Archive for the ‘road trip’ Tag

10-27-2015 Journal–Goodbye Fall, Hello Winter!   Leave a comment

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The last days of Fall are approaching with the leaves losing their vivid colors and one bone chilling night after another. We’re slowly running out of those nice bright and sunny Indian Summer days. There really isn’t all that  much upside to Winter that I can find.  Fortunately this state is filled with thousands of people who live to romp in the snow, go snowmobiling, skiing, and skating on the lakes.  It’s some sort of an awful winter inspired insanity.

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I didn’t include that small percentage of Mainers who claim to be ice fishermen.  I see those little shacks popping up on almost every lake and have heard for years all of the fishing stories from their occupants.  It’s more about getting out of the house, hiding from the wife, and drinking an adequate amount of alcoholic beverages that help make the fish seem even bigger for their stories.

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Yesterday required a road trip through the northern part of the county near the town of Naples located along the shore of Sebago lake. It was our one last chance to capture as many of those foliage pictures everyone seems to love so much.

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Here’s a shot taken of Sebago lake with the foothills of the White Mountains in the background.  Just looking at the coldness of the photo gives me the shivers. 

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I’ll certainly enjoy looking at these photos in a month or so when everything is frozen solid and covered with snow and ice.  Then I can begin my constant complaining about Winter and endless whining for warmer weather. I guess I one of those folks who just loves bitching and complaining about Winter. 

10-17-2015 Journal – Horses, Turkeys & Leaves!   Leave a comment

There’s nothing better than a spontaneous road trip around southern Maine in the Fall.  My better-half had a mid-week day off which is reason enough to grab the cameras and hit the road. We cruised around, shopped a little, and enjoyed the day immensely. The sun was bright and the colors of the woods in some areas are really vibrant which seems to be a necessary requirement for a successful Indian Summer.

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I also saw my first bus load of leaf peepers driving up the turnpike this week with many, many more to follow.  People can’t seem to stay away.  Many areas remain green but one night with a hard frost will change all that very quickly.

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As we ride around we stop often to take photo’s or to check out yard sales but one of our regular stops is at this small farm to say hello to the horses. Again I forgot to bring apples along and they seemed disappointed but it didn’t stop them from running across the field to say hello.  They like checking us out as much as we do them.

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I’ve mentioned in the past about how often we see turkey’s in our travels. They’re kind of like big ugly versions of those pigeons you might see in Boston or New York.  This photo was a quick shot out of the car window as a flock was attempting to cross the road in front of us.  It appeared to be a Mama bird and a line of teenagers following behind.

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They seem to be moving around more than normal since the woods are now filled with hunters.  I  wonder which of these birds will be served up for Thanksgiving this year.  It’s a dangerous time for these fellows and I wish them luck, they’ll need it.

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Gotta love Fall.

09-03-2015 Journal–New Hampshire Safari!   Leave a comment

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There’s a chill in the night air these days and I certainly know what that means.  It means we have just a month or so before we start dismantling the garden, cleaning and inspecting the heating system, and unpacking all of our Winter clothing. This summer came and went much too quickly.

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This week the better-half had two days-off which means only one thing . . . Road Trip!  We made our way westward across Maine and entered New Hampshire just north of Lake Winnipesaukee and proceeded north through the lakes region. We traveled mostly on the back roads where the traffic is light and the scenery is spectacular.

Of course as you can imagine, my better-half required numerous pee stops, coffee breaks, and an obsession to stop at every dirty and filthy antique shop (her term, not mine).  This was the nicest one we saw the entire day.

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The roads we chose wound in and around the numerous small lakes and ponds and made for a great ride.  All the while we could see the White Mountains slowly approaching in the distance.

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After a few hours we arrived in Conway, New Hampshire which is a town known for it’s never-ending supply of outlet stores.  Normally the better-half could spend an entire day roaming around this area and shopping . . . but not today.  Fortunately for me we both received matching text messages from our home alarm system that reported a motion alarm on our enclosed and locked rear porch.  It was the perfect excuse to leave immediately for home which we did. 

Luckily it was just a false alarm that actually saved me from an addition two or three hours of shopping. All in all it was a great day with a lot of sunshine and the discovery of a little jewel of a pizza shop in the bustling metropolis of Cornish, ME.  If you’re in the area and you like pizza, stop and have lunch at Susie Q’s.  Good food, good prices, and friendly people.

06-27-2015 Journal – Coastal Day Trip!   Leave a comment

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It’s been a great week but with my nephew leaving soon I decided a short road trip was in order.  We rolled out of bed, had breakfast with my better-half, and then hit the road.  We drove south on I-95 to the border with New Hampshire and began our day at the Kittery Trading Post.  My nephew is quite the gun expert and we spent an hour walking through the endless racks of guns. 

If you’ve read this blog in recent weeks you know I have been having serious issues with a skunk who refuses to leave my garden alone.  I’ve been wanting to purchase a .22 caliber rifle for more than a year and with the help from my nephew I did just that.  I already feel bad for that stupid skunk because his days are numbered.

We left Kittery and began the trip north along the coast.  It was a beautiful day and all of the beaches were filled with this years crop of tourists.  We stopped to get a few pictures at the Nubble lighthouse which is probably the most photographed lighthouse in Maine.

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We then continued north through the towns of York Beach, York, Ogunquit, and Wells.  Traffic was much heavier than normal and all of the routes that took us anywhere near the water were jammed with people and cars.  Even with the crowds and traffic we had a great time people watching and catching up on each other’s lives. 

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We stopped for a quick lunch in Kennebunk and continued on through Biddeford and into Saco.  We returned home to meet the better-half and to prepare for our last night together.

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We traveled to Old Orchard beach for a terrific seafood dinner, a walk along the beach, and then onto the amusement park.  I was able to win a couple of $.50 stuffed pigs for my better-half and it only cost me ten bucks.

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Carnival games never seem to change.  The better-half insisted on spending some time at the arcade where she and the nephew played SkeeBall.  With an armload of worthless tickets we made our way towards our car and the return home. You can’t have a night like this without stopping for a little ice cream which was delicious and made the ride home a little more enjoyable.

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The nephew’s flight is scheduled to leave early tomorrow morning so it was early to bed and early to rise and the end of a great week.

09-19-2014 Journal Entry–Sunny, Clear & Cold!   Leave a comment

I’ve been sleeping much better lately now that the weather is turning colder.  Heat and humidity seem to be my worst nightmare these days.  I’ve always favored cooler weather and it seems that will never change.

Today’s forecast was for clear and sunny skies and a temperature in the low fifties.  It was dig out a medium weight jacket and jeans because it appears shorts are out until next Spring.  The better-half and I had errands to run on her day-off but I was able to convince her to take a ride along the southern coast for a few hours.  Traffic was heavier than anticipated and I’m not sure exactly why.  I guess everyone was trying desperately to enjoy the sunshine and extend their summer for as long as possible just like we were.

We started our little journey to  Kennebunkport by cutting cross country through an area filled with horse farms. We can always find great photo opportunities there.  

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We made a short visit to the small coastal town of Cape Porpoise, Maine.  It was such a clear day I knew I could get a decent picture or two of the Goat Island lighthouse located just offshore at the entrance to the harbor.

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These lobsterman pictured below were in port with barrels of freshly caught lobsters.  As you can see they’re loading them into trucks for transport to some of your favorite restaurants.

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This area is filled with an endless supply of beautiful costal pictures as always. This small harbor was full of lobster boats and many of the visitors were sitting along the shore enjoying the view and basking in the sunshine.

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We traveled north along the coast back towards Goose Rocks and Biddeford.  There were many terrific photo-ops and we took advantage of them all. There were so many possibilities we actually were forced to pass a few by and we hate doing that.  Here are a couple of samples.

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It made for a great trip to roam around and enjoy one of our last remaining sunny and warm days.  The second half of this trip will be posted in a day or so as we traveled towards farm country looking for pumpkins. We planned on visiting a few farms in our ongoing effort to find pumpkins that weren’t priced sky high as those at Walmart.   It seems we can’t really enjoy the Fall season around here without stacking a few pumpkins and cornstalks in front of the house.

C’mon Winter!

09-01-2014 Journal Entry – Labor Day Safari!   Leave a comment

Happy Labor Day for what it’s worth.  It’s one of those holidays that has slowly morphed into something it was never meant to be.  It currently is the day to celebrate the end of Summer instead of a celebration of the citizens that made this country great. I understand that everything is destined to change at some future point but sometimes it’s not all that great.

My better-half had the day off which is always something to celebrate so we decided to do a little cruising around southern Maine to enjoy the sunny and warm weather. Cameras in hand we made our way south along Rt. 202 towards the city of Sanford.  I enjoy returning to Sanford because I lived there as a single parent to my cat for nine years.  It was fun to cruise around and see all of the changes that have taken place in a town that really needed a lot of change.

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In the small village of Alfred, ME we made a quick stop at the Notre Dame Monastery. This is a religious group of Brothers who maintain and work a  large farm as well as a bakery and a small gift shop.  Much of the money raised by the sales of baked goods helps to fund the York County Community Shelter. It’s home to some homeless folks, victims of domestic violence, and a variety of court ordered individuals.

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We love stopping to get pictures of their large sunflower patch and to visit the bakery.  We picked up an incredibly delicious loaf of wheat bread, a cookie for her, and a raspberry crisp for me.  Everyone needs a little sweetness once in a while.

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We decided we should stop in some small out of the way place to enjoy a good hearty breakfast.  Years ago we occasionally lunched at a little hole-in-the-wall located just outside of Sanford that unfortunately went out of business shortly thereafter. It’s since been reopened with a new owner and a really nice face lift.  It’s now called Mel’s Raspberry Patch.

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The place is small with maybe ten small tables and six stools along a counter. We plopped at the counter, ordered coffee, and then our meal.  Some things haven’t changed.  The food is still great, the people are still friendly, and the morning newspaper is still free and readily available for reading.  I had my standard breakfast: Two eggs sunny side up, two sausage patties, crispy home fries, toast coffee and jam.  The better-half ordered the same meal with bacon and the food was delicious.  The conversation with the waitresses was light and fun and it was a nice start to our day.  The total bill with tip was less than $20.00.

From there we headed south through Sanford with the intention of cruising east along the border with NH to visit some old haunts and see the sights. We visited the towns of North Berwick and Berwick before ending up in Somersworth, NH.  Actually Somersworth is the other half of Berwick which straddles the state border.  We’ve always enjoy riding through this somewhat rural farming community which offers lots of opportunities for picture taking.

We cut cross-country and made our way slowly northeast to Rochester, NH where the better-half had an attack of shopper’s withdrawal.  I was forced to stop at the local K-Mart so the better-half could run free for an hour.  I just have to let her loose occasionally or she gets testy just sitting in the car.  I don’t totally understand her need to run since I always leave the car window cracked just a little.

I think her whole point of cruising today was to finally end up in Lebanon, ME that as a town has little to be proud of except for a longstanding flea market.  It was located approximately  ten minutes away from Rochester but on the way we ran into another flea market (junk sale) in the parking lot of a small strip mall.  I was once again strong-armed into pulling over to spend twenty minutes handling  a lot of junk that was cheap, dirty and more than a little disgusting.  I think the better-half feels she’s required to make a purchase of at least one item no matter where we stop.  She threw her questionable purchases into the trunk and we moved on down the road.

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We made a really short visit at the flea market in Lebanon but was once again disappointed.  It was Labor Day and we expected a large crowd.  We were the crowd.  We made a quick stop, one minor purchase (required) and headed home.  All in all a pretty nice day.

08-28-2014 Journal Entry–Road Trip!   Leave a comment

Yesterday was predicted to be beautiful and for a change those prescient weather experts were correct.  With that in mind and my better-half having a day off we decided to take a one day road trip.  One of our favorite areas to visit and take photographs is the White Mountain in New Hampshire. We packed up the car, visited a Dunkin’ Donut for coffee and then hit the road. Our goal was to enjoy the day, have a nice lunch, do a little shopping, and take a few scenic photos that could be used as screen savers.

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This is the shot looking back towards Maine from the foothills of the White Mountains.  What you can see in these shots is the beginning of our climb into the mountains while working our way west towards Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Off course as we travel along my better-half is on the hunt for antiques (junk). She considers it an unsuccessful trip if she can’t fill the trunk with the more interesting New Hampshire junk.  Everyone knows their junk is soooo much better than Maine junk.  She also has a disturbing thing for signs and what did we stumble on but a sign shop.  That’s a half an hour of my life I’ll never get back.

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Believe it  or not  this shop  with hundreds of  signs  both  new  and  old, didn’t have that certain special sign she was looking for.  I actually found a couple of things that interested me but since everything is still being priced for the visiting tourists I decided to wait and possibly return when the prices are rolled back to off-season rates.

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After a few hours of enjoying the scenery we entered the town of North Conway well known for it’s proximity to Mt. Washington and it’s endless outlet malls.  What a shock, a shoppers paradise in the wilderness.  The better-half immediately became rejuvenated and was smiling a whole lot more.  Here’s their somewhat famous and totally restored railway station. I know it’s boring but it’s the biggest building in town.

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It’s hotter than blazes so what do we do? We park the car on Main Street and decide to walk around and visit some shops.  I was sweating through my shirt after ten minutes. Fortunately she made a few purchases and her shopping withdrawal was appeased.  She mulled over the purchase of a cute little cast iron pig soap dish (she has a huge pig collection) at the Naked Bohemian shop but at the last minute decided against it. The Naked Bohemian is a shop full of hippy paraphernalia and I had a flashback or two just walking around. Head bands, tie-dye everything, and peace signs as far as the eye can see.  I lived through the sixties and this reminded me I wouldn’t want to do it again.

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You’ll be surprised to hear that she’s been second guessing her pig purchase decision and has been reminding me about it every fifteen minutes all the way home.  Off course I had my own issues.  I found a cool backpack made from feed sacks that caught my eye.  Just what everyone needs, right? Every time she mentioned the soap dish I immediately brought up the damn backpack. We’ll both still whining about it today. 

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The trip home was a pleasant drive and we stopped along the way to snap a few pictures at a group of smaller lakes and ponds.  These two were taken at Purity Lake.  A small puddle out in the woods in the middle of almost nowhere. A really beautiful spot.   It has greatly improved the look of my desktop already.

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All in all it was a pleasant day except for the good food we never had. We were so busy farting around we forgot to stop and eat.  We decided to stop on the way home but we passed only one restaurant along the unpopulated route we traveled and it was totally unacceptable.  We finally ate late in the afternoon at a place just ten minutes from our  home.  Oh well, nothings perfect.

08-11-2013   2 comments

Well we returned home at 9pm last night from our day and a half road trip to Rhode Island.  I was never so glad to be home.  Road trips in and of themselves can be fun but only if you have enough time to stop and smell the roses.  Anyone who tries to squeeze four or five days of activities into one day is out of their effing mind.

I can tell you from my experience yesterday that the last place you want to be on a hot summer Sunday in August is Newport, Rhode Island. Thousands of people jamming the streets and every business and building. You’d better not be the least bit claustrophobic because if you are you’re royally and supremely screwed.

There were so many pedestrians on the streets it was difficult to even drive a city block without issues. If you do somehow find yourself kidnaped by your spouse and her family members and taken there against your will, you have my sincerest sympathies.  If you go there voluntarily then you have some issues of your own to deal with.

Make sure you have plenty of cash with you as well.  Things are a little pricy and you’ll pay top price for everything.  Parking fees are utterly outrageous and insulting.  Restaurants will serve you huge portions of food that you’ll never be able to finish just so they have justification to jack the prices up as high as possible.

Do I sound angry? If I don’t then I’m not getting my point across.  My last visit to Newport was twenty years ago and I guarantee there will never be another.  The entire place offends my sensibilities and going back again is just out of the question.

There, I feel a little better after getting that off my chest.   Now I can allow my life to return to what I think is normal.  No more unorganized, hit or more miss, expensive, and un-fun outings.  I promise!

One other thing, any members of my better-half’s family who may read this, don’t take anything I’ve written too personally.  If you do, so be it.