John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

July 2010 Journal

July
31  
After coffee on our patio and a walk around the campground, we headed out to our friends Jim and Diane’s.  They didn’t know we were back in town, so we just showed up at their house.  Jim was working so we corrupted Diane until Jim got home.  We had some cocktails and ordered pizza.  When we got back to the campground, we took a golf cart ride with Rich and Sandy and then grounded ourselves.

30  
We were up and out by 615am this morning.  We drove down to Arlington Park Race Track to park and catch the train to Chicago.  We met up with Sharon and surprised Jessica and Kyle, our niece and nephew at the train station.  The five of us headed to Millennium Park and then along the lakefront and to Navy Pier.  We moseyed on down to the end of Navy Pier and then back again.  John’s sister Katie was going to meet us for lunch and was running late.  So we all grabbed a cab to a restaurant near her house.  Right before she arrived, John and I hid and then we surprised her as well.  After lunch, we caught a cab back to the train station and took the train to Arlington Park Race Track.  Not to head home, but to meet Laurie, John, Stacey and Evan at the race track.  We bet a few races and contributed to the economy of the race track.  After the races were over, we headed back home, we were done.

29  
We haven’t golf for almost and year and decided to head over to Hickory Knoll to play 9 holes.  We want to start playing weekly and this was a good start.  We played a few games of cribbage then Rich and Sandy talked us into heading to Blarneys Island for just a couple drinks.  Yea, right!  We ended up staying a lot longer than we had thought, but like always, we had a great time.

28  
HAPPY B’DAY JOHN!!!   This morning after coffee outside and a few presents, we headed to surprise our relatives.  They knew we were coming to town, but not sure when.  So we walked up to Laurie and John’s house and rang the bell.  Needless to say, we really surprised them.  They already had some other nieces and nephews over and more on the way.  We ended up surprising quite a few people.  We had a great day catching up, after lunch and dinner; we headed back to the cow.

27  
Today we are going to hang around the cow and pick up a few groceries and that’s it.

26  
We headed out around 930am this morning.  We didn’t want to leave to early and catch the morning rush hour.  It worked out perfect.  No traffic.   We got to Grass Lake Campground and all set up by 2pm.  We met a lot of our old friends and a party started.  We had some cocktails and chatted.  The full moon came out and we took a golf cart ride to the point. 

25  
We were up and on the road by 7am this morning.  We drove about 470 miles to just north of South Bend Indiana.  It started out really raining but it was suppose to clear up and it did.  We got checked in and set up at Spaulding Lake Campground.  We had a long day so tonight we just relaxed.

24  
Today is our pre-departure day.  We got all ready to leave tomorrow.  We got our laundry, groceries, gassed up red and did some reading and work on uploading photos.  It’s a rainy day so it’s perfect to get this done.

23  
It’s good we did all our sightseeing the last couple days.  Some big storms rolled in overnight and we have wind and rain today.  We are hanging around the cow, working on photos, our journal and getting some reading in.  We decided to head out later in the afternoon to Seneca Casino.  We stayed for a while and actually I did ok.  Then we stopped at the VFW for a cocktail and then we were done.

22  
This morning we hung around the cow and relaxed for a while.  We are going to have another long day.  Not quite as long, but we have a lot we want to do.  Once again we drove to Niagara Falls State Park and parked on Goat Island.  This is less crowded and easier to get to than the main parking area.  Since we have the trolley tickets it doesn’t matter.
We hopped on the trolley and we were originally headed to see the 40 minute movie of the falls.  When we got there it had already started so we stayed on the trolley and headed for the Discovery Center.  This is also good to experience.  It’s a hands on way to see how the falls were developed and how they will change in the future.  Then we walked over to the Aquarium.  This is not really big, but it was interesting and we’re glad we went.
Then we hopped the trolley to the Rainbow Bridge.  Today we are heading into Canada.  Even though we could have driven, we didn’t want to deal with the parking, customs and lines for vehicles.  So we brought our passports and walked across the bridge.  No problem with customs.
We strolled along the park that Canada has which runs from the Rainbow Bridge all the way to the Horseshoe Falls.  For complete views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls, Canada has the American side beat.  From when you cross the bridge until you get to the top of Horseshoe Falls, the views are spectacular.  We moseyed along, took lots of pictures and then we headed to Margaritaville.
A new Margaritaville Niagara Falls Canada just opened a month ago and we were hungry and parched.  So we walked up the hill and got a table inside so we could watch Margaritavision.  Jimmy Buffett complies hours and hours of videos from his concerts and tailgate parties.  While we were eating the pre concert party from Las Vegas back in 2007 came on.  There I was doing the limbo.  I made it to the video being played in every Margaritaville Restaurant.  So after lunch, we decided to sit in the bar and wait for the video to be replayed so I could get a couple photos of it.  Wonderful it worked.
We started our journey back to the Rainbow Bridge and through US customs, no problem.  It worked out great with the movie.  We finally made it just as it was beginning.  It was a great way to finish up our Niagara Falls experience.  We were able to view and see all the things we had done and experienced the last couple days.   We did lots and lots of walking the last couple days and I’m done.  We headed home. 


21  
Today we are heading to Niagara Falls State Park.  People have always said the Canadian side of the falls is better than the American side.  We will see.
We parked at goat island and walked to Terrapin Point.  From here you are right next to the Horseshoe Falls.  There is always the mist from the falls, and most of the time there is a rainbow in the mist.  We decided to buy the discovery pass for 33.00 per person.  This entitles us to entrance to Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, the Observation Deck, the Trolley, the Adventure Movie, Aquarium and the Discovery Center.  It doesn’t have to be all on the same day.  So we will do some today and some tomorrow.
We walked along the path leading from Terrapin Point to the Cave of the Winds We knew we were going to get wet today, so we brought ziploc bags for our passports, camera and phone.  Were glad we did.  When you do Cave of the Winds, first they give you walking sandals and a rain poncho and a bag for your shoes.  It is mandatory that you wear both of these.  Once you change shoes and put on your poncho, then you walk to the elevator that takes you to the bottom of the gorge between Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.  Then you follow a wooden walkway along the bottom side of the American Falls and then climb the walkway until you are being plummeted by the falls above.  Even with the raincoat, you get soaked.  They don’t rush you, so you can spend as much time as you like just taking in the massiveness of the falls.  This attraction is
EXCELLENT!!  A MUST do! 
After our expedition, we took our new sandals back to red and then headed to Luna Island.  This is a small island within the American Falls.  From here you can look down and see where we just were in the Cave of the Winds.  We hopped the trolley and headed over to the main visitors center.
From here we walked to the Observation Deck.  This is a 230 foot overlook and provides the only view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the American side.  This is also
EXCELLENT!
Then we hopped the elevator down to the base of the falls and got our rain ponchos for the Maid of the Mist boat ride.  John and I got right up in front of the boat.  We had great views of the American Falls and Cave of the Winds.  Even though these boats have operated for years, when we started getting right up to the bottom of Horseshoe Falls it was a little scary.  You are surrounded by heavy mist and churning water below the boat.  The boat keeps inching closer and closer to the falls.  Once again, you get completely soaked. 
This is also a MUST do!  EXCELLENT!
Well since we were already soaked, after Maid of the mist you can walk up a gorge pathway similar to Cave of the Winds and once again get plummeted by the falls.  So up we went.  Now we needed to dry out.
We walked to the visitors center to watch the movie, but it wouldn’t start for another 45 minutes.  So after reading the history of the falls and looking around the visitors center we needed a little break.  We walked over to the Quality Inn and had a relaxing cocktail at Legends Bar.  Then walked over to Seneca Casino for a little slot play.
Today is going to be a long day.  We want to stay at the falls until after sunset.  So when dusk was coming we walked back over to the Observation Deck and found a place to hang out for a while.  After dark around 9pm the Canadian side starts an illumination show which you can see perfectly from the Observation Deck.  Also
EXCELLENT!  Today is Wednesday and in the summer on Wednesdays the Canadians also have a fireworks display over the illuminated falls.  EXCELLENT!  Now we are done.  We walked back to goat island crossing the bridge over the American rapids and headed back home.  It was a long day, but we had a GREAT time!!!

20  
Up and out early on the road again.  We are heading to Grand Island New York.  This is about 5 miles from Niagara Falls.  We got in and all set up and took a walk around the campground to check it out.  We took a drive around the island and then headed back to the cow.  We are taking a time out tonight.

19  
This morning we were up and on the road by 645am.  We had been out twice searching for Moose.  We never did find a Moose, but shortly after we left our campground this morning.  We saw a huge Black Bear right by the road.  A few minutes later we saw a baby coyote by the road.  We had planned to go about 245 miles but since we got started so early we ended up going about 350 miles to Verona New York.  Since were only staying one night and heading out early tomorrow we just raised the cow off of red and set up like that.  The campground were at is part of a casino, so we took the shuttle over to check it out.  We played a little video poker and then decided to head back.  We were down a little and decided to play one hand of 10.00 blackjack because we got a match play at check in.  Blackjack worked out well and we ended up leaving a little bit up.  After dinner, we just relaxed at the cow.  We have another travel day tomorrow.

18  
This morning after coffee outside overlooking the White Mountains, we started getting organized for our move tomorrow.  We are still disconnected from the world.  We haven’t had TV, our internet works about 10 minutes a day and we get very bad cell service.  That’s ok it’s beautiful here and it is kind of nice being disconnected.  After gassing up and picking up some groceries, we got packed up and just in time.  We have another rainstorm blowing in.  We did some reading and relaxed around the cow.

17  
This morning we got organized and headed back to Pinkham Notch Visitors Center along RT 16 near Mt. Washington.  We are hiking the Lost Pond Trail today.  It’s only a 2 mile hike, but there is some up and down and lots of rocks and tree limbs so it takes longer.  We start out along a river where a beaver has been busy building a dam.  Then through the woods to a beautiful pond created by a couple beaver dams.  After our hike we headed home and to the pool for a couple hours of sun and reading.
We had a quick dinner, then guess what were doing tonight.  Yep!  Were heading out again in search of Moose.  We are doing things a little different tonight.  We are only going to travel 50 miles, 25 each way.  This doesn’t sound far, but we are only going 25 to 30 miles and hour so it’s a 2 hour journey.  By 9pm, it’s really dark.
We are leaving when the tours leave around 630pm and are heading up RT 16 from Gorham to Errol.  We are hopping tonight’s the night.  We stopped at a couple canoe launches and scenic areas.  Almost all this drive is along the river with some ponds loaded with vegetation.  This is where the moose like to hang out this time of year.  Well they must all be on a group vacation.  We went 35 miles each way instead of our 25 miles, so 70 miles round trip.  No Moose.  We did see loons, ducks, fly fisherman, rabbit and another fox.  We failed as Moose hunters.  When we got back, no TV, no internet and a storm moving in, so we headed to bed.


16  
This morning we had coffee on the verandah and then did some campground research.  Our internet has not been working so when it does, we have to take advantage of it.  We took a walk around our campground and got back just as the rain was coming.  We played some cribbage under our overhang and watched the rain.  After dinner we watched the sky turn different colors as the sun was setting.  We still don’t have any TV and our internet is still not working.  We are disconnected.  We were going to watch another movie, but the whole park lost power, so not tonight.

15   
John was in need of a big hike.  So I dropped him off at the railroad trestle on RT 2 and Rt 16 where we hiked the other day.  He headed in and down to Hogan Road.  Even though this is called a road.  It’s barely drivable.  Most people hike it.  So off John went.  It should be a 6-10 mile hike.  I headed to Walmart to do some shopping.  I was relaxing at the cow when John got me on the walkie talkie and I headed over to North Road to pick him up.  Along his journey, he found a couple cabins in the woods and also some fresh Moose dung.  This time of year Moose dung is like a big cow pattie.  So far, this is as close as we have gotten to a Moose.  We went for a dip in the pool had dinner and was going to use the internet.  Internet not working.  So we watched the movie, Slum dog Millionaire. 

14   
This morning was damp with a chance of rain.  We headed south on RT 16 to Glen Ellis Falls.  We are doing some short scenic hikes today.  We hiked down to the bottom of the 64ft falls.  The tops of the mountains are clouded in today, but it actually gives the falls and surrounding area a very nice setting.  Then we headed up to Pinkham Notch Visitors Center and Crystal Cascade Falls trail.  Here we have to start up the trail to Mt. Washington.  We don’t go too far and we cross a river with the water cascading down.
We headed back to the cow for lunch.  Later this afternoon we are heading east on Rt 2 into Maine and up RT 26 back into New Hampshire and to Errol and then back to Gorham via RT 16.  We understand this is the route to take to search for Moose.  We started off around 4pm so we would have time to stop along the way and do some sightseeing and short hikes.  We stopped at Grafton Notch State Park and some of the cutoffs along the way.  We were already in Moose country, but when we got near Umbagog State Park, we new Moose should be all around us.  They have moose tours in town and Sally, the visitor’s center ranger told us where the tours go searching.
So we decided to do our own tour.  We stopped at the Umbagog SP and it would be a great place to stay for tenting or to rent a cottage.  So far, no Moose.  We headed North on RT 16 to Mt Dustin where New Hampshire and Maine meet.  Up here we are only a short distance to Canada.  We turned around and started to head home down RT 16.  There are a couple small towns, but this is wilderness with the ponds, bogs and river right by the road.  Prime Moose habitat.  The clouds are hanging low, the fog is moving in and it’s starting to get dark.  We got home at almost 10pm.  We were gone almost 6 hours.  We drove 125 miles and we didn’t see any Moose.  Oh well.  We did see a Red Tailed Hawk, Ground Hog, Bald Eagle, Fox, Loon, Ducks, and a Deer. 


13  
This morning after coffee on our patio overlooking the White Mountains, we headed out to the Gorham Visitors Center.  Sally was very helpful.  There is a lot more here than we originally thought.  We are right along the Appalachian Trail.  This trail runs from Nova Scotia Canada down to Georgia.  Actually at our campground they have a hostel for hikers on the trail.  To do the whole 2000 mile trail takes about 7 months.
After talking to Sally and getting all our info, we headed to the old railroad trestle just past RT 2 on RT 16.  We hiked in and along the Androscoggin River to the dam.  This is deer, bear and moose country so you never know what you might see.  We wanted to find the Hogan Road trail.  Finally we came to the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) trail.  This took us to the trail that leads to Hogan Road.  One day John wants to hike this from here and I’ll meet up with him down by North Road.
After this hike, we headed into the White Mountains Natl Forest.  We stopped at the visitor’s center for info on hiking in the park and sites to see.  Mt. Washington is here in the park.  Its 6,288 feet high.  The highest mountain in the Northeast.  We got a list of various hikes to take and things to do.  We started down Rt 16 and ended up at Wildcat Mountain Ski Area.
Thompsons Falls hiking trail starts from here.  We headed to the falls.  It’s a 3 tier falls and the water was really running and cold.  It was nice to take a break and watch and listen to the falls.  Now it’s time to pick up a few groceries, have a quick dinner and change and then head to the city park in Gorham.
Tonight is a country concert in the park.  We brought our chairs and some wine.  We enjoyed the band in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains.  I did a couple line dances with some ladies behind us.  Just as the band was finishing we got a few sprinkles.  The downpour started just as we were walking into the cow.  We had borrowed some movies from the office since we don’t have any TV, so we relaxed and watched “The Pursuit of Happiness”.


12  
This morning is sunny but a lot of our stuff is still wet from yesterday’s rain.  We got all packed up and on the road by 9am.  We are heading about 200 miles today to Gorham New Hampshire.  It’s mostly 2 lane country roads so it took us about 5 ½ hours.  We got all set up at White Birches Campground.  We are surrounded by the White Mountains.  We got set up, had some dinner and a couple cocktails and enjoyed the scenery.  I will have time to catch up on all my internet stuff here.  We have wifi but no TV reception.  

11  
 After a little while outside, the rain came.  It’s a downpour today.  That’s ok.  It’s our day before departure and even though we need to get a few things done, it doesn’t take long.  I finished up loading pictures and did laundry.  John did some reading.  We really enjoyed our time here.  We really like this campground.  The location is great, it’s on the free bus route, the sites are large and it’s on the water. 

10   Jim and Diane are heading to Boston today.  We met them for breakfast at the Trenton Lighthouse.  Blueberries are in bloom, so Diane and I had the Maine Wild Blueberry pancakes.  John a lobster omelet and Jim a crab omelet.  After breakfast, they were off and we stopped for a few supplies.  We took a time out day and I worked on photos, bills, internet, and my journal.  John did some reading and some outside projects.

9  
After lounging at the cow a while, John and Jim went on a hike around the campground to explore the seashore.  Diane and I hung around the cow.  Later, we all headed off to Pirate Miniature Golf.  We got our 18 holes in.  Tonight we had dinner at the Log Cabin.  I still need my lobster fix, so I had the lobster roll and Diane had lobster fettuccini.  I’ll tell you, Maine is the place to eat lobster!!

8  
Today we drove into the park and to the Wild Gardens of Acadia.  It’s a botanical garden and paths.  We stopped at the Precipe Trail to check out the peregrine falcon watch.  The trail is closed due to the falcons nesting.  The rangers had some telescopes set up and we were able to see the baby falcon.  He’s already 45 days old and learning to fly.
We continued on to sand beach.  Diane and I made some beach chairs in the sand and John and Jim headed to the Great Head Trail.  The harbor fog was starting to come in and it is really strange to see the clouds just covering the small islands and cliffs.  We saw John and Jim from the beach and they saw us.
After the hike, we headed to Jordon pond for popovers.  After our popovers out on the lawn, we headed for the nature trail.  It’s blueberries season and their all over.  We picked a few and ate them right away.  We walked the nature trail on the south end of Jordon Pond.  We headed back to the cow, had a few cocktails at the campground, then went to dinner at Mainly Meat.


7  
Today is warm and yesterday we did our hikes, so we are heading to the pool.  We soaked up some rays and then back at the cow we started dinner.  We are having a clam dinner.  We got 5 pounds of fresh clams right down the road and steamed and grilled them.  Some homemade coleslaw and it was a good dinner.  We saw Elvis driving around in a golf cart and found out there was an Elvis show at the campground tonight. 

6  
We checked the tide reports and they were right for the Bar Island Hike.  We headed into Bar Harbor and started our crossing about an hour before low tide.  No problem, it was already dry and easy to cross.  John and Jim hiked up to the summit and Diane and I did some tide pooling.
That was a lot of work, so we headed for some ice cream.  Now were ready for another hike.  We moseyed on over to the Shore Path.  There are some beautiful homes along the path that overlooks the harbor.  Another rough hike.  So off to the Irish Pub for a couple pints.  We wanted something to eat, so we headed to the Dog and Pony for dinner and drinks.  It’s a nice evening so we got a campfire going at the cow.


5  
Jim and Diane came over and we had snacks then headed out to Acadia National Park.  We took Red and drove today.  We stopped at Duck Pond Road Carriage roads and the stone bridge.
Then we headed up to Cadillac Mountain Summit.  We stopped at a few pull offs to take in the beautiful scenery and get a couple photos.  After a short hike at the summit.  Diane and I started the drive down the mountain and John and Jim was hiking down the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.  Diane and I met them along the way and then at the bottom of the trail.
We headed back to the cow, enjoyed the afternoon at the campsite listening to music and having a couple cocktails.  Tonight is Lobster night.  We headed over to Downeast Lobster Pound for Lobsters.  After dinner we were all pretty much done.  We watched a great sunset and that was it.

4  
This morning John and Jim went out since it was low tide and harvested some mussels for breakfast.  We grilled them up and then headed to catch the bus to the visitors center.  We watched the short film about Acadia National Park.  Then we hopped the bus to thunder hole.  Even though the tide was coming in, the seas were calm so thunder hole was not to impressive.
We continued on the Ocean Path towards Otter Point.  The views are just so beautiful, words and pictures just doesn’t do it justice.  We hopped the bus to Jordon Pond and transferred to village green in downtown Bar Harbor.
We were ready for some cocktails so we stopped at Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant for happy hour, drinks and appetizers.  We walked over to the brewery store where they do tastings.  It’s not the brewery just the tasting store.  We moseyed on next door to the Irish Pub.  We were going to head home, but busses are stopped until after the fireworks.
So we walked toward the town pier and found a slanted grassy spot overlooking the bay and the pier.  They were GREAT fireworks.  Afterwards as you can imagine, there were big crowds heading out.  We made our way back to the bus and after waiting a bit, we were on the bus and back home.  We had a really nice day.


3  
Our friends, Jim and Diane are coming in today.  They will be with us for a week.  Today John and I did domestic stuff, cleaning, laundry and stuff.  Jim and Diane got in around 6pm.  We headed over to their hotel and had some drinks and relaxed.  Then we went to the Log Cabin Restaurant for dinner.  We were all done for the night. 

2  
Our internet was up for a little while, so I was able to upload photos and check emails.  Then we headed to the pool to soak up some rays.  After a couple cocktails, we headed to Trenton to the Trenton Lighthouse.  John had the Friday night fish fry and I had lobster.

1  
Today we had a cow day.  We worked on projects and did some shopping.