our final stop on this one way trip is Broad Cove Marine in Bremen, Maine. I breathed a huge sigh of relief; not one lobster pot was snagged this entire trip. Whew! We knew the worst area would be right at the finish line and while the coverage didn’t appear quite as extensive as in June 2010, this last stretch of just a couple of miles was a mega lobstering zone.pot floats

Looking out away from the marina toward Oar Island

Looking out away from the marina toward Oar Island

A mostly working marina, Broad Cove also offers dockage and moorings to pleasure craft, fuel, a teeny, tiny grocery and the requisite fresh lobsters and a small snack bar with oysters, crab, lobster 5 different ways and sides. What more could we want for the next five days? Maybe laundry ? Careful what you wish for right?  In this case, a decent front loader and two dryers; whodathunk?

Fog rolled in for a  two-day visit and we just went about our business as did all the lobstermen.??????????????????

The nearby island residents use the marina as their base for coming and going which is good business for Broad Cove and how convenient to pick up a few fresh-caught lobsters on the way.

A lobster boat arrives with the day's haul.

A lobster boat arrives with the day’s haul.

Packing and cleaning consumed a ton of time and every single bag, box and container was placed into service. Maine Cat would be coming soon after our departure to fetch Ms Ortolan for her spa treatment-which every woman deserves no matter what her skin is made of.

Do you think Ortolan is maybe just a wee bit lighter? A new waterline not seen in years :-)

Do you think Ortolan is maybe just a wee bit lighter? A new waterline not seen in years :-)

A few phone calls assured us our U-Haul would be available and all we had to do was get it and so a taxi was scheduled. Sun filled the skies; could you imagine us making 12 trips in, the dinghy filled with stuff, then lugging it in a cart up the ramp and through the parking lot in the rain?? I shudder to think of it.

So much stuff!! Kayak and isotherm for sale- and we'll stuff a bus with the rest!

So much stuff!! Kayak and isotherm for sale- and we’ll stuff a bus with the rest!

So long, farewell our home for four years. No more trying to sail on yesterday’s wind; the wind has shifted and well, it darn sure better be a kinder, gentler wind from now on!

Our adventures are not over; there’s a whole country waiting to be explored, donut shops to be discovered, trails to hike, scenery to ooh and aah over, people to meet and the list goes on…..have you seen Robin Williams in the movie “RV”?  :-)

Pemaquid Rocks

Finally! A seal photo - taken between Boothbay and Pemaquid

Finally! A seal photo – taken between Boothbay and Pemaquid

No offense Plymouth, but Pemaquid has the real deal. Pemaquid was the site of early Native American settlements and the name means “point of land.” We visited Fort William Henry, a Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site tucked into the western shore of Pemaquid Neck (Maine has many “necks”, those being what I call the long fingers that reach out from the coast into the ocean or a large bay).
M/Y Rena (destination: Somewhere Sunny) was anchored off the fort and we could have done the same but opted for a more scenic and protected spot across John’s Bay behind Witch’s Island.

Notice how the boat's colors mirror the landscape?

Notice how the boat’s colors mirror the landscape?

DSC00350
The site features a museum/visitor center, the partially reconstructed Fort William Henry, Fort House, village, Burying Ground, boat ramp and pier. The site has an amazing long and varied history and is the last of many forts we’ve visited by boat. One of the brochures is a detailed time line of events starting at 1605 with the capturing of five Native Americans and ending with a planned village excavation in 2009 (Looks like that was done).
Here’s a few dates of interest.
1614-John Smith explored and mapped the Pemaquid area 1621- Samoset, a Native from the Pemaquid area, welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation 1622 – area fishermen gave the Pilgrims supplies 1625-ish- a permanent, year-round, English settlement was established at Pemaquid 1677 – Fort Charles was built and the settlement named Jamestown was reestablished having been destroyed a year prior 1689- Fort Charles and the settlement destroyed – again by Native Americans 1692 – Fort William Henry built to prevent France from expanding its territories southward (we had to remind ourselves just how close to the Canadian border we are) 1696- Fort William Henry destroyed by a French and Indian force 1729 – Fort Frederick built on the ruins and a new settlement established
By 1775 the fort was decommissioned (1759) and smartly the town of Bristol voted to dismantle it. You perhaps can guess, this being 1775 and who would want the British to occupy the fort? Not again that’s for sure.
The Fort House was built in the 1790s and a farm established. DSC00324Beginning in 1869 efforts were made to excavate the site, inventory the gravestones and promote historical Pemaquid. Finally in 1993, Colonial Pemaquid was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark.  DSC00342At some point after the first fort, the huge rock was subsequently enclosed within the walls of the next fort, taking away the “boost up” invaders would use to gain entry. This photo does not do it justice.

DSC00338 DSC00337
Now, did you know any of that? Why is Pemaquid a sorry second cousin to Plymouth? Geography and lack of shops, eateries, parking and all that good stuff that draws in visitors.
The tiny rocky beach offered up a handful of sea glass. One of the displays at the museum showed old pottery pieces and one looked exactly like pieces I’d found at Burnt Island, but still jagged, the ocean and rocks not yet having worked their magic.

I found several pieces just like the one on the left (front)

I found several pieces just like the one on the left (front)

 

Boothbay Harbor Hanging Out

Looking further in the harbor toward all the touristy stuff

Looking further in the harbor toward all the touristy stuff

Boothbay Harbor was home port from Wed 8/20 until 9am Monday morning and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Well, maybe not the few seconds when the osprey landed on our Garmin wind indicator (visions of three years ago), unintentionally pulling it off.

Bad osprey

Bad osprey

The thing landed with a smack and I jumped, not knowing the osprey was up there. Seems like the local couple has a new family and they’ve been out and about, chattering like crazy and landing on high perches, looking for their next meal.
We’d run out of fruit, so before scurvy could claim us we high-tailed it about a mile to the local Hannaford’s where we just happened to notice they sell not only beer and wine but hard liquor too. Ummm, doesn’t rum count as a fruit? Ships, pirates, rum and all that.
We anchored off Mill Point in 35ft at high water with a 9 ft tide range. I think we managed to put out approx. 4:1 scope which was sufficient for the low winds we were blessed with. Don’t think we ever saw more than 11kts and only briefly. Nice.

A pretty lady sails by

A pretty lady sails by

How great then to zoom down a mile to Burnt Island via Ms Bunting to check out the lighthouse and sea glass laden beaches.

Lighthouse on Burnt Island

Lighthouse on Burnt Island

Many moons ago Algonquin tribes burned the island’s forest to allow them to farm and raise sheep, protected from wildlife on the mainland which sits close enough to row to.Burnt island
Boothbay Harbor welcomes local and far off visitors in abundance but this seems to be on the downside of the tourist season so we never had trouble doing anything we wanted. The harbor is active, with pleasure boats, lobster boats, tour boats, sailing schooners all happily sharing space. We watched them come and go. We never had more than 3 boats total anchored off the point which sits about ¼ mile from the town dock. The tour boat Novelty would stop around 5pm to pick up one of two pot floats they have to show the curious customers how it all works and they always had one lobster for show and tell. Sure, why not have a lobster pot in the middle of the anchorage just to add to the fun?lobster demo
The slippery harbor seals proved elusive still but I kept an eye out and one hand on the camera just in case.
We began some “getting ready to leave her” tasks but mostly tried to ignore the fact that within two weeks we’d be moving off Ortolan, our full-time home since Oct 2010.
Our second iPhone5 cord had crapped out. This one was an aftermarket cord (from the store that shall not be named) but the name brand one didn’t last much longer than a year either; guess we know where the profit center is. Luckily Russ had noticed a RadioShack across the street from Hannaford’s and since I’d forgotten a few important items the first trip, we walked back after a tasty lunch at the Lobster Dock, known for their Bobby Flay’s Throw Down Crab Cakes. Family Dollar sat next door but they didn’t have the cord we needed, so RadioShack was it. At the register I saw the local newspaper looking unusually wide. How long has it been since newspapers were 16” wide? Damn long time and this is one of the last in the country at this size.

Old style wide newspaper- remember those?

Old style wide newspaper- remember those?

The 3D printer caught our eye and I’m still baffled at how a printer- one that you or I could sort of afford- can produce 3D components. The whistle has the tiny ball inside- all made as one component. The small white bottle with screw top is made as two but the top screwed on perfectly. Technology moves faster than the speed of light nowadays.3D printer

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Caprese salad- very creative presentation

Caprese salad- very creative presentation

Taking a short break from lobster, we dined at the very popular in-town upstairs Italian restaurant which name escapes me now. Russ proclaimed the lobster ravs the best ever! So much for a break from lobster.

We chose a California wine as a nod to the earthquake that rocked Napa Valley earlier that day. Even better was the fact that the Bridlewood winery was one we’d visited years ago with Jack and Kerry. Not Napa Valley though but close enough.

This really says it all

This really says it all