Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Maine Adventure - Part 2

Note:   I began this update to my blog several weeks ago and never finished.    I'm sure no one is sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for Part 2, and probably Parts 3 and 4.  I've got so many photos that going thru them became so time hogging that I became overwhelmed and slacked off.  So I will go ahead and hit the publish button and try to get a few more on here at some point.  The mini version of chronicling our vacation is: We had a wonderful time, saw many parts of this beautiful country, took far too many photos, had wonderful food and made it home safe and sound.

Once we made it to Portland, the next morning we bypassed touring the city and headed up the coast on Hwy 1.  When we were in Maine a few years ago, we visited Booth Bay and really enjoyed the touristy town and also a stopped at Freeport to visit the L.L. Bean flagship store.  So again, we passed these towns up and opted for a side trip to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  One thing about riding the motorcycle, once we got off of the main highway we found the roads were pretty rough.  I'm sure that's from the freezing and thawing during the winters but we tried to ignore that and concentrate on the pretty views along the way. 

 The lighthouse was really interesting.  Only six visitors at a time were allowed at the top, but  I'm not sure how they could get that many!  The views were awesome and we spent some time photographing every angle. 

After a nice lunch at a little cafe nearby (the only cafe nearby :) ), we headed back up the rough  road and on toward Camden for a quick stop there.  I wanted to send a little present to cheer up our  littlest grandson who had come down with Chickenpox.  I felt so sorry for him and if we would've been home, this Grammy would've been his buddy and nurse.  Luckily, he now has Great Grandparents nearby to help.  His stuffed toy Puffin ended up being the only Puffin we saw the entire trip. Camden had some cute shops and a pretty harbor and I wish we could've spent a little more time exploring here, but we wanted to get on to Bar Harbor before dark.  

No frills, but very comfortable and friendly would describe the Bar Harbor Best Western.  The ladies at the front desk had good recommendations for dinner and found us a room where we could park the motorcycle by the front door.  The next morning we headed to Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain.  We weren't there early enough for the famous sunrises by any means (sunrise was around 4:30 am here!) but we took lots of photos and soaked in the beauty of the area.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Maine Adventure- Part 1

Last year it was South Dakota, this year it was Maine as our destination for a MAJOR motorcycle trip. We had been to Maine a few years ago, but by plane where we picked up a new (to us) RV and drove it home. I blogged about that quick trip here but we've always said we would go back.  

So in the middle of a Thursday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, we loaded the little trailer we pull behind the Harley and started East.  D says pulling the trailer is not a big deal, so it's nice to pack for an extended MC trip and not have to worry about stopping to do laundry or buying some extra souvenirs.  We also carry our extra helmets (3/4 with shields) in case we encounter rain, various tools, coats and even his briefcase with our two computers.  I guess we probably over pack, but when we've got the space, we use it :)  

It took us two and a half days to get to Maine, with overnight stops in Barboursville, WV and Wilkes Barre, PA.  This trip we stayed exclusively at Best Western Motels/Hotels.  They have a special rate for Harley Davidson owners and since D is a member of the "Diamond" club, he often gets a free upgrade if available.  The quality of these motels varies but most always are clean and provide a free breakfast of some kind.  They advertise themselves as motorcycle friendly and often will let us park under the front awning.  
 This was at our stop after our first full day of riding at Wilkes Barre PA at the Best Western Plus East Mountain Inn and Suites. Here we scored a nice suite and enjoyed their on site restaurant.   They are in the process of remodeling but we were still pleased with our older room.  It rained over night, but our luck continued  and we had a dry start in the morning.  Our second full day seemed long.  I can't remember the exact number of miles we rode  but I'm sure it was over 350.  We passed through several states as we traveled the interstates.  

Meals are taken pretty seriously when we travel.  We are always on the watch for some local restaurant or at least a local chain that will provide an interesting break.  We kept spotting advertisements for "diners" in New York and Connecticut so when we saw that the Blue Colony Diner was at the next exit, we pulled in not realizing until we passed a sign that this was Newtown, CT.  We had an excellent lunch and enjoyed a local favorite.

The rest of our second full day was a little stressful as we had heavy traffic going around Boston, but we made it to Maine that evening.

Weary, but not too tired to take the required "selfie" to send back to family and post to Instagram (@ontheroadjanet).  Again we scored an upgrade at the Best Western in Portland.  This time, the "Lodge" room!!  Perfect after a long 2 1/2 days of travel to the "wilderness" of Maine. LOL.  

I'll post later about the next few days and our visit to Acadia National Park.  Please stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Escape from Derby Ride

Yes.  We are members of a motorcycle gang :)  Please don't judge.  Motorcyclists have sometimes gotten a bad rap, but this group of Harley riders is anything but the typical rebel-rousing, wild bunch portrayed on tv or in the movies.  We belong to a Harley Owners Group, or HOG chapter.  And these folks are some of the nicest, caring people we've had the pleasure to meet. A couple of weekends ago, we rode with about 30 other members to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I'm sure at some time I've written here about how we love to ride the Parkway and the Smokey Mountains so we couldn't miss this trip.

 We stayed at the Skyline Village Inn right off of the parkway near Little Switzerland, NC.  When we first got to our room we were a little concerned.  This place is a little "quirky" but the owners were great and they fed us well!  The motel was built back in the 1930's to cover a moonshiner's operation and "might" be haunted.  We saw no ghosts, but enjoyed the views and the company!

The weather was perfect for a weekend of riding in the mountains.  We rode to the top of Grandfather Mountain as well as the Diamond Back.  We also stopped at Linville Falls for a little hike for some two legged exercise.  The trip home on Sunday through corners of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky was beautiful too.

This trip was called the Escape from Derby Ride since most of the members live in Louisville, KY and were getting away from all the craziness of the Kentucky Derby in town.  We still managed to have a little derby party at the inn where we didn't win a thing!  It was a great weekend and we look forward to more rides with these nice folks!

Our attempt at a "selfie" when we left on a chilly morning.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baby Shower Gifting

I attended a baby shower recently for this pretty mom-to-be.  Her mom is a dear friend so I wanted to make something special.  Amazingly, I had this baby quilt already started and these are even her nursery colors!  All I had to do was add some quilting and a binding.  I had intentions of making this a free motion quilting practice quilt, but decided to go the easy straight line quilting route.  It turned out pretty cute and mama is happy with it!

I always try to take photos of my projects, but had everything gift wrapped before I remembered. Hard to believe that Target had blank onesies in just the right colors!  I spent an evening with my embroidery machine and included some personalized outfits for little baby "L".  They turned out pretty cute too! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Back on Track!

Well, it took two weeks, but our new Pleasure-way Pursuit was repaired and ready for us to continue our first trip. We drove our car back down to Eckenrod Ford in Cullman, where we loaded it back on the tow dolly and hitched up. The first few miles were nerve-wracking, as we listened for any suspicious noises from the new axle.  Happily, there were none!   Our vacation was back on track.

 Of course, all of our campground reservations had been lost and now that this was a big Spring Break week, we had to find alternate overnight accommodations. Though we had been able to spend a few nights in the RV, they were in the car lot.  Not the most scenic spot, unless one is shopping for a new Ford.  But our first stop at Gunter Hill, a Corps of Engineers park near Montgomery was much nicer. Next time we will stay more than one night.

 Notice the slight yellow tint?   Yellow pine pollen.  But we still give this park high marks for their nice level full hook-up sites that are well spaced.  It was probably the best campground of our week, just a little off the path for an over-night stop.

We weren't able to get our reservations back at Gulf State Park so we camped at Island Retreat RV Park instead.  Unfortunately I completely slacked off on photos this week and didn't even get a shot of our site here.  We had a fairly level pull thru with full hook-ups and the staff was very nice.  The park was full but there were also a lot of permanent looking trailers that could use a little sprucing up around them.

The Gulf Shores area is not lacking for restaurants with the majority of them serving seafood of some kind.  When we travel, we always like to rank our meals on the road.  This trip the prize went to King Neptunes.  It was D's crab legs that got his vote, and my boiled fresh shrimp were excellent too.  Last time we were in Gulf Shores, it was shortly after the oil spill and the seafood had been mostly brought in from other places. 

We decided to take a couple days and take the "scenic" route home.  The drive to our first stop was pretty tense as we drove through a major rain storm for most of the day.  The wind and rain gave our new RV a test for weather proofing.  No leaks!  We spent a night at  Lakepoint Resort State Park near Eufaula.  This park could be a really nice place, but with all the rain, we had trouble finding a site that wasn't half flooded and the sewer connections were too high for us to use with our low vehicle. And if I thought there were permanent trailers at the last park, there were even more here.  I don't begrudge folks from extended stays at a nice park, but when they set up canvas garages for boats and extra refrigerators, freezers and rabbit hutches, etc.  I think it's time for the park staff to step in.  Sorry.  My blog.  My opinions.  

We continued our scenic drive home by jumping over to Georgia and a quick stop in Pine Mountain.  Saturday was a long day of driving as we headed back up to Nashville and again battled a major head wind.  At least we only had some light rain and we made it to our overnight stop at Nashville Country RV Park with no problem.

Overall, we think we are going to be very happy with our new Pursuit.  We have to get used to "living" in a small space and making do without all the extra storage of the Simba.  We've made a few adjustments to our vacation lifestyle and are looking forward to many more adventures on the road.  Now if it would just warm up enough for the Harley!!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vacation, Postponed

We were excited to head out for our first big trip in our new Pleasure-Way Pursuit last Friday.  It has been an adventure for sure! Our destination was Gulf Shores, Alabama.  After an overnight stop at a nice Walmart in Franklin, TN we looked forward to our final destination.  As we traveled down I 65 through Southern TN and Northern Alabama, we kept hearing some strange noises in the rear of the coach.  We stopped several times to rearrange and check for loose items. We couldn't find any reason for the sounds which would go away then come back. The noises became louder and more disconcerting, then a vague "hot" smell.  We pulled over near MM315 on I65 and saw a  poof of smoke coming from the right rear tires. This is where we would sit for the next 4 1/2 hours as we waited for Ford to send a tow truck/flat bed to take us to the nearest Ford dealer (actually only about 5 miles away!)  We were towing our car on a tow dolly, so we would need some way to get the trailer off of the road too.  Although it was scary to watch all the weekend traffic speed by, we had our orange road caution signs out and all the flashers on.  Not once did we see a highway patrol or sheriff pass by.  At least it was a beautiful day and we were in a fairly safe spot, with a great view out our back window as we watched for the tow truck. 

Unfortunately, by the time we made it to the Ford dealer, the service department had closed so no one would be able to look at the truck until Monday. But the sales staff found us a "camping" spot for the weekend in their new car lot and we spent a day and a half exploring the town of Cullman, Alabama. We were quite comfortable in our Pursuit, but the view was certainly not what we had expected for the first two nights of our vacation.  Monday morning came and they were able to check it out first thing. The worst news we could receive at this point, the whole rear axle assembly, bearings, gears etc. is shot. It looks as if someone forgot to put in the lubricant during assembly. The entire new axle will have to be manufactured, shipped and installed, before we can continue on our first vacation in our PW Pursuit.  

So we took our clothing and necessities and cleaned out the refrigerator into our little car and headed back home to Southern Indiana.  Our delay is undetermined and fortunately with only a little  more than 600 miles on the truck it will be covered by warranty.  Hopefully it won't be more than a week or two, but who knows.  

My husband placed a call to Dave Arbogast RV where we purchased our Pursuit to let them know the situation.  Within a few hours he received a supportive call back from Pleasure-Way, though it is a Ford warranty issue, I'm not sure what they can do.  We will certainly remember our first trip in our Pursuit!  And the story will be continued as we wait for repairs and the time when we can drive back down to Alabama to  pick up our motorhome.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

UFO Alert

Look what I found lurking in the back of my fabric closet!  A pretty quilt kit that I bought a couple of years ago when we were in Maggie Valley and I stopped at Quilters Quarters.  Maybe eventually I can check something off my list of unfinished projects.  When it's done, it will stay with me.  After a year of baby and child quilts and craft projects, I think it's time I did something for myself!  

I've already starting the cutting process but first I took this photo to keep track of the fabrics.  I'm not sure how quickly this will go together, but an afternoon of football and an evening of Downton Abbey helped me get a good start.  I'll keep you updated! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I'm Still Crafty

I'm going to try  to do a little better this year with this little blog.  Nothing fancy, no earth shattering opinionated posts, or attempts at comical rhetoric.  Just some photos of stuff I've made, places we've been and family we're proud of.  

Now to prove that I still am (sort of) crafty.  Here's just a few of the things I've made in the past few weeks/months.  

These are some pillow cases for a couple of my favorite ninja loving boys.  I'm all about the embroidery machine these days, and have managed to put it to good use. 

If there's a holiday, someone will probably get an cute shirt.
And of course, if you're celebrating a birthday, you need a cute shirt to let the world know you're now a one year old grandchild of a crafty grammy.
And there was a lot of embroidery going on before Christmas!

Five sets of Christmas  Reindeer jammies for five grandkids.

I did manage to get another big boy quilt done in time for Christmas. This one was my first quilt that I've made using paper pieced blocks.  I know some quilters don't care for paper piecing but I really enjoyed making this one. Now all three of the older boys have twin sized quilts to go with the bunk beds that crafty Papa made for them.  I need to get some photos of those on here too. Because they are pretty awesome!

More of crafty Papa's works of art.  Our Christmas tree was decorated this year almost entirely with these laser crafted wooden ornaments and I thought it looked very nice.  We really should set up an Etsy shop or something to sell these next year.

So here's a start to 2014 blogging.  No expectations, just getting back in the bloggy habit!