EAST COAST TRIP FINAL

BOSTON

The weather cleared as we left Maine and drove down to Boston for a couple of days to see it’s historical area.  We were unable to find a campground close into town, but we did find an Elks Club that had camping privileges at Concord, MA.  We drove down to the metro and took it into town rather than trying to drive.  We managed to figure out how to get off very near the famous Faneuil Hall.  The second floor of the hall (which wasn’t open to the public) was the meeting site for the Sons of Liberty and was considered the ‘Cradle of Liberty’ protesting the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act which led to the ‘Boston Tea Party’.  The part open to the public was originally a farmers market.  Now is a glorified gift shop for tourists.

Boston's North Church

Boston's North Church

We started from Faneuil Hall on a trolley tour of the Freedom Trail which was supposed to cover all of the major historical sites in Boston.  However we found that the Silver Trolley line tours on the outside of all those sites and you have to walk to them by yourself (one of those things you don’t find out about until you have purchased a ticket!)  After a several block walk and getting lost a couple of times in side streets we finally found the Old North Church where Paul Revere hung the lantern to tell the Bostonians whether the English were coming by land or by sea (the church charged to get inside).  We then walked to Paul Revere’s home which charged to get into the grounds and then again to see the inside of the house!  We walked back to wait on the trolley.

CHEERS!

CHEERS!

The trolley took us around the waterfront and over to the dock where the Old Ironsides is moored where you have to pay to see it. Then it did take us down the street where the Old State House is located and around Boston Commons.  We departed the trolley at this point and walked to what we thought was the highlight of Boston, the ‘Bull and Finch Bar’ or as we saw it  ‘Cheers’.  Actually only the entrance to the basement bar was used in the sitcom that we enjoyed so much.  Surprising to us was the very small size of the bar and the multitude of people that were jammed into it.  Obviously the sitcom gave the bar a thriving business.  Norm was there (in a life-sized cardboard cutout) and I had a beer with him.  I also remembered his theory of intelligence.  “A heard of buffalo only travels as fast as the slowest and weakest buffalo.  When the herd is hunted, the slowest and weakest were killed first.  Natural selection was good for the herd allowing it to move much faster.  The same way with the human brain, it can only operate as fast as the slowest and weakest brain cells.  Now as you know,  excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells.  But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.  Therefore, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells making the brain a faster more efficient machine.  That’s why you feel smarter after a few beers.”  It seems reasonable to me!

So much for Boston!  Like so much of the east coast cities; too many people, too busy, too crowded, too much in a hurry!   Too much for an old Kansas boy.

WASHINGTON, DC

On to Washington, DC, my old stomping ground.  Again there are no camping facilities within the DC limits; therefore, we had to stay in the Cherry Hill campground in College Park, MD.  I used to store our motor home at the campground so was familiar with it.  It is also close to the end of the Metro Green Line which we used to get into the city.  It was definitely quicker and easier to get around on the city metro than driving.
Sunday morning we took the metro into the Smithsonian Mall.  I had to show Jan a couple of the airplanes that I used for flight research while working for NASA.  We spent a couple of hours at the Air and Space Museum then went to the new American Indian Museum.

X-15 Airplane at Air & Space Museum

X-15 Airplane at Air & Space Museum

M2-F3 Lifting Body at Air & Space Museum

M2-F3 Lifting Body at Air & Space Museum



Jan outside American Indian Museum

It was built after I had retired from NASA and left Washington.  It is unusual in that all the outside walls and most of the inside walls do not have straight lines.  Indian ideology states that there are no straight lines in nature.  The outside walls are native limestone in constant curves.  The inside has sweeping curved walks, stairs and ramps leading up four floors of exhibits.  I was a little disappointed as I had seen all the wonderful displays and exhibits of American Indian artifacts in the Natural History Museum previously and am aware of all the artifacts that the Smithsonian has available. Some of these were stuffed into drawers and some in very limited display cases. Very few of the original collection were in the museum.  Most of the museum was the American Indian now and in the future.  We did have a good lunch in the museum.  They have foods from various American Indian cultures that were interesting.

National Art Museum Central Gallery

National Art Museum Central Gallery

We both had fun in the National Art Museum.  Since we are both amateur painters (very amateur!), we really enjoyed looking at all the past masters and commenting on them to each other.  We spent most of the afternoon wandering through the maze of galleries in second floor of the museum studying all of the French, Spanish, Dutch, English, etc. masters and what we amateurs considered not so masters.  Oh well, it’s a matter of opinion.  We had fun pointing out what we liked and disliked and how we might of done it different if we could have!

It turned out to be a long day with a lot of walking so we left early for the ride back to the campground, our camper and a wonderful lobster dinner with our bounty from Maine.

Jan at WWII Monument with Washington Monument in background

Jan at WWII Monument with Washington Monument in background

The next morning we waited for the early morning rush (Monday) to pass before we taking the metro to town.  We spent most of the morning in the Holocaust Museum.  It was very well done, but very depressing.  I can’t imagine people treating other people like that!  We weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  We left the museum and walked to the Washington Monument then on to the World War II Memorial. It was nice that they finally built the Memorial, but I was very disappointed in the  design of it.  There were really no indications of the significant battles that occurred in Europe and the Pacific.

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Soldiers at Vietnam Memorial

Soldiers at Vietnam Memorial


Not so for the Vietnam Memorial.  It is memorable  because of it’s simplicity and significance with the names of our soldiers lost inscribed on the stones.  I realize that they couldn’t have listed the names of those lost in WWII do to the numbers.   It was well past lunch so we caught a taxi to Union Station so Jan could see how beautiful it had been restored.  We had lunch there before walking through Capitol Hill to C Street where Lindy and I used to live.  The house still looked good although the neighborhood was changing with new condos and town houses replacing some of the beautiful old homes in the area.  We walked on down to Eastern Market to find that it had closed and many of the older businesses had been replaced with Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. (bah)!  Going back home just isn’t the same!

Jan and I were getting tired of walking, but we still had a couple of hours before we would meet Nancy and Bud MacLennon at Ebbets Grill for dinner (Nancy used to work with me at NASA). So we decided to rest for awhile in the Botanical Gardens below the Capitol.  It’s always nice to sit among the flowers and trees and rest the tired feet.  We caught a taxi to Ebbets Grill, had a great dinner and conversation with Nancy and Bud, then they took us back to the truck in College Park.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA

Next day we drove on down to Williamsburg and spent the afternoon walking around the Colonial portion of the town.  It was interesting touring through the old Burton Church with it’s old cemetery,  There were a lot of locals dressed up as part of the daily tour that made it more realistic.

Lady at Colonial Williamsburg

Lady at Colonial Williamsburg

Mother & Daughter at Colonial Williamsburg

Mother & Daughter at Colonial Williamsburg



Colonial Williamsburg Cane Weaver

Colonial Williamsburg Cane Weaver

There was the Cane Weaver hurrying to give a demonstration of the craft and an old carriage giving rides to the tourists

Horse Carriage in Colonial Williamsburg

Horse Carriage in Colonial Williamsburg


Colonial Williamsburg House of Burgess

Colonial Williamsburg House of Burgess

At the end of the street is the House of Burgess which was used as the seat of the Virginia government prior to the revolution.  We didn’t have time that afternoon to take the tour through all of the buildings so we put it off until the next morning.  We did notice that like most cities (like Washington, DC) where politicians gathered to make decisions there are lots of taverns.  We counted 6 taverns in the several blocks that is considered Colonial Williamsburg.

Brickhouse Tavern

Brickhouse Tavern

Brickhouse Sign

Brickhouse Sign

Although I have to admit that the taverns provided lodging and food as well as a bar.

YORKTOWN, VA

Surrender Cave in Yorktown, VA

Surrender Cave in Yorktown, VA

We were going to Penny and Bill Cazier’s home for dinner that evening so we left early to drive the Colonial Parkway through Yorktown and down the peninsula toward Hampton.    We toured the Yorktown battlefield which was the deciding victory of the Revolutionary War with England.

Colonial Yorktown Home

Colonial Yorktown Home

We went by the cave where the English General Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington after the battle.  Then we toured the old town with it’s sixteenth century homes.

Lindy and I lived near a small village called Seaford below Yorktown and I wanted to show Jan the area.  I managed to show her more of the area than I anticipated after getting lost several times trying to find our old house.   The area has really been built up since the late 1980’s and I didn’t recognize most of the roads and businesses anymore.  We did finally find Rebecca Drive and the house still looked the same. Then it was another experience to find Penny and Bill’s house. Finally Penny’s phone directions got us there.  We had a wonderful evening with them.

ATLANTA

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park

On to Atlanta.  We were running late to meet Cary and Darcy on the weekend in Atlanta when they were both off work so we decided to forgo the tour through Williamsburg and head for Atlanta.  I used to stay on the street outside Cary and Darcy’s home with the camper; however, with the 5th Wheel, it’s too big for the street especially since the street is on a steep hill!  We opted to stay in a campground and visit them in town.

Carving on Stone Mountain

Carving on Stone Mountain


Atlanta is like all large cities, most campgrounds are on the outskirts of downtown,  We decided to stay in Stone Mountain Campground which proved to be a very good choice.  Stone Mountain is a huge granite dome with a carving of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis in the face of it.  They have turned it into a recreational area with an amusement park, walking trails, golf courses and an old antebellum home which had an Indian Pow-Wow going on the grounds.  We toured the grounds with the car and found a covered bridge and a grist mill too!

Stone Mountain Covered Bridge

Stone Mountain Covered Bridge

Stone Mountain Grist Mill

Stone Mountain Grist Mill


We celebrated Darcy’s birthday on Saturday evening then stayed all night at their house rather than drive back to the campground (not that we had drank too much, Ha!)  Sunday was a trip to the Farmer’s Market, breakfast and watching Atlanta Falcons slaughter my old team, the Washington Redskins.

LYNCHBURG, TN

Tennessee Hillside

Tennessee Hillside

Lynchburg Church

Lynchburg Church

Monday found us on the road again heading home.  The fall colors were still beautiful in Georgia and Tennessee.  We made it to Lynchburg in the late afternoon just in time to visit Uncle Jack and go on the final tour of the day.  It was interesting to see how he made his famous brew, but no samples.

Jack Daniels Distillery

Jack Daniels Distillery

Jan & Jon with Uncle Jack

Jan & Jon with Uncle Jack

Uncle Jack was a little cold, but he did allow us to get some Old #7 and his Single Barrel.  We had a nice tour and then went to downtown Lynchburg which was quite exciting with a Hardware store and a filling station.

Lynchburg Hardware Store

Lynchburg Hardware Store

Delivery Truck at Gas Station

Delivery Truck at Gas Station


Lynchburg Covered Bridge

Lynchburg Covered Bridge

But it was getting late and there was only one campground in town.  Low and behold there was another covered bridge at the entrance to the campground.  They just seemed to follow us around on this trip.  That made the tally 124, a whole lot of covered bridges!

We left Lynchburg early the next morning and started for Branson, MO.  We were meeting Jan’s granddaughter and her husband for dinner the next night.  We decided to drive all the way to Branson the first night and it was mistake.  I don’t like to drive after dark that much and the roads leading to Branson were the worst curvy roads that I had ever driven.  The campground host called them worse than a snake, but that wasn’t bad enough.  They were up and down hills with sharp 45 degree curves at the bottom.  No fun at all pulling a 5th Wheel!

We did a quick tour of Branson the next day then had dinner with Nicole and Tyler,  Then on to Kansas with a quick stop at Lindy’s grave and visited her aunt in Madison, KS.  We had lunch at the Chicken House in Olpe with Vivian and Lloyd Luthi.  We were home in Hoxie the next day just in time for a snow storm to hit the area.  It was November after all.

As I said to start, it was a busy year for Jan and I.  We are settled in for the winter now and don’t expect to start traveling until May of next year.  See you on the blog then.

Fall Colors of New England – 3

I forgot to give credit to the couple that wrote the book that we used to find the covered bridges of New Hampshire in the Fall Colors of New England -2 blog.

‘New England’s Covered Bridges’, by Benjamin and June Evans, copyright 2004, University Press of New England

‘Covered Bridges of Vermont’, by Ed Barna, copyright 1996, The Country Man Press

‘The Field Guide to Lighthouses of the New England Coast’, by Elinor De Wire, copyright 2008, Voyageur Press

MAINE COAST

On top of Mt. Cadillac, Acadia National Park

On top of Mt. Cadillac, Acadia National Park

We arrived in Maine on the 23rd of October driving to Acadia National Park.  One of the major campground resorts at the park was offering a last two night special rate for a campsite on the beach so we decided to stay there.  One of the men in the park suggested that we drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset.  It was beautiful.  You could see along the coast of Maine both east and southwest.  The sunset was beautiful also, but the photos were rather poor (I guess I need lessons in photographing sunsets).

We woke up the next morning to a raging northeaster with a pounding rain on the camper (so much for our campsite on the beach).  We braved the rain to visit the Visitors Center at the Acadia Park, but it was the last day that the park was open so we didn’t get a chance to really enjoy it.  I guess we left something for the future.  On the way back to the camper we saw a sign for;
Live Lobster  $4.49 each
We bought ten and took them back to the camper to boil and clean.  It was difficult stuffing a live lobster in a small pot of boiling water on top of the stove, but we persisted!  Of course we had to have lobster that night for dinner and IT WAS GOOD!

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, 1902

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, 1902

We moved down the  coast the next day looking for lighthouses.  There were very few campgrounds open and we couldn’t find any that were convenient to the coast line.  However, we did find a Elks Club that had camping facilities so we parked there for three days while we explored the coast and looked for lighthouses.  Out in the bay at Rockland was the Breakwater Lighthouse.  When the granite breakwater was constructed in 1889 a wooden light was built at the end.  It was replaced by a 25 foot brick lighthouse in 1902.

Sailboats in Camden Harbor

Sailboats in Camden Harbor

We drove north the next morning to start our search for more lighthouses.   Our first stop was at Camden Harbor.  It was interesting to see the big sailboats that had been stored for winter with a covering of shrink-wrap plastic over the deck and cabin area.  We were looking for the  Curtis Lighthouse which is on an Island just outside the Camden harbor.  However, we were unable to see the lighthouse from land.

Camden Library above the Harbor

Camden Library above the Harbor

At the end of the harbor was a cascade from the Megunticook River.  It was somehow piped under the streets and businesses of downtown Camden then released to cascade down the rocks into the bay.  I don’t know what they do when the river floods???

Fort Point Lighthouse, 1836, Stockton Springs

Fort Point Lighthouse, 1836, Stockton Springs

As we drove north, we drove out to Cape Jellison and the Fort Point State Park where the Fort Point lighthouse is located.  The lighthouse was originally built in 1836 to guide vessels into the Penobscot River for trade.  The station was rebuilt in 1857 and a pyramidal tower was added in 1890 to house the fogbell.

Fort Knox Bridge over the Penobscot River

Fort Knox Bridge over the Penobscot River

North along the coast we stopped to view the Penobscot Narrows bridge which was unusual in that the bridge roadways went on each side of the two main pillars and were held up by central cables.  This bridge design was also seen later in the city of Boston.

View of Fort Knox from Fort Know Website

View of Fort Knox from Fort Know Website

Just beyond the bridge is Fort Knox which was an interesting visit of a imposing stone fort.  It was built in 1844 after the British had invaded Bangor during the War of 1812.  It was to protect the interior of  Maine from future British invasion.  It was garrisoned with soldiers during 1863 to 1866 and again during the Spanish American War, but the fort never saw military action.

Church in Buckport, ME

Church in Buckport, ME

Across the Penobscot river from the Fort is the town of Buckport.  Nestled in among the fall trees is a beautiful white church.  Bucksport was a major port trading products from the interior of Maine for foreign imports.

We quickly found that looking for lighthouses took a lot more driving than looking for covered bridges.  Often the results were disappointing because they were too far away to be seen or were hidden behind inaccessible hills.  Many of the lighthouses can only been seen by boat.  The other problem is that lighthouses are usually at the end of a peninsula of land which is separated from the next peninsula by water (duh! It took a rocket scientist to figure that one out).  In Maine, the peninsulas extend a long way out of the mainland thus creating a lot of coastline and long drives to reach the end where the lighthouses are generally located.  However, often the drives were rewarded with other interesting or beautiful sights.  It took us awhile to figure out what these bushes were that covered several hills on our drive to the Dice Lighthouse.  Finally at the edge of one of the fields there was a large building that had BLUEBERRY PACKING PLANT painted on the side of it (duh x 2).

Blueberry Hill

Blueberry Hill

Field of Blueberries

Field of Blueberries

The fields were really pretty though and I still don’t know how they picked them.  Noticing how bare the hills of blueberries were, we both wondered where you could find a spot to have a thrill (on Blueberry Hill)!

Grist Mill near Belfast, ME

Grist Mill near Belfast, ME

Also we managed to find this mill along the drive to Dice Lighthouse.  I even braved the harrowing traffic zooming by on this narrow bridge as I took the photo just so you could see it.

Dice Lighthouse, 1838, Castine, ME

Dice Lighthouse, 1838, Castine, ME

Fortunately the Dice Head Lighthouse was worth the trip to find it.  It was originally built of rough rubble stone in 1838 to guide the way into the Penobscot river.  In 1858, it was encased in wood and a passage way was added from the house to the lighthouse.  In the 1870’s the wooden sheath was removed and the lighthouse remains that way today.  There were several more lighthouses further down on the main peninsula, but all were on islands too far away to be photographed.

Marshall Point Lighthouse, 1832, St. George, ME

Marshall Point Lighthouse, 1832, St. George, ME

At the very end of South Thomaston peninsula is a small fishing village called Port Clyde.  On the tip is the Marshall Point Lighthouse.  The original stone light was built in 1832.  In 1857 the lighthouse was upgraded to a 31 foot brick tower light.  In 1897 a bell was added to give fog warnings.

Pemiquid Point Lighthouse,1827, Bristol, ME

Pemiquid Point Lighthouse,1827, Bristol, ME

One of the more beautiful lighthouses we saw was the Pemiquid Point Lighthouse near the town of Bristol.  It was built in 1827 to mark the entrance to Muscongus Bay and John Bay.  It was thought that salt water was used to bind the stone in the original lighthouse and the mortar quickly decayed.  A new 35 foot stone lighthouse replaced the original in 1835.  A park has been established at the point and the house has been opened as a Fishermen’s Museum.

In the Boothbay Harbor area there are four more lighthouses located at various points around the peninsula.

Lighthouses of Boothbay Harbor

Lighthouses of Boothbay Harbor

Ram Island Lighthouse is located on Ram Island just a short way off Ocean Point.  It guided fishermen through the Fishermen Island Passage into Linekin Bay and Boothbay harbors.  The ocean drive around Ocean Point to view the lighthouse was quite a drive. Ocean Drive has the largest number of  beautiful summer resident homes that we had seen.  Burnt Island Lighthouse was on an Island off the east side of Southport peninsula Boothbay and was only visible from the Ocean Point Drive.  Thus it was too far to be seen clearly.  Hendricks Head Lighthouse was privately owned and had no public access.  It originally provided guidance into the Sheepscot river.  Cuckholds Lighthouse was on an Island named after an English gentleman that had his wife run away (!).  It was a ways off Cape Newagen and was on a very low Island.  In 1933, it was almost destroyed by a bad storm.
There were several more lighthouses between Boothbay Harbor and the southern border of Maine particularly around Portland, but we were running out of time and needed to head south.  We left Rockland and drove down near Portsmouth to stay overnight at a nephew of Paul and Debbie’s.  Their nephew was on duty with the Coast Guard, but we had a nice evening with his housemate and fellow Coast Guardsmen, Gordon.

Lodge at Cape Nettick, ME

Lodge at Cape Neddick, York, ME

It was pouring rain most of the afternoon.  We managed to get the 5th Wheel set up and then decided to drive up to the Cape Neddick and the Lighthouse which was supposed to be one of the Nation’s most photographs sentinels. We didn’t hold out much hope that it could even be seen through all the rain, let alone photograph it.

Cape Neddick Lighthouse, 1879, York, ME

Cape Neddick Lighthouse, 1879, York, ME

As it turned out, photographing the Cape Neddick Lighthouse in a storm was actually a benefit as the waves were pounding off the rocks creating fountains of spray. Built in 1879 to mark the entrance to the York river, the lighthouse was electrified in 1938 and automated in 1987.  In 1977, a digitized image of the lighthouse was chosen for inclusion in a time capsule aboard the Voyager II space probe.  Along with other earth artifacts, it is intended to convey the nature of our world to other civilizations that may exist in the universe.

So ends out trip to Maine and fun searching for the lighthouses along the coast.  We wished we had more time to explore the entire coastline.

See you again as we travel to Boston, Washington DC, Williamsburg and Atlanta;  not forgetting a stop on the way home at our favorite distillery, Jack Daniels.