About campbellkat

I'm always trying out new things and here's my newest space to do just that. DorDar made me do this, Just blame them if this turns out all wrong and goes sideways somehow. I plan on using this space to show my photo's and share my travel stories. I'll throw in random daily thoughts and observations that make me happy, entertain me or lighten up my day. We'll see how it goes.

Are you a Boondocker or a Resorter?

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Before we started RV’ing we travelled a bit to different places.  When in Mexico, Belize or Thailand we chose to stay in places that were a bit more rustic.  Gaps in the walls, holes in the window screens, basic shelters with handmade furniture, a stove, a sink and rusty appliances.  We’ve travelled to cities in the USA, stayed in Paris, London, Barcelona and Lisbon at places that I refer to as “Brass and Glass”.. they have all the fancy staff, stuff, and all the amenities.

How do you travel?

How do you RV?

Are you a Boondocker who choses to stay in places that are out of the way, a bit rustic, are you comfortable without electricity, wifi and tv?

OR

Are you a Resorter who prefers swimming pools, hot tubs, hot showers, laundry, free cable tv and wifi?

Us?

We’ve certainly tried a bit of each on this trip and stayed at Campgrounds and RV Parks that are a bit of both.

  We’ve overnighted at farms that raised alpaca’s, goats, lambs, or chickens.  We’ve visited wineries in Canada and the USA and tasted wine and bought a few to take with us on the road.  We’ve overnighted in a few driveways of people who are kind, inquisitive and generous with their time and made us feel so welcome.

We’ve been in RV parks that have dirt roads, gravel roads, or paved roads, we’ve dealt with roots, ruts and steep sites from back to front, more often than not the sites are level.  We’ve been in public showers and bathrooms that are spotless, with perfect hot water and great water pressure, and some that are none of the above.  Laundry room machines that function and are spotless., and some that aren’t.

Both choices have their charm and place in any road trip.  It all depends on how you like to roll!

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Alpaca at Wildwood Alpaca’s in Woodford, Virginia.

4 Haircuts!

6 months on the road, we’ve packed and pulled over 12,000 miles and I’ve had 4 haircuts

messy hair1.

My first hair cut was in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.  The lady that cut my hair had short short spiky hair and loved her job, loved meeting people and my haircut was kind of like hers.  Short, Spiky and FUN,  and off I went.

Up to that point of the trip we had left the rainy west coast and travelled to Ft St John in northern BC and visited my family.  We packed and pulled our way thru friends and relatives in Alberta, Saskatchewan and finally across the prairies to Winnipeg and in to norther Ontario.  The weather was rainy, sunny, windy, rainy and sunny in that order every 3 days or so.  We travelled over the Canadian shield full of rocks, trees and views of Lake Superior every once in awhile.  The bugs were bad but not vicious like we were expecting.

2.

My second hair cut was in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  The lady that cut my hair and long shoulder length hair and she was the owner of the business.  She loved our story of what we were doing, she would LOVE to travel but had other responsibilities: her business, her family, her aging parents.  She had a lot going on in her life, but took the time to cut my hair in the style I requested, not too short, not too long,  and off I went.

Up to that point in the trip we visited more family and friends in Ontario, took a side trip to the Queens Plate Horse Race and Niagara Falls too.  We packed and pulled our way thru Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, around The Gaspe Peninsula and crossed the border in to New Brunswick.  We ate lobster poutine, and bought our own lobster and boiled it up.  The French know how to cook EVERYTHING!!  Gravy, sauces, lobster pizza, Danish, smoked meat, bread, cheese and you can buy beer and wine in the grocery stores which was a nice change from Ontario where we had to drive around and find a BEER STORE and then find a Liquor Store if you wanted wine.

3.

My third hair cut was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The lady that cut my hair was sitting around doing nothing when I asked if she had time to cut my hair.  She didn’t look real excited to be put to work, didn’t seem excited about hearing about our travel plans and had to cut my hair twice because she didn’t cut it short enough the first time.  Cut, Chop, Hack, blah, boring, blah, and off I went.


Up to that point of our arrival in Myrtle Beach, we had packed and pulled our way across New Brunswick.  Fished for bass on the Miramichi River and on to Shediac, NB where we fished for mackerel off the pier.  We bought lobster from a lobster fisherman.  We travelled across the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.  Bought more lobster and made our first lobster boil with PEI potatoes and corn.  We found our way to Baddeck, Nova Scotia and drove the Cabot Trail.  We went to Sydney, NS and bent our backs over and explored a coal mine (what a horrible way to make a living).  We drove to Halifax and St John’s and drove the coastline along Peggy’s Cove.  We crossed back in to New Brunswick and visited a friend in Moncton and drove out to Hopewell Rocks.  From there we made our way to Saint John, sat in the sun and waited out our time to cross the border in to the US.  We then got BIG and BUSY by visiting Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston, New York, Atlantic City and Washington, DC.  There’s some big cities in that list and crap are they BIG, they also come with BIG traffic, busy freeways, lots of stressfull packing and pulling.  That’s a lot of places and lots of days passing by and I’m complaining about my hair and how awful it feels, like it got chopped and hacked by someone who wasn’t excited about her life.

4.

My fourth hair cut was in Panama City Beach, Florida where we are now.  The fellow that cut my hair is a widower, he and his wife worked together in their shop at their house for more than 30 years.  He now lives and works alone.  His wife just passed away a few months ago.  He was sad and seemed lost, not quite sure what he was going to do all by himself.  He has lots of time on his hands and he carefully cut my hair, the first time, and it was just the right amount of short.  Except for the back of my head, where I feel a bit like a boy.. haha.   He started out with a razor of some kind and zipped up the back of my head to start.  It wasn’t what I was expecting but I love how my hair feels, I can’t feel it poking around which is just how I like it and off I went.

Up to our arrival in Panama City Beach we packed and pulled our way thru South Carolina.  We boondocked overnight at a Alpaca Farm where I bought the softest fluffiest Alpaca socks (to wear when we get back to Canada).  We overnighted at a Winery (the people are so freakin friendly in the south).  Did the city tour of Charleston, roamed the beaches, watched the fisherman on the pier.  Boondocked at a couples house near Brunswick, Georgia.  They were so friendly, so welcoming, we wished we could have stayed longer.  They were awesome, their friends were awesome.  We stayed at a farm in Monticello, Florida where they raise sheep, goats and chickens.  The farm has towering oak trees covered in spanish moss – so peaceful there.  You’ve heard about “southern charm?”, it is alive and well and practiced in these parts for sure.  Yes Maam it is.  It is truly heart warming!

Washington, DC – the 2 M’s

How do you decide what to do in DC?

Museums?

Monuments?

You can do both, but you can’t do it all in 5 days I’ll tell you that much.   Much like it was in Montreal we took the bus to the train, and the train in to the City.  I loved DC, it’s clean with wide streets, the traffic wasn’t insane, the drivers didn’t seem overly aggressive (like the whole province of Quebec), the streets weren’t filled with honking horns (like New York City).  The history, the monuments, the museums, the overwhelming size of the buildings.  The Capitol Building, The Archives, The Department of Justice, The FBI, The Pentagon, The Smithsonian, and on and on.

 

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The Memorials were impressive:  The FDR Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial Wall, The Korean War Memorial and on and on.

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Martin Luther King Jr’s Memorial in DC with a tourist in the frame to give the photo scale.

 

Our favorite was Franklin D Roosevelt’s.  It’s located next to the Jefferson Memorial and near Martin Luther King Jr’s memorial as well.  FDR’s memorial has no stairs and is wheelchair accessible as you would assume it should be.  It is a large open space with statues of him, his wife Eleanor and their dog, a Scottish terrior named Fala.

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The Soup Kitchen statue at the FDR Memorial in DC. Oct-2017.

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On the wall at FDR Memorial in Washington, DC.

 

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Want to drive in DC? Just pick a lane and go!

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Watching over the Capitol Building and the White House in DC.

 

New York City – Squares and Circles…

I was so excited about our trip to New York City.  It’s been a part of the trip planning since the trip plan began.  Who DOESN’T want to go to New York City?

First step was to find a place to park the RV – that turned out to be an easy decision after we saw a UTube video of a couple on the Looong Honeymoon describe their stay at Liberty Harbor Marina RV Park in Jersey City.  The location is excellent and that is it’s attraction.  It is basically some RV spaces in a parking lot at the Marina.  Gravel pads, electricity and water and a sewer dump on site.  A building with showers and toilets in one corner.  Nothing fancy, but we weren’t planning on sitting around the trailer.. we are talking NEW YORK!!

Driving in to Liberty Harbor and Jersey City was a nightmare for me.  I took up two lanes on some narrow bridge and blocked all the traffic behind me (But like Randy said afterwards ‘no one was honking at you, so it was no big deal’).  Then I got to an intersection under a overpass and was in the wrong lane to go straight thru so I put on my signal light and did another one of my patented “tourist turns” while holding up everyone behind me who wanted to turn right and couldn’t because I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could continue in a straight line.  (still no honking – such polite New Yorkers).  I managed to negotiate thru road construction barrels, squished my way past a bus and navigated narrow bumpy streets to our destination.  No scratches, dents and only a few swear words were heard.

There is a water taxi that runs between the park and Manhatten ( once again location, location, location ).  The cost is $6.50 per person per trip.  It runs in the morning until 9:45 and then begins again in the evening at 4:15 until 9PM.  So you are limited to extended night time stays in the city if that is your mode of travel and when you go over in the morning you are now in NY City all day.  There is a train (the Path) which runs over to NY but we never bothered to figure out it’s path or the schedule.  We heard that the Taxi’s don’t like to go over to Jersey because then they inevitably have to return empty to NYC.  We could have used Uber I suppose, but didn’t try that either.  You can tell we aren’t much for partying with the night owls.. haha.

New York City is HUGE!  It’s MASSIVE! It’s just like you would imagine after seeing it on TV and reading about it.  I discovered quite quickly that it is impossible to capture New York City in a photograph or many photographs.  How can you capture what your eye can see, in a picture?

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A small piece of New York City as seen from the observation tower at the Empire State Building – Sep 2017.

 

It’s a city of Squares & Circles and much more:

Times Square and Union Square (which aren’t really square in shape), the Memorial Pools at the 911 Memorial (which are squares).  Madison Square Garden – is a round arena with a rectangle for a rink.  You get the idea of what I’m saying.  Columbus Circle, traffic circles, archways and angles of the World Trade Centre and Brookfield Place on Vesey Street.  I will include a few pictures that I took that show the complex shapes and overall feel of how BIG the City really is.  I would go back any time and see, walk, eat and be entertained.  What a great City!

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Brookfield Place shopping centre and commercial offices near the 911 Memorial in New York City.

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Reflections around Bookfield Place, with the World Trade Centre spire in the background. New York Sep-2017.

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A piece of the Memorial Wall at the 911 Memorial in New York City.

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A reflection of New York buildings in the water of the 911 Memorial in New York City.

Amazing Race – New York

   We participated in our own version of “Amazing Race NYork”, and let me tell you this: it was NOT fun.  Here’s the story:

We had been in NY City all day, close to 9 hours in total, we arrived at the Pier at around 7PM for our return trip to the RV site and there are flashing police lights, motorcycle cops, armed members of the police and helicopters circling the harbor above us.  What is going on?  We have NO idea, so we join some guys at the railing over looking the harbor and we are treated to a futuristic vision of the Osprey tilt-rotor Marine One Helicopter as it lifted off with you know who aboard.

Yes, it was President Trump!

I thought it was fantastic seeing the Osprey lift straight up off the deck, then the rotors tilted and away they went.  2 Ospreys lifted off, one is a decoy.

Cool right?

That was until we discovered that the whole harbor was now shut down for the evening and we are STUCK on the wrong side.  It’s dark, we don’t know the City and the poor young man giving us the bad news is obviously overwhelmed.  He tells us that there is another ferry that goes across to Jersey (that’s good news), we ask him where it leaves from and he points and says “over there”.  (that’s bad news).

Where is over there?

What is over there called?

How far away is over there?

He doesn’t know the answer, just keeps pointing towards NYC.  We find a friendly police man who doesn’t know where “over there” is either.  Seriously?  are you kidding?  (nope, he’s not kidding) (that’s bad news).  Ok, we will flag a cab, except that is impossible because the streets have been closed down by the pier for hours and no one is going anywhere.  We proceed to walk “over there” for a couple of blocks, hop in a cab and ask him to take us to the ferry terminal.  He has NO CLUE where it is, what it is, how to get us there.  Seriously?  Are you kidding?  (nope, he’s not kidding) (that’s bad news).  He eventually manages to contact someone who knows where “over there” is and when he gets there, he drops us off.

Phew..

Where is the terminal?

What is the terminal called?

We can’t see anything anywhere, we are surrounded by office buildings.  We frantically run up to a couple and ask them for directions.  They point us towards the water and say it’s “over there”, just follow the water.  We walk and walk and walk some more and still haven’t seen anything but we can see Jersey City off in the distance so we know we are kind of in the right place.  We stop another person and they tell us to keep following the water and we will see it.  We got there with 3 minutes to spare and ran on to the boat.  (good news).

So what’s the bad news?

We get dropped off at a different terminal which is about a mile from the RV Park.  That would be ok if we had been there before or if it was daylight out (but it’s NOT).  We don’t exactly know how to get to the park but we sort of know its “over there”.. we twist and turn and eventually find our way back to Liberty Harbor.  Stressed, tired, sore feet, but we made it back.

Boston Brown

 

After crossing the border we spent a few days in Bar Harbor, Maine.  What a great seaside town to wander around in.  It’s small on size, but big on tourism.  Cruise ships, restaurants everywhere, tourist trinkets, tshirts, and streets busy with people, so much fun there.  Lobster pounds, BBQ pits and more lobster.  Very similar to eastern Canada which is only a couple of hours away.  The trees are shedding their colors and will soon shed their leaves.  Awesome scenery as we drive to our different campgrounds.

Next stop was Boston.  We stayed at The Minuteman Campground (which is the closest campground to Boston).  You can tell we are not “city folk” as we were kind of shocked when we found out “closest” still means 2 hrs away (give or take) by public transport.  Drive, park, catch the train and return in rush hour traffic which the locals say starts around 4PM but you couldn’t really tell by me.  Holy crap is it busy on the roads.  There’s a good reason I have never lived in a major urban area.  NO THANKS!

Boston is brown, brick brown, red brick, brown brick brown.  It is not a brass and glass city like Vancouver or Toronto.  Rough streets, exposed man hole covers, road construction, old trains, old subway tunnels that need to be cleaned up a tad.  It has the feel of a working man’s city.  Very serious vibe, maybe the fact that is was windy and rainy added to the mood.  We took the Old Towne Trolley Tour which is a great way to see the sights, have a beer at Cheers, go to Quincy Market, or the site of the Boston Tea Party, follow the Freedom Trail, eat chowder, eat cheesecake, just eat something.  Don’t let the color fool you, there’s lots to see and do in this city!

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Busy Boston intersection.

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Boston brick and ornate clock at Quincy Market.

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Boston lights.

Bye Bye Canada, see you in 180 days!

And just like that our piece of the Circle that included eastern Canada has ended.  We circled back to Moncton and then Saint John, New Brunswick and hung out in the sun for a few days before venturing across the border into Maine.

No exciting stories to share, just our usual run of the day stuff.  We caught up on laundry, washed the outside of the trailer and the truck and ate all our food in the fridge and freezer.  We will be all neat, tidy and empty when we cross the border :-).  While we were in Moncton we drove out to Hopewell Provincial Park and saw the famous Hopewell Rock formations.  We got there in the rain AND at high tide so any picture taking was out of the question.  The Bay of Fundy is interesting, lots of red cliffs, rock outcroppings and muddy red water.  We also drove back over to Shediac and fished off the pier for mackerel.  We bought a couple of lobster off a boat for 1/2 the price of what you can buy them for in the store.  We had dinner with friends that used to live in CRiver.  It was great to catch up with them and see what they’ve been doing since moving out here.

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The Coastline of Hopewell Provincial Park and the muddy water of the Bay of Fundy near Moncton, NB.

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The Bay of Fundy with the rip tide line and the coast of Maine off in the distance.

We then left Moncton and headed to Saint John NB in preparation for heading across the border.  We updated our health plan, worked on my photo’s and blog.  Sat in the sun lots.  We got our air conditioner looked at and temporarily fixed.  There are no quarantees that the gas won’t leak out again, but it’s working for now.  The weather has turned warm and we are heading for warmer climates so we are glad to have it working.  We are going to need it we think.

I drove around one day and discovered Lepreau Falls.  It is about 30KM out of Saint John towards the border with Maine.  The Falls are nice and there is a day use park there, it wasn’t busy at all and would be a great place for a picnic.  It’s very scenic.  The area below the falls was used by rum smugglers in the 1920’s and 1930’s as they prepared to run rum out to the Bay of Fundy and sell to ships off shore from the USA.

That’s where we will be heading next.  Bar Harbor, Boston, New York City – LOOK OUT – we’ll be there soon!

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Lepreau Falls in Lepreau National Park between Saint John, NB and the border in to Maine.