Tagged: vacation



October 13 – My little world traveller.

On one of our flights, the complimentary peanuts came with this warning:  Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts. I think that’s kind of the point.

Five roads – P365 for January 17, 2010

A wide state road crosses rolling countryside in the pre-dawn darkness. I roll along at the speed limit, following a dim set of tail lights on the horizon ahead.

I have a date with a sunrise.

Houses emerge from the darkness and flash past; red brick farms with large white porches, small modulars and trailer parks, an abandoned motel. With the radio off and the sunroof open, I am one with the cold morning.

Billboards blink in and out of existence. Been in an accident? Call us. Don’t drink and drive. Call Joe for oil, or propane, or plumbing repairs. Hank’s used cars. Franks Farm Equipment and Furniture (really). McDonald’s ahead.

I haven’t eaten breakfast, but the dawn will not wait.

John Cleese warns of a roundabout ahead. A large brick inn stands at the dark crossroads, with a modern 24-hour gas station glowing in glaring red neon from across the street. I roll onward.

The houses encroach on each other, forming rows of brick duplexes as I approach the famous junction of five roads. Another roundabout.

The village quickly falls away again, replaced by split rail fences. I am alone in the darkness, passing through rolling fields of history. Even the ghosts are quiet this morning.

I arrive at my destination with time to spare. I climb the tower in the pre-dawn twilight to wait.

And my date stands me up. The appointed time arrives with merely a change in the level of light. Gray clouds mask the horizon, and the rain begins. It matters not. I have stood with the ghosts in the silence of the night and looked across the fields, ridges, and hills. Spectacular photos are not to be; the memorial is enough.

Four shots ring out across the battlefield in slow succession, echoing off the hills to my back. A hunter perhaps, or a re-enactor. Perhaps an acknowledgement of my visit by those who have never left.

Longstreet's artillery await a charge which will never come

Cabin Fever – P365 for January 16, 2010

DSC_5560.JPGSo I’m in York, PA for the Cabin Fever Expo.  I met a local group down here for the chance to run our steam trains in the middle of the winter.  Unfortunately, I spent most of the day running trains or shopping, so I don’t have many good photos.

I would like to send a quick shout out to Moody Tools.  I found some great stuff from them for my toolbox, and they’re made right in Warwick, RI.  I bought mine from the RJR Cool Tools booth.  (So far they’ve both satisfied the Three Rules and deserve a plug.)

While I’m plugging businesses, I should mention that I had dinner at the Colosseo Ristorante here in York and it was fabulous!  If I’m ever back in town, I’ll need to eat there again.  Maybe next year.

Ruby waits patiently while a logger passes
something unexpected

Today’s Project 365 shot has nothing to do with the model engineering expo.  I caught it in a local parking lot near dusk.


I’m hoping for some great photos tomorrow, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.  No restaurant reviews, I promise.

Thank you, John Cleese (P365 for January 15)

I drove today.  Not simply place the shifter in ‘D’, set the cruise control, and point the wheel toward Point B, but I actually drove.  Real two-hands-on-the-wheel, row-the-gears driving.

I have a new GPS.  The old one had a voice which sounded like Sir Alec Guinness, so it had earned the nickname Obi-Wan.  I still miss Old Ben, and I’ve not found a similar voice for the new one.  I have, however, found a John Cleese voice for it.

Today I drove to Pennsylvania.  The reasons why should become evident in tomorrow’s post, but today was about the drive.  I gave John my destination, and let him do his thing.  I wasn’t worried, as I know all of the major interstates and there are no Oregon mountain passes around here.  John churned away in the memory banks for a while, and then off we went.

Interstate 95 through Connecticut is a dismal, boring road, second only in misery to the New Jersey Turnpike.  I was thrilled to see that Mr. Cleese avoided it entirely.  He led me down the Cross and Merritt Parkways, the Hutchinson, the Cross County, and a few others I cannot remember.  For those not familiar with the parkways of NY and CT, you are missing out.  They were built before the interstate highway system, and they’re different.  Commercial traffic is not allowed, but that’s only the beginning.  A standard interstate uses bridges and cuts to achieve the straightest possible route between two points, but a parkway sits on the land.  They feature wonderful arched Art-Deco overpasses, hills, curves, and even the occasional tunnel.  The medians have trees in them, and the road generally runs through woods.  They’re just fun to drive.

It’s not a European mountain pass or the circuit at Lime Rock, and I’m not driving a supercar.  But my little sedan is nimble and has a wonderul 6-speed manual transmission.  With the sunroof open and lots of random good music on the stereo, the day was good.


John took me down the east side of the Hudson.  We touched the ground briefly in Manhattan on Riverside Drive, before climbing up onto the George Washington Bridge.  The traffic was light, and even the bridge was beautiful.  Thank you, John.

Then we were dumped into the 12 lanes of industrial wasteland that is the New Jersey Turnpike.  My dad will drive hours out of his way to avoid it, and I understand why.  You can’t win them all, I guess.  I got through it by putting the Sopranos CD on the iPod and briefly wishing for my truck.  New Jersey may have an undeserved reputation, but the Turnpike does nothing to dispel it.

I made it to PA in one piece, and the hotel has decent WiFi.  More details in tomorrow’s post.


“Oh crap!” I stomp hard on the brakes as traffic suddenly halts, feeling the ABS grind beneath my foot as 3 tons of towed RV pushes hard against the Suburban. The RV tires chirp but don’t lock up, and I manage to stop without any smoke or action-movie special effects. I also manage to not hit the car in front of me.

I crane my neck in an attempt to ascertain the cause of our sudden dramatics. I can see an old Chevy sideways in the intersection a quarter mile ahead. Traffic resumes its progress, but at a slow crawl.


People dart in and out of traffic, obviously talking on their cell phones.


The Chevy is missing most of its nose and steaming slightly.


A late model SUV rests in the ditch at the side of the road. It wasn’t parked there.


Four tourists mill around the SUV, talking on cell phones and taking pictures of it.


Two people crouch and stare into the Chevy from a distance.


And not a single red, blue, or amber flashing light to be seen.


I pull through the scene of the crash and park my 40 feet of Land Yacht in the first safe place. It’s summer, and I’m way, way out of my jurisdiction. I’m wearing shorts and sandals, but no one else seems to be doing anything useful. In fact, someone’s going to get hurt here.

Hopefully it won’t be me.

The driver of the Chevy is conscious and can move all of his extremities, but he’s complaining of neck and back pain. I assess him as best I can with no equipment and stabilize his neck until help arrives.

A helpful bystander tries to pull me away. That car could blow up, you know! I’ve seen it on TV!

I shrug him off. He backs away, but continues to shout about the ‘puddle of gasoline’ I’m standing in.

Funny, it’s the greenest gasoline I’ve ever seen. I suppose I’m lucky no one deployed a fire extinguisher on the steaming radiator. I’m sure Helpful Bystander would’ve tried if he’d had one.

Time stretches onward, minutes seeming like hours.

The wail of a siren reaches over the rural horizon. Blue strobes dawn over the crest of the roadway.

I identify myself to the police officer, and he asks how he can help. Good man! Would you double check that this puddle is in fact antifreeze? He quickly confirms that it’s relatively harmless.

Great. Could you check the folks in the other car? They’re all out walking around and look OK from here, but. . .

More strobes approach, red this time. The cavalry. An ambulance and a fire engine.

I identify myself again and give a quick patient report, expecting to hand over care. The crews treat me with deference, taking orders instead of taking over.

Must be my command presence.

Things have to be done, so I give the orders. I don’t stop to wonder why I’m in charge. My patient is properly immobilized and extricated from the car. We load him into the ambulance, and I give a Hollywood-style two slaps on the back door.

As the red lights set over the southern horizon, I realize what has just happened.

I chuckle with a vision of the Brothers at Boston E37/L26 receiving a gift basket and a thank you note. They laugh, wondering who was caught playing hero in a Huntington Ave Express T-shirt.

Happens all the time, right?

Inn at Ellis River

Stayed here for a couple nights away for our anniversary. We hiked down Canon Mtn via the Kinsman Ridge trail and got really beat up. The trail was in horrid shape; I don’t know if it’s from the recent bad weather or just hard use. I guess there’s a reason they recommend you hike UP and ride the tram DOWN. Live and learn. It made us appreciate the Jacuzzi in our room, though.

We loved the Inn so much we’re going back for Ericka’s birthday.