Leaving Lake Placid

09/24/18

This morning we got up jwith the thermometer saying 37°. Burrrr, Tom started a campfire and we ate our cereal huddled by the warm fire. The We packedcho up camp and headed into Lake Placid and spent a couple hours looking at the downtown shops – mistake – we need to find room for a few more items. Tom must surely be set for shoes for a while – in his defense, it is hard to find a size 7 shoe so when he does it is a good thing. Leaving there we traveled two scenic highways 3 and 30 to Blue Mountain Lake where we were wanted to tour the Adirondack Experience Museum. The Au Sable River and Whiteface Mountain views were breathtaking. The drive was so pretty even though there was not a lot of fall colors yet. We only had 2 hours to enjoy a the museum so it was at fast paced viewing. It is a wonderful museum showing the life and people of the Adirondacks and much larger than we thought. We would highly recommend it to anyone who likes to learn the history of that area and if you like boats they have a large collection of Adirondack guide boats and canoes as well as a workshop where a young woman is specializing in building guide boats and has already made several as well as having one in progress right now. We really could have spent a lot more time looking at the many buildings and exhibits.

After leaving there we drove to Eight Lake State Campground. Along the drive to the campground we saw a lot of turkey and even a small grey deer. We had a quick Chili Mac dinner and a campfire to keep us warm. It is so cloudy tonight that we can not see or enjoyingo the full moon, it has really been pretty the past few nights.

It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow so we did not want to get a lot out that needed acked away if it is raining in the morning. We will be leaving thei Adirondacks tomorrow and heading for Niagara Falls.

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2018 Trip Finale

09/29/18

Our final day on the road was spent visiting family. We stopped in DeKalb IL and visited my 103 year old Great Aunt Evelyn. She stills lives in her own home and we all wish we were as lucky as she is with her health. After leaving there we headed towards Wisconsin stopping at Brian and Becky’s for a quick overnight. It seems good to smell that good Midwest Wisconsin air.

This trip has been a 3 month whirlwind. We traveled 6 Canadian Provinces and 8 Northeast states enjoying there diverse cultures and terrain. We drove 9480 miles plus all the mikes we logged on the many ferries we traveled. They saved us a lot of driving. The first 30 days had very hot temperatures and after that the weather has been so good. Our biggest disappointment was going through the New England states without seeing the fall colors. Many people told us that it is very late this year and we were glad to see them in Wisconsin when we arrived near Stevens Point!

We arrived home today at 12:30 from a 3 month long journey through the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland in Canada and the Great Lakes New England States. A wonderful vacation but it DOES feel good to be in our home! I have a placemat that says “Home is where you park it”, but I’m glad tonight it is home with NO WHEELS! There is also a picture of “it’s all about the stickers” map that we have on the back of our camper. Many people commented and coveted our full map!

Niagara Falls here we come

09/25/18

This morning it started to sprinkle early this morning and we hustled to get dressed, move our many extra purchases and were on the road by 6:15 am. It was still dark but not long down the road we were able to stop for coffee and the horizon brightened so we could see the sights on the scenic route we were traveling. We then exited the scenic roads to drive on the NY Thruway Toll Road most of the morning in the rain.

We kept seeing road signs about Steuben Memorial Historic Site, since we live on Steuben Street it peaked our interest. At a rest stop we found a flyer about it, a tribute to Baron Friedrichsen von Steuben, a “Drillmaster of the American Revolution ” who played a major role in the Continental Army’s victory.

We then drove to Grand Island for the Cinderella Campground and dropped the camper before driving to Niagara Falls, the oldest state park in the USA. We found a parking spot close and walked down to the American Falls and right beside it the Bridal Falls. Even the rapids before the Falls are pretty impressive. We then took the elevator up to the observation tower to get a better view. From there we walked up the stairs beside the Falls but the spray from the Falls was so thick you could not even see them. We returned to the observation tower and then walked over the Rainbow Bridge to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You need to present your passport to pass into Canada but was painless. The Queen Victoria Park is all along the walkway with beautiful patterned gardens and a zip line if you would like to be a thrill seeker. We walked down to get a better view of the Falls and were surprised at how much spray you felt as you walked closer yet quite a ways away.

After walking around the Canadian side passing back through Canadian customs you have to pay “4 quarters” in order to return to the bridge crossing back to the US side, my dollar would not work in the change machine to get quarters, not sure what I would have done had Tom not had a good dollar. Tom was quite put out by the fact that we had to pay to go through the turnstiles. Crossing the bridge and entering the U S customs was slow but easy to get through.

We went back to our camper and because of sprinkles we opted for going out for pizza at the Brick Oven, Chicken Alfredo pizza and it was so good! We crawled into the camper and off to sleep early since it was such an early morning.

09/26/18

We left Niagara Falls having to travel through a long detour passing by Lake Erie and into Pennsylvania. There were 20 wineries along the way so may not get home as quick as we thought! Ha ha!

Travel went well until we got to Cleveland and we sat on interstate 90 for 1 1/2 hours for 17 miles that supposedly had a accident with damage so traffic was at a stop, sure slowed our progress.

We drove to Toledo and spent the night in a hotel as it was raining and we just wanted to get in and go to sleep.

Lake Placid

09/22/18

We got up to a chilly 48 degrees and made a warm oatmeal breakfast. We showered and headed out for the day. As we drove along the river we saw many runners and found out that it was a 24 hour relay race and there were over 188 teams and 12 people on each team. No wonder we saw so many runners. The woman we talked to said there were people from all over the US that come to do this, she was from New Jersey. Our first stop was the Olympic ski jumps. We were surprised how far away we could see them while driving on the river road. They have training here all year round. There are some that train with long jumps and you land in a swimming pool with your boots and skis filling with water and then climb the stairs and do it again. We rode the gondola up the mountain over the training ski jumps. There was a great view from the top but the best view came after you take the elevator that you carries you to the top of the big ski jumps. They were used for the 1980 Winter Olympics and still used for training and events today. In the summer they soak them with sprinklers and the trainees are sliding on plastic white runner rails and then land in wet plastic string like grass fields. It looked very scary, summer or winter, to me.

We then went back to the Nordic Center since it was open this weekend. When we arrived they were testing the snowmaking machines and there was a nice pile of snow before we left the center. We also hiked part of the 50 K ski loop just so Tom could say he was on the Olympic trails.

When we left there we drove to Mount Whiteface and enjoyed the festivities at their Octoberfest. There were beer tents, several bands and vendors selling their wares ranging from Maple Sugar products to jewelry and hats, gloves and clothing. To our surprise we ran into the Laurie and Bill, the couple from Ontario, this is our 5th chance meeting. We sat and visited while listening to all the good Octoberfest music. Just before the last minute of rides we hopped on the gondola and traveled up the Whiteface Mountain, quite an impressive ride up and back, just wish there had been more fall foliage colors. Fall seems to be arriving on the slow side this year but we are seeing more hints of it now that the nights are getting so chilly.

We ate a nice dinner in the mountain cafe and then closed the evening with a bit more music and a grand finale of fireworks.

Getting back to the camper we were treated to an almost full moon dancing among the clouds. When we crawled into the camper the outside temperature was 48and the inside was only 55, once we were settled in the thermometer for the inside temp rose a little bit, but I think tonight will be our coldest so far.

09/23/18

When we got up this morning it was 38°, now that is the coldest morning we’ve had so far. Tom started a campfire and we ate warm oatmeal and relaxed in front of the fire. After breakfast we took off for the veterans memorial highway that runs up whiteface mountain. You drive almost 10 miles up the road where there is a castle that has a gift shop and cafe in it. There is a tunnel elevator that you can ride to the top of the mountain but they have closed it this year for renovations, which means anyone wanting to go to the top now needs to hike another 1/2 mile up to the top of the mountain where the research weather station is. They say you are hiking on steps but much of it is slick rock and you really had to hold onto the side rail and be very careful with your steps, again some of them were so big I had trouble getting my short legs up over them. I think coming down was even worse than going up but the view was really worth it. You could see all the way past Montreal today, also a good portion of Lake Champlain, which borders Vermont and New York and the Seranac Lakes and beyond to the west.Coming back down the mountain we ate lunch with a million dollar view. Our travels and views have been breathtaking on this trip.

We drove to Lake Placid and toured the LP Olympic Museum. They have the 1932 hockey rink and also the 1980 Miracle on Ice Rink. The new end of the building now has the museum in it. There were many of the events represented but Tom was disappointed that there was nothing regarding Nordic skiing. I guess they change the exhibits periodically so if you went another time you would maybe get to see it. They had some gorgeous wall hanging that hung at the 1980 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. There was a big exhibit for Sonya Heine, a figure skater from Norway that they consider the most decorated gold metal skating winner. An odd fact that we want to check out when we get home is why a woman, Ann Bates, from Land O’Lakes, WI has such a big collection for Sonya and loaned her entire collection to the museum.99

We found the grocery store to get resupplies and then went to the camper and made dinner but had to eat and clean up in the dark. It is getting dark so early now, we need to start dinner earlier from now on. We enjoyed another warm campfire and Tom kept commenting on it being warmer than last night until we moved away to go to bed we realized it was only 48° outside and 55° inside, I guess it was colder out than Tom thought. Crawling in under the warm down comforter feels so much better than just our quilt when it is really cold. We may have to start getting electric sites so we can use a small heating pad to help warmup our bed.

Lake Placid bound

09/21/18

We got up quickly and took our tarp down as it had just started to rain and we wanted to get on the road before it got too hard. We followed Lake Champlain a few miles down the road before crossing the bridge into New York. It would be less than 50 miles into Lake Placid, the home of two Winter Olympics. Tom really wanted to see the Olympic venue stadiums and hike on the cross country ski trails. We stopped at the cross country ski center, which is used for paintball and mountain biking in the summer. The chalet was not open but they told us it would be open on Saturday and Sunday if we wanted to come back to see it. We also drove over to the bobsled and luge run, that chalet was open but they had shut down the spectator bobsled runs for the year to get ready for the winter season. After leaving there we stopped at a campground about 6 miles outside of Lake Placid but the sites were all so small we couldn’t even get our tarps up and it was right along the highway so would be very noisy. We drove into Lake Placid and got the phone numbers for several other state campgrounds and then ate lunch. We are surprised how many campgrounds close after Labor Day weekend when the fall colors have not begun to turn let alone be at peak. That had been our biggest frustration this trip, finding campsites. Ugggg! After lunch we drove out to Wilmington Notch State Campground that is located on the Ausable River and at the foot of Whiteface Mountain. We got the last camping site for three nights as there is going to be an Oktoberfest up on Whiteface Mountain this weekend. We drove over to the mountain to see what will go on this weekend, they say it draws around 5000 people so that should be fun to attend. We can actually walk to the mountain it is less than 1/2 mile from the campground.

We had a lamb burger dinner and a quiet evening at the campsite and even got in a campfire before heading to bed.

Stowe Vermont

09/19/18

Today we woke up early had our coffee down by the pond. A couple and their daughter came down to enjoy the view and we found out they were from Australia and their daughter is getting married to a Texan in 3 weeks . The parents really liked our teardrop, they had never seen one before.

After breakfast we secured everything in the trailer and headed for our hike. We drove to the parking lot for Owl Head point and hiked to the top where the vantage point allowed you to see all the lakes and mountains in the area. There was a small look out building that had been built by the CCC out of stone. Gaspard really liked the hike up but again there were boulder that were so big it was hard to get over them. There were some men working at the parking lot putting in a new composting toilet, the outside was built out of Cedar and so pretty. We also hiked over to the picnic area and there was another big log pavilion that was made out of log and had a lovely stone fireplace. Apparently the Graton State Forest is known for its pavilions and lean-tos. We are just a little early for the fall colors which is too bad because New England is supposed to be spectacular in the fall, there are hints of color here and there but we can tell it will be so much better in a week or two.

We then drove to Smugglers Notch that is a big downhill and Nordic ski area. Supposedly it is known as skiers heaven with all the peaks and trails there are to ski. Before getting into the ski area we stopped at a Cabot Cheese store and bought some great tasting cheese for our trip. They had all of their varieties to sample and it was very cheap compared to the grocery store. Cabot Cheese is made in a small town near Smugglers Notch.

On the way to our campgrounds we stopped at the Trap Family Lodge, this is the same family that was from the movie “The Sound of Music”. One of the grandsons is still running the compound. I say compound as there is a lodge, villas to rent or own, a brewery and a golf course and in the winter they have cross country ski trails that are supported with snow guns if there is a low snow year. It is one of the biggest cross country resorts around. There are also long horned cattle in the fields that makes it quite picturesque on the mountain hillside and a greenhouse to raise all the beautiful plants that are adorning the buildings and grounds. The area was really quite beautiful. Gaspard was really impressed with how big the building was and all the ski motive that was in the building.

We then drove to the Smugglers Notch State Park to spend the night. We had a lovely cod dinner and turned in early as it was chilly enough this evening we didn’t want to set outside. Tomorrow we will hike in the park before heading on to Lake Champlain which borders Vermont and New York.

09/20/18

We got up this morning and had a nice big breakfast before packing up and heading out for a hike. We had wanted to do the hike around Sheldon lake but employees of the park suggested we not take our camper up that road, it was very narrow and we would have trouble parking a trailer. We took a walk around the ski village and were quite impressed. There were several shops and I came home with a new pair of winter boots for half price, and they are pretty cool if I say so myself! From Smugglers Notch Resort we hiked up Mount Mansfield on the Haselton Trail. It was a trail I would call Rocks and Roots, as the whole time we were hiking on bigger rocks than I could sometimes climb. I think Tom took me on a hike from HELL. Gaspard even thought all the roots were hard to navigate. I was not about to come down that same trail so we found the Nosedive ski trail and anyone who knows me knows how I “like” downhills. As we switchbacked across the trail there were 27 snow guns to remind us we’re on a downhill descent and not just a leisurely hike. It was no easier hiking down for me than it is on skis. It was a very challenging hike and when we got down to the bottom the lady at the gondola said that she wasn’t sure who suggested it but she hiked it once and would never do it again, “it is awful”, I Concur completely! Tom feels fortunate that he is still alive, the trail did not kill him but I threatened him several times on the hike. I would not recommend this trail if you don’t like strenuous hikes.

After our hike we drove to Button Bay State Park located on Lake Champlain and we got a site right along the shoreline. We were both tired enough we made a new Patagonia fast meal of Red Bean Chili, which was something new we had never had before. It was really good we would recommend if you are looking for something fast and tastee.

We finished the evening with a campfire while listening to the many geese serenading us.

White Mountains of New Hampshire and Repair day

09/17/18

We got up this morning and enjoyed a warm bowl of oatmeal and walked over to talk to Bob and see his new Alaska series tent. After a short visit with him we headed out to go for a hike. That was quickly changed as our car again notified us that we had another low tire pressure. We have had to fill it several times since Halifax. We decided to drive back into Gorham and have it checked and sure enough we had a sidewalk hole that they think probably came from hitting pothole. Lord know this trip has been heavily covered with potholes. So Today is a REPAIR day. We have to have all new tires put on our car is all wheel drive and you can’t replace just one or your car will not drive correctly, and of course we also have to have a new alignment. Ouch, one set of tires to choose from, at the mercy of the small town, we were actually lucky they had anything that would even fit our car. Gorham NH is in the beginning of the White Mountains – we would rather be hiking!!!

After they finished it was in the middle of the afternoon noon. We also decided to go to an auto parts store and buy a new hitch for the car to get the camper up a little higher. Every time we turn around we have trouble getting the wheel down on the camper, this should make that better – should have done that before we left would have solved a lot of frustration!

We drove up highway 16 and checked out a couple outfitters to get some info where we might be able to do some hiking tomorrow before leaving this side of the park. We were surprised how hot it got today, over 90 degrees for fall.

Since it was getting later in the day and still pretty hot we went back to our camper and made homemade spaghetti and salad for dinner. We had a campfire again this evening and Tom poured over the map to figure out our best route for tomorrow’s drive.

We got up early, packed up the camper and headed for our hikes for the day. We hiked the Lost Pond trail out and back. This trail starts by Pinkham Notch, an Appalachian Mountain Club resort. Tom was a this same resort 48 years ago so he had fun reminiscing about that time. It is very rocky and you are climbing over some pretty big boulders, a couple were just about to big for my short legs. On the trail we met a woman who is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail that is 2371 miles and she was on her way to Mount Katahdin. She had left Georgia in March and still had over 200 miles to go before she was finished. She was not a young woman at all and her pack looked so heavy, a big undertaking all on your own for that long. Tom said that part of the trail she was headed to going through Maine is 100 miles of hard trail through the forest with no services, which means you carry everything for 5 plus days. We also hiked to Glen Ellis Falls that is a 3 section cascading falls that finishes with a 65 foot drop, Very Pretty! You needed to hike through a tunnel under the highway to get to it. Gaspard liked that part a lot!

We then drove along Highway 16 to Jackson where we crossed the 1876 Honeymoon covered bridge, one of 18 in the White Mountains as well as many more in New Hampshire. Highway 302 took us across the mountains while enjoying their beauty. We stopped for lunch at Willey House Historic site that was an original homestead and the family had an Inn for vacationers that came to the area, but tragedy struck and the family were all found dead after a huge mudslide that actually reconstructed the valley in the late 1800’s. The sad part was they left their house looking for safety and it still stood after the mudslides were done. It no longer stands as it burned down in 1898 but there is a state park now that sits on a very pretty little lake located in Crawford Notch. You have a great view of Mount Willey and Mount Willard, both having good hiking trails that are not that strenuous. There is now a small resort that hikers can stay in when they are hiking in the area as well as a visitor center and a store there. We also stopped at the Appalachian Highland Center at Bretton Woods. You can stay there if you are hiking and they also provide hiking and camping experiences for youth through their schools in New Hampshire. This is also where the cog railway leaves if you want to ride it to the top of Mount Washington. It is the world’s first mountain climbing railroad and opened in 1896. We then ventured into Mount Washington Resort, which is a massive building in red and white that covers the entire hillside. It is a playground in both summer with golf, horseback riding and mountain biking and in winter it is a Nordic ski center with fat tire biking and tubing. We stopped at a skiing/biking store and saw some awesome “ski” chairs, they use both downhill and cross country skies to make them. They would sure look good at nine mile for decoration. This entire area of the New Hampshire is known to be one of the best ski areas in the East.

We crossed the Connecticut River into Vermont and found a wonderful campsite right on the banks of Rickers Pond in Gratton State Forest. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner and hoped to hear the cry of the loon, but so far that has not happened. We had a nice campfire and made plans for a hike to Owls Head tomorrow morning.

Tom has been logging the mileage from my Fitbit for our hiking each day and tells me we have hiked over 500 miles so far. That is impressive if you ask me.