Tuesday, September 28, 2021

New Hampshire

The Bench that my Friends Rescued

Sept 4 - at Diane’s

I need to do laundry, and I need to run, so I combine them both. The campground has good washers and dryers, 3 of each, so I fill them up and start running. One loop around the campground is about .80 miles. After the first loop I put the clothes in the dryers. Then I have time for 2 more loops before the clothes are dry. I thought I might do another loop or two after folding and putting away the clothes but nah.

It was expensive, $15. We have enough sheets and towels so I won’t bother to do them until we get home. I’ll need to do laundry one more time on this trip.

Around 11:30 we head to Diane’s. They have moved into her parent’s old place since we left. I didn’t see the inside of the house but the outside is pretty wonderful. A huge yard for the dogs, good fences, a barn, a pasture for her goats and the horse. Our dogs were in heaven. Harper was SO happy to see Diane! Every time I looked over Heather was in Dennis’ lap! Cosmo got along just fine with the other dogs and wasn’t at all interested in the goats and the horse. They all ran around like crazy all afternoon.

Dennis and Heather

It was great to see everyone. All the Westie crew were there, except Stephanie and Ryan, but we’ll see Steph next week. We just sat around and talked and smiled and ate and drank. We got to see the new puppies too. There are 2 litters, one set 3 weeks old with their eyes just open, the other not even a week. We got to hold the older ones but not the newborns. Vinca, their mama, is still way too protective to allow strangers near her puppies.

Sept 5

In the morning I went running with Paula on the Rockingham Recreational Trail near Massabesic Lake. We used to run on this trail together occasionally when I lived here so it was like old times, except! Paula has improved as a runner so much! When I first met her she was just starting to run and I was younger than I am now, and faster than her. Now the tables are turned and she is the one slowing down for me. I haven’t slowed down that much, but she has gotten much faster! It’s kind of thrilling to watch her thrive as an athlete!

This trail has these long dark tunnels of corrugated steel. You need a headlamp (or the flashlight on your phone). It also goes through some really remote areas where no houses or people are visible for miles. Paula doesn’t like to run on this trail alone and I don’t blame her! She was running 18 miles and I was only up for 8 so we put my truck on a road with access to the trail 8 miles out and Paula met me there. Then we drove to the trailhead at the lake and started our run.

When we got to the truck Paula’s husband met us on his bike and he rode with her the rest of the way. Rich is such a nice guy!

In the afternoon Lee and I drove to Lowell to eat at the Vietnamese restaurant we used to love, Pho 98. It was good, but I think I had it elevated in my mind because it wasn’t as good as I remembered. Then we drove around southern New Hampshire running various errands, finally driving past our old house and along Arlington Pond. You can’t see our old house from the road, and the driveway was pretty overgrown. It didn’t feel like home anymore, and that was good in a way. We’ve moved on with our lives, and Minnesota is growing on us, slowly.

We finished the evening with Rich and Paula at T-Bones, which still has good food, great cocktails, and comfy booths. I was so tired and we were late getting to bed, but I still woke up at 5 and forced myself to lay there until I finally gave up at 5:30. Ugh!

Sept 7

Yesterday we left Auburn and went north. First we went to the coast and had lobster rolls at Marky’s in Hampton Beach. Once again the traffic going the opposite direction from us was horrible, as people were going home at the end of Labor Day weekend.

When we got close to North Conway, our destination for the next three days, the sky turned dark and rain poured down, just as we were getting ready to check in to our campsite. Bad timing! It didn’t rain very long, but still our proposed campsite was pretty muddy. Lee scouted around and found a different site that was dryer. It was available so we moved there.

There was plenty of room to set up the rug, the screen tent, and the chairs around the campfire. Nice! The only flaw in our design is that the screen tent does not work as a substitute for a dog fence. Unfortunately I guess we need both, because they can get underneath the screen tent without any trouble at all. At one point someone walked their dog past our campsite and Cosmo and Harper took off after them. Cosmo nipped the dog and we were mortified. Fortunately the man was nice about it  and Cos didn’t do any damage otherwise if he had wanted to make a stink we would have been in a lot of trouble. From that point on when they were outside they were on a leash.

Joe and Carol came over to our campsite and ate dinner with us in the screen tent. That’s a nice thing about it, as long as it’s not too cold or too hot we can actually have people over to the RV now. After dinner we sat around the campfire until it got dark. Then they went home and we went to bed.

It was chilly last night and the dogs were hogging the Westie blanket so I was cold. But I slept in, after 6 am! Carol had warned us that Diana’s Baths gets very crowded so we decided to go there early and I would do my run after that. Diana’s Baths is a bunch of waterfalls. It’s a short walk from the parking lot and at this time of year it’s easy to clamber over the rocks to view the streams of water.

Then we went back to the RV and I did my run. I was supposed to do 6 miles but I settled for 5 since I had already walked a mile. Call that my warmup. I did a loop around the campground and then headed out on Hwy 16 toward North Conway. Big long hills, up and down. At around 2 miles I came upon a wildlife refuge so I dipped into it and ran until I had 2.5 miles and it was time to turn around.

We went into town for lunch. A lot of places are closed because it is after Labor Day and they are having staffing issues. But Lee found a taco place that had good reviews so that’s what we did. Not bad for northern NH! We walked around North Conway a bit, slipped into REI and LLBean and then went back to the RV. 

Later in the afternoon we went over to Carol’s, let the dogs play, and chatted. Sebastian wasn’t used to having visitors but he did pretty good. He and Harper got into a tussle over a the toy, just like little kids, “Mine! Mine!” But other than that it went fine. We did make Cos wear a belly band, and he did mark but with the belly band on it didn’t matter.

Sept 8

We decided we needed a day off so we’re not doing much of anything today. Lee is worried about the rain coming tonight and tomorrow, as well he might be, so he put away all the outdoor stuff today, so it won’t get wet and he doesn’t have to try to do it in the rain tomorrow morning. 

I did my run this morning in loops around the RV park, so flat. I could make one loop into 1.5 miles, so I did it 4 times to get to 6 miles. One mile warmup, 4 miles at MP, one mile cool down. I was working pretty hard for that MP, and my toe was sore at the end. I took some ibuprofen and it will get some rest for the rest of today and tomorrow, so hopefully that will take care of it.

Sept 9

In the evening yesterday we met Carol and Joe at a restaurant in North Conway, the Muddy Moose. I tried their burger and onion rings. The burger was pretty good, the onion rings okay. I like them bigger and juicier, these were small and crunchy. It was busy, but not too bad and we sat in a booth. Their booths have floor to ceiling wooden partitions, which Carol said was new, so COVIDwise things felt safe.

It was nice to get to see them one more time. Joe is funny. He has such a dry sense of humor. If you didn’t know him you might wonder if he is kidding or not sometimes, he can be so deadpan. Hot tip: he’s kidding, lol.

It rained last night, starting around 1 am, just as predicted, and rained off and on til morning. Then we got a break, enough to walk the dogs and break camp. It’s going to pour this afternoon probably off and on until Friday morning. We’re on our way now, crossing our fingers that we get a dry window in which to set up camp. 

3:28 pm

We got here around 2, the same campground in Auburn where we were before, in just enough time to set up camp and walk the dogs. They got pretty gritty so we had to rinse them off in the shower, and right after that it started POURING. I mean REALLY pouring. We are watertight, and dry inside here, but it’s noisy. We’re in a good campsite this time, higher ground and much more level. Water is literally running down the sides of the camper. It’s been going on now for almost 45 minutes. I won’t be surprised if this causes some flash floods. 

Sept 10

Amy, Heather, Nessie, Duffy, Harper, Cosmo, Bentley!

We went over to Chris and Amy C’s around 4:30 pm yesterday. It was still raining, and it rained the whole time we were there. Their new house is really nice. Our dogs all played nicely together, and our dogs were happy to be able to run around a yard, even in the rain.

It rained all night, finally stopping around 3 AM. When we got up in the morning portions of the campground were flooded. The creek that runs through it was over its banks, flowing over a little bridge and flooding a couple of campsites. No actual campers were flooded but for those people it’s a mess.

I did laundry again, running in between loads. Each time I went over the little bridge my feet (and legs) got wet. I didn’t mind, too much anyway. We went to an Indian restaurant in Manchester for lunch. It was ….fine. Lee loves Indian food, and I used to, but sometimes it doesn’t agree with me, which kind of reduces my enjoyment.

This we came back to the RV and hung out. I finished crocheting the baby sweater and the little stuffed duck I was making. They were both a lot of fun. I’m sure I’ll make more stuffed animals, they’re so cute!

Sept 11

Met all the Westie ladies at the Backroom in Manchester for mudslides and hugs, smiles and a few tears. There is some joy and some sorrow among us. Life throws people curves sometimes that are so unfair. As always I wish I could fix this, make it better, but maybe I’m finally old enough to know I can’t and to be ok with that. Maybe.

Paula is a Snapchat pro and she took some great pictures of us with filters. 

And the hostess took one more.

Til we meet again!

Now on this 20th anniversary of 9/11 we are on the road, stopping in Shelburne Falls for lunch with Shirin, one of my cousins, and then on to Catskills, NY for a few days with Eugenie and Ken. What better way to honor this anniversary than to spend it with friends and family that we love.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Off to New England!

We took a three week RV trip in September to New England and back. I'll divide the story into several blog posts. This one is about the trip out east.

August 30th to Fondulac, WI

Just a long day of driving. I drove from 11:45 to 3 with one stop for gas because Lee needed to work. It was fine, but my hip gets sore when I sit for a long time. Old age! (Later in the trip I discovered that if I sat on a pillow my hip was a lot happier). My toe liked the lack of activity though. We’ll see how it is when I run tomorrow morning.

This is a very big KOA Campground. We’ve had some trouble, as usual. First we pulled into the wrong campsite because I misheard the woman in the office. Then Lee couldn’t find the right one, then the breaker kept tripping. He changed to the outlet for the site next to us and now we seem to be ok.

Aug 31-Sep 1

Yesterday we took the SS Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan, from Manitowoc WI to Ludington MI. It was pretty neat, relaxing, and a nice reprieve from driving. It departed at 2 pm, so we had a lazy morning, leaving the KOA around 11, making several stops for supplies and such, and getting to the ferry around 12:30. We were supposed to get there by 1 but we wanted a little extra time to walk the dogs and feed them lunch.

Before we left the KOA I went for a real run, the first one since I broke my right little toe almost 2 weeks ago. It was ok, but I still need to be careful. I bumped my toe this morning and it really really hurt, but I took some ibuprofen and it’s feeling much better now.

We left the dogs in the car with the windows cracked on the boat. It’s a 4 hour crossing so that’s a long time for them to sit in the car without a break. They loaded the RV on to the ferry at the very last, which made us one of the first vehicles off the boat. I think that’s because of the dogs, so a definite win for us!

The Badger is the only remaining steam powered ship in the US. We could see them loading coal onto the ship as it was getting ready to depart. It was built in 1953 so it’s the same age as Lee! It was completely retro fitted in 1991.

We sat out on deck, in a sheltered space on one side of the boat. The wind was blowing furiously on one side, so we sat on the other side! 

We were out of sight of land for about 2 hours of the 4 hour trip. It was a calm day, but you could still feel the ship moving. I crocheted, and read mostly. We didn’t bother to pay for wifi. Periodically I would get up and walk around the boat a bit, because my hip starts to bother me if I sit around too long. Old age, ugh!

I’m currently making two afghans from a striped afghan kit from Annie’s kit club, the same company that I bought the block of the month afghan kit from last year. I’m all caught up right now however, so while I wait for the next kit I’m making a baby sweater.  It’s lots of fun. I’ve never made anything like this before but I already know almost all the stitches and techniques, thanks to the afghan kits. I like watching it slowly come together, and it’s going quickly since it’s small! I going to need another extra project soon, butI already know what it’s going to be!

I ate a lot of junk food on the boat. A hot dog, a Dr. pepper, an ice cream sandwich, and later some coffee and a soft pretzel.

We pulled into Ludington at 7 pm, right on time. We’re on EST now, so we lost an hour. Ludington is a really pretty little town, and it was fascinating to watch the boat pull up to the dock.  Out came the truck and the RV, right away. The dogs were no worse for wear, although they were pretty happy to get out of the truck when we got to our campsite for the night.

We stayed at a park called Vacation Station right in Ludington, only ten minutes from the dock. It was a beautiful campground with a lot of very green grass, but we were only there for the night and now we’re on our way again, driving through Michigan, on our way to Ohio.

Sept 2 To River View RV, Vermillion OH

It seemed like a long day but maybe I was just tired. I drove first, for a change. That part of Michigan was very rural and empty, easy driving. When things got congested it was Lee’s turn to drive.  No fun hauling the RV in heavy traffic.

A few detours for coffee and supplies in Ann Arbor then before you know it we’re in Ohio, along Lake Erie. Wetlands and long bridges, an interesting area. We also drive right by a nuclear reactor. Haven’t seen one of those in awhile.

We pass an awful accident on the highway, a sports car smashed and burnt. Don’t like to think what that was like. The RV park has a gate, and it’s locked. The owners aren’t there, even though we called them 20 minutes before our ETA like they asked. Turned out they were stuck in the traffic from the accident, so she sent her husband to let us in and show us our site.

It was a very ratty RV park, gravel roads, small sites, no sewer. But along a little river, so kind of picturesque too. We don’t want to unhook since we’re only there for the night, but the truck is sticking out into the road. “Oh no matter,” she says airily. “Nobody else is checking in tonight anyway".

I decide I want to try setting up our new screen tent. We also put our new vinyl tablecloth on the picnic table and put the screen tent up around it, so we can eat dinner outside. The only problem is the ground is hard and rocky and I can’t get most of the stakes into the ground. It’s windy too but it doesn’t blow away! We put the dogs in it with us. They can get out by wriggling underneath the edge, but they’re not very interested in doing that. We wouldn’t leave them out there by themselves however. Cosmo does end up outside it once, but it was purely an accident, he was following his nose and it lead him away. I said, “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?” And then he tried to get back into the tent but couldn’t figure out how to get back in. He started hurling himself randomly against the screen, trying to be a good dog. It was pretty funny. 

After dinner we took a little walk to look at the river. it was pretty, but the park is still ratty. 

In the morning I went for a short run. 15 minutes warm up, then 8x1 minutes going as hard as I can, with 2 minutes of recovery between each repeat. It was hard, but it also felt good to go fast and get my heart rate up. My toe hurt at first and then felt ok, better than yesterday.

Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York today. A shorter day of driving, and we’ve been to the park we’re going to before, although I don’t remember it.

Sept 3 Long Day of Driving and Now New Hampshire

We stayed at Southwoods RV in Byron NY last night. It’s a very nice park and we've stayed there before, in 2016, but we both have only the vaguest memories of it. We were on the road by 9 am. We had a long day of driving in front of us, almost 7 hours, which is a lot more than we usually do. At first we were on I-90 but instead of dropping down and heading through Mass, we continued north. Hmmm. Up toward Albany and off the interstate at Troy. Into Vermont and country roads with speed limits between 45 and 50 mph. Why? We trusted Google but we’re puzzled too.

The drive through Vermont was  mountainous, and spectacular. Up up up, down down down. Classic little country towns, rushing streams, winding roads. Eventually we entered New Hampshire. At Keene we turned north yet again, up to I-89 above Manchester and then finally south on I-93. 

The minute we hit 93 the reason became clear. Labor Day weekend and all of Massachusetts was heading north to the lakes and the mountains. Thank goodness for Google, it probably saved us hours of driving time.

After a short stop at the grocery store we arrived at our campground, at about 6:30. Rustic, and the campsite is anything but level but it will do. It’s nice to be in New Hampshire and I can’t wait to see everyone again tomorrow!


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