Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maine and New Brunswick

Returning to a place of the past that's full of memories is always a bit odd for me (Michelle). I find myself constantly looking around expecting to see this person or that person that I went to high school or church with or worked with. In actuallity the only people that I saw are people that I intentionally planned to see. Memories do flood back like crazy though.

In Maine we stayed with a family that I (Michelle) went to church with in high school. They were dear friends then and we have continued to stay in touch (which is a rarity for me). I started teaching sunday school with Josh and Jayde when they were about 4 and 6 years old. Now Jayde is in 10th grade and Josh is graduating high school this year! (And it really blesses me to see how they've grown in their faith through the years) We played an abundance of Farkle, rode 4-wheelers, and competed on the Wii. They let us stay in Josh and Jordan's camp behind their house and enjoy some wood heat (the best kind in my opinion).

Dane and Josh after their 4-wheeler ride. The bright orange helped them not get shot!

Jayde and me warm and orange

Bye Josh, Jordan, Teresa, Jayde and Richard!

I forced Dane to explore old memories with me. The old house, the church, the potato stand, the high school, etc.

Nancy's place, where I used to sell potatoes.
Nancy and Garth sent us away with plenty of potatoes!

Logan, Frank, Reanna and Karen

Reanna, one of my best old friends from Maine and her son, Logan

I also visited a couple of other friends from high school, Emily and Sam. I haven't seen much of them since high school, so it was good to catch up in real life.

It's been quite a while since I lived in New Brunswick, Canada. 17 years when I add it all up! Dane and I have visited within the past 4 years when my parents lived there again.

We stayed with Keith, Mary and Leon, wonderful friends of my family. We enjoyed time spent with them AND enjoyed the work they put us to.

One evening Keith picked up his guitar and he and Leon started to sing.
Soon Mary joined in and we enjoyed some good singing.

The church put us to work, painting some Bible verses in a newly finished addition

The wood

Putting the wood in for the winter

After about a week in Maine and Canada, we started heading back to Nashville the long way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to my birthplace

Although it's been 27 years, and I have no recollection of the place it was a treat to return to my birthplace, Littleton, NH. Littleton is situated near the White Mountains and unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy the day we were there and we didn't get to see their majesty. We still had fun roaming around the town. The evening before we ate at the "Littleton Diner" and went to the small movie theater both located on main street. Lots of fun shops. An old Carnegie library. We also learned that Littleton was home to the creator of Pollyana.

The hospital where I was born

The church where my Dad preached when he was only 22 years old! It was his first church. The pastor was there and let us come in the church and look around. Amazingly he is only the second pastor that's been there since my Dad.

Since the pictures are a little dreary here is a colorful one from the candy store in Littleton that has the longest candy counter in the world. You name the's probably there.

I think this is the house where we used to live

This is where my Dad used to work. The famous Mount Washington Hotel. It's ritzy. We went in to explore and it's absolutely beautiful. I really wish it had been a clear day when we were there. I think the view would have amazing.

After Littleton we began our journey to Maine and had a few surprises along the way.

We drove by the Appalachian Trail....maybe one day we'll hike it

We saw the most amazing rainbow. The picture doesn't do it justice. The sky was still dark with rainclouds but as the sun was setting it shone across a valley and hit the hilltop and bam! there was the most beautiful rainbow. It was a double rainbow and you can faintly see the second rainbow to the left of the brighter one.

And last but not least Dane saw his first moose. I know the picture is blurry but it was the best we could do with traffic coming from both directions and both of us excited. The moose fit into its stereotype of stupidity and just stood in the middle of the road while cars were coming from both directions. Finally it moved on and that's when Dane snapped the picture.

We will post again soon about our time in Maine and Canada. Sadly we didn't get to climb Mount Katahdin. All of the trails were closed due to ice and snow. Hopefully next time!
Hectic travels does interesting things to one's short-term memory. Trying to recall too much about the last few days, where we've been, where we've stayed, makes us feel as though we're in the progressive stages of old age-ism. To the best of our recollection, we spent one night after Buffalo somewhere in the Adirondacks. I've heard about the Adirondack Mountains all my life, so I'm sure it was beautiful.

Let me see . . . oh yes! Leaving New York and entering Vermont required the services of a ferry to cross Lake Champlain. From our worthy vessel we could see the white peaks of the Green Mountains. Unforgettable.

Burlington: cool, trendy, hip. Seeing quickly that we couldn't fit in, we high-tailed it to more low-key Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the nation.

Montpelier is an incredible little town. After college, I (Dane) briefly considered moving there following my first visit. With a set of wheels and $800 in my pocket I was going to shake off my southern roots and embrace Vermont northernism. That didn't happen, but our recent visit there reminded me of what motivated the notion.

Vermont State House

Representatives Hall - fully restored to its original 1833 condition

Montpelier is a small town of fewer than 10,000 folks, but several days could be spent exploring its many bookstores, historic sites, walking trails, and surrounding countryside. We were able to do a little of that, as well as learn more about maple syrup production at a nearby sugar farm.

Many of our Montpelier experiences will settle there, dying before becoming eternal memories. But one thing I'll never forget . . . Montpelier gloriously boasts the absence of a W*l-Ma**, and is the only state capital where the globally ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald's cannot be seen!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Northeast Thus Far

We did stop to camp in Ohio on our way north. It was a fun time. We were the only campers there. Dane played his guitar around the campfire. We went mountain biking early the next morning. Unfortunately we got lost from each other AGAIN while we were mountain biking. We eventually found each other, vowing to use our walkie talkies next time we hike or bike.

Putting our walkie-talkies to use

Detroit was a temporary stop on the way to Toronto. There is a lot of sadness about Detroit. Some bright spots there were...1) the "People Mover" train that does a loop around downtown Detroit (only 50 cents) and 2) Campus Martius Park which is one of the top 25 public spaces in the United States according to the American Planning Association.(Dane's info) The fountain there was great!

Downtrodden Detroit

On the way to Toronto we were detained at the border by Canadian immigration. Our main offenses were trying to carry firewood over the border (we didn't know!) and Dane being a little bit "facetious" with the border guards. It was a little fiasco that put us behind time about an hour.

Two days in Toronto. The highlights were Chinatown and Kensington Market. We were also fascinated by the black squirrels.

We saw Niagara Falls on a cold, blustery, rainy day and they were still beautiful. We especially enjoyed the trails along the river that led up to the falls.

Along the path

The Falls

We spent 3 nights in Buffalo. An unexpected surprise was an annual event called "Doors Open Niagara". There were several sights in and around buffalo that were free to the public. We went on several free tours including the largest city hall in the nation which was beautiful, a carousel museum, a huge cemetery and an old homestead to name a few. We also visited Brian and Emily, missionaries who are starting a church in the Buffalo area and attended their Bible study on Sunday night.

Buffalo City Hall

Inside City Hall

Dane's description in a gravestone

By the way, I know we're not following the Fall foliage at it's peak season, but it has been beautiful! Dane compares the feeling he gets when he sees to the colors to being punched in the gut. (Dane wanted me to clarify that this punch in the gut is a good thing)

We've been camping the past 2 nights. For a fact we know it got to 23 degrees Fahrenheit one night. Our tent was frosty and it was snowy/rainy when we woke up.

Our frozen bottle

We also got stopped by a state trooper yesterday! Three major issues were speeding (15 miles over the speed limit), Dane couldn't fine his license and we couldn't find our registration! Julie is one of the nicest state troopers we've ever met and she only ticketed us for a non moving violation...a cracked windshield. Funny thing is the crack was only a couple of inches long the day before and in the cold temperatures it decided to crack about 3 more feet!

The windshield being cracked

Dane did find his wallet rolled up in one of our sleeping bags.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We're on the road again! Somehow our truck is fuller this time than it has been on any of our previous trips. I think it's partly because we are driving north and don't want to get cold, but we've also added 2 mountain bikes and a guitar to our load.

See you in a month Nashville!