Saturday, October 20, 2012

Colors of Fall

Week of 10/13 – 10/19/2012
Rainy Day
One of hundreds of beautiful, old churches
in New Hampshire
John under Boise Rock
Yeah, I guess that sounds like a good idea?????
Gena & John on Conway Railroad
The great debate - cracked me up.
Spent a week in Lincoln, NH – a much needed time to be in one place for more than a few days. We arrived late Saturday after spending afternoon in Bennington, VT. We unpacked and snuggled in for the entire next day – it was raining, so it didn't feel like we were wasting the day.

Monday, foggy and sprinkling, we drove to Conway, NH, through the beautiful White Mountains that cover about a quarter of New Hampshire, so there are many sites to see, camping and hiking. All along the way they have “Brake for Moose” signs – like one is just going to say “I don't think so and crash into a moose”?????   We found it interesting that there was a Boise Rock so, of course, we stopped to see it. 

Took tons of pictures showing the Fall color. Drive, stop, drive, stop. It took us quite awhile to make progress, but we weren't in any rush . I was glad that I hadn't decided to take pictures of all white, rustic, beautiful old churches with steeples. Also decided not to take pictures of every home that had great architecture. Churches and those homes could take a life time, so hopefully I can remember lots of the beauty we saw.

We were going to go to Mount Washington which is the highest peak in the NE US and is famous for dangerously erratic weather. Until 2010, the summit held the record for the highest wind gust measured on the Earth's surface, 231 mph in 1934. John loves weather, but we learned the wind was blowing 55-62 mph, and temperature with wind chill at -2, so we decided to pass on that experience.

We saw colors, rivers, rocks, flowers, mushrooms with our big bonus of seeing two separate groups of wild turkeys – each group with 5-6 turkeys. They were just by the side of the road. It was neat.   No bear or moose and that was fine with us.

Wednesday we took a 5 hour train ride from North Conway down the tracks about 27 miles and back.  It was fun to travel through the trees and listen to the narrative history of the area and the important part the railroad played in the development of the area. After the train ride, we took a little time to see the “Return of the Pumpkin People” in the town of Jackson. There were many clever ideas (see Romney/Obama debate above) and it was fun to drive around and take pictures of the scenes.

On our last full day in beautiful New Hampshire, we took a drive south and went around Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state at 21 miles long and from 1 to 9 miles wide. The lower elevation and being close to water gave us more orange and red color in the leaves – thus more pictures.

It is so weird as I write this and realize that without all the pictures I've taken – with each photo showing the date – I am not sure if I could say what we have done.   In writing this today, I've had to go back to my pictures and refresh my memory.   This is all moving along so fast and with the continual seeing of so many new things every day, doing new things – it just doesn't all register. That surprises me and maybe if I were younger I could hold on to each memory. We've driven over 7,000 miles so far and have been gone for 52 days.

We're still married, just a “few” arguments along the way, but still laughing and ready for our next adventure.   I know our humor is what makes this all possible – oh, and the fact that John is an angel to put up with me.

I've still got to work on …. s l o w i n g   d o w n ….. but I guess I just don't want us to miss anything.  As Willie would say, "On the Road Again"..........going places I've never been..................

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where Are We, Where Have We Been????

October 8 – 13
Indianapolis, Indiana State Capitol (reflection)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Spectacular tile work in Capitol
Grand staircase - Harrisburg, PA
Patsy and Dave - CS Harrisburg, PA
Cool folks
The Joy of Chocolate
Albany, NY Capitol
Looks more like a European castle
Up close and personal
a real covered bridge - yeah!!!!!!!
It is sort of surreal to think that we are so far "back east"
We have been traveling fast and furious this week and hit 3 state capitol buildings. There were days we weren't sure of the day of the week, date, or what we had just seen. We are now in our condo in Lincoln, New Hampshire for one solid week and today is just for sitting around, doing wash, cooking meals and relaxing.

The capitols we've seen this week are:

Indianapolis, Indiana

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Albany, New York

Each was different and real masterpieces of architecture. The NY capitol when constructed cost an amazing $25M. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was one of the most beautiful inside and a very different dome. We enjoyed our visits to all the buildings.

In Harrisburg, PA we couch surfed for one night with Patsy and Dave. She's a DJ with a local radio station and has been doing that for over 30 years. Dave has created an internet radio station, writes radio spots, and many other creative things -- so they were interesting people who made us feel right at home. We went out for pizza at a local place that has been in business since 1948. Always nice to go some where that is older than I am. In the morning Dave cooked us a nice breakfast and then Patsy took us over to Hersey, PA to see all the chocolate stuff. They don't let you tour the plant anymore, but do have a free ride to go through that explains the many processes to make yummy choc. There is even an amusement park (we did not do that) and lots of stuff (hats, shirts, etc.) to buy. They even had candy you can't find in stores. We DID NOT buy even one piece of candy for us. Amazing.

After Hershey, we drove to Scranton, PA. We learned about a National Historic Site there called “Steam Town”, so we went to visit this museum. We spent several hours going through all the interesting displays on the history of the steam trains and their many contributions to America. This was an original steam train depot, repair shop, yard – so they even had a huge turn around there. Well preserved and two interesting cars we went into – one a special car, the fancy one used by the president of the company and other dignitaries when they traveled. The other was a mail car that showed how they sorted the mail inside the car with all the slots, and also the arm that would drop off the mail as the train went by.

Last stop was Bennington, Vermont. We stopped in at Bennington Pottery – beautiful pottery – glad I don't have anywhere to put it so I could resist. Saw something I'd never seen before - “drum art” which is tin work done in Haiti that is made out of steel drums and it is quite a process. It is wonderful and I fell in love with that. It is just so cool. We had a nice time going to the Park-McCullough House, built in 1865. There was an Oktoberfest so we enjoyed a bratwurst and looking at the booths, sampling, touring the house and listening the the Polka Band. Nice fall festival. On our way out of town we got to go over two covered bridges – something we've seen on calendars, TV and we did it, neat!!!!

So many pumpkins, corn stalks, scarecrows, colored corn, gourds, squash – very Fall here. Yards are decorated to the max and it is fun to see. Fall is my favorite time of year so I am enjoying each thing I see.

Several hours driving through Vermont and then in to New Hampshire. Beautiful hills, and pretty colors. Cooling off now, rained a bit last night. Well, off to do about 5 loads of wash and get ready for our driving around this week.

Visit with Cherry in Bloomington, Indiana
Univ. of Indiana 10//7/12
Korean BBQ with our dear AFS daughter
Univ. of Indiana campus
Hot Pot - fun and different meal
Cherry, Gena & Sally
great evening

We drove fast and furious from St. Louis to Bloomington to meet with our exchange student daughter, Cherry, who is attending U of I. We made that poor girl wait as we ran into several detours and there was an hour time change we weren't aware of. Bless her heart. So great to see her and we had some good hugs. Cherry (Yuan Dong in Chinese) treated us to a wonderful late lunch of Korean BBQ. This is where you take meat that has been marinated and cook the thin pieces yourself. There were about 15 sides dishes. We had a wonderful feast and thank her for the great meal.

Cherry then showed us around her little campus town. I walked across campus to see her dorm room. U of I is beautiful with lots of flowers, fountains, walkways, and big, old trees. She is happy there and has made friends and is doing good.

For dinner, her friend, Sally (her American name since she is from China too) had invited us over for “hot pot” – something we had never had before. We went shopping at two Chinese stores to get the special ingredients – there were plenty of them and they are not cheap. We arrived at her friends place which was a nice apartment on campus for 4 students, it has a full kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms. Very nice, but very expensive.

So Cherry and Sally speeded into action and got the pot going. It is a two sided electric pot and on one side they put a base flavor, and in the other side it was a base, but hot and spicy. That got to bubbling, and they got the Chinese cabbage, bok choy, paper thin sliced beef, fish balls, shrimp balls, fish flavored tofu all ready. We each got a bowl and some chop sticks and we were ready to cook in the hot pot. John had to get a fork and I found it almost impossible to pick up the fish balls with chop sticks, but finally did it after several attempts by stabbing it. I was surprised that the one side, while hot and burning, was the one I liked the best. Sally is such a sweet, adorable little gal and we were thankful that we got to have this first experience and a fun evening with the girls.

Alas, it was time to head to our hotel room after an exhausting day. Cherry walked us out to the sidewalk and we all hated to part. Too bad we didn't have more time. We had a fun, busy day together but it was just too short. I hope Cherry can come spend time with us next time, maybe somewhere in our travels. Hugs my dear girl and we miss you.