Friday, October 19, 2007

Sunday in Vermont

We're home now, but I'm still trying to catch up from the trip. We took so many beautiful pictures and just really wanted to share them, so I'm posting more now. The first picture is actually from Saturday night when we went out to the terrific McGrath's Irish Pub at the Inn at Long Trail in Killington, Vermont. Just up the hill from the famous Long Trail Brewery, and just down the hill a few feet from the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail. Back when Jim walked the trail, he got overheated and dehydrated near here and had to spend a day drinking Guinness to rehydrate. Tough job, but he had to do it. On Saturday night, we ended up our travels in the Pub and spent a few fun hours listening to Donal O'Shaughnessy, amazing Irish singer and joke teller. What a great night in an amazing place. This whole building is tucked so close into the mountain that parts of it come into the dining room and bar, with one whole wall of each room made up of the living rock of the mountain. Another rock forms a seat in the bar for casual comfy seating. It was a terrific time with great friends.

In the morning, we were off again to see more amazing sights. Our goal this day was to find a trail that Jim could take off and hike by himself to work out his kinks from sitting so much. On the way there, we saw more small streams and camping places, and swampy spots where there should have been at least one moose, but never was. While Jim was hiking, John, Lora and I found a gorgeous long overview with several mountain ranges marching away into the blue distance, and talked with a nice couple visiting there from Ohio. Then we came across a mysterious, beautiful place with several paths that explored different faiths. While walking there, we found a labyrinth! I'd always been intrigued by these very special walking paths, so plunged right in to walk the curving trails to the center of it. Once we got there, we found this nice little basket, where others had left little tokens of their walk. We needed to leave something, and finally found that perfect yellow leaf to drop in. Notice the little golden Buddha, and all the other little trinkets there. What a neat place.
We ended that amazing day back at the riverside property with a big fire and a picnic of hotdogs and goodies. The picture I'm placing for that shows John, proud landowner of this beautiful place, Lora, relaxing, with her eye on her beloved river, and Jim, poking at the fire. What a great, quiet night to just sit and listen to the river chuckle in its bed as it rushed by us. As you listened to it, you could hear so many levels of sound: the base note of the big rocks slowly moving against each other, mid tones of large waves flowing over the rocks, and the high, almost giggling sounds of the smaller splashes. Constant variety and always fascinating.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday in Vermont

This is a fun chair just down the road from Jack and Lora's current home. It was fun to climb up into the chair and pretend to be Edith Anne for a while--and that's the truth!

They've got this cute little mini dachshund who went along on a short hike with us. I tried to get a picture of it, and this one was the best picture I was able to capture. The dog moves so very fast that only the center of the dog was in focus, and the tail and nose were moving so very fast that they bacame just a blur. Life is fascinating, and needs to be investigated thoroughly when you have a dog nose.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, Roadtrip with Water over Rocks

Today was a great breakfast at the Inn at Long Trail, then a wonderful long drive through mountains with streams filled with coffee colored water flowing very fast over rocks. Gorgeous, gorgeous. We stopped frequently to take pictures of streams, small waterfalls and small ponds. We stopped in a couple of small towns for goodies, lunch, exploring little shops and finally stopped at Robert Frost's home. We actually stood in the room where he wrote his best lines.

We're off to see more today! Vacation is the best!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday in Vermont

Thursday The Property

After a great night’s sleep in the camper, when it was cool enough, finally, to snuggle in, we got to finally visit that property in Vermont that John and Lora have been telling us about for over a year. It’s just plain gorgeous, and the river running next to it are a piece of heaven. We sat on the rocks and visited, and just breathed the fresh air and felt strengthened, just by being there.

One picture I’m posting is of Lora sitting visiting, with the downstream historic mill over her shoulder. Another picture is a close up of an almost perfect ball shaped rock that got driven in between two larger rocks and stuck there. By the smoothness and the shape, you can tell it had been driven many miles along the river bottom, wearing off anything sticking out along the way. So very beautiful there, and even the air felt healing, like there was extra oxygen in the air.

Lucky John and Lora, to know they can spend the rest of their lives beside this flowing water. And lucky us, knowing we are always welcome to come visit. It’s an amazing home they’ve found, and nice to know they made these perfect choices along the way to start their new lives in this setting.

The Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail come together here, and the third picture is me and Jim standing on a suspension bridge that crosses a small gorge over the same river that passes their house. It swayed and danced under our feet, and the cool moist breeze teased our hair as we stood above the rushing waters. Nice to think of all the booted feet crossing this bridge on their route between Georgia and Maine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, Smuggler’s Notch. We met family members in their condo in Smuggler’s Notch, and it was wonderful to see them. We manage to see each other only every 5 years or so. They’re such great people that we would love ot make it much more often, but it’s just tough, because we live so very far apart. We all happened to be here at this time though, so settled in for a great visit, and played Hearts into the night.

Wednesday, we made our way over the mountain to Shelburne Museum for a full day of marvelous experiences. It’s over 40 acres of grounds where they’ve brought together all kinds of structures that explore parts of America. There’s the steam driven paddlewheeler Ticonderoga, brought to that site from 5 miles away on Lake Champlain. Afte4r it retired in 1956. What a unique opportunity to wander all over that ship, peeking int staterooms, crew quarters, engine room, dining room and even into the wheelhouse at the top. The two Jims had fun pretending to push the giant paddlewheel around.

There were three unique barns on the grounds and they were open so we could see the unusual features of each. The round barn provided the welcome center, with a center silo and hung with beautiful quilts everywhere, and also an assortment of chandeliers of unusual materials. One was a 36” ball of gorgeous crystal, another was assembled a ring of those desk lamps on rods and tension springs and looked like a giant spider ready to walk off. Another was made u of pingpong balls and looked really elegant, and still another was of plastic cutlery. What an assortment of fascinating things.

There was a horseshoe shaped barn, built that way so horses and wagons could drive in one end and on through out the other. Each made good use of gravity to move supplies, feed and waste products to ease the work for the farmer.

A working printshop let us see old m,achinery in action, and a weaving studio turned out gorgeously creative pieces, and was complete to a dyer’s garden.

In one small log cabin, a frontier woman in a long dress and bonnet stood next to a fireplace, warm and cozy on this cool day.

One of the most fascinating buildings was dedicated to Shaker history. A film talked about how they lived communally and pooled their work and thought to make a very successful community. One of the greatest comments was in a film. They had harnessed the power of a stream to operate 5 different manufacturing processes, letting it flow freely in between each process. A neighbor complained that once those Shakers were through with the water, it was, “All worn out!”

A great day, then a nice dinner in the evening, and finished the night with a long game of hearts until late. Great times.

Wednesday. We bid farewell to our family and headed off over the mountain to friends near Killington. Beautiful scenery wherever we looked, touring the mountains with them during the day, and a sauna at night, has us almost ready for bed already. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Heading East! Monday, Columbus Day

Monday, Columbus Day

We spent the night in Bath, N.Y., and it was great to stretch out in a big bed, catch up on emails and phone calls, and take a shower. As Jim says, “We went to Bath to take a shower! Sometime we’ll have to go to a town named Shower and take a bath!” Yuk, yuk, yeah, the hours on the road do get to you a times.

So after a quick breakfast, we’re on the road again, and I’m reminded again, what a beautiful country this is. It’s still early and the fog hasn’t burned off of the hills. Jim and I both love that look as the layers of cloud slowly ease out of the trees and drift away into the fresh cool air. It was one of the best things about hiking in the mountains, and always a delight to see. It’s only 59 degrees out this morning, and fresh and clean.

Sitting up a little higher off the road than usual in this motorhome, we can see the scenery unfold before us very clearly and I’m acutely aware of the big birds that share this space with us. From the busy sanitary engineers of the crows, everywhere cleaning up all bits of food and animal carcasses anywhere along the sides of the road. They look so businesslike, patrolling the edges of the road, and gathering to in a group to discuss the latest roadkill find.

The streams and rivers are different in this part of the country-much shallower and meandering than at home. I’m sure they run faster and deeper in other parts of the year, but for right now, most wouldn’t be deep enough for a canoe at all. We passed the Mad River and it was so small and slow and shallow, it didn’t even look angry, let alone mad.

Each bend of the river seems to have at least one lone great blue heron, standing silently in the water, watching for small fish to swim by so they can snap it up. The bottom and sides of the streams are very rocky, and the water meanders from side to side, exposing shoals of stoney bottom that would be covered during a wetter season.

The best sight today was a bald eagle, standing in the Susquehana River. It was no more than 100 feet from the road as we passed by, and a patch of sunlight opened up just at that time. There was no mistaking that strong body standing in the shallow water, with the dark grey feachers covering the broad shoulders, and that startling, pure white head bent down glaring into the water. There must be a huge number of small fish swimming by, keeping these big birds happy and well fed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Traveling East

Walmart Camping

We’re on our way East to visit friends and family in Vermont. We got as far east last night as Richmond, Indiana, and pulled into a 24 hour WalMart to rest for the night. With our terrific comfortable motor home, this is comfort camping, and we thought it would be fun to show how easy it is. We were the fourth camper setup in the lot last night, and the others were all much larger that we were.

Setting up was simple for us, we just have to raise the vent in the roof, and crank open the windows. We usually take a walk around the parking lot to work out the knots from sitting for too long, and a trip inside the WalMart for any needed supplies, then settle in to rest.

Last night Jim found a football game on the tv, and sprawled out on the bed, comfortably resting, remote in hand, while I stretched out across the two front seats to read my book to the light of the streetlight streaming in over my shoulder. It was a couple of hours to relax before bedtime, and a good antidote to the heavy people intensive day long meetings we’d attended.

We spent the day at the Indiana Green Party Annual Congress, where we elect new officers each year and plan our actions and strategies. It’s always a good time seeing old friends and we’re impressed, each year, with all the hard work that’s being done by these friends to help improve democracy in each community. To my surprise, I got elected to be the Indiana Green Party Co Coordinator for the next year. There’s another person to share the job, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else ready to step up, so I figured it was my turn. Hope I can handle the job well.

Sunday Afternoon:

Back on the road. This is the big mileage day, and there’s not much for me to do but play on the computer. Thank goodness for the laptop and two good betteries. We stopped just across the State line into New York at a beautiful Rest area on Chatauqua Lake. What a beautiful place-and full of history. A sign said that Chatauqua Lake is 500 feet above the level of Lake Erie, although it's only 6 miles away. The water from Chatauqua Lake drains into the Gulf of Mexico, while the water from Lake Erie drains into the Atlantic. Amazing, and there's a continental divide, right there.

We're traveling along highway 86, skirting the southern edge of Lake Erie and the hills rise around us, opening like generous arms. The color is increasing in the trees as we travel north and east, getting brighter all the time. Funny how it seems to start high on the hills and move down the valleys, unevenly, decorating the slops in beautiful color. Lots of tourists out now, this is sure the season.

So, I’m in the back of the motorhome, tapping this into the laptop as Jim keeps clicking off the miles on our way to Vermont. It’s a long day, looks like we’ll have in over 500 miles before we get to where we plan to spend the night at a motel in Bath, N.Y. --we've been camping for two nights now, and we need a bath to be presentable when we meet family tomorrow.

We’re doing better now, but just came through almost 40 miles of road construction, where cars were reduced to one lane each way and 45 mph maximum. Slow going that way, but it sure does let you see the countryside.

More tomorrow.