Sunday, September 25, 2016

Back on Cape Cod!

One of the most special places for us is "the Cape",  in Massachusetts.  We vacationed there a couple of times in the late 90's and fell in love with this wonderful spot.

In 1999/2000 we took a six month road trip around the USA.  Part of this trip was to look for a new hometown as we were ready to leave our long time home state of New Jersey.  As we were Winding up our trip, we decided to venture out to the Cape for another visit.  That was all we needed to know that we were ready to call Cape Cod home.

Within a week, we found a sweet cedar shingled home to buy in Dennis Port and jobs for each of us.  Michael was a chef at a lovely restaurant in an an old sea captains home, and I went to work for an outdoor outfitter called Eastern Mountain Sports.  We couldn't believe our good fortune!

When we began our latest travels on the road in March of last year (2015), we left the Cape with mixed emotions.  So we were excited to return for a visit on Saturday, September 10, for a week!

Our dear friends Sandra and Rick and grandson Gage, offered us a spot at their home to park the trailer and hook up to electricity and water. We also attended a meeting of the Cape Cod Bird Club on the 12th and saw many of our friends! On the 13th we visited my old wood carving class and on the 15th, we spent the day in the Wellfleet (outer Cape) area.  A visit  with my former co-workers and volunteers at Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was so special.  And poking around the Cape to favorite haunts brought back many memories.

At Sandra's home:

Around the Cape:

We left Cape Cod on Friday, September 16 headed for northern New Jersey to visit our best friend, Pam, for a few days, and then down to southern NJ to visit family and friends.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The POD has Landed on the East Coast!

Last I left you, we had camped at the horse camp near Watkins Glen, NY.  We also had a great time visiting with our camp neighbors, Adam and Kim and their super sweet young sons.

The family left Sunday, and we packed up on Monday, Labor Day, to set out toward Ithaca.  But, we received a call from Adam before pulling out, inviting us to visit them in Ithaca.  They live on 24 acres of woodlands and had an open area around their home where we could park the trailer for a couple of days.  This was such a generous offer and we readily accepted! Plus it put us within about 8 miles of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

We arranged to get to their home later in the day.  So, we thought we'd go into town for lunch and to walk around.  With Ithaca being a college town, there were lots of interesting shops and restaurants.  Keep in mind, we were towing the trailer!  You probably can guess how this goes!

Street were narrow.  Traffic was busy. Workmen were everywhere. We finally hit a detour, but presume we didn't follow it correctly!   We ended up at a dead end on the college of law campus, with backing up as the only way out!  Students were everywhere and seemed amused by our predicament.   Michael, though, has become masterful at moving the trailer around, so he got us back on track.

We bee-lined it out of town and headed toward the countryside where Adam and Kim have their home.  Since we still hadn't had lunch, we stopped at a produce stand and loaded up on fresh fruit and vegetables.

After a nice visit with the farmer, we ate some lunch and then made it to Adam and Kim's home.  It turned out that we had a great time! The kids were awesome and Jackson, their older son, really was playing the flute I gave him very well.  We practiced together and he tried out my other flutes.  He's got a great fluting future!

Michael cooked dinner with Kim the first night and did a fish fry our second night.  We ate outside, beside a pond.  After dinner, we set off fireworks that Michael had collected during our travels.   Then we sat out admiring the star-carpeted sky!  Overall, we had a fantastic time and felt so appreciative of their warm and comfortable hospitality.

Our visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology was like a visit to the moon for an astronaut!  For any serious birder, a day at least has to be spent here.  There's a building that houses the visitor center, research facilities and seating area where you can sit and bird the bog through a glass wall.  (Watched a beautiful green heron fish for supper!).  We watched a short video and walked a trail a short ways.  It was 1pm and quite hot, so there wasn't much in the way of bird activity.

Inside the visitor center there was an enormous wall mural, beautifully painted, of the evolution of birds.  It was fabulous.

In the auditorium, prints of assorted bird nests werected exhibited.

Our visit was great!

Wednesday morning (9/7) we hit the road, reaching Connecticut and Rhode Island over the next couple of days, sleeping at a Walmart and a Cracker Barrel.  We reached Cape Cod MA on Saturday the 10th, and it felt like we never left when we saw the welcome sign.

I will write about our visit to the Cape soon!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We Love NY!

Some days feel like things cannot get any better, and then they do!  We are in western NY and have been super happy here!  What a picturesque area of the US.  This is Lake Seneca.

As I write we are in the Finger Lakes National Forest at Backbone Horse Camp.  We were lucky enough to find this spot on Thursday (8/31) as Blueberry Patch Campground was full (only 10 sites).  We forgot that this was Labor Day weekend!

Well, this little camping spot for horse riders has really large sites with spots for putting hay and tie-up posts.  There's a corral, too.  When we pulled in to check this campground out, no one else was here.  So we selected a spot even though we were not sure if it was okay to camp here.  There were no signs saying we couldn't be here, so we chose a site away from the corral.

 Fortunately,  a family took the site to our left (no horses) so we felt better about being here.  Horse trailers began rolling in throughout the weekend  and hearing the horses neigh and seeing the riders go by has been awesome!

We are surrounded by apple trees and woods and green grass.  The folks next to us, mom and dad and two adorable boys, have really helped to make this place special.  As we sat around a fire together last night, conversation turned to Native American culture.  I mentioned that I play the Native American style flute and they asked me to play which gave me much pleasure.   I ended up giving the older son the High Spirits pocket flute that had been gifted to me by a bus driver at Glacier National Park last September.  Just a joyful experience!

We are just outside of Watkins Glen,  known for its international racing Speedway.  On Saturday,  we went into town to do a mountain of laundry, and then walked around.  Watkins Glen attracts sports cars of all shapes and sizes and colors as well loads of cool motorcycles.  On the sidewalks, there are imprints of race winners, and I spotted a couple of women!

A scenic ride to a small town nearby called Mecklenburg took us to a post office so we could pick up our general delivery mail.

Prior to arriving here we had been in Olean, at a Walmart for a night.  We had traveled through Seneca Nation (Allegany)  near Salamanca and stopped to visit a cultural museum that was unfortunately closed.  Signs showed their messages in the Native American language too.

Jamestown NY is home of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute; he is known as the father of modern birdwatching.  There's also an Audubon
Sanctuary.  However, we didn't visit them as wanted to keep on track to Ithaca to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for a couple of days.  We will visit Jamestown in the future.

We've been traveling east on I 86.  The scenery has been green and lush.  Labor Day, we will continue east, with a possible detour north to Seneca Falls on Cayuga Lake.  Although we have visited this spot years ago, the birth place of the women's rights movement has a really great museum.  The route on 414 is also designated as a scenic route.  More to follow on our Finger Lakes travels!