Saturday, July 31, 2010

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, & vicinity

Wow!! I've been on a whirlwind tour of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area!! My hostess, "Debbie", has been driving me all over--and I'm loving every minute!! (Debbie has been following my blog and invited me to come and visit.) She has introduced me to apple cider donuts at Applecrest Farm Orchard, Lago's homemade ice cream, USS Albacore submarine, congestion at the beach that rivals Coney Island (or Venus Beach in Southern California??). We visited a unique antique and book store.

Pictures: I've never seen Tydeman apples before. (I bought some.) Never heard of Apple Cider donuts!! (I bought some.) Bumper-to-bumper traffic at the beach; no place to park!! (Even $10. & $15. lots were full!!) Just a glimpse of the crowd at the beach. Sightseeing boat ready to depart. USS Albacore submarine, inside & out. Who's that lady with the big smile on her face?? Look at all the flavors of ice cream. In the window, some publicity about favorite hometown son, Scott Lago, 2010 Olympic bronze metal for snowboarding. Lobster trap under beautiful tomato plants. Books, books, books!! Who's that lady... dwarfed by an over sized bear? (I'm told the bear's name is Paddington.) Next to last picture of church near Garmish-Partenkerchen, Germany. (In the late 1950's I photographed that same church from that exact same spot!! We saw Europe while traveling with a small camping trailer.)

P.S. I'm parked in Debbie's driveway, with electricity, and WiFi. Life is good!!

Greetings from Exeter, New Hampshire

I arrived in Exeter, New Hampshire, shortly after noon yesterday. I had a great afternoon, and evening, with a new friend. ~~ More details to follow.

Pictures: Wal-Mart in Salem, MA; Panera in Danvers, MA; Gale Park War Memorial in Exeter, NH, by Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln statue in Wash. D.C.; Smart Car with "bunny ears" at Lindt Chocolate Factory Outlet; looking at Portsmouth, NH, from Maine (beautiful yacht); Gilley's (famous burgers & dogs since 1912).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Greetings from Danvers, Massachusetts

I've parked my derriere in a Panera, in Danvers, MA, for a couple of hours. Maybe the smartest thing I've done the last fifteen hours!! Remember that little saying "When God was passing out brains, I thought He said 'trains' and I said I'd take a slow one" ?? What possessed me to leave the comfort of Barnes & Noble (in Hingham)--with free WiFi--at 4 o'clock--and start driving North en route to Maine?? Traffic wasn't bad South of Boston because the "going home" congestion was leaving the city.

NOT the way I planned (one month ago) to see Boston. I drove through it at rush hour and it was a "white knuckle" ride. (An "E" ticket ride in the really old days when Disneyland [and my first son] were infants.) ~~ Well, I got stuck in "outbound" traffic going North toward New Hampshire. "Duh!!"

Then my idiot friend, Carmen (my Garmin), decided I really needed to see the secondary highways and surface streets. I have no idea why she directed me off I-95 to I-93 and later on US-1. I couldn't write down all the highway numbers; I just did the best I could in traffic.

I wanted to escape the congestion and found a Super Stop & Shop Market (large parking lot). I fixed a salad and ate it in the shade of the trailer. I foolishly thought the traffic would have eased so continued. Nope!! Same bumper-to-bumper!! So I asked Carmen for a Wal-Mart. She directed me to one in Lynn (about three miles) but a Security Guard said
"No overnight parking." He directed me to the Wal-Mart in Salem (about five miles).

The Salem Wal-Mart is a small store (by comparison), with a small parking lot, on a very busy street. Strangely, a Wal-Mart that isn't by an Interstate highway or mixed in with dozens of other name-brand stores (like Lowes, McDonald's, TGI Friday, etc.).

I was up at 5:35 this morning because the noise from the parking lot sweeper truck was deafening, and a delivery truck caused the T@B to vibrate as the truck zoomed past (within inches?). Time to get out of Salem!! ~~ It was 64 degrees and I had reached for a blanket during the night because I was cold. ~~ Left Wal-Mart at 6:30 but searched GPS for a nearby Panera before I departed. I did not want to compete with the morning crowd headed for work!!

More information than you wanted to know?!?!?!

Pictures: Top is Salem Wal-Mart; Below: proximity of a sign saying "Boston City Limits"; downtown??; a tunnel; a bridge; Super Stop & Shop Market; everything in a heap on the T@B floor from rough surface streets.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greetings from Hingham, Massachusetts (again)

Greetings from Panera at the Derby Street Shoppes (Mall) in Hingham, Massachusetts. I was here over the Independence Day holiday and left for Cape Cod on Tuesday, July 6th. I'm back on Tuesday, July 27th!! I've driven 568 miles--and seen so many beautiful places!! Met so many nice people, too!! Great T@B rally at Brewster.

I've paid for two nights at Wompatuck State Park. It is "primitive" but very nice. I have electricity; the rate is $17.00 per night. The restrooms and showers are exceptionally nice.

I'll update my blog, and buy groceries at the adjacent Whole Foods Market. I've already purchased some things at the REI store (things I saw on my first visit and have not seen in other sporting goods stores). I've had the delicious Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato (baked) fries, and homemade strawberry lemonade at BGood.

It's 5:30 PM; I've been in Panera since 12:30 noon. I'll do the grocery shopping and head back to my campsite. I may not have WiFi for several days.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plimoth Plantation

I believe it was only six miles from the Plymouth Wal-Mart shopping center to Plimoth Plantation. "Carmen" said "left" but I only saw the ocean. I continued to drive and finally found a place to turn around. It was fourteen miles total but seemed like thirty!!

I left Panera at 10:35 but didn't arrive at
Plimoth Plantation until about 11:35. Traffic was almost at a standstill on Massachusetts State Route 3 headed for Cape Cod. So I took an off-ramp and ended up driving the narrow, busy main street of Plymouth. The signals were timed so only a couple of cars through intersection at a time. Terrible traffic congestion!!

At Plimoth Plantation, I found a parking spot with shade but discovered I couldn't open the trailer door due to tree limbs. The nice folks that arrived just before me moved their car so I could pull forward and access the T@B door. (Nice folks.) I fixed lunch before entering Plimoth Plantation. (Food at tourist attractions is so expensive!!)

Admission to Plimoth Plantation--and
Mayflower II--was less if bought "as a package." I was already familiar with the traffic "downtown" and thought I'd probably NOT find a parking place. $22. for this Senior to walk around in a self-guided tour of the (recreated) Wompanoag (Native American) village, and first English settlers homes, and (of course) gift shops.

I talked to a Staff member (riding around in a golf cart). He recommended taking the Shuttle bus to the Mayflower II.
"Ask the ladies at the admissions desk for a bus schedule." ~~ My timing was perfect; I couldn't have planned it any better!! ~~ A "Trolley" pulled up and I learned it is a sightseeing tour. So--for $10.00--I climbed aboard. It was worth every penny to NOT drive those narrow streets. My only complaint (?!): I couldn't understand half the driver's words. He had the distinctive Massachusetts accent!!

I could have gotten off at several locations and back on later but just stayed on the trolley. I took a picture of the Mayflower II but really didn't want to pay to walk through it. Even at a distance, I could see that the ship had a crowd of people on it.

Nor did I get off at
"Plymouth Rock." It's not authentic so why waste my time?! I took a picture from the trolley. the small "rock" is under that white pillared structure.

I'm confident that the museums, churches, historic old buildings, etc., are well worth visiting. I'm just weary of traffic and congestion!! On the positive side: This speaks well of the tourist industry. The economy is making a slow recovery. People are taking trips and spending money for gas, food, lodging and attractions.

Sadly, more people should
"Go RVing." When I arrived at Wompatuck State Park (at 4:25) there was no problem getting a campsite. Recreation vehicles were driving past my site until dark. In conversation with the Camp Host, I learned this Park is never full.