Tuesday, Aug. 3         We got away at 9:06 (were up at 6:40 but all those last minute things and we didn’t hurry).  We stopped in Clarksville to get a sunshade for the windshield and for granola bars.  Snacked on the bars and a PBJ at Knoxville when we got gas then stopped to eat supper at Wytheville VA at Ocean Bay Restaurant.  Heading for the Travelodge Motel at exit 150 at Roanoke.  Traffic hasn’t been too bad after we left Greenville, though, there are a lot of semi’s on the road.  Arrived at the motel at 8:05 local time (7:05 our time) making our day a 10 hr. day.  Hopefully this is the only one that will be that long.


Wednesday, Aug. 4    We pretty much went right to bed when we got our room last night – so of course about 2:00 am we woke up.  Tommy went back to sleep after a little while, but I didn’t sleep till after 6:00.  I learned that the sharpest point on a tool is a probe for an electron microscope whose point is one atom wide (Modern Marvels) and saw an awesome Civil War scrapbook on Antiques Roadshow – had been put together by the lady’s grandfather and had signatures and pictures of many major Civil War figures including a rare one of John Hunt Morgan (who had captured the lady’s grandfather which was why he wound up with that signature) – value of the scrapbook was $75,000 to $100,000!!!  Of course the lady wasn’t selling, but it was a beautiful work – any modern-day scrapbooker would have appreciated the care and technique that went into designing each page.

                                    We got up about 8:00 and headed for the breakfast bar in the motel which had advertised eggs, waffles, sausage & biscuit.  We had ENVISIOINED one like we had at the EconoLodge at Lebanon, TN; however . . . the eggs were “patties” and the waffles were frozen ones that had been thawed.  Just not what we felt we needed to hold us till after 5:00.  We already knew we’d be getting gas at the TA Truckstop (a BP station) because I had marked it on the map previously as a good price for gas.  They had a Country Pride Restaurant and we ate there.  Had excellent food which was also “all we could eat” but the first helping was all we needed!  So we are back on the road about 9:45 headed for Richmond and the state library.

                                    Arrived at the archives at 12:25 and worked till 4:00 with not much success.  Decided to so south on I-95 to find a room as we had coupons for cheaper rooms there than elsewhere.

Thursday, Aug. 5        Stayed at Executive Inn off of I-95 south – Hispanic section of town!  We were right across from the Richmond Arsenal, on US 1 which is still a busy highway.  Had some rain to pass through after we were in the room, but sun was out when we woke up.  Got up about 7:30 and had breakfast at Waffle House(our usual).  Going back to the library.

                                    Didn’t find a lot at the library.  I got sidetracked by Cawthons in Hanover Co.  We left for the car about 3:40 and had granola bars for snack and then were on our way by 3:50 headed for Waldorf, MD.  Got to Waldorf in an hour & 45 min – not bad traffic but we hit some AWFUL rain – and WIND – going across the bridge into MD – there were reports of wind damage and power outages in the DC area and Frederick Co.  And we saw trees down the next day on our trip north.  When we got to Ron’s we decided to go ahead and eat before the rain got there.  Went to Red Robin which we had never been to and the rain came and went while we were there.  Food was great.  Back at the house we had a nice visit and made plans for our trip to Kent Island on Friday.

Friday, Aug. 6             Up at 6:45 and out of the house by 7:35.  Stopped at Einstein Brothers Bagels for breakfast and then on to Kent Island – crossing the Bay Bridge which is really neat.  We went to the local library there in _____ but didn’t find anything (looking for Horners).  So we decided to go to Centerville to the county library there.  They didn’t have much at all but said the records were available at the court house, so we headed over there.  It is a beautiful old town with gorgeous old houses, so the walk was pleasant.  On the way we passed a sandwhich shop which seemed a good place to eat.  In the court house we found the records, but did not find any Horners.  A genealogist happened to be there and told us that what we wanted was really not available – she was very knowledgeable and very helpful and said she was in charge of the GenWeb site for Talbot and other counties so if we needed a lookup to contact her.

                                    We then headed for the sandwich shop – run by a woman and two girls who worked for her.  Everything was delicious and Ron said the coffee was best he’d ever had.  I got strawberry ice cream which was also great, and then we headed out to find a lighthouse Ron knew about.  After a little searching we found Bloody Point Light – it was out in the water and the accesses were all private so my pictures were all at a distance and in haze.  We also found the Romancoke pier which had a fee – people were fishing and crabbing off the pier.  I got a picture of a bird on a piling here, but could not decide what kind it was as it had its back to us.

                                    After we got back to the house and rested, we met Kara and David and the girls for supper at Famous Dave’s bar-b-que.  We all had a great time with PLENTY of food!!  Kara’s hip was bothering her, so they headed back home after we ate and we went back to Ron’s.  He pulled out his Horner research and I made pictures of the pages.  While going through it, we sort of added another generation to the James Horner line.  Whether this will connect to our line or not remains to be seen.

Saturday, Aug. 7        Up at 6:40 so I could shower and then out by 7:30 – car packed and we are ready to hit the road for Maine.  A stop at Einstein’s Bagels again for breakfast, goodbyes to Ron, and then on the road at 8:20.  Took the Harbor Tunnel to get to I-95.  Got through Baltimore and onto I-95 by 10:05.  Toll for the tunnel was $2.00 and toll to cross the Susquehanna River bridge was $5.00 (which we had anticipated as Ron said MD had raised the toll to $5.00 on all toll bridges except the one on 302 from VA to MD).  Hoping only one more toll on Jersey Turnpike.  At mile 98 at 10:40.  Traffic is moving well – encountered one wreck which had us stopped and then slow but didn’t lose much time with it.  Got on the Delaware Turnpike at 11:10 – long wait to get through the toll booth.  Then onto the Jersey Turnpike at 11:52.  Did stop at DE welcome center to look at map and split a PBJ.

                                    Jersey Turnpike was unreal for a Saturday!  Had loads of traffic and had two places where overload had us completely stopped.  Not what we had anticipated and set us back a little on our time.

                                    Getting through NY was not difficult, just took staying focused.  Ron’s directions were perfect for getting us onto Palisades Parkway which is not the easiest thing to do.  We stopped at the State Line Rest Stop and got sandwiches (and my first magnets!!) and took a stroll along the overlook – really high up!  Left the rest stop at 3:22.  Crossed into CT at about 4:15 and stopped at the information center to pick up motel coupon books for New England, then sat down at the picnic table to look at our options for tonight.  Back on the road about 4:30 heading for Hartford.  Hartford at 5:24 and then the rest of the trip was pretty much just driving.  Got to the Sleep Inn Motel in Londonderry, NH at 7:43.  We asked at the desk about where to eat and were told there was a place up the road with prime rib and lobster.  So we started out looking and wound up driving a good ways before coming to a neat sandwich shop.  It got turkey club and Tommy got a Pastrami Reuben.  Took these back to the motel and ate while Tommy and Chris discussed the purchase of LouCindia’s computer.

Sunday, Aug. 8           Happy Birthday, Joyce!!!  Up at 7:00 so we’ll have plenty of time (actually planned to be up by 8:00, but were rested at 7:00).  We got out a little before 10:00 which turned out to be good – the girl at the desk had given us directions that were one exit too far south to begin with, so when we came to the MA welcome center, we asked for directions and got turned around and headed back where we should have gone earlier.  Then we found that Cheryl was right about Newick’s being tricky to get to – we stopped a lady who was running by and got specifics on how to get there.  Then when we got there at about 11:25, we were the first ones there and the restaurant was not aware of our group coming.  But Cheryl showed up about 11:40 and we went right in.

                                    Joyce was TOTALLY surprised!!!  Stephen got here there about 12:00 and as she walked around the corner and saw the table, her eyes got really big as she began to figure out who was at the table.  She got cards and gifts, including the picture collage we had nursed since Tuesday.  It was a big hit.

                                    For lunch I had broiled scallops and Tommy had seafood medley which had shrimp, lobster, and scallops in a sauce topped with crumbs and baked.  Both were absolutely delicious!!!  Joyce’s friend, Margaret, was there and friends Fay and Linda (who brought the decorations:  we all got Mardi Gras beads and she had a beautiful parrot-shaped mylar balloon and two potted plants).  Cheryl had brought a beautiful cake and after lunch Joyce got to blow out the candles and then we all had cake.  The was delicious also!

                                    A little more visiting and then Margaret took Joyce back home and we followed Cheryl to her home which we had not seen before.  It is really nice – old house with barn and other out-buildings.  She and Jack have 3 horses and 2 dogs.  They are really in a great location, private, and they control the land around them.  Jack was in CA and due back tomorrow at 8:00 in Boston, so we missed him again.

                              We stayed at Cheryl’s until about 5:45 then headed back toward the motel.  We found a restaurant – Puritain Back Room (adjacent to Puritain Conference Center & Puritain Ice Cream).  We had to wait 15 min., but food was absolutely delicious – I had scallops mornay and Tommy had a hot roast beef sandwich.  We were STUFFED!  Left there at 8:25 and were back in the room by 8:50.  Had a good night’s sleep.

Monday, Aug. 9         Left the motel at 9:55 heading for Joyce’s house.  Tommy was up late working on getting the computer ordered, so we were not up very early.  We got to Joyce’s with no problems – all familiar territory actually.  Joyce had some questions about the collage and then she pulled out some pictures and obituaries of the Dows and Dow store – so my camera got busy again.  We asked about doing laundry, and Joyce said of course, so I put a load in and then we went for lunch at Cap’n Simeon’s.  I had scallops (again!) which I shared a little with Tommy; he had a delicious hamburger and Joyce had haddock.  All of it was wonderful.  When we headed back to the house, we detoured back by Emily’s old house and saw that the new owner had done some really nice renovations – adding rooms and windows upstairs.  Back at the house, we put the clothes in the dryer and continued our conversation – just didn’t seem to run out of things to talk about.  And Joyce’s Sheltie, Maddie, finally got settled with the fact that we were not a threat.  And Penny, her cat, finally came downstairs and was really quite friendly.  About 3:00 we really had to leave because we wanted to get to the Trolley Museum in York Beach before it closed.

                                    Heading up US 1 toward York Beach was slow going – much like Gatlinburg on a really bad day.  And even after we got through York Beach (no time to stop for Goldenrod Kisses this time) it was that way ALL the way up to Scarbrough!  An endless line of cars on a two lane road – we must have averaged at least 10 mph (at SOME point anyway!).

                                    FINALLY got to the Trolley Museum outside of Kinnebunk.  Found what we wanted which was some men who had been there since the 1950’s and recognized the cars in the pictures Tommy had from 1953 – said they still had all the cars.  While Tommy was talking, I bought 2 t-shirts and 2 magnets; then took some pictures and we were on our way again.

                                    In Scarbrough, we got supper at Amato’s (Pizza, Pasta, & Sandwiches) – Tommy got chicken Alfredo and I got spaghetti and meat sauce – both were GENEROUS portions and very good.  We found a motel ($90!!!!) – the Downeast Motel – and hope to get a good rest tonight before heading for Canada tomorrow.

Tuesday, Aug. 10       Our first day of no commitments!  We had gone to bed early last night, so were awake by 7:00 and up at 7:30.  Left the motel about 8:30 looking for breakfast and headed for Freeport and L. L. Bean.  Got off I-95 at Yarmouth information/welcome center and passed DeLorme Maps on the way.  So NATURALLY we HAD to go in there on our way back out!!!  They have a 3 STORY TALL rotating globe in the lobby – “Eartha” – AWESOME!!!  Then we went in to the map store – got out for just over $200 which was HIGHLY reasonable for us!  Went just up the road to the café and had an excellent breakfast.  Now in Freeport which has CHANGED!!!  Pigeon Forge all over!!  Found L. L. Bean, but parking is going to leave us with a MAJOR hike to get in the store.

                                    Bought shirts for Tommy and an enamel strainer for me.  Left Freeport at 1:00 bound for Canada.

                                    Crossed in to Canada with no problems at Calais, ME/St. Stephen, NB and started out looking for “Oak Bay Provincial Park.”  Went past the Oak Bay exit hoping to get an exit to the “Park.”  Didn’t get it.  Backtracked and went some back roads and FINALLY got back on the road to Oak Bay and found the “Park” which is just a privately owned campground.  Got a campsite at the restrooms at 6:45 local time (Atlantic time) and got supper (we had stopped earlier in Maine and gotten some sandwich meat, tomatoes, bread and other snack stuff).  Have the car “repacked” for sleeping and just kind of “chillin’” – still light somewhat at 8:55 (I am writing at the picnic table) and there are clouds moving in; may have some rain tomorrow.

Wednesday, Aug. 11  We had a little rain last night – started as we were getting to bed, so rushed to put the last few items in.  I finally got around to transferring the pictures to the computer so I am ready to take all the pictures I want today.  We slept pretty well – had a little trouble getting to sleep, but that was because we were in bed early.  Tommy played solitaire on the computer while waiting for it to charge up.  Had more rain before we got to sleep – a little lightning and thunder, but mostly in the distance.

                                    We got up about 7:00 (ADT) and were away by 8:15.  Headed for Hopewell Rocks today.  We’ve stopped at a mall in St. George to get breakfast at the Chef’s Savory Grill in the mall.  Breakfast was ok – I had to get bacon, cheapest way to go.  But it was not bad.  In St. George we found the St. George Fishway which was built in 1928 to allow fish to get upstream beyond the hydroelectric dam on the Macacuadavic River.  Mostly Atlantic Salmon and Alewives are the fish found using the stair.  It is set in a beautiful gorge and it was interesting to see the water flowing under the walkway through the 43 pools; we didn’t see any fish, though the sign indicated there could have been some at that time.  Farther down the road we saw blueberries being picked using mechanical pickers; we didn’t get close enough to see how they worked or how big the plants were – just seemed that blueberry plants would have been larger than what we were seeing in the fields.   

Then we headed out to find Mary’s Point and the migrating birds who were stopping off there to eat “mud shrimp” on their way from the Arctic to Central and South America.  We took NB 114 off of CA 2 to head toward the coast.  Just off of the exit, we saw McCabe’s Homemade Ice Cream (11757 Rt. 114) and HAD to stop.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  This is absolutely a MUST stop for anyone in the area.  NB 114 took us to Fundy National Park, but since we were not stopping in the park we did not have to pay a fee.  We found the right roads – with the help of a map given to us at the Fundy National Park gateway.  However . . . signage in NB leaves MUCH to be desired!  Mary’s Point is a significant wildlife heritage site, but the only thing we saw that said Mary’s Point was the road leading off the highway.  The signage referred to Shepody Bay, and even the turn to go INTO the Mary’s Point parking lot had the Shepody Bay name.  We passed it the first time and then turned around and went back.  When we got INTO the parking lot, we saw a marker saying Mary’s Point and designating it a wetland of international importance – only place we found the name. 

                                    Once in the parking lot, we had to hike out to the point.  The tide was going out – which was just how we wanted it:  the birds feed on the shrimp in the mud flats as the tide goes out or comes in, so our timing was great.  When the mud began to appear, so did the birds – probably two hundred or so eventually.  They were beautiful flying in unison and banking and turning and then settling down onto the mudflat.  Watching the area change with the outgoing tide was fascinating!  We’d see the tips of grass appear and then gradually the whole plant would be out of the water; the area we sat in was under water when we first got there.  But that is what the tides in Fundy Bay are noted for.

                              After watching the birds for a while, we headed for Hopewell Rocks.  How that had changed since we were there before with Kenneth!  After one false start, we finally headed for the “Flower Pots.”  Turned out the “gate” was not where it had been before and we hiked a ways to it.  Had we known before, we could have parked in a better place.  Anyway, there had not been much wind so we learned something about Bay of Fundy:  it is so turbulent that the water never has a chance to let the mud settle out, so it is always brown.  But – with no wind and very little wave action – the receding water leaves MUD, a thin layer everywhere!!  We managed to go opposite from the way Kenneth and I went before and then back the way Kenneth and I had gone.  Got mud on the edges of my shoes, but nothing critical – we did really well considering how bad the mud was (saw some kids REALLY getting into the mud – a child’s heaven when they can play in it like that).  We were TIRED by the time we got back up the stairs and so took the shuttle back to the main gate (don’t remember there being a shuttle the last time we were there).

                                    From there we made our way up to Moncton and saw the area where we had watched the “tidal bore” on our previous trip.  We found Rosanno’s Italian Grill there and had delicious scallops and fettuccini Alfredo. 

                                    We stayed the night at a beautiful campsite at Amherst Shore State Provincial Park – must have gotten down into the 50’s – I slept in my jeans and eventually put my long sleeve shirt over my arm and pulled a blanket out just before we got up.  They have Wi-Fi here, so we are checking e-mail (turned our phones off as they were roaming when we entered Canada) and Tommy wanted Kenneth to reply to a couple of calls that had come in on the phones before we left Maine.  Tommy is reading about the Radio Canada International site that we saw in Sackville as we came through yesterday.  It was an awesome array of poles, wires, and boxes on the ground – been there since 1944; went on the air to Canadian troops in Europe in 1945.

Thursday, Aug. 12                  Up about 8:00 and used the WI-FI to send and check e-mail.  Had to take a detour at Northport but went through some beautiful farm land – lots of hay ground, some wheat, and lots of dairy cows.  We ate breakfast in Oxford at the café at the motel there ($10.68).  We’ve been able to pretty much use US dollars and they give us Canadian money back.  Cheaper than getting a 3% charge on every Visa transaction!  We left the restaurant at 11:00 headed for Cape Breton.

                                    Drove pretty much all day getting across to Cape Breton Island.  We are following Cabot Trail – backwards (starting up the east coast and will finish down the west coast).  The scenery is beautiful, but the road is not too good (Cheryl had warned us of that).  We didn’t stop much till we got to South Haven where we found the Lobster Galley Restaurant and we stopped there for an early supper.  After that we passed the Gaelic College at St. Ann’s and I HAD to stop and go in the craft shop.  This is the Gaelic section of Nova Scotia (there is a Scottish section and a French section also).  Just like in New Brunswick where the road signs are in English and French, here they are in English and Gaelic!  In the craft shop there were all kinds of clothing and clan tartans as well as other items with Gaelic theme.  Many things with Celtic knots.

Then we drove on to Ingonish Beach inside Cape Breton Highlands National Park and got campsite 69 for the night.  Got the car ready for sleep and then we set off for a hike to the beach.  When we got there, the waves were LOUD but the beach was sandy – all sand.  Then we looked out on the horizon and there was rain far out to sea – and on the left side of that we saw a waterspout!!!!!  Then as we watched a while, another waterspout tried to form to the right of the first one and then the first one went away and a third one formed to the left of the first one – actually in the same place as the first one; they were moving north to south (left to right as we watched).  A man who lived farther south was there with his grandson and he said he’d lived here 58 years and only seen a waterspout once!  We felt pretty lucky!  (Of COURSE I have pictures!!!!)

Back in camp we had to clean out sand from shoes, but basically are ready for bed – at 8:30!

Friday, Aug. 13           So – to bed at 8:30 and up at 5:45!  Showers and then while our wet things dried some, we chased the sunrise.  We were a little late, but got some good pictures anyway.  When we got back to the campsite, a woodpecker was working the bark of the tree at our site – and was not camera shy at all!  So 6:50 and we are ready to leave and find breakfast.

                                    Found one restaurant but were not sure about eating there so went down the road and were in the National Park with no breakfast.  HAD to stop at Lakies Head and Green Cove (AWESOME granite intrusions on rocky headland – climbed over the rocks, of course, and saw cormorants on rocks out in the water!)  Went on to Black Brook Beach where there were picnic tables on the beach and I made sandwiches since we were NOT finding restaurants!  The beach was BEAUTIFUL with wonderful waves and a rocky point where I could climb (of course!).  Left there – a good break – and went to Neils Harbour to see the lighthouse there (AND the noisy seagulls wanting a handout!).  By 9:15 we’re back on Cabot Trail.

                                    Decided to do a whale watch tour – Oshan Whale Watch “Keltic Hospitality Guaranteed.”  So had to drive out to Bay St. Lawrence – upper end of Cape Breton.  Stopped at the Co-op store there and got buttermilk and banana nut muffins and a Coke for Tommy ($46.00 for the boat).  We set out with not a lot of hope of seeing whales:  water was ROUGH!!!  Whitecaps on LARGE swells!!  The captain was VERY VERY GOOD:  the ride out was VERY smooth considering the waves!  He started by going by a Bald Eagle perched on an outcrop.  Then he took us along the coast – up close – so we could see the LAYERS of rocks with the granite intrusions.  Incredible evidence of uplift from continental drift!!!  Then he headed out for open water – and as we rounded a point there were some seals – at a distance, but visible.  Then farther out, hoping for whales.  And then suddenly there were whales!  Some up close – almost at the side where we could touch them!!!  AWESOME!!!  There was a pod of about 5, looked like mothers, juveniles and at least one new baby.  There were a couple of others that surfaced separate from the larger group.  The captain did a good job of following them but not disturbing them.  Finally he had to head back in as he had other tours to go.  When we got back, he had 26 in the next group.  Our group only had about 12.  But we had one couple who had 2 children – the young one being a little over a year old (she was pretty good at standing and walking).  Apparently she had not gotten her nap out and a short way into the tour she began to cry.  It got worse and worse till she was finally in that state that babies get where they are just screaming rhythmically; this went on for about 45 minutes before she finally fell asleep.  Other passengers were a couple from Quebec (he spoke English but she did not), a Japanese couple who were retired (said he “sold his company”).  There was also a group who were members of a Celtic band who were going to be performing in Sydney this weekend (one lady had a VERY Irish brogue).

                                    After our whale watch (which was all the way up at Bay St. Lawrence at the tip of Cape Breton) we headed back down the same road back to Cabot Trail.  We stopped at a few overlooks, but had a REALLY great stop at the Bog between MacKenzie Mountain and French Mountain.  AWESOME!!!!!  They had a board walk through an alpine bog – complete with stunted trees and THREE KINDS of carnivorous plants!!!!  There were sundews all over the place, pitcher plants which were blooming, and bladderworts in the wetter areas!!!  Really really great – and only a short walk around; and there was a young ranger there who pointed out the flowers to us and had some clear cups with pond water in them and “critters” so we could see what else lived in the water.  He even stuck his finger down in the “bottom” of the “pond” and it just went right on through the “bottom” – no telling how far you’d sink if you stepped off into it!

                                    After that we were basically trying to get back across the Canso Causeway to New Brunswick and see how far back across NS we could get before stopping.  We stopped at Irving gas station and got $27.00 in gas just off the causeway and now are headed for New Glasgow (8:00 p.m.)

                                    Well that was kind of a bust.  The state road map had a campground – the closest to CA104 – and we headed for it.  However, we didn’t find it and came to the end of Hwy 289 and a convenience store.  Tommy went in and asked and was told the campground had burned down – at least 2 years ago!  So . . . nothing else was close enough and it was now 9:00.  So we decided to spring for a motel, trying to find a reasonably priced one.  Back down the road and back through town to the Country Inn & Suites (It was that or Holiday Inn Express or one other that we thought would be higher).  The lady was VERY nice and gave us the name and directions to an older motel, Tara Inn.  Again, the lady there was VERY nice and helpful and we got the room for $80.00!  So . . . tonight we have a real bed, a fridge, and Tommy has TV.  All’s right with the world.

Saturday, Aug. 14      Slept really well and were up a little before 7:00.  I took the opportunity to wash my hair so we got away at 8:30.  Tommy had oatmeal at the motel office and I had the last of the banana nut muffins we had yesterday before the whale watch.  Tommy got a banana for me from the motel buffet so we are set for a while.  It is 171 km t Amherst and that is almost to New Brunswick.  The horse is now headed for the barn, but with a stop at the Cog Railroad at Mt. Washington.

                                    At 11:30 we got gas at Moncton, New Brunswick.  We pulled into the Shell truck stop at exit 48 to use Internet to be sure I was looking at our route correctly to be at Dolly Copp campground tonight ready for Cog Railway tomorrow.

                                    At exit 346 (off of CA2) we HAD to stop at McCabe’s for ice cream.  At our stop Wednesday at the other shop, the man said his wife had this shop down on the Interstate.  We saw the sign on the road and said we would stop; then we were not SURE when we got to the exit, but Tommy saw the ice cream cone sign with arrows pointing to the shop and I saw a huge balloon which, as it turn out, was at the shop as well.  Tommy said he had to get another maple cream cone, but I was going to try vanilla since the strawberry had been so good at the other store.  But when I looked at the choices, I saw Red Raspberry – so changed my mind immediately.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  Brought back memories of having raspberry sherbert at Nonna Swett’s house when I was a kid.  This is a necessary sto for anyone in the area.

                                    1:56 back in good ole US of A at Houlton, ME.  Had to cut one of my tomatoes so the agent could check for pests, but otherwise no problems crossing the border.

                                    Going down the road, we decided that since it was Saturday we had better make some reservations.  So stopped at a café that had WI-FI and got reservations for the Cog Railroad for Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (that is always a steam train and we wanted to be on the steam train).  So we HAD to have a campsite in the area and HAD to get that far.  We didn’t look up campgrounds at the motel figuring to call Dolly Copp campground for reservations (got that # at the café).  However, a call to Dolly Copp said they were full.  They gave a number for another campground which was also full. Beginning to get concerned.  In the midst of this concern, our gas gauge said 10 miles to empty.  I told Tommy two exits we could make.  Then we got into conversation about the campground crisis and missed the exits.  Saw a crossover and took it back to the last exit – which had a small (Buchanan-size) community with a pub.  Tommy went in and got directions – to the next exit back as it turned out, but via the back road.  He used the electric motor all the way and we went 6 miles on 4 miles of gas!  Knew that hybrid would come in handy some day!

                                    Gassed up at the service station there and then we were back on the road but still with a campground crisis.  State parks were full and so were national forest campgrounds.  So . . . we called Chris (who was in Cleveland, TN) and had him look for commercial sites.  He gave us 3 numbers.  The first one I called I got an answering machine and left a message.  Not waiting for a call back (which was smart as it turned out – I am STILL waiting for that call back), I called the next number.  The man said they, too, were filled up so I asked if anyone might have openings and he gave me the number for Living Waters Campground.  They had a site!  With electricity!!  Right across from the restroom!!!  PERFECT!!!!  Reserved it with the credit card and he said to call when we hit the New Hampshire border – he had thought we would be after 9:00 arriving.  But – even with me driving – we made it by 8:50 – in spite of the traffic at Skowhegan and Farmington and all the little towns with 40 and 30 mph limits (you’d get up to 55 for a mile or two and then back off it again).  And there was construction – with NO pavement and washboard ruts – but at least they were not working so we drove straight through.

                                    At the NH border, called and got “Jack” who gave us directions to the campground.  Going through Gorham, NH was like going through Gatlinburg, but not quite as crowded; this is ski area and it looks very much like the Gatlinburg area.  We got to the campground before the camp store closed.  Campsite was GREAT!!  Wooded and private and right across from the restroom.

Sunday, Aug. 15         Up about 6:40.  Tommy burned his arm doing his good deed of fixing my tea:  spilled some hot water on it as he was moving the Hot Shot after the water had boiled; there are going to be some blisters from that.  We had breakfast at the campground grill/deli.  DELICIOUS!!!  And best prices we’ve had the whole trip!  So at 8:20 we were on the road to Cog Railroad.  Made one mistake – missed the turn for the Railroad:  both of us looking at something else.  Realized the mistake pretty quickly and turned back.  Just did make the train after restroom break.

                                    The train ride was AWESOME!!!!!  Getting to watch the engine push the car up was fascinating!  And we got the steam engine so lots of cinders and smoke.  Views were incredible!  But we knew that from the auto ride we did years ago with Chris and Kenneth.  The train has a switch close to the top which had 4 different maneuvers that had to be done and all had to be done by hand.  Coming back I got pictures of that in action as a diesel was on the siding waiting for us to pass.  We learned that coming up the mountain the engineer controls the speed of the train, but going down the brakeman in the passenger car controls the speed by slowing and speed of the CAR which is not really attached to the engine – just resting against it.  Fascinating!!!  Bumpy ride as you can imagine, but awesome – at one point you are at a 37% angle:  people standing “upright” in the car were leaning back; my feet were dangling FORWARD off the floor going downhill.  Of course there were about 70 people on the train going up – we were the last ones on and there were no seats together, so I wound up sitting in the back (next to the engine!!!!) and Tommy was midway up.  There was a Japanese couple with a little boy sitting in front of me (and a French Mother and son sitting with me).  As we got a little over halfway up the mountain, the little boy in front of us started crying.  Remembering our experience on the whale boat ride I was thinking what was I doing wrong to attract these children?  We had brought some snacks with us:  peanut butter and crackers for Tommy and my fruity granola bars for me.  So I pulled out the crackers and offered them to the mother.  She politely said no thanks – he needed to pee and of course there was no place.  I laughed and said he’s a boy – take him to the front of the car and let him do what all boys know to do.  We all had a good laugh over that.  A few minutes later, the little boy made his way over to his father who was sitting in front of me – then he looked squarely at me and held out his hand!!!  I dug out the package of crackers and gave it to him; his mother said to thank me and he did – with a really big grin on his face.  His mother pulled out a box that had cereal in it which they had brought for him – she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.  But we didn’t hear anything else out of the little boy.  Grandma did good.

                                    From Cog Railroad we made our way back across the state, heading for Vermont.  On the way we saw on the map “Polar Caves” and HAD to stop -  hadn’t been in a cave the whole trip.  It was AWESOME!!  It is a hill of rocks and boulders, I guess deposited by glaciers in the past – but there are passageways among the rocks that form “caves.”  They have built an incredibly interesting display of animals and have identified plants and have several signs talking about the history of the area – very educational, and there were mostly families with children there; but the “caves” are like a very very intricate set of twisting passageways – like “Fat Man’s Squeeze” at Rock City but continuous.  Very well-constructed wooden stairs connect one “cave” to the next and in several places there are two options of ways to go.  If you are EVER in NH you MUST SEE this, especially if you have children – it is a child’s climbing dream come true!!!!!  It is truly a unique place.

                                    Before we left Polar Caves parking lot we made sandwiches and then headed toward Vermont again.  Got into Vermont about 4:40 on US 4.  Followed 4 till we got to US 7 going south.  Followed that to Emerald Lake State Park where we are camping tonight – campsite 64.  We had just set out the cooler to make sandwiches (we had stopped at Wal-Mart earlier to replenish what we’d used) and it started to sprinkle rain.  So we changed everything around for sleeping with the cooler facing the back so I could make the sandwiches – sat here with the tail gate up and had a comfortable supper.  It is now 8:10 and rain sprinkles come and go so guess we’ll have rain tonight.  Tommy – ever the Boy Scout – found some hot embers in the fire pit and HAD to try to get a fire going, so we now have a beautiful fire.  Should have saved our Vienna sausages and roasted them!(LOL)  It is good for keeping the mosquitoes at bay, though; this is the first time we’ve really had a problem with them, but they are really vicious here tonight.

Monday, Aug. 16       Early to bed and early to rise – so we were up at 6:15 and left the campground at 7:00.  Since we arrived “late” (after the attendant was gone) and checkout was at 10:00, we stayed this night free – there just wasn’t anyone around to take our money!  Had a bit of a false start:  Tommy got the car rearranged while I was in the bathroom, and he moved the car to the front of the bathrooms – on the road – so I would not have to deal with the sand in the campsite.  When he went to start the car, it would not start.  We really had not used that much battery last night, so don’t know why it did it.  So got out our battery pack (which we had used to run the fan a little last night) and started it right up.  It only ran for maybe 20 seconds and then went back to the electric batteries, so it had not run down – don’t know exactly why it did that.  So at 7:00 we are on US 7 headed for Bennington, VT and on to NY.

                                    Stopped at Bennington at the Dunkin Donuts so I could go to the restroom and there was a man walking 2 Corgis in front of the store.  So of course we had to go and meet them.  Brandy – the older female =- was a sedate lady, like Tara (more the shape of Cindy or Princess) and she was red and white with some black hairs on her back.  The other dog was a 7 month old puppy – black and white and DEFINITELY all puppy!!  Brandy had seen us at the stop light (Tommy had talked to her from there) and when we pulled up to park, she wanted to come see us.

                                    Back on the road and into NY about 7:30.  Breakfast at Metro 20 Diner ($14.47) on US 20 out of Albany; again an excellent meal!  By 9:45 we were back on the road.  At 1:06 we were asking directions in Binghamton to be sure we were headed right.  Made our decision to go the quickest way home (to get the horse to the barn!).  Stopped in Corning, NY and had lunch at – what else? – Red Lobster!  Back on the road at 3:22 heading for PA and I-80.

                                    We are heading south on 15 to get into PA.  Last time we were through here it was under construction so we figured it would be finished by now.  NOPE!  WRONG!!  Part of the grading has grown up in grass, but we do see them working so maybe in another couple of years . . . looks like it was just the NY section – PA is 4 lane (3:48 into PA).

                                    We examined what we wanted to do, and decided to take I-80 across PA and go into OH and down through KY.  Hit a little construction but no major delays.  We tried to get Internet access at 4 points at one exit, but none were open or were too weak to use.  Tommy wanted to call Katherine and tell her we would not be through Knoxville and her number was in an e-mail which he had gotten while we were on the trip.  So at each of the stops at the exit we looked for discount coupon books for motels on the way as we did not see campgrounds close to our path.  We found a book at TA (Truckstops of America) and finally found a coupon for Super 8 at Brookville, PA, so that is where we will be tonight.  . . .  Arrived at Super 8 at 8:05, so carrying a SMALL amount of stuff in as there is no elevator and we are on the 3rd floor!

Tuesday, Aug. 17       Up at 7:00 and breakfast of waffles in the motel.  Leaving at 8:30.  Into Ohio at 9:40.  Stopped for lunch at 12:05 at the rest stop just north of Columbus.  I drove then through Columbus and Cincinnati and to the rest stop just before Louisville, KY.  We had congestion at the I-65 on-ramp due to an accident, but got through and are clear of Louisville at 4:35.  West KY Parkway at Elizabethton at 5:02.  Got to I-24 at Eddyville at 5:56.  On to Purchase Parkway at 6:16 and pulled into Sirloin Stockade in Murray for supper at 6:46 having achieved what we consider a truly incredible accomplishment:  we drove from I-24 at Calvert City all the way through Murray without having to stop at a single traffic light!  If you have ever traveled that stretch of road, you know what an incredible feat that is!!!  We left Murray at 7:20 (didn’t have to stop at the light leaving town either!) and got home at 7:56.  Total mileage was 4724 miles.  A most memorable trip!

Scroll down to view the background picture which was taken at Lakies Head, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia.