Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Last Days & Heading North

Virginia, On the Road and                                      Most Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground                                      A Birthday Week-End
May 25-June 7, 2023                                               Time On My Hands – I Love It


I’m posting this from the Moose River Campground in St. Johnsbury Vermont in what is known as The Northeast Kingdom.

My last few days in Virginia were spent having lunch and ice cream with my friend Pam,

Going over to nearby Waynesboro to have lunch in a darling restaurant my friend Mary loves called Stella, Bella and Lucy.  It’s a tea house.


Doesn’t Mary look like she belongs in a tea house?  Maybe in England?


From there we went flower shopping at a nearby greenhouse.   Mary is ready with her cart but couldn’t find exactly what she wanted.



So we went back to north of Charlottesville and there they were.  What a great smile Mary has but the light on my phone camera is horrid.


Ruby got a wash and wax before making her next trip.


I was really hoping I’d be around long enough for my blueberries to get ripe but nope.  The birds and this chipmunk were checking them out so I’m not sure I’d have gotten any unless I was out picking before sunrise.  I’m definitely up early enough to do that.

One of those early mornings when I was still in bed finishing off  the Amanda Cross Mysteries  I heard the unmistakable loud jungle bird call of the biggest woodpecker around, the pileated.  I know I said I’d do a post on the books I’d read over my two months in Virginia but on second thought, I’m not sure that’s a post a lot of folks would like to read although it would be a good reminder to me of those books.  What do you think?


Anyway, there he was in the top of the tree.

It was early morning so I had to lighten these pictures.  But isn’t he fine.  I love having him as a neighbor.

I actually caught him in mid jungle call.

On the very last day at the farm, I actually finished this difficult round puzzle and apparently didn’t take a picture of it totally finished.  But you can see the outside edge was next to impossible.  All the pieces looked the same and some actually fit in more than one place.  NOT FAIR!


On June 1st, Winnona, Ruby and I headed out of the barnyard with our fingers and tires crossed.  The last two times we’d left from here we ended up having to buy all new tires for Winnona once and the next year spend 6 days getting brake and radiator work that we didn’t know we needed until we had to be towed from about 8 miles from home.    But no problems this time!!

20230601_213651Our first night, we stayed as usually when we are headed north, at Camp Walmart in West Virginia where there were no inconsiderate campers, in fact only one other one.  BUT it was over 90 degrees.  So in addition to buying some groceries to thank them for letting me stay, I also got this battery operated fan.  It was perfect and can also be plugged in if you have an electric source.   It worked great plugged in until after dark since I have solar on the rig.  But I have found that my solar batteries, which are nearing 10 years old, are losing their charge very quickly over night.    Down to 12.6 for those who know anything about that so I feel I can’t leave the inverter on over night which on this hot night made this little fan a fan-tastic thing to have.

Here’s my next question for you.  This is a picture of the top of my two Lithium AGM Deep Cycle solar batteries.  Do you know how to find somewhere to get them tested and possibly replaced?   Or maybe you know someone who knows something about solar.  I don’t as David helped install our system and knew everything.  What is the life span of AGM Deep Cycle?


June the 2nd found us at the Mohegan Sun Casino in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It’s high up on a mountain top and there isn’t a level space in the entire parking lot sections over nighters are allowed to use but…’s at about the right driving distance so here we are in time for a hazy sunset which I learned may be due to the Canadian fires spreading smoke all over the northeast and mid atlantic states.   Great!  And I’m going to New England.


We’ve stayed here before on our way to the NY Finger Lakes and to Maine and a previous summer in Vermont.  But never have I been into the casino itself.  I’ve always been on too much of a budget to be willing to lose so I don’t play.

But this time it was still HOT so I went in to enjoy their AC.  I was expecting at least some one armed bandits. I was looking forward to hearing them go ker-ching.   If they’d had the old quarter machines, I just might have played $10 worth but these were nothing like that.


Of course there were card tables as well from which people came and went.


There were all different kinds of machines but they were all electronic with PLAY buttons and the room was round and HUGE.

At first I was concerned I might get lost and not be able to find the door I came in from but I realized that because it was round, all I had to do was get on the carpeted edge and keep walking until I recognized the store that was next to my door.


I tried not to appear to be looking over people’s shoulders as I watched them play.  I was not able to figure out what was going on for any of these machines or how you win (or more likely lose).


I finally sat in a chair behind these folks in front of another machine and turned around and watched them but I just couldn’t figure it out.  I was surprised at the wide range of ages of people playing here.  I don’t think even half of them had gray hair and some looked to be in their 20’s.


The next morning before I left, I went back in just to see and although there were not as many people, there were folks inside playing at 6:30 in the morning.

On the way back to Winnona I saw this great Indian bike, appropriate for the Mohegan casino.  I thought I’d post it for you Paul.


Our final overnight was thanks to the state of Connecticut at one of their rest areas on I 91.  Many states, maybe even most, do not allow overnights so this was lucky for me to be at just the right distance.   Of course there were many tractor trailers there were all night long but I was amazed at how many cars were still there in the morning.  More than 20 at 6am.   And only one other RV which sadly looked like it might be camping more than one night.  That’s how to get states to revoke the privilege.


I do not drive in snow, after dark or even in rain if I can help it.   But today I had no choice.  Thankfully I was on the last leg of my trip and I-91 is my kind of interstate.  Yes it has mountains but the slopes are long but not terribly severe as you can see.  And best of all, hardly any  much traffic.   It isn’t the rain itself that is worrisome to me, it is the way others and especially big trucks drive in it.


I was very thankful to have arrived without mishap until I looked under the hood to check the transmission oil.   I have no idea why I did not see this nest next to the hydraulic solenoids before when I checked the fluids.   It had to have been created by what is now a totally confused mama bird at the farm.  I was so sorry.  My arms are not long enough to reach down in to remove it so luckily Gary, one of the owners of Moose River Campground, removed it for me.  Check very closely after being in one place for a while is my new moto.


And so here we are on another first for us.  We have stayed, especially since David’s death, a number of places for a month and when he was alive we stayed in Maine for two months.  But this summer we will be here for the entire 3 months of summer before heading back south for Colin’s birthday celebration although we won’t make it on THE day.


It will be interesting to see at the end if I feel I would want to repeat three months at one place but this is the view out my bedroom window of the Moose River which is at one of its lowest levels.


and this is the view out my other bedroom window.


At the very least it is WAY cooler here than the 90’s I drove through until I got to Connecticut.  Now if the rains will come to Canada and put out the fires….

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Birthday Week-End

May 19-22, 2023                                                              Most Recent Posts:
Reisterstown, Maryland                                           Time on My Hands – I Love It
                                                                                           A Family Play Week-End

Last time I said I would do an entire post on the books I’d read these weeks in Virginia.  But I’m going to make that next so that I can post something that actually just happened.  It’s almost real time.  Can you believe it

Friday, May 19th was Celia’s 7th birthday. 
How CAN that be?

I drove the 3.5 hours up to their house.  In our family if it’s your birthday, you get to have whatever you want for dinner.  This birthday girl chose Chick-fil-A.  Is it the chicken nuggets or the cookies and cream milk shake??

Apparently Carrie is the only one who responds when you say “smile”.


This was my mother choice.   What were they looking at?


The girls play bingo and all look at the camera and smile.

The weather was gorgeous all 3 days.  Perfect for walking around the neighborhood.

Celia helps mommy bring the empty recycling and trash cans down to the house.  It’s wonderful when they are big enough to help and young enough to want to…..sometimes.

Although her party isn’t until Sunday, today is her official birthday so presents from parents and Nana get to be opened today.


Very pleased with her new watch.  Pink of course.

And with her new camera.  Also pink of course.

And with her new water bottle which came with stickers and stick on jewels.  She loved decorating it.  What a great gift.  Pink of course.

Saturday morning we take Colin to swimming lessons

He looks pretty sharp in his googles.

We were sitting behind a glass window watching so picture taking was a bit difficult.


He was very interested in looking around to the bottom of the pool


I volunteered to do a little pruning of the roses in front of the house.  They had a lot of dead wood.



And looked a lot better when I finished.


Helpful Celia was at it again.


I had to put this in.  SO typical of sister and brother.



Nana brought 4 presents.  Two for her birthday and two for the in between day before her party.  It’s a birthday WEEK END don’t cha’ know.


The set of Junie B Jones books were quite a hit.


Carrie and Matthew’s 8th Wedding Anniversary is the 23rd which is Wednesday after I’m gone so they went out for an anniversary dinner on Saturday night and the kids and I hung out together.

One thing we (well they) did was to put together the wooden train tracks and drive the engines.  Colin is extremely good at design for bridges and curves.

He’s also a champion hug giver.


Sunday is the day of the big party.

But first we had to read some more Junie B Jones.  There were four books in the set and we read two of them while I was there.  It was clear they both liked them since there are 8 or 10 chapters in each book.


Colin goes to swimming lessons which Celia has also done.  She is now taking gymnastics lessons.   It was much harder to get pictures of her not only because of the glass but because there were so many kids and adults of all ages in the room with all the equipment.

You put the block on top of your head, squat down and roll over backwards over the block.   Why?   No idea.

Beginning of a handstand.

Trying to wait patiently for the party guests to arrive.


And of course they do.

Having a pool in your yard really makes for a relatively relaxing party for the parents.  I remember planning birthday parties and it was a lot more difficult than this.


Celia in the hot tub with her two favorite guests, her cousins Fiona and Amelia.


There were floatees of every kind for those who cannot swim.


Pensive moments at the party.



Even mommy can chill out and have pizza.



It really is a great set up for having a party.



It’s wonderful when your sister has a birthday party.  You get to eat watermelon and cupcakes.



And now for the last of the present opening.  Seems everyone brings their presents in bags these days.  No one but Nana and Mommy wrap.


Monday everyone has to go back to work and school.

Celia goes back to school on the yellow school bus that she loves.


This is the last I see of the birthday girl until she gets in her seat and waves from the window,


Nana celebrates on the long drive home with a stop at Brusters REAL ICE CREAM for Jamaican Me Crazy and German Chocolate Cake. 
Eat your heart out Paul!