June 26, 2005

New Hampshire, Vermont and New York

When you have lived out west for as long as I have you become westernly ethnocentric. You start thinking that only the west is this beautiful, only out here is the skiing this good, or the mountain biking or…well anything. I had forgotten my eastern roots. Maine reminded me, but New Hampshire and Vermont brought me to my knees to beg eastern forgiveness for my presumptive snobbiness.

From Acadia we drove west, through beautiful farmland and past dozens of lakes and streams. When we hit New Hampshire we were speechless at the beautiful rolling farms and green fields. Vermont though is when we realized we could live out east.

As soon as we crossed the border we were enamored. We began by touring a maple syrup factory. Now let me tell you this. I am not a big fan of sweets. After a nice meal I may order a crème brulee, and when Dan makes me a cobbler I enjoy it. However, I am not a candy bar girl, I can go weeks without a dessert, and aside from the sugar I put in my coffee each morning I can pass a whole day with no other sweet urges. I do, however, have one weakness. This weakness is what landed us at the maple factory. This particular place produces more maple candy than any other producer in the world and I am ashamed to admit that after the tour I took not one, but three candies from the sample plate and I purchased five boxes of the nectar of the Gods.

The spread in the Ben and Jerry's Sampling Roon
We had opted for a small and quick breakfast since we were a bit rushed on this particular morning. This came back to bite us when after the maple factory tour we landed smack dab in the middle of the Ben and Jerry’s tasting room after another factory tour. Now sated with enough sugar to fuel and army we both endured full-fledged tummy aches. Fortunately we weren’t far from camp, so we hurried on and ate something flour and milk-based to try and rectify the situation. We camped outside of Stowe Vermont, near Smuggler’s Notch.

Flavor Graveyard at Ben and Jerry's

The next morning we headed into Burlington and this is when we fully realized that there is a place for us out east. Now don’t you worry we aren’t moving there any time soon…but, if my beloved husband should decided that he is going to medical school someday then we can now consider a few schools out here. Burlington is a beautiful, small college city surrounded by mountains and Lake Champlain.

Burlington, Vermont, as seen from atop our camper on the ferry.

Ausible Chasm, New York

After a fun hour-long ferry ride, (the kind we like where they let you remain in your vehicle, allowing us to picnic on our roof and enjoy a bird’s eye view), we landed in northern New York. Again we were blown away by how rural, rustic and beautiful it is here. We made a stop at Ausible Chasm and hiked along the river, for as long as you can without paying the $16 hiking fee. From there we ventured on to Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Both Dan and I are Olympic junkies so this place was extra especially cool for us. Warranting the big words I just used ;)

Ausible Chasm.

Lake Placid's bobsled track.

Lake Placid proved every bit as cool as we had hoped. Unlike Salt Lake, you can go play Olympian here for a reasonable price. A Bobsled ride will run you $30. For $14 you can learn to shoot like a biathlon and try your skills at two rounds of target practice. And if you are lucky like us, for free you can drop in on a freestyle camp’s exhibition show.

Back Flip to one Ski landing.

Dan took a nasty fall biking and broke this part. We figured we were doomed since he insists on riding his circa 1985 Cannondale. Somehow we dumb-lucked our way into the only place in the world that still had this part burried deep in a spare parts box.

Tonight we are camped outside of Tupper Lake, enjoying our first real sunset in months. Even with reality creeping in on us, we are able to enjoy this moment.

An apology: We have not had consistent Internet access for the last week or so. Go figure that when I pose a question for you all to answer I am struck silent by lack of cell coverage. As a result when I can check we have 20+ messages and I am failing miserably at replying to them all. If you have written us before then you know that I am a reliable responder. If this was your first correspondence then I apologize for failing to get back to you in a timely manner, and perhaps at all, because honestly I have lost track of whom I have responded to and whom I have not. But fear not, we are weighing all relocation suggestions equally at this point since no one has yet included a job offer.

June 22, 2005

Acadian Rhythms

We spent our anniversary riding about 30 miles along Cape Cod's bike trails, capping our evening off with a celebratory lobster dinner and bottle of wine. The next morning we were on the road again.

We passed this guy along the way, he was cleaning his groups' daily catch of stripers, in preparation for a fish fry. They caught these guys surf casting.

Our first stop was good old Plymouth, Massachusetts. We played the typical touristas and practically ran through the town searching for the rock. All we need is a picture and then we can leave. Did I really just say that? Am I so jaded after 12 months of sightseeing that all I care about is a photo to post on here? I guess so. Well that and just how excited we were to finally reach Maine. We did force ourselves to slow down enough in Plymouth for the picture and to buy a bag of salt water taffy.

The Mayflower II.

Not long after we crossed into our last east coast state. Maine and Acadia have always been the end goal, anything after this is just icing. The Maine coast is defiantly worth the trip. The coast is speckled with lobstering communities and very quaint inns. Every cove is replete with buoys marking the pots anxiously awaiting a lobster. Each fisherman has a state registered buoy. They are assigned a color pattern and buoy shape. The traps are no longer drab wood and string, now they are a rainbow of plastic and polycord. Lobstering is a very colorful occupation it would seem.

We walked through the city of Portland and I fell in love. What a charming city. The buildings all have a historic feel to them. It is a small city with a friendly vibe. We strolled through the Public Market and got lessons on how to cook soft shelled crabs and lobster from the local fish merchant. Were it not for the rain, clouds and seemingly sub zero temperatures I would add Portland to our list of possible residences.

We made a few detours off of the main road to visit some more remote fishing towns and finally made camp at around 5:30 at Camden Hills State Park.

The next morning we high-tailed it for Acadia. As far as National Parks go Acadia is an anomaly. It seems to me that since what is now Acadia was all acquired by private land donations it has less continuity than other parks we have visited. There isn't the normal grand entrance we had come to expect. The island that most of Acadia is located on is checker boarded with small towns, private campgrounds and Bed and Breakfasts. There are park roads and regular roads, so in fact you can see most of the park without ever going through a park gate.

None the less Acadia is as grand as we had heard. The park is jam packed with coastline, forest and carriage roads. I would recommend visiting some of the surrounding towns, Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and further away Freeport. The little towns are what really gives you the feel for the place.

As an aside we heard from multiple people that Acadia's campground reservation system is a bit screwy. If you are headed that way there is only one park campground that takes reservations and you may have to enter various sizes for your RV before it will give you a spot. For instance all the spots for 21-24' truck campers were booked but 18' were available as were ones for 22' class C's. Our 18' spot would easily have fit a rig twice that big, and I'd guess that the park was at less than 50% occupancy. You just have to let's say... caress the system a bit. If all else fails there are many private campgrounds on the island as well and you can hope for a first come spot in Seawall which is supposed to be nicer and newer anyway.

We quickly realized that Acadia is not a friendly place for a 12' tall camper. There are roads you can take to get you safely to the campgrounds but if you want to see anything along the park's roads you had better be under 10'4". As a result we unloaded the camper for the first time in six months. Dan was thrilled to have his sports car back (he thinks a ¾ ton truck is a sports car when it isn't hauling around another 3000lbs in the bed). Unbeknownst to us, when we chose which week to come here, there is a bus that provides "free" (with your park admission) transportation throughout the park, but this bus doesn't start until 6/23. The bus would be a fantastic way to see the park, so if you go it may be worth waiting until the bus is operating.

Our first Acadian morning we opted not to watch the sunrise, even though atop Cadillac mountain you can be the first people to see it come up in the US. While this sounds novel it takes place at 4:30 in the morning and aside from sleep or the occasional bad dream- nothing take place for us at 4:30am. Instead we joined a ranger-led tour of Otter Point. This was a nice introductory to the park and a good way to learn about the local flora and industry. Later we drove the Park Loop to the carriage roads. We rode along 16 miles of the roads which were built by John D. Rockefeller nearly 80 years ago. The roads are shared by bikers, hikers horseback riders and horse drawn carriages.

A bridge along the carriage roads.

We had some very nice neighbors in the campground and spent our evenings chatting with them, which was a nice distraction from the weighty thoughts we were prone to over the weekend.

Monday we opted for a hike. If you go to Acadia do this hike! We parked at Long Pond, hiked the Perpendicular trail to Razorback making for a nice loop. Perpendicular is so named because it runs directly, get this, perpendicular to the lake, the catch is that next to the lake is a mountain, so perpendicular could just as aptly been named Straight Up. After climbing 1000' vertical in just under a mile we were treated to some fantastic vistas and a very pleasant trail back to our truck.

The trail up is a series of individually placed granite stairs built by the CCC.

One more night with the neighbors and our time here has drawn to an end. I am glad that we were in such a beautiful place during this time. Only a place this special could provide a distraction from the sad thoughts and homesickness that were creeping in on us. Now it is time to head for the Midwest and the valley that spawned yours truly.
OHIO- round on the ends and HI in the middle, here we come.

Preliminary Polling Results.

Many of you "commented" and many emailed so I can embellish here as much as I deem appropriate and unless you have access to my email inbox you’ll never know. Many voted for Bend, which is Dan’s favorite option, sighting the recreational opportunities and scenery. A few thought Salt Lake was a good fit, guessing that nice blonde haired, blue eyed kids like us could pass for Mormon in a bind. Some felt Portland held a lot of potential both for recreation and occupation; this is my personal choice for today.

Many came up with interesting places like Idaho, the Dakotas, small, remote, tropical islands, any place with a beginner surf break and a guest house, Durango (okay not exactly original), Gem Village ( “suburb” of Durango, slightly more original), rural Ohio, and southern California to name but a few.

My ever imaginative mother managed to circumvent my “no votes for Cincy by my folks” caveat, by emailing all of her friends and asking them to vote for Cincy . (Note to my mother: your best hope would be to arrange some serious tectonic plate action resulting in a great land mass upheaval, somewhere in the 10,000’ range, followed by a meteorological shift causing a champagne powder effect to coat the Ohio valley six months a year). And a few friends sent along some colorful antidotes that my self-imposed PG-13 rating will not allow me to comment further on.

Sadly no real job offers came in and no one offered to publish my book or to sponsor future travel. We did however get a nice house-sitting offer and a few people willing to petition the Travel Channel on our behalf. Sadly, though we are back to square one. Perhaps we just need more of a consensus to make up our minds, so keep the comments coming. If you have no opinion then just click an ad and help us that way ;). We love hearing from you all, and just think in a few weeks who else’s life choices will you be able to influence with a simple email?

June 21, 2005

So far away from home.

We have been in Maine for the past five days but our hearts have been back home in Durango. The little river we were both fortunate enough to work on for more than ten years dealt a tragic blow to two families, our town and the very tightly knit river community there. In 22 years there had never been a commercial death on the Upper Animas. This Friday marked the deaths of not one but two, a 30 year-old man from Texas and a 25 year-old guide that we knew. The effect on our friends is palpable to us even out here, more than 2000 miles away. May you all know that you are in the forefront of our minds right now, and though we are so far away we feel your pain as if we were there holding your hands.

June 16, 2005

The End is Near….

Note: We are in Acadia with no Intenet connection so we cannot currently reply to emails. We will when we hit the road again in a few days. Also if you use the comment button then we cannot reply to you, if you'd like a reply please include your email address in your post. Thanks.

A few of you have written asking about our final itinerary and where we will be relocating to when our trip is over in August. I have been hesitant to answer because:

A. We don’t know.
B. On those rare occasions when we think we know, we are hit with another variable that changes our mind.
C. We don’t want to admit that we have to grow up and get real jobs again.

So here’s what I do know. Currently we are en route to Cincinnati, Ohio via Acadia National Park in Maine. From Acadia we are torn between traveling through Canada or the U.S.

After a nice long visit with my folks in Cincy we will be bee lining it for Oregon which is one of our potential new homes. From there we will return to Durango, fetch our remaining belongings and move to our new home, wherever that may be.

Since no other factors have lead us to a clear cut a decision, why not open this up to public debate. This is the audience participation section of our Blog. Here’s how you play…

Click on the comments line below (it is light blue directly below the end of this post). Begin your comment with the name of the city, town, country, etc. of your choice and then follow that up with your reasoning. Suggestions containing actual job offers will be weighted more heavily.

Here are the choices, in no particular order:
1. Bend, Oregon
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
3. Portland, Oregon
4. Crested Butte, Colorado
5. Any other place that we can get jobs or that will grant us work visas.

Small print:
We reserve the right to completely disregard all votes and make up our own minds.
Votes made by my parents for Cincinnati, will be ignored.
Spiteful votes for places like Farmington, New Mexico or the moon will be ignored.
All votes for "grow up and get a job", or "make your own minds up you poser gypsy wannabees", will be disregarded.
Any votes containing the phrase “yuppie gypsy posers”, or anything similar will be highlighted and mocked in future posts.

Feel free to chime in on must sees between here and Cincy and any hair brained ideas that might help to keep us in perpetual motion. Happy voting.

June 15, 2005


We arrived safe and sound into the outstretched arms of my decades-old friend Ms. Heather Jean Bates. It had been far too long since she and I had last spoken face to face and what a welcome face to see among the hoards of huddled masses in Grand Central Station. Heather expertly navigated us through the city to the sanctuary which is her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. After we moved in, learned which corner of her spacious 100 square foot studio was ours and learned the proper way to appease her attack cat we felt like we were ready for a night on the town.

Heather, Me and Dan.

We met up with Heather’s boyfriend Raf (Rafael) and went promptly to their favorite Japanese Restaurant. Heather is a very wise woman who knows that the fastest way to get two country bumpkins to embrace the city is through their stomachs. A few sushi rolls and a bottle of sake later we were throwing fahgettaboutits and vaclemts out like old pros. We strolled along the promenade in Heather’s neighborhood, staring at the city all lit up we marveled at how beautiful something entirely man-made can be.

The next day was marathon-see-everything-in-NYC-in-twelve-hours-or-less kind of day. Again our expert tour guide led us unflinchingly through the city. We raced over the Brooklyn Bridge, past Heather’s office, right into downtown Manhattan.

We paused to visit the World Trade Center Site and I was struck by how hard it is to reconcile the pictures we all saw on TV with the pit that is there now. Thousands died there, and yet I couldn’t wrap my head around it like I could when we visited the Vietnam Memorial just a few days before. It made me long for a Memorial- something to bring it into perspective. Then Heather took us to catch the Staten Island Ferry and en route we passed the sculpture that has become the de facto memorial. That is what made it hit home for me. It is what remains of a fountain that was in front of the buildings. Somehow it survived in good enough shape to be re-constructed here in the Battery and it, more than the site, is the place to come and pay homage.

We rode the ferry past the Statue of Liberty; it is a good, free, way to get a nice view of her. With three boroughs under our belt we headed uptown. A quick sprint through Time’s Square left Dan in shock so we opted to keep with that and thrust him into the East Village. His head swirling with Broadway and green-mohawked, pierced teenagers, we decided to spare him further trauma and retired to an Irish pub for a pint.

Back in the relative calm of Heather’s neighborhood we had another dinner out followed by a nice evening with friends.

Sunday morning we ate bagels along the promenade and said goodbye to Heather and Raf. Heather walked us to the subway station and made sure we got on the right train. Somehow we managed to navigate the city all alone and miraculously made it onto our Connecticut bound train right on time.

Back in New Haven cousin Heather met us at the train station and gave us a tour of the Yale campus where she used to work. We enjoyed a nice dinner with Heather, Lee and Lee’s two teen aged boys. One more night in the Mental Health Facility parking lot and it was time to head off on our own again. Lee and Heather took us to a nice place for lunch where we could stroll along the very pretty shoreline and relax to the sounds of the ocean. Once again we must thank them for saving us from certain divorce, should we have tried to in any way navigate NYC in our rig, parking in CT was a relief and a much, much better idea.

Monday night we made it to Rhode Island and enjoyed a very mellow night. It was really nice to be back in our routine again. Yesterday we drove to Cape Cod, rather than hob-knobbing with the beautiful people we opted for doing laundry and bowling. Fortunately for us the laundry mat is right next door to the bowling alley. Apparently they bowl a little differently out here. There was no bar, no greasy spoon and not even balls with holes in them. This is candlestick bowling, you use bocce-like balls and you get to throw three times instead of just two.

Here are some more New York shots:

The tree sculpture in Grand Central's Market.

Subway performers.

June 15, 2005

Today, June 15, 2005, is an important day for us. Not only is today our wedding anniversary but it also marks one year on the road . Daniel Lawrence Goddard and I have been married for three years and together for ten. Or as we like to think of it, nine regular years and one dog year, for a total of sixteen years. Trust me, you spend every moment of a year with your significant other and tell me it doesn’t count for seven!

Our trip is winding down, we have started searching through want ads and trying to decide what we want to be when we grow up. It is surreal to me that this trip which was just a dream five years ago is almost over now. Again I am overwhelmed by the experiences we have been so fortunate to have, by the people we have met, friends we have visited, family that has nurtured us and the time we have been able to spend with each other.

Not many couples get to really know their spouses like we have this past year. I can tell you honestly that I love Dan more and more every day. Save for the days that he questions my navigating skills, cooking skills, knowledge of geography, history or socially acceptable behavior. Also on occasion when he forces me to listen to pop country I question my love. And when he cleans after I have because of his OCD tendencies then sometimes I wonder. But on every other occasion I know that I have found not only my mate but my best friend and I am eternally grateful for the time and experiences we have been able to share.

June 10, 2005

Capital City

Some final pictures from West Virginia.

We got back onto the Blue Ridge and followed into Shenandoah National Park. We wanted to hike along the famed Appalachian Trail, so the next morning we got up early and hiked for about eight miles. We passed by three waterfalls, were surrounded by fern chocked fields and white tailed deer.

Deer at our Shenandoah campground.

Timber Ratler at our lunch stop.

This is one of the rivots that hold on the milemarkers along the Appalacian Trail.

The Appalacian Trail logo.

Dan hiking the trail.

Wednesday we planned to spend the day touring around Washington, D.C., but were our plans were foiled by a four and a half hour oil change and the need for a new marine battery. After we got all the kinks worked out we made it into the city around 4pm. We unloaded our bikes and rode past many of the Capitals famous buildings. We camped at a state park about 20 miles south of the city.

The U.S. Capital.

The Korean War Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial.

The Supreme Court.

The White House.

The Vietnam Memorial.

Thursday we met up with Rick and Edith for lunch since they happened to be in the city that day too. Then we toured the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and Art Museum as well as the sculpture gardens.

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

After our museum tours we had a very special date. We drove out to Silver Springs, MD, where I got to meet my Great Aunt Kitty and Uncle Raymond. Our visit with them was something I will always remember and once again I am overwhelmed at the opportunity we have been given to travel and re-connect with friends and family.

Yesterday was a six-state day, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Dan and I stymied the anxiety attacks which were welling up inside us as we drove I-95 through New York City. Have I mentioned lately that Dan is an excellent driver? We spent the evening in Branford, CT with my cousin Heather and her husband Lee. Today we will board the train to NYC, leaving the rig safely parked in CT, and will rendezvous with my long-time friend Heather Bates, in Grand Central Station- wish us luck!