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New England via Texas, September 18 - December 1, 2004

Eureka to Bar Harbor
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, October 9-10, 2004. We are taking a couple of day's break here over the Columbus Day weekend, and maybe I can get a good start on this trip's journal.

Joy and I have talked for more than 25 years about doing a fall New England trip, both for the sights and the colors. This is finally the year to do give it a try. Our original plans had us leaving in early September and going straight to New England. The second-ever Datastorm Rally came along, scheduled in Kerrville, TX on the last weekend in September, and it also became clear that we really needed to delay until early October because we would have been early for peak leaf colors.

Accordingly, we scheduled for Kerrville and let them know to put me on the schedule to do a couple of seminars.
We traveled pretty much straight through to Kerrville, with a short stop to visit my sister in Bakersfield, and a 3 day travel break at the Escapee Saguaro Co-op in Benson, AZ.

The Escapee parks are always nice places to stay, and Benson is no exception. This is a view out over the park, looking Northeast in the evening.
Saguaro SKP park
While in Benson we made a couple of side trips. The first was to Tombstone, which was a bit too much of a tourist trap for our tastes.

Much better was a visit to Kartchner Caverns. Kartchner is a well-protected "living" wet cave, with huge stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and the Kubla Khan column.

Note for those who know you can't take cameras in - no, I did not take these pictures, they are pictures of pictures.
Tombstone Tombstone
Kartchner Kartchner
We had one day free in Kerrville before the rally started, so Joy and I visited San Antonio. Got to see the major sites, including some of the missions, the Alamo, and the river walk. San Antonio San Antonio
San Antonio San Antonio
The rally was at the Buckhorn Lake resort in Kerrville. I was so busy for the 4 days that I didn't get many pictures taken. The three guys are all Datastorm installers. Scott Whitney, left, and Bob Morgan, right, were also at the first rally in Tampa last year. They are participants in the datastormusers.com forums, as is Steve O'Bosky, center. Buckhorn Buckhorn
Heading northeast from Kerrville was not a fun time. We had two days of rain, and then starting out from Brinkley, Arkansas on the third day our alternator failed. Could be related to the rain, but hard to say. That lead to two expensive and frustrating days at a truck shop in Memphis; the good news is that the alternator got replaced - the bad news is that it cost way more in labor than it should have to diagnose the problem.
When we finally got out of Memphis we headed north to Paducah, KY. Joy has gotten fairly heavily into quilting, and the Museum of the American Quilter's Society was a must stop. They don't allow photography inside, so a shot of the exterior will have to serve as a memento. Lots of spectacular quilts inside, most winners at the annual Paducah show. Paducah Paducah
Heading east we dropped down through Bowling Green to Mammoth Cave National Park. We chose the "Frozen Niagara" tour, a fairly strenuous 2 hour trip down to some of the few "standard" formations (stalactites, stalagmites, bacon, soda straws, columns, etc.) that are in the 365 known miles of caves.

It looks like the cave crickets are going to jump on Joy, but in fact a big one tried to hitch a ride out on my back, and it was removed by another tour member just before we exited the cave.
Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave
We spent an afternoon at the Kentucky Horse Farm. We aren't horse people, so we didn't know a lot of what we were seeing, but here's some sample pictures.

The first 5 pictures are some of the retired champions maintained at the farm: Gypsy Supreme, Cigar, Western Dreamer, John Henry, and Da Hoss.

The horse in the sixth picture, and again jumping in the 8th, is a Hanoverian. It is followed by an American Saddlebred ridden aside.

In the bottom row is an Appaloosa with handler in native dress, an Icelandic Horse, and finally the bottom right is "I Two Step Too" which is the horse that doubled for Seabiscuit in the movie.
Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park Kentucky Horse Park
Starting to turn colder, and now that the Columbus Day weekend is behind us we plan to get to Maine in about 5 days. Traveled across the diagonal of Ohio in one day, spending the night of the 11th in Conneaut in the extreme NE corner. Leaf color was near peak in central Ohio, but got greener again as we neared Lake Erie. This picture is at a rest stop south of Cleveland. Ohio Leaves
Albany, NY, October 15
We took the Southern Tier through New York rather than going up through Buffalo. Nice scenic views, but a terrible concrete roadway. Turning north we crossed the north end of the finger lakes, and Holly went for a swim in Seneca Lake.

About halfway to Albany on US 20, we started to smell fuel. Stopped and checked, and there was diesel dripping from several places on the engine. We straggled into Cummins Coach Care in Albany, where we sit as I write this, waiting for a part for the injector pump. It is supposed to be here sometime today.
Southern Tier Southern Tier
Seneca Lake
Since we knew nothing would be happening on Thursday, we headed down to the north end of the Catskills, where foliage websites indicated that there was a lot of peak color.

We went down the east side of the Hudson, across the Rip Van Winkle bridge, and into the hills at Windham.

We had overcast skies and drizzle that didn't show the foliage at its best, but the views were still quite good, as you can see here.
Catskill Color Catskill Color
Catskill Color Catskill Color
Catskill Color Catskill Color
Ames Brook Campground, Ashland, NH October 19
Our part arrived Friday morning as promised, and was installed that afternoon - about 6 hours of work and a total of $1100 all covered by Cummins under warranty. We spent one more night there before heading out Saturday morning. The unusual stretch was spotted across the street as we waited.
Humvee Stretch
We headed west into southern Vermont, and just short of Brattleboro started to smell fuel again. Opened up the engine hatch and it was flowing much worse than the first time. After a call to Cummins, we spent Saturday night in Brattleboro and then headed down to Springfield, MA where we spent Sunday night outside the Cummins offices. Our car was covered with diesel, so we made a trip through a car wash.
The diagnosis on Monday morning was that the replacement part had failed just as the original had. They were worried that there might be a deeper problem (full injection pump replacement - a major job) but the engineers at Cummins thought it might well have been a defective part. They use rebuilt parts on warranty repairs. Springfield had one in stock (also rebuilt) and began work mid-day on installing it.

While they were at it, we drove up through Holyoke to Amherst. The upper picture was taken in Holyoke, and the other two were in the Mt Holyoke Range State Park. We were walking on an old trolley bed, which ran from Amherst to Holyoke between 1902 and 1932.
Holyoke Color
Mt Holyoke Range State Park Mt Holyoke Range State Park
The part was installed by late afternoon, and the Cummins crew did a good job steam cleaning all of the diesel soaked areas on the motor home - the engine, radiators, and all of the back end and mud flap. Another $1100 bill absorbed by Cummins under warranty. Once again we overnighted in their lot and got an early start this morning. Stopped at 15 miles, and then at 50 mile intervals to check for leaks, and all remains dry so far. It will take some time to make us confident that there won't be more leaks!

There are some pretty good colors here at Ames Brook, as seen at right.

We spent some time at Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, which was the local destination for Joy. Tomorrow we hope to actually get to Maine, about a week later than planned, but the weather is cooperating.
Ames Brook, Ashland
The Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort, Belfast, ME, October 23
We finally made it to Maine on Wednesday. Thursday was spent at Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. There was a Princess Cruise in port, so probably a lot more tourist buses than would have been normal for this late in the year. We had lunch at the Jordan Pond House and imagined what it must have been like in the era of John D Rockefeller. We went for a long walk on one of the old carriage roads - no motorized vehicles allowed on those.

The view from the top of Cadillac mountain was spectacular, but the wind chill made staying very long impractical.
Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park Acadia National Park
Friday we drove down the other side of Penobscot Bay, through Camden and Rockland, down as far as Port Clyde. Stopped at Camden Hills State Park for a woods hike on the way down, and at the Owl's Head Light on the way back.

Today we will move down to Freeport for a few days before heading further south on Tuesday.
Camden Hills
Marshall Point Owl's Head Light
Riverdale Farm Campsite, Clinton, CT, October 31
In Freeport Saturday the 23rd we did the expected pilgrimage to LL Bean, and managed to come away with just a pair of socks! Sunday morning we climbed to the top of Bradbury Mountain (485 feet). Steep 0.3 miles up, then a meandering 1.6 mile trail down.
Bradbury Mountain Bradbury Mountain
After our trail walk, we drove into Portland. One stop was at the DeLorme headquarters in Yarmouth, where we saw "Eartha" the 41-foot diameter rotating globe.

At the Portland Head Light, even though it wasn't particularly stormy we got to see how the rugged coast looks.
Delorme's Eartha
Portland Head Light Portland Head Light
We stopped a couple of days in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts, to visit the Boston area. The first day we took a walk on the Beach before driving the loop around Cape Ann. The piles of foam were scudding across the beach in the wind, and Holly couldn't figure out whether they were alive, or not. Salisbury Beach Salisbury Beach
Wednesday the 27th was a day for visiting the old industrial buildings in Lowell, not least because it is the home of the New England Quilt Museum. Lowell Lowell
Thursday we toured Boston. It was the day after the Red Sox victory, so there was Sox stuff everywhere, including the State House.

Rather than buck the traffic, which was even worse than they tell us is normal, because of closures as they prepared for Saturday's victory parade, we did the Boston Duck Boat tour. If you saw any of the Red Sox parade, it was done aboard 17 Duck Boats - our driver was hoping to be one of the drivers chosen; don't know if it happened or not.

Interesting way to see the city, by both land and water. That's us reflected from the John Hancock building. We saw Faneuil Hall, Boston Commons, Beacon Hill, Copley Square, and much more.
Sox Win
Boston Duck Tour Boston Duck Tour
Boston Duck Tour Boston Duck Tour
On our way back from Boston we stopped off in Salem, managing to get lost a couple of times in the narrow streets. Salem
A one-night stay on Cape Cod included visits to Cape Cod and Nauset Beach lights, a romp on the beach at Race Point, and a look at the Pilgrim memorial and monument in Provincetown. Note the lack of people; not a bad time to visit, although a bit chilly. Cape Cod Light Nauset Beach Light
Race Point Beach
Pilgrim Memorial Pilgrim Monument
Saturday night we overnighted in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Westerly, Rhode Island. This morning we spent at the Mystic Aquarium, in Mystic, Connecticut. Lots of interesting animals and exhibits. The Titanic model is 18 feet long and incredibly detailed. Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium
Outdoor Living Center, Russellville, AR, November 13
We are holed up here a few days as we wait for cold weather to lift across the panhandle and New Mexico.

After we left New England we skirted New York City into Pennsylvania, then down to Washington, DC.

We stayed 5 nights at Cherry Hill Park in College Park, MD, and traveled into DC 4 times, with a rest day in the middle for heavy rain.

These pictures should give you some of the flavor of out visits to the Mall, the National Zoo, and the Smithsonian (Air and Space, and Natural History).

We visited the mall on election day, and although you couldn't get close to the White House, the telephoto lens made up for it. There was lots of TV reporting going on, including the guy in the picture who was doing a Spanish-Language broadcast.

The zoo was fairly deserted, and it was unusual to be watching the Giant Panda play (rolling over and over down the hill, then using the log as a post to scratch an itch) in a "crowd" totalling 7 including the docent.

There wasn't much autumn color left, but some trees at the zoo were still spectacular.

There had been a train collision at the metro station nearest the zoo while we were at the zoo, closing the station for two days. We eventually made our way to the Dupont Circle station, where the escalators weren't working and people forced off the train were walking up.
White House White House WWII Memorial Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument Lincoln Memorial Vietnam Memorial National Zoo
Cheetah at the National Zoo Panda at the National Zoo Panda at the National Zoo Panda at the National Zoo
Panda at the National Zoo Capybara at the National Zoo Elephant at the National Zoo Flamingos at the National Zoo
Tiger at the National Zoo Tiger at the National Zoo Ringtails at the National Zoo Leaves at the National Zoo
Metro stalled escalators Wright Flyer Spirit of St Louis Tiger at Natural History Museum
Hope Diamond at Natural History Museum
Leaving DC, we spent one night in Central Virginia before beginning west through Tennessee. Here Joy is showing the back of a nickle next to the real thing. Monticello
In West Memphis, Arkansas, we spent one night right on the banks of the Mississippi. The tugs going by at night were similar to being in an RV park by a busy railroad tracks, except there was none of the clatter and clickity-click you get with trains. Tom Sawyer RV Park Tom Sawyer RV Park
Here in Russelville, we've taken 2 long morning walks in a Corps of Engineers area, the Bona Dea trails and conservation area. The big raptor was circling above the "Black Water Swamp" which had a lot of turtles sunning themselves, but I couldn't sneak up well enough to get a picture. Bona Dea trail Bona Dea trail
Eureka, CA Feb 13, 2005
I'm actually finishing this one up after we've been out on another trip and returned home again! It has been a hectic couple of months, but I'll see if I can bring closure to this one and then get the next one done also.

We had intended to head west from Russellville, but the weather to the west was terrible, so we took a few days off in the Bentonville area in Northwest Arkansas. Saw the original Walton five and dime, and also visited the town of Eureka Springs (right) and the Big Cat rescue operation at Turpentine Creek.

Eureka Springs
I didn't take any pictures after we left Bentonville until we got to Sedona, but we had a short visit with Scott Whitney in Oklahoma, and then spent a couple of days with Delores and Chris Lamb in Amarillo. Managed to get the motor home stuck in their yard badly enough to need a wrecker, but no harm done other than leaving them with a mess!

We arrived in Sedona for a stay with Joy's sister and brother-in-law the weekend before Thanksgiving, and planned to leave there the day before Thanksgiving to avoid some of the weekend traffic. That didn't work out, because Joy's sister tripped over the power cord attached to our motor home and broke her hip! "if only..." Writing this in mid-February she reports that she's just beginning to walk without a walker.

We ended up staying through Friday, when she got out of the hospital. Besides regular hospital visits, we went up to Jerome, did some walking around Sedona, and had Thanksgiving dinner with their friends and neighbors, and visited an annual Christmas light display.

I had ordered a new camera (Canon 20D), and had it sent to Sedona, so pictures from this point on are with the new one. It is 8 megapixels, so the images you get when you click on these thumbnails are drastically reduced from the originals, but the quality should be obvious.
Sedona Sedona
Jerome Sedona
Sedona Sedona
The rest of the trip home was fairly routine, although we did stop in Visalia for an overnight visit with fellow Datastormers Steve and Nancy O'Bosky (right). Ohio Leaves

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