October 2006 Archives

Awake: 6:20am Temp 55 sleep 7+33 light rain-fog overnight
@ Peculiar, MO.

We decided to proceed to the Newell factory today. Had the weather been
more decent, I would have coaxed Kathy to stay here & check out this
Peculiar town & find out how it got its name. After watching the weather
channel, we leave the Peculiar Park Place RV Park @ 11:01am in the rain &
fog. Smooth roads continue on I-71 & I-44. One stop en route @ Flying “J”
in Joplin, Missouri to top off our diesel tank with 154 gallons.
We arrive @ the Newell service campground @ 2:33pm. Several campsites are
available for our choosing. I back into a site without any tree cover.

Today’s travel: 2+55 time 164 miles 21 gal used 7.9 mpg 56.4 avg

After setting up, we visit the Newell office to pick up our forwarded
mail. The receptionist Kathy saw us coming & had our mail package ready to
hand to us before we opened the door. We yak with Sam & Darrel a little in
the front office before going over to the service bay building. Sam was
our salesman when we bought our Newell in 2001.

The service dept is only accepting a few motor homes to work on this week
due to a program called: “lean management.” What they told us was: all the
“stuff” in corners, hidden upstairs in nicks & crannies, etc that hasn’t
been used for yrs or is no longer useable, will be rounded up, thoroughly
scrutinized & then organized or tossed.

7:15 dinner: Leftover filled pepper with cauliflower in cheese sauce & toast.

Tonight’s TV watching: Dick Cavet’s interview with Kathryn Hepburn.

Today’s travel high=68 Elevation 875 ft Lights out: 11:54pm

Awake: 7:40am Temp 53 sleep 6+57 dark, low clouds overnight @
Peculiar, MO.

Kathy does 3 loads of laundry this morning while making & baking of a
dozen healthy “Kathy” muffins.

What can I say: I stayed out of trouble during Ms Whirlwind’s
multi-tasking operation & that’s what I do best! I also did a little
Googling with the computer throughout the day.

The dark clouds mid morning, gave way to rain, heavy @ times. We had other
plans but staying indoors will just be fine this time.

With good cell phone signals, I made a few calls to make sure the Sony
plan for our TV fix will hopefully go smoothly….. & my 1st cousin Florentz
left a message yesterday while we were out, so I returned that call & got
the scoop on how his geothermal heating & cooling system is performing
back in Pennsylvania. At this time, he has been extremely happy with both
the cooling & heating methods.

5:15 dinner: Pork chop on rice, squash with apple bits, mixed salad & toast.

Satellite movie: “Memoirs of a Geisha.” A powerful look @ this extremely
competitive & critical Japanese lifestyle. Definitely not for children.

Today’s high=60 Lights out: 10:47pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 23 sleep 7+02 clear overnight @ Newton, Iowa

We have a small, quick breakfast & then drive our Suzuki about 4 miles to
the Maytag Dairy Farms. We find these good looking barns & buildings with
many cars parked outside; when we asked a worker if tours are available
she replies: “no tours this time of the year.” She suggests we visit the
wrapping & packing building just up the road.

The W & P building was amazingly spotless & well organized. The ladies
seen thru the window doing the wrapping by hand were neat, tidy,
methodical, wearing rubber gloves & looking very comfortable. The packers
in another room were equally as neat, methodical, etc. Everything is done
by hand in this packing phase as well. After our quick, walk by the window
tour, we watch a 10 min video on their cheese making & storage-ageing
process. Maytag Farms have been making cheese for over 60 yrs. Next comes
the tasting of samples; we like two of the four we tasted so its purchase
a pound of Havarti & a pound of blue cheese.

Next we drive around the town of Newton looking for the Maytag museum. We
had to ask 2 locals for directions, then found out the museum is closed.
Then we tried visiting the Maytag gift store; it is closed permanently.
Ok, that does it: I drop Kathy off @ Wal-Mart for grocery shopping while I
top off the Suzuki’s fuel tank.

Back to our bus; hitch up the tow car & leave the Rolling Acres RV Park @
The roads are rough on I-35 until about 70 miles north of Kansas City,
Mo., then super smooth with recently paved highways to the city & beyond.
Our timing couldn’t have been better for going through K.C.; rush hr
traffic added about 30 more min to our trip time than planned. We arrive @
the Peculiar Park Place RV Park in the town of Peculiar, MO @ 6:03pm. The
campground host was just closing the door as we pulled in but she waited
for us…..we had called & told her it was going to be close to 6:00pm.

Today’s travel: 4+52 time 273 miles 36.8 gal used 7.45 mpg 56.7
avg speed.

8:10 dinner: Stuffed peppers with cauliflower & toast.

We take turns talking with Katrina in Denver. She is doing well.

Satellite movie: “Written on the Wind” with Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall,
Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, etc. Playboy-millionaire Stack, his
nymphomaniac sister Malone, & how they destroy themselves & others around
them. 1957. Kathy reports that this movie is OK & Rock Hudson sure was
cute in his younger days.

High travel temp=61 Elevation 941 ft Lights out: 12:43am

Awake: 6:57am Sleep 5+42 Overnight @ the Comfort Inn, Schiller
Park, Illinois.

Kathy & I have the complimentary breakfast downstairs @ Pal Joey’s
restaurant. Later, Kathy calls her high school buddy, Joyce, to discuss a
lunch plan for today. Later still, she calls Sylvia & talks over last
night’s reunion. Sylvia was one of 10 organizers for the reunion.

We check out of the Comfort Inn @ 12:15pm, drive to Russell’s & order a
takeout of 4 bar B Q beef sandwiches for lunch with Joyce & Bill. Just
around the corner & down the street, Johnnie’s & our coveted Italian beef,
sweet peppers & la juice + a very long loaf of Italian bread are waiting
for us: this we will take back to our motorhome for some scrumptious meals

I haven’t seen Bill & Joyce for over 20 yrs & it’s been 10 yrs for Kathy.
We have way too many things to catch-up on now & way too little time to do
it…..but we try over lunch. Joyce & Bill are now 90% retired & are
enjoying more free time than ever plus having their 1st granddaughter to
share it with. The pictures of Katie are so cute. It was great seeing &
kibitzing with them again. They are both looking good!

We kind of let the time slip by us as we wanted daylight throughout our
drive to see the small towns & villages along the way to Cedar Rapids,
Iowa. Leaving @ 3:10pm for a 5 hr drive (it took 6) did not compute. We
had called Tobi & Jim in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday & asked them for a
room for this night. The HWH facilities will be locked up Sunday so we
can't return to our bus. They fell for our sad story & had the red carpet
waiting, waiting & waiting for us. To get our visit time in for distance
traveled, we had to keep them awake “way past” their usual bedtime hrs:
12:25am…..then wake them up “way earlier” 7:30am than they are accustomed
to. It worked though, because we left just after breakfast (blueberry
pancakes with sausage & real maple syrup) @ 9:50am & gave them the
opportunity to slide back into bed for a few more Zzzzz’s.
We enjoyed our short visit with them, even though we visited them only 2
yrs ago.

It was only an hr & 10 min back to our motorhome. The temps were much
cooler than when we left on Saturday morning. I had set the thermostat for
keeping the coach not so warm…. & it worked very well. It was downright
cold soaked. It took over an hr to make it comfortable enough for Kathy to
remove her Alaskan parka …….& then she prepares a hot bowl of tomato soup
for lunch before we hitch up the tow car & leave the HWH facilities @
2:07pm. Driving west on I-80, we are still encountering a headwind which
makes our fuel economy suffer a little.

We arrive @ the Rolling Acres Family campground in Newton, Iowa @ 3:48pm.

Today’s travel: 1+39 time 99.4 miles 13.9 fuel 7.1 gal used
59.8 avg speed.

We were attracted to this campground for its location….just a short drive
down the road; big rig friendly, easy off, easy on etc. From here, we make
our plans for the next few weeks. Our front plasma TV has complained so
much that it finally gave up & elected to quit performing for us. I’ve
made several calls for repair of this heavy unit but nothing easy has
developed. In desperation, I called the Sony Corp in San Diego, CA for
ideas. They have a plan which I will reveal later, but in the meantime, it
requires us to make a visit to the Newell Corp in Oklahoma & the techs
agreed to this plan.

Meanwhile, the lady that checked us in tells us that this town of Newton
has been synonymous with Maytag Appliances for 70 years. Their factory and
headquarters are located here but unfortunately Maytag has been purchased
by Whirlpool which is closing the doors on Maytag + laying off some 1700
people. The town is not pleased. She also mentions that the Maytag Dairy
Farms, owned by another branch of the Maytag family is located 4 miles
from the campground. They make cheese, esp. blue cheese. Oh yes, tomorrow
we must check this out.

Our cell phone has good coverage here so we make several calls.

7:25 dinner: Tuna & noodle casserole, mixed salad & toast.

High travel temp=48 elevation 931 ft Lights out: 11:17pm

Awake: 5:00am Temp inside=66 sleep 5+58 overnight inside HWH
factory, Moscow, Iowa.

Kathy is up early @ 6:00am. We pack our little tote bags, retract our
slides, talk with Stacy & Tim a little who are working on that 30 ft slide
project & then, ask to have the big bay door opened to re-park our coach
in one of the outside camping sites. After loading a few clothes & the
tote bags into the Suzuki, we leave the HWH facility @ 8:15am. It’s about
210 miles to our destination in Chicago, Illinois & it took us close to 4

Kathy hints for me to drive by her old homestead on 72nd Court in Elmwood
Park. The place looks good as well as the neighborhood in spite of all the
changes since she has seen it last. Just a few blocks away is Johnnies: we
must stop there for lunch & have her favorite & mine: Italian beef
sandwich. Wow! Now that’s something that hasn’t changed. We place an order
for 2# of Italian beef with gravy and peppers for tomorrow’s pickup. Next,
I try & find my ole hangout in Franklin Park where I lived while attending
college in Chicago. I had to ask a fellow where the church was......then I
found the former home of Mrs. Ferro whom Neal, a classmate, & I rented
from for almost a yr. She was a really nice lady.

Then to Schiller Park & our Comfort Inn; along the way, we pass Elmwood
Park High School where Kathy & I first met in the fall of 1959. Ahaa,
memories! We shower and change clothes and drive around Kathy’s
grandmother’s old house & neighborhood on the way to Saint William’s grade
school which Kathy attended. We join some of the class of 1956 & their
spouses up front in a reserved section of St William’s church for 4:30pm
Mass. The church and school facilities have seen a lot of changes in 50
years as have the students of the class of 1956. One of the first
classmates Kathy sees is Frank who married Judy, one of Kathy’s childhood
neighborhood playmates,.…and the reminiscing begins! Then, of course,
there was Sylvia, one of the organizers of this reunion; she and Kathy
have been good friends since 4th grade, having attended the same high
school and maintained a close relationship thru marriage and kids..

Afterward, we drive over to The Elmcrest, a banquet facility owned and
operated by one of Kathy’s grade school classmates, Jim, and his brother,
Al, where we enjoy a social hour with hors d'oeuvres and open bar, dining,
dancing & celebrating the evening away. A total of 78 students & spouses
out of a class of 120 students are in attendance. Kathy was obviously
well liked in grade school as she was kept very busy visiting with a lot
of her classmates. Class pictures of the students that were enlarged and
hanging on the walls drew a lot of attention. One of the girls even
brought her 8th grade autograph book which was a hoot to read. One of
their favorite teachers, Sr. Paula, flew in from CA and was a delight.
Each of the students was introduced and stood up for all to see and then
memories in a picture presentation of some of the individual “kids” when
they were in grade school as well as pictures from this evening was shown.
It was a great evening but ended too soon for Kathy as she had several
people she still wanted to visit with longer.

High temp 58 Lights out: 1:15am

Awake: 5:52am Temp inside service bay=60 sleep 6+41 overnight @ HWH

The 1st shift workers begin arriving around 6:30am. @ 7:00am, the RV’s
that are parked outside waiting to have their glitches repaired are
invited inside the service bays; only 4 units today & they were all fixed
up & gone before noon; thus Kathy & I were the only customers for a free
lunch along with the engineer Tom & the boss man: owner & founder of HWH,
Paul. We enjoyed talking with both of them, especially Paul. He started
the company sometime in 1972…..the same yr as FDX began. When he
discovered I had retired from FDX, he had a lot of questions & became very
interested in the overall story of the FDX operations.

Upon returning to the factory, Paul invited Kathy & me to see the latest
hydraulic slide out room they are developing: a 30 foot long & 3 feet wide
slide out. That’s nearly twice the size they are manufacturing today. Some
motor homes will have 2 of them. We followed him to another bldg where the
hydraulics is being tested for 4000 lbs equaling the average weight one
might have on a 30 ft room with accessories: i.e. furniture, appliances,
galley etc. Unfortunately for us, after some 320 runs, the contraption
failed & the engineers were studying the cause of the kaput.

Back @ our bus, Tim & Stacy continue to make progress: they have most of
the decorative parts of our room outside on the bay floor & have found the
problem: they called it a: “TTO” item: a teeny tiny “O” ring born with a
minute flaw on its body. Over a period of 5 yrs & many extensions &
retractions, this TTO finally began leaking a teeny weenie bit of
hydraulic fluid on one side of the lower hydraulic cylinder…..which
eventually led to an unbalanced condition; all 4 of the cylinders must
have the same equalized balance. They didn’t just replace that “O” ring;
they completely replaced the entire balance block mechanism. After the
alignment, testing by pressure measuring, then extending & retracting
that slide, they were satisfied the system was functioning normal again.
About 2 hrs later @ 4:00pm, our # 4 slide out room is completely restored
& operational. These guys are good & very meticulous. If fact, they must
be very good because Paul asked both of them to work 4 hrs overtime
tomorrow on the development of that 30 ft room. Otherwise, this section of
the factory would be closed. Knowing this, we ask Stacy if it would be OK
for us to stay the night in the building again; “no problem” he responds.

Now it’s our turn to do some work: before S & T leave for the night, we
pay the bill; and for the time they spent plus the critical labor they
did: it was very, very reasonable. Next Kathy & I go through all the
“stuff” from the computer desk, the cabinet & other hiding places in our #
4 room & this was good. We needed to do this & ended up tossing a lot of
unwanted miscellaneous “stuff.”

8:15 dinner: Leftover meatloaf for Kathy; leftover beef sandwich with
gravy from the Cove restaurant for me.

Lights out: 11:02pm

Awake: 5:57am Temp 39 sleep 5+25 overcast & cool winds
overnight @ the HWH factory near Moscow, Iowa.

Kathy & I walk into the HWH service bldg @ 9:30am. We talk with Lynn, the
service scheduler & let her know we have arrived. She checks her book &
tells us: early afternoon. About 11:30am, I drive our coach into 1 of the
9 service bays. Tim the technician is assigned to our #4 slide repair.

This company specializes in making the hydraulic components, the computer
brains & mechanical mechanisms for any RV that utilizes hydraulic leveling
devices & slide out rooms. Our #4 slideout has misbehaved ever since
arriving in Nicktown August 28th. I thought the Newell techs would be able
to clear up the problem when we were @ the Boothbay, Maine rally but the
job was too technical and involved for either Mark or James.

HWH, for over 30 yrs now, has invited their customers who are having
repairs done to their RV’s to go for lunch @ “The Cove” restaurant.
Leroy, the director of engineering, drives us to the restaurant (3 min)
along with 7 others. Kathy has pork tenderloin with French fries, onions &
cold slaw. She doesn’t care much for it. I have a beef sandwich smothered
with gravy & mashed potatoes. It’s good but I can’t eat all of it so I box
the unfinished food for later. K & I then get persuaded into sharing a
raspberry pie a la mode.

When we return to our bus, we find Tim scratching his head on why the
slide only extends 6”, then has a problem: the side by the entry door
stops moving while the opposite side continues to move if the switch is
held down…..making the slide extend sideways. Not Good! Jim joins the
scene; they take pressure readings on all 4 hydraulic cylinders for the
slide top & bottom. Now Stacy the service manager joins the group. @ this
point, K & I decide to move into the customer lounge & let the guys do
their thing.

2 hrs later, I check on their progress; they are taking some of the slide
room apart so as to get to the 2 lower hydraulic cylinders & have them
analyzed. Some of our room parts are neatly assembled on heavy paper on
the service bay floor. @ 6:00pm, Stacy lets us know that the cylinders
have been removed & will be tested tomorrow, but for now, they are
finished for the night.

Our living room is virtually unusable tonight. The computer desk is
outside, drawers emptied & stacked nicely. Many other books & things have
been moved to other corners.
Lunch @ The Cove was our main meal today so this evening, we snack on
sourdough pretzels & popcorn while watching a video from the library of
Grace & Gary titled:

“The Insider” with Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane
Venora, etc. A fact-based story about a gutsy segment producer for TV’s 60
Minutes (Pacino), who sniffs out a story in disaffected scientist Crowe,
who’s just been fired by a major tobacco company. 1999. It’ll keep you
awake, no question about it!
Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 5:34am Temp: forgot to look sleep 6+26 cloudy overnight @
Wal-Mart, Mineral Springs, PA.

For whatever reason, K & I both had a restless sleep…..awakening sometime
after 3:00pm, drinking some milk, then finally falling back to sleep
again. Maybe it was the semi-truck & his engine idling parked behind us?

We have little to do in prep for travel. I walk around both the motorhome
& Suzuki checking what’s necessary: running the Suzuki engine with the
transfer gear case in neutral & the shifting lever in drive or reverse to
circulate that transmission fluid; then put the shift lever back in park.

When it’s light enough for us to see obstacles in the parking lot, we
leave the Mineral Springs Wal-Mart @ 7:30am. About 125 miles west on I-80,
we top off our fuel tank @ Flying “J” in Hubbard, Ohio, taking on 123
gallons of diesel.

Today’s weather for driving is much better with a cornering headwind from
the southwest & no rain yet. In addition to the Flying “J” stop, I make a
comfort stop by the roadside halfway thru the day.

From I-80, we transition to I-76, then I-71 to hwy 30. Approaching the
town of Valparaiso, Indiana I ask Kathy to guess how many traffic lights
we can expect to pass thru before reaching I-65. She guesses 17; my guess
is 22. This stretch is about 5 miles long & is a BAD-BAD thing. I’ve
complained about it before with its ill timed traffic lights. Anyway, we
counted a total of 24 lights before getting onto I-65. Up the road on
I-65, we are delayed for a conservative 50 min due to heavy construction &
collecting the toll for I-80. Toll price for our distance traveled today
was $3.00.

The rain began just as we were sitting in traffic for the toll stop &
continued throughout the day. The roads however, were mostly smooth along
our journey today.

We arrive @ the HWH factory parking spot in Moscow, Iowa @ 8:05pm. In the
rain & darkness, Kathy with 2 more HWH customers, Don & his brother, Les,
help guide my backing up into a narrow parking space so we can have 50 amp

Today’s travel: 13+08 time 735 miles 96.5 gal used 7.65 mpg 56.9
avg speed.

9:15 dinner: Leftover meatloaf, brown rice, mixed veggies in cream sauce &
mixed salad.

We call Nick in Seattle: he is leaving for Russia Saturday so we both take
our turn talking.

We tune in a satellite movie to watch but both of us have difficulty
staying awake, so we nix that idea & succumb to sleep for the night.

Today’s travel temp=? Elevation: 734 ft Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 6:21am Temp 34 sleep 6+11 sunny start overnight @
Stowe, Vermont.

We leave the Goldbrook Campground in Stowe @ 8:15am. Taking I-89 west to
Burlington; then hwy 7 south to hwy 22A to Fairhaven, hwy 4 to Fort Ann,
N.Y. Hwy 149 to I-87 south to I-81 then 5 miles on this toll road to I-80.
Kathy has been filling in as navigator for our DVD GPS system. Something
has slowed down our GPS unit; it works fine under 30 mph, after that it
moves backward. We paid no tolls today what-so-ever. I-81 was free for the
5 miles we used it & Kathy is my hero for helping avoid those tolls.

Rain began about the same time we entered upper New York State & remained
with us until we stopped for the night. The rain, heavy @ times was not so
bad; it was the cornering head wind & a cross wind with gusts that was a
real nuisance. It wore me out!

By the time darkness was nearing, we decided to simplify our camping stop
& selected a Super Wal-Mart @ Mineral Springs, PA. fairly close to
Clearfield. Unfortunately we missed seeing this W-M within a mile of I-80
on the 1st pass, drove into town, found a parking lot to make a U turn,
climbed the hill it was located on & parked far from the W-M building
arriving @ 6:24pm.

Today’s travel: 10+02 time 548 miles 75.9 gal used 7.2 mpg 56.1 avg
speed. (2) Comfort stops en-route.

8:00pm dinner: Large spinach salad with numerous chunks of ham. I also
have a leftover piece of meatloaf & toast because I did more work than
Kathy today.

After dinner, with no rain, Kathy walks over to Wal-Mart & grocery shops +
buys a blouse & a belt to wear to her Grade School Reunion coming up this
weekend in Chicago.

During her shopping time, I check the weather channel & watch some news.

Today’s travel high temp=62 elevation 1285 ft Lights out: 11:08pm

Awake: 6:41am Temp 35 sleep 6+47 sunny overnight @ Stowe, Vermont.

A casual morning for us: Kathy watching her choice TV programs & I
spending time on our computer. Later, we both get involved in our hwy
routing to take us southwest initially, then west. Kathy joins in the fun
by looking up: open for the season campgrounds, super-center Wal-Marts,
Flying “J” truck stops/rest stops, etc.

I program the GPS for the Woodland Campground in Clearfield, PA on I-80.
We don’t know if we’ll go that far tomorrow due to traffic and/or
potential weather.

Early evening, I retract the slides so dew won’t collect on them overnight.

8:25pm dinner: Meatloaf with gravy, cooked veggies with a cream sauce &
fried whole wheat noodles.

Late evening: I chat with Zack in Seattle for 40 min, then Kathy chats
with Zack for 30 min. He sounds great!

Late evening satellite movie: “Tomorrow is Forever” with Claudette
Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent, Lucile Watson, Natalie Wood, etc.
Welles is listed dead in WWI returning decades later with a new face to
find wife Colbert remarried to Brent. It kept me awake, but my partner?

High temp=55 Lights out: 12:10am

Awake: 6:45am Sleep 6+43 temp outdoors low 40’s overnight @
Montréal, Quebec Canada.

We warmed the room up sufficiently before turning the lights off last
night & then used the extra cover supplied & slept well without having the
heater on.

@ 10:15am we check out of the Taj Mahal. Our rooms were prepaid on line
without any extra charges. 1st plan for the day: attend 11:00am Mass @ the
Notre-Dame Basilica only a few min away. Terry selects a parking spot
close to the Basilica which we all vote to be a good choice. Being early,
we casually walk inside & around this gigantic & beautiful 177 yr old
structure. The eloquence & size of the sanctuary & altar were mesmerizing
as were the extremely high ceilings, the many statues, and the stained
glass windows.

Mass was in French…..aside from Terry (who recently had 3 months of French
classes in Paris), the only familiar words to us were: Alleluia & Amen.
The huge organ, which has 4 keyboards, 99 stops & approximately 7000
pipes, in conjunction with the choir, emitted a phenomenal sound @ the
High Mass this morning. What an experience!

We leave the car parked near the Basilica & walk toward the Notre-Dame-de
Bon-Secours Chapel, the 1st stone church in Montréal erected in 1675.
Later it began to be called: “The Sailor’s” Church. This was on Terry’s
list of things to see + we thought it would be interesting also. Along the
way, we pass an outdoor promoter for the “Deli 12”: Kathy took a menu from
him and upon perusal she and I motioned Joanne & Terry back to scrutinize
the menu. What a deal….if the food & price are as good as he advertises.
Well, he wasn’t kidding: everything was great & at a most reasonable cost,
especially after that miserly French dinner of last night.

The 1st Secours Chapel burned down 79 yrs later & was re-erected over the
original foundations 17 yrs after that. When we toured this Chapel & the
Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum, sections of the 1st Chapel underground &
above ground were able to be toured. Inside the church, miniature boats
were hanging just above eye level readily recalling the “Sailor’s Church”
connection. Then we realize, our time is up for staying in Montréal so
it’s back to the car where we find a surprise: the Camry had a large
ticket under the windshield wiper. Even with Terry’s knowledge of French,
she couldn’t understand why? Since the parking spot was unanimously
approved, we all chipped in to pay the ticket price. We make a quick stop
@ Joe & Kate’s place where we drop some tour books off & also dollars for
him to send in & pay the parking ticket. Then we head for the border &

Our return trip was uneventful; however…..border crossing into the USA was
delayed by 45 min due to numerous vehicles also going into the USA. We
return to our bus before 7:30pm. I can’t remember doing anything
significant during the rest of that evening except K & I did spend some
time talking about Joe, the 2 hr tour he gave us, his girlfriend, the
fruit flies + worms & the many differences between our Vermont area verses
the big city of Montréal, Quebec Canada a mere 1.5 hrs away.

Today’s approx temp=50’s Lights out: 11:54pm

Awake: 6:06am Temp 30 sleep 7+06 partly cloudy overnight @
Stowe, VT.

@ 9:00am while walking to the office to sign up for 2 more days camping,
Terry & Joanne arrive from their Sugarbush hangout. They are our ride to
Montréal so I don’t want to miss that. We leave Stowe @ 9:15am & arrive in
Montréal, Quebec @ Terry’s son’s home @ 11:45am; it was a very smooth &
comfortable trip with only a 5 min border crossing time. We spend about 30
min @ Joe’s house before walking down the street to have lunch @ the
bistro: “St. Viateur Bagel & Café.” We talk, eat & get to know Joe & his
girlfriend Kate a little better. During our time inside the café, light
rain moves into the area……then Joe volunteers to drive Terry’s car & give
us a splendid auto tour of Montréal city: the different ethnic
neighborhoods; old town Montréal; shopping districts; the 1976 Olympic
Village & BIG dome; University of Montréal campus auto tour; Saint Joseph
Oratory Church & too many areas too numerous to list. It was the best 2 hr
tour of Montréal Kathy & I have ever had. The crème de la crème of our
tour came during our stop @ McGill University where we looked @ fruit
flies & worms under the 100 power electronic microscope. Joe, a doctor of
neurobiology, has been teaching & doing research in his lab with these
critters for quite some time.

What a coincidence: Kathy & I have also been doing research for sometime
on fruit flies in our motorhome: how to gently pick them out of our wine
glass when they’ve had too much to drink & fall in; how to zap them during
our dinner without zapping ourselves & how to spot the freeloaders when
they are hitching a ride from the supermarkets to our home on wheels. Joe
couldn’t help us with our dilemma & we couldn’t shed any more light on his
project other than what he already had. Seeing those microscopic worms
wiggle when he shot ultra violet light on them was oh-so mystical. He then
drops us off @ our Taj Mahal Hotel where we check in; he will pick us up @
7:30 for an 8:00pm dinner @ the “La-Porte” meaning “the door” restaurant.

Our Taj Mahal hotel rooms were so-so. They were listed as 2.5 stars out of
5 on the “Hotels.com” internet site. Joanne & Terry had no problem with
their room; we, on the other hand, had a room heater that wouldn’t
heat…..moved to another room where the heater was uncontrollable unless
one shut it off….so we warmed the room up, then shut off the heat. As they
always say: you get what you pay for! Terry & Joanne just lucked out.

Joe called his mom & gave us a 10 min heads up for pickup. Parking spaces
are limited in this area & that is why Joe drove the car back to his house
& parked. 15 min after pickup, he drops us off @ “The Door” restaurant &
then drives off to find a parking spot. Standing @ the doorway was Kate;
she had taken the Metro to meet us there. And then, she tells us….there is
a problem; she & Joe had eaten @ this restaurant several times about 2 yrs
ago when it was a great little Italian restaurant. Now she discovers the
restaurant has changed hands, changed names, is French owned & operated &
we are committed. When they looked on line & in the phone book, the number
& name of the Italian restaurant was listed at this address, but not so!
OK, its déjà vu; like yesterday @ the Chef’s Table, we order the least
meal possible & eat extra rolls. Kathy & I share a small cod fish & a few
bites of potato for a not so fair price. Afterward, I walk with Joe to his
parking spot 4 blocks away & this time, back near our hotel, we find a
suitable parking spot. We are in our hotel room @ 10:45pm. Such an
interesting city!

Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 6:38am Temp 35 sleep 7+08 fog, then sunny overnight
@ Stowe, VT.

Kathy makes a dozen healthy muffins while doing a load of laundry this
morning as we wait for Terry & Joanne to arrive. About 9:00am, we join T &
J & ride with them to the town of Stowe (8 min), park the car, walk the
streets & check out a few stores. Kathy buys a postcard.

Next we drive to the Capital City of Montpelier, park on State Street,
have lunch @ the culinary: “La Brioche” on Main Street & then….tour the
smallest Capital in the United States. Our senior guide, Irene, does a
splendid job of showing us the House Chambers, Senate Chambers, Governor’s
Office, etc. She had cute little stories to accompany the other factual
talks. Today, this State House stands virtually as completed in 1859 &
includes many of the original furnishings as it had undergone major
restoration during the 1990’s & continues to function as it was originally

After that tour, Kathy, Terry & I tour the next door Historical Society
Museum on State Street. Joanne chooses to spend the time outside window
shopping. K, T, & I spend over 2 hrs learning more about Vermont & the
people who helped make it what it is today.

After that mind boggling episode, Kathy & I take a 45 min walk about town
for exercise. The day is cool & sunny so the walk up & down a few hills is
refreshing for us.

We meet up with Joanne & Terry @ the New England Culinary Institute on
Main Street for 5:30 dinner. We had to make reservations for this special
treat but quickly realized when opening our menus, this special treat is
rather costly. Each one of us ordered the minimum meal with nothing extra.
We sort of goofed & signed up for the wrong culinary restaurant.
But…..what we ate was very good & the service was outstanding. Back to our
bus @ 7:30pm; Terry & Joanne assist me on line in signing up for a hotel
in Montréal, Quebec for tomorrow evening.

High temp=? Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake: 5:31am Temp 53 sleep 6+09 lots of rain during the
night overnight @ Stowe, Vermont.

After breakfast, we drive the Suzuki (7 miles) south on hwy 100 to the
Best Western Hotel parking lot. Here we meet Therese D. & ride with her to
the Burlington Airport to pick up her friend, Joanne, who is flying in
from St. Louis, Missouri for a vacation. While we’re waiting for Joanne to
arrive, we had lunch; when she does arrive, she joins us in having lunch

Next, we start our touring by driving south on hwy 2A, then hwy 116 for
(45 min) to the town of Starksboro, VT. This small factory: Vermont Folk
Rocker” got our attention in a brochure advertising “the chair that feels
like a quilted cushion.” It literally has 72 moveable blocks of hardwood
tied together with nylon rope to make the flexibility possible. We sat &
rocked on 3 different models of chairs….all very impressive. Therese was
quite interested in buying one for her daughter for Christmas until she
asked about the price: $1275.00 to $1400.00. A chair ordered today
wouldn’t be available until December 20 due to filling a recent order of
70. Comfortable chairs, uncomfortable price!

Then we continue southbound on hwy 116, hwy 17 & hwy 7 (50 min) to just
outside of the town of Middlebury, VT. I had called & scheduled a group
tour for 4 @ the Maple Landmark, Inc. toy factory. This family owned &
operated company has some 30 employees & they utilize a lot more modern
machinery with computers & laser automation then the “Folk Rocker”
company. We were amazed @ the variety of wooden toys manufactured with
much precision & detail. The owner, Mike, whom we met in the factory,
started this business as a teenager in the family garage some 30 yrs ago.

From here, we drive to Therese’s daughter’s condo up in the mountains on
hwy 17 near the ski resort of Sugarbush. The beautiful fall colors of this
area of Vermont are brightly lit up with sunshine during our mountain
climb. Therese /Terry invited us for dinner @ the condo but….the time is
now 5:45pm. To avoid having Terry drive us back to the Best Western after
dinner in darkness to pick up our car, we volunteer, with her permission,
to use her car to get our car while she & Joanne are preparing dinner. 40
min one way + a fuel stop for both cars, we return about 7:30 for wine &
8:00pm dinner of: Italian chicken sausage with green noodles & marinara
sauce. For dessert: Vermont cheese, crackers & apple slices. A wonderful
day & evening dinner meal; we leave about 9:40pm & return to our bus @

High temp? Lights out: 11:30pm

Awake: 5:17am Temp 47 sleep 6+10 high clouds overnight @
Randolph Center,Vermont.

Before we left Nicktown, Therese D. from the Koffee Klub & I talk about a
rendezvous in Vermont between the 10th & 26th of October; so yesterday @
the Hidden Valley campground, I wrote Therese an e-mail indicating we were
leaving for Vermont on Wednesday.

This morning I walk over to the office where they have a computer for
public use; sure enough, Therese responds with thoughts of us being closer
by roads to the Sugarbush area where she is staying than we really are. In
perusing our campground manuals last night, I found another campground
further north in Stowe, closer to Sugarbush then we are now, has 50amps,
is big rig friendly & has the potential of having cell phone coverage.

After breakfast, K & I drive the Suzuki ½ mile to a payphone; make a call
to Stowe…no answer. Ok its 9:00am & maybe they are not open yet. To kill
time & curiosity, we take a short trip to the small town of Randolph (15
min). What we found was not a small town but a good sized town of over
2000 people with an active downtown. Kathy talked me into exploring a Ben
Franklin store which I don’t ever remember visiting before. She tells me
they are old & have been around for yrs. We could have easily spent more
time there but I wanted to get back to that payphone & concentrate on
changing campgrounds today if possible.

My next call to the campground in Stowe is a success. They have space
available, 50 amps & it is big rig friendly. I didn’t ask about the cell
phone coverage. En route back to the bus, I stop in the office & write a
quick e-mail to Therese to let her know our new intended location in Stowe
so she won’t be misled by our present address.

Less than an hr later, we leave the Lake Champagne RV Park in Randolph
Center & are heading toward Stowe, VT. Along the way, our cell phone comes
alive; Kathy listens to recent messages from Terry (Therese) who is trying
to find out exactly where we will be & possibly visiting us around 1:00pm
today. Then….Kathy calls Terry & she answers. Problem & confusion solved!

We arrive @ the Goldbrook Campground in Stowe,Vermont @ 12:28pm.
Campground owner John greets us, gives us a map & tells us to drive right
in & come see him when we are settled.
Today’s travel: 52 min time 42 miles 5.3 gal used 7.9 mpg
49.9 ave speed.

It’s a small campground, nicely laid out & well manicured. Not only do we
get good Satellite signals but also strong cell phone signals. 30 min
after we park, Terry drives in looking for our bus. Such a nice
coincidence! We talk about each others recent activities & then start
talking about touring ideas here in Vermont. She then returns to her
daughter’s condo in the Sugarbush area some 40 min south of here.

Mid afternoon, K & I visit the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory & pay for a
tour. They do give everyone on the tour a free & very small sample of
their newest flavor. After our tour, we can’t resist having a cone with
one scoop. It’s soooo good! A lot of people, about 5,000, visit B & J’s
daily some arriving via bus tours.. En route to our campground, we go out
of our way to take a sneak peek of the town of Stowe. Darkness is looming
so we will return on another day.

7:30 dinner: Pork chops, broccoli, fried whole wheat noodles, mixed salad
& toast.

After dinner: Kathy calls Jodi in Memphis for an hr’s talk. I call Zack,
leave a message & then, enjoy some computer time.

Today’s temp=60 Elevation ? Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 6:02am Temp 50 sleep 6+49 sunny, then cloudy
overnight @ Derry, N.H.

We leave the Hidden Valley RV & Golf Park @ 11:19am. 1st stop on I-93…. a
toll plaza & $3.00; one mile later, the 2nd stop @ the New Hampshire
visitors’ center. We make this stop to inquire about a fueling plaza
further north on I-93 which is puzzling to us because the toll plaza
intersects with I-89 in the same area. The fellow inside the visitors’
center explains it nicely.

Next door to the visitors’ center is a New Hampshire State Liquor & Wine
Outlet Store. What the heck we thought, why not check it out? Surprise!
The wine selection & prices were not in our favor but the liquor prices
were the best we’ve seen in a long time. Although we are almost
teetotalers, we stock our home with a comfortable selection of good stuff
for worthy visitors along the way.

3rd stop: diesel fuel @ the Irving Oil Truck Stop; adding a mere 151
gallons. 4th stop: the Vermont visitors’ center for a good state map &
touring information. Our route to Vermont changes now as we bypass that
next toll plaza & move over to I-89. We arrive @ the Lake Champagne
campground in Randolph Center, Vermont @ 3:15pm.

Today’s travel: 2+30 time 124 miles 18.1 gal used 6.84 mpg
51.6 avg speed.

Mr. LaFrances met us @ our entry door with his car to drive us around &
select a parking site. We requested 50 amps on our reservation because
cold air is moving in. Of the 123 campsites, only 3 sites were available.
Many sites were taken & others were 30 amps. The site we chose has a
wonderful view of the lake, valley, & mountains to the east. What we
wanted & don’t have is….cell phone coverage.

5:15 dinner: Italian sausage, onions, and peppers with brown rice noodles
& marinara sauce + toast.

Evening movie: A video from Gary & Grace: “The Paper Chase” with Timothy
Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner, John Houseman, Graham Beckel, Edward Herrmann,
etc. A near-classic comedy-drama about pressures of freshman yr @ Harvard
Law School; Bottoms’ obsession with tyrannical professor Kingsfield
(Houseman) becomes even more complicated when he discovers his girl friend
is Kingsfield’s daughter! 1973. Don’t miss this one. Houseman received the
academy award for best supporting actor.

Today’s travel temp=64 elevation 1439 ft Lights out: 11:07pm

Awake: 4:55am Temp 44 sleep 5+33 sunny overnight @ Derry, New Hampshire.

Late morning we drive the Suzuki to Londonderry, N.H. (40 min) & visit the
visitors’ center of Stonyfield Farms. We wanted to take a factory tour but
they are expanding & renovating so no factory tours for at least 1 yr. We
did watch a movie on how they got their start & another movie on the
present day operations. During the latter movie, we were invited to sample
as many yogurt flavors as we wanted. Very impressive process & great
tasting yogurt; we couldn’t resist purchasing 4 gallons of organic milk &
4 yogurts + 1 frozen YOKIDS organic lowfat squeezers yogurt @ a discounted
price. Both of us enjoy their milk.

On our return trip, we stopped @ a roadside fruit marked sponsored by St.
Jude. The place was so crowded with families, it was slow going to just
see what all was available. A no school day for the kids we think made the
difference. We bought nothing but did sample a few apple slices.

Back in the town of Derry, Kathy talks me into touring the Robert Frost
house where he lived with his family for 9 yrs. 1st we watched a movie (45
min) about his life & what inspired some of his poetry. Then, along with 2
nuns, we were given a very elaborate tour of the house & more info on
“Rob’s” life & the family as the tour guide referred to him. He was quite
proud of the fact that he had been given permission from a granddaughter
to use Robert’s more familiar name. It was interesting & informative &
well worth our time to gain more knowledge about one of America’s most
important poets.

Back to Derry for grocery shopping @ the large “Shaws” store downtown &
then returning to our bus by 5:30pm.

8:00pm dinner: BLT’s with homegrown Nicktown tomatoes from our neighbor.

Satellite movie: “I love Trouble” with Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte, Saul
Rubinek, James Rebhorn, etc. A rival Chicago newspaper reporter
reluctantly joins forces to investigate a mysterious train wreck…. &
naturally, fall in love. A likable homage to vintage Hollywood
bickering/bantering romantic comedy with a touch of adventure & suspense
thrown in. 1994.

Today’s high=69 elevation 462 ft Lights out: 11:13pm

Awake: 6:15am Temp 40 sleep 7+00 fog….then sunny
overnight @ Boothbay, VT.

Around 7:30am, we wave goodbye to G & G as they leave the campground. They
have around 500 miles to cover today thus the earlier departure. We have
slightly over 150 miles to our next campground thus we leave the Shore
Hills campground @ 9:30am. We back track our routing most of the way until
one mile north of the toll on I-95, then exit & take route 38 to route 101
leading to I-93 & to our next campground. These roads have been
delightfully smooth. Our cell phone comes alive on I-95; Kathy makes a
call to today’s destination & gets more detailed final directions. We
arrive @ the Hidden Valley RV & Golf Park campground in Derry, New
Hampshire @ 12:54pm.

Today’s travel: 3+24 time 161 miles 22 gal used 7.34 mpg 49.6 avg speed.

It’s a good thing Kathy had special instructions like: after the 1st speed
bump, take the first left turn, pull into the open field & park wherever
you want to but not on the golf course. Had we not known that, we would
have driven into a dead end busy golfing parking lot? This big rig parking
area is an open grass field with electric & water along the perimeter of
trees & hilly ground. Adjoining this area is a 9 hole course & within the
nearby area is also an 18 hole championship golf course. This works fine
for us as long as it doesn’t rain.

After parking & setting up, we walk through a section of the 9 hole golf
course to the RV office, pay our camping fee & then for exercise, walk the
rest of the hilly Hidden Valley campground with its other 279 sites. This
takes us over 1.5 hrs. This campground is also closing for the winter
starting tomorrow.

Kathy talks with Melissa, then Katrina via cell phone. Later she talks
with Nancy L. & leaves a message with Marge G.

5:30 dinner: Chicken rice casserole with mixed salad & toast.

Satellite movie: “Imitation of Life” with Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra
Dee, Dan O’Herlihy, Susan Kohner, etc. Turner is a career-driven actress;
Moore is the good-hearted black woman who shares her life & whose troubled
daughter (Kohner) passes for white. 1959. I had seen this movie in
Franklin Park, Illinois in 1959 & remember it was quite moving @ the time.
Young girls were literally running out of the theater crying during the
show. It was still a sad movie to watch & experience today.

Today’s travel temp= 68 Lights out: 11:02pm

Awake: 4:59am Temp 37 sleep 5+46 sunny overnight @ Boothbay, Maine.

We leave with G & G in their Honda @ 9:25am with the 1st stop being only 5
min away @ the Fall Foliage Festival (arts & crafts) just down the road.
About 1.5 hrs total was spent waiting in line & looking @ all the vender’s
wares. Grace bought some soap & Kathy bought nothing. Gary & I did an
extreme amount of gabbing to make it look like we were enjoying ourselves.

Next we head north to the “Owls Head” transportation museum (40 min)
located in the town of Owls Head. Now we are seeing something of interest,
especially for Gary & me. This expansive museum is home to a landmark
collection of antique working aircraft, automobiles, motorcycles,
carriages, bicycles, engines, etc. To start with, the ladies planned
ahead, left us to begin our exploring while they drove down the road to
get sandwiches & drinks for lunch. About an hr later, they returned &
notified us to join them in having a tailgate style lunch. Really good
sandwiches; we were impressed with their efficiency & excellent taste.
Gary & I could have easily spent the rest of the day in this museum but we
both wanted to get back during daylight to get our coaches ready for
travel tomorrow morning. Even the ladies enjoyed seeing the many displays
@ the museum. We return to our campground about 4:00pm.

I retract our slides, stow the portable water filters, etc. Then K & I
attend 5:30pm Mass @ Our Lady Queen of Peace church & afterwards, drive
over to meet G & G @ the “Lobsterman’s Wharf” on hwy 99 for dinner. Kathy
& I share a sword fish dinner. Here we thank G & G for their hospitality,
good times & good friendship, etc & bid them a safe bon voyage. We like
these guys a lot and look forward to our next rendezvous.

Today’s high=60’s Lights out: 11:15pm

Awake: 5:58am Temp 41 sleep 6+51 cool & sunny overnight @
Boothbay, Maine.

We both visit the campground clubhouse to say our goodbyes to the Newell
people. It was a small but good rally. We thoroughly enjoyed renewing our
friendship with couples we’ve known since our 1st rally in January, 2002;
we’ve seen & experienced some beautiful areas of Maine & understand better
why it’s a favorite place to live or visit; and we’ve gotten to know &
appreciate Grace & Gary more by hanging out with them more frequently.

Also we have invitations to visit Mick & his wife Lek in Florida, Merle &
Jane in Oklahoma, Harold & Clair in Texas, Paul in Michigan, Bobbie &
Shirley in Oklahoma, etc. These people have parking with electricity near
their home. We don’t know if we’ll do any visiting with them during our
travels but it makes us feel good to have the opportunity.

After the majority of Newells depart, only Bruno’s coach, Gary’s coach,
the 2 techs & the show coaches + we remain. Since we haven’t been inside
the show coaches with the slides retracted, Gary, Grace, Kathy & I tour
those shrunken show coaches to see how much inside maneuvering space is
available. We are impressed with the aisle of space available, especially
the coach with the Murphy bed.

Next, we ride with Grace & Gary to Wiscasset (15 min north) to have a
lobster roll for lunch @ Red’s Eats. Again, the waiting line is wrapped
around this small building and down the sidewalk plus a cool wind is
blowing. After wasting time @ the next door Hardware store, which is now
more of a souvenir & tourist shop than hardware & seeing that the waiting
line is growing in lieu of shrinking, it was easy to nix that idea, go a
few blocks west to the “Le Garage” & have our lunch inside. Clam chowder
with ½ sandwiches & a good view of the river & bridge on this clear day
made for a more logical choice.

After walking around town, visiting a few antique stores & the local
cemetery, we drive northeast to the town of New Castle to pursue the
oldest surviving church in Maine. It wasn’t easy & it wasn’t located in
N.C. After some unplanned touring of N.C., we stopped & asked a lady in
town for extra hints: she knew all about that church because she
frequented it often. Turns out it was 5 miles north of N.C. The find was
worth the time…. & the church was in very good condition with an enormous
addition built recently behind the small church.

When we return to our campground, Kathy makes popcorn and fried parmesan
cheese with sun dried tomatoes while Grace assembles a smorgasbord of
shrimp, cheese, pickles, chips, etc. We take our goodies over to G & G’s
coach where we have a fine time with wine & snacks for a late dinner. Our
gabbing lasts until 9:30pm.

Today’s high=? Lights out: 11:13pm

Awake: 5:30am Temp 49 sleep 6+58 heavy rain during the night,
then late morning…..sunny overnight @ Boothbay, Maine.

Early morning, Grace & Kathy visit the Farmers Market just down the road.
They found fresh veggies but prices on most of the selections were too
high for their taste.

@ 9:30, we board the chartered bus for Freeport, Maine…..home of L.L.
Bean, about an hr bus ride. I should mention that the fall colors here in
Maine are becoming more fantastic with each following day.

The village of Freeport has over 170 upscale outlets, designer shops,
eclectic boutiques, B & B’s, name hotels, restaurants & casual cafes. It’s
a shopping Mecca & we only have a little over 3 hrs….. & that is good. The
town itself is well laid out with big, old & well cared for buildings &
homes, clean streets + manicured lawns, etc. Our bus drops us off just
around the corner from L.L. Bean’s main store so we waste no time in
checking that out. Gary & I arrange a time & meeting place to rendezvous
with the ladies & then check out the manly stuff. Kathy & I buy nothing.

Next, a visit to the factory outlet of L.L. Bean 2 blocks away. The prices
are less but so are the selections. K & I buy nothing. We break for lunch
@ the Lobster Cooker where we all have a bowl of clam chowder. Then the
ladies continue going in & out of stores while Gary & I casually wait
outside. All in all, Grace bought a few things…. & the rest of
us….nothing. We return to our campground by 3:00pm.

Mick & Lek invite us to tour their new Newell, a 2007 model. It’s another
“wow” floor plan & color scheme but they don’t prepare many meals & thus,
the kitchen is small with very little counter space. Also, they have
granite floors (not heated) throughout with only a few throw rugs.

I track down the techs, Mark & James, & have them eliminate my air drier
unit used on our entry door: It has recently developed an air leak & the
technicians have been removing them on other coaches because they are just
not necessary. It takes them less then 30 min.

Kathy & I dress for 5:00pm social hr & 6:30 dinner tonight @ the Spruce
Point Inn. Elegant attire is suggested. Our table was the best: Gary &
Grace; Jane & Merle; Harold & Clair; & Kathy & me. Not only was the food &
service great but also the company & conversation was outstanding. We had
fun. Kathy & I share each other’s filet steak & haddock with crab meat.
Back to our campground by 9:00pm.

Late satellite movie: “The Letter” with Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall,
James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, etc. Murderess (Davis) who tries to
cover up her deed by pleading self-defense is quite appealing in her
unsympathetic role. 1940. Hmmmm, not so entertaining.

Today’s high= 62 Lights out: 11:07pm

Awake: 5:38am Temp 54 sleep 6+38 partly sunny overnight @
Boothbay, Maine.

We were undecided as to what to have for breakfast this morning….then our
doorbell rang: It’s Gary! He’s carrying a plate of blueberry pancakes with
bacon & blueberry syrup. I watched them making that purchase yesterday
wondering silently how they would taste. About 10 min later, I found out
they tasted pretty darn good. What a nice, friendly, neighborly gesture.
After I wash the dishes from that treat, Kathy returns their plate & syrup
with 4 healthy Kathy muffins.

Ever since we’ve arrived @ this campground, the Portland Press Herald
newspaper has been delivered to our door daily. However, this morning no
newspaper; we learned that the paper delivery guy has gone south for the
winter so Kathy walked to the office & brought back today’s paper.

@ 12:30pm we board our chartered bus for downtown Boothbay, pier # 1. I
bring my hat & camera. We all climb aboard the boat “Island Lady” & choose
either the upstairs open seating or the enclosed lower seating. The
weather cooperates nicely so a lot of us choose the topside seating for a
better view & picture taking. Our Captain does a great job of narrating
what we see or are about to see along the way. i.e. old lighthouses still
in service but now automated; dozens of harbor seals on the rocks; snug
coves, summer cottages & colonies, hundreds of lobster trap buoys that the
Captain had to constantly dodge along the way, etc. It was a very
interesting, educational & scenic 2 hr tour. We were all very impressed.
We are bussed back to our campground by 3:30.

Kathy & I take a 30 min walk around the campground for exercise before
touring Bruno & Mona’s new 2007 Newell Coach which was very nice.

Next, the 5:00pm social hr gathering; during this casual time, not only
are we offered fresh Glidden Oysters on the half shell with a choice of
sauce, but also Barbara the Oyster Lady gives us a very elaborate &
technical lecture on growing these oysters in Maine. She has been in the
business for 19 yrs & still strives to grow the perfect cultured oyster.
Her yearly shipping weight is some 40 tons.

6:30 catered dinner: Breaded veal, chicken parmesan, risotto, steamed
asparagus, cheese ravioli with marinara sauce. For dessert: Italian cream

Later we have live entertainment from Mike Cabot: an impressionist,
jokester; a very funny guy. He had us in stitches when getting James, Don,
Bobbie & Gary up front to do their impression of “Elvis.” It was a good
jovial wrap-up of our 4 day Newell rally in Maine.

Satellite movie: “The Fountain Head” with Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal,
Raymond Massey, Kent Smith, etc. An idealistic architect’s clash with
compromises of society. 1949. I read this novel during high school &
wanted to see how Hollywood portrayed the story. The book was better.

Today’s high=66 Lights out: 10:32pm

Awake: 5:46am Temp 45 sleep 7+08 sunny overnight @ Boothbay, Maine.

Casual morning for us: reading the newspaper; working on the daily x-word
puzzle, etc.

@ 10:30am our chartered bus takes us downtown Boothbay for shopping or
should I say, takes the ladies for shopping & us guys along to carry the
packages. For the small size this Boothbay town is, there are quite a few
stores to browse through. Kathy & Grace get right with the program while
Gary & I stand outside in the sun & talk. This kind of stuff is much too
dull for us go getters so we agree on meeting the girls later @ a certain
place & time. Then Gary & I walk across the foot bridge which unites the
two sides of the town & we are now on the East side of the harbor. I talk
Gary into touring the inside of the Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic
Church. I was intrigued about this church on Sunday & wanted to show him.
It’s a very old & eloquent church & strictly an upstairs “summer only”
church. The walls are merely 4 inches thick with no insulation. Next week,
the upstairs part will be closed for winter & Mass will be held in the
small chapel in the basement. As a matter of fact, the tourist season &
summer dwellers are leaving town as we speak so most of the shops in town
will also be shut down during the winter.

We cross back over the foot bridge, meet up with the girls, have lunch @
the Ebb Tide restaurant & then catch our chartered bus back to our
campground. By the way, Kathy bought nothing & Grace purchased a package
of blueberry pancake mix & blueberry syrup.

During our time away, the techs: Mark & Jimmy did some fixing on a few of
the motor homes’ glitches. This is a bonus feature about a rally with
Newell & some other motorhome manufactures as well: you send them a list
of what needs to be fixed before the rally & they do their best to fix
them up during the rally….no charge for labor or small parts.

Kathy & I sign up @ the campground office for 2 additional days after the
rally is over & Grace & Gary join us in extending their stay as well.

@ 5:00pm we join the gang @ the campground clubhouse for the traditional
social hr & @ 6:00, we board the chartered bus that takes all of us to
downtown Boothbay for dinner @ Gray’s Wharf for baked clams, corn on the
cob, baked potatoes & a lobster bake. It was really delicious & messy. We
are bussed back to our campground by 8:30pm.

Today’s high=65 Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake:5:49am Temp 49 sleep 7+25 overnight rain, then partly cloudy
overnight @ Boothbay, Maine.

Grace & Kathy go to downtown Boothbay to grocery shop. Later, having used
some of the grocery items she bought, Grace brings us a coconut pie fresh
out of the oven. We eat a few slices…..it was good.

@ 1:15pm Grace, Gary, Kathy & I tour the (3) Newell show coaches. Very
impressive machines; 2 of them have the Murphy bed floor plan. Kathy & I
particularly like the Blade show coach loaded with all the latest gadgets,
bells & whistles. The instrument panel is a glass digital readout with the
option to change screens for monitoring different systems as one drives
along. These coaches are powered with either the 625 horsepower CAT engine
with a 10 speed transmission or the 600 horsepower Detroit Diesel engine
with the Alison 6 speed transmission. We also visit Bobby & Shirley’s new
coach just delivered in March of this yr. Very nice.

Later, I read the Portland Press Herald Newspaper & do the X-word puzzle.
It's been a long time since I've worked a X-word puzzle.

@ 5:00pm all the rally attendees gather in the campground clubhouse for a
social hour & get acquainted and re-acquainted time. We know about ½ of
this group of about 30 people.

6:00pm dinner: The traditional Newell Tenderloin Barbecue…..excellent.

@ our table, we’re seated with Gary &Grace + Don Jones & his wife,
Nieves, from Puebla, Mexico, who live @ 7000 ft altitude. Don has dual
Mexican/US citizenship and speaks very highly of his life in Mexico. This
evening was a good start for our 4 day rally.

Satellite movie: “The Tao of Steve” with Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, Kimo
Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson, etc. Logue, is a self-styled ladies’ man who
follows the Tao of Steve, a code for being cool. Having the knack of
bedding women at will, Logue is flustered when he actually falls in love
with one. yr 2000. Of course, not for children.

Today’s high=59 Lights out: 10:38pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 50 sleep 6+45 overcast---then afternoon rain
overnight @ Boothbay, Maine.

We attend 8:00 Mass @ Our Lady Queen of Peace church. Afterward in the
bus, Kathy makes sourdough pancakes with 2 double yoke eggs and bacon. Now
I have the strength & energy to finish cleaning the front cap & with that
done, the outside housecleaning job will be finished.

This morning, 3 Newell show coaches arrive: John & Vicky, Carl & Alice,
Pat & Becky + little Henry (age 2 ½ yrs).

Mid afternoon, Gary & Grace arrive. After a gentlemen’s chat session
outside with Merle, Harold & Gary, we invite Grace & Gary into our coach
for a glass of wine. Then we ride with G & G to downtown Boothbay & join
Harold & Claire and Merle & Jane for 6:30 dinner @ the “Tugboat Inn.”
Kathy & I share a swordfish steak topped with crab meat.

Satellite movie: “Two for the Road” with Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney,
Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, etc. Hepburn & Finney stop bickering &
reminisce about their 12 yrs of marriage, trying to work & save their
happiness. 1967.

Elevation 137 ft Today’s high=59 Lights out: 10:24pm

Awake: 7:15am Temp 42 sleep 6:15 sunny overnight @
Boothbay, Maine.

My goal today: clean the outside of the house. It’s a little nippy this
morning so I wait until 10:30 to get started. 1st on the roof…..that takes
about an hr; then Kathy works with me for the rest of the afternoon
without taking a break. @ 5:00pm, we finally come to our senses & stop.
We’ve done enough for today & only the top of the front cap of the
motorhome remains to be cleaned. So we change clothes, clean up a little &
drive into Boothbay Harbor (12 min south) & tour around the town. Earlier
this morning, Kathy inquired about the nearest Catholic Church & Mass
times so we casually find that church & spot the place to eat some fresh
lobster after Mass. I was suspicious when finally parking in the church
lot for 6:30 Mass……the lot was rather full for us being 15 min early. Then
we find out, we were 45 min late. Vigil Mass was 5:30. We joined in
singing the ending hymn & decided to return again for the full Mass
tomorrow morning.

Just across the street was the Lobstermen’s Co-op; the place to eat
lobster recommended in our travel guide. 7:30 dinner: fresh Lobster &
coleslaw. The freshest we’ve ever eaten. It’s messy but soooo good. We
make a grocery stop en route back to our campsite.

(3) Newell motorhomes arrive today; that makes (5) in the campground so
far for the Monday rally to begin.

Late night satellite movie: “The Green Mile” with Tom Hanks, David Morse,
Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, etc. An elderly man
recalls the incident that changed his life, in 1935, when he supervised
Death Row @ a Louisiana state prison & encountered a gentle black behemoth
played by Duncan with an unusual gift. 1999. A little slow @ times but the
casualness of the men is amusing. Popcorn accompanied our double feature

High temp=65 Lights out: 12:00 midnight

Awake: 6:40am Temp 60 sleep 7+07 early morning rain, then cloudy
overnight @ Salisbury, Massachusetts.

We leave the Black Bear Campground @ 9:06am; it was easy off, easy on for
I-95. We stay in the exit lane of I-95 for the New Hampshire tourist
information center, our 1st stop for today. Kathy loads up on brochures &
a N.H. map. Back on I-95 & a short time later, we stop & pay the New
Hampshire toll of $3.50, our 2nd stop. Not too much later on I-95, we make
another stop entering Maine to gather more brochures & a road map; our 3rd
stop. Shortly after getting back on I-95, we stop @ the toll booth for
Maine & fork out $2.40; our 4th stop. Then after many miles northbound on
I-95 upon exiting, we make a 5th stop to pay another toll of $7.00. From
here we travel on I-295, Coastal Route 1 & Route 27 without any more
tolls. I must say, since entering MA, the interstates have been very
smooth, scenic & a pleasure to travel on. We arrive @ the Shore Hills
Campground in Boothbay, Maine @ 12:56pm.

Today’s travel: 2+42 time 120 miles 16.7 gal used 7.5 mpg
48.5 avg speed

Rain caught up with us as we were heading northbound making many stops, so
out comes the umbrella when walking to the office to check in. We are
assigned a parking site & given a map for directions. Unfortunately, I
didn’t look close enough on the map & missed the 1st turn toward our
camping area. Backing up with a tow car attached is a no-no, so we
continued on down the road to a crossroads area, detached our Suzuki &
Kathy helped guide our turnaround to head back in the correct
direction….all in the rain with no umbrella. We like the camp site we were
given for our rally.

7:20 dinner: Swordfish, brown & wild rice, mixed salad & toast.

Double feature Satellite movies tonight: “Not as a Stranger” with Olivia
de Havilland, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, Charles Bickford, Gloria
Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Lee Marvin, etc. Mitchum marries nurse de
Havilland who supports him through medical school despite oft-strained
relationship. 1955. Interesting story with….that twist you might expect.

“The Defiant Ones” with Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel,
Charles McGraw, etc. Engrossing story of (2) escaped convicts…one black,
one white….shackled together as they flee from police in the South. 1958.
Don’t take any time outs during this movie…it’s unpredictable!

Travel high temp=63 Lights out: 1:00am

Awake: 5:45am Temp 57 sleep 5+30 partly cloudy overnight @
Drums, PA.

Early morning, K & I walk the departure route to make sure the road will
be ok for our size motorhome….& it will. We both eat a healthy Kathy
muffin for breakfast & then leave the 81-80 RV Park @ Drums @ 8:50am. We
continue on I-81 to Scranton, PA. & then take I-84 through upper New York
State & Connecticut. The Interstate thru eastern PA & New York State was
certainly nothing to brag about. I-290 & 495 thru Massachusetts was both
very smooth & scenic.

Again, we had no planned campground stop for tonight, just playing our
destination by feel. 40 min from I-95, I ask Kathy to start looking &
calling for a campground; she selects 3 choices: 1st call, no vacancy. 2nd
call, not big rig capable but they recommend a place that is. She calls
that suggested campground; they have space available & it’s a mere 10 min
away. We arrive @ the Black bear Campground in Salisbury, Massachusetts @

Today’s travel: 6+27 time 356 miles 7.9 mpg 45.3 gal used
57.9 avg speed

After we are parked while Kathy is making dinner, my brother Don calls
from PA. They had a great time visiting Crag, Nanette & their grandkids in
Texas & loved their new house.

7:20 dinner: Pork chops, broccoli, whole wheat noodles with gravy & mixed

Satellite movie: “Suspicion” with Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric
Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, etc. Fontaine believes Grant is trying to kill
her. 1941. Great mystery story with a twist; don’t miss this one.

Elevation: 123 ft Travel high temp=75 Lights out: 11:23pm

Awake: 5:00am Temp 48 sleep 5+46 some clouds overnight @

We have our coffee, make a final prep on the tow car, disconnect the
land-line phone, the shore power, switch off the main circuit breakers &
then wrap site # 1 for the winter.

We leave our circular drive hangout in Nicktown @ 7:30am. Smooth roads
with medium to light traffic en route to Bedford, PA (60 miles). Here we
stop & spend approximately 5 hrs @ the Penn Detroit Diesel facility having
our 6 AGM batteries & 2 lead acid batteries load checked + having our
diesel engine steamed cleaned after that dusty road experience in Canada.

After a light lunch in the motor home, we continue our travels to the
Northeast by taking the PA turnpike for 146 miles. That turned out to be a
little costly; we were charged as a commercial vehicle having 5 axles
equating to 62,000 lbs & $25.00.

We exited the turnpike @ Carlisle, PA & continued on I-81for a few hrs. As
we are bumping along, I ask Kathy to look ahead for a campground for
tonight. After a considerable amount of time, she finds an easy off, easy
on +big rig friendly possibility & makes a cell phone call: yes, they have
space available. We arrive @ the 81-80 RV Park in Drums, PA @ 5:35pm.

Today’s travel: 4+54 time 257 miles 34 gal used 7.6 mpg
52.4 avg speed

7:45pm dinner: Alaska salmon, brown & wild rice, mixed salad & toast.

Late satellite movie: “Jackie Brown” with Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson,
Robert Forster, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, etc. Grier plays a flight
attendant who’s been trafficking in hot money for lowlife Jackson; when
caught, she plays all the angles she can think of to keep herself out of
jail, managing to keep the cops, her chief client, & everyone else on ice.
1997. Another movie not for children but very entertaining.

Travel high temp=77 Lights out: 12:15am

Awake: 5:40am Temp 46 sleep 5+31 mostly sunny overnight @

We drive to the community center, attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the
Koffee Klub gang for 1.1 hrs. Kathy brings (2) kinds of healthier cookies
(4 dozen in all) for the gang as a going away gift. The Klub members were
elated. It’s a “say our goodbyes for now” morning. Besides Kathy & me
leaving tomorrow, Theresa D. is also leaving tomorrow & heading for the
Northeast. We will miss these people, our interesting discussions &
entertaining times we have @ these daily meetings.

After our breakfast, we drive 10 miles & pickup the “T” handle tool from
Steve’s parents’ home that I need to finish winterizing our # 2 well.

When we return to our bus, I help our neighbor Chuck unload another pickup
load of firewood while Kathy irons clothes. Next I use the “T” handle
tool, lift the water pump up from # 2 well & let it drain so now this well
is also winterized. Steve told me to just leave the “T” handle stored in
the pump house & he will pick it up later.

Then, with Kathy driving the Suzuki & me driving the Lexus, we both go to
Sheetz in Spangler & top off our respective fuel tanks. En route back to
Nicktown, while Kathy visits the post office to have our mail stopped, I
return the Lexus to heated storage, disconnect the battery leads & cover
the Lexus.

Next, we drive the Suzuki to the Foote home, spend an hr or so playing
with Matthew & Andrew + take a few pictures of the boys & Kevin’s progress
on the upstairs bathroom & the 97 % finished air-conditioning system. @
5:30pm, we say our goodbyes for now (Kevin is home from work & both boys
have a swimming lesson). When we return to our bus, I hook up the Suzuki
tow car to the motor home while Kathy prepares dinner.

8:00pm dinner: Leftover creamy chicken, Rotini & meatballs + mixed salad.

After dinner, I call my brother Don & leave a message. Then call my sister
Corinne & leave a message. Then call my sister Mary Jo in Lodi, CA & we
talk for about 50 min.

Today’s high=? Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 5:11am Temp 51 sleep 5+59 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive to the community center & exercise for 50 min; afterwards & using
our conference room phone in the community center, I call the Harriger
Pump Service & Water Systems & talk with the secretary about borrowing a
“T” handle. I ask her to have Steve call me later on our land line. Next
we attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub members for 1.3 hrs.

Mid morning, I check the air pressure on all of our 16 tires, which
includes the motorhome, our Suzuki tow car & our Lexus that will be
returned to storage tomorrow. All tires had the proper air pressure. Next
I attach the tow hitch mechanism to the rear of the motorhome. During this
time, Steve from Harriger pump service calls: he has a “T” handle long
enough for my use & gives directions to his parents’ home where I can pick
it up tomorrow. This is good…..so I won’t have to bother Florentz about
modifying his.

Kathy makes a trip to Barnesboro; making copies of ideas that we found in
Kevin’s home building magazines.

7:15 dinner: Homemade Goulash soup with bread. Very, very good!

Nick calls from Seattle: he is back from Japan. He tells us that little
Jerry was the main attraction with the Togari family. Eriko & Jerry will
stay in Japan for another week.

Some late evening reading.

Today’s high=65 Lights out: 12:09am

Awake: 6:16am Temp 64 sleep 6+26 windy, then rain & partly
sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

A casual morning for us: Kathy reading her novel from the library & I
reading the magazines on “Fine Home Building” from Kevin.

Mid-morning, I switch the water supply from our well system to our motor
home’s pure water tank supply. Then by using my cousin Florentz’s “tee”
handle, on pump house # 1, lift the water pump submerged in the well up
far enough to drain the water from the pump, along with that, loosen the
water filter cartridges & drain the pressure tank & this winterizes that

On pump house # 2, I do everything I can, drain the pressure tank, loosen
the filter cartridges, etc, but Florentz’s “T” handle is 7 inches too
short for attaching the submerged water pump & draining that system. I’ll
have to make a few phone calls relating to this tomorrow.

@ 11:45 we drive to Indiana, PA, do some grocery shopping @ Martin’s, then
visit the Foote family. Melissa has a plan for this afternoon: all walk
over to the University (10 min), visit the student Union building where
today they are having free popcorn, sodas, hot dogs & picture taking in
3-D. We do all of this, then amble around the campus letting Andrew
practice his bear crawling in the grass & Mathew practice throwing a small
soft soccer ball with us. After walking back to the Foote home, Kevin
fires up the backyard grill & cranks out BIG burgers with all the
trimmings + fried potatoes & a salad. It was very delicious & a great
afternoon. We leave @ 6:40.

En route back to Nicktown, we stop & visit with Florentz & Anna. I am
returning his “T” handle which he volunteers to add another 7 inches to
the “T” to make it work for me but before he does that, I will try &
borrow another “T” that has the extra length to do the job.
During our visit, Florentz gives us an excellent & thorough tour of his
recently installed “Geothermal heating & cooling system” in their home.
They are very happy with the work done & the low electrical power
requirements of the system. After the tour, we sit in their kitchen, have
some good homemade wine with cheese & talk for over 2 hrs.

Today’s high=? Lights out: 11:12pm


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