Thursday, February 16, 2017


So we have been home almost two weeks now and it has been a flurry of activity, mostly centered around all of the paperwork of being retired. Social Security, Blue Cross and Medicare along with the City of East Providence and others have all become part of my routine. Of course all of this fun activity has been interrupted with a few snow days....  We have been keeping busy, walking more and  trying to figure out a routine. I seem to be drinking more coffee, if that can be possible.

Below is a time lapse I did of the arrival of one of the recent snow storms we had.

A little over a year ago I began an almost weekly blog of our Sunday walk, so if you care to follow our walks, you can find it by following this LINK. Our walks can now be just about any day.

We are planning a trip to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands in March, so the road trip blog will resume then.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Home again - Day Twenty - February 4, 2017

I was up early and got out in the 20ยบ morning and got the drone up in the air for a short time just to get some footage of the area. I will include it at the end of this post. After packing the car one last time and saying our final goodbyes to Ed and Nancy, we hit the road for the final leg home. One last stop for gas, $2.13 in Pennsylvania, and we let the calm voice of the
New Jersey
GPS guide us northward and soon we were leaving PA and entering New Jersey and the Jersey Turnpike. Being a Saturday morning traffic was light, well as light as New Jersey traffic can
New York City from New Jersey
be I guess. A couple of stops to accommodate biology and soon New York City came into view. And soon we were approaching the George Washington Bridge and were thankful that we had our EZPass in the windshield. We used to have to endure long lines to pay the toll but this time we zipped through
Across the Washington Bridge
without even stopping. With only a 5 minute tie-up near Co-Op City we effortlessly moved through the city and through the last toll in New Rochelle and on into Connecticut. No trip from New York (for us anyway) seems complete without a stop at Stew Leonards on East Norwalk (exit 16). Stew Leonards is an amazing grocery store the has made it's way into Ripley's Believe It or Not for being the largest 'dairy
Carol & Clover at Stew's
store' in the world, but it is so much more than that, it is an experience, and of course we needed a few thing for the upcoming Super Bowl, so we were almost obligated to stop. The store is filled with animated characters and characters walking around in costume...and it is a one way store, not aisles, just one continuous path through the store, so you get to see everything. And we did see everything. On the road once again and only two hours and a half hours to home. As we crossed the border and into Rhode Island we started seeing signs that said Go Pats, yep we
are solidly back into Patriots country and the Rhode Island DOT put up safety signs saying GO PATS DRIVE SOBER SUPER BOWL SUNDAY.  And as it turned out, it was the greatest Super Bowl game in history. Gotta love the Patriots. We pulled into the drive at just about six in the evening and the unpacking began. As I write this we have been home a few days and getting caught up on things, lots of mail and more grocery shopping, washing the car (inside and out) and just hanging out with family..hugs from the kids are the best. . . So this concludes this journey but there will likely be random posts here and there and of course once we hit the road again I will update.

Some Statistics from this trip.
Miles Traveled: 3670
Gas:  $165.43
Lodging $1221.87
Restaurants & Bars: $784
Groceries: $308

Another minute of drone footage. . .

Friday, February 3, 2017

Annapolis & Landenberg - Day 19 - February 3, 2017

A nice and easy start to the day today with plenty of time to get to our friends house up the road in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. So off we went from Fredericksburg heading North, up Route 95 toward
Bypassing Washington
 New England. Traffic was kind and there was little construction so the drive was easy. As we were rounding Washington DC, with the Capitol and the Washington Monument in sight, we made the
decision to zip over to Annapolis and have a bite there on the
Arriving in Annapolis
waterfront. We have been there many times both by auto and by boat. Annapolis is a charming little town, and is every bit as nautical as Newport back home in Rhode Island. We found great parking right down on the town dock for two bucks and began to scout the town for a place to grab a bite.
Iron Rooster
We spotted a great place called The Iron Rooster, right down by the waterfront along with all the shops that sell things that you don't need. We had a great waiter named Max who
convinced us that we needed a home made  'PopTart' -Carol jumped at the chance and got "cinnamon flavor please". Well it was a good call because it was delicious, unexpectedly. I ordered up my usual eggs, home fries and toast and Carol had steel cut oats with fruit. And of course a bottomless cup of coffee. The Iron Rooster is a homey and comfortable place for travelers to hang
Home made Poptart
out for a while. After breakfast I took photos and Carol wandered in and out of the many shops that line the streets. The other night Carol commented that there is absolutely nothing on TV that  interests her, I feel the same way about these shops. So many useless little nick-nacks, and apparently the feeling ended up being the same as Carol
Old buildings downtown Annapolis
found nothing to purchase. We walked the docks and reminisced about the last time we docked here back in 2000 in our little Grand Banks trawler. The place looked just the same as it did back then. We tumbled back into the car, plugged in the address, drove past the capitol, and headed toward the highway and northward once again.  The traffic was still kind
Maryland Statehouse
to us even though we passed through many areas where there were 5 lanes of traffic on each side of the road. We moved smoothly northward and arrived at our friend Kelli's house in Landenberg, PA where Kelli was renovating her newly purchased home. And what a lovely job she is doing. Later we moved across
Getting close
the road to Kelli's parent house. Ed and Nancy are so gracious to provide us with accommodations for the evening. And pizza, mmmmmmm pizza. . . . followed by and evening of conversation while we waited for our daughter, Megan to arrive. Meg drove down to help Kelli move this weekend. Megan made good time driving down and arrived safe and sound.

Meg, Kelli, Ed, Carol
Ed and Nancy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fredericksburg - Day 18 - February 2, 2017

Fredericksburg, an amazing little town in Virginia, took us completely by surprise. We started out day after breakfast at the battlefield Visitors Center and learned much more than we ever knew about the great battles of the Civil War that were fought in this area. Over 100,000 Americans lost the lives in the many battlegrounds in and around Fredericksburg. And many of those
Fredericksburg National Cemetery
lives were lost by the stupidity of a Rhode Islander, Ambrose Burnside of Bristol. Burnside stupidly ordered his men to cross the Rappahannock River under heavy fire and many many lives were lost in that attempt, which failed. . .so he tried again. He attained the nick name of "The butcher of Fredericksburg" not because he killed so many of the enemy but because he lost so many of his own troops. Next to the Visitor Center is Fredericksburg National Cemetery which is the final resting place for more than 15,000 Union Troops, the majority
A fallen Rhode Islander
 of whom have never been identified.  Those that were never identified have only
Walking the cemetery
a numbered marker above their grave and most of these marked graves have multiple bodies beneath the stone. Carol and I walked the cemetery and found graves of those from NY, CT, MA, VT, and RI and so many that were unknown. We had watched the movie in the visitor center which had a reenactment of the battle which made our hearts black with pain to think of so many deaths on this soil. What a terrible time in our history.  From the cemetery we took a
Sunken Road
short walk down the Sunken Road where the Confederate infantry had their men in place for the battle, behind a stone wall looking out over the advancing Union troops coming across an open field, It was all quite sobering. Then we discovered something quite surprising about Fredericksburg..this is where George Washington grew up. The Washington family was from Fredericksburg. We visited very
Georges's Brothers Place
briefly (drove in drove out) the family farm which was closed for renovations - a big disappointment. We did a bit of a walking tour of the town and found The Rising Sun Tavern. We had a great tour of the Tavern by a young lady who is a period re-enactor and stayed in character through out the tour. It was hard times back then, I no longer wish for 'the good old days'. Times were hard and this was certainly no time in our history for the ladies. Today is better, yep, today is better. We wandered down the street a bit further and came to the Lewis Store, another 18th century place of business that is being restored. It was in this building that the young George
Lewis Store
Washington would come and purchase things after school before he caught the ferry back to the other side of the river where the
Typical Civil War era house
farm was. From here we walked the town a bit more admiring the buildings and found a neighborhood sandwich shop for lunch. After lunch we drove the Lee Drive, a five mile drive along the Confederate battle lines. The trenches are still visible along the roadside and you can imagine the numbers of men that were here during the battles. Lee
Cannon along Lee Drive
had his cannon on the high ground and Stonewall Jackson had his
 cannon and troops all along this area as well. We stopped and read
every placard and sign and tried to imagine all that went on here back so long ago. In these times when our country seems to be very divided let us remember the past so we can come together and work toward the common good. Let our country never be so divided again. Here are a few more pictures from the day.
Walking the cemetery
There are so many images that have stuck in my head from today,  I wish I could share all of them but maybe some of these shots will help. 
Along the sunken road
One last cannon

From the cemetery to the town and all along Lee Drive we felt like we
House at the cemetery
were stepping back into history.

Episcopal Church

Charleston to Fredericksberg - Day Seventeen - February 1, 2017

A travel day today. We decided to push on and make some miles which would allow us more time in
Route 95 North in North Carolina
one spot. The spot we picked was Fredericksburg, Virginia. We traveled over 500 miles and had an almost completely uneventful ride up Route 95. There was one memorable event, but I have been banned from mentioning it. . . and we will leave it at that. Traffic was kind to us and there seemed to be fewer idiots on the
Patriotic Water Tower
road than usual. We chatted a lot and listened to a very funny book that we had downloaded, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime", by Mark Haddon. The reader really brings this book to life, and more than a few times we were laughing so hard we could hardly catch our breath. A very curious incident indeed. We watched the price of gas go up and down depending on where we were. I filled up last night for $1.95 a gallon here in Virginia. Around two in the afternoon we
Museum sign
stopped in Roanoke Rapids and visited an historic spot where a
Path along the old canal
lock was built on the old canal. We selected this spot expecting both a canal and rapids, but it offered neither. We did have our lunch on the picnic tables and scouted the area finding Sweetgum trees and a path down along where the canal used to be. There was an old building here as well and we hung out here for a while just to get the blood circulating once again. This was also a stop along the Underground Railway for escaped slaves heading north. Back on the road we made good time. The sunset happened as we were heading through Richmond and we arrived in Fredericksburg well after dark, got checked in to another
Underground Railroad
hotel and found supper at 'Cowboy Jacks', the restaurant next door. Being Wednesday, the had a special of a $2 half pound burger, how could I pass that up. We had missed happy hour, but then again any hour in a local bar with $2 burgers is a happy hour.
At Cowboy Jacks

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A busy day in Charleston - Day Sixteen - January 31, 2017

Oh my gosh what a busy day today was. We started off early with breakfast at the hotel and then
America's First Museum
directly to the Charleston Museum, Americas First Museum. The displays here were wide and varied from the wildlife to Civil War and Charleston history to ancient
Greeted with a cannon!
Egyptian artifacts, and lots of skeletons of lots of things.  We were here for a bit over an hour exploring all that we could in our allotted time and could have spent the rest of the day here just looking and reading. They also had a super collection of model ships, another of my passions. The civil war is a big part of
Confederate hat
this museum and they tell the stories well. From here we drove down to the seaport and the Nation Park headquarters for Fort Sumter, where the very first shots were fired in the civil war.
Our ticket to the fort
We got our tickets - with a senior discount, as expected - and soon were aboard the boat that took us out the the island fort. For those who may not know Fort Sumpter was a Federal fort that protected Charleston Harbor for attack, but when South Carolina seceded from the Union those federal troops became the enemy. After a two day siege the fort was surrendered to the Confederacy, April 14th, 1861. A small portion of the original fort remains today and
Holding the flag
is preserved by the National Park Service. Carol and I, along with others participated in raising the flag over the fort today, and as
Helping hands
hokey as that sounds, it seemed an honor to be a part of that, like a tiny tiny bit of a connection with the past and our heritage. The wind was really whipping today and the flag snapped and popped as it was drawn to the top of the flagstaff, and was a beautiful sight flying there above that old fort where the war between the states began. We spent quite some time exploring the fort which has
Parrott Gun 
many of the original cannon and some later cannon set in
Musket firing
emplacements. We also watched a demonstration of loading and firing a civil war era musket. The guy demonstrating was able to load and fire three times in one minute. Amazing! The time flew by and soon we were back on the boat heading back to the Charleston waterfront and finding more places to explore. We parked down by the City Market, a popular shopping spot for tourists and we were no different, we shopped too. There were several folks there weaving
Busy hands
'Sweetgrass Baskets' which are iconic in the city of Charleston. I
Hand crafted
would have loved to purchase one of the larger baskets but they all seemed out of my price range. We did, however, find a couple that fit nicely in our budget. We also had a good chat about the craft with several of the folks making the baskets and how they gather the materials make their original designs. The lady we bought our baskets from has been doing this for over 30 years and she didn't look to be much older than 35. . . From the market we continued our exploration of the history of Charleston and found
Nana in the Powder room
our way to the old Powder Magazine, where gunpowder was stored. Although this is a tiny place it put things into perspective as gunpowder was an essential for all just a hundred or so years ago. This small building held many tons of powder and was set apart from the city -- for safety, as you can understand. From here we went to the Old Slave Market. This was an eye
Entrance to the slave market
opening experience. Slaver was the main reason that Charleston was one or the richest cities in America. The history of the slave trade was told openly and with dignity and still leaves such a nasty scar on our past. This was one of the more interesting places we visited, and again as we were trying to fit a lot into the day, time was shorter than we would have liked. Another ten minutes of walking brought us to the Exchange which is another very historic place where merchandise from around the world passed through and
The Exchange
most political and civic activity took place. Beneath the exchange is the dungeon and we had a guided tour here. I am constantly amazed at how little I know of certain parts of out history.
Telling stories in the dungeon
Listening to this lady tell us about the human condition of the time, and the hunting of pirates and tea taxes and 300 ships a week in the harbor.. the picture painted is of a bustling metropolis much greater than we know today. By the time we walked back up and out of the dungeon, the day was drawing to a close and we both realized how hungry we were so we went off in search of  supper.
At days end. . .
We just had a beer at the first pub we stopped at, but further down the road we found a proper pub grub sort of place and each had a
Lonely Subaru
sandwich, and fries of course. It was well after dark by the time we made our way back to our car, which was almost the last one in the lot. I took over 300 photos today and got a lot of very good shots but there just is not enough room on the blog for all of them, but here are a few more anyway.
On a shelf in a downtown liquor store
A place to tie your horse
Typical downtown Charleston

Tour boat to Fort Sumter

Second thoughts on Raising the Flag

I did quite a lot of thinking about what I had written about the raising of the flag at Fort Sumter while in bed last night. I want to add a few things here. The history of the fort and it significance were told to us in vivid detail by the park ranger who brought the flag out to the fort that day. I wish I knew his name so I could
Park Ranger
thank him properly for providing the opportunity for so many visitors to participate in this ceremony. By providing the history and putting things into context he tied us all together and allowed us this moment to
Very serious young man
reflect on our common goals and our dreams and what it means to be a part of this continuing history. As he unfolded the flag and it fell into our hands to keep it safe, the responsibility of keeping our country safe came to mind as well. No matter your political views, your race or your religion a moment like this is binding, and I believe we all took it as an honor to be a small part of this. We held on tightly as the wind was trying to rip this flag from our hand like so many forces are trying to rip our country apart. But we held on. and
as the flag was raised we could see that that flag will always fly high and be the symbol of our nation.
Our flag, our country