Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back to CW

Thanks to our trusty little earplugs we were able to catch up on our beauty sleep in the Walmart parking lot. This felt really good since we were completely exhausted from yesterday. When we woke up it was already midafternoon and after taking care of a few things, we got on the road again. We drove about three and a half hours to the Camping World in Winchester VA, where we hooked up the electric and parked for the night, so we can be here for our appointment tomorrow. They are supposed to replace our inverter and fix the electrical system in Bella. Wish us luck.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleepless in Douthat

By morning Bernie was tired and almost in tears. Mar, sleep deprived, said we should pull camp and find a dentist who will take care of that toothache today. We had already paid for one more night at the campground, but the office said we would not get a refund.

We packed up Bella and put the awning up. Word spread fast, by this time the girls heard of Bernie’s toothache and everyone tried to be helpful. Bobbie, who is a nurse, brought Bernie some gel for her toothache, which really helped.

We drove down the mountain and once we had phone reception we pulled over and started making phone calls. Finding a dentist proved harder than we expected. Using our road atlas and both laptops, we started calling the dentists closest to the campground, and kept extending the search area for more dentists to call.

Almost an hour later we found a dentist in West Virginia who had an opening at 2:30. This dentist was two hours away and it was almost 12:30 pm by then. Mar put pedal to the metal and we drove to Summersville WV. The drive from VA to WV was breathtaking, the trees have started to change colors and the views were beautiful. We boogied up and down mountains, and curves, and more curves, to make it to Bernie's appointment on time. We got there at 2:29 pm.

Once there we got more bad news. Bernie needed a root canal. The dentist recommended a specialist located forty-five minutes away who could see Bernie today. So we got back in Bella and headed down to Beckley WV.

Bernie was so worked up and nervous before even getting there. She hasn’t had good experiences with dentists in the past. But everyone was so nice and friendly there, from the moment we went in we were greeted warmly and made to feel welcome. Dr. Winkler and his wife have just recently opened this practice. He was extremely compassionate and caring with Bernie. The dentist and his assistant took extra time and explained everything that was happening. They did everything they could to help Bernie feel at ease.

If you are ever in WV and need a dentist, go see Fletcher and Fletcher in Summersville. If you are ever in WV and need a root canal, go see Dr. Winkler in Beckley.

Without having had any sleep in over 24 hours, Mar just couldn’t drive any more. After her root canal, Bernie needed some rest. Lucky for us there was a Walmart right across the street. We were tired and starving. We got some Taco Bell and ate so quick we were surprised when the bag emptied. We then found a spot to park for the night. Bernie is recovering and we hope to get some much needed rest tonight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good day. Not so good night.

Today was a good day. Mar finally got to sleep in. When Bernie got up she headed to meet the girls to go hiking. Later Bernie worked on Mar’s bike. She needed a little help, but luckily, Luann was ready and able to lend a hand. After they worked on the bike for about half an hour they realized there was an important part missing. So the bike went back on Bella until we can head to a bike store to get the part.

While Mar was still sleeping, Bernie went to explore the woods and found a stream that ran along the campground. She felt content to sit in the sun next to the stream and just listen to mother nature.

After her Zen moment Bernie headed back up to camp. She then worked on Bella, reorganizing stuff, cleaning, and fixing this and that, all kinds of things that are hard to find the time to do because we are never stopped long enough to do it.

In the evening we met the girls for dinner. Bernie ended up at the fire cooking the hamburgers for everyone. There were a couple new arrivals today. Everyone had fun telling stories, talking, joking, and getting to know one another.

After dinner we headed back to Bella and took our showers. Without internet access (of course) we went back to reading. Then Bernie noticed her tooth started hurting. The pain got more intense through the night and it would wake her up from time to time. By the time Mar was ready for bed, Bernie was up and couldn’t sleep any more, so Mar stayed up too. Mar didn’t get any sleep tonight, not a wink. This was not a good night.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Lucky for us we picked the only Walmart where a Boy Scout troop meets at 7:30 am in the parking lot. They were noisy and they had to meet, of course, right next to us. This Walmart had a really big parking lot. Why did they have to park right next to us?? When they finally left we were able to go back to sleep for a little while longer.

When we got up we went into Walmart for a couple of things. One was a wood carving knife set for Bernie. She is really enjoying this recently acquired skill and now she can practice it even more. We also got a small electric coffee pot. The price of propane is breaking us so we want to be able to make coffee when we use the generator. It doesn’t take much energy, so far so good.

Then we drove in the rain towards Douthat State Park VA to meet one of our yahoo groups for a camping get together this weekend. But we had to do laundry first. We found the laundromat closest to the campground, did a couple of loads, and then were off to meet the girls.

We pulled in just as the sun was going down and it was still raining a little. One of the girls said she could ride with us and show us the way to our campsite. Thanks to her we got to see the whole park, again … and again. Thank you Pantless! We finally found our spot and once we were hooked up, we headed over to join the group for dinner.

This was an event in itself, there were about 12 women and lots of great food. We met everyone. We had some really good chili con carne, salad, and German apple cake. To say the least we had a fun night. This is a fun bunch.

This campground is way back up in the mountains. We had no phone reception or internet access. This was truly roughing it. No communication with the outside world for three whole days. How would Mar survive without her laptop?

After dinner we went back to Bella where we had no internet to write our blog so we picked some good books and read.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It rained all day and night

When woke up we went in to Camping World to talk to the service manager. We are back here to try to get the new inverter situation finally fixed once and for all. We talked to him and also to the mechanic who will do the work. They were both really helpful and it seems we’re going to get it right this time. They have to order some parts for us, so we’ll be back next week to get the work done. Stay tuned for the inverter update.

When we left there we drove south on 81 towards Lexington VA. This should have been a two hour trip but as we got close to Lexington, there was an accident on 81 and we sat in traffic for 55 minutes. We moved a whole two miles in that time. And it rained the whole time.

When traffic finally cleared up we found the Walmart in Lexington. The garden department lent us the hose to fill up our fresh water tank, then we went inside to pick up a few things, we got a movie from RedBox, and parked for the night. It rained all night.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The rain followed us

We went to explore downtown Philadelphia today. We saw Freedom Hall and the Liberty Bell. It was a cold and cloudy day today. While we were downtown it started to rain so we couldn’t get any really good pictures, unfortunately.

We got back on I-95 and headed towards Winchester VA, almost four hours away. It rained from the time we left Philadelphia all the way till we got to VA.

We found the Camping World and parked for the night, where it was still cold and raining all night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yale U

We started our day by doing our grocery shopping in Walmart, since we spent the night there last night.

Then we drove to New Haven CT and drove around downtown, admiring all the Yale buildings, which are so impressive in their style, size, and architecture.

We found a place to park and walked around doing some window shopping until someone told us of a local Cuban restaurant within walking distance.

We walked a couple of blocks to Soul De Cuba and had some really good arroz con pollo and black beans. Sadly, their coffee machine was broken so we didn’t get to have any Cuban coffee after our wonderful meal.

It was starting to get dark after that, so we decided to get back on the road. We drove south on I-95 for a few hours until we were ready to stop. We found a Walmart in Philadelphia PA to spend the night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No shower, oh my!

Newport RI has several mansions you can tour, too many for us so we picked just one. We went to see Green Animals because the grounds were the really interesting part. There were acres of beautiful gardens, with flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We picked wine grapes right off the vine. They were really sweet and almost tasted like wine.

We walked through the peaceful gardens looking at the huge topiaries that give this mansion its name. There are lots of topiaries in different shapes like bears, teddy bears, all kinds of birds, a reindeer, a dog, a giraffe, an elephant, a trophy, a chair, a horse with rider, and even a policeman. Then we went through the bamboo maze and played on the swing and rocking horse under a shade tree. This was a lovely place to spend an afternoon.

Then we headed to Mystic CT to see the sailboat Alabama, which is offering free dockside tours. We had never been on a sailboat and exploring the tight quarters was really interesting for us given that we live in an rv full time. This sailboat can hold up to thirty-six people and they don’t even have a shower. They soap up in the ocean and then rinse it off on the boat. And we thought we were roughing it!

As we left we drove the Mystic River Scenic Route on our way to New London CT. There we went to Ocean Beach Park but everything is now closed for the season. Then we parked on the main street leading to the park, right next to the ocean, where we had dinner while listening to the waves. It was too cold to go outside, but we miss the beach so at least getting to see it (and hear it) tonight was good.

Then we drove to Walmart to spend the night and there were three others rv’s already parked for the night when we got there.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thames Street

Mar did the laundry today. She is not feeling well, her monthlies have required quite a bit of medication this time around. She rested most of the day but the good thing is that she was able to catch up on her reading.

Bernie worked in Eileen's yard all day. She didn't take a break and just kept working until it got dark. She made some headway and even planted six baby trees.

When Bernie was done, it was already starting to get dark. We said our goodbyes to Eileen and drove to Newport RI, about half an hour away. We found an Irish pub on Thames Street where we shared a cheeseburger for dinner.

We then drove to Walmart to spend the night. This is not a Super Walmart and in fact it was closed when we got there. They closed at 10 pm.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Outdoor dining

Today we had a nice relaxed Sunday at Eileen’s place. Mar read the Sunday paper … last Sunday’s paper. She bought the paper last week in Maine and hadn’t had the chance to read it yet. So today Mar got to read the paper from a week ago and from another state. Oh well, it was still a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon …

Meanwhile Eileen told Bernie of the projects around the house she needs help with, she has several repair jobs and new projects both inside the house and around the backyard. There is a lot to do, so Bernie started one of the outside projects for now, until we can get back up this way again.

In the evening Eileen got takeout and we had a lovely dinner on her back deck, with candlelight, wine, and great Chinese food. The weather was perfect, it was wonderful company, and we had a lovely time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fire in the water

Today it was time to say goodbye to Salem MA. It was hard but we said our goodbyes to Sean and Eric. Eric gave Bernie some nice writing journals. Bernie writes short stories and is always looking for notebooks.

After driving through a maze of tunnels as we left Boston, we then drove to Providence RI, about an hour and a half away. We went to see WaterFire, an annual free event with lots of locals and vendors. WaterFire is a sculpture installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence, with one hundred sparkling bonfires lit by hand one by one, the scent of wood smoke, the flickering firelight, the firetenders passing by on boats, and enchanting music from around the world being piped along the entire river.

After this peaceful and relaxing event we headed to meet a friend from one of our online rv groups. Eileen lives in Falls River MA about 20 minutes away. She is a delightful woman who offered us her driveway. Eileen lives in a narrow city street and her house has no street frontage. We had to get Bella in through her neighbor’s very narrow driveway and back her up all the way to Eileen’s front yard. What and adventure but at least we didn’t hit anything (this time :-)

When we went inside, Eileen was kind enough to fill our glasses with white wine and play the piano for us. Thank you Eileen! Then we hooked Bella up to power and water and headed in for the night.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Harvard Square

Today we realized we couldn’t wait any longer to get propane, it was getting too low. Turns out we spent over an hour searching for a place to refill our propane tank. We have never had this problem before. When we stopped to ask at gas stations and other places, no one knew where we could go. Someone at Home Depot gave us a couple of suggestions but they didn’t pan out. Just when we thought we would never find propane a car mechanic told us about a place nearby but we only had ten minutes to get there before they closed. We called and they said to come in, we made it there in 7 minutes and finally got propane. Bella has a pretty small tank, it is only nine gallons so it feels like we have to refill it all the time. There are always so many things to do...

Then we headed into Cambridge to go visit Harvard Square. We loved the varied architecture and the people watching. There were waves and waves of people everywhere we went.

Then we went to Newbury Street. It took a while but we finally found parking. It was very cold tonight as we walked up and down the street looking in windows and shops. We had a gift card for Starbucks so we decided to go in. We sat by the window with our coffees and shared a turkey sandwich, while we watched the locals do their Friday night thing. It was a pretty nice evening in a very cool city, vibrant and fun, with lots of crowds and stuff going on.

Then we headed back to Sean’s and Eric’s to have dessert with them. They bought chocolate cake from The Cheesecake Factory. We visited and had some good laughs. Before we left they gave us some food and a ton of stuff for our travels. It was almost like Christmas. This was so nice of them. Thank you guys!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Motif Number One

We went to see The Paper House in Rockport MA. It is a house made of newspapers, this house is amazing. It is a small house with only two rooms, a living room and sitting room, there is no kitchen or bathroom. But it is a structure just like a house with doors, windows, walls, and a roof. There is even a fireplace. It is a cute house with a cute stone garden in the front yard. The walls and the furniture are made from newspapers. You would never be able to tell if it was painted, but instead it is shellacked so you can see that it is indeed rolled up newspapers. Very cool. This house is eighty years old and still standing.

Then we went to Bearskin Neck in Cape Ann. This is a tiny section on the water with cute shops and places to eat. Bella hardly fit through the streets they were so tiny. At the end of the street, you are right at the ocean and it is absolutely beautiful. This is the location of the most widely painted coastal shack known as Motif Number One.

Next we headed to Gloucester. We saw beautiful mansions overlooking the ocean and smaller houses that must be at least a hundred years old. Gloucester is where The Perfect Storm was filmed. We saw the monument to fishermen that appeared in the movie. The beach there is a very beautiful place, very peaceful with white sands and a mote around it. A very lovely place.

Afterwards we headed back to Sean’s and Eric's to park for the night. But first we stopped at Home Depot to fill up our fresh water tank and at the grocery store to get milk. There was a RedBox there so we decided to get a movie and tonight we watched Stop Loss.