Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 92- 13 Weeks On the Road

We caught the ferry in Port Kent, NY to cross Lake Champlain. It was a short trip, 9.6 miles taking a little longer than an hour but it saved us about 6 hours of travel to the top of the lake and around Rouse’s Point. It was a different sort of ferry experience than the Inside Passage. There the vehicles were in the belly and the passengers on top. Here, the vehicles were on top while us passengers rode at about water level. It was mildly disconcerting to look out the porthole and see the water just below the rim. The photo of the day is of one of the deck hands. Check out his stylish footwear. You can do anything with duct tape! Burlington was only slightly congested so we were able to get out of town in pretty good time. Then, it was “second star to the left and straight on ’til morning” or to be a little less dramatic, home over very familiar roads. We did stop in Barre for gas and lunch. I’m not sure if it was relief I was feeling when we arrived home or something a little different, maybe dread at all the stuff I have to catch up on, mail, shows to register for, several phone calls to return and of course there is the unpacking. Somehow, it’s always easier to pack than to unpack. Well, the trip of a lifetime is finally over. The partial tally stands at 92 days, 16,458 miles, 4 Provinces and 21 states visited, 77 postcards sent and 18 new refrigerator magnets to dust. People have asked what part of the trip I liked best and I have to say, I loved it all. Carl wants to go back to Arches at another time of the year and I’d have to agree. I loved Yellowstone for it’s hundreds of miles of roads which allowed much more access to the park than any other. And our 3 ½ weeks in Alaska wasn’t nearly enough. We didn’t even scratch the surface of what she has to offer. I discovered bears are more prevalent than I had previously thought but moose are more scarce in the areas we visited. I’m sure there is somewhere up there where you can’t turn a corner but you’re bumping into them. All that remains now is to unload the camper, total up the expenses for the accountant and get the rest of my images burned to DVD so I can free up some hard drive space on the laptop. Shortly, I’ll be posting a list of “Things We Learned” on our trip. I got the idea from my step mom, Adena. She and my dad traveled to Minnesota to pick up their new camper at the Scamp factory and she posted her list for friends and family to chuckle over shortly after their return. I thought it was a great idea. Now, I have to throw myself back into the business of being a photographer and a participating member of the co-op in Plymouth. I need to feel as if I’m pulling my own weight. In fact, I have a show scheduled for September 24th in Littleton I need to get my head on straight for. The following weekend will be in Sugar Hill and then it’s time for the Sandwich Fair. I hope to see you all at a venue near you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 91- Ausable Caverns vs. Irene

After the tremendous thunder and lightening show Mother Nature put on last night which was followed up by substantial rain, it was a blessing to see the sun light trying to shine through the thick stand of pines we’re camped under. All in all, it was a pretty good night. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, Baltimore beat Tampa Bay and Time Wakefield finally got his 200th win after 7 previous attempts. There was a bit of a chill in the air but not enough to convince me to close up the camper window on my side last night. I just love that fresh air. It did, however, make me think about wearing slacks into the Chasm a little later in the morning. We settled up with the office where they informed Carl his admission would be free because of his military service. My fare would be reduced because we’re staying in their campground. The shorts won out over the slacks and after a short walk across the street, we found ourselves at the welcome center. Military ID’s were offered to the lady at the cash register and we both were given free access to the privately owned geological attraction that has been wowing people since 1870. And when we learned the volume of water had risen more than 60 feet during Irene’s stay in the New England area, we were not surprised to find several bridges and hundreds of feet of catwalk had been completely washed away. The gorge, part of Lake Champlain’s drainage was also littered with a variety of materials which included Styrofoam, various types and sizes of lumber, car tires and even a propane cylinder. It was relatively easy to find the high water mark by the flattened shrubbery or torn up and scarred trees. We were allowed to walk down into the Chasm along some of the platforms to within feet of twisted metal and broken off concrete. The shear power of water in a gently flowing state is often mistaken and can be very damaging so imagine more than a hundred feet of water being forced down through the narrow rocky gorge. We saw rocks from a totally different part of the chasm sitting more than 100 feet above the current level of the water which seemed peaceful enough down where they were sending off the rafts. Yes, you can walk more than two miles along the rim of the chasm or you can walk part way through and take a raft ride down over two small scale rapids and a whirl pool before hauling out on a sandy spot downstream. We chose the long walk without the raft but did accept the offered trolley ride back to the welcome center where they dropped you off at the gift shop. We had lunch there, pizza for me and a chicken patty sandwich with fries for Carl, followed by the always popular souvenir shopping, the last of the post cards to send and the last of the magnets to live the rest of their lives on my refrigerator. It never ceases to amaze how many photos I take during a day like today. The warm sunshine was broken with light clouds, the walk was pleasant and the scenery was geologically breathtaking. I can’t get over how many layers of sedimentary rock make up the steep sided gorge, some more than a foot thick while others are a mere inch or two. We got an up close and personal look at the Rainbow Falls at the head of the Chasm where two hydroelectric buildings still provide power to the grid. We also saw a large eroded area near the bridge. All in all it was a great few hours and even though I’ve often said there is no such things as bad pizza, I’m not sure I’d rush over there to have another piece any time soon. And here is something else to consider. This was another place where there was no signage offering military personnel free admission. Over the 13 plus weeks of our trip, we are now in the habit of bringing out those cards as our preferred form of identification. Carl’s military service along with so many others shouldn’t be reduced to having to ask for reduced admission. There should be signs everywhere proudly proclaiming servicemen are welcome with all thanks. Everyone seems to fly a flag and think that’s enough.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 90- I Love NY

Or at least I love the part of NY that we traveled through today. We left Dickson City, PA late. When Carl opened the door this morning to fill the generator, he couldn’t even see the end of the parking lot the fog was so thick. I stayed in bed with another headache over my left eye but by 9:00, I was feeling really guilty for holding up our departure. I had scheduled 369 miles to travel today and knew it would be a long day. By 9:30, we were on the road, Rte 81 North which we would stay on until Watertown, NY. The further north we traveled, the more I noticed the reds of the swamp maples popping out. It would have been spectacular if the sun had been out. As it was, we were traveling under this massive dark cloud. After turning onto Rte 3 East, storm damage from Irene became evident, roads and culverts washed out as well as lots of mud encrusted foliage way above the water line of the rivers and streams we were crossing. We traveled through some of the places I’d only ever heard about, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and even a little town called Fine. At one point we entered Mexico which was kind of cool but later when we hit Peru, I knew we hadn’t actually turned south. Apple trees became more prevalent and signs showed us entering and leaving the Adirondack State Park several times. For a while, we traveled along the Saranac River, a beautiful and fully flowing body of water. I ’m not sure what it normally looks like. From Rte 3, the AAA trip tik sent us on back roads, a mile to the right, 3 miles to the left and so on for about 20 miles until we rounded a corner and found ourselves looking at Rte 9. I made an educated guess to turn left. Yesterday, when I was at the AAA website I plugged in the address of the campground and was informed that no such address could be found so I chose an address they suggested. My hunch proved right. We found Ausable Chasm about ¾ mile down the road and the campground appeared shortly thereafter. I’m excited to be here. As we passed over the Chasm, I looked to the right and saw 3 waterfalls. The office was closed when we arrived but they had put out a note with our site assignment. We’ll check in with them in the morning . All of the roads in the campground are named after trees. We’re in Ash 12. It’s a drive through site and although there is no wi-fi, Carl has 13 TV stations. We decided not to unhook tonight because Carl is sore and tired, I’m okay with that. My head is still pounding. I helped him with the electric and then went inside to put out the slider while he hooked up the water. Then I went outside to inform him of an overly friendly chipmunk but he wasn’t in our site. Sure enough, he’s over at the neighbor’s who is hanging Christmas lights in their site, by the way. He’s such a social butterfly.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 89- On The Road One More Time , September 12, 201

I think we lulled ourselves into a state of disbelief where Tropical Storm Lee was concerned. Today, we left Carlisle, which was relatively untouched, and headed for Hershey. We knew the park had had some washout issues and were uncertain what we might find. What we found was muddy high water marks more than 6 feet up on trees. Whole fields were flattened and a section of roadway will need to be rebuilt about ¼ mile long. The ground and asphalt was gone on either side of the guardrail. I can’t figure out what was keeping the guardrail there. In other places, you could see debris hanging from branches 4 feet above the ground, road signs were flattened over from the force of the water and large areas of roadside where covered with mud and trees. When we arrived at Chocolate World, the signage indicated the amusement park and the sports complex was closed until further notice and the parking area in front of the Experience Center had only one bus and perhaps 50 cars total. I haven’t a clue how many of those cars belonged to staff members. Once inside the building, a gentleman handed us a map of the building and explained our options. We decided to take the free factory tour and add two paid additional experiences, the Chocolate Tasting Seminar and the Build Your Own Candy Bar. We could have added a trolley tour of downtown, a create your own dessert and the 3-D extravaganza. The factory tour was a mock up of the real thing. They changed this around in the late 80’s because so many people were touring the plant, they couldn’t get anything done. Then we went to the Chocolate Tasting Seminar and were the only two people in the room. There were five pieces to try, starting with milk chocolate, the lowest percentage of Cacao all the way up to a 45% square. We were invited to snap in half, smell and take a nibble to melt on our tongues. The “Guest Lecturer” encouraged us to figure out what the finish of the candy was, similar to a wine tasting. I explained to her I was a dismal failure in the wine tasting experience, but, I could pick up some of the after notes like coffee, cinnamon, fruit and caramel depending on a variety of reasons. I asked about the higher percentage of cacao and she said Hershey makes a Sharffen Berger Bittersweet Chocolate that is 70% cacao. They gave me the last little sample square they had but I haven’t tried it yet. After I share it with Carl, I suspect I’ll be unable to afford the bar. This seminar was entertaining and I did learn to just melt the chocolate on your tongue instead of biting and chewing. I also learned the average milk chocolate candy bar takes 10 days to make ( from Cacao nib to bar ) while the Sharffen Berger sample I haven’t eaten yet takes 45 days. I have a new respect for the common candy bar. The last thing we did was to make our own candy bar. We had to put on aprons, hair nets and sanitize our hands before putting on a plastic glove over my wedding ring. Carl even had to cover his beard. Then we entered the mini-factory and chose our base chocolate, milk or white. They were out of dark chocolate today, bummer! That's the one I would have chosen because it's loaded with antioxidants which are good for you. Then we could choose 3 ingredients to add to our bar. I chose raspberry bits, pretzel bits and butter toffee crunch bits. The other three ingredients were crisped rice, chocolate bits and almond slivers. We watched as each ingredient was added and then followed our bars through the robing process (pouring milk chocolate all over the bar ) until we lost sight of them in the cooling tunnel. The bars would spend 6 minutes in this cooling chamber which would give us time to design our own wrapper in the production studio. It was a touch screen process which allowed us to choose colors, logos, wording and other additives. The board on the wall notified us when our bars were leaving the cooling tunnel and heading to the boxing machine. This was a fun thing to do although I have to admit I would have liked different ingredient options from what they offered. I would have chosen to add coconut or mint chips to my bar with almond slivers on top. There was a space at the end for us to give them suggestions for other ingredients to be considered. The computer also compiled statistics from all the people who have built candy bars. My bar was completely unique. No other person has chosen those exact ingredients. I don’t know if this is good or bad. I spent some time in the souvenir shop and then we hit the camper in the parking lot for lunch. It was the fastest two hours I’ve spent in a while. We were supposed to head to the Crystal Cave in Kutztown but the lady at the souvenir concession thought they were closed due to the flooding so we passed and headed to our “campsite” for the night. When I built the trip tik for this alternate trip, I may have put in the wrong information and had I not read ahead we would have driven 25 miles north to turn around and drive 23 miles south. It saves us time and gas. Our generator is puttering away while Carl is watching TV. And me, well you know what I’ve been doing. You’re gonna miss these daily blogs when this journey is over, aren’t you?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 88- 10 Years Later , September 11, 2011

There are few days in history when events are such that everyone remembers exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard the news. Today was a day for retrospection, the phrase , “Where were you when…” kept coming to mind. Days like the invasion of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, the first man in space, the first landing on the moon, the death of Elvis Presley and the attacks on the World Trade Center are just a few that come to mind for me. Both Carl and I sat before the television in the camper watching the events unfold on this 10th anniversary much as I did on that horrific and eventful day. Only today was a much more believable scenario. Ten years ago, I sat stunned, thinking it must be some horrible mechanical accident, unbelieving that anyone, in their right mind, could dream up and put action such events. The world is a much different place today and things can never be the same as they were. After careful debate, our plan has also changed once more. This latest change will see us home in a few days. The new plan is to leave Western Village RV Park on Monday morning and head for Hershey, PA to spend a couple of chocolate filled hours learning about the stuff that fills my head with dietary suicidal notions. I hope to learn the truth about chocolate actually being good for you. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Crystal Cave in Kutztown, PA for a tour of the underground limestone formations. From there, we’ll head north and spend the night in Dickson City, PA at the local Wal-Mart. On Tuesday, we’ll continue north into New York, driving up through The Adirondacks to end at Ausable Chasms campground for the evening. Wednesday will be spent in and around the geologic wonders of the Chasm. I’ve heard about it but never visited so I understand we’re in for a treat if the weather’s good. We’ll spend another night at the campground and head for the Lake Champlain Ferry at Fort Kent, NY on Thursday morning. If all goes as planned, our arrival into Burlington will leave us with a 3 hour trip home. Okay, so that’s the plan. What I can’t figure into this travel plan is any Irene or Lee damage remaining in Vermont. We’ll know when we get there. The good news in all this is when we get to Vermont detours, we know the roads they might switch us to, unlike in Lancaster County, PA. This afternoon, we went to fill up the gas tank and grab the last few groceries needed for the last of our trip. Carl swung by the cinema and I discovered we had about 5 minutes before the next showing of “Apollo 18” began. Believe me when I tell you this is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time, it’s a Blair Witch Project rip off and it wasn’t worth the $13.50 we paid to see it. And don’t even get me started on the popcorn and coke that cost $12.25. The tally stands at 3 movies viewed over the 12 weeks we’ve been traveling. I guess it’s true what they say, “two out of three ain’t bad”.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 87- And Then It Rained Again!

There was blue sky and brilliant sunshine when we woke this morning. It was good to see. The rivers are dropping and people are beginning the drying out process. There are threats of showers later and I suspect they will appear about 3:00 when we’re packing. Most craft show vendors know what I’m talking about. The customer traffic was slow today but a man came over to see if I’d take his photo. He said he was the director so Carl and I assumed he meant the chapter director. 10 photos later, I found out he wanted the picture of himself for some magazine. He asked me to burn the images to a DVD so he can send it to his people which I did. He seemed happy. An hour or two later, I asked the Vendor Coordinator, Al, and discovered Mike is the director of the entire GWRRA and not just the PA chapter. The photo I took will most likely end up in every Gold Wing magazine published for several years because Mike writes a welcome or editorial piece each month. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed. I could certainly use that kind of exposure and it may even convince me to apply for the photographer’s pass in Denali for another year. I took one other set of photos today but this one made me kind of melancholy. The man needed to sell his bike because his legs can no longer deal with the weight. The wife wanted to buy him a three wheeled motorcycle called a trike but the man doesn’t want to admit he’s having trouble, yet. So, the wife asked me to take a photo of her husband and his bike before he has to give it up. I know a bit about how he must feel. My knees aren’t as good as they used to be and my love, riding horses, would probably kill me if I had a steady diet of it. I kept watch on the skies as the afternoon wore on but the big dark clouds snuck up on me from behind. We did manage to get everything packed into the truck and about half way back to the RV Park before the first drops fell. Then, it sort of stopped so we drove on over to the dump station to empty our tanks. It was then the sky opened it’s dump valve and we got drenched. About 20 minutes later, the rain let up enough so we could back into our site. And 20 minutes after that, two muddy and very wet people climbed into the camper for the night. The photo for today's post is a view from our truck during the cloudburst. All in all, I’d have to say our trip to the PA GWRRA Rally was a success. People had difficulty getting there because of road closures but once there, everyone had a good time. Someone pointed out the motto of the Gold Wing Riders, “Fun, Safety, Knowledge” and they like to put it in that order.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 86- Finally, A Dry Spot

My original plan was to be on site at 8:00 AM but that didn’t happen. It wasn’t that bad, though. We were ready to chat with potential customers by 9:30AM, only a half hour behind schedule. There aren’t many people around and the few we’ve talked to have come in their cars because it just isn’t any fun getting drenched on a motorcycle. Each person I talk with is informed I’m here to take photos of “Boy, Bikes and Babes” as Carl likes to put it. Today, I got several maybes and lots of firm no’s but there were also a couple of “I’ll talk it over with the boss” which is my personal favorite. We did a several sales and all in all considered it a pretty good day even though I didn’t make a sale after noon. The weather forecast for tomorrow is much dryer so I’ll be hanging all of my hopes on Saturday. We’ve decided to stay the night in the vendor lot. Carl is leery about leaving the inventory since it doesn’t seem as if the Hotel has any security patrolling the grounds. And, each year the rally sponsors an ice cream social and we’ve always been given tickets to the event but never taken the host club up on their offer. That is, until tonight. The ice cream was great and afterwards, several of the chapters performed in the talent show. The theme for this year is Hillbilly based and some of the costumes were downright hilarious while others were tastefully authentic. Before we retired for the night, we refilled the generator and checked on my photos in the tent. Everything looked just fine. And we have a new neighbor who sells pop up campers which tow easily behind motorcycles. It has quite a bit of storage room under the platform and when folded out offers a double bed. It takes about three minutes to open up or close. The way I figure, if you're traveling on a motorcycle, you already had to pack light anyway. This just gives you sleeping options.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 85- On To The Rally

It continued to rain most of the day and although the rally officially started at noon, the only people we saw today were other vendors and the vendor coordinator, Al, who has been great. There was finally a break around 2:00 so we jumped at the chance to get the tent up, tables and racks inside and the sides zipped on and down before it began to pour once more. We timed it just about right. The water problem is enhanced because the Hotel Carlisle has a large amount of water in their cellar with a sump pump working round the clock. The water level Thursday morning was more than 10 inches deep but when Carl looked today, it had dropped considerably. Now, we don’t care one way or the other about the water in the hotel’s basement but the discharge for the sump pump has created a problem in the vendor area. The “Carlisle River” , as we have dubbed the stream, travels more than 100 feet from the end of the discharge pipe into the parking lot where the vendors are set up. Our original site is under water and the inches deep stream cuts the pavement in half diagonally. Carl looked for a culvert or sewer drain that might be block but didn’t find anything. The ground at the end of the parking area is saturated to the point the water is collecting into a lovely little pond. This is another day I haven’t taken any photos so I’m going to have to look really hard for a subject or two tomorrow. Carl suggested we go out for supper and our choice was “Bob Evans” . Neither Carl nor I have ever eaten there before. I had a turkey dinner and Carl had country fried steak. Both were served with lots of real mashed potatoes and gravy plus two generous and delicious home made rolls, warm from the oven. Well, okay, it might have been the microwave. Both of our meals were mighty tasty. We’ve also heard their breakfast are also tasty so maybe before we head out of the area, we’ll give them a try. When we returned to the campground, the original plan was to back in, remained hooked up and settle in for the night but Carl decided it didn’t take us all that long to unhook and rehook. What took the time was leveling the trailer. We had to put the driver’s side or left side wheels up on blocking more than 4 inches to get anywhere near level from side to side. The site is off that much. Then I listened to the Red Sox get their collective butts handed to them by Toronto. I went to bed, still a fan, but wondering why most years, the team fades at the most crucial part of the season. In the words of Yul Brenner in “The King And I” , ’tis a puzzlement!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 84- Flood Watch

Sure enough, there are flood watches and warnings in effect for more than a dozen counties. The Susquehanna River and several tributaries are already at flood stage. We’re in Cumberland County which is laced with rivers and streams. In fact, so are York and Lancaster counties right next door to us. The kicker is the weather is so lousy, we don’t want to go set up today but if we don’t we may have to squeeze in tomorrow morning. So, we’re here in the campground peeking out the windows at all the sites around us, empty and flooded with massive puddles. During the day, we went over to the Hotel Carlisle, but didn’t set up. Probably a really good thing because it’s been really raining hard. The TV is full of NOAA emergency flood warnings, cancellations and they’ve even sheltered the children in school instead of releasing them and sending them home. Now, doesn’t that sound dire? To me, it sounds safer than trying to deliver them over flooded back road with questionable bridges. And believe me when I tell you there are a ton of bridges, concrete and covered in the counties in question. Also having driven some of these roads in the past week, I can attest to how close the creeks and rivers are in spots. We hit the Wal-Mart on our way back to the campground to get a couple of things we were out of and there was the Red Box once more. Tonight’s entertainment was a 2010 released movie called The Conspirator. It was based on the trial of Mary Surratt, one of the alleged conspirators, found guilty of the plot to assassinate President Lincoln, and hung by a military tribunal. I’m not guilty of spoiling anything to this point because it is a matter of historical record but the trial raised many questions and I highly recommend the movie. Now, I’m listening to the Red Sox against the Blue Jays. Wakefield goes for his 7th attempt to win his 200th game. Holding my breath and keeping my fingers crossed here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 83- Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Our trip back to Carlisle can be summed up in just one word, “RAIN”. It was pouring when we left Easton and it was pouring when we arrived back at the camper. There are large amounts of standing water everywhere and the news and weather are filled with warnings for flooding. The rain from Lee is heavy and stalled over the area which doesn’t bode well for our outdoors rally at the Hotel Carlisle. Set up is for Wednesday but I’m less than enthused about the prospect of exposing my work to the dampness. Rain and paper based products do not mix well. Granted, we have a great heavy vinyl tent and my work is, for the most part, in plastic sleeves but the dampness permeates everything including my bones. And, on top of the whole dampness thing, I can’t imagine the participants, Honda Gold Wing owners, really enjoying this kind of weather. We rented a couple of movies from the Red Box at Wal-Mart, had supper and then settled in for the night. I’d like to say we were lulled to sleep with the pitter patter of the rain drops on our roof but that isn’t the case. We are under an oak tree and the heavy downpours have done a number on the acorns falling on our roof. And you know the weather is depressing when I didn't grab even one photo to post with the blog today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 82- Travel Back To PA

I was only 25 miles down the road when I remembered the first thing left behind. I have shirts embroidered with my company name as well as our first names on them. I meant to grab a couple of them but they will spend the next couple of weeks in the closet in NH. I was further down the road by several hours when I remembered the other things I left in NH, my rubber boots, a spare pair of heavy socks and the umbrella. Does it sound like I was planning on bad weather? Well, you’re right. I’ve heard what could be a lousy batch of weather over the few days we’re at the Honda Gold Wing Rally. In fact, today, we’ve driven in and out of rain for more than 300 miles. I drove about 150 of those miles. As we’re paying our $1.00 toll to pass from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, I notice a very long line of utility trucks passing through one of the booths. The signage on the door read North Houston Pole Line, Texas. There were more than 50 trucks, bucket trucks, pickups, equipment haulers and even trucks with lots of ladders. I suspect they were returning to Texas after helping get the power back on where Irene had passed through. We’ve stopped for the night at the Towne Place Suites by Marriott in Easton, PA. The room was very reasonably priced and quite nice. And, there’s a Sonic at the end of the driveway. Now, don’t laugh when I tell you we drove to Sonic because it’s a Drive-In and kind of cool. You pull up to a flashy board, make your decision and then push the button. A voice asks for your choices and then they bring the food to the car. We could have eaten it right there but decided to return to our room. Now, it’s relaxation time. Weather permitting, we’ll be going to Hershey tomorrow. I am told the whole place smells good enough to eat.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 81- More Of The Same

Now, the work begins. I have to decide what to take to PA with us for the show. It’s been so long since we’ve packed for a show, I want to make sure we have everything we need, including enough paper and ink since I’m taking the printer with me for this one. And, it’s really muggy out so I don’t feel like moving. The only way it could be worse is if we were at a local show today in all this humidity. When I opened the door to the studio, I almost screamed. There were bugs and cob webs everywhere. I have to send in my exterminator before I can work there. Okay, so the bugs were mostly flies but where there are cob webs, there are spiders. I heard this trivia fact a while ago which says you are never more than 6 feet from a spider at any time. If that’s true, I’ll be lifting my feet from the floor quite a bit. It took quite a while before I made the decision on which photos to take and while I was repacking the blue plastic covered bucket, Carl put the racks, tables and tent into the truck. It took even more time to load everything else because my glasses kept fogging up and everything in the studio had steamed up too. The air conditioner in the studio works really well but we had to leave the door open for the loading process. By the time we were finished, the sky was black as night and we could hear the distant rumbling of what promised to be a whopper of a storm. And even before it started raining, we were drenched with sweat. I hit the shower which felt really good and spent another hour trying to figure out how to get a downloaded template from Avery to work on Microsoft Word. Avery uses the Word platform and I am unfamiliar with the program. I’d prefer to use Works which I’ve used for years. No go on the application so I asked Carl to come upstairs to get the printer which was the very last thing to be packed. I have one last thing to get tomorrow, ink. The photo was taken by my step-mom, Adena, while we were in WA state.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 80- Finally, No Techno Glitches

I managed to recreate a bunch of stuff so I could, at least, print some note cards and photo cards. It would have been the perfect opportunity to redesign my business card but, hey, I like the one I’ve got. We’ve had a couple of great conversations while we’ve been back with our daughter and Mom. They both hid health issues while we were away. Mom helped put together a new PA boxed set of note cards and I printed some of the best snapshots we took on our trip, grizzles, big mountains, cute fawns and an amazing shot of a monarch butterfly on a sunflower head. They look great. It was a productive day and best of all, the Red Sox won as well.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 79- Work, Work, Work

Well, that was the plan right up to the point in time where I discovered my desk top computer had a heart attack and a stroke while I was away. I tried every trick I knew to get it to respond to my key strokes but nothing I did made any difference. I even tried calling the shop who built it for me years ago. They were either all off for the long holiday weekend or some one forgot to shift the phone from fax mode to talk mode. I got that irritating squeal in my ear each time I called the number. So, I spent the better part of the day finding software install disks for my printer, card design and photo printing. Then I held my breath because they are all designed for Windows XP and my laptop is Windows 7. Have I mentioned how much I don’t like this platform? Sure enough, there were glitches left and right. When I tell Print Master to print a designed note card, instead of getting the 5 sheets I ask for, it decides to print 25. And my photo printing software will only print single pages even when I tell it I want 3 of the same. At one point today, I needed a serious technology break. Even my clothes dryer and I couldn’t see eye to eye for a while. I had to redesign my business cards, thank you pages and every note card I wanted to print. I needed labels for the backs of photos protecting my copyright and I’m sure by tomorrow, I will run out of ink because Carl had to make a trip to Staples because I was almost out of envelopes and matte paper card stock. It hasn’t been a very good day. I only hope tomorrow will be better. I need to finish printing everything and then get out into the studio to get things in order. We’ll pack up the truck on Sunday and head back on the road Monday morning. Carl was able to get the generator in to the repair shop and while they weren’t able to repair what’s wrong, they were able to tell him what the problem was. We just worked it too hard. It needed a deep cleaning and some TLC. So, Carl left it there for a much needed “spa treatment” and he purchased the companion model to the one we have. We’ll now be able to connect the two of them and end up with more electricity than two singles alone. Don’t ask me how it works, I just know it does.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 78- A Quick Trip Home

It’s weird that two people should be so in tune as to come up with the same idea at about the same time. It doesn’t matter who came up with the plan. What matters is we both thought about heading home a day early. So we did. By 9:30, breakfast was eaten, we’d collected the dirty clothes and recyclables, done up the dirty dishes and taken out the trash. And then we headed north. We stopped for gas twice, a pit stop or 4 and a quick lunch on the go. By the time we hit Northampton, MA, it was time to stop and eat supper and then it was back on the road. We did hit a bit of traffic around the Waterford and Hartford, CT interchanges and some construction on the Rte 91 corridor but we encounter few serious delays and arrived home by 9:30 PM. In some ways, it doesn’t seem as if we’ve been away. Not much has changed. Tomorrow, we’ll see about the generator, I’ll work on some photos to be printed and matted, we’ll load up the show tent, racks, tables and everything else I’ll need to do a show for the Honda Gold Wing Road Riders Rally at the Hotel Carlisle from Sept7-10th. Not sure what we’ll be doing after that. I have to be back to do the Littleton Art Show on September 24th… I know I’ll see some of you there.