Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#86 You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Post Office But...

OK, I know this is going to sound like an advertisement but I've got to say it. If anyone is in the Milford NH area & needs a motorcycle shop you have to go see the Mullin Family @ Soughegan Valley Motorsports. You already know that they got my bike in on the spot & promised it in record time but there is more. I went to pick it up Tuesday & as promised it was ready & at the price quoted. Scott(you remember him,breakfast?)was busy with another customer so we were just looking around when George(Scott's dad) asked if he could help us. We told him we were just waiting for Scott & the next thing you know we are all talking like one big happy family. There was Scott's racing in Daytona, when Mary started to ride, our traveling in the RV, etc. Then it was back to business. I paid the bill & Scott brought my bike around & we were ready to go. But not yet! George wants to know our shirt sizes? All of a sudden we are walking out with shirts & kickstand pads. They tell us to come back if we are ever in the area just to visit & you could tell they really meant it. The only thing I can say is the RV life has us meeting the nicest people I could ever have imagined. The Mullin Family are now our friends.

Well today we went to Lake Winnipesaukee. As promised the lake was beautiful & there was a bonus! We took a boat tour of the lake on the M/V Sophie C. Now "what is so special about that?" you might ask. Well the M/V Sophie is the only official "floating" Post Office in the United States. Yes a US Mail Boat. Almost 60 years of combined postal service & you would think we had had enough. NOPE! The people working the boat thought it was hysterical, especially when we asked if we got a Postal Employee/Retiree discount. The answer is the same to "do you get a discount on stamps?". NO! Anyway, the ride was fun, the lake was beautiful, & we got to see another side of the Post Office. We got postcards on the boat & mailed them from the M/V Sophie( which is on the postmark) to a few of our postal friends. Mary took plenty of pictures so if you are her "friend" you can see them on Face Book.

We rode back home & were tired & hungry. The round trip was just shy of 200 miles & we have plans to go out again tomorrow. So after dinner we will walk the dog & blog & e-mail & call it a day. It will be early to bed & hopefully early to rise from our home in Brookline NH because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, June 28, 2010

#85 Good Thing It's Written In Jello

You know what they say about the best laid plans...anyway it looks like Boston may have to wait for another time. I have occasionally mentioned our furry child Foxy but there isn't usually much to say. She is 14 years old & doesn't do much more than eat, sleep, & poop. 14 is 100 people years & how many centenarians do you know that do much more than that? Well she has been slowing down even more, is having difficulty with steps, & has developed a bad cough. All this on top of her surgery in January that removed a cancerous tumor. We feared the worst & found a local vet. We didn't want any extreme measures taken so it was just an exam & some x-rays. Good news was there was nothing to indicate cancer, in fact the vet was surprised after seeing the medical records that nothing was growing back. She suspected the cough was a mild infection & sent us off with some antibiotics.

Another problem has come up. It seems that our satellite dish has crapped out on us. Of course it is a couple of weeks out of warranty so we are screwed since it looks like the whole dish might have to be replaced. It's nice to have satellite TV because it's not practical to drag thousands of miles of cable behind us. Anyway, Mary sweet talked the rep at Winegard & they agreed to replace the unit but we would have to pay the labor. That worked out nice but now we have to find a dealer,have the parts shipped, & bring the rig in to get the work done.

Oh, I didn't mention that when we got to NH one of our slide-outs was making a funny noise. So we made an appointment to have it checked out before it becomes a problem. OK, lets count... 1 day at the vet, 1 day for the satellite, & 1day for the slide. Yep, Boston will have to wait. We will try to see some of the local stuff & the park has a big shindig for the Fourth of July so it won't be a total bust. Like we try to explain to people we aren't on vacation, this is our life & poop happens in life.

So here we are living the full time RV life in our home in NH because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & doing OK for an old girl, Foxy

Saturday, June 26, 2010

#84 I Love Small Town USA

Here we are in Brookline NH. We are spittin' distance from Massachusetts & will use this as our home base to see Boston. Now I am looking forward to Boston but it is a pretty decent size city. Where we are is about as far from big city as you can get. Let me tell you about it. Let's back up a little. While in Lake George I noticed my bike acting funny. In Cape Cod it got worse & was looking more & more like a clutch problem. Fortunately there is a Kawasaki dealer just down the road who can take it in right away since we won't be in the area long. I drop the bike off & ask for a good place to have breakfast & we get an enthusiastic reference to Cafe on The Oval.

Cafe I get, but Oval? Well it seems that the town of Milford has an "oval" in it. On Cape Cod they are called rotarys, in other places round-a-bouts, & in Clearwater Fl a cluster##$%@! Well the directions are a little confusing but wind up being simple enough. Drive straight into town & come to the "oval" , on the third side of the triangle(yes the oval is a triangle) is the Cafe on the Oval at 241 Union Square. SQUARE?!?!?!? Yes, the "oval" shaped like a triangle is called Union Square! Anyway, we find the place & if the triangular oval called Union Square isn't downtown Mayberry then it is it's twin. Well breakfast was great & everybody knew everybody. We told the waitress someone at Kawasaki sent us & she all but sat down with us & wanted to know was it George or Barbara, or their sons. I said I think his name was Scott & she said ,"Oh Scott & Sarah come in here every Saturday" & almost got to telling us what they ate here.

Next to the cafe was a little one man real estate office. We stuck our heads in to ask if there was a AAA office nearby. 30 minutes later not only did we have directions to AAA we had more suggestions on things to do in the area than AAA would ever have come up with. And as an afterthought he asked if we were interested in buying in the area. I felt bad telling him no but any other answer & we would never have gotten out of there.

At AAA we got some maps & information on getting to Boston. I don't know, but as helpful as everyone was they all wanted to know why we wanted to go to Boston & then they made that face. You know when they scrunch up their nose like someone farted. I guess when you live just this side of heaven there's no reason to go anywhere else.

Got some groceries & headed home. Scott from Kawasaki called & said it was the clutch & if I wanted he would have the parts overnighted to him & I could have the bike back late Tuesday. Now it is 4pm on Saturday so the order won't go in till Monday & I will have my bike back Tuesday? Back in Pinellas County it would take that long to get an appointment! I love Small Town USA. People just want to help you, they are naturally friendly, & most of all you can tell it is sincere.

We have been busy & are tired so I am calling it a day at home in Brookline NH because...

Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary

Thursday, June 24, 2010

#83 The Last of Cape Cod

Yesterday we took the truck into Plymouth MA. The trip was all highway, it was hot & muggy, & the truck has AC so the bikes stayed at home. Plymouth is nice to look at for the old buildings but they are all occupied by McDs, Dunkin' Donuts, divorce lawyers, driving schools, etc. so there was no reason to go inside. The plantation seemed a bit overpriced so we skipped that as well. The Mayflower II was a good photo-op but to pay to go on a replica when we already had been on a number of original tall ships at Mystic didn't seem worth the time or the price. We did go see Plymouth Rock but again it is a rock. We had more sea food 0n the pier & have found the best clam chowder so far. We gave it a "9" only because we felt it could have had more clams in it. Click click click & we had our photos of Plymouth & the harbor. Not far from down town was the Monument to the Forefathers which was quite impressive. We saw several other significant landmarks to the Pilgrim's experiences. After that we headed home.

I was looking back over my blogs & made an observation. I may be coming across as unimpressed with the sights we have been seeing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes beach is beach & ocean is ocean & a rock is a rock but each has it's own significance whether it be historical, geographical, or personally. As you have all heard or said at some time "pictures don't do justice" & that is what I am trying to get across. I could take a hundred pictures of the ocean in Cape Cod & show them as pictures from the Jersey Shore, Long Island, Cape Cod, or any ocean view along the east coast. It's not the ocean, it's where you are looking at the ocean, it's what happened at that place 50,100, 200 years ago that makes it important & that cannot be shown in pictures. It is a feeling you get that you can't explain. It is the sense of power standing in front of the White House, empathy for immigrants at Ellis Island & the statue of Liberty, the sadness at the Vietnam Memorial. We have all felt it at some time & yet we can't put it into words or show it in pictures. I will try better to do what seems impossible but know that unimpressed is not what I feel. Trust me when I am unimpressed you will know it.

Today we will take care of some business. Pay bills, check & return e-mails, & get ready to leave tomorrow. Our next destination is NH just over the border from MA. We are planning to see Boston from there. So I had better get busy around our home here in Cape Cod because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#82 See Food? Sea Food!

It's been a few days so let's catch up. Sunday we were going to take the bikes out & plan our "Jello" based itinerary for the week. A ride over to Buzzard's Bay then along a scenic route on the north shore of the Cape & back home before the evening rain. Yeah, I know me plus motorcycle plus rain forecast equals typhoon, but not this time. By the time we reached Buzzard's Bay the fog had rolled in. If anyone has seen the pictures on Mary's page you will see that we could barely see across the 400' wide canal & it was getting worse. So a decision was made. Actually Mary said she wasn't getting caught in the rain & we were outta here. A couple more pictures & a very cautious ride home, but no rain. Tomorrow will be another day.

Monday Mary's hands were bothering her so we took the truck...destination Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. With stops at visitor centers & photo ops it took us about 2 hours to get there. Now don't get me wrong, it was beautiful out there & it is Cape Cod but once you have seen ocean & sand dunes you have seen just about all oceans & sand dunes. The same goes with lighthouses even though they are all different for the most part any 2nd grader could draw a lighthouse & have it look like any one of a hundred actual lighthouses. Their histories are interesting but it is read off a plaque. The same info can be found in reference books or the Internet. Now we did climb the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, all 116 steps & 60 ramps to a height of 252'. Not only did it provide an awesome view but you get a bonus cardio workout. Provincetown itself was just a tourist trap. Think John's Pass on Cape Cod. We got out quick & headed back in search of lobster. Mary spotted Moby Dick's on the way out & said it looked like a place where you have to catch your own dinner so we stopped on the way back. Mary got the lobster roll & I had the fried clam roll. Mary was in her glory, lobster! The look in her eyes had me worried. It was like a dog that first tastes fresh meat, like where was her next kill going to be? I don't know if I can afford to keep her in lobster the way she might like.

Tuesday we had no real plans. We needed a post office & after that we were just going to ride the scenic roads & see where we wound up. After the post office we found this little fish store & bait-n-tackle shop. Yep, all in one store. Sounds iffy but what the heck you only live once & nobody lives forever. Fried clam strips served in a bag & clam chowder in a cardboard container. Tables & folding chairs out on the sidewalk. Close my eyes & swallow & WOW! Some of the best chowder we had ever had & clam strips sweet & tender. What a find. The place is called Green Pond Fish & Gear but we call it delicious. The rest of the day we rode around stopping for photo ops & just enjoying the day. We stopped at a grocery store & headed home.

At home we sat outside enjoying the sounds of the birds & the smell from the pine trees. We also were entertained by an older couple who had no idea what they were doing. It looked like they had just come from the camping store with a trunk full of brand new camping gear. They looked like they should be on a cruise ship not tent camping in the woods. Think Lucy & Desi on a camping trip. Right next to them was a young girl by herself setting up her campsite in minutes as if she was born in the wilderness. Talk about opposites but it was our evening entertainment. Well that's all I have all for now so I will call it a night from our home on Cape Cod because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#81 Watch Out All Lobsters!

Apparently indicator lights mean something. The truck wound up needing an alternator. Fortunately we were able to find a dealer that specializes in big trucks. It's nice when you drive into a Ford dealer & everyone is all "GaGa" over your truck but I want someone to work on it that has seen more than one or two. This dealer kinda made our F550 feel like the little guy in the crowd. These guys worked on buses, dump trucks, semis, & as well as all the F series trucks so I felt comfortable. They had the part in stock & were able to squeeze us in without an appointment. In before 8 o'clock & out by 9:30 has got to be a record. Anyway I take it out for a test drive & after a couple of miles the light is back, *$%^(*&^%!!!!! Back to the dealer & they check everything again. It seems they got a defective rebuilt alternator from the factory. This time they put in a brand new one(no extra charge) & all was OK. Again the guys at Interstate Ford in Hartford Ct get our praise. They had to send someone for the part & even with their lunch break we were out by 1 o'clock. These are the kind of people we have met in our travels that restores our faith in humanity.

We decided to skip the Nautilus & Submarine Museum since the day was getting away from us. Instead we relaxed & started getting ready to leave the next day. After a good nights sleep we had a big breakfast & headed out for Cape Cod Massachusetts. We took our time & it still only was a 4 hour trip. We checked in at a really nice campground & got set up. After our big breakfast we wound up skipping lunch so were starving by the time we got settled in. We figured we would have dinner & spend the evening going over all the maps & brochures we had for Cape Cod. This way we could make plans for the next 7 days. The weather looks like it will be beautiful for touristing.

Saturday we planned on heading out to the "elbow" of Cape Cod with no definite destination. We will get a feel for the area & do most of our sightseeing during the week. We like to say that our plans are written in Jello because we are prone to sudden changes in our itinerary. Today was no different. We found an information center with 2 women who were a fount of information. Our new destination became Hyannis for lunch & a little downtown perusing. Lunch was a bowl of clam chowder & a tuna steak sandwich to die for. And the eating begins. We are in seafood heaven & I promised Mary all the lobster she could eat & she can eat lobster. The rest of our stay here is going to involve restaurants near sights we want to see. Hyannis was pretty but most sea side towns in tourist areas look similar. The roads are good but the drivers are NUTS! Shooting out of driveways & parking spots, & left turns right into oncoming traffic had me poopin' in my pants. Give me New York City any day!

Tomorrow we are looking into a boat ride or a scenic route out towards the end of the cape. The ride looks to be about 2 hours one way. We will see how the "Jello" holds up. For now we will call it a day from our home on Cape Cod because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#80 A Slow Day

I don't know what it is with us. Whenever the weather is dreary & overcast we just poop out. You would think that after 30 years on the night shift the lack of sun wouldn't have that big of an affect on us. So we slept in, had breakfast at noon, & tried to get motivated to do some laundry. In the meantime we checked e-mail & followed up on some of the RV forums that we had been on about our recent experience at Strawberry Park. Now I personally don't mention the names of most of the parks we visit. Unless a park has a glaring defect or is exceptionally good I won't mention them by name. I feel that everything in between is open to personal interpretation, while I also feel that the best deserve mention & the worst need to be warned about. Bottom line it is my blog & it is my opinion.

Now back to the RV forums. We posted about Strawberry park on several different ones & have been getting some interesting feedback. At first it was shock & disbelief that a park would have such rules. That was expected. What happened next was not. The manager of Strawberry Park signed on one of the forums to rebut. He basically said that we were lying. Then the fur flew. Other regular posters on the forum(like Mary) went on a tirade against this guy. Saying how we all rely on each others input to have the best RV experience possible. How the word of a regular contributor is going to be taken more seriously than someone doing damage control for his business. How after looking into Strawberry Park's web site they found that just about all our claims were true. This guy started a firestorm. He would have been better off saying nothing. Now we have no illusions about shutting them down but we do hope that we have alerted our fellow RVers to a park that may not suit their needs. I know several posters on the forum have already stated that the will NOT visit Strawberry Park when they visit Connecticut.

On to the laundry. We didn't have too much but we are leaving here in 2 days & figured why not get it done. Tomorrow morning I am taking the truck in to get an indicator light checked. It's probably something minor but I want it fixed before it becomes major. If we have time after that we will try to get to the Nautilus & Submarine Museum. If not, maybe another time through Connecticut. After all we now know where & where not to stay. As I said tomorrow I want to get the truck in early so it will be early to bed tonight. Here's good night from our home in Connecticut because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#79 NOW That's Pet Friendly!

As we had hoped the manager came to our door bright & early this morning. After agreeing to disagree about the up frontness of their pet policy they agreed to refund our money if we wanted to leave. They also had been on the Internet & had read some of the reviews we had given them on some of the RV forums. I do believe they just wanted us gone. We called another campground that was more than happy to have us & our dog so we hooked everything up & drove to the office to check out. When Mary walked into the office & told the manager she was there for her refund other patrons' heads spun around. This park is a "NO Refund" park & this got every one's attention. The manager then had the audacity to ask Mary to sign a form saying she would not pursue legal matters if the refund check bounced & that we enjoyed our stay. They have got to be kidding. Mary refused, took the check, & told them "Happy Internet reading". Our reviews are being posted & are receiving responses as we speak.

On down the road to our new home. This is a campground that is a work in progress. The people are friendly,helpful, & are willing to bend over backwards to make our stay pleasant. The park's recreational facilities are very nice & they are in the process of grading & enlarging sites. The utilities are also getting upgraded. Also you can walk your dog anywhere except playgrounds, pool areas, or in buildings. What a refreshing & novel idea. Oh well, disaster averted & we are settled in.

With the rest of the day to enjoy, we drove into Mystic CT. I mainly wanted to see the tall ships, the seaport, & what had changed. I had been to Mystic before but that was when I was about 10 years old. I know, that was probably when all the ships were tall ship. Anyway the centerpiece of the seaport is the Charles W. Morgan. This is the last surviving wooden whaling ship. I remember seeing her many years ago when it was not floating. It was setting on a sandy base where guest could board her & see what whaling was like in the late 19th & early 20th century. Well I guess I'm not going to see her floating again. The Charles W. Morgan is in dry dock for restoration. It is a slow & painstaking process. The seaport's restoration facility is using all the old techniques that were used to build the ship in 1841. The project start in 2008 & is expected to be completed in 2013. It is then planned to sail her out of the Mystic River, through the Long Island Sound, & out on the Atlantic Ocean.

The rest of Mystic Seaport depicts the different aspects of life in a whaling & fishing village at the beginning of the 20th century. Besides the history in the area there is the beauty. The preserved homes, colorful waterfront, & the natural splendor of the area takes one back in time. It was nice to see an area not so commercialized that it has lost it's history. In fact it's existence is based on the preservation of history. Hopefully it will be here for many more years & that I may one day see the Charles W. Morgan afloat.

Tomorrow we plan on going into Groton CT. The US Naval submarine base is near there as well as the USS Nautilus & museum. All the excitement & moving from park to park has plum tired me out so I am calling it a day from our pet & people friendly home in Connecticut because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, June 14, 2010

#78 "Pet Friendly" not By Webster's or Anyone Else

We are here in Connecticut & the one good thing I can say is I am using the 1 hour of Free WiFi allotted. Strawberry Park in Preston CT is leaving a bad impression every step of the way. We arrive & Mary checks in while I wait in the rig with theItalic dog. Mary comes out shaking her head. This is not good. In her hand is a map with hi lighting all over the place. The girl at the check-in told us to go here & here & here & that's your spot. She doesn't understand the concept of a truck & 40' 5th wheel totaling 60' in length, but we muddle through. The sites are all angled the wrong way so that you have to back in on the blind side of the rig. OK, not fun but doable. Once we are in we notice the signs posted saying "NO Pet Walking" in this pet friendly park. We call the office & find out that we have to drive,not walk, our pet 1/2 mile to an off site pet area at the entrance to this pet friendly park. We are also told that we aren't to use our vehicles as transportation to the off site pet area in this pet friendly park. How is this to be accomplished? I don't know but they do rent golf carts,hmmm. Now this is all after we made our reservations over a month ago & were told that yes they are pet friendly & that our dog would be welcome. Some welcome,huh?

Well, the park manager at this pet friendly park was not available & the office e-mail did not work so we did what any upset patron would do. We went on the INTERNET & spoke our mind about this pet friendly park. Strawberry Park of Preston CT is not being spoken of kindly on the Internet tonight especially about their pet friendly policy. Since they do not have a working e-mail, no available manager, & only a recording in the office we walked to the office & taped a copy of what would have been in the e-mail to the door. Tomorrow morning will be interesting.

Tonight we have a more important mission which we have chosen to accept. We must walk the dog. It is now dark & the moon is waning so conditions are perfect. With out any lights in "stealth mode" the mission commences. Proceeding furtively past RVs in the dark we final have a "poop"! Mission accomplished! The only thing left is to remove all signs of our presence & destroy the evidence. Once back to home base it is time for debriefing & well deserved celebration for a "Mission Accomplished".

OK does anyone else find this ridiculous. I understand "their park their rules" but shouldn't the rules make some sense. Either you are pet friendly or you're not. They could always have had a "No Pets" policy instead of making pet owners miserable. That would have been better business if not good business. Instead they have pissed off a customer with Internet access(at the park's expense) & nothing but time to use it. That doesn't make good business sense!

We want to be up early if the manager wants a show down so it will be an early night for us in our "not so pet friendly" home in Preston CT because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & Secret Agent Foxy

Sunday, June 13, 2010

#77 Not Exactly Packing a Suitcase

As expected the weather had cleared. It was still overcast but no rain. I took the dog for her morning walk & saw all the other campers getting ready to leave. In our loop there are about 25 sites & they were all full. After breakfast we went outside to do some packing of our own. Foxy walked out with us & stopped. She looked to the right, she looked to the left, she looked straight ahead, & then she looked at me. We were the only ones left in the loop. I think the dog was confused. I'm glad we are leaving tomorrow. I can only imagine the traffic jam at the gate to get out. Our loop has 25 sites but there are close to 500 sites in the whole RV park & checkout is 11am.

We cleaned the bikes up some. They were coated with whatever road grime, grit, mud, & what-have-you we picked up this week. Riding in the rain turned the stuff into glue & it needed to be scrubbed off. We then loaded the bikes in the trailer. Mary cleaned the bugs off the front of the truck while I dumped our waste water holding tanks. The more we do today the earlier we get on the road tomorrow. Camp chairs, hoses, lights, & tables were stowed. The outside is mostly done. A quick trip to Wally World & a run to top off the diesel & back home.

It's 6 o'clock already! Where did the day go? Time for dinner, another doggie walk, & a ride into town for some well deserved ice cream. Back home & some blogging, e-mailing, maybe some inside stowing & hopefully an early bed time. I would love to be on the road by 9am. It's already 10pm so I will be cutting this off now. We have had a great week at the Americade but this is our last night in our home in Lake George. Connecticut will be our new home because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, June 12, 2010

#76 or #75b The Morning After

For all those who showed concern about Mary's health after my last blog, here is a short update. We woke up this morning & Mary was feeling much better. She's still a bit sore but but is moving around & being a general pain in the butt. Everything is back to normal.

Today it is going to rain in the morning, rain in the afternoon, & rain(you guessed it) tonight. We will be staying in a good part of the day. Most of our fellow campers are leaving today or tomorrow so we figured it would be a good time for us to do laundry. The RV life is a blast but you still have to find time for the everyday chores. Sunday the weather should be better & we will load the bikes. Monday we leave for our next destination, Connecticut.

We will be making our home 200 miles down the road but for now we are still home in Upstate NY because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, June 11, 2010

# 75 Poop Happens

The crack of dawn comes around kinda early doesn't it? Well we got up & did the morning routine(see previous blogs complaining about mornings) & made it to the MSF Motorcycle Skills class. As it was explained to us any idiot can ride down the interstate at 70mph but it takes skills to handle a bike at parking lot speeds of 2-10 mph. There was also going to be training on quick stops & evasive maneuvers. Imagine if you will 12 riders, all with bikes weighing between 500 & 900 lbs, 2 instructors, & a seemingly unlimited number of traffic cones. We would be riding at speeds slower than an easy walk, making U turns in the space of a 2 car driveway, & swerving in & out of cones placed not much farther apart than the length of our bikes. A lot of cones were going to sacrifice there lives today.

The first exercise saw the beginning of the end for the cones. Bikes were stalled & a few lost their balance but were saved by a quick plant of a foot on the ground. The second exercise had the first bike go down. A gentleman on his second Goldwing with 83,000 miles on it had not enough speed for the turn & dropped it. During the next few exercises more cones died( some under my wheels) along with other minor mishaps while we all were trying to learn new & safer skills. About half way through the class Mary had a mishap & dropped her bike. Anyone who knows Mary also knows about her carpal tunnel issues. Between all the riding we had done this week & all the hand controls we were doing during the class her wrists had gotten inflamed. The pain caused her to lose control of the clutch in a tight turn & the bike went down. She landed on her butt & hip which of course was the hip with the arthritis in it. She got up but was now sore from her wrists to her a... lets call it her hip area. Rather than further aggravate the pain she chose not to finish the class. She went home, took some anti-inflamatories, got an ice pack, & laid down.

Mary insisted she would be OK & that I should finish the class. Well the exercises got more difficult, the weather got warmer, & the day got longer. It doesn't seem like it should but this hard, but slow speed motorcycling is tiring both physically & mentally. After 6 hours we not only earned our completion certificate but unanimously felt like we had better control of our bikes. With practice these lessons would make us better & safer riders which would allow us to enjoy the ride even more.

I got home & Mary had slept some but was sore from "you know where" to "you know where". We were scheduled to go to a dinner & fireworks display at the local Six Flags Amusement Park but I told Mary we didn't have to go. Her stubborn side kicked up & said"NO WAY!". I suggested we take the truck since she was hurting but she again said"NO!". She was going to ride her bike to dinner. I told her to try getting on her bike which she did in obvious pain. "See!" she said & I told her to pick it up off the kick stand. That was a whole 'nother story. Since she didn't want to take the truck she agreed to ride on the back of my bike. In the 7 years she has been riding her own bike I can count on one hand the number of times she has passengered on my bike. She was a good back seat passenger & we went to dinner with at least a couple of thousand other bikers.

Dinner was good, the band was awesome, & the company couldn't be better. At the awards ceremony trophies & prizes were given out & it was announced that through raffles & charity rides over $12,000 was raised for different charities in the area. Bikers know how to give while they are having fun. Then the lights were dimmed & the fireworks began. It was an outstanding display set to some great music & was a fitting end to the day. The band played for awhile longer & we sat & listened to avoid the mad dash of thousands of bikes exiting at once.

Well we are both enjoyed the day in spite of Mary's fall. She will be OK & we will chalk it up to "Poop Happens". We can't little bumps in the road ruin our day. It has been a long day so we will be saying good night. We will sleep good tonight in our comfy bed, in our home on wheels, in Lake George NY because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary

Thursday, June 10, 2010

#74 The Rain Gods Have a Sense of Humor

What's that!!!! Oh it's the alarm going off at 6 AM! We have to get up, have breakfast, walk the dog, bundle up, & have the bikes in town by 7:30. No problem except since it rained all day yesterday & we didn't take the bikes out we did not fill up the tanks for today's ride. Now we have to find a gas station & fill up also. Once all was said & done we arrived at 7:45, in time for the second wave of bikes to leave. We were all bundled up because of the 55 deg temp & the motorcycle wind chill. The second wave consisted of 40 bikes plus 3 tour guides, one to lead, one to follow, & one in the middle for emergencies. At our first rest stop I was melting & had to peal off a couple of layers. It was still overcast & damp from the overnight rain but I was hot as hell!

The next stretch of roads took us into Vermont where the mountains seemed greener than we had ever seen. We rode across 6 different covered bridges & stopped at a couple where the tour guides gave us a little history about the bridges & the area around them. The roads wound around the hills & into the valleys, past small town after small town. Some of these towns look like they haven't change in 100 years. This portion of the ride ended at a local country club where they had a scrumptious buffet lunch. This ain't biker bar food.

At this point we had covered about 100 miles & had 80 more to go. The weather had been steadily improving with temperatures in the low 70's & the sun peeking out between the clouds. The day was turning out to be a good one with the rain gods smiling down on us. After gassing up we left the country club for the ride home. The clouds started to darken & look a bit ominous. At the next rest stop I looked up at the clouds & suggested to Mary that we don our rain gear. She wasn't happy about the prospect of wrestling into another layer of clothing but agreed. Other riders told me to be positive about the rain & I told them that I was positive it was going to rain. Some laughed while others also got suited up for rain. No sooner than my last zipper was pulled the sky opened. The gods decided that we had enough good weather & would have to earn our ride home. My fellow riders thought that I was either psychic or a SOB for bringing the rain. A small group of us got separated in the rain but got ourselves turned around & caught up with the main group. In & out of pouring rain all the way back, Mary & I found ourselves near our campground & decided to leave the group & head for drier pastures. Once we made it through a muddy & slippery construction zone we were home. The rain suits worked great! The only things wet were our gloves.

We are exhausted & have to get up early tomorrow for a 6-8 hour riding class. What is with this 8 o'clock in the morning crap! Do I look like a rooster? I have to get things ready for the morning & get to bed early AGAIN, so goodnight from our home in soggy Lake George because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

# 73 Rain,Rain, Go Away...Oh Forget It!

We woke up this morning to the patter of rain on the roof & got slapped across the face with a 46deg temperature. Turn on the heat, a hot shower, & a hot breakfast & we are ready to go. Not so fast. The weather forecast is for 100% chance of rain & from the way it looks 100% of the time! Oh well, I guess this will be a down time day. I got my tire yesterday. I know that when you are at a rally the dealer's booth is at best a temporary work shop but did it have to take 5 hours to put on a rear tire? At least we were able to spend the time walking around & checking out the vendors. The vendors are set up at 2 locations & the rally was kind enough to arrange a shuttle back & forth. This way you don't have to move your bike & find another parking spot, not that I could have moved mine at the time.

As expected the vendors had everything motorcycle related that could be imagined & quite a bit not biker related. We restrained ourselves as much as we could but then we started seeing things we just couldn't live without. Let the shopping begin. Actually we didn't do so bad. We purchased a few things that we will really use & made fun of the of things that nobody will ever use, though it didn't stop people from buying them. We walked back to the first vendor area since it was down-hill & the line for the shuttle was almost as long as the walk. Mary went home on her bike & I went into the vendors to pick up mine to meet her. At the tire both I saw that they hadn't even got to my bike yet. 3 1/2 hours & it is sitting where I left it. Temporary or not this is a classic case of chaos not working. Sometime in the next few hours I am supposed to be on a boat for a dinner cruise on the lake & I would like to clean up a bit before I go. 30 minutes more & my bike is finally on the lift. After an hour more & at least 6 different mechanics my bike is returned to me & my wallet is $200 lighter.

I dash home to the trailer & quickly explain my delay. A quick splash of water, some deodorant, & a clean shirt & we are on our way. The cruise was a nice way to end the day. The food was a fried chicken buffet, the music was pleasant, & we met some nice people. The boat went from one end of Lake George to the other & back. A 2 hour ride along a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains with my best girl...what could be better?

As I said today was a wash-out. We checked e-mails, we napped, we prepped for tomorrows ride, we napped, we ate dinner, we napped, had some dessert, & decided to go to bed. Tomorrow's ride is going to be though Vermont's covered bridge area. It is also supposed to be cold with the high of only 68deg. Hopefully the rain will be over by then & we will have a clear but cold day to enjoy the scenery. So good night to all from our home in Lake George because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, June 7, 2010

#72 "The Charge of the Iron Horse Brigade"

Motorcycles to the left of us, motorcycles to the right of us, motorcycles in front of us, motorcycles everywhere! Americade has begun. We showed up at 10:30am for the 11am sign in & were greeted by the Americade staff & easily 5000 motorcyclists. The line at the Holiday Inn already was along the whole back of the building & was starting to double back on itself. The weather was perfect, the company was friendly, & at 11am the line started to move quickly. We were done by 11:30 & went to have a free safety inspection on the bikes. We weren't worried because we take the bikes to the shop if there is ever a problem. Mary's front tire is showing some wear & she was advised to keep an eye on it. So far so good. My bike's tires were not too worn but did have an older manufacture date. Nothing serious, but again keep an eye on it. I rolled the bike forward a little & one of the techs yells "hold on!". He has found a nail in my rear tire. I get down & look at it & what do I see? A nail? It looked like a RR spike. This nail was at least 4" long & stuck into & parallel to the tread. It's holding air & we don't want to pull it out so I ride on carefully. Tomorrow when the vendors open up I guess I will be buying a new tire.

We ride home because my tire is not going on a scavenger hunt today. We have some lunch & head out to the opening day ceremonies. We meet some of the organizers, see a couple of riding demonstrations, & check out some of the bikes we may take out for a spin. The dealers are here with demos of a variety of models so we figure why not? Maybe we will find our new bikes. Something we just can't live without. I was looking at a smaller bike that would be easier to load into the trailer & Mary is looking at a $23,000 Victory Vision. This thing looks like the futuristic motorcycle from the movie "Judge Dred"! We will have to talk. Anyway, we move on to the end of opening day festivities which include over $4000 in door prizes. As they were giving out the prizes my mental calculator figured the number to be at least $5000 & probably more. Not that it matters since we didn't win anything. But not to worry, there will be other door prizes & raffles throughout the week. Cross your fingers for us, there are some really nice prizes to be had.

It has been a long day with emotional ups & downs. Tomorrow I go in search of a tire, hopefully at the crack of dawn. Maybe I can get it taken care of early so as not to ruin the rest of the day. Tomorrow evening is our dinner cruise which promises to be lots of fun. So off to bed I go with visions of tires & new motorcycles dancing in my head, in my bed, in our home in Lake George

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, June 6, 2010

#71 Christmas in June?

It is Sunday night & I can't sleep. Why? Tomorrow is the start of the Americade! Vroom,vroom, the bikes are rolling into town. The campground has been filling up at a steady pace & it looks like soon there will be no more room. A full 3/4 of the rigs are tow-behinds or 5th wheels & 3/4 of them are toy haulers. I've never seen so many toy haulers in one place before. The rest of the rigs are mostly class As with trailers. Of course out of every toy hauler & trailer comes....tada...a motorcycle! Bikes of every make & model, bikes of every color, & bikes with more customizing than can be imagined. The bikers are also of an eclectic variety. We have seen everything from older prim & proper couples on Goldwings to hard core, tattooed, sleeveless ( who think shaving/bathing/underwear is optional) chopper riders. Some of the latter group look like they got into biker mode over the weekend & aren't really as scary as they look.

Monday is registration & opening ceremonies. The vendors will be open for business & the fun & insanity will start. It will be a week of seminars, exhibitions, rides, & parties. We signed up in advance for a number of events & plan on being busy all week. Mary will be taking pictures & I will be blogging but most of all we will be having a blast. After looking forward to this for 2 years I can't believe I am really here. It's like Christmas eve! Well, I guess I better go to bed & close my eyes or the Americade won't come. So like a kid in a toy store I grudgingly say good night from our home in Lake George because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, June 4, 2010

#70 Home, Insane, Home

Well here we are in Lake George NY. Blog # 1 talked about a 4 week trip to the Catskill Mts in NY. That was May 14, 2008. Here it is June 4, 2010 & we finally made it. Like it's been said before, "if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans". Our persistence has paid off & we are finally here for the Americade motorcycle rally. The park we are staying in has over 400 sites & at the rate RVs are pulling in it looks like they will fill up! Rigs of all shapes & sizes, tents, & lots & lots of motorcycles. We drove around the area a bit to get "the lay of the land" so to speak. We like to have an idea of where we are going once the crowds show up & the insanity begins. The Village of Lake George is a typical small town having a main street with all the little shops & businesses. Like any small town that is expecting visitors that will stimulate the local economy the proverbial welcome mat is being put out. Signs are being hung to "Welcome Americaders", store fronts are getting spruced up, & every one is putting their best foot forward. Motorcycles are everywhere & I haven't figured whether the area is motorcycle friendly all the time or Americaders are showing up early like us.

I took some time & fixed the 50 amp cable while Mary started making plans for our stops after the 4th of July. The reservations had been made up until that point but no farther. A lot of the campgrounds up here don't even open until the end of May or 1st of June so planning that far ahead was impossible. We plan to do as many of our chores as possible because once the rally starts it will be non stop craziness. The dog needs a bath, laundry again, some grocery shopping, & we will try to pre-cook some meals. During the rally we will be joining in some escorted group rides around the countryside & one will highlight a number of covered bridges in the area. One day we will be on one of the many party boat rides, another day there is a rodeo, & one night there will be hot air balloon "Balloon Glow". In between will be seminars, entertainment, exhibitions, & of course the vendors. I'm sure if it is related to motorcycles it will be on sale here & I am sure one or both of us will find something that we just can't live without.

I expect this week to be as exhausting as it will be fun & I'm sure it will be fodder for blogging. I will blog as often as I can, as long as I can keep my eyes open & my thoughts coherent. After the next 10 days I will be able to tell you if the 2 year wait was worth it or you can tell on your own by the pictures Mary will post on the internet. She is getting her money's worth out of her camera. Just the one day we drove around the Cooperstown area she shot over 500 pictures. I thought I saw smoke coming from the camera! Of course not all the pictures are keepers or get posted but that is a lot of click,click, clicking. Thank goodness for digital photography.

So until the insanity starts & I have something to blog about, good night from our home in Lake George NY because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

# 69 Bucket List & Sticker Shock

I lived in NY for the first 30 years of my life. I know it's not possible to see everything there is to see, but you would think some things would be "must see" for certain people. I grew up with 4 brothers, all of us playing & following baseball, so you would think that Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame would be on the list of family vacations. Nope! So I put the Hall of Fame on my bucket list & now because of our traveling lifestyle I can check it off. The history, the memorabilia, & the stories behind America's game are a must for any baseball fan. It shows how the game has change. for better or for worse, & takes one back to one's youth & much simpler times.

Nearby is Howe Caverns & since we were here we couldn't pass it up. About a 1 mile walk along an underground river & a short boat ride across an underground lake made for a memorable experience. River, lake, boats, all underground? Who knew? Add rock formations & the history behind the caverns & you have a day to remember.

Tomorrow we leave for Lake George. Since it is easier to fill up the truck when the trailer isn't hooked up we decide to fill up tonight. Just one more thing we don't have to worry about when we hit the road. We haven't filled up since PA & have just shy of 500 miles since the last fill-up. Now for those of you without 74 gallon fuel tanks, let me educate you. You insert a credit card at the pump & begin fueling. At somewhere between $50 & $75 the pump shuts off & will pump no more. Sometimes you can repeat the process but most times it means a trip inside. Trying to explain the concept of a 74 gallon tank can at times be frustrating. After leaving security including a credit card, drivers licence, first born, a pint of blood, & an arm & a leg you can pump fuel without interruption. When done you return to the cashier & gather all your possessions, minus the arm & leg. The arm & leg this time was $173. Like we tell people, if we couldn't afford this lifestyle we wouldn't do it.

Tonight we are home in Cooperstown & tomorrow we will be home in Lake George because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

# 68 Extremes

Well enough of the big city & on to the mountains of up state NY. One place where people live literally on top of each other in the NYC skyline, the other hill side farm land with miles between homes. Talk about culture shock.

We left the city & bounced our way through the never ending construction found in most big cities. Once on the highway the next surprise was the NY Thruway. We knew it was a toll road, we just didn't know we would have to take a loan for it. 5 axles adds up but at least the road was taken care of. I screwed up the mapping software so all my maps were basically garbage. Our regular maps didn't help much & Mary was getting frustrated. On top of it all she wasn't feeling well. After a rest stop for Mary I convinced her to just relax & we would eventually get where we were headed.

A stop for lunch & on to the end of the toll road. Only $28 & our last leg of the journey. We find our exit & the roads are good. One more main road & we have made it, no problem. Our last turn & a RR trestle marked 12'8". The only problem, our rig is 13'6"!!!! We call the campground to find out if there is another way. Mean while a local approaches me & tells me the bridge is mismarked. The height is actually 13'8". We inch forward with our hearts in our throats & clear the trestle. Up & down the hills for 30 more miles & we are finally set up.

We are here in Cooperstown NY for the next 2 days so this is where we will call home because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary