We hope you have all had a wonderful holiday, we've been thinking of everyone at home, and also all of the folks that we've met on the road and hope that you're all healthy and happy! I've been working on a long update post but wanted to share a little something instead of waiting to finish it! We're in San Francisco at the moment, about to experience the wonders of the city and also see some friends. We were in Kings Canyaon National Park for about a week, and then down by the coast in Big Sur! Now onward and upwards to our next adventure. We've met some of the greatest people in the past two weeks, can't wait to share. We've had no internet during this period of time, so we at least have a small excuse for not being in touch!
On a side note, my hopes for adding pictures all of the time has been really difficult to accomplish I'm afraid. Our internet connection, and those of the places where we've stopped to use external internet have made it virtually impossible to get enough umph in the speed of the computer to upload even a single photo. This is a real dissapointment for me, but I do keep trying. Just wanted to say hello and say we haven't forgotten about our little online forum for keeping track of our travels.
Till later on,
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Sunset in Playa Del ReyWe made it! All the way to Los Angeles California! With a great visit to southern California underway we have had a bonfire on the beach as the planes of LAX flew overhead, walked to the Santa Monica Boardwalk, and visited with our good friends. What a relaxing and pleasant visit we have had. We went on much needed errands, watched surfers and pelicans, and ate wonderfully! Thanks so much to our friends Valen and Joe and some new friends too for making our stay so enjoyable. We're having such a good time we don't want to leave, but we are saying goodbye tomorrow and our friends are moving all the way back across the country to the Northeast again. Thanks to Joe for some pictures, and also his wonderful photography advice and expertise! Our journey from rigt coast to left coast feels as if it has just begun, and we're headed off to an un determined national park next.
Walking in the sunset
The beach in Santa Monica
Joe, Valen, Emma, and Patrick
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Right now we are sitting cozily in our faithful scamp in central
Arizona at . We have had some adventures in the past week which we have been too busy having for me to write about once again. It feels somewhat inconsistent to have written so little about our adventures and does not really do them the justice that they deserve to merely summarize, but that’s what I will have to do I’m afraid. It’s much more fun to write about what we’re doing now! Lost Dutchmen State Park
Texas and stayed at a beautiful state park with amazing views of the mountain range which was a lovely morning surprise to wake up and see mountains glowing orange, and small phantoms of mist rising off of the desert. Complete with a hot spring for swimming, it is a very scenic and beautiful park. Davis
Texas, up into and then over along Route 10 (if you feel like looking at a map) I have never imagined this area to be so full of mountains. We keep joking that every mountain range we see must be the Rockies, every corner we turn we say “That’s them; they’ve GOT to be the New Mexico Rockies.”
Guadalupe Mountains National Park right on the border of which we had literally to ourselves and one other human. The camping area is right at the base of the mountains and we got some killer winds, coyote sounds, photographs and a great walk through the low lying canyon. New Mexico
Guadalupe Mountains and to head north to to get it repaired. We arrived to sleet and an overnight snow that iced the doors shut and iced our pillows to the insides of the camper! We have zero degree sleeping bags so we were warm and fine, but if you had seen us stumbling out the good old Beatrice in the morning to find ice and snow plastered to everything, I’m sure you would have enjoyed it. Our visit included a visit to my Grandfathers grave, some family genealogy tracking, visits to the library, antique and bookstore. The most amazing car junk yard that Pat and I have ever seen lay just on the outskirts of town filled to the brim with incredible old cars in amazing condition. Everyone in Roswell New Mexico seems to have a fabulous looking old truck from the fifties or sixties that isn’t rusted like our cars back east! Old car lovers we couldn’t get enough. We got a kick of driving around and looking at the southwest style holiday decorations, kids playing in the snow with no winter coats, and the absence of plows! It hasn’t rained in over a year there so this was the first precipitation they’ve seen in a long time. Our car was repaired quickly, we met some very friendly and talkative local folks and met an adventurous and kind woman in our campground (hello if you’re reading this!) who is also traveling across the country from Roswell headed toward the east coast. Washington State
Roswell to over the past couple of days has been very beautiful. We drove through the Mescalaro Apache Reservation which was one of the prettiest areas on our whole trip, took pictures of mountains while leaning out of car windows in the freezing cold, ate delicious Mexican pastries and marveled at the changing scenery. Phoenix Arizona
and now we’re accompanied by cactus and sandy desert. To walk from one place to the next you would really get to see the slow change from environment to environment. Here I am cooking up the walking idea! Watch out! Louisiana
nearby. After following the train tracks all day and watching the relics of lost desert towns we landed here and we are glad of it. It is a strange land filled with yellow planes scanning the borders of Phoenix Mexico and flying over the highways, to the perpetual barbed wire fence that seems to stretch from to the ranches here, it is a different culture but still connected to everything that came before it. I feel like we are in a constantly moving painting stretching out in front of us to a never ending skyline and mountains that fool us into believing that we exist on the top of the world. Tennessee
Tomorrow it is off to Los Angeles to see our very good friend and to meet new ones too. To the big city these to country kids go. Hopefully the crazy winds will allow us into the fair city to a barbecue at the beach that has been promised on our arrival!
We traveled through
How mountainous this whole area has been from western
We spent a day and night at the
After over thirty five hundred our muffler sadly decided to detach itself from our car. This created an epic diesel fog in the cabin of the car, and the surrounding area! I’m laughing so hard as I write this. A mysterious rattle that could not be located resulted in this problem, so we decided not to stay another night in the
Our drive from
Today it has changed so fast to cactus country. We have an incredible guard over our campsite this evening, a tall twenty five foot tall Saguaro cactus! There have been some along the highway that have to be taller than that, absolutely massive incredible plants.
It feels so strange that we can get to all these places on a series of roads, it feels like we should have to work a lot harder to get to these incredible sights, years ago it would have been on foot or horseback as the native peoples of this area would have thousands of years ago. We certainly appreciate the variety of places that we’ve gotten to go, it’s just a big like feeling jet lagged from a long trip. A week ago we were looking at cypress tree’s in
So in this land of dry earth and a thousand shades of brown, and a perpetual blue sky we spend the night. It is clear outside and stars dot the sky despite the city lights of
Tomorrow it is off to Los Angeles to see our very good friend and to meet new ones too. To the big city these to country kids go. Hopefully the crazy winds will allow us into the fair city to a barbecue at the beach that has been promised on our arrival!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Where the alligators float in Louisiana...
A big papa cypress spared from logging long ago, one of the bigggest in the Jean Lafitte National ParkWe’re leaving
Cypress in the Jean Lafitte National Park
We visited the magnificent French Quarter in downtown
creatively built homes inspired by Spanish, French, West Indian, and African influence. Stucco painted in every color, but muted with age. Iron railings, shutters a story tall, and old stone streets meshed with new sidewalks slowly being upturned by tree roots and old age. New Orleans
The French Quarter in New Orleans
We got to pay a visit to the
favorite music hall, Preservation Hall. A small room packed with history and legendary players, literally preserved for the players that are still performing the music that was born in New Orleans . Where the confluence of so many cultures from around the world blended to create a new sound that still lives on today thanks to the musicians keeping it alive. We got to sit on pillows on the floor to hear the Joint Chief’s of Jazz play to us, and I felt like I was a little kid sitting underneath a Christmas tree. Paintings of the people that made music famous in the city line the walls and the light moves very softly throughout the room. A block over on the infamous New Orleans Bourbon Street there are long lines of bars playing modern music, and the fact that Preservation Hall is still packed on a Wednesday night shows the enduring legacy to the music played there. I wish there had been more of it!
Jean Lafitte National Park, hey everybody!
Old street history
We got a great tip from our park ranger where we were staying on a great restaurant called
Coops Place. Best Ever. Two words, that’s it. We also visited the Jean Lafitte National park and walked through the swamp and marshland areas. There in the downtown our feet stood on the promenade dotted with paint from the sidewalk portrait painters. Voodoo shops with charms and beads and masks, fortune tellers with candlelit tables lined the park in the center of the city at night, and music emanates from alleyways and shop fronts and sidewalk players. Our visit lasted for three days and we really enjoyed the friendliness of the people we met, and relaxed attitude and is our favorite place we’ve visited so far. If you get to pay a visit we’d highly recommend it, and the friendly folks at Bayou Segnette state park in Westwego Cypress . A fitting name for the journey we’re on, and today we’re doing just that, heading west again across the great big state of Texas. Louisiana
Till later on,
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Friday Night in
is a fun place. Occupying a handful of city blocks in downtown Nashville , the old fashioned bar and music filled area or your imagination is brightly light and crowded. It reminded Pat and I a lot of Nashville , a lot of big businesses empty at night, with just a few blocks of bars and clubs colorfully displayed for the choosing. Hartford
We arrived at a campground outside of the city by about ten miles and were greeted by a Christmas light show in full nighttime regalia just next door, and entertaining holiday surprise. The camper culture we’re learning is an eclectic one. People walk their cats on leashes, and have very elaborate set ups. We’ve seen some interesting inventions thus far, including tow behind waste water tanks that are basically like glorified children’s wagons that you tow to what we’ve learned is a “dump station”. Also things like huge white globes that people use to watch their dish TV’s, and some folks bring along an entire holiday decoration setup complete with light up animals.
After our arrival we met with a very helpful bus driver who was taking his rig home for the night to the bus station across the road from us. We were hoping to catch a shuttle to the downtown area that we were told was running (we waited an hour in vain) and he helped get us where we were going with pro directions! He made phone calls for us and even gave us coupons, a very helpful guy from the Grayline Bus Company, we thank you!
We made it to the downtown area thanks to our friend’s expertise, so quiet surrounding the nightlife, to walk downhill to bar owners hawking the “best bands in town” and music coming out of open air bars. We made it to “Roberts Western World” and got to listen to a couple bands, only one of which we got to hear the name of, the Don Kelly Band. We were all packed so deep down the long narrow passageway of the place I couldn’t even see (not surprising as most of you know my height) but the music was top notch. A real country and western band check them out. We roamed the streets trying to decide what band to hear, drank spicy hot chocolate, and talked about the music politics of the town. Both being performing musicians ourselves, we wondered what it must be like playing in such a famous city, a city built on it’s musical reputation and what the “real story” is. There are such good bands that are playing for tips. Literally. There is much debate that surrounds this topic, and not living here myself I feel hesitant to draw a hasty conclusion, but I feel that musicians deserve a fair wage and that to the general public, a lot of things may go unnoticed. From the amount of work that goes into carrying gear from your house all the way to a crowded bar, to booking and finance, it’s a complicated business, and not everyone always has the musicians best interest in mind.
The creative prize of the night went to a duo playing drums and guitar running their amps off of their car battery, parked in an ally off the main street. Several street players lined the sidewalks playing everything from classical violin and drums while rapping, a very fast but fun sampling of the cities music culture.
The next morning (this past Saturday now) we woke to temperatures that had to be in the seventies, we packed up our things and headed out for our half days drive to
We arrived in
I had booked a tour to see the Gibson Factory that is in the downtown area of
After our tour was done we headed down to the famous Beale Street, where just like Nashville there were bars and bands and way too much to choose from. It was around five so we didn’t get to see it really hopping. We got to eat some great creole food, and heard a band at B.B. Kings Blues Club. I sadly have no pictures of the factory as your are not allowed to take pictures, and I also have pictures of the street scene or restaurant because it was absolutely pouring rain the whole night, so you will have to imagine in your mind what you want Memphis to look like. Very different from
We went to our campsite, and after I left very little guessing for you all we woke up on
Elvis Presley Boulevard the next morning…
Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley we went. My unhindered love of Elvis’s music as a kid I have to say still remains till now. His was one of the first albums I ever remember wanting to own, his name in gold letters in the top left hand corner with a black and white picture of him on stage. A fun thing I've always wanted to get to do, I was glad for the visit.
On a side note I am unable to download any more pictures right now due to the computer making problems...I guess they'll have to wait,
Thanks for reading, till next time,
Sunday, November 27, 2011
We are now going to play a little game of guess where we are. I'll make it easy on you.
On our way to where we are now, we've seen several images and statues of this gentleman here. This is a ride in Seaside Park NJ.
At a hotdog shop in Williamsburg VA.
Missing his microphone in Nashville TN.
Where to next you wonder.....
Saturday, November 26, 2011
We’re cruising down I 81 in
, blue grey sky watching the starlings migrate. Hawks and horses occupy the highway sides, as do the cows and the Tennessee Blue Ridge Mountains that frame everything into a beautiful picture fit for a postcard. Good Highway 81 that takes you far south, the road that occupies my mind whenever I think of traveling down here. Where the highway speed turns to seventy, and crosses dot the landscapes and hillsides. About an hour ago we saw a building that had a sign that said “Jesus saves” and below it another sign saying “We buy guns.” The contradictions and cleverness of the south and its people never ceases to entertain and inform. In some ways you know exactly how people think, with confederate flags still flying high in the backs of trucks and highway rest stops, there is pride in their cultural history, and their place in this nation. In other ways there is a subtlety and quietness to the people here, and a generosity and big a heart.
Traveling feels a bit slow while towing the good old Scamp behind us. We're averaging about sixty miles an hour so far... She’s attracted quite a bit of attention in the past couple of days, and were told by some Colonial Williamsburg employees that she was the talk of the town! We’ve gotten some enthusiastic questions about where we got it, and where can other people find one, and how much did it cost. I’m thinking of maybe for fun at some point having a little question and answer session to share with all of you the details of life in the Scamp. We expect that this is not the last of the curiosity; it certainly brings those who have travelling on the mind right out of the woodwork and into the open.
We’ve gotten some questions with regard to posting comments here on the blog. First off we’d love to hear your comments, like little postcards from back home. Stay tuned for a post about how to go about posting!
Thanks for reading today,
Emma and Pat
Friday, November 25, 2011
So follow up on my last post I’d like to tell you a bit about our excursion into Colonial Williamsburg Virginia. First I have to tell you that I’ve wanted to travel there since I was a little girl. I have always loved old things, whether they are homes or clothing, tools or heirloom vegetables I love them, and they draw me toward them inescapably. So to venture back into time where everything was so beautifully handmade, where horses ruled transportation and so did feet, there is within me still that excited little girl. I was lucky to have a mother who sewed me beautiful colonial style dresses and who found a hoop skirt for me as Christmas present one year. We used to take trips to
Old Sturbridge Village in , a living history museum complete with buildings and people in period costumes inhabiting them. This appreciation stems from the love of the handmade, from a father who works with his hands to build furniture and homes, and both of my parents together had a vested interest in showing me how the things we use everyday are made. Massachusetts
To start our visit we arrived late in the afternoon and decided to take a look around the City of
. You can walk throughout the historic town on public streets, but a ticket is required to enter many of the buildings where exhibits of colonial businesses and homes are taking place. Costumed interpreters in period dress roam the streets making conversation with one another and with visitors. All of the the tradespeople in the shops are practicing their work for real application within the city. For instance the wheel wright makes wheels for the carriages that carry people around the city. The cabinet makers are building furniture for buildings on the site. Williamsburg
We walked around till dusk and decided to go to one of the evenings many events, a ghost walk! Led by candlelight to various buildings throughout the city, we sat within the walls of history and listened to the ghost stories from people portraying actual old characters. It was neat being able to see the city from the inside at night. From a woman who was haunted by the death of her young son and passed away in England thousands of miles away who still haunts the local Matthew Whaley School, to a nurse who could have been the culprit in burning down the Governors Palace, it was a great blend of history and story.
On Wednesday we started our day with another walking tour, this time focusing on slavery in the city of
. The one aspect of the city that seems only partially portrayed is that reality of slavery and how large the population of the enslaved really was.. Our guide led us to several buildings, first to the church which was used as a tool to justify the treatment of slaves, to the courthouse to speak of the punishments slaves would receive for hardly any infraction of their station, and finally to stand beneath a large oak to talk about unearthing these injustices so that we can all know the reality of what their lives meant to our culture and history. Pat and I always enjoy the back story behind history and politics and that the truth of our country usually lies within the stories of people that as our guide said “Have been erased out of history.” Williamsburg
We also went to the De Witt Museum that houses several exhibits including colonial era furniture, old coins and money used in the first colonies. Right now there is an exhibit on 18th century maps from different areas in the world, written and drawn up by different explorers, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and a dollhouse that was in the store windows of the F.A.O Schwartz toy store in the nineteen thirties.
During our stay in town we also visited the cooper, the blacksmith, the cabinet maker, and the magazine which housed the weapons and ammunition for the city. My personal favorite was the farm! Complete with pigs horses and working cattle, a smokehouse, a tobacco barn and small dwellings where the slaves would have lived. I think it’s the prettiest part of the whole time, not surprising as I love and have worked on farms and have a big interest in agriculture from a simpler time.
All in all we’re loving our entry into the south, we’ve both been here and like the slower pace and friendliness of the people. It was fun to see the eastern part of
Till next time
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The last few days have been rather sleepless but exciting. We left
in a bit of a rainy fog, after a beautiful and sunny weekend as you can see from the pictures in the previous post! We headed toward New Jersey with the phone number of Pat’s aunt in the door pocket, and the expectation that there would be a lot of holiday traffic during our trip. Williamsburg Virginia
While driving through Maryland Pat remembered oddly enough that the Dogfish Head brewery is there so we decided to look them up and see if we could go. Not anticipating the extent of what “Washington D.C Traffic” truly means, we plugged along innocently enough toward our new destination of the brewery. As most of you reading probably know, Pat and I are home brewers and have made all different sorts of beer for a few years now in various kitchens and yards and basements. Yielding (almost) always tasty varieties, and learning a whole lot about the brewing process, hence our appreciation on the subject, and art of brewing. I ordered the Midas Touch, an ancient recipe dating back 2,700 years discovered in the tomb of King Midas himself, and pat ordered the black and tan made from the ninety minute IPA and their chicory stout. Our meal was great and it was a fun and unexpected diversion.
During our meal we heard back from Pat’s aunt who lives along the route to our destination of
When we first arrived we got to have a visit with his Grandparents who he does not get to see very often, so that was important for him to get a chance to spend some time with them. I wish I had some pictures to show you of the three of them together but sadly the camera was forgotten back at Aunt Diane’s house much to my chagrin!
We were put up very generously for the night and got to have a visit in the morning over breakfast. Diane showed us a really interesting and detailed book of family documents that she has been working on. Inside are pages of birth and death certificates, a passport from Pat’s great grandfather, and a ton of really interesting genealogical information all preserved and dated for the future. The handwriting and the care taken in old documents are so much more beautiful than the way our information is translated today. We talked for a while about distant relatives and stories that don’t get told that often, unless the names associated with them are spoken, and the memories come back to the teller. Diane also gave us a quick showing of her dog’s agility skills on a course out behind her house. Her dogs Buzzy,
After our visit we headed once again toward
I’m going to share with you all about our trip to Colonial Williamsburg and all the fun we’ve been having over the past few days a bit later on today. We’re going to
Till later on
Monday, November 21, 2011
We’ve spent the past two days in lovely sunny
Just about two miles away lies
, a booming and colorful boardwalk centered culture with an amusement park, bars, restaurants and one of the best people watching spots I’ve ever been to. Several evolutions have occured to create such a carnivalesque culture that would bloom into an entertainment capitol of the region. In ninteen fifteen Joseph B. Vanderslice opened a steam driven merry go round at the newly built Amusement Palace. It had an imported German organ, drums, and cymbals that made the music to accompany this new tourist attraction less than a few hundred feet from the ocean. Home to the baby parades where prizes were awarded to the "handsomest baby, cutest baby, and chubbiest baby," Seaside Heights has been catering to the creative and fun seeking for decades. Seaside Heights
After the summer ends so does the season for most restaurants and businesses catering to the influx of people in the summer, so this time of year the carnival and boardwalk are shut down. save for the faithful few. Much of the boardwalk feels eerily quiet in the way the wind moves through the corrugated metal doors that shut up the gaming vendors. The normal summer sounds of arcade machines, pumping bass speakers from boardwalk bars, and the ever entertaining solicitations from the carnival game operators are totally absent now in November. In their place are a family of stray cats who’ve made a home underneath the piers that hold swings and roller coasters and a vast array of rides. Groups of fishermen driving their trucks up onto the beach and the locals who take their walks are the only people left now. We have been here at peak season and off season, and we kind of like it when it’s empty, just as many locals seem to.
Pat has grown up coming to the island with his family and knows this place well. We’ve gotten to spend time with family while we’ve been here which is always a real treat. We always enjoy getting to hear about the local history and how it came to be. From the railroad bridge that used to span the distance between the mainland and the island that is now just remnant of what it was, to the murder mystery of Lavalette, we love all the historic details of this
The Island is also home to the amazing
Patrick and I were here back in June and saw a humpback whale, which is unusual for this area. That was a real treat. In the summertime one can watch the daily commute of dolphins up the length of the island. You can’t run fast enough along the shore to stay with them as they glide along at top speed!
This morning we took a lot of pictures up on the boardwalk where we joined the discontented statues of clowns and giraffes, while eating doughnuts and bagels from two of our favorite bakeries. The real deal as far as doughnuts go, the Boston Cream from Fumosa Bakery can’t be beat! Later on we drove up through the State Park and did some bird watching and sand trudging. We were graciously taken out to dinner at our all time favorite Klee’s pizza. What a wonderful kick off weekend to begin our trip onward. We hope your enjoy our photo essay to follow.
Seaside Heights Boardwalk Beach
Our favorite new game "Pile up People"