Archives for category: northeast

As those of you who have followed me for the last four trips out west know, I get easily cracked out on caffeine and, sometimes, I do it intentionally to go longer distances although I normally avoid it. Yesterday, I started my three-day trek to Tennessee through the back roads of  Vermont starting in Burlington (near the Canadian border) with a cup of real java. The 30 MPH meandering roads through beautiful towns and countryside were wonders for this Alice to behold. I clicked away knowing my trusty camera battery was fully charged.

Just as I got to some of the most amazing residential architecture from the late 1800’s I’ve ever seen, my camera DIED! NO! NOT NOW! But all my screaming and ranting did absolutely nothing to resuscitate the recalcitrant battery. So, I’ll try to describe what I saw and give you website addresses for the most amazing cities.

But first, let me bring you down from the Border crossing where it all started! And this time, the US Border Police didn’t ask me where my horse was! LOL Or did I forget to tell you that part? Here’s the short of it just in case I forgot to share it.

I drove across the Canadian Border to meet Mirjana and drove back across into US the same day without any comments out of the ordinary. The next day as Mirjana and I pulled up to the Canadian Border Police, he asked the usual questions about how we know each other, why we’re crossing and he sees I have Montana’s “passport” and asks, “Where’s the horse?” Mirjana and I start laughing hysterically at the insanity of the question as he looks back at the pop-up which clearly doesn’t have enough room for a horse much less lil’ old forty pound Montana! I ask through my hysteria, “Horse?” “Yes. It’s marked right here on the form that you have a dog and a horse!”

I digress, but it was funny!

I crossed the Canadian Border on Tuesday via 133 from Montreal which becomes SR 7 on the US side and pulled into Burlington (or close to it) and stayed at the Motel 6 a couple of nights to acclimate to the US. I remembered the first time Mom  traveled outside the US, she said she wanted to kiss the ground. And, although I had a wonderful time with my host and hostesses, I felt the same way. I was ready for the next phase of my healing heart tour. And, what better way to heal a heart than back roads?

I left Burlington yesterday morning around 9:30 and headed south on SR 7 and immediately found pictures everywhere!

I needed to mail a letter at the post office and this was a building across the street from it in Winooski, Vermont. It’s a tiny, charming town steeped in history.

the strip where Post Office is located in Winooski

I say “tiny” because I was in the next small town of Burlington, VT with the turn of a corner!

Burlington, VT

Look at the lacy cornice at the top of the building.

Just south of Burlington, I got onto SR 22A where I really was in for a treat. Vergennes, VT is beautiful and it’s also Vermont’s oldest town (vergennes.org). You don’t want to go more than 30 MPH because you’ll miss many beautiful buildings and houses. The most interesting part to me was the delicate lacy wood work of the cornices around the roofs of the houses.

On the way to Cornwall from Vergennes down SR 22A

Vineyards!

Clouds on mountain!

Old barns, of course!

Milk cow country for all that cheese they make in this area! It ain’t just made in Wisconsin! And, boy oh boy, you sure can smell the other by products from all those cows it’s worth the price!

Cornwall, VT

But, between towns, views…lots and lots of views.

is it a house or a barn…or both?

Talk about a “fixer upper”! They were asking $80,000 for something in THIS shape but in the middle of nowhere!

Singlewide with a view!

This town south of Vergennes in Addison County  was all white and crisp like a new white starched shirt.

the name escapes me…this is when the camera stopped working!

This town was just a little too perfect for me! Maybe that’s why I can’t remember the name!

Then the camera stopped working about the time I got onto SR 7; Bennington, VT was gorgeous.

As I was anxious to get lunch and charge the camera battery, I was looking for a place to stop. As I turned the corner in the road, there it was: Chauncey’s of Arlington.

Chauncey’s of Arlington, Arlington, VT

This is out back of the restaurant where Owner and Chef, Stanley Holton, cuts the grass.

And…there was even an old barn!

But, to really top off the amazing home cooked horseradish cheese hamburger and carrot cake like my mama used to make is the fact the owner’s mother, Lucille Holton, is quite the town celebrity. She posed for Norman Rockwell as he painted “The Babysitter!”

Sorry the quality of my picture is so bad but I just couldn’t get a good shot of it without a lot of glare. But, there she is holding the painting!

The waitress, Debbie Whitman, and I became fast friends and hugged as I left. You just won’t meet strangers in this establishment!

Now that my stomach was full and so was the battery for my camera, we could take off again! But first, I needed to go two driveways down to The Cheese House to pick up some local dark amber Vermont Maple syrup! Yum!

The Cheese House, Arlington, VT

And back to seeing beautiful houses and interesting engineering.

What the heck is that thing, anyway?

arns
Massachusetts town on SR7

Mountain views that are just stunning!

Outbuildings

Hudson River

New York mountain views

Virginia pastoral views

and…last but not least…Tennessee mountain views!

Tennessee

I’m here for a couple of days to recover from the 20 hour straight-thru drive and 4 hours of it was the first  150 miles of the journey!

Happy Trails!

 

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We toughed out the tollways from Niagara Falls to get to the good part which starts in Watertown, NY. Mirjana focused right away on a little town on SR 3 called Tupper Lake, NY but because it would add another two hours onto our drive I really wanted to find a place in Watertown. I’d never heard of Watertown and was sure we’d be able to find something affordable. NOT! Every place we called was over $100 just to sleep! I’m getting beyond tired as I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before and just wanted a shower and a bed but not at such outrageous prices in a noname town.

SR 3 has lots of little lake communities along the route.

Beautiful!

Then we saw the Adirondacks!

Mirjana focused again on Tupper Lake. She went on  hotels.petswelcome.com  and searched Tupper Lake, NY and found a wonderful Mom and Pop place called Park Motel and Cabins, 336 Park Street, Tupper Lake, NY  (www.parkmotelandcabins.com). It’s a quaint lake town which reminds me where I live in the mountains but bigger and a great deal more developed. This motel has probably been around since the 50’s or 60’s but is so well-kept and the proprietors are very friendly, keeping that homey atmosphere you look for when traveling long distances and are over tired. The price was very reasonable as well.

The Park Motel office.

We were very hungry as we’d just smacked the last two days. The proprietor called a local restaurant and confirmed their hours. We drove a couple of blocks down to Little Italy Restaurante & Pizzeria where we found friendly greetings and healthy, fresh food. It’s a must if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Now we’re off to Montreal to go camping and dancing by the fire like gypsies in the moonlight! Boy, do I ever need that!

Happy Trails!

I FOUND THE REAL NIAGARA FALLS! It’s on the other side of the border! LOL Here goes! I TOTALLY apologize to Canada for saying their side of the Falls wasn’t as good as the American side. However, I will say the American side is all about nature and the park because their views really aren’t as magnificent without hiking down into the bowls of the falls as the Canadian side is from the curb. The Canadians have created a Vegas-like party atmosphere which irritates me because the nature of the Falls is so gorgeous that having all that neon seems to dilute the natural experience. So, for view, drive over the border, for a hike stay on the US side, for glitz and bawdy-hawdy cross the border, for dog friendly park stay in US as Canada’s side is so NOT dog friendly!

There they are! They’re on the Canadian side! LOL

Horseshoe Falls

Then we saw the Maid of the Mist boat drive right into the rainbow!

We were greeted with a complete rainbow into Horseshoe Falls!

Montana even got into the rainbow! She stopped traffic with her posing! Everyone wanted to take pictures of my Hollywood movie star Crazy Lil White Dawg!

Then we received a DOUBLE Rainbow into Horseshoe Falls! A gift from Ava! Look closely to the far right.

When Ava was fifteen, she and I were driving back from Florida. It was dusk and I wanted her to have some experience driving through the back roads. We saw the double rainbow and decided to pull on the side of the road. As she was pulling off, I said, “Be careful and don’t pull off too far…it drops…” Well, it did and we did! The right front of the car was in a ditch. I’m really mad because this is a back road where the curbs are pulled in at dusk and I’ll have to walk to a farm to get someone to get their truck or tractor to help us as there is no such thing as cell phones at this time…not for the general public, anyway! I sternly tell her to keep her bikini clad body IN THE CAR as I start hiking to the nearest farm.

About 500 yards into my hike, I look back at her and she’s doing exactly what I told her NOT to do and I see her perched on the back of the car. Trucks appear out of nowhere to rescue this damsel! I’m relieved but now anxious to get back to her. The men who stopped were wonderful. They pulled us out of the ditch in seconds and we were back on the road.

I believe the double rainbow for Mirjana and me was from Ava. She always wanted us to meet face-to-face and, yesterday, we finally did. Thank you Ava! We love you so much!

Double Rainbow!

Awwww…caught by the magic of a rainbow!

I called this photo “prism” because the falls gets caught between the two rainbows and had a prism-look to it. Darn, I’m good!

Montana had to have her picture taken with the double rainbow too! She stopped traffic again as everyone wanted pictures of this cute pup!

Rainbow in the Maid of the Mist boat!

Daisy and rainbows!

Look closely at the falls…the rainbow colors the falls!

Although the cafe’s in Niagara Falls don’t serve you if you have a dog, they did allow us to sit without service. Montana is protesting!

Me and my pop-up in purple camophlage as any good southern woe-man would be!

Gotta’ run close up the pop-up to head for Canada via Vermont!

Happy Trails!

Misconceptions and misinformation abound in my expectations of what I was going to see today but that’s okay. I was NOT disappointed in the US side of the Falls at all. The park was beautifully laid out and had marvelous walking paths enabling huge volumes of people of world origins to enjoy in a close up and personal way.

The water is wide! This is on the way to get to the Falls.

Still getting there~

FINALLY! White water!

And….drum roll…

FINALLY! What happened to the rest of the Falls? LOL

There’s some!

Here I am at Niagara Falls!

LOOKING STRAIGHT DOWN!

This is the path you take to get to the Falls from Parking Lot 2 of US side!

Having seen Niagara Falls via IMAX in Montreal after Ava & Numa got married in 2006 left me with the impression that the falls were much bigger. All the movies I’ve seen make it look V-A-S-T, and don’t get me wrong, it IS big but not as VAST as I thought it would be or as deep.  Funny how the movies always make it look more mystical. Remember the Marilyn Monroe movie called “Niagara Falls?” It was one of her best! It is an Alfred Hitchcock kinda’ thriller and very well done in true Marilyn style as well.

And, I hear it on good authority that the Canadian side is so NOT park-like…more Vegas-like! Look at this contrast.

See industrial Canada in the background behind the mist?

I was taking pictures for people left and right. I saw them trying to figure out how to capture this moment with everyone in the shot and just stepped up to help. I probably took fifty pix today for people. It was fun. Then, I finally had someone ask me if I wanted them to take mine. Probably didn’t happen sooner because of language barriers! So many countries represented in such a small area!

See! Here I am at the Falls!

Along the pathway to Horseshoe Falls, aptly named for its shape.

BIRD? SQUIRREL? RABBIT? DEER? TURTLE? LOL As Montana’s job at the cabin is to keep the crows and squirrels away, she was in hog heaven with all the seagulls today. Everyone was laughing at her barking at them. They, of course, sqawked back at her!

I actually liked this one the best!

See the mist? That’s the drop-off!

The pathway to Three Sisters so named because, in the 1800’s, the water froze over enough for a man to walk across to get on all ll three islands and asked the owner to name it Three Sisters and, obviously did! Pretty brave if you ask me!

Pathway to Three Sisters

CROSSING THE FIRST BRIDGE TO THE FIRST OF THE THREE SISTER ISLANDS.

One of the views from an island of the Three Sisters.

BIRDS? Sure glad Montana didn’t recognize those little white dots as being those pesky lil seagulls she’d been barking at all day! This is a from a different bridge between the Three Sisters islands.

Got lost on a back street and found some really great historic fixer-uppers!

Some already fixed…

and very nice architectural diversity…

Quaint structures with huge looming modern commercial buildings a block away.

and my favorite photo de jour:

Contrast again between Canada’s side of the Falls and our park side!

I’m glad we didn’t screw this up and kept it a park. Thanks, forefathers!

As for tomorrow? Mirjana takes the train to the Falls (Canada side) and then we are two gypsies dancing by the firelight until she tells me she has to work. Then, I’m off to Prince Edward Island to do the “Anne of Green Gables” thang!

Happy Trails!

P.S. Even though the internet service at this KOA has been awful, the people both at the KOA and at Tengo Internet have been remarkably helpful. I still had to go to McD’s this AM to get anything done (after learning McD’s has free internet)…they’re also the only game in town with free net. I had to order something but I guess it was worth it…just don’t like eating that kind  fast food. My preference for fast food is carrots and celery! But, the guy who took my order is Van Gogh’s twin! Seriously, only Van Gogh with nose, lip and eyebrow piercings and big rings in his ears…better that than lopping one off, eh!

The other PS is about John’s Pizza & Subs. They do wings right! I recommend the Cajun wings (all drums, of course). Everyone was friendly and they’re all cooks! There were about 8 young men in their full-view fairly small kitchen area doing their jobs smoothly. They cook everything  fresh so it takes a little longer but tastes so much better! So, if you’re ever on Grand Island, NY check them out: johnspizzaandsubs.com 716-774-0020.

The internet reception was so bad at the Toledo, Ohio Motel 6 that it took me until 3:00 AM to get my last blog posted (obviously cracked out on decaf consumed at 6:00 PM) and I woke up at 7:30 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep! Geez! So, up and at ’em finished loose ends and to get going by 10:30’ish.

The drive was pretty unremarkable except for the fact that the Ohio barns (few and far between) did have that Iowa barn look to them. But the minute I got into Pennsylvania, the barns started looking like the ones in Iowa which raises the questions did Pennsylvania move west or did Iowa move east? LOL

Pennsylvania farmland!

This is just for you Shannon! Cleveland!

ONLY in Cleveland have I seen wind energy in a big city! Look to the right!

Huh? Really? In the middle of the city?

The minute I crossed over into Pennsylvania, the terrain changed. Wish you could see the remarkable change better.

There is one of those Iowa barns in Pennsylvania!

For those of you who followed me on my Great Adventure into New York City last December, you know how much I love NYC and how it charges my batteries. Well, understandably, I’d forgotten that until I saw this! And, apparently, it ain’t just NYC that charges my batteries!

Oh, did I tell you I have a “thang” for old bridges? I won’t get on them, that’s for sure, but I do like to look at ’em!

The drive to Niagara Falls on I-190

BIG bridge but not a white-knuckler!

Grand Island KOA view out back of my unit!

Almost sunset

The internet here at Grand Island KOA SUCKS! The people are wonderful and very proactive but it’s taken me HOURS to just download these few pictures (started at 1:00AM last night and now into 2-1/2 hours this morning. What’s going on? Had the same issue at Motel 6 the other night. Are we spoiled or what!

It’s raining and, seein’ as how I’ll get wet at the Falls anyway, I’ll forgo downloading the last picture and take off to do some seeing of the sights.

I’m really praying hard that this trip helps my heart to do some seriously needed healing. Mirjana says I’ve been in Ava’s head too much lately and she’s probably right. She’s on the way tomorrow to rescue me from myself for about a week or so. Now that she mentions it, I think she’s right. My daughter was an opera singer (full lyric) and I’ve been listening to all her voice lessons for the past year (I’m up to 10/19/11 now) and hearing how hard she worked for sheer perfection is SICK. How can anyone be that perfect in FOUR languages not to mention being perfect in every note as well as the period of the piece and the author’s meaning. Seems like t

I gotta’ say that I-80 from Nevada to Ohio is either rolling fields of agri crops or huge pasture land for cattle with range of vegetation from scrub to some of the most lush green you’ve ever seen. As you already know, I loved the farms in Iowa and Illinois was similar but not as spectacular.

KOA at Rock Island, Illinois was nice and this was my view from the camper BUT…PLEASE GET DECOY GEESE! The goose poop covered every square inch of my space! Is that why I only paid $30 instead of $45? Really?

Doesn’t it look like Iowa? This wasn’t far from Iowa…as the crow flies…or as I fly! LOL

They scrambled this beautiful farmland with this stuff just like Iowa or was it Nebraska? Which ever, it still looks weird.

Funky lil farms and outbuildings here as there…wherever that was! It’s all a blur now that they all look-alike! Cool picture crooked like it is! LOL

So pretty!

Love old barns…guess you knew that by now tho.

And then…

INDIANA! Notice there are NO pictures of Indiana because there is absolutely NOTHING on I-80 East to take a picture of! It doesn’t matter if you’re driving south to north or west to east…just nothing screams out to my camera. Sorry guys. I couldn’t find one…not even one picture to take in Indiana but the second I crossed over into Ohio, I thought I’d gotten back on the wrong highway again and was in Iowa! The farm houses looked just like the ones there! Incredible!

But first I had to get lost in Michigan which looked a great deal like some of the back roads of Georgia!

Lost in thoughts, I suddenly realized I was in MICHIGAN! WHAT? How did that happen? Oh my  TomTom routed me to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side! LOL Thankfully, I only had to go about six  miles on back Michigan roads to recover. The good news is that I discovered a little piece of Georgia on that back road!

What a pretty little house even if a telephone pole interrupts the view!

This reminds me of some of my favorite back roads which I take going to the Florida panhandle!

THEN OHIO! WHAM! What a contrast to Indiana! Back to the beautiful farm lands of Iowa and Illinois on I-80.

Crooked or not, it’s still beautiful!

The Toll highways surprise this southerner as we don’t have them there. They just don’t seem to be worth the cost. I’m going back roads the rest of the way! Well, maybe not if I-80 doesn’t have a toll for the rest of the way! LOL

 Another thing about Iowa that I meant to mention yesterday is that there is a great deal of construction going along I-80 through Iowa through Illinois and Indiana but the worst part is that there were hundreds of dead deer. So word: DON’T DRIVE AT NIGHT ON I-80 because you’ll either get challenged by the construction or by a deer!

The other part of the story is that my fav Motel 6 has been bought by the company that owns Hilton so I can only hope and pray they get their internet issues corrected where it’s FREE with the room. As the young woman at the front desk said, “It should be free with the room. Heck, even McDonald’s has free internet!” I totally agree especially when it SUCKS as badly as it does in your corporate owned hotels. You franchise units take care of business!

Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to camp at Niagara Falls for the next few days (US side, that is) until crossing the border. I’m so excited! It’s a lifetime dream and this trip is extended because it is a necessity for my sanity since my daughter’s death. I haven’t written about it much because I just can’t do it yet. Just continue to follow me on this healing heart adventure because it feels good knowing my friends are coming along for the ride.

Happy Trails.

One of Johnny Cash’s songs begins, “I’ve been everywhere man,”  and that’s how I feel! Like I said earlier, what I’ve seen of Nebraska isn’t as spectacular as driving through Iowa. I NEVER thought I’d say that and I’m still stunned that I’ve written it and you Nebraskans, please remember that I don’t allude to the whole state but just what I’ve seen. Granted, it’s limited but the expressways either draw me in or they don’t.

Iowa? It’s some of the prettiest farmland I’ve ever seen. Yep. Iowa! It has some of the neatest farmhouses and farm outbuildings on pristine soil. Most of what you’re going to see in this post is just that. I couldn’t help myself. It’s the farm girl in me that attracts me like a magnet to these scenes. If I had time, I’d just come to Iowa to photograph farmhouses and be happy.

So, here goes!

Tail end of Nebraska and beginnings of Iowa

Countryside starts to morph

And cool, old barns start to appear:

And strange-looking silos look like they’ve multiplied like mushrooms under a common canopy!

And this beautiful Thrift-looking plant grows wild all over the sides of the highway decorating the right-of-way in shades of lavender.

Then the hills start to roll structures into the treeline.

And hills continue to deposit buildings at the tree lines.

Now the most amazing array of outbuildings and farmhouses appear…

see what I mean about the outbuildings:

Great old barns

and interesing looking outbuildings pop up

And, while you’re at it, throw in a good handful of wind turbines to confuse the eye!

And, lastly…

and then…the Mississippi River! Nope, didn’t take a picture of that! By the way, it was the healthiest waterway I’ve seen this whole trip! Such a contrast to last year when all the great snow flooded  farmlands and meadows I passed by during last year’s Great Adventure. This year, Nevada ain’t the only dry state! I couldn’t believe that it was 70 degrees at 8:00AM in the morning in Boulder, CO! I also couldn’t believe how dry the creek beds were or how low the rivers have been all through California, Oregon, Colorado & Nebraska.

Well, I’m cashing in for the night because I’m in Illinois now and need to rest up for Niagara Falls!

Happy Trails!