My apologies for such a long absence. There’s been a lot going on, and I’ve been somewhat distracted, but I’m going to try and catch you up with this post. I’ll try and keep it brief.
We spent the summer preaching at a little church in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Iron Mountain is in the far west end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, right on the Wisconsin/Michigan state line. We were work camping. The church covered our camping fees in exchange for our service to them. They were a great group of people, and we still miss them.
While In Iron Mountain, we volunteered as docents in the World War II Glider and Military Museum. This museum Is a great little museum that displays one of only seven Waco GC 4 Gliders. These gliders were made in a number of locations but the Ford Motor Company made more in Iron Mountain than the next five locations combined, building almost 1,500 of them. The museum has several displays highlighting military history and local history. Just next door is the Cornish Pumping Engine and Mining Museum. Across the Street is the Menominee Range Historical Museum which should open in the spring of 2023. We got to tour this museum which was still being completed when we were there and it is going to be excellent. This collection of museums are all extremely well done and you could easily spend a couple to several hours touring them. All are the work of the Menominee Range Historical Society which also sponsors the 4th of July Parade in town.
If you visit Iron Mountain, and I highly recommend you do, don’t miss the Badwater Ski-ters. Every Sunday and Wednesday evening, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, they have an excellent ski show that is free of charge. The show is located in Vagabond Park on the Wisconsin side of the Menominee River. Be sure and bring your lawn chair.
Our next stop was back in Warren, Michigan, where we would spend time with family and get ready for our epic trip to the Northeast. We would meet friends in Stowe, Vermont, and spend two days there. Then we would travel to New Hampshire together and spend a few days in the White Mountains. From there, we were going on to Bar, Harbor, Maine, for a few days. Then on to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and then back to Vermont. Returning to Michigan, we planned to visit the Watkins Glen and Letchworth State Parks. It was going to be almost a month of adventure. Sure enough, it was an adventure, just not the one we imagined.
The original plan was to travel through Canada as we traveled to Vermont. I had arranged three Harvest Host stops as we traveled through Canada, two in Ontario and one in Quebec. We were excited about our first RV excursion through Canada. But just before we left on the trip, we traded for a smaller car to tow behind the motorhome and had temporary tags on the car. I was already a little concerned about crossing the border with the motorhome. Even though I had done my research and knew people do it all the time. But the temporary tag was bugging me and I couldn’t find any information as to whether it might be a problem. So ultimately, I chickened out and we took the southern route around through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Along the way, we spent our first-night Boon Cracking at a Cracker Barrel in Erie, Pennsylvania. The second night we Wal docked at the Walmart in Saratoga Springs, New York. On day three, we took a ferry across Lak Champlain into Vermont.
Our friends we joined in Stowe have been like family since our college days. We have vacationed together several times. We did our first RV adventure together in the nineties when we rented a class C in Salt Lake and traveled together to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and the Sawtooth Valley in Idaho. We love them and love to travel with them.
We spent a couple of days around Stowe. The charming town nestled in the Green Mountains is one of Vermont’s most visited places. We were there at the very beginning of the fall colors. But it was beautiful even then. We drove up to Smuggler’s Notch up in the mountains and visited Ben and Jerry’s headquarters and the Trapp Family Lodge. This lodge was built by the Von Trapp family of the Sound of Music. It is an impressive lodge with beautiful views of the valley where Stowe is and the mountains to the east.
The Friday before Labor Day, we headed west into New Hampshire and the White Mountains. We were headed to North Conway as our base to explore the White Mountains and climb (by car) Mount Washington. The White Mountains are amazing! I did not realize how tall and beautiful they are. As we drove through our destination through the mountains, just outside of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, the motorhome began to make a terrible noise. We pulled off at the Bethlehem exit and started into town. As we entered Bethlehem, the oil pressure in the engine dropped to zero. I immediately pulled off the road onto the shoulder. We had Chance towed to Carrolton, New Hampshire, to a Chevrolet dealer. Chance had a Chevy engine. It would be Tuesday before they could even look at it.
Since there was nothing to be done, we decided to continue with our plans. We got a motel room in Franconia, New Hampshire, and spent three days in the white mountains. Perhaps the best-known attraction in this area is Mount Washington. This is the highest peak in the Presidential Range. It is known for its extreme weather conditions at its top. There are three ways to the top of the mountain. You can hike up, take the Cog Railway, or drive up. We didn’t hike for obvious reasons. The Cog Railway would have been an adventure but the nearly $100 tickets seemed a bit much. So we decided to do the drive. The road up the mountain is privately owned and there was a $39 toll. Our friend Steve did the driving because the road is very narrow, has no guard rails, and at times runs right by shear cliffs, and I am a coward!
Often once you reach the summit, you are in the clouds and are unable to see much of anything. But we were blessed with a beautiful blue sky and were able to see for miles. The views were fantastic. It was cool enough to need a jacket, which we had planned for. In addition to the beautiful views, there is a museum, restaurant, souvenir shop, and weather station atop the mountain.
Mount Washington’s weather is notoriously extreme. In winter, Mount Washington experiences sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, snow, and ice that essentially turn the peak into an Arctic outpost in a temperate climate zone. In fact, winter conditions at its summit can rival those of Mount Everest. Hurricane-force winds occur an average of 110 days per year. Mount Washington holds the Northern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere records for directly measured surface wind speed — 231 mph, which was recorded on April 12, 1934. But when we were there, the weather was perfect.
Two other highlights of our time in the White Mountains were the Kancamagus Highway and Franconia Notch State Park. We drove the Kancamagus Highway from Conway to Lincoln. This beautiful drive cut through the mountains is absolutely beautiful. It cuts across the state through the White Mountain National Forest and is a National Scenic Byway. It was well worth the drive. From Lincoln, we traveled north along I-93 north and drove through the Franconia Notch State Park. The interstate highway passes through Franconia Notch and has to be one of the most spectacular interstate drives in the country. We returned to the state park the next day and spent a few hours enjoying the beauty of the place.
We continued our eastward journey on Monday, heading to Bar Harbor, Maine. Along the way, we stopped at the headquarters of L.L. Bean and the Main State Prison Show Room in Thomaston, Maine. The Maine State Prison was the setting for the “Shawshank Redemption.” The showroom features hand-made products crafted by the inmates of the prison.
We stayed at the Isleview Motel and Cottages in Trenton, Maine. This older motel is owned and operated by a young couple with a baby. They were delightful and we enjoyed them and our stay with them. While in the area, we did the typical things. We enjoyed a fresh lobster dinner on our first night. We took a tour on a lobster boat along the coast off Bar Harbor and actually did a little lobster fishing. The women-owned business was great fun; we learned a lot about lobsters and catching them. We also toured Acadia National Park taking the loop drive. We stopped at the Thunder Hole, a narrow crevice along the coast where waves crash in, creating a sound like thunder. We stopped at the Jordan Pond House and had Popovers and Blueberry Tea. It was a real treat.
We contacted the dealership where Chance was to see if they had diagnosed the problem. Chance’s engine had sustained catastrophic damage. It needed to be replaced. The cost estimate was $15,000. We’ll pick up here with my next post.
2 thoughts on “CATCHING UP”
So much fun, I love your adventuresome spirits. Praying God will provide for Chance and you can continue your travels.
I work with someone who has the right to the Shawshank tree made famous by the movie. Amazing flick. 15,000 is a lot of money. Let me know if you start a go fund me.