Monday, 10 October 2011

Sept 30-October 5 2011 E/SE US

September 30  Pictou, NS to Bangor, ME
A very, very long day spent travelling from Pictou, NS to Bangor, Maine.   The fall colours were not quite out in all the glory, but we did get glimpses in small pockets along the way on a great sunny day. In the back of our minds we wondering if the mechanic in Pictou was correct in saying the somewhat worn tires would be OK to get us home, but the car seemed to be driving fine as we traversed New Brunswick. The border into the states was a very short wait, we rolled back the clock an hour and picked up a few provisions in Houlton, ME before heading down the road. The weather was looking promising to camp so we found a suitable camp just outside of Bangor, ME, overcast but no rain; however the mosquitoes were still persistent.  After the long day, a glass of wine and dinner our heads hit the pillow and we were out like a light.

October 1, 2011 Bangor, MN to Albany, NY
What a strange meeting this morning in the lady’s washroom at the small campground we were staying.  The woman coming for a shower at that early hour asked where we were from--turns out that she and her hubby were from Victoria, BC and travelling with friends from Quadra Island to do virtually the same tour we are on.  Oh, small world!  We just packed up in the nick of time as it started to pour and did so through the day.  The tire issue was still nagging, so a quick pit stop in Portsmouth, NH at a tire dealer got a new set of rear tires installed and everything aligned; drives like a charm.  We passed through the scenic Berkshires and noticed that all stops had been pulled out for Halloween.  
All motels/inns/hotels in all price ranges were full of weekend vacationers anticipating the fall colours as we traversed upstate New Hampshire and Connecticut.  We pushed on a bit further to get up to Albany, NY...still raining hard so we found a suitable motel to hole up for the night.  
October 3, 2011 Albany, NY to Harrisburg, PA
After reviewing a few route options, we let Holly our GPS pick a cross country route on highway 209 through the Catskills and Pocono's mountains.  Stopped for lunch in Port Jervis and walked along a section of the Delaware and Hudson Canal (108 miles long to barge coal from upstate Pennsylvania to the Hudson from 1828-1898).
We stopped at a few towns along the way to stroll down the main streets and check out the various curios shops and wares.
Did we mention the rain!  Again on and off all day, we finally stopped in Harrisburg, PA to overnight. Tomorrow, on to Washington and a visit with Brad and Jane Neisen.

October 4, 2011 Harrisburg, PN to Arlington, VA
We were up early in the morning to maximize our time in Washington.  Tony’s driving/parking luck held were not only able to find all of the Smithsonian Museums, but he also picked up a perfect parking spot (free parking on the Mall).  Off we went to see the American History Museum and the Museum of American Indians.  Sooooo much to take in.  Where else can you see the “ruby slippers” and “Julia Child’s kitchen” in the same building with displays on the “Revolutionary War” and “Slavery”.  

The American Indian Museum was beautiful new complex still being developed primarily focusing on US indigenous peoples, but had included exhibits on all NA peoples and some SA. The day had passed to fast and we had to leave to find our way to the Niesen's (Val's American Family while at Princeton).  Good ol’ Holly, negotiated DC traffic and got us safely to Brad and Jane’s in Arlington. We spent  wonderful evening eating a fabulous feast while catching up with them about kids, family and the state of the world.  

October 4, 2011 Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
After taking Molly for a walk around the block, we were drawn back to "the mall" and the "Science and Space Museum".  Pretty amazing to be standing inside "Space Lab" or next to Amelia Earhart's plane.  We felt like we were just touching the surface as we moved through the exhibits....soooo much to see!  A  walk through "Museum of Art" (they have the only LD'Vinci painting in the States; perhaps North America).  A walk through the modern art Hirtshorn Museum and Castle was a joy.   We finished the day back at the "Natural History Museum".  The trip through the geology section includes the Hope Diamond and then leads into an extravaganza of crystals and meteorites.  
We spent another very nice evening visiting with Brad and Jane, but their schedule started very early every morning (0500 hrs), so we bid them goodnight with a promise of a longer visit next time perhaps out to the west coast.

October 5, 2011 Arlington to “Hungry Mother Park”--Marion, VA
We left Arlington and travel south again on secondary hwys via Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  What a spectacular route with endless vistas.

After leaving the park, we ended up back on the main interstate to book a few miles to get to the campsite at Hungry Mother State Park just outside Marion, VA.  Travelling on the interstates is a tiring affair with the speeds, volume of truck and other traffic.  Once we turned off to the park, it was a relief.  We need to start checking a bit more closely as some of the facilities are now starting to close for the season, but we were able to pitch camp in the RV site for the night....still a very pretty spot.  That evening we compared notes to the elderly camp hosts who had pretty much traversed the entire NA continent in their RV...we still have a lot to see.

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