Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Queechee Water at Night

Dave shot this photo in Queechee, Vermont at the Simon Pierce foundry and showroom. Simon Pierce is an immigrant who came to the US and began the craft of glassblowing, sometimes blowing for eight to ten hours a day to try and get two water goblets alike. After he perfected his craft, he began bringing in apprentices and now has quite the thriving business and following. His glass pieces are all hand blown but amazingly uniform with only subtle nuances revealing they are not mass manufactured. An apprentice trains for 2 to 5 years before he masters the craft. Peters has expanded into pewter, flatware, housewares, wine, and a restaraunt. He is an extremely gifted and creative individual, designing, training, and implementing impressive green technology. His entire operation, right down to the hand driers in the restrooms are powered from his own water wheel on the river. (Evidently he saw the value of water rights many years ago!) This photo is a portion of the water fall from the Simon Pierce water wheel. (Taken at night with slow shutter speed.)

This photo, taken at dusk, is just across the river from the Simon Pierce Foundry. The river is dotted with similar homes - quaint little white structures that pop up out of the landscape and glow yellow through their windows. I'm just certain there is lovely music playing inside, a warm fire, a pot of soup on the stove, and a loaf of fresh bread baking in the oven. Makes me want to knit a sweater and crawl in it!

Woodstock, Vermont Photos

Biking along the Queechee River. We took several photos along the way, and as stunning and different as they all seem in person, somehow the nuances don't translate well photographically. I will try to post only photos that actually look different from one another!

See the red in the foreground? Different, huh?
We were technically past "peak" in our visit to Vermont. The only sign of being past it was the reduction in vibrant reds. To us, it was just lovely.

This is the quintessential farmhouse in Vermont. They range from every shape and size of white farm house to red barn to big farm house estate. Sort of like shades of brown stucco in new Mexico, the white farm house is the norm. They dot the landscape offering perspective in the layers of rolling hills. Something about it made me want to make cookies and spend 16 hours decorating them (ala Martha Stewart) while the kitchen fire crackles in the corner and I sip a never ending cup of espresso.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where We are Going

After leaf peeping in Vermont, we headed to the Boston area. RV parks are not right in any major metropolitan area - the land is too valuable so any RV parks that might have been closer in once upon a time, have been sold for other uses. We stay outside of the major metro areas and drive, take a train or subway to town.

In Boston, we took train / subway each day. Fabulous people watching opportunities. Most Bostonian subway riders ride with ear buds firmly in place, looking straight ahead at nothing, showing no emotion. (New York train riders ride with books and look down the whole time.) Tourists, like me get motion sick if we read, so I look at the other commuters, and out the window, and back at them, and out the window, and back at get the picture. :) I gather data as I casually glance around and out the window. More on the gathered data later. Tourists like Dave bring their computer and write.

I coined the term, "ear bud over spray" while on the Boston subway. Ear bud over spray is the noise you hear escaping from someone else's ear buds. It sprays out from the gaps between ear and bud. Ear bud over spray pings and hums, and thumps and rattles. It pounds and booms and screams and rings. Sometimes a faint melody escapes. We were sprayed with quite a variety of over spray in and around the Boston area, but I could never really "name that tune"...try as I might!

Biking in Vermont

I pictured biking down lovely paved paths gently strewn with leaves, a canopy of brilliant color overhead, a slight breeze blowing in my hair, a faint smell of apple cider in the distance and a leisurely stop along the road to sip cider. In my vision, I arrive perfectly coiffed, hair fluffy, a healthy glow, clothing neat and tidy, and just feeling ever so east-coast-put-together. It was a lovely fantasy while it lasted.

Instead, every biking photo you see of me from here on out will look like this. Can you see the ear muffs? Woodstock, Vermont was a little colder than we anticipated. A little steeper, with fewer designated bike paths. You see, the folks in the east are tough. They don't require things like separate paths for bikes and cars. Can you see the white line in the photo? That would be the line designating the bike trail (yes, an official trail) from the driving lane. You see, a bike trail is different from a bike path. A trail can cover any and all surfaces, and in Woodsstock, runs along highways and biways. This is a rest in the middle of a 20 mile, up-hill both ways (I'm sure of it), bike trip on a day so cold no one but a determined tourist would be nuts enough to be out leaf peeping on bicycle!

At the end, we arrived, mud splattered, sweaty and cold with frozen nose, toes, and fingers, exhausted, with helmet head. BUT WE DID IT! We biked our 20 miles, we peeped at red leaves, yellow leaves, reddish yellow leaves, orange leaves, reddish orange leaves, and yellow leaves. We peeped at green leaves, greenish yellow leaves, yellowish green leaves and brown leaves on the ground. We spotted farm after farm with rolling green meadows and fuzzy farm animals. Dave was aghast when I hollered, "Look at the sheep!" pointing to a heard in the distance and started "bahhhhhhing" gleefully. "They're cows!" he replied, and has not let me drive the RV since.

Where We Have Been

We blazed our trail across the US stopping in Lincoln, Nebraska to have dinner with Holly's sister, Heather. (Had to skip Ft. Collins due to a freak snow storm and an outbreak of swine flu in the area!) On to Springfield Illinois for all things Abe Lincoln. Then to Chicago for biking along Lake Michigan, dinner at Feast and a night in a lovely hotel. (The commute into Chicago took so long it was best to just stay and tour the next day as well.)

Then it was on to Westerfield, NY for the wind storm of the year, Niagara Falls, and finally Vermont!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Standing Above the Rainbow

Niagara Falls - standing at the overlook and looking DOWN at a rainbow! If you look to the left of the main rainbow, there is actually a second one!

Lake Erie Sunset

Sunset view from our RV spot in Westerfield, NY. The beautiful evening preceded a monster storm with 60 mph gusts of wind and pelting rain. We prayed for protection off and on all through - very little sleeping going on.

In the morning, Dave went out to check on the RV. The park was littered with downed limbs, branches and a huge willow tree uprooted by the wind and lying a few feet from another RV. Above us - a large willow limb (12 - 15 ft long) hanging by bark and some wood fibers and supported by electrical lines. Dave disconnected us immediately and we moved out from under the precarious branch! In the end, we changed RV parks after finding a park with few trees.

On the way out of this beautiful park in Westerfield, I drove the car in front of the RV so I could clear branches out of the road if needed. At one point, I finished moving a branch and was returning to the car when a gust of wind - probably only 30 mph - caught the car door and me. I dug in with both feet and held the interior car door handle with both hands and was able to back myself into the drivers seat and close the door. Whew!

Due to the weather - we postponed our trip up to Niagara falls, sat tight, and waited for the wind to stop.