Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
It was raining of course as I pulled out of Providence (it didn't ever stop since our night at the circle c), and my full speed wipers got a full work out along the way. It's so much easier to drive long distances when the rain stopped, so I found myself taking very few breaks. The drive was faster coming home because the GPS told me to take toll roads almost the entire way. I guess driving to Connecticut made me miss some of that.
I ended up stopping for gas and caffeine, a few times, enjoying the wifi at the service stations, and resting my brain from the high speed traffic concentration.
At the superwalmart in upstate new york, I loaded up a cooler of Boca Burgers (veggie burgers that they used to sell in Canada) for my family, and headed to the border. There was no line up, and the guy seemed concerned about whether I was bringing in fire arms, mace, pepper spray or firewood. As I had none of that, it was easy to cross.
I got to Kingston, set up a wet tent, hung up wet groundsheets, washed 3 loads of wet and campy laundry, and visited with my family until I realized how tired I really was.
Today I'm going to sort through trip photos. Some will be posted here when I'm done.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
is the custodian on Evan's floor. She introduced herself and offered
cleaning supplies, got him hangers, a mirror, a rug, and several
lamps. She might even know of a used fridge he could get. She gave her
phone number and said that if he ever needs directions or a ride to
the grocery store to call.
She also have great advice about getting repairs done on the room. The
plaster is chipped and the paint is peeling. Hopefully Evans phone
call will get some action.
Next we went to explore the furniture rental group called the women
and men of Brown. For under $60 Evan pocked up a bed side table, desk
chair, shoe rack, phone, TV, coffee maker, and two lamps. What's
better is that when he returns them he gets half his money back!
We were thankful that the furniture was being distributed from the
building across the green from Evan's, so we didn't have all that far
to carry them. Of course there was a fine rain today, a constant
Next stop was lunch at a cute diner called Johnny Rockets, there are
juke boxes on the counter and at each booth. The decor is 1950s and so
is the music available. The wait staff wear white shirts, bow ties,
and a little white hat, and when you sit down, they bring you two
nickles for the juke box.
We had delicious hamburgers and onion rings, and a shake served in a
tall glass set on a doily, with the rest of the shake served in a
metal glass. It made it really easy to share!
We were exploding by the end of the meal, and set off to Seeconk MA to
go to Target (a first for us both). We spent a really long time
getting all that Evan needs for school. From pens, to speakers, a
bookshelf in a box, an ironing board, a laundry hamper, a coffee
grinder and thermos, we got it all and much more. Amazingly we could
carry it in only three trips to his room.
Next we set off to the movies to see Inception as an IMAX. The plan
was great in theory. Of course movie theatre have parking (or so you'd
think). We could even see the parked cars, and we found the exit from
the lot but even with close to an hour of searching for the entrance
to the secretive world of subterranean mall parking we gave up,
figuring that street parking after six might be ok. In our search we
had found five other lots all charging $13 for 3 hours, we asked
pedestrians, drivers, parking attendants, and still were
unsuccessful. We did find out that there's a highway to Boston right
by the mall. Twice we were headed in that direction. So, just for the
record, when your GPS tells you to go down Francis street to get to
the mall, don't do it. Go a bit farther and turn, and you will find
parking. We found parking from inside the mall and backtracked to find
out this vital information.
So, arriving 10 minutes late for the movie, we missed previews but not
much more. It was a pretty good movie. There were parts that were
pretty fast for IMAX (I felt a bit dizzy) and others that were so
violent that it was overwhelming. Overall it was a good break from
Returning from the movie we unpacked all Evans new things and tried to
assemble a bookcase which said that it had all the needed pieces
inside. All except the two varieties of screwdriver and hammer. So, we
did what we could with a set of nail clippers and a butter knife (not
much). I can try my pocket knife screw driver tomorrow.
My parking expires at 10am so I will start the long drive back at that
What a fun vacation this has been.
Sent from my iPod
Monday, August 23, 2010
pouring rain, got Evan his room key (very lucky to find parking near
by). Walked, in the pouring rain, to his residence. It is a big
residence building with a door swipe card to let him in. Unfortunately
it didn't work. So after waiting a while (in the pouring rain) someone
else used the door and we got in behind them. His room key works, and
the room looks like a nice one. Huge closet, bed, desk, dresser, book
shelf. Blank off white walls, and two windows! There'll be a great
cross breeze in the summer and potentially a wicked draught in the
After locating bathrooms, kitchen, fire exit and lounge, we headed
back (in the rain) to get his door swipe fixed, and drive his baggage
over. We could get pretty close by car, but there was no legal parking
spot in sight. Four ways flashing, he carted his stuff (and some of
mine) to his room, while I repacked the car to look empty inside.
We then picked up bags from the raddisson ( there was not enough space
in the car to do it earlier!). We found a parking lot that would let
me stay until before 8 on Wed, but it was far from campus, so we drove
back to Rez (there are far too many one way streets and construction
zones here for my liking). We then drove back to the parking lot,
dropped off the empty looking car, and walked (in the rain) to get
some much needed pizza and caffeine.
I've had enough of the rain, but all will be better when I've had a
shower and put on some less stinky and damp clothes.
Sent from my iPod
lazy day. We just hung out in the tent making sure not to touch the
walls until we slept. Mid afternoon the heavy rain stopped and we
ventured outside to create a cooking shelter and made some lunch. I
tried a recipe for peach cobbler on a camp stove. It was hot and sweet
and the peaches were good.
We played with the water collecting on the tarp, and collected our
dish water with the runoff.
We hunkered down for the heavy rain and rumbles of thunder in the
afternoon and slept on and off until morning. We awoke to wet sheets
and airmattress and a puddle at the foot of the tent. I'm glad my
girlguide training prepared me for wet camping. It isn't so much fun
We packed up our stuff this morning, wet stuff in one bag, dry in
another. We ate and then are now ready to leave this place. I'm
looking forward to four walls and a hot shower.
Off to Providence to get Evan settled--glad I got new wipers before
Sent from my iPod
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Here is Evan's account of our day at six flags
Even though the forecast Rachel and I saw last week, the weather was totally clear, rather too hot. Actually, it's very important fact because it was our big big "amusement park" day! Since we hadn't been a grocery store for a couple of days, we decided to just finish the leftovers – bacon, granolas with milk and tea – for our breakfast. Right before we start, we accessed the wi-fi to post the blog which Rachel composed last night, and check an email for my own for a few minutes.
The GPS said it would take a little bit more than an hour to get the amusement park, Six Flags, which is in Springfield – exactly the same city name as from "The Simpson"! (Actually, I'm big fan of the Simpson.) We took a few freeways and highways by turns and thanks to the good traffic condition, it didn't take a so long time; almost on time – the noon. We took a shuttle to the main gate and entered there. Frankly it was kind of fun experience because everybody had a security inspection. It is definitely rare in Korea.
The park was very big, crowded and full of happiness. Rachel and I chose a white-wooden-roller-coaster for our very first attraction, and got in a line. Even though the weather was so hot (Rachel mentioned today's weather reminded her of the "Phone booth of Kyoto") that we got easily tired, we soldiered on for our turn firmly. However, when we almost got there, an attendant announced that they will temporarily close because of some technical problem. Since we had waited for a long time, we decided to just wait a little bit more. We kept waiting for the coaster to be fixed without any idea how long it takes and it took almost a half hour to be fixed. It turned out a bee nest on the coaster rail. Anyways we finally could enjoy our very first riding at the Six Flag, and it was very "bumpy". Rachel broke her 7-dollar-gogeors-sunglasses due to the impact. The next one we tried was very "monster-y"; it was the biggest roller coaster I've ever seen. Even though we had to wait for almost 50 minutes, I can still insist, there's no piece of regret for the waiting. It was amazing we could enjoy such a long time despite of the crazy speed.
After a few more rides, we had a lunch at such-a-fake-Chinese-restaurant. We both agreed that it was the worst Chinese food we ever had. It was kind of OK anyways, because we were too hot and thirsty to try other rides. As much as we had recharged from the lunch, we kept going for other attractions. Boat ride which makes a big water splash, tea cups which we can make a crazy g-force by ourselves, small coaster which has spinning seats, another big coaster which seats are below the rail so that we can feel we are flying, etc. Since the Six Flag closes at 9:00pm, we should choose for the very last ride. Doubtlessly, we both agreed to try the "monster" thing, Bizzarro, again. Although it is almost closing time, there was such a crowd. We could ride the attraction near the closing time, and we both tried with no hands! It was too dark to anticipate the course, so I barely could control myself. Such a tough attraction. Rachel was totally excited that she survived.
Just right after we got the car, it started to rain – almost pour. The way to the campsite, we stopped by an ice cream store, Twinny's, (we got confused because we thought it's 'Friendly') and I experienced my very first banana split. Rachel told the clerk it was my very first one, so she made an extra special decoration on it. I had a very good experience and I guess I could remember this memory forever, especially when I could have some awful Chinese food.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
mostly stop) traffic. Evan kept me sane by reading from a book he just
purchased. It is a pretty funny story, so time passed rather quickly.
The campground is more isolated from the real world than others we'd
been to. It's 25 minutes to the nearest grocery store-a super walmart.
Needless to say, we did not head out at 7pm to forage for groceries,
we were beat.
Dinner was interesting, and delicious because we were tired and
hungry. Quinoa and TVP stewed up together with garlic and onion
flakes, salt and pepper. Thank goodness we are by candlelight. I'm
sure it looked gross.
We were in bed by 10 with the sounds of tree frogs and crazy kids and
maybe some fireworks in the campground. I think some people stay here
all summer and drive their golfcarts around to the various activities
It's western weekend, and they have a game going where for $5 you can
have someone arrested for half an hour. From time to time you can hear
arrests being made, and girls shrieking at siblings for having them
There was going to be a steak dinner, but the sign on the bathroom
says it is cancelled, but that the dance is still on tonight. I'm
scared to even imagine what that would be like!
This morning we slept until it was too hot in the tent, quite a
contrast from the 13 C temps last night. We wandered to the campsite
office to get Internet codes which seem to work on Evan's laptop but
not my iPod. Maybe it is one code per device, we're not sure. We
bought the breakfast of champions, coke and corn pops (in the little
boxes), and have been enjoying a very slow paced day, airing our
bedding and making lists of what to get Evan for his room. Evan is
calling his mom now. It's tough to find payphones in the USA, but
there's one at this site. I'm sure she will be thrilled to hear from
Sent from my iPod
Friday, August 20, 2010
6:30 getting things packed and getting on the road. It was a smooth
drive into Providence. I was anticipating some rush hour traffic, but
since the roads were relatively clear we got to Brown sooner than
planned. We managed to get into a parking lot on campus which saved us
the 15 minute walk up a huge hill (imagine St. John's Nfld) from down
It was ok for me to join in the sessions and the tour. I now know lots
about studying abroad, and the challenges in functioning in a society
that doesn't use your mother tongue. There were 40 countries
represented on the lecture hall, and most seemed very nervous.
After hearing from Deans and a panel of international grad students,
we had lunch at the international house where Evan signed up for a
family to befriend him and teach him American culture.
Our tour through campus and the nearby shops was led by a very
enthusiastic but somewhat scattered grad student who had never given a
tour before. We learned where to get cheap food, movies, and beer. He
also showed us the library that contains a book made of human skin--
The tour ended and Evan and I went to get his student card and check
in with the school officially. We are now in the air conditioned
computer science building and he has picked up his office keys--he
didn't know that he got office space. "there's even a computer!"
From here we plan to get groceries and head to our site on the
Connecticut border, and have a relaxing evening. Waking up at 6:30 and
walking a lot in the heat and humidity has made me a little tired.
Evan is excited about starting his new life as a grad student. He's
got a new country, new address, new office and a new name--he's not
going by Evan here, he's Sungmin now (but still Evan to me).
Sent from my iPod
keep this short.
It was a great day overall, despite running into three rides that had
"technical difficulties". The first one had a wasps nest on the track,
the second one we didn't wait to find put what the matter was, and the
third had a seatbelt issue.
We rode all the big rides, including Bizarro which we rode twice, once
in the light and then again at night. It must be a two minute ride
that takes you down sloped you'd swear were undefined (straight down,
for the non math geeks out there), and dives down underground twice.
The second time around I was challenged to ride it without holding on,
and it was scary and thrilling!
We got a few minutes of rain as we were driving back to the site, but
it never did rain on our tent. We have been fortunate to have such
Stay tuned for Evan's report in the next day or so
Sent from my iPod
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
possible minute. We kind of have set up and take down procedures
perfected. We can be awake, cleaned up, breakfasted and on the road in
We drove to Salem, and saw the pioneer village and had a lot of
opportunity to talk with the costumed guides. It is a small area with
only five or six buildings including a blacksmith shop and a herb
Next we explored modern day Salem and found the yarn store I had been
looking for. It sells glow in the dark nylon yarn. Evan was impressed,
and of course, I couldn't resist getting some.
The drive to Sutton was good since we missed rush hour. We set up at
our site by the beach and rented a canoe for an hour. It all sounds
great, and it was Because Evan and I were having such fun. In reality
this Camp ground is not stellar. The bathrooms are minimal and buggy
and not so clean. The shower reminds me of a really bad summer camp
shower stall after shower day. I wore my sandals for sure and enjoyed
my six minute of water that I got for my quarter. The canoe is of the
Tupperware variety and the paddles were splitting really badly and the
grip and throat were splintery. The lake is fed by surface runoff and
it hasn't rained for a month, so there is a mucky silty layer ringing
the small and smelly body of water. There is a mysterious aqua/emerald
bubbly scum in places too. We paddled all around the "lake" in fifteen
minutes, even venturing down a swampy channel that in a different
season might actually go somewhere. We saw a beaver that swam a bit
then slapped his tail on the surface. I taught Evan how to paddle in
the bow, and then we changed positions and I taught him to stern!
What a fast learner. After 45 minutes we had enough, and set off for a
"swim" in the "lake". Our site neighbours warned us of how gross the
water was, but we were brave and really hot and sweatty. Showers were
necessary after that stinky "swim".
We have been trying to cook for two hours. The wood they sold us looks
fine, but only the outer surface will burn. We are trying to cook up
our veggies and made up a few foil packets but didn't have the right
kind of fire. One was charred and the other was cold. At least the
reflector biscuits were a success. The smoky fire was driving me crazy
so Evan took over and breathed some life into the coals long enough to
We are getting eaten alive by bugs, despite wearing socks and long
clothes and bug spray, but we are glad to see the sky beginning to
clear, revealing the big dipper and the rising moon. It's supposed to
be a great day tomorrow for rollercoasters!
Sent from my iPod
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
off for Gloucester station with the final destination of Boston.
Checking email before we left was a great idea because we could make
dinner pans with Ukiko!
The train we wanted departed at 10:08am, and we made it to the
platform by 10:04 not knowing how to get a ticket or ride the train.
The car next to us had very helpful folks who explained the process.
It turns out that they were from Ontario too. One guy saw my Queens
shirt and said with a bit of attitude that he's from Western. It
really is a small world.
The hour commute was smooth and airconditioned, and had wifi. We
confirmed dinner plans, updated the blog, and I was thankful that I
The first stop in Boston was Harvard. We walked around the historic
square and snuck in with some tour groups to hear details about the
buildings. Where Yale was sandstone, Harvard is brick. There are walls
and ornate gates around the old parts of the campus, but the school
sprawls out in all directions past that. We went to the Natural
History Museum and Museum of Ethnology and saw room after room of
taxidermied species, rocks/minerals, and lessons about evolution. Evan
found an alpaca that looked pretty fluffy.
The ethnology museum held cultural artifacts from various corners of
the world. I saw lots of weaving and textiles which were fascinating.
Next stop was MIT to see robots in action. There were some amazing
displays of robots and features of robots, and videos explaining
different aspects like haptic technology and the social robot named
Kismet that interacts with people, showing the appropriate facial
expression and tone of voice. We also saw an amazing gallery of
holograms that boggled my mind.
Next stop was the aquarium where we took a tour and saw penguins and
fish/aquatic life from all over the globe, and all depths of the sea.
There were sharks and many other large fish and rays swimming in a
central cylindrical tank that housed a coral reef. It was peaceful to
watch the penguins and fish play. As we were leaving we saw the seals
and sealions rolling around in the water scratching themselves with
their flippers. They are kinda fuzzy when they dry off.
The IMAX that we saw was all about surfing in Tahiti. A 3D IMAX is a
very cool thing to see!
After the movie we met Ukiko and her husband and had dinner at a
nearby market. Evan and I tried clam chowder, it was pretty good! We
sat and chatted until the market closed. It was such a lucky
coincidence that we could meet. They are headed back to Japan in 2
days! After not really being in contact for 7 years, it was such a
great feeling to pick up where we left off, being silly and enjoying
eachother's company. Evan has now even gained some potential contacts
at Brown. It was a very great way to spend the evening.
Evan's high points of the day were the MIT museum because his lab in
Korea was working on some similar experiments. He also wants to say
how much he enjoyed dinner and making new friends.
We're now on the commuter train headed back to Gloucester where I'm
sure we will sleep well after such a busy day. Salem tomorrow, and off
to Sutton Falls for the night where there may or may not be wifi.
Sent from my iPod
car, and on the road before the first drops fell.
Luckily the storm was short lived. We ran into a bit of a traffic jam,
and that is saying something, because these were 3-5 lanes of
traffic! Evan kept me calm and helped to navigate the 3dimensional
maze of highways. We went through the big dig tunnel and lost GPS and
had to do a minor amount of recalculating to get to the science museum.
This is the best science museum I have ever seen. Better than Toronto,
London and one in Japan. It's the very first science museum for Evan,
and we both had a hard time leaving!
We saw an IMAX, and a 3D movie, did. Lots of hands on explorations of
different concepts, saw an incredible display of electricity on the
original, and largest Van der Graff generator in the world.
We saw whale and dinosaur skeletons, and interacted with some
artificial intelligence programs. Evan appreciated these displays a
lot since he knows how challenging the computer science is.
We both bought glow in the dark Tshirts and can be total geeks
together. We were too tired to try them out last night though.
At six we pulled ourselves from the exhibits, we could easily have
spent 12 hours there! The drive to Gloucester was ok; it got better
the farther we got from Boston.
Arriving at Cape Ann, we got to choose our site. The place is big, and
at about 50% capacity. We chose a rather isolated tenting site that is
not too far from the bathrooms and water. The tent was up and our camp
set up by dusk, and then we ventured out to get some groceries. We
have a neverending block of ice, good for almost 5 days, so we are
enjoying cheese, yogurt, eggs and crisp vegetables.
Evan is getting better at grocery shopping, and cooked up a fantastic
pasta dinner. I found bisquick and made cinnamon buns for dessert on
the reflector oven. Fires have to be out by 11, so we cut it pretty
It is dark, quiet, humid, and buggy here. Evan still gets more bites
than me, but I'm catching up.
We are having lots of fun, and learning new things each day. Evan is
now able to let his sense of humour escape now and again in English.
He is a very funny guy.
Sent from my iPod
Sunday, August 15, 2010
week, we slept in until noon today! It was pretty cold last night,
toques might be in our future sooner than we had hoped. Evan claims to
have seen his breath!
Today was the chilliest one yet, and still, we decided to go to the
beach. Nauset beach, the one with the light house that we saw earlier
in the week, was full, but farther down the road we came upon Coast
Guard beach, which someone had told me was one of the top ten US
beaches. It had space in the lot so we parked and rode the shuttle
trolley to the beach.
It was the wildest surf I had ever seen. Evan said it looked like the
surf in Hawaii. Waves were cresting over peoples heads! Most people
were on the sand, soaking up the UV coming through the clouds. There
were some who built forts against the incoming tide, and a few brave
kids running in the shallow surf.
The water was so cold that our feet burned and ankles ached as soon as
we got in. On the third try we were in past our knees. Evan's feet got
knocked out by the next one, and he was sprawled out on the wet sand
before he knew what had hit him. Laughing, he then proceeded to take
me by the hand and make me get soaked too.
Once we were hit by a few waves, the excitement overpowered the cold,
and we were soon running and jumping into and over the crashing cold
surf. We really did need to stay close to each other. The waves were
so strong that you'd be pulled under if not for the hand you held.
Sometimes we both ended up with sand in our pants and salt up our noses!
We ventured only about 3 meters from the shore, and tried to stay in
front of a guard tower, but got "sweeped by waves" so we couldn't go
where we were aiming, and sometimes the waves retreated with such
force that they dragged you back into the water, or took you to your
We did this for about an hour and a half. I noticed it was mostly
French canadians in the water with us ("beaucoup de canadiens" says
Evan). Crazy Canucks indeed!
Exhausted and covered in goosebumps we returned, and had long hot
showers, and made a huge fire (started with a flint--a first for me!).
We made a big veggie and hotdog foil meal with tea and hot chocolate
and s'mores for dessert made entirely by Evan. (he's such a fast
Next lesson for him was in wool dyeing. We used food colouring and
vinegar and heated the mixture over the fire. We used red, blue,
yellow, and green for one pot, and blue and green in the other. The
colours blended nicely, and the roving now hangs at our site drying.
We kept some white, and we had an after dinner drop spindle lesson.
Evan is pretty good already, and still seems to love fluffy things,
maybe too much! He's not the only one. Google "it's so fluffy I'm
gonna die" you can see lots of people have the same problem.
Tomorrow we are off to Boston for the day, then camping in Gloucester
for the next two nights. We plan to see as many museums as we can, and
will see Harvard and MIT too. Evan has been practicing his
pronunciation of "Massachusetts Institute of Technology" in
preparation of our visit. It is quite a mouthful.
Not sure if there is Internet at the next site, but we will post when
Sent from my iPod
the 10:00 ferry to Martha's Vineyard. There was a little Saturday
market along the way and we learned the names of the different
vegetables, and bought some peas and carrots.
Traffic was unbelievable. We were barely moving for maybe 20 km. Lots
of rich people and french Canadian tourists were headed to the island
for the weekend. Parking was a nightmare too.
We got dropped off at Oak Bluffs, one of the little towns on the
island. The houses were covered in worn grey cedar shingles, or white
siding and dark shutters. Above the door were dates of construction.
Some were from the 1860s, and others more recent like 1930s.
Part of the reason why I put Martha's vineyard on the list was to go
to Island Alpaca, an alpaca farm that has tours and of course a store
that sells roving and yarn and knitted things.
We figured out how to get a bus pass for the day. It turns out that we
were standing amidst a very helpful, but very francophone group from
around Montreal. They had mastered the bus system, and helped us out.
Hooray for French I suppose. I'm using French so much that Evan has
picked up a few new words and phrases. Before the trip he could only
say hello and hot air balloon in French.
Once we got away from the beach traffic, the busses were more empty,
and the friendly driver dropped us off right where we needed to go.
They are very patient with the throngs of confused and clueless
The alpaca farm charges an admission of $5 and provides a very
educational self guided tour posted on the fence that encloses the
young male alpacas. There were lots of them in the field, some eating,
others biting each other and wrestling in the dirt.
Walking through the barn, we could see some from up close as they ate
and sheltered from the sun. The store was next, and poor Evan has
never seen me near fiber or in a yarn store before....I'm glad he is
so easygoing and eager to learn about anything and everything.
There were knitted hats, mitts, scarves, toys....mill spun yarn,
handspun yarn, and roving. It was behind a door, maybe there aren't so
many spinners that come through, but wow, what amazing roving it is.
There was some superfine black that I couldn't resist. It's the stuff
that you'd have regrets about not purchasing the whole way back on the
ferry. Living with no regrets, I bought 8 oz of the stuff. I got some
white wool roving too, and Evan and I are going to dye it over the
As if the store wasn't great enough, the tour continued to see the
females, and the new cria (babies). It was here that we got to touch
them and watch them close up as they fed. Evan, perhaps to prove that
he didn't sleep through ALL of despicable me, quoted the movie saying
"it's so fluffy I'm gonna die". They really are beautiful in an odd
camel-like way. If you are ever near Martha's Vineyard, check out
Island Alpaca. It is a great place to unwind, with friendly people and
Next on our trip was to return to Oak Bluffs because we noticed that
there were so many people lined up at the bus stops, trying to get
back and take the last boats back to shore. We didn't want to be
stranded so we returned and walked a bit around Oak Bluffs and saw the
fancy houses with large wrap around porches and gingerbread. We must
have taken a wrong turn or three because we got lost a bit. Many
people were happy to get us headed back in the right direction, and we
ended up at the dock early. I had misread the schedule, but we were
early rather than late for the last boat.
It was lovely to see the sinking sun from aboard the ferry. As we
approached Falmouth harbour, we saw so many luxury boats, many from
Florida. They were almost as big as a small ferry!
Our return journey included a stop at a grocery store to get graham
crackers, food colouring, vinegar, and other food. We tried to get
more butane cylinders for our stove, but a regular walmart doesn't
carry them. Maybe we can get more at a superwalmart on the way to
Boston. Evan learned how to pump gas here. In Korea it is all full
service at gas stations!
There are very few street lights here, even the fast highways are
dark, so i was glad that there was a steady stream of cars to show me
where the road was all the way home. There was no "recalculating"
We got back to the site at 10:15 and we had to extinguish any fires by
11:00 so we were impressed that we could light and sustain our fire
and cook our hotdogs on sticks (a first for Evan) and our s'mores and
even baked apples before we were told that it was time. My watch still
said 10:58 when I dumped the waterbucket on the coals. We ate by
candle light, and headed to bed pretty late. It was a very busy and
Sent from my iPod
Friday, August 13, 2010
out on a beach in Welfleet on the inside of the cape. To get there we
walked by a salt marsh and saw lots of little crabs. We climbed a
dune to get to the beach. It was low tide, and quite rocky under
foot. We were anticipating a change area like on the other beaches,
but luckily there weren't many people there, and we could change under
a towel without too much trouble. This was one of many firsts today
We waded and swam in the shallow calm water, and saw many tiny fish.
We ate our lunch, and warmed up and dried off and went back to
retrieve the car which was parked in an area that would be affected by
high tide. The tide was rushing in as we passed the salt marsh. We
could see the crabs scurry, and hear the water trickle onto our path.
We got out in plenty of time, and were on time for our whale watching.
There are no words to describe the whale watching adventure. Evan says
it was awesome marvellous splendid and extraordinary. It was the
first tome for Evan to see whales. We saw 28 humpback whales
breaching and flipping their tails, spouting and swimming under the
boat. Evan really wanted to ride one back to shore, or maybe a
dolphin, he says that's the bottom line. Unfortunately for Evan, we
all returned by boat after seeing a great display of a pair of
breaching whales. Even the nature interpreters and boat crew were
excited by our cruise.
After the fun and frigid boat trip we went to Race Point beach to see
the sun get swallowed by the sea.
Dinner was another first for us both. We each had lobster eating
lessons, and did pretty well! Thank goodness for bibs.
Evan still hasn't seen shooting stars. I saw more on the way back to
Sent from my iPod
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Atlantic side of Cape Cod. Climbing down the wooden staircase over the
sand bluff that warns of collapse, we could see a beach that was
colourfully decorated with umbrellas, towels, and plenty of families.
The surf was great, and the tide was still coming in, so if we were
being pushed anywhere, it was toward shore. We played in the crashing
waves, feeling the sand erode beneath our feet as the waves pulled
away. It was very cold, but also too much fun, so we kept swimming
until we got goosebumps.
We tried to sit at the sand drop off, but the surf was too strong and
we got knocked over and scraped a little on the coarse sand. I was
thrown into another person who also seemed a bit surprised at the
power of the waves. This is when Evan exclaimed that it is difficult
to be a mermaid. He tried several times, with very limited success.
After buying one of every fresh vegetable at the tiny convenience/
grocery/fish/liquor store, and when Evan chose his beer of choice, we
returned to camp and made the best tinfoil packet meal, with banana
boats for dessert.
While waiting in line at the recycling station someone asked me if I
am Canadian. Apparently my dollarama bag that acts as our recycling
bag gave me away. It turns out that the majority of the tent campers
here are from Quebec! Most also have very limited English, so I
surprised them and used my French. I got some great travel advice from
them. They were quite chatty once they knew I could muddle my way
through a sentence or two. Actually, once I got going I impressed
myself with what I could say. Poor Evan was caught in a bit of a lost
in translation moment, but he now knows a few more French words.
We're still salty from the beach so it's going to be shower time and
then early to bed. Tomorrow is whale watching and exploration of sand
dunes in Provincetown.
Sent from my iPod
account, and we had a good walk through campus and down town. We then
got our groceries, from a huge store--Evan likes to try new foods, so
we got string cheese and sweet corn.
Our first night camping was in Myles Standish State park, and it was
lovely. Pine needles on the ground, red and white pine, birch, maple
and oak, lined the perched pond (about the size of Lyndhurst Lake). We
were fortunate to have a waterfront site, so with a little scrambling
we could get down to the water to have a swim, which was great because
it was pretty hot!
We made a campfire and toasted marshmallows, a first for Evan. The
campground facilities were good, flush toilets, and free showers, and
a dishwashing sink. Luxury! We didn't quite get the hang of the
airmattress, it deflated through the night, but we were too tired to
notice too much.
The next day we went to Carver to visit a cranberry bog. We got a tour
from the husband and wife pair that own and run the place. They must
have been in their late sixties. The man was eager to show us the
picking machine, and when I told him I studied mechanical engineering
he went into great detail about how it worked, and what the design
constraints were. This bog grows for Ocean Spray, and their berries
are destined to be packaged and sold as fresh fruit, so they are
picked dry. All the wet harvested bogs berries get made into dried
fruit, sauce, or juice. We got a good close up look at the fruit, and
then saw how they are sorted, using machines from the 1920s. The good
berries get air lifted to the packaging plant by helecopters in the
We drove after that to Plymouth and saw the rock, and a replica of the
Mayflower, and then headed to Cape Cod. It seemed like a long drive to
me, but the view was great for Evan.
When we checked in at our site (which is 4star camping) we headed off
to Nauset beach to see and tour the lighthouse. It seemed a popular
thing to do-- we had to wait an hour in line! It was neat to look
out the windows and hear about the history of the lighthouse ( it was
one of three sister lighthouses but the cliff was getting eroded so
they moved them all. Not needing all three in a row anymore, the two
other sisters are in the woods a few minutes away).
After the lighthouse tour, it was almost sunset, so we headed to the
drive in to see Despicable Me and Toy Story 3. I saw both movies, and
Evan saw half of each. I think he has jetlag, but he won't admit it.
The air mattress was good last night. We both slept well, and are off
to the beach later today, after our pancakes digest a bit.
This site has Wifi right in our tent, so communication should be good
for the next few days. Weather also is supposed to be great. Fingers
crossed! Tomorrow is whale watching day.
Evan says hello to all!
Sent from my iPod
Monday, August 9, 2010
on the road to get groceries and catch the 11:45 ferry to Block Island
from Point Judith Rhode Island.
Evan was intrigued by the American grocery shopping experience. I'm
sure that it is so different from Korea. He'll have fun trying out new
foods all year!
We made it in time for the boat, and sat on the highest deck so we
could see really well, but we also really felt the boat lurch in the
waves. It is a big boat, enough to take cars if you could afford the
$50 each way service charge plus the $9 each way charge per person.
There weren't many cars on board!
We seg off first for Mohegan bluffs and the 200 stairs down to the
sea. It was a 2 mile walk to get there, and we discovered a local
swimming hole and saw lots of very picturesque old houses. It was like
going back in time! We came across the island school, so there must
be a significant number of permanent residents.
The bluffs were breathtaking. We climbed down the wooden stairs and
had our picnic on the stony beach as the waves rolled in. It was too
wavy and slippery to swim there, but we dipped our feet in. For Evan
this was his first time in the Atlantic ocean.
After soaking up the view, we climbed back up and walked a different 2
mile route to the information center where we suited up and headed to
a more swimmable sand beach. The water was really cold but so
We had ice cream and then waited for the 7:30 boat. Apparently people
go to Block island to drink all day. There seemed to be no problem
with open alcohol on the beach. All the drunks and not so drunks
boarded the last boat and returned to the mainland, some in disarray
and others just wearing their bikinis. I guess their sunburns kept
them warm. I found it chilly and I had my long sleeves on!
After an interesting drive back in the dark, and a hot shower, we're
starting to plan the next part of the adventure. It's amazing to me
that we haven't seen each other in 3 years. It feels like yesterday
that we were touring around Korea together.
If you are ever in the area you should make the trip to Block island,
and go see Mohegan bluffs. I'm sure there are so many other great
places to see, but 4 miles of walking was more than enough for me in
More to come tomorrow (if we find wifi). We head off to Myles standish
state park and hopefully tour a cranberry bog.
Sent from my iPod
the cars were all going about 20-30km over the limit. It all got a bit
much when I realized that I was missing a potentially lovely quieter
drive near the ocean.
I set off to find water and take a break from the insane interstate. I
found a beach, but you had to be from that city to use it-- I didn't
have the car sticker so I was turned away. Other places were gated so
I could see that there was water but not get close to it. Another
beach was public, but there was no parking anywhere--all streets were
no parking zones. Some people ran parking lots on their lawns, but I
wasn't about to pay $15 for a ten minute glimpse at a crowded beach.
The water was Long Island Sound, not even big ocean water. On this
detour I did see some very lovely rural homes. Wooden siding and short
rubble stone walls, with doors and yards all decorated a la Martha
My GPS kept getting mad at me for ignoring the directions, but I
couldn't resist following signs for a boat launch site. I saw a marsh
and several kayakers who told me several places to go to see big
water. One of the kayakers did a highschool exchange in Perth On. what
a small world.
So on I went to Watch Hill to see the ocean. It was just what I was
looking for. Free parking at a yacht club, a nice walk (2 hrs) along a
very empty beach with a protected bird habitat on the dunes. Waves
attacked me, I found cool rocks and shells, watched little sand pipers
evade the incoming surf, saw the sun set, heard a fog horn and saw two
Exhausted from sand-walking, I headed to Providence, making a stop at
Tim Hortons for dinner. It's not as good as in Canada.
Very thankful for GPS, I got safely to the hotel and now I'm
recharging my camera, iPod and very soon I'll recharge myself too.
Good night Rhode Island!
Sent from my iPod
Sunday, August 8, 2010
This morning I taught Nathan (9) to use my iPod touch, he got it right
away. In no time he found the games and was slingshotting angry birds
like a pro. He then schooled me in Wii games. I had never played Wii
before, and realized that my hand eye coordination is lacking! For
payback I taught him how to play hopscotch with stones and all. I
think I would have beat him but he decided slip and slide and RC cars
with the neighbour was more fun.
Next stop on my adventure was Choate Academy, where some of my cousins
went to school. The highschool vampus is huge, bigger than my
Another 15 minutes drive took me to Yale, another big campus, lots is
being restored so I see scaffolding and beautiful buildings.
Next stop at Mystic to see the sea and then onward to Providence where
Im sure I will crash early for the night.
Evan is in the air now--he'll be so tired tomorrow!
Sent from my iPod
the car full of gas by 8am. The border crossing, my first time driving
to the states, was ok, but they certainly asked a lot of questions.
They were curious about why I had been in Egypt, why I was alone, if I
was going camping, what my job was, what I specifically taught, what
Evan was studying and where, where I was going to stay each night--I
handed them my itinerary, then they started asking about citrus food.
I only had my water so they let me through.
I stopped for some food at a Saturday market and bought snow peas from
an Amish family.
Later I made a pit stop at Walmart to stretch, and I got a bit lost.
There is a beer aisle!
Traffic was good, and I navigated a toll road! The busiest part of
the trip was through Hartford. I'm glad it was Saturday, the regular
rush hour traffic would have been nuts!
I got here to my cousin's house just after 5 and was greeted by his
nine year old son Nathan who is full of beans, and his little sister
Meline who is almost two. We went out for dinner and came home and
watched a movie. I slept so well after such a long day.
This morning is looking cloudy...hoping that is temporary.
Sent from my iPod
Saturday, August 7, 2010
In theory, everything is well planned. We have all our reservations made, including whale watching off Cape Cod, tours of many Boston museums, a day at Six Flags New England, lots of time on the beach and soaking up as much nature as possible. Evan and I haven't seen each other in 3 years, so I'm sure there's lots to talk about! He's going to be studying at Brown in the fall, and is eager to brush up on his English before he gets there.
When making campsite reservations, I had a quick look at the area on Google Maps, and noticed that this is not going to be like my experience at Girl Guide Camp, or on Outreach, where camping is done in the wilderness, or at least enough wilderness for you to forget there's a bustling world beyond the trees. This camping is going to be mostly in RV parks, and one of them happens to be right beside a hotel. They are gated campgrounds, with a driveway at each site, laundry facilities, and wifi! Hopefully things will be secure, and our neighbours will not be too loud.
The itinerary: for those who want to follow along in detail
Aug.7th- Connecticut with my cousin
Aug.8th/9th Providence RI
Aug.10th-Carver MA (Myles Standish State Park)
Aug.11th-15th Eastham MA (Atlantic Oaks Campground)
Aug.16th/17th Gloucester MA (Cape Ann Campground)
Aug.18th/19th Sutton MA (Sutton Falls Campground)
Aug.20th-22nd Voluntown CT (Circle C Campground)
Aug.23rd Evan gets to move into his residence at Brown, so we'll be getting him settled, and I'll do the long drive back sometime soon after.
We'll do our best to keep updating our progress here. It will be a search to find wifi access points, but probably not as hard as last year when I was blogging from the Nile and the Jordanian desert.