Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Miles to Go!

I hope you're not tired of seeing pics of our vacation yet - because I've still got at least a couple posts to go! 

I wish I could figure out how to post a map of our trip here but that one's a little out of my expertise yet.  I'm sure there's a way though!  Anyway - from Pennsylvannia we headed across the corner of Delaware, skirting around Philadelphia and Wilmington.  We used up some Hampton Inn points with a weekend night stay at a very nice Hilton near Newport.  We figured we'd be the only guests arriving by motorcycle but just as we drove up, a nice couple from upstate New York pulled in on their Gold Wing.  Most of our motel stays on this trip were at  Best Westerns.  They have a special  Harley Davidson  discounted rate (usually the same as AAA) and most of them advertise as "motorcycle friendly".  Which usually means they will let you park under the covered entry at the front if there's room and also provide a place to wash your motorcycle.  D took advantage of that several times as he's pretty particular about the dust collecting on his pretty bike!  

The next morning we headed across the bridge into New Jersey and down the little corner to Cape May.  This is not the New Jersey you imagine when thinking of this state.  There are a  lot of farming communities with roadside vegetable and fruit stands.  We made it to Cape May in time for the ferry ride across the Delaware Bay to Lewes - back in Delaware again.  The hour and a half ferry ride was fun and relaxing.  We spent most of the time on the deck and D experimented with his camera.  Mostly taking dozens of photos of the gulls overhead and the jelly fish floating by in the water!
This is one of the light houses as we approached Lewes.  And a beautiful tall ship anchored in the harbor where we disembarked.
We spent an hour or so walking around the pretty historical town of Lewes.  There were several cute shops and cafes but we arrived on the first day of a record heat wave and we were soon ready to be on our way.  We had found a parking spot near the old forge - we didn't notice the anvil hanging above until walking back to the bike.  Luckily the blacksmith did a good job of welding that sucker up there! 
A few sights from our stroll around the town. 
Our plan was to head on down to Ocean City, but we decided to eat an early dinner and hopefully let some of the afternoon heat subside.  (We enjoyed some excellent crab cakes at Crabby Dicks !)  Along the road we saw several of these towers.  They are remnants of the WWII Harbor Defense System of the Delaware Bay. 
I'm afraid we weren't too impressed with Ocean City.  Just lots of hotels, restaurants and beach wear and souvenir shops.  It reminded us of Myrtle Beach.  Plus the traffic was terrible and with the heat wave and the heat from the bike, the ride was not pleasant.  Sorry Ocean City!  Some of the beaches did look nice but they were very busy.  At this point we changed our travel plans.  We had planned on going on down the road and crossing over to Virginia Beach, but with expensive hotels, traffic, heat wave and  lots of people, we decided to cut back inland and head somewhere else.  This is the sunset as we headed west to Salisbury where we spent the night.  Hard to believe this photo is from the Delmarva Pennisula, and not Kansas! 
The next morning we headed back up the penninsula and across the Bay Bridge.  We thought we would go around Washington DC as we were hoping to stay away from traffic as we traveled toward Fredericksburg, VA.  In the end, we probably should have stayed on the freeway instead of the stoplight riddled suburban streets.  It probably would have been cooler.  This heat wave was getting the best of us and not making for pleasant riding.  The best temperatures for riding as far as we're concerned are between 70-80degrees.  Ninety-five plus is just too hot, especially when the humidity is near 80% (!) as it was these few days. 
We had hoped to get to Fredericksburg in time to take a trolley tour, but by the time we checked into the motel and found the historic downtown area, we had missed the last tour :(  So we walked around a little but honestly, I was so hot and dehyrated that I  had no interest in sightseeing.  We were both tired so didn't do much here.  I would be interested in coming back here though.  Perhaps someday we'll get here again and we can go to Williamsburg and also back to Washington DC.  Just please - don't let it be hot and humid, especially if we're on the Harley!
Finally - Heat relief!  And the journey continues!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Miles!

Next stop - Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.  We could have spent several days here - but instead only the better part of an afternoon.  Not nearly enough time to enjoy the scenery, food, shopping and atmosphere.  You might have heard of this area as the Amish area of the state.  And indeed we met many families in their horse drawn buggies on the highway. We were fascinated by the unique scooters powered by  barefoot Amish kids as they sped alongside the roads.  Too speedy for me to catch with my camera - though it probably would have been considered rude to photograph them anyway.   
The crisp white barns of the farms dotted the land for almost as far as we could see.  Corn and other crops as well as gardens and orchards tied the landscapes together just like the sashings and borders on one big quilt. 
I'm not sure if I was trying to take a photo of this interesting tree or the quilts hanging on the porch of the farmhouse - but it works anyway!  I had been using my old Kodak 550V digital camera to take photos from the back of the bike, but the day before it finally died. It served me well these past few years, but luckily I had packed the little Panasonic DMC-TZ5 that I had gotten to replace it last summer.  I've never been happy with how long it takes to focus when I'm trying to take photos while moving. But I think I've finally figured that out and these turned out better than I expected.  We did indeed take the new Nikon and used it when off the Harley.  I'm not brave enough to risk holding an expensive camera at 60 mph!  Geeks that we are, we travel with two cell phones, three cameras, two computers, a GPS (plus one built into the Harley) and I think D had his Palm too!  Good thing we have that trailer! And you all just thought it was for my shoes!
We spent some time at the Farmer's Market in Bird-In-Hand.  There's something for everyone here, from food, crafts, local produce and meat to this great rocking chair.  I would love to have tied it on top of the trailer, but we really didn't want to look like the Clampetts the rest of the trip! 
Quilts, Quilts and MORE Quilts!  All handmade by local quilters!  Beautiful.  I'm not sure which shop these were in but the display was certainly impressive.
We moved on down the road to Intercourse, PA.  More QUILTS here at Village Quilts- but no photos allowed in the shop.  As well as I could tell, they only stocked locally hand quilted products and displayed them beautifully.  A gorgeous shop, inside and out!
Across the street was The Old Country Store.  So once you saw the beautiful handmade quilts, you could be inspired to create your own.  They had a great fabric selection, patterns, fat quarters and fabric bundles along with interesting gift items.  A lovely shop! 
I would love to go back to this little town and the entire area and spend more time.  I'm sure there are lots of other roads that would make for some good riding and plenty of interesting places to stop.  There's just not enough time to cover all the miles!
So onward we traveled.  If you look carefully, you can find a hint of one of our next stops in the photo above. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adding Up The Miles

Hello again!   I hope you've had a great couple of weeks!  We certainly did!  With 2230 miles added to the Harley speedometer, we covered a lot of this beautiful country in the last few days.
First on our itinerary - Fallingwater.  We've been Frank Lloyd Wright fans for years and have always hoped to get here some day.  We've visited Taliesin in Wisconsin but Fallingwater is much more impressive. 

Built for the Kaufmann family as a summer getaway back in the 1930's, Wright constructed this unique home over top of a waterfall. 

He anchored it in the existing rocks and I'm sure it was an engineering nightmare at the time.  The beauty of the stream and trees and the work of the Conservancy to maintain the property make this a wonderful destination for anyone who admires the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Just one of the interesting trees on the property  - I call this the smiling tree!

We continued our travel across the state of Pennsylvannia and found lots of interesting little towns and stopping points.  This little log cabin gift shop of course caught my eye! 
But our next destination was Gettysburg.  Several years ago, when E was a grad student at Penn State, we stopped here on our way back from Washington, D.C. and toured the battlefields.  We bought a CD that was a self-guided tour and something I would recommend to everyone.  Next time we're through here, I'd like to take one of the bus tours.  It was pretty warm on this day and this tour group was lucky to have the shade of one of the big old trees.
Last time we were here, it was late winter so not much was open downtown.  This time, we browsed through some of the shops and had lunch at a corner "tavern".  The Saturday morning Farmer's Market was just about over, but we enjoyed looking at the wonderful fresh veggies, fruits and other products. 
These statues downtown looked very lifelike, right down to the corduory on the tourist's slacks!

Well, that's it for the first TWO days of our vacation.  We covered so much ground that it's going to take me a few more posts to get it all "blogged".  I probably should have tried to blog from the motel room every night, but since we didn't have a real set travel plan, we would figure out each night where we wanted to go the next day and what we wanted to see. With sometimes sluggish, or non-existent internet connections, we we lucky to get that done.   But it was great to not have to be anywhere in particular and take our time to get to where we wanted to be.   Even though we had some hot days of travel, the Harley was in top running condition and our little trailer came in handy as we collected our "souvenirs" along the way. 
Thanks for not giving up on me!  I'll be back with the rest of the trip soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter Three - The Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday Little J! It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the birth of our first grandson! It's been fun to watch him grow and change even if it has been from four and a half hours away! Last weekend we took a quick trip over to the St. Louis area to help him and his mommy and daddy celebrate. The lucky boy will get another party this weekend with his other grandparents. I love this photo! His personality certainly comes through and it was fun to experiment with the new camera and about 300 photos in the pool. (Okay, I exaggerate a little!)
He loves his pool! With temps in the upper 90's, it was even better.
This child does have a few toys! And he got even more but it's still his books and even his birthdays cards that fascinate him. Maybe we've got a reader on our hands!

Dinner at Iron Barley was an interesting experience. Once featured on the Travel Channel, it's hard to describe the type of restaurant it is. Maybe a cross between a biker bar, neighborhood diner and barbecue joint. The food was good but their air conditioner had trouble keeping up with the crowd and the 90+ degree weather. But we still had fun! In lieu of a birthday cake, we planned on taking little J to Ted Drewes, the famous custard stand of St. Louis, but the little guy crashed in the car and slept through the whole yummy experience!

Daddy and Grampa actually had to get the instructions out to put together little J's new wheels. Guess auto mechanics they are not :) !
"Here, this is how you do it, Dad! Now give me some gas money! "

We are excited to see what the next year will bring :) It seems like these early years go so fast and before you know it, your babies are all grown up and having babies themselves! Sometimes I think it would be good to go back in time and re-live those days but maybe do some things differently, but then I realize that these times are too good to change and we wouldn't want it any other way! So enjoy these early days kids - they'll pass too quickly!

A little backtracking here -

I forgot to mention that D had a new biker babe with him last week! Hopefully, none of her middle school students will find out about her secret life!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chapter Two - Road Trip to Shaker Village

A little taste of Shaker Village, KY. We definitely picked the prettiest day of the week to show my sister and my niece this interesting Kentucky destination. The early morning fog burned off to clear blue skies and a light breeze. Perfect for walking around the historic buildings. After a very informative (and perhaps a little too detailed) lecture by one of the docents about the history of the village, we enjoyed touring the buildings on the grounds. If you're interested in the details of the Shaker life and their history in Kentucky, this is an interesting website. We began to think they had the right idea about storing furniture, clothing etc. The "shaker" pegs on the walls could be very useful when cleaning - just get everything out of the way!
The women and men lived in separate dormitories and they each had their own skills that they used to glorify the Lord. This quilting frame was set up in the women's dorm. My niece added her stitches to those of many past visitors.
The buildings were quite impressive some were very large. Though plain and simple, the structures were well built and beautiful.

We managed to add another famous event to our road trip without even trying. We didn't realize that our route down Hwy 127 would take us on the famous World's Longest Yard Sale. So on our way home we had to stop at at least one of the areas of tents and tables. Every little bit we'd see another group of yard sales set up along the road and cars and trucks with trailers would be slowing down to check out the bargains. We saw lots of interesting things - but with our car full of four adults, a baby in a car seat and a stroller and picnic lunch in the trunk we didn't have room to load up any bargains. (Thank goodness!)The baby in the car seat was entertainment for the trip! He was so good and got some practice putting up with four women on a road trip! I hope to be back tomorrow with Chapter Three - the Birthday Boy!