Beyond the Barricade (East Coast Days 28-34)

StocksWe were in Washington during the days when the barricades went up. Seems that some leaders were playing a game of chicken, nuh-uh-so’s-your-old-man, or some other Junior High game and then everybody started having hissy fits. With a harrumph the sides came to a point where each wanted just to take the ball and go home which resulted in the standoff that barricaded our national parks and museums.

That sounds flip, but the choice of a junior-high metaphor is intentional. We were only inconvenienced, whereas others were impacted more. For the purposes of a travel blog, I should not digress more than this. I will only share that we had to adjust to it like other things that test our flexibility. We’ve also had to deal with water pipes, tire situations and have watched the predictions for tropical storm Karen. We can adapt to all of these, so I suppose we can work around some blame-game politicians as well.

My last post covered the social story of these same days, 28-34, about renewing with old friends. This one will cover the travel itself: The where and how and what we saw.

A beautiful day, the City in passing as we leave Long Island

A beautiful day, the City in passing as we leave Long Island

The barricades went up about halfway through these days. Prior to this, we had left our camp north of New York City to slant to the SE out to Long Island. Is there anywhere else with as much variety in as compact a space? Under storybook skies we cut into forests on two-lanes, then arced above Hudson River hamlets on soaring interchanges. Our rig bounded on aged concrete parkways then shot onto interstates hemmed in by townhouses. Lunch with dear Joan, dinner and guest room with Chris and Laura.

TireOh, and this is the day that began the saga of the trailer tires. My bad—I had not been keeping the right pressure in them. It took the patience of our friends in two major cities to endure my angst over finding replacement treads for our little pop-up, which we ultimately did. The badly scalloped wear was first noticed in NY and ultimately replaced in VA.

Signroom LBellThe next leg was an I-95 utility drive meant just to get us to DC with Philadelphia on the way. It might almost be a travel misdemeanor to give only 4 hours to Philadelphia. Cite us, yes. In truth we cannot see everything in 7 weeks’ time, so we blitzed in to Philly just for its Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We dared not drive in hauling the trailer, but instead used the PATCO train from a station in New Jersey. We did our own park-and-ride commute while the rig rested in a NJ station lot.

Worth it, yes, worth it. I am a sucker for the old-school American history tale. I want to see the real bell, to imagine it being rung (in the days before its silencing crack)—I want to see the desks in the hall where the Declaration was signed and where later the Constitution was drafted. Yeah, sure—the cynics love to burst my bubble by de-mythologizing the Founders, that they were only very faulty humans in a gritty and real political environment.  I get this, and yet I think this makes me actually less cynical overall, to think that such a radical and noble revolution was achieved by ones not unlike the rest of us.

ArtFrom our DC base (actually Vienna, VA, with friends) we had a pre-barricade day at the art museum at the Smithsonian. This never disappoints. After the close of government our strategy shifts to state (not Fed) and private parks and museums: Camping at Pocahontas State Park near Richmond (nice!), and visiting private sites/museums (National Geographic, Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, Confederate White House).

The standards of excellence at these sites can almost make you forget the Federal ones we missed. Well, not quite. I’m a bit annoyed to miss seeing some Civil War battlefields and that we cannot camp at Smokies and Zion, but we’re also determined to have a good time, dang it.

Sometimes the barricades we must overcome are the ones we put up against ourselves.

Citizens on the Potomac

Citizens on the Potomac

Mount Vernon, Washington's home

Mount Vernon, Washington’s home

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Jeff Davis's Confederate White House, Richmond

Jeff Davis’s Confederate White House, Richmond

Guide showing copy of Constitution in the place where it was written

Guide showing copy of Constitution in the place where it was written

A to B: Day 28 (Sep 28), Plattekill to Huntington Station, NY: 120 mi, 15.7 mpg, 6 hrs (3 hr lunch stop in Melville) B to C: Day 29 (Sep 29), Huntington Station, NY to Vienna, VA: 325 mi, 18.8 mpg, 11 hrs (4 hr Philadelphia side trip) Days 30-31 (Sep 30, Oct 1): Touring DC (0 miles) C to D: Day 32 (Oct 2), Vienna to Pocahontas State Park, VA: 144 mi (5447 total route miles), 17.7 mpg, 8 hrs (4 hrs in Mt Vernon) Days 33-34 (Oct 2-3), Touring Williamsburg, Richmond: 184 mi, 22.4 mpg

A to B: Day 28 (Sep 28), Plattekill to Huntington Station, NY: 120 mi, 15.7 mpg, 6 hrs (3 hr lunch stop in Melville)
B to C: Day 29 (Sep 29), Huntington Station, NY to Vienna, VA: 325 mi, 18.8 mpg, 11 hrs (4 hr Philadelphia side trip)
Days 30-31 (Sep 30, Oct 1): Touring DC (0 miles)
C to D: Day 32 (Oct 2), Vienna to Pocahontas State Park, VA: 144 mi (5447 total route miles), 17.7 mpg, 8 hrs (4 hrs in Mt Vernon)
Days 33-34 (Oct 2-3), Touring Williamsburg, Richmond: 184 mi, 22.4 mpg

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Old Friends: Take it Off Pause and Push Play (East Coast Days 28-34)

Terry, Nancy, Cal, Ben

Terry, Nancy, Cal, Ben

For a Californian, going east can be time travel. The roots and routes of Golden State history mostly point that way.  Indeed, on this trip people from the past have come alive to us—Jefferson, Washington, et.al—but also some names from our personal history: Joan, Laura, Roger, Krissy, Terry and more. It’s as if we reached back to pull memories forward and make them again present and real, thus refreshing and resuming some precious friendships.

Nancy, Natalie, Verna

Nancy, Natalie, Verna

Much as I love knowing Thomas and George all the better, this was an east-coast swing that was as notable for our personal histories as it was for our national. We love our country, even more so now, and (contra Vladimir) we are an exceptional people. To us this is proved and personalized in that we have some remarkable and exceptional friends.

A post will follow this one about the travel itself, all of one week to cover West Point to Williamsburg. This entry is about people, the next about the road, the places.

I won’t linger on this topic—not all readers will know these people. But perhaps you can relate nevertheless; perhaps you have ones in your life who re-appear to bless you as we have been this week.

Cal, Roger

Cal, Roger

The blessing of these people can be best summarized this way: Where our relationships were put on “pause,” good friends will release the pause button to resume play. There is no thought given to the time we lost while we were silent to each other. This would lead to some regret, yes, but it’s not considered. If anything there’s a delight in trying to summarize years, even decades, of life as it happened for all of us. And then we all go back and update our files, so to speak.  It may not be just as if we were together all that time, but it is nearly so.

That also leads to some personal promises I mutter under my breath—that we will not ever again push the pause button for such a span. Time’s a wastin’ as they say.

Reconnect MapSo down the east coast we went southwestward, aligned at that angle with the Atlantic on our left. Interspersed with visits that memorialize Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Van Gogh are names that are present and alive, still flourishing as we re-touched them, names personally meaningful. With Krissy and Kevin the pause button was not pushed long, just a few months, but the rest were all as if we had grabbed former decades and pulled them present:

Bev, 17th Century Sailor, Nancy

Bev, 17th Century Sailor, Nancy

Early college and ministry days were lively in the re-telling. The raising of little children to adulthood, seemingly in an instant out of our view, is recounted in just a paragraph of conversation. Pictures on phones passed around the table. We blinked, and several became grandparents.

The whole east coast for us was rich with stories of SCC, Fuller, ministry, long-ago visits, meals and beds on which to sleep, and endurance of various trailer tire episodes (now successfully resolved). You know who you are, and to you our deep thanks.

My senior pass for entrance to federal sites became a moot advantage when those sites barricaded on October 1, but you—each of you—were open for us. You were gracious and playful, you made our shared histories resume again as if there was barely a pause. Thank you.

Top and Bottom pics: The Potomac; Center: Nancy, Cal, Krissy, Kevin

Top and Bottom pics: The Potomac; Center: Nancy, Cal, Krissy, Kevin

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New York: In! Out! Badda-boom, badda-bing! (Days 25-27)

Empire CoupleNew York City is a force to be reckoned with. Other spaces in the country offer reflection on how we fit with our surroundings whether in open wilderness, rural landscape, towns or some cities.  But New York’s street-level ecology is of the concrete kind, with hardly a speck of nature.  It is all city, all humanity, all the time. New York City, loud and proud.

Hey buddy. Yeah, you. You wanna move along? We’re having a city here. Wassat? You want to think about this a little. Whoa, well excuse me for livin’! … Look. You wanna play, you play. You wanna watch, OK, but don’t get in our way.

The art-deco emblem in the lobby of the Empire State Building (L). Some views at the top; the upper right pic looks north, the other south. The southern view grew cloudier in just the time it took for us to walk around to that side.

The art-deco emblem in the lobby of the Empire State Building (L). Some views at the top; the upper right pic looks north, the other south. The southern view grew cloudier in just the time it took for us to walk around to that side.

No one said this to us in these words, but it is inferred in the city vibe. It is whispered in the breeze you feel when someone blows past you, striding into traffic unafraid while you stand (like an idiot) waiting for the walk signal at the corner. It is subliminal in the collective hum and hiss you can hear from the whole city as you listen from the top of the Empire State. It is detectible in the glazed insolence of the Times Square burger girl telling you there’s only chicken tonight, no beef.

But you got to love it, just for the difference of it all, for the wonderful lab experiment of millions of people living in small spaces, and then to see how we behave. And in many ways we do OK, with great theatre, art, architecture, music and business. People love this place, warts and all.

Whatever is your taste for such a city, no cross-country trip is complete without standing in Times Square.

IMG_1199So how do you visit NYC when pulling a pop-up camper across the US? I wrote about this dilemma several weeks ago; my brother’s cartoon, re-posted here, captures this dilemma well. So we camped away from the city and took the train for a hotel overnight in Times Square. The forests of the Hudson River valley, now just barely tinted for fall, gave no hint of the city to come when we were still only minutes north of NYC.  Soon enough we were next to bricks and fewer trees, until at last we plunged under the earth toward Grand Central.

Times Square, 11pm, in the city that never sleeps.

Times Square, 11pm, in the city that never sleeps.

A hotel right on Times Square (thank you, Hilton travel points) provides insulation from the craziness below, though it blinks against your drapes all night. The LED screens have made Time Square a cross-roads of sensory overload, and then you add the costumed characters and most others from everywhere else standing around gawking. The nation is having a party and it’s in Times Square. You can go, but plan on the loneliest experience you can have while surrounded by thousands of people.

Still, it’s a kick to see.

The Late Show people had this so organized: Show up at a certain time, sign in, report back to a particular queue, wait in line, etc. Then prepped by staff to be a boisterous crowd. Showed up at 3, taped at 6, out at 7:15, on to our Broadway show, Pippin

We had applied for tickets to Dave one month before taping, as the website instructed, and did not hear that we got them until we were in Ticonderoga, NY. We walked to the theatre to engage in a maze of waiting and watching, then finally entering to see the show live. Steve Martin was Dave’s guest, great show.

This let out at 7:15, and our tickets to Pippin were for 8:00. We grab a Panini from a deli like a local, eat while dodging others on the sidewalk, and make it in time for curtain. What an amazing show, and it had a meaningful point to make.  The title

Expertly produced, written with more acrobatics (like Broadway-meets-cirque-du-Soleil). Thoroughly enjoyable.

Expertly produced, written with more acrobatics (like Broadway-meets-cirque-du-Soleil). Thoroughly enjoyable.

character was overwrought about doing something meaningful, imagining a series of great things to do that never satisfied.  He let go of this circus-in-his-head when he found personal fulfillment in the sweet and available joys of the people who matter to him.

DSC00497Ground zero was sad, and it should be. A great sadness occurred there. However, the memorial itself did not provide much comfort, even if it affirmed our sadness.  Waterfalls that plunge into the earth symbolize emptiness and futility to me, like the earth swallowed the towers, the people, and that’s it. Gulp, gone. For what? Made me mad that it happened.

The memorial itself gives a feeling of emptiness, but the new tower nearby speaks hope.

The memorial itself gives a feeling of emptiness, but the new tower nearby speaks hope.

The Freedom Tower was a better symbol. It seemed to say we do not stop, we carry on.

These images flickered in my head as we went to lights out, once back in camp. The flickers were not from a distant Samsung LED giant screen ad, but from things we had seen, now showing on the stage between my ears: The achievements of a city, the furrow-brow intentions of the suit-with-briefcase guy, the laughter of the comics and the hope of Freedom Tower and of Pippin’s now-happy life.

Lights out. Crickets.

_______________

Trip Notes:

Day 25: Boston (Wompatuck) to New York (Newburg KOA): 230 miles (4858 total route), 16.7 mpg, 5 hours Day 26-27: Driving to the train, errands, etc: 55 miles, 18.3 mpg

Day 25: Boston (Wompatuck) to New York (Newburg KOA): 230 miles (4858 total route), 16.7 mpg, 5 hours
Day 26-27: Driving to the train, errands, etc: 55 miles, 18.3 mpg

Drive BOS to NYC: Diverted from interstate a bit, the colors were out a bit more in RI and CT, not sure why. Love the small towns not visible from the Interstate.

KOA 70 miles north of NYC: Near Newburgh, NY. One of the best KOA’s I’ve ever seen, nice spacing between sites, good amenities, grassy, friendly staff

Hudson River Line: Pick up at Beacon station in Newburgh; parking is difficult weekdays after 8am, but not impossible. 90 minutes later, in Grand Central

Empire State Building:  See it in September. We walked through seeming miles of velvet-rope maze that was intended for the previous larger crowds of summer, now delightfully missing.

DoubleTree Times Square: Showed up with a change of clothes in a backpack.

Dave Letterman taping: Request tickets 30 days in advance and then they call you. Later.  Like we did not know we’d have tickets until I was called while camping in Ticonderoga. They are SO organized there.  The taping let out in time to make our Broadway show.

Pippin: At the Music Box Theatre, historic; the lobby filled with pics of Gershwin, et. al. that tell of the venue’s heyday. We got tickets in advance, since it was the show we wanted to see, and we had no confidence that tickets would be available at the TKTS booth.

Ground Zero: Get timed tickets for entrance, pick them up at the visitor center, walk in. This was more packed with people; it was disconcerting how some were not respectful there, some just wanting to pose in front of the memorial like they were at Old Faithful.Empire Beauty Rock

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Finding Our Boston Common: Days 21-24

OldnewBoston is far from home, in miles and in culture, yet the city still managed to touch us deeply in kindred ways. Our roots are Californian, in our generation, and to go back a few gens we have Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Sweden. So in terms of the rich familiarities one might seek in a faraway town, Boston should offer less for us than other places. Yet it surprised us.  The city knew us better than we thought.

Acadia-Boston map

Day 21: Acadia to Boston (Wompatuck State Park), 306 miles (4628 total route), 16.3 mpg, 10 hours
Days 22-24: Seeing Boston: 121 mi, 18.7 mpg

It was off-putting at first. Boston traffic was not a good mediator as we adjusted from 2 weeks of countryside and small town US. Welcome back to the big city, now pay attention and drive. After a Saturday morning in the pines and quiet of Maine, and a weaving route through foggy coastal towns, this was quite an adjustment in the late afternoon.

ParkstreetallAll was forgiven come Sunday morning. After a ride into town on the T, we emerged from the subway at Boston Common to the sight of the Park Street Church spire, set among the array of more recent (but still old) structures, as if the centuries could be summarized in one eyeful. And then we entered and worshiped.

I was surprised how emotional this was for me, and found I could not keep composed well enough to finish the first hymn, The God of Abraham Praise. The pipe organ went into the last verse with a flourish and the lyric caught in my throat while tears brimmed. This historic denomination, the one which first ordained me to ministry so long ago (Congregational), this church still ministering here, still reaching the city, feeding the hungry, telling the old, old story after hundreds of years.

This was the first thread that spoke of home to me. It did not look like my church at home, its worship was different in many ways, but the message was the same ancient and refreshing one that has bound the family of God for millennia. It was the same for me, but placed in a different context; it was the same but in a different place. We were in Boston, but we were home.

FenwaybothAnother thread was experienced at Fenway Park, later that day. Now this place bears nothing of the same kind of theological meaning, but it’s a thread nevertheless. And for some people, ourselves not included, the game borders on a kind of religion. Here’s a different stadium and fan/team cultures, yet the pastime is the same. I don’t know another person among these thousands, but we all know the meanings of inning, out, strike, fly, foul, etc.

Then there was the deeply moving story of our nation, so present in the city, etched in the freedom trail, spoken in history retold by guides and docents, on plaques and church walls, monuments and in preserved homes (like John and Abigail Adams’s Peacefield). These are the places where my country was first imagined and then realized: Faneuil Hall, Boston Massacre Site, Copps Hill, Bunker Hill, USS Constitution, Old North Church.

The stone library at left, Peacefield house on the right, the Adams's home.

The stone library at left, Peacefield house on the right, the Adams’s home.

I have called these features “threads” but another metaphor comes to mind. It’s as if while walking through this unfamiliar house that we encounter a hallway. For a moment, as if in a dream, a glance up and down this hallway shows how we stand in a common place with hundreds who belong to us or share that with us. In a common faith, a common message, I can see down the hall to all who hold the gospel, who have told that story and recited the creeds. And even in the shared pastimes or national histories, we have these hallway moments where we see ourselves as belonging.

Nancyregular

Nancy and a British Regular trying to keep his composure.

Trip notes:  Saturday—Drive from Acadia to Boston, found our way to Wompatuck State Park, had to change sites there to be by facilities that work; Sunday—drove to nearby subway station, rode the T to Park Street Church and then again to the ballgame at Fenway; Monday—subway again to lunch with Kevin and Billie Jo Weiss, new friends we met through a shared friend, and a walk of the Freedom Trail with a terrific guide; Tuesday—Visit to John/Abigail Adams homes in Quincy, the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.

Campground notes:  Wompatuck State Park was convenient and adequate, ok spacing between sites, make sure if you camp there that the facilities near your site are working.

MargaritasRestaurant notes:  One recommendation—awesome Mexican fare at Papagayo’s in Charlestown, near the USS Constitution. Best house margarita ever.

Freedom Trail Guide James.

Freedom Trail Guide James.

USS Constitution, commissioned 1797

USS Constitution, commissioned 1797

Beautiful day for a game. Red Sox beat the Blue Jays.

Beautiful day for a game. Red Sox beat the Blue Jays.

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Learning to Play the Acadian: Days 19-20 in Our Easternmost National Park

Cal coastThis national park makes no pretense, no grand show of its federal borders, no huge arches at the entrance (like Yellowstone). It blends somewhat unobtrusively into life Down East, as they call it, the shore of Maine. In our touring of this park we found ourselves in the park, then out of it, then into a city, then back in the park. It’s as if they gerrymandered a park to nestle between incorporated cities and private property.

Days 19-20.  Driving, seeing Acadia: 101 miles, 20.1 mpg

Days 19-20. Driving, seeing Acadia: 101 miles, 20.1 mpg

And that is the story, we are told: Enthusiasts for this natural area bought up tracts of land and donated it to form the park, giving an appearance of a paint-spill of national park green across the map of Maine’s coastline. The map-trip sum at right shows just a few blotches of green, yet Acadia is found on numerous other islands along the coast.

Blackwoods Campground site A-71

Blackwoods Campground site A-71; Pretty nice. Had a neighbor in a big RV who ran their generator into the evening (vs the rules), but I asked them all friendly-like to turn it off, and they did. We did BBQ burgers, white wine and campfire here one night. Both NP campgrounds, this one and Sea Wall, are heavily wooded, neither with an ocean view, but are short walks from the shore.

The most consistent park experience is the loop road in the main part of the park where most of us go, Mount Desert island. Oh, and you pronounce Desert as a verb, like “I desert you.” Or if it helps, say it like dessert. Anyway… The loop road is a great tour. It’s confusing at first where it starts, dealing with part of it as one-way, where you pay to enter. Oh, and then, you realize, the campground is not accessible from this road but it’s off a state highway connecting Bar Harbor with Seal Harbor.

At Sand Beach

At Sand Beach

*sigh* Just study the map a bit, and then enjoy it. Start at the visitor center, see the movie, drive down the park road, take the one-way toward Sand Beach. You’ll love it.

Bar Harbor was a surprise. It’s a bit of Newport Beach or Vail in miniature, a resort town on a rocky shore, surrounded by pines. One wrong turn to miss the loop road, and you have your campfire-aroma self driving slowly in traffic among the shoppers and gawkers on the main drag.

The other towns, and the countryside, have a more serene feel.  Some of it still has the look of old money, someone’s summer cottage. Others show the grand houses refurbished as B&B’s. More modest neighborhoods are a sprinkling of larger acreage homes where people live their lives and watch the RV’s parade by. There’s less parade now in the off-season.

The kids on Cadillac Mountain

Intrepid duo on Cadillac Mountain

It was 70’s and clear. Gorgeous weather. A highlight is to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the high point in the park. It is around 1500 feet and close to the water, making it a prominent singular land form, they say it’s the highest peak that’s right up on the eastern coast. On a longer visit, we’d hike to it, but we drove up this time.

Like most stops on this trip, the days allotted are not enough to fully appreciate the wonders. But with the “what’s next?” enthusiasm we have for the road, we now look southwestward to Bean Town.

Panoramic shot from Cadillac Mountain

Panoramic shot from Cadillac Mountain

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Crossing Paths

Thanks, both of you, for adding so much to our time in Niagara. ‘Twas a great evening indeed!

learn with me now

Back in July, I stumbled upon a blogger who startled me by having the following things in common with me:

  • Sabbatical for fall, 2013
  • Planning on traveling for part of his Sabbatical
  • Planning to blog about his Sabbatical travels
  • Has the same model popup camper as we do
  • Met his spouse about the same time period (early 1970’s)

His Sabbatical trip was to be a cross-country road trip, from California to Maine (northern route) and back (southern route). I noticed that his planned route took him through New York State in early September. What could I do but get in touch with him and suggest that we try to have our paths cross? This weekend that happened! We met up with Cal and Nancy in Four Mile Creek State Campground, just north of Niagara Falls.

Image

In one of our early correspondences, Cal noticed that my signature line included a quoted…

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The Trip I Wanted to Take Before I Live. Days 17-18: Arrival at Acadia

4322

At the end of Ocean Path, Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park, Maine

The expression “on our bucket list” is not the best way to describe this trip for us. That expression is clever, and mildly humorous (in a dark way), but it links aspiration with expiration. Crossing the country by car was never, for me, a check-box thing to hurry up and do before I kick the bucket. I will simply say that this was something I always wanted to do. It’s on my life list and as such I expect it will add new items to the list.

If you have had something on your life list, something you’ve always wanted to do, then perhaps you can relate to the satisfaction and blessing we enjoy at this.

Always had a love of road trips and maps. Here I share some of that delight with daughter Tessa, circa 1984.

Always had a love of road trips and maps. Here I share some of that delight with daughter Tessa, circa 1984.

On September 18, 2013, a little map-geek 12-year-old boy—still inside this guy of 63 years—finally did what he dreamed of with marker pens on folded-paper highways. Eighteen days earlier we got in our car on the coast of California and drove across a beautiful landscape on a route longer than needed to allow for preferred sights. After 4322 miles, we stepped on the Atlantic coast in Maine. The adventure continues as we find our way home again over the next 31 days.

Some reflections on this will follow after a brief sketch of these past two interesting driving days to get here. Don’t skip this part. It includes a discussion of mermaids.

Vermont

Vermont

Paradox, NY was cold. We ran the heater a lot that morning. Almost completely alone in this campground, we navigated carefully over a pock-marked camp road out to the highway. The world visible through the windshield brightened and warmed. Just a short bridge crossing of Champlain, and Vermont said hello in its slopes and shades of green (hence the state’s name, if you think about it).

And there’s nothing quite like socially-conscious ice cream to sweeten the view.  Ben and Jerry’s is based here in Waterbury, and their factory tour is an awareness-raising experience, complete with 60’s music playing in the gift shop, tie-dye shirts for sale, and enthusiastic tour guides. With every cone of this capitalism-done-leftward product you feel SO good about doing right on this planet, while enlarging the one you carry just above your belt.

The Mulburn Inn, Bethlehem, NH

The Mulburn Inn, Bethlehem, NH

A short hop into also-beautiful New Hampshire and we were very soon in Bethlehem where we found room at the inn. The Mulburn Inn is over 100 years old, one of the classic cottages for vacationers in years past. It has hosted Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Thomas Edison, among others. The place itself, and its owner, our wonderful hostess, gave new meaning to Bed and Breakfast for us, as both those B’s were out-of-sight fantastic at Mulburn.

In the Inn

In the Inn

I can remember only one thing about our breakfast companions the next morning at Mulburn Inn, other than that they were nice folks: They believe in mermaids. At the mention of mermaids-as-reality, all else in the area of my brain for remembering the B&B table conversation from that morning was erased. But I do know now that the TV documentary proved it, and the government has successfully suppressed the truth of it. Oh, and that they are ugly with sunken eyes and their DNA is compromised.

Referring here to mermaids, not the government.

Walking upstairs to get our bags, Nancy and I looked at each other at the first private moment and did that whisper-aghast thing, eyes widened. Mermaids!?

Nancy was pretty excited about it as well.

Nancy was pretty excited about it as well.

The day was warming and glorious, the highways were ours, route 2 in Maine bounded rurally to the east. We zigged along some other roads to cut down to Augusta, had riverside appetizers in Hallowell, and made our way to Blackwoods Campground, Acadia. Our site, A-71, is about a quarter mile walk through the forest to the Atlantic shore. We made it. 4322 miles.

Reflecting on this, the key word is grateful… that we have health and opportunity, the love of God and of each other, an employer who gives a sabbatical benefit (thanks, Intel), and that I enjoy dreaming and somehow finding a way to live out a few of them.

I like that we think deeply about the meaning of things, even the quirky observations in ordinary life, and that it’s such a deep satisfaction to reflect on this by writing. How can I do more of this? … See? I’m already working on my life list.

This trip is on my list—the list of stuff to do before I live more fully than I have before.

A to B: Day 17 (Sep 17), Paradox NY to Bethlehem NH: 173 mi (4074 total route), 15.4 mpg, 9 hrs, stopped Vergennes and Waterbury (Ben & Jerry’s) B to C: Day 18 (Sep 18), Bethlehem NH to Acadia ME: 248 mi (4322 total route), 17.3 mpg, 8 hrs, stopped at Hallowell

A to B: Day 17 (Sep 17), Paradox NY to Bethlehem NH: 173 mi (4074 total route), 15.4 mpg, 9 hrs, stopped Vergennes and Waterbury (Ben & Jerry’s)
B to C: Day 18 (Sep 18), Bethlehem NH to Acadia ME: 248 mi (4322 total route), 17.3 mpg, 8 hrs, stopped at Hallowell

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