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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Oktoberfest in September.....

6:51 am - Sunday - September 30th - Smithfield, RI - 46º F, 90% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the west by northwest.....clear blue skies with a forecast high today of 68º F.

We began Saturday knowing we would have to move the Newell to the #1 spot here at the Smithfield Elks Lodge.  In the picture below you can see the #1 spot, where we ended up later in the day.  Originally we were in the #2 spot, just to the left of where we are now.  All that being said, we had to wait until early afternoon for the person in the #1 spot to leave...... 


.....why did we need to move?  Well, Saturday was the Oktoberfest celebration at this Elks Lodge and we needed to move so that we would not be blocking access to the shelter you see behind us.  Where we ended up was directly behind their storeroom.  During the day vehicles would need to be able to drive into that shelter to drop off stuff.

At any rate, we were not able to move until around 1 pm, which kind of killed our original plans for the day, which was to drive out to Newport.  It's about an hour drive each way, and we really wanted to get an early start. Fortunately, we are here for almost a week, and have plenty of time to see what we wish to see.

So, what was plan B?  Well, within 1/2 mile of where we are is a trailhead for the Stillwater Scenic Trail, which runs parallel to Stillwater Pond for about 1 mile down to Capron Road.  We left the Newell around 2:30 pm walking over to the trailhead, and then down the trail.....

Stillwater Pond is fed by outflow from Stillwater Reservoir

.....the trail itself was quite flat, and there were no granite staircases to climb, or any bouldering this day.  It was just a nice walk in the woods......


First view of Stillwater Pond

A little local flora



Stillwater Reservoir

.....we were back from our hike just before 4 pm having covered 3.1 miles in just under 60 minutes of moving time.....


.....we bid adieu to 570 caloric units, and averaged 3.25 mph.....not too bad!


We spent the rest of the afternoon watching college football (for me) and reading (for TLE).  It got quite noisy as the Oktoberfest celebration got under way, and it remained so until about 9:30 pm when things began to quiet down.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Providence.......

7:53 am - Saturday - September 29th - Smithfield, RI - 55º F, 95% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the west by northwest.....partly cloudy with a forecast high today of 72º F......mostly sunny later today!

Within minutes after breaking my slumber Friday morning it was raining, and it continued raining until after 4:30 pm.  This year the annual Ryder Cup match play event pitting the best golfers from the USA against best, and is being held in Paris, France.  Due to the time difference the play begins at 11 pm at night eastern time.  In order to see it from the beginning I set the DVR to record it, so needless to say, I had it playing shortly after I awakened.  The USA got out to a 3-0 lead, but by the end of the day they were down 5-3.  Unfortunately, due to the rain, and heavy cloud cover the last 2 hours did not record.....:-(

 Watching the Ryder Cup while it rains

We had hoped it would stop raining by 11 am, but it was still raining, so we decided, anyway, to drive into Providence to have lunch at a place TLE found called Trinity Brewhouse located on Fountain Street in downtown Providence.  Trip Adisor gives them 4 solid stars on over 300 reviews.   There is nothing more 'fun' than trying to find a parking spot, in the rain, in any congested downtown area, and Providence was no different.  After circling the block one time we found a spot about 1.5 blocks away from Trinity and quickly made the walk over.  By the time we sat down to order our brews it was just after 12 pm......

 In another happy place - Trinity Brewhouse....a Tommy's Red for moi, and TLE had their 'Hit and Run' IPA



While we were sitting there waiting for our foot order TLE called my attention to a large mural on the wall behind me........

Great mural on the wall.....left to right:  Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Billie Holiday, Biggie Smalls, Beethoven, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra.....very thought provoking and interesting.

......we spent the next 15 minutes trying to guess all the names.....we got everyone but Janis Joplin (I thought that was her, but I didn't remember her being in an Indian outfit), Kurt Cobain, Biggie Small and Beethoven.  When we had gone as far as we could go we asked our server who the unknown persons where and she promptly retrieved a post card featuring the mural, which had all the names.....

 The post card with the names on the backside

.....what an interesting, and thought provoking conversation piece! It is entitled "Last Supper", and was painted in 1999 by Jessica Van Daam (wonder if she is related to Claude?)

To accompany our brews we split an appetizer of sweet potato fries, and a pulled pork sandwich, both of which were quite good......perfect fare for a rainy afternoon!  We were back in the VW and on our way home by 1:45 pm, and actually back at the Newell by 2:15 pm.  We are looking forward to visiting Providence and Newport on Saturday in better weather conditions.

We both spent the afternoon watching it rain, and reading.  The rain finally played itself out around 4:30 and we got a little tiny bit of sun right at the end of the day.  We were both quite happy with our decision to arrive here on Thursday, and not in the rain on Friday.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Thank you Mr. Jello.......

6:31 am - Friday - September 28th - Smithfield, Rhode Island (I've been wanting to type that for a very, very, very long time now) - Just 14 miles northwest of Providence - 58º F, 89% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the north by northeast......heavy cloud cover, raining with a forecast high for today of 58º F......wow, at 6:31 am we have already reached the high temperature for today!

We changed our view on Thursday.  We had intended to only drive about 100 miles south on I-89 to the Elks Lodge in Lebanon, NH, but I get ahead of myself.  As opposed to Wednesday, Thursday was an exceptional day for driving.....



.....the views were big, and long, which is rare, in my experience, for the northeast.....


.......TLE caught this picture of some local foliage along our morning route......the color is beginning to appear, and was more obvious than our photos could capture.....



.....we cruised southward on I-89 enjoying the views, and loving being on the move once again after 5 days in Burlington.  We stopped at a Rest Area about 55 miles into our 100 mile day to take a break.  While we were stopped I checked the weather for the next few days and saw that there was a 100% chance of rain Friday all along our route to Rhode Island.  The total distance to the Elks Lodge in Rhode Island was around 281 miles at the beginning of our day, and we still had over 225 miles to go.  That is way further than we traditionally travel in one day in the Newell, and the last 50 would be in heavy traffic areas around Boston.  Nonetheless, we made a decision to make the entire drive to Rhode Island Thursday to avoid driving in the rain.  Heavy traffic is bad enough in a 40,000 lb. vehicle, but heavy traffic AND rain around Boston is something I had no interest in experiencing firsthand.  Had we planned better we would have left Burlington much earlier than 9:30 am to be sure we got through the Boston traffic before 3 pm, but we didn't.  In spite of knowing we would be circumnavigating Boston between 3 and 5 pm smack dab in the middle of 'rush hour' we forged ahead anyway.

But, first things first......we needed to dump our black and gray tanks after 5 days in Burlington, as we would have no sewer connection at the Elks Lodge in Smithfield, RI, nor a dump station.  Finding a place to dump that is easily accessible along I-89 is difficult at best.  I did find a Vermont State park near White River Junction called Quechee Gorge State Park where we could dump, but it was 2.5 miles off the Interstate.  Unfortunately that was our best option.  Secondly, we needed to take on diesel fuel.  We haven't 'paid the rent' since May 12th, and we were down under 1/2 tank, which is not bad, but it I knew as we proceeded further south it would only get more expensive, in Vermont the going price for diesel seems to be $3.19.....in fact this seems to be the going rate in most of New England.  Further south I was seeing prices in the $3.45 range.

We arrived in White River around 11:30 am and proceeded directly to Quechee Gorge State park to dump.  It cost us $15, but the dump was one of the nicer ones we have used over the years.  Everything was in good working order, which is rare......

Quechee Gorge State Park dump station

.....we were in and out in about 30 minutes and on our way back to the Interstate.  We had noticed  a Mobil Oil fuel station as we exited the Interstate with a posted diesel price of $3.19/gallon.....of course.  We decided to take on fuel there.....the station is directly across the street from the southbound entrance to I-89.....perfect.

We ended up taking on 114 gallons of diesel, and it took close to 45 minutes....we had a very, very slow pump!  Nevertheless, we were on our way south once again just before 1 pm with an estimated ETA of 4:00 pm in Smithfield, RI.....at that point we had about 181 miles to go to our destination......


.....we actually made good time on I-89, and I-93, and with about 45 miles to go on I-93 we were finally coming to the I-95 exchange......I-95 would take us to I-295, and into Rhode Island.  Then the traffic just came to a stop about 2 miles before the transition road.....it took us close to 30 minutes to clear the interchange, and then the traffic on I-95 was stop and go for 3 miles....another 30 minutes before the traffic began to flow again, and then it completely stopped two more times before we covered the remaining 11 miles to I-295.  By the time we merged on to I-295 our ETA had ballooned to 5:45 pm, and that is the time we arrived at the Elks Lodge....about 15 minutes before sundown......that was one long day.....8 hours and 15 minutes to cover 281 miles.

 This is how it was the last time we passed through the Boston area

Rhode Island....at last!

They have two water/electric sites at the Smithfield, RI Elks Lodge and we snagged the last one.  They are both back in sites, and there was not enough length in the site for us to leave the trailer attached to the Newell so we had to drop it on the other side of their rather large parking lot......


......we quickly backed into our site, hooked up to the 30 amp electrical, and then sat down to breath a collective sigh of relief, and to rejoice in the fact we would not being doing that drive in the rain on Friday.  I as sit here Friday morning composing today's missive it is raining, and should continue raining most of the day......we made the right decision to arrive here on Thursday!

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Walking in the rain.....

6:49 am - Thursday - September 27th - Burlington, VT - 53º F, 82% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south......partly cloudy with a forecast high of 65º F.  We roll our wheels in 3 hours!

Thursday sunrise after two days of rain

Wednesday's rain was due to begin around 12 pm.  We had just spent pretty much all of Tuesday inside due to rain, so we decided to take a walk while it was still dry, and throw in a stop at the local ACE Hardware store to buy some more silicone caulk.  I used most of what I had left in the repair of the artificial turf a few weeks ago, and one never knows when one will need it again, right?  Better to be prepared rather than react at the time and then wish you had planned ahead.....


......we began or walk going east along North Avenue to Institute and then south towards the bike path.  The walk down Institute took us by the local high school, and then through North Beach Campground, a county facility.  Pretty soon we were walking down the hill to North Beach itself......


.....as expected, the lake looked more like the ocean on this storm tossed day....




 North Beach

......in spite of the conditions it was not cold.....probably in the 70's at the time of the above pictures.  We continued west along the bike path back to Leddy Park and then turned north back toward North Avenue where the ACE Hardware store is located.....



......the rain came early, but just as we were approaching the entrance of ACE.  I quickly found the silicone caulking I needed, and bought two tubes.  As we exited the store it began to rain with more intensity.  Thankfully 'home' was only two blocks distant, and we were there within minutes removing our damp clothing and getting into something dry.  In all we covered about 3.4 miles.......within 5 minutes of our arrival home the sky opened up and the deluge began.....


.....at one point the rainfall became so intense we could not hear each other speak.  I think this video will give you an inkling of how hard it rained.  This went on for over an hour.....


.....the rain abated for about 60 minutes around 2 pm, so I ventured out to the trailer to repair the Levelor mini blinds I wrote about yesterday.  It took me about an hour to finish the job, and none too soon!  The rain returned with a vengeance for another two hours, but finally the rain broke around 5 pm, and the lake which surrounded the Newell began to recede.  We are very happy we opted to sit tight for Tuesday and Wednesday to let these storms pass through the area.  On top of the rain Wednesday it was also quite windy, so we are doubly grateful we were not driving.

Restringing the mini blinds

We watched recorded episodes of NCIS and NCIS: N.O.   Both season premiers concluded 'cliff hangers' at the end of last season.  All the good guys lived, and all the bad guys were brought to justice.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Living with rain......

6:25 am - Wednesday - September 26th - Burlington, VT - 65º F, 91% humidity, wind 14 mph out of the south......heavy cloud cover with a 100% chance of rain today.  Forecast high for today is 75º F.

The forecast for Tuesday was for rain most of the day, and that is precisely what we got.  It began raining about 9 am, and continued until after 5 pm.  We knew that coming into Burlington, which is why we chose to stay here until Thursday to give the forecast rain on Tuesday and Wednesday a chance to pass through before we began moving again...... 


......since we had pretty much seen everything we wished to see on Sunday and Monday we opted to remain indoors during the rain.  As a result there is not much about which to write this morning.

I spent the day reading, napping and at some point I removed the mini blinds from the window on my side of the bed to take them out to the trailer where I will restring them on Wednesday.  I'm not sure if I have mentioned this previously, but every window in our coach (except the windshield, driver's and passenger's windows) have Levelor mini blinds installed in addition to the curtains which do cover every single window.  I've had to restring two others previously.....the one covering the kitchen window, and the one covering the passenger side salon window.  While each of those was relatively easy to do as they are only about 3' wide, the ones in the bedroom are about 6' long and that will involve a lot more string, and add an additional level of difficulty, but I am sure I am up to the task.....

The salon mini blinds (Levelor)

.....that these mini blinds have endured 36 years of use with relatively few issues is a testament to the quality of workmanship involved in their production.  Each day we raise all the mini blinds in the coach to maximize light inside.  They are all lowered again each night, and the curtains closed.  I able only able to speak for the 10 years we have owned the coach, and the almost 7 years we have been fulltimers, but that is a lot of raising and lowering, right?

There were a couple of new, recorded network shows we wanted to watch from Monday night ('Manifest' and 'Magnum, P.I.').  So we watched those in the afternoon.  The premise of 'Manifest' is that a passenger jet airliner takes off in 2013, is presumed to have crashed, and then lands at its original destination airport in 2018, some 5.5 years after it took off.  The passengers were not one day older than when they took off in 2013.  The second, 'Magnum, P.I., is a remake of the very popular TV drama running from 1980-88, starring Tom Selleck.  I generally do not like remakes of TV shows, or even movies, but TLE wanted to see it and make up her mind.  The jury is still way, way out for me, but I did like 'Manifest'.

TLE went and did a BIG shopping to really stock up for the next 10 days.  I remained at home, which is rare for me.  Back in our workaday lives I NEVER went to the supermarket with TLE, but since we began fulltiming I have joined her in her shopping forays more often than not, and have enjoyed getting to understand how a supermarket is laid out, and can now actually finds things on my own now!  Sometimes she will even send my, by myself, to the supermarket.....amazing!  Going with her is also a guaranty that I will get the things I want.  She is pretty good about remembering the things I like, and she will ask me if there is anything I need before she goes shopping, but often I won't remember those things until I am in the store, and we are walking by those particular items.  Does that make sense?

That was the extent of our day.  It looks like we will be getting more rain today (Wednesday) around noon time so we'll need to get out and do a few things before then.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Island Line Rail Trail........

7:08 am - Tuesday - September 25th - Burlington, VT - 51º F, 63% humidity, wind 11 mph out of the south.....heavy cloud cover with a 90% chance of rain today and Wednesday.  Forecast high is 59º F.

One of the reasons we came to Burlington was to ride the Island Line Rail Trail which runs north and south along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain.  The weather for Monday was forecast to be clear and cool, and seemed the perfect day for a long bicycle ride.  It's been a few weeks since we last rode the Carriage Road trails, or hiked, and we were itching for some good exercise.  We woke up to temps in the high 40's, but by 10:30 am it had reached 58º F, which was warm enough to begin riding.  We both bundled up and headed for the bike path......



......within a very short distance we were both glad for every single item of clothing we had donned in preparation for the ride as it was still quite chilly......


.....the initial portion of this 'rails to trails' path was in the shade and when we finally reached a sunny area we stopped to take a few pictures......

 Lots of shade initially

.......after a few miles we were approaching the beginning of the 'Causeway' portion of the trail where there would be lots of sun......





......the 'Causeway' is a part of the old railway line which crosses Lake Champlain near  Mallet's Bay to a large island........


......this portion of the trail is about 2.75 miles over water..........


.......eventually, after 2.75 miles you come to the 'CUT'.....a break in the 'Causeway' which allows boats to pass through and into the larger portion of Lake Champlain.  On the weekends a ferry is available to take you across the 'CUT' to the island.  At this point we had covered 8.25 miles.....time to turn around......

 The 'CUT'
   
......heading back you can see the arc of the 'CAUSEWAY' as it takes you back to the mainland......


.....there is a section of the trail once you get back on the mainland, which is elevated through a swampy/marshy area for about 1/2 mile.....





....by the time we reached the turn off for the Elks Lodge it was about 12:30 pm and time for lunch.  TLE and I decided we were not done yet, and it was time to find some good brews and food.  We checked Yelp and found a place in downtown Burlington called 'American Flatbread' specializing in, what else, flatbread pizza......4.5 stars on over 870 reviews.....must be good, hmmmm?  It was an additional 2.5 miles to the restaurant, however, a navigational error on my part extended the distance by another 1.5 miles.  Nevertheless, we finally reached the restaurant by 1:30 pm....I spent the entire meal apologizing to TLE for making her ride the extra distance.

First up was to choose our brews courtesy of 'Zero Gravity Brewing Company', which is also housed inside 'American Flatbread'.  I chose their 'Black Cat Porter (5% ABV), and TLE their 'Jaguar Shark', a pale ale coming in at 5.6% ABV...... 



The brews

.....for our entree we ordered their 'Pepperoni/Pepper large pizza adding black olives and mushrooms.......

 The amazing Pepperone/Pepper pizza!

 Zero Gravity Brewing


......by the time we finished lunch TLE had forgiven me for being directionally challenged.  Our ride home was at a little slower pace.....


.....we arrived back at the Elks Lodge by 2:43 pm having covered exactly 24 miles burning a total of 1,234 caloric units in the process.  Our average speed over the 24 miles was 10.2 mph.....not too bad!


After putting the bicycles away we settled in for the afternoon reading and napping.  For our evening entertainment we watched recorded episodes of 'Last Ship' and 'Better Call Saul'.  TLE was in bed before 10 pm, but I stayed up to read.

Thanks for stopping by!

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