Archives for posts with tag: camping cross-country

WOW! I left Green River, Utah at 9:30 AM today headed West on I-70 to drive 237 miles which, under normal driving, would have taken just a little over three (3) hours with the speed limits generally ranging from 75-80 MPH past the major inclines.

I did decide as I took off from Green River that I’d take the time to turn off on “Scenic Views” if and when I saw something interesting. The name “Black Dragon Canyon” pulled me right in. I didn’t have the time or inclination to hike the trail to see the drawing but if you Google the name, you’ll see an interesting pictograph painted on the walls of the canyon by ancient ones of what looks to be a flying dragon, which, by the way, isn’t black! The view, however, was marvelous!

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Now, go back in time a couple of days to recall that horrific 40-60 MPH wind gusts I faced going through Denver toward Boulder? Well, I guess somebody upstairs wanted to prepare me for today because it took me 6 hours to drive that 3 hour distance because of that same situation except include 8000′-foot elevation mountains (up and down), dust flying from undeveloped prairies and NO gas stations for a hundred miles on a tank that’s only gave me 7-8 MPG today! The good news is that the only cows I saw were in holding pins and not in front of me in cattle trailers!

After driving almost a hundred miles without the whiff of a gas station, I broke my normal rule of easy on/off gas stations at the exits and decided to exit at Emery, Utah  as the next town was 35 miles away. It was one of those gut instinct moments because only after exiting the expressway was there a sign that read “Next Gas 35 Miles.” Needless to say, I gladly drove the 24 miles roundtrip to get to the sleepy little one-gas-pump (literally) town to fill up.  I would have been so screwed if I hadn’t!  All these years of driving the back roads (and especially this summer’s adventures in Canada) reinforced my instincts to fill up at every chance.

The few times the winds weren’t beating me up, I was able to catch a few shots that were so magnificent that I just had to try and capture some of the wonderment of this region. It feels like “home” to me except for all the winds!

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I finally made it to my next stop for the night glad I booked in advance because all these RV parks fill up quickly! I need the rest from those blowin’ winds. I got this baby anchored down for the night which is something I don’t normally do on hit-and-run stays. I don’t normally mind being rocked to sleep but I’ve had enough of that bucking bronco rodeo for today! I need a trophy that reads, “Buckin’ Bronco Road Warrior Rodeo Champion!”

So, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

I’m still speechless from being in the midst in the midst of majestic, mystical, magical wonderment of this Redwood Forest where God lives. I stumbled upon it twenty plus years ago and always wanted to come back with every visit west as I do Flaming Gorge but circumstances always kept me in the Vegas region. Ava was often times too sick for me to have time to wonder too much either before or after so my Vegas destinations became the focus and anything outside of that was pure ice cream with the main entree.

In 2012, Ava was supposed to go camping with Montana and I to this place but she decided to take another trip leaving me to go alone with just a small vial of her ashes. That was the first time I’d been able to get back here since my first visit and it was appropriate for me to take her here. Now, I’m here with her best friend. That’s amazing! We are in equal awe of this place!

Words leave my mouth in a choked throat and tears well in my eyes at this whole journey I’m on…sad, healing, loving, adventuring and a hundred other things all connected.

Here are some of the pictures from yesterday.

SMITH RIVER

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Where’s Montana? Montana is sitting in front of the Smith River in the redwoods!

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Shoals in the Smith River. Wish I could record this sound for my white noise!

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There is a great deal of redwoods with burled wood, caused by a fungus growing in/on the tree. The effect is gorgeous in a piece of furniture or an objet d’art. I’ll have some pictures from today’s post (this is really yesterday’s)!

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Gnarly burl!

 

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Took a break from the forest to have a late lunch at a tasty seafood restaurant on the bay called Chart Room. I’d remembered being told that seals will come lay on a floating dock waiting for the fishermen to come in early evenings and dump the fish refuse. The seals have gotten lazy and sleep on the dock waiting for their dinner to be delivered! Below is what you’re looking at! There’s a HUGE bull seal toward the front. I hope you can click on the photo and enlarge it to get the real view. To say I’m having internet and download issues is an understatement! LOL

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And….back to the redwoods!

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HAPPY TAILS!

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?

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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!

 

Yesterday, Mirjana and I explored a section of Montreal called “Mile-End.” For Atlantans, it’s Montreal’s Little Five Points. I immediately saw a man my age (or older) with his very gray hair dyed red on top! Yep, I was finally in the right place! My gypsy-belly-dancing-opera-singing-daughter loved living in Little Five Points and she certainly felt at home in Mile-End when she was here visiting Mirjana and Una a few years ago. I loved it too and looked for her face in every passerby, at every turn and in every shop. I just knew she was there with us enjoying authentic Italian coffee at Cafe Olympico where more than forty locals sat on the shaded deck watching soccer on the big flat screen TV out of the mid-day sun.

Mirjana’s craving for a falafel pocket sandwich from what she touted as being a great little vegetarian restaurant called “The Green Panther” wasn’t exactly my idea of lunch. I’m definitely carnivorous and was drooling for a tasty fish or meat salad of some sort, but out of respect for the journey and for Ava (who loved vegetarian food), I jumped in with both feet. The sandwich wasn’t half bad! I’m not sure I’ll ever order it again but I did enjoy the experience and the company as well.

As Montreal is very French, I was quite surprised at the used bookstore and shops which appeared more English influenced than French. There were many “old friends” in the bookstore for sale. It was a welcomed relief to all the French street names and menus sans translations! Try driving in a foreign country with a TomTom faking French! LOL It’s been challenging to say the least!

As I’d wanted to have something of a more French cuisine for dessert, we decided to try a little place called “La Crepiere” at 221 rue St. Viateur Ouest owned and operated by a dedicated crepe lover, Catherine Perrot. She created such a beautiful display of my apple and caramel crepe that I wanted to take a picture of it, remembering only then that I’d left my camera behind. My only choice was to dive in, and that I did. It was light and delicious just as I’d expected. It’s a must-do when in Montreal.

We were confident that the $7.75 we’d paid into the parking meter $7.75 would certainly allow us enough time to explore two hours here, we were confident we wouldn’t get hit with their notorious  $45.00 parking ticket but we were so wrong. When we walked directly across the street to get into the car from the crepe restaurant, there it was…all red and white. What a great welcoming. I was just about over the rude drivers who blow their horns way too much (but not as much as New Yorkers…I doubt if any other city blows it like NYC) and display their aggravation at your confusion on where to turn even or that you’re walking too slowly across the pedestrian cross-walk but this was the ultimate unwelcoming.

We’d put in $2.25 and bought 45 minutes of parking. Two minutes later, we put in more money to five us more time. We went back and deposited yet more money now paying the equivalent (buy their own parking meter standards) of 3 hours 44 minutes of which we only used w hours 31 minutes. How outrageous that their parking meters do NOT give you, the customer, credit for the time already paid for into the meter such that every time you put money in, the meter starts over! WHAT A RIP OFF! In the US, you put money in, go back and add more money to the meter and get credit for funds paid. NOT HERE! Note to self, walk next time and leave truck in free parking area!

Ava singing

On a different note, I came to see Una and Mirjana in Montreal not only to help us heal from this tragic loss but to have Mirjana’s feedback and brainstorming help in the development of AvasCorner.org (see earlier blog). Mirjana (daughter-from-another-mother who was Ava’s mentor and big sister) is an accomplished international director and performer as well as having been a professor. Her artistic background coupled with a similar life experiences lends valuable insight into formulating the right format for the site. Needless to say, Mirjana has been instrumental in thinking through the structure of the website with me. Avascorner.org will help performers like my daughter during their time of crisis. Stephanie (a daughter-by-another-mother who resides in Vegas) has been my site angel who volunteered to take on the learning curve for the greater good. It’s my job to stay focused on the big picture and try to raise money for the non-profit organization to fund all I want to do to help performers. After all, they’re willing to spill their guts onto the stage every night just to entertain us.

We should support ALL variations of artistic expression whether it be poetry, painting, pantomime or pictures…it’s all art. Artists have, by nature, a sensitive side the rest of us can ignore or tune out…example…rude drivers are probably not artistic! However, it’s the sensitive ones like Ava who remind us of our humanity to hug trees and care for this earth through recycling and to spay and neuter to reduce the number of homeless or euthanized pets. They, like our artistic forefathers (Mozart, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Jackson Pollock),  contribute something valuable to our system of living and need to feel cherished and have a special need for an outlet of their passions.

And, for those artists like Ava who have mental malfunctions, they need extra understanding, love and support and that’s what we want to provide with Avascorner.org. Our goal is to provide a creative venue for self-expression, reliable websites to educate on how to combat bullying and other inappropriate work interaction, suggested places for healing through music or art and informative sites on various disorders. We also want to give reliable website addresses which provide examples of characteristics exhibited in early childhood which indicate mental malfunctions but, for obvious reasons, can’t be diagnosed until much later, as in Ava’s case. I created the expression “mental malfunctions” as that’s what Ava had. Mental illness indicates positive results from therapy or a chemical remedy, i.e., Bipolar disorders and schizophrenia can be treated with both. Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t respond to anything but unconditional love.

I’m initiating the site’s focus in Las Vegas because that’s where my daughter performed, amassed hundreds of friends and industry connections, and where the suicide rate is 50% higher than the national average (see http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/21/remembering-dr-clarissa-engstrom-friends-and-famil/) but our long-term goal with funding and help from performance-based colleges will spread this effort worldwide. We hope to have a launching of the website and Listen Lines by the end of this year or early next winter. Our theme for the Vegas launch is: “Without performers, Vegas is just another desert.”

Happy Trails!

Since my daughter’s death, her adopted siblings have been critical in my healing process and I hope I’ve been instrumental in their’s as well. As most of her friends reside in Vegas, I was blessed with extended family the seven weeks I slept in her bed and finalized her affairs. It was always necessary for me to come to Montreal to be with another one of my daughter’s adopted siblings, Mirjana and her precious Una. And, although it’s been a bittersweet reunion, we’ve finally been able to go through a process of healing our hearts which could only be done one-on-one. It’s been remarkable. Not only have they embraced me as “mom/grandma,” they have embraced my core, grief and all by making sacrifices and extending themselves in such a way as few in this world do.

Mirjana, a very busy mother , voice teacher and performer in her own right, canceled her scheduled lessons to meet me in Niagara Falls and camp with me on our way to her home in Montreal. She has not only opened her heart but her small apartment and made me feel exceedingly welcome and comfortable.

Her boyfriend, Serge, surprised us all with a special treat. We all went camping in Charlevoix, Quebec where we camped on the banks of the St. Laurent River where it meets the ocean overlooking its rocky cliffs where whales abound. This is about that trip.

The view along the way to Charlevoix, Quebec via Quebec City

The highway view

Longest bridge I ever saw!

Beach along the way to Charlevoix!

Falls along the highway to Charlevoix!

And I thought WE had a lot of churches in the south! Quebec has us beat! As it was my only picture of a church here, I decided to included it even though it certainly isn’t a great one!

Farms with amazing views of the St. Laurent River (St. Lawrence River for those of you who don’t read French! Okay, so I’m showing off a bit!)

Where the river meets the ocean.

We stayed perched on the banks of the St. Lawrence River overlooking where it meets the ocean at Camping Spa Falaise sur Mer in St. Simeon, Charlevoix in Quebec. This facility is erroneously rated Three Stars instead of Five so it comes highly recommended by us. The owner was gracious and extended all courtesies to us above and beyond the call of duty. She even gave us two sites for the price of one. Check it out at http://www.camping-falaisesurmer.com or call 1-888638-1441. The facilities are orderly, clean and new. We really didn’t want to break camp!

Rock climbing in Charlevoix!

Can you see the rock to the left which I repelled and then had to climb back up to get to the campsite? Serge, Una and Mirjana were all quite proud of me. They didn’t know I grew up climbing. This felt awkward but totally doable especially with them cheering me on and lending a hand when needed. Montana helped too, ya’ know!

Montana on the Beach looking for rabbits, deer, squirrels, bicycles and whales? What’s a whale? LOL !

Wildflowers at the campground

On Friday, we took a road trip to Baie St. Paul, a little mountain village.

Breathtaking turns with a magnificent view perched in the middle of the turn!

Unusual architecture is very common here…no two houses the same makes the drive a welcomed relief. Even the farms vary greatly from the more traditional placing of outbuildings far from the main house to several cramped close to the home. This area of Canada had an interesting variation of architecture but it also had something I’d never seen in such abundance: red galvonized roofs and white houses with bright red trim!

Baie St. Catherine where we caught the whale cruise.

Saturday, we took a shorter trip to Baie St. Catherine to catch the whale watching cruise near Tadoussac through Cruises 2001 in Baie St. Catherine. Serge was told three times that we could take Montana on the cruise with us. When we arrived, however, we were told Montana could not go! I freaked out. There was no place to leave her and Serge had already booked the tour. The lady who was to guide us to the cruise ship graciously volunteered to take care of Montana while we were on the four-hour tour. I wasn’t comfortable leaving Montana with a stranger knowing there were horses and dogs in the back of their neighbors’ yard and, with a loose grip on the lease, Montana could take off for Europe or, with a tighter grip, take the nice lady DOWN. Of course, the nice lady didn’t speak English too well but her eyes convinced me she would love up on my puppy the whole time and I’d find her navy blue pants covered in Montana’s white fur! So, off we went.

Marina sign at boat dock

On the cruise.

There’s our first whale sighting! We even heard and saw him “blow” the water out! We were told he was a Minke whale.

The black line of turbulence is a group of seals swimming together at quite a rapid pace for thousand pound animals! If you look closely, you can see their heads out of the water. The white in the middle of them is water splashing.

We then headed toward the fjord where the Beluga Whales are found.

BELUGAS! They’re quite endangered and Atlanta shouldn’t try to keep them in their aquarium. They really don’t do well in captivity. Maybe somebody should tell them to put something in there that does! Duh!

See the white dot in the water? That’s the Beluga! There were several diving rather rapidly and were quite hard to catch on camera.

Breathtaking views

Much to my relief, as we walked off the ship, the lady who took care of Montana greeted us with how much in love she was with her and how she wanted to keep her. She told us of how Montana stayed right by her side and turned over on her back for tummy love. The nice lady was wrapped around Montana’s paw! Thank you God that Montana didn’t take off after the horse in the back!

After she finished telling us all about her time with Montana, I asked her name. It was “Angel”, of course! Their website is: www.croisieres2001.com. They were amazingly accommodating.

After the cruise, we decided to find a beach so we rambled Saguenay where there was a music festival on the beach. We took the ferry to Hotel Tadoussac and played on the beach.

Free ferry boats to Hotel Tadoussac in Saguenay.

Although I liked the idea of finding a beach, my idea was to find a deserted beach but was out voted. They wanted to go to the beach where there was a music festival in town and I pictured being trampled with hordes of drunk people. I was so wrong. The beach was lovely and not crowded at all. There was a sand art competition and Serge and I picked our favorite to be the one that looked like a forest.

Beach at Hotel Tadoussac in Saguenay

Sand art

Boats anchored right off the beach.

Marina just a few feet from the beach.

Montana playing on the beach with the rich and famous!

We went back to the campsite tired but very happy. Una and I got cracked out on Smores (Marshmellows roasted over an open fire sandwiched between dark chocolate and two graham crackers…drool…as in “I want some more!”) yet another night, showered and turned in early as Sunday was going to be full of more adventures in 600-year-old Old Quebec City (Le Vieux Quebec).

First sight of Quebec City!

Beautiful city but Old Quebec City is what we were going to see.

Old Quebec City has very steep inclines but it is worth the extra effort. This is from the park which sits below the palace and above this view. Beautiful city.

The palace above the park overlooking the structures in the pictures above.

Hotel Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec City. Beautiful old world architecture designed by an American Architect in the late 1800’s. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met there during the early 1940’s to discuss strategies of World War II.

Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

And what trip would be complete without a picture of Montana? For those who don’t personally know Montana, she’s a bird dog of the English Pointer variety which means she’s a hunter. Hunting anything that moves is her passion be it squirrel, turtle, rabbit, deer or bicycle. And, as there are so many bicycles in Montreal, she’s been quite challenged keeping up with all of them.

Is that a bicycle I see over there?

We enjoyed a dessert at a cafe overlooking the old city.

We continued onto Montreal back to the apartment and Montana’s obsession with finding all the bicycles in Montreal!

We’ll stay here a few more days before heading toward Prince Edward Island to find Anne of Green Gables.

The healing heart tour continues for a few more weeks. I plan to be back at the cabin around the first weeks of July. Then, I’ll head toward Florida to see other family down there which includes my other granddaughter, Angela, who was born during this fray.

Happy Trails!

The prettiest part of the drive through the Adirondacks on SR 3 was east of Tupper Lake, NY because there were streams, old barns, old houses, lakes, lots of thick, lush natural evergreens looking a great deal like Christmas trees all growing wild along the road with mountains!

A lake village

Lake views

General Store circa 1904

Mountain views

Streams!

Old barns!

Interesting old buildings

We drove into a storm when we reached Montreal after driving over six hours. Of course, the bad weather increased as did the bumper-to-bumper traffic as we proceeded toward Quebec to store my pop-up for a couple of days. I was soaked to the bone after detaching it and jumping in and out of the truck a dozen times and exhausted on all levels! Mirjana and I were running behind schedule for  getting Una’s performance on time. As true, devoted moms, we walked furiously toward Una’s school in the pouring rain. Montana and I turned back toward the apartment to unload “stuff”.

After we got settled down for the night, I noticed Montana curled up. As I took her picture, it was if she said, “Don’t even think about waking me up!”

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

Today, Una and I walked around her neighborhood in a burb of Montreal which reminds me a great deal of the area of New York City where I was in December. This area, however, is prettier and more manicured as they’re not apartment buildings…they’re homes with common walls (townhouses) built as long ago the late 1800’s.

Tomorrow we ALL go and site-see in Quebec City on our way to Charlevoix to camp ON the beach of the St. Laurence River where its fresh water meets the ocean; we’re guaranteed to see whales! BOY, am I excited! I’m slowing coming back to life with all the wonderful love and support from all over the US and Canada. I’m so blessed. Ava really hooked me up with wonderful chirrens!

More to come!

Happy Trails!

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!

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

Didn’t have a clue that eastern Colorado was such a cow palace! It resembled the cattle ranches I saw in Texas (yes, with holding pens).

Wide open country

Then comes Nowhere Nebraska which is ALL green and lush.

It’s really interesting how crossing a state line is so obvious because of terrain or rivers. You KNOW you’re in another state because everything looks so different.

There’s a great deal of agricultural areas in Nebraska. I sure hope they’re not all owned by large corporations. I hope there are still some Mom & Pops around.

Beautiful countryside but make sure you get gassed up before entering Nebraska on I-80! There just aren’t that many places for fuel here.

I thought all the long trains went through Nevada and Colorado! Here’s a neat perspective.

Although there’s some dirt on the car window, I still wanted to add this photo because of the river in the background. Just beautiful!

And, as always, it’s Motel 6 when I need a TV fix or drive too long and have gotten too tired to set up the camper. BTW, most campsites don’t have really fast internet service so it takes forever to download photos. I’m kinda’ liking this Motel 6 because it’s a franchise (instead of a chain) and, although it’s pricier, it’s definitely privately run because of the grounds, location (overlooking a river) and it’s internet service. It’s in Grand Island, Nebraska just in case you’re ever up this way!