Have
DeLorean
Will Travel
 
Because sometimes you just have to hit the road...

Blog Entries - Have DeLorean Will Travel
Summer 2012

Day 100

October 20 

A hundred days of road trip!  I never thought I would get to do a trip like this.  I woke up to John making waffles in the kitchen.  A few waffles later I was ready to face the day.  John and I drove through some more of the colleges nearby such as Terranova and Cabrini.  On the way back I picked up some groceries for making dessert.  Once at the house I borrowed the vacuum to clean the car out and trimmed some high hedges to earn my keep.  After the chores were done I made a little chocolate mousse and did a little research on my next stops.  Dinner was cooked and dessert enjoyed.  I left late that evening and headed over to my friend Shaun Folkerts house.  Shaun is man who makes a living doing exactly what he loves...working with cars.  Not just any cars, he specializes in pre 1983 Fiat and Lacias (FiatLancia.com).  If you are a lover of these quirky little cars (and there is a devoted following) this is one guy you need to know.  I arrived late and Shaun showed me in.

Day 99
October 19
 

My host John and his wife Ruth live in a house built in the 1800's.  To say it has character is an understatement!  The morning started of early with John driving me the back way into Philly.  This allowed us to go by several of the small private universities that see to be all over this part of the country.  The student body may only be around 1,500 people, but many of these colleges have been around for a long time and many have their specialties.  Some of them are still women only.  It was interesting driving through these small colleges and comparing them to Texas A&M where I went.   In Philly we stopped off at the Independence Hall Visitors Center where I was able to get a ticket to go through Independence Hall later that day.  The tickets are free, but are requires so they can spread out the visitors.  We went in to the National Constitution Center where we watched a live presentation about the Constitution.  This was very well done and if you want to understand about what made this nation what it is, you must check it out.   They also have great exhibits that continue up to the present day as well as bronze statues of all the signers sets as they are pictured in the painting of the signing of the declaration and set up so you can walk through them.  We went to lunch at the Union League, a club that had just had it's 150th anniversary.  I walked back to Independence Hall for my tour and got to walk through the very building Washinton, Jackson, Franklin, and other statesmen of that time met and wrote the Constitution.  It was the building the British had taken it over for awhile and thankfully did not burn it as they left.  Hearing again about how the fighting had started at Lexington and Concord brought back the dusty memories of what I had learned in school, how the was started over the taxation without representation, but most of the people did not want independence from Britain at first.  The British response that united the loose amalgamation of states.  (We must all hang together or surely we will all hang separately!)  After an injection of history, I continued the treatment with a visit to the Liberty Bell.  I had a little extra time before John was due to pick me up so I filled that in with a visit to the US Mint.  The self guided tour takes you through all the steps involved in making coins, from the art work and getting the approval of Congress to the creation of dies and the stamping and bagging of the coins.  Unfortunately I was there late in the day and the machines were shut down.  Still a neat visit and the Mint Gift Shop has all the current special editions, commemorative coins and proof sets that are available.

John picked me up and we made our way back through rush hour traffic.  The rains and downpours had cleared and made the drive back much nicer.  We all went out to dinner that night and back to their house to hear stories about my folks as well as the wealth of information John has in his head about our Constitutional history and to sleep. 

Day 98
October 18
I headed north to Dover and stopped off at the Air Mobility Command Museum.  Dover is home base to the guys who handle the air logistics of getting our troops where they need to fight with the equipment they need to do it with.  Lots of BIG planes starting with a Gooney Bird and a B-17 and moving outside to Starlifters and Hercules as well as many other planes.  Heading north out of Dover you go past the NASCAR race track.  That is why the flyover at the start of the races there is with one of the Air Force's cargo planes.  Other sightseeing on the way north to Lum's Pond State Park, but nothing memorable.  I got to the park, set up camp and cooked dinner and got a call from an old family friend asking me where I was.  This was a friend of my Mom and Dad's who was expecting me that night and I had let my mental calendar slip a day.  Pack up camp and head off to Wayne, PA.  I got there an hour later where I was welcomed with open arms.  The timing could not have been better as it began to rain that night.

Day 97
October 17

Today was a lazy day.  I did some hiking, reading and general catching up.  I visited the fishing pier in the park where people were brining in speckled trout and small bay fish.  There is also a place to park where you can walk around the point at the north end of the park.  There is also miles of beach although it was too cold for swimming.  Grilled sausage and salad that night.

Day 96,
October 16

The east coast is covered with history.  In the fight for independence our naval traditions began.  Nowhere is that better documented than at the museum housed at the US Naval Academy.  Parking can be had in two hour snatches outside the academy unless you are a service man, then you can park at the visitors center, so keep an eye on the clock as you go through the museum or you will end up with a little reminder of your trip.  Move the car and go back as a thorough viewing of the museum will run past two hours.  Ship models and artifacts detailing battles and people such as Captain John Paul Jones during the war against the Brits(I have not yet begun to fight!) and Admiral David Farragrut during the Civil War (Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!) through the world wars to present day are all nicely documented here.  While there one should go by the academy chapel (I've never seen a church with cannon outside it).  Down in the basement of the chapel is the crypt of John Paul Jones.  I don't think I've ever seen a more ornate one even in Europe, but he deserves a place of honor and he has it.  The Academy has docents that give tours and they relate history and stories that aren't posted.  Take one if you can.

After leaving Annapolis I headed east and crossed into Delaware.  I drove all the way to the east coast and headed for Henlopen State Park.  This park has Fort Miles within it.  Fort Miles was a coastal fort built during WWII to guard the busy shipping lane that would enter between the fort and Cape May that lead up to Philadelphia.  There were 11 watch towers built and several that still stand today.  One is open to the public, one has been converted to a radar post and the rest are closed.  The fort watchtowers were used to triangulate the position of ships off the coast and provide aiming information for the two 16 inch guns and numerous smaller guns some of which could reach out to over 20 miles (past Cape May) to protect the coast.  I climbed the watch tower near the campsite and enjoyed the view.  I stopped by a store earlier and had a wood fire going and cooked a nice steak over it.  A nice change from freeze dried food while camping.  The weather had cleared off and it cooled down that night.  Once again it looked like I was going to  tuck my bags together. 

Day 95
October 15

I slept a little late and got up.  There was trash all over that campsite.  I don't know about the whole camp ground, but there was foil, plastic, and cans lying on the ground.  Nothing big ither than a can or two, but lots of small stuff and the cockroaches did not make it any more appealing. It also looked like many RVs were there for long term stays.

My voltmeter had still been jumping all over the place last night so I decided to check the last thing I could think of on the alternator...the plug.  Sure enough the retaining clip had cracked and the one wire was also a little exposed.  I replaced it and low and behold, all was working as it should.  I packed up and started for Annapolis.  On the way I stopped in Solomons, a very pretty town right by the road and on the water.  I went by where oyters were being unloaded and saw a replica of a schooner that had been used by the British during the original Tea Party years to prevent smuggling  She was quite a rakish two masted square rigger and is used for educational purposes.  The guys unloading oysters recommended the Captain's Table nearby for lunch.  The misty/rainy day made it a good place to stay while I caught up on the blog.  While I was sitting there the rain waxed and waned and I decided I was in no mood to go set up camp in the rain.  A little calling around and using Siri, who is now installed on my iPad, found a place near Annapolis, MD.  The girl at the hotel had no idea what might be a fun bar to get a bite to eat at in the old part of Annapolis. I drove in and parked and the guys at the local cigar shop that came to check out the car recommended Acme's, a little sports bar down the street.  Acme's was busy and the bountiful waitresses took care of me at the bar.  It turned out ne of them had moved here from the Dallas area when she got married and was going back for Thanksgiving.  The guy next to me was a captain for a charter boat company that also sold boats.  There had just been a boat show that weekend and he was getting ready to head back to Florida for the winter.  The Chargers were playing the Colts and I headed for the motel before the game was done.

Day 94
October 14

I headed down into Maryland to visit David McKeen, a purveyor of Delorean electronic products.  I arrived after a four hour road trip to his home in Leonardtown, MD.  An immaculate Delorean was sitting in the driveway and he waved me in.  I had had problems with one of his modules that did the dimming of the interior lights as well as operating the lights in the doors.  It turned out that the led dome lights I was using have been modified so they are bidirectional.  This evidently threw the circuit off in his module, but he came up with a fix that took care of the problem.  He also helped with my AC system which was low again.  One of the Schrader valves had backed off we tightened it down.  Another sunny day was hopefully not going to turn the car into a greenhouse now.  I talked over some other electrical issues I had, but beyond a few suggestions was not sure what the cause was.  Also on the drive down my votmeter had been bouncing around.  I drove over to Piney Point Campground down on the water about 10 miles away.  I'm glad I got thereat night otherwise I might not have stayed there.  The location was nice, but there seemed to be trash everywhere.  As I cooked I saw a cockroach on the picnic table.  Maybe I should not be surprised as I am down in warmer, more humid areas, but it was a shock since it was the first one I had seen on the whole trip.  I made sure everything stayed zipped and in the car if not in use.  I was in bed early and was out quick.



Blog 93
October 13
More errands were done, and I got to go flying!  One of my friends out there is a private pilot and he took me up!  After getting in the air he let me fly and we headed over to Deck Airport not too far away.  After we landed there my friend told me to look behind me and there next to an airport was one of the Amish plowing his field behind two mules!  We headed back after doing a couple of rolls (see video) and landed in fine shape.  there was a party going on at one of the hangars where someone who had completed a beautiful homebuilt RV12 had just completed it's 40 hours of initial flight.   One of the other guys had completed an RV3 that I had to take some pictures of.  The finish was a hoot.  We got back to the house where his wife suckered me into playing ping pong.  That girl is a shark!  She may not have the meanest slice or spin, but 90% of the time she returns whatever you throw at her till you miss.

Blog 92
October 12
I decided while I had the place to do it, I would take care of the alternator issue.  It took me about 10 minutes to get the alternator off.  Once off when I spun it, it squeaked like an angry squirrel.  This alternator was only two years old and did not have more than 20K miles on it.  Trappe Alternator was not far away and they got it rebuilt the same day.  The tested the voltage regulator too and said it appeared fine, but I told them to replace it anyway since the the problem was intermittent.  We went off and did some errands as well as getting caught up with getting pictures posted.  I got the alternator reinstalled and everything seemed to be fine.  No more squeals and the battery light was not flickering off and on.  I did ask them for another plug for the alternator though, because I had some suspicions about it.  Glad I did.  More about that later.  The night was spent playing guitars and making a bottle of wine disappear.  Magic!


Blog 91
October 11,

Today was a big day, I had a lot of things to do and a long way to drive.  I headed out of RI to Connecticut.  I was born in this state and wanted to go by and see the area I spent the first five years of my life.  My brother had been down to see the house when he had been working on a job in New Jersey only to find someone had torn it down and build a McMansion in it's place.  Westport is now pretty much a bedroom community of New York so I guess it was no real surprise, still I wanted to go by the property and see if the little hill in front of the house was what I remembered not to mention the "quicksand" just off the property our Dad warned us away from.  I was also headed for a shindig being held by a consultant I used to use in the Valley forge area.  On my way to Westport I stopped off in Southport at the Classic Car Gallery to see Tim Smith.  Tim had written to Jeff Aronson with an offer of help if I needed it as I came through.  Everything was still hanging together even though the alternator was continuing it's usual behavior.  Tim was at lunch when I came through, but the guys there were all friendly and showed me around their operation.  They had a broad range of cars from old Jags and Ferraris to a Noble.  The Noble looked like lots of fun, just no storage space.  No long trips in that!  Westport was not far away and the GPS led me right to where I used to live on Bayberry Lane.  I drove down the driveway and rang the doorbell.  I guess here I had the biggest disappointment of my trip.  The woman who lived there wouldn't even let me walk around the property.  I explained who I was and she was as unfriendly as possible.  I explained I had no interest in the house since it was not the one I grew up in, I just wanted to look at the yard.  No go.  She said I had seen what I could see from the driveway and I should be off (the or else was implied).  I'm not sure if that is a New York City mentality slipping in, but I didn't stick around.  I drove over to Compo Beach where I had my first introduction to the sea as a child.  The beach was smaller than I remembered, but the cannon were still their from the Battle of Compo Beach during the war of Independence.  I regreted missing Mystic Seaport, but who knows, maybe I will be back...or maybe not.  I headed southwest going north of Yonkers and taking a loop around NYC.  On of my goals was to drive through Times Square, now after seeing the traffic around Boston, I'm not sure I want to deal with it.  I'll worry about that later.  I headed south and got to the Valley Forge area west of Philly.  Environmental Standards was celebrating their 25th anniversary as well as their new ground breaking for their expansion.  It was great to renew old friendships.  I don't know if anyone needs a chemistry or environmental consultant, but these guys are good.  Not the cheapest, but good value for the money and they don't pad the work.  I spent the next couple of nights with some of my friends there.


Blog 90

October 10

I headed out of Middlebury via Stowe, VT.  The weather was overcast and drizzly, but I had seen such beautiful pictures of the leaves changing in that area I thought I would give it a shot.  The AAA maps often have roads that have green dots running along them, that is their indicator for a scenic route and I highly recommend them.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating and I had a rainy drive without any good pictures.  After leaving Stowe I headed back to the interstate and buzzed by Franconia State Park again as I headed south towards Rhode Island.  I avoided Boston as much as I could on my way south due to the traffic.  Boston and New York have a lot to offer, but I can't bring myself to deal with the traffic.  Passing through providence with the afternoon traffic, I wondered how many people work in the Boston area and make the drive to RI every day.  It seemed like there were a lot of cars headed west in the afternoon.  I turned off I-95 to 4 and headed south to the coast driving through light rain.  Coming off 4 to get to Post Road 1 the car gods decided to remind me who was in charge again.  I hit some rain slicked pavement and the D swapped ends faster than you could say John Delorean.  I ended up almost headed back the way I was originally and without a car near me.  I put the car back in gear and kept going.  I got down to Narragansett and stopped off to watch the surfers and let my heart rate return to normal.  It was getting near evening so I stopped in at a small state park nearby.  I just about had the tent campground to myself and cooked some dinner and got some sleep.



Blog 89
October 9th

Nothing but blogging until early afternoon and getting all caught up.  I had promised my hosts I would make chocolate mousse and went into town for supplies with one of my hosts.  Middlebury is a college town and many of their friends are professors or have retired from teaching.  We stopped by one of their friends who is the astronomy professor to invite them over later.  Unfortunately it was midterms and he was not available, but it turned out that his wife practiced one of the local crafts, spinning.  I had seen spinning wheels in several museums, some with hand carved tensioning screws and meticulous workmanship, but I had never seen one work and no one had ever been available to explain one.  I got the full lesson before I was done and even got to try spinning some wool into yarn.  I'm sure this is all on You Tube somewhere, but I never think of it when I'm web surfing.  I found out that on the classic great wheels you always see, the loops of yarn you see going from the big wheel to the small one is a drive belt and is not part of the yarn being spun.  Carded wool is stretched to the desired thickness and is fed in to the center of a rotating spindle which performs the twisting and gives the yarn it's strength.  It goes from there to a hook that guides it onto a spindle that is driven by a separate drive belt and keeps it wound up.  She also showed us how it was made using a hand spindle  made out of a dowel, a small cup hook, two old CDs and a grommet.  I won't say my yarn was worth knitting with, but if I'm ever stranded on an island with sheep, I will know how to make yarn (knitting is another issue completely).  I got back and made mousse and while waiting for my host who had a late church meeting, I found out that my hosts brother in law was the substitute organist at the local church.  Instead of waiting around, we went to the church and I got a first hand introduction to the complexities of a pipe organ.  This one had been updated and was electromechanical.  This allowed for faster response time and allowed the keyboards to be placed at a distance from the rest of the mechanism.  This one was even equipped with chimes.   The engineering and acoustics that go into one of these is extensive and the number of pipes needed to provide all the voices is overwhelming.  We got back in time to have dinner and go back and blog the day's activities.

Blog 88

October 8th

I did a lot of maintenance things today, laundry, replaced a horn relay and a fan belt in the hopes that my flickering battery light would go off.  No such luck.  I have checked all the connections and reseated the battery light and everything seems fine.  The alternator seems to charge fine, but the light has been flickering since California, but it keeps charging.  It seems to do it more when it is hot and there is a corresponding jump in the volt meter, but it always returns to 13.4 volts or so. It seems to be worse at night, though weather that is due to the increased load from having the headlights on or I just notice the light morebecause it is dark, I am not sure.  My host and her sister and brother in law who live in the next house had me over for dinner.  It is nice to sit down to a home cooked meal.  I don't think I'm homesick other than for a complete kitchen!


Blog 88
October 8th

I did a lot of maintenance things today, laundry, replaced a horn relay and a fan belt in the hopes that my flickering battery light would go off.  No such luck.  I have checked all the connections and reseated the battery light and everything seems fine.  The alternator seems to charge fine, but the light has been flickering since California, but it keeps charging.  It seems to do it more when it is hot and there is a corresponding jump in the volt meter, but it always returns to 13.4 volts or so.  It seems to be worse at night, though weather that is due to the increased load from having the headlights on or I just notice the light more because it is dark, I am not sure.  My host and her sister and brother in law who live in the next house had me over for dinner.  It is nice to sit down to a home cooked meal.  I don't think I'm homesick other than for a complete kitchen!


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Blog Day 87

October 7th

It was cold that night and damp too.  About 3:00 am I got up and grabbed my other sleeping bag and my ski socks.  I tucked one sleeping bag into the other and slipped on the socks and went right back to sleep.  I had rigged a tarp over the tent in case the rains returned.  The dark blue tarp kept the tent dark and between that and being nice and warm, I slept later than I had planned.  I made some breakfast and packed things up. The next place on my agenda was Franconia Notch State Park.  This park runs adjacent to I-93 south of the junction with 3..  This is the only interstate I know of where the road is one lane in each direction and the speed limit is 45 mph.  It's a good thing too, with the leaves changing color that was a good average speed for the cars.  The information person at the park HQ was very helpful  and helped me figure out the things I had time to see.  The park was mobbed with people so I trimmed down what I wanted to see to The Basin, The Flume and Avalanche Falls above the flume.  While I visited this park I noticed what seemed to be a large percentage of visitors from India or of Indian descent.  Not sure if they just love nature and the fall colors or what, but it was a large percentage of the people enjoying the holiday.  The trail past the Basin is well marked and mostly paved, past channels carved into the rock by the water and finally to the Basin, a pool about 20 feet across that eroded away by the water and rocks washing around and grinding away the walls.  Not far away to the south off of I-93 is the Flume, a narrow gorge or slot that cuts into the base of Mt. Liberty.  The walls of this slot are 12 to 20 feet across and up to 90 feet tall.  The boardwalk built along the side of the gorge is mostly rebuilt each year.  Once through the Flume and Avalanche Falls at the head of the gorge, be sure to take the longer walk back that takes you past the Pool and the Pine Bridge that was built on a tree that fell down and spanned a gully.  After all this nature, I headed west to Middlebury, Vermont.  During my road time with Mom she mentioned we had some old family friends in Vermont.  A few calls and I was invited with open arms into the house of the baby sitter I had when I was 10 years old!  I made it there taking the route recommended by the GPS.  It went down some roads that were not the route I would have chosen by the map, but were certainly scenic.  I turned into the driveway at 6:35 and dinner was laid on.  A full belly padded a few glasses of wine and I crawled into a nice dry bed with a full bathroom not far away.  Something to be said for that.

October 8th
Blog Day 86

I did a lot of maintenance things today, laundry, replaced a horn relay and a fan belt in the hopes that my flickering battery light would go off.  No such luck.  I have checked all the connections and reseated the battery light and everything seems fine.  The alternator seems to charge fine, but the light has been flickering since California, but it keeps charging.  It seems to do it more when it is hot and there is a corresponding jump in the volt meter, but it always returns to 13.4 volts or so.  It seems to be worse at night, though weather that is due to the increased load from having the headlights on or I just notice the light more because it is dark, I am not sure.  My host and her sister and brother in law who live in the next house had me over for dinner.  It is nice to sit down to a home cooked meal.  I don't think I'm homesick other than for a complete kitchen!

October 9th
Blog Day 85

Nothing but blogging until early afternoon and getting all caught up.  I had promised my hosts I would make chocolate mousse and went into town for supplies with one of my hosts.  Middlebury is a college town and many of their friends are professors or have retired from teaching.  We stopped by one of their friends who is the astronomy professor to invite them over later.  Unfortunately it was midterms and he was not available, but it turned out that his wife practiced one of the local crafts, spinning.  I had seen spinning wheels in several museums, some with hand carved tensioning screws and meticulous workmanship, but I had never seen one work and no one had ever been available to explain one.  I got the full lesson before I was done and even got to try spinning some wool into yarn.  I'm sure this is all on You Tube somewhere, but I never think of it when I'm web surfing.  I found out that on the classic great wheels you always see, the loops of yarn you see going from the big wheel to the small one is a drive belt and is not part of the yarn being spun.  Carded wool is stretched to the desired thickness and is fed in to the center of a rotating spindle which performs the twisting and gives the yarn it's strength.  It goes from there to a hook that guides it onto a spindle that is driven by a separate drive belt and keeps it wound up.  She also showed us how it was made using a hand spindle  made out of a dowel, a small cup hook, two old CDs and a grommet.  I won't say my yarn was worth knitting with, but if I'm ever stranded on an island with sheep, I will know how to make yarn (knitting is another issue completely).  I got back and made mousse and while waiting for my host who had a late church meeting, I found out that my hosts brother in law was the substitute organist at the local church.  Instead of waiting around, we went to the church and I got a first hand introduction to the complexities of a pipe organ.  This one had been updated and was electromechanical.  This allowed for faster response time and allowed the keyboards to be placed at a distance from the rest of the mechanism.  This one was even equipped with chimes.   The engineering and acoustics that go into one of these is extensive and the number of pipes needed to provide all the voices is overwhelming.  We got back in time to have dinner and go back and blog the day's activities.

Blog Day 84

October 10

I headed out of Middlebury via Stowe, VT.  The weather was overcast and drizzly, but I had seen such beautiful pictures of the leaves changing in that area I thought I would give it a shot.  The AAA maps often have roads that have green dots running along them, that is their indicator for a scenic route and I highly recommend them.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating and I had a rainy drive without any good pictures.  After leaving Stowe I headed back to the interstate and buzzed by Franconia State Park again as I headed south towards Rhode Island.  I avoided Boston as much as I could on my way south due to the traffic.  Boston and New York have a lot to offer, but I can't bring myself to deal with the traffic.  Passing through providence with the afternoon traffic, I wondered how many people work in the Boston area and make the drive to RI every day.  It seemed like there were a lot of cars headed west in the afternoon.  I turned off I-95 to 4 and headed south to the coast driving through light rain.  Coming off 4 to get to Post Road 1 the car gods decided to remind me who was in charge again.  I hit some rain slicked pavement and the D swapped ends faster than you could say John Delorean.  I ended up almost headed back the way I was originally and without a car near me.  I put the car back in gear and kept going.  I got down to Narragansett and stopped off to watch the surfers and let my heart rate return to normal.  It was getting near evening so I stopped in at a small state park nearby.  I just about had the tent campground to myself and cooked some dinner and got some sleep.

Blog Day 83

October 11, 2012

Today was a big day, I had a lot of things to do and a long way to drive.  I headed out of RI to Connecticut.  I was born in this state and wanted to go by and see the area I spent the first five years of my life.  My brother had been down to see the house when he had been working on a job in New Jersey only to find someone had torn it down and build a McMansion in it's place.  Westport is now pretty much a bedroom community of New York so I guess it was no real surprise, still I wanted to go by the property and see if the little hill in front of the house was what I remembered not to mention the "quicksand" just off the property our Dad warned us away from.  I was also headed for a shindig being held by a consultant I used to use in the Valley forge area.  On my way to Westport I stopped off in Southport at the Classic Car Gallery to see Tim Smith.  Tim had written to Jeff Aronson with an offer of help if I needed it as I came through.  Everything was still hanging together even though the alternator was continuing it's usual behavior.  Tim was at lunch when I came through, but the guys there were all friendly and showed me around their operation.  They had a broad range of cars from old Jags and Ferraris to a Noble.  The Noble looked like lots of fun, just no storage space.  No long trips in that!  Westport was not far away and the GPS led me right to where I used to live on Bayberry Lane.  I drove down the driveway and rang the doorbell.  I guess here I had the biggest disappointment of my trip.  The woman who lived there wouldn't even let me walk around the property.  I explained who I was and she was as unfriendly as possible.  I explained I had no interest in the house since it was not the one I grew up in, I just wanted to look at the yard.  No go.  She said I had seen what I could see from the driveway and I should be off (the or else was implied).  I'm not sure if that is a New York City mentality slipping in, but I didn't stick around.  I drove over to Compo Beach where I had my first introduction to the sea as a child.  The beach was smaller than I remembered, but the cannon were still their from the Battle of Compo Beach during the war of Independence.  I regreted missing Mystic Seaport, but who knows, maybe I will be back...or maybe not.  I heade southwest going norht of Yonkers and taking a loop around NYC.  On of my goals was to drive through Times Square, now after seeing the traffic around Boston, I'm not sure I want to deal with it.  I'll worry about that later.  I headed south and got to the Valley Forge area west of Philly.  Environmental Standards was celebrating their 25th anniversary as well as their new ground breaking for their expansion.  It was great to renew old friendships.  I don't know if anyone needs a chemistry or environmental consultant, but these guys are good.  Not the cheapest, but good value for the money and they don't pad the work.  I spent the next couple of nights with some of my friends there.

Blog Day 82

October 12

I decided while I had the place to do it, I would take care of the alternator issue.  It took me about 10 minutes to get the alternator off.  Once off when I spun it, it squeaked like an angry squirrel.  This alternator was only two years old and did not have more than 20K miles on it.  Trappe Alternator was not far away and they got it rebuilt the same day.  The tested the voltage regulator too and said it appeared fine, but I told them to replace it anyway since the problem was intermittent.  We went off and did some errands as well as getting caught up with getting pictures posted.  I got the alternator reinstalled and everything seemed to be fine.  No more squeals and the battery light was not flickering off and on.  I did ask them for another plug for the alternator though, because I had some suspicions about it.  Glad I did.  More about that later.  The night was spent playing guitars and making a bottle of wine disappear.  Magic!

Blog Day 81

October 13

More errands were done, and I got to go flying!  One of my friends out there is a private pilot and he took me up!  After getting in the air he let me fly and we headed over to Deck Airport not too far away.  After we landed there my friend told me to look behind and next to an airport, was one of the Amish plowing his field behind two mules!  We headed back after doing a couple of rolls (see video) and landed in fine shape.  There was a party going on at one of the hangars where someone who had completed a beautiful homebuilt RV12 had just completed it's 40 hours of initial flight.   One of the other guys had completed an RV3 that I had to take some pictures of.  The finish was a hoot.  We got back to the house where his wife suckered me into playing ping pong.  That girl is a shark!  She may not have the meanest slice or spin, but 90% of the time she returns whatever you throw at her till you miss.

Blog day 86
october 12, 2012


 I decided while I had the place to do it, I would take care of the alternator issue.  It took me about 10 minutes to get the alternator off.  Once off when I spun it, it squeaked like an angry squirrel.  This alternator was only two years old and did not have more than 20K miles on it.  Trappe Alternator was not far away and they got it rebuilt the same day.  The tested the voltage regulator too and said it appeared fine, but I told them to replace it anyway since the problem was intermittent.  We went off and did some errands as well as getting caught up with getting pictures posted.  I got the alternator reinstalled and everything seemed to be fine.  No more squeals and the battery light was not flickering off and on.  I did ask them for another plug for the alternator though, because I had some suspicions about it.  Glad I did.  More about that later.  The night was spent playing guitars and making a bottle of wine disappear.  Magic!


Blog Day 85
October 13

More errands were done, and I got to go flying!  One of my friends out there is a private pilot and he took me up!  After getting in the air he let me fly and we headed over to Deck Airport not too far away.  After we landed there my friend told me to look behind me and there next to an airport was one of the Amish plowing his field behind two mules!  We headed back after doing a couple of rolls (see video) and landed in fine shape.  There was a party going on at one of the hangars where someone who had completed a beautiful homebuilt RV12 had just completed it's 40 hours of initial flight.   One of the other guys had completed an RV3 that I had to take some pictures of.  The finish was a hoot.  We got back to the house where his wife suckered me into playing ping pong.  That girl is a shark!  She may not have the meanest slice or spin, but 90% of the time she returns whatever you throw at her till you miss.


Blog Day 84

October 6

After dropping my friend off at the airport I headed north again into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  My goal was to drive to the top of the windiest place in the world.  Traffic was packed and I found out that this holiday weekend was the busiest of the year with the leaf peepers doing their annual visit.  I followed the crowd up Rt. 16 to North Conway where the host at the visitors center provided me with all the details I would need for camping in the area as well as the drive up Mt. Washington.  Some groceries were needed for camping that night and after that stop I headed to the Mt Washington Auto Road.  This was originally opened in 1861 as a carriage trail for tourists and is America's oldest man made tourist attraction (the road that is).  I pulled up to pay my entry fee of $25 and reaped the benefit of driving the Delorean again.  They considered the car a classic and I got in for free!  The drive to the top at some 6,288 feet is eight miles long with up to 12% grades.  The heavy traffic and narrow road made it interesting, you could tell some people were VERY unused to mountain roads, but the D handled it in fine style.  The clouds closed in over 5,000 feet and the visibility dropped to feet as I reached the parking lot at the top just below the summit.  The wind had risen as I ascended the mountain too.  As I tried to pose for a picture at the top the winds were reaching gusts of 70 mph.  The buildings at the top hold a cafeteria, a weather research and teaching facility, a small museum and a shop.  The museum has the logbook displayed of the notes written when the winds hit 231 mph, the most ever recorded on the surface of the earth.  After warming up a bit, I put the car in first and headed back down.  Once at the bottom I stopped and waited for the rains to pass through the area.  I headed west and pulled in at the Dollly Copp campground in the White Mountain National Forest.  I snagged on of the last camp sites and set up camp.  Brats and beer and a fruit salad were on the menu that night.

Blog Day 83
October 5 2012

In the morning painting, carving and decorating began on the pumpkins that had been on display the night before. We had an easy day walking around the town watching the progress of the artwork as the day went on, anything went from a human eating pumpkin to a mouse house to a four and twenty blackbird pumpkin pie.  No pumpkin would be complete without Snoopy and the most sincere pumpkin patch.  Pumpkin boats were being constructed nearby and the pumpkin hurlers were putting the final touches on their weapons of destruction for the weekend.   Come evening we headed for a hotel near Logan.

Blog day 82
october 4 2012

Packed up and drove to Calais (Callas) and got groceries.  The car attracted a lot of looks and I was warned I might end up on a U-Tube video.  We headed west on 9 and was surrounded by trees starting to change color, still a little before peak.  I just wish we had some more sunshine.  Since the pumpkin fest had not really kicked off when we had visited previously, we decided to stop by Damariscotta again.  Huge pumpkins and squash lined the Main Street of the town.  According to the online weigh in some of them were over 1,300 pounds.  The ones we saw were over 900 pounds, plenty big enough for me!  The rain had set back in and we made a run back to Claddach for a place we knew was decent for a reasonable price.  Finished up the night with a lobster dinner.  Tough to beat at $15.00.

BLOG Day 81

October  3 2012

The runoff had slowed down letting the beach dry a bit.  There was a huge sunflower growing in the sand of the beach as well as the beach plums that some of the locals use to make jam.  We drove around east part of Acadia National Park looking at the deeply incised coast.  A person could spend a lifetime exploring all the inlets and bays on this coast.  My third corner was calling and we headed east on 1 to get to Quoddy Head lighthouse.  On the way we saw bald eagles circling in a thermal, their white heads and tails easily visible from the ground.  On the way through Machias, brown waterfalls tumbled through the center of town.  The brown color is due to natural dyes from forests and leaves.  This is one of the streams where salmon still return to breed.  Near Whiting I turned off onto 189 to make it out to Quoddy Head Point.  This is the furthest east you can go and be in the US.  As we arrived a lone bagpiper began to play.  He said it was as close as he could get to Scotland with his music.  Though the host at the little museum there was less than friendly, it seemed like a good place to have lunch.  On the way to the car I was accosted by four Jehova's Witnesses.  The ladies started out by being interested in the car and then gave me some reading material.  The lighthouse was what one pictures as a Maine lighthouse, 'nuff said.  On the way up to Calais (pronounced Callas) we stopped at the Canadian Border in Lubec, another corner officially done!  Driving north to Calais we stopped at Cobbscook State Park.  We found a great campsite right on the water and had a fire started with some reading material I had recently received.  The tide was going out and I watched it drop steadily.  A notice on the park board said that the tides in Cobbscook Bayrun up to about 24 feet every six hours, that's one foot every 15 minutes!

Blog Day 80

October  2 2012

Packed up the gear and headed south into the park.  The park roads interlace with the local roads so you can drive all over the peninsulas that make up Mt Desert Island and not be on park roads.  The beautiful coastline is rugged and rocky with low tides that expose the rocky reefs hidden below the surface.  More driving brought us to Bar Harbor or Ba Habah as the natives would say.  This is originally a fishing farming community that has remade itself into a tourist center.  I couldn't figure out where all the people had come from until I saw the cruise ship anchored outside the harbor.  After a grocery stop, I pointed the car into the park and up Cadillac Mountain.  This is the tallest peak on the eastern seaboard at 1,530 feet.  Standing on this peak at sunrise you see the sun before anyone else in the US.  The panorama from the top is great, both on the ocean side and towards the ponds and bays internal to the island.  The mountain is named after a Frenchman and yes the car was eventually named after him too, or anyway the town in Michigan that was named after him.  We drove west to Corea just north of the portion of the park located on the Schodic Peninsula.  I had heard that bald eagles had made a big comeback in this area and we were keeping our eyes peeled for them.  We found lodging in the Oceanside Meadows Inn.  The inn overlooks a stretch of hard packed sand beach and has creeks running down to the water.  The recent rains had them running full blast too.  A beer and dinner was had at the Nutica Pub in nearby Birch Harbor.  The tide was low upon returning to the inn with the beach stretched down to the water under a full moon.

Blog Day 79
October 1, 2012


I wasn't scheduled to meet Jeff until 11:45.  Jeff lives on the island of Vinalhaven and the ferry wasn't scheduled to get there until then.  He did line me up with a friend of his that runs Copeland's Garage in Warren, Maine that afternoon.  Since I was not going to meet Jeff until much later, we headed to the Owls Head Transportation Museum (www.ohtm.org) that was located near the airport just SW of Rockland.  This museum is not just cars, but also early aircraft.  Many of their exhibits run and are routinely seen in the skies or are giving rides during shows.  When we arrived however, we were a little too early and they had not opened yet.  To use up time I headed over to the nearby Owl's Head Lighthouse.  The lighthouse itself is perched on a wooded point and as a result the lighthouse is not that tall.  It does have commanding views of the rocky coast that has taken many a ship down it's reefs.  A hop back to the museum and we strolled through a broad ranging exhibit of airplanes ranging from a Wright flyer reproduction to several WW I aircraft as well as an early passenger plane.  The cars ranged from a temporary exhibit of micro cars and MGs to turn of the century cars of a variety of Vintages as well as a beautifully restored LaFrance fire truck.  There was also and exhibit of various types of engines from steam to jet turbine.  It is always good to have a Plan B if the weather is so so and this filled the bill perfectly.

We drove back to the ferry landing and met Jeff.  The ferry was a little late and so we it worked out just fine.  We walked over to a place for lunch leaving the car parked at the ferry landing.  Needless to say, it attracted more than one admirer including the ferryboat crewman that almost missed his ride!  Jeff received and education and degrees in history from the University of Vermont.  He worked in a variety of different jobs from college administrator too public television and corporate training as well as literacy advocacy and corporate software training.  Various forks in the road brought him to Vinalhaven, an Island off the coast of Maine that he fell in love with.  Jeff decided to do whatever work he needed to do to live where he wanted and does a variety of things including editing the magazine, commercial fishing, house repair and web development.  Another sign of his personality are the cars he drives.  He has always had a soft spot for British sports cars, but Maine winters are not very conducive to such transportation, so in addition to his Triumph TR-7 he has a 1991 Landrover with about 500,000 miles on it.  Somehow an American car managed to sneak under his skin too.  The car he keeps on the mainland is a 67 Corvair.    As we walked to lunch Jeff spoke about the changing face of Maine and how many of the businesses had closed but are being replaced with tourism related ones.  I asked for a little insight into the lobstering operation in Maine and it's sustainability.  There are a limited number of licenses and the license holder has to do the fishing.  Each license holder has a limited number of pots or traps and are limited in the days they can fish.  All this keeps the lobster sustainable ensuring they are not over fished as salmon have been as well as other food fish.  The lobster fisherman have other challenges, such as diesel at over $4.00 a gallon and at times the lobster has sold for less than that.  Sometimes the Vinalhaven grocery, lobster sold for less than hamburger.  At any rate, Jeff interviewed me about my trip and spoke about how every Rover owners dream is to climb in their rover and head on down the road for an adventure, life just seems to get in the way.  Maybe that means I have no life to get in the way.  In a way that is true.  Short of winning the lottery I can imagine no other time I could have done this.

After lunch we headed over to Copeland's Garage where I was introduced to Jeff Copeland.  They have been friends for as long as Jeff needed tows to get his vehicles back from a breakdown!  This garage mainly takes care of fleet trucks and heavy trucks, but once they remembered what a Delorean was, they were glad to help out.  Mitch, the mechanic helping me out, replaced the speedometer drive in short order.  The 165 ft/lbs were measured by grunt power since there was no way to put a torque wrench on the nut.  Mitch also did the wheel balancing and took the time to explain to me some of the fine points and what had been done wrong.  (If they aver ask you if you wand all your weights on the inside or outside, you know you should go to another garage.)  While Mitch was balancing the other wheels, Jeff (the owner) took me for a tour of some of his vehicles including his prize vintage Sno-Cat.  No little snowmobile this!  Jeeps, a military truck and a restored John Deere rounded out some of the vehicles at the garage.  Jeff (Rover Jeff) had to head out to catch the ferry before the car was done so he didn't get a chance to go for a ride and I didn't get a ride in the Corvair, darn it!  I have a standing invitation to go to Vinalhaven and make up for that as well as to meet the QE I (the Land Rover).  Back on the road the speedometer was working again and the vibration in the steering as well as in the car as a whole was lower than I could remember it had ever been.  We drove NE on Hwy 1 towards Acadia National Park.  I wanted to camp before it got too late as the weather had cleared up.  We found a campground north of Acadia called Smuggler's Den.  The tent portion of the campground was nearly deserted though the RVs of the leaf peepers (autumn foliage viewers) were already filling up the RV spots.  A little field cooking of some chicken hit the spot, then early to bed for a lot of driving through the park the next day.


Blog Day 78

September 30

The morning started with a driving rain and as we hit I-95 headed north the car bucked and died.  I pulled over and coasted to a stop knowing it had to be the rain messing with the ignition system.  Twenty minutes of work and I get things dried off and we are back in business.  A stop for some WD-40 ensures that this won't be an issue again.  A stop at the information center in Yarmouth yielded the first point of interest that was only a couple of hundred yards away.  DeLorme is a company that makes maps.  If you want an atlas of your state down to dirt roads and goat paths, DeLorme makes it.  Their main office was a stone’s throw from the information center is houses Eartha.  At 41' 1.5" Eartha is the world’s largest rotating globe representing the earth as seen from space.  The rain continues as I point the car to Damariscotta.  Damariscotta (I still don't have the pronunciation down the way they say it.) is the home to the most famous pumpkin festival arguably in the world.  The events include the weigh off, pumpkin art (carving and painting), pumpkin derby, the great pumpkin regatta, and the pumpkin-hurling contest.  The rain had put a damper on the festival though, so the locals were having an oyster festival instead.  Small but tasty!  A beer at King Eider's Pub was a must before we headed out in the rain.  A return will be required to see the pumpkins at their finest.

Driving through all of New England is a lot different than driving other areas of the country.  A big town is 5,000 people and most are smaller, but it's not just that, lots of places have small towns.  Here though, it seems that any community of more than three houses is a community and has a place on the map and the people that live there want to live nowhere else.  An example of this type of a person was the man I had promised to me, Jeff Aronson.  Jeff had seen the piece Daniel Strohl with Hemmings Motor News had done on my trip in the Delorean and wanted to interview me further for his periodical, Rovers Magazine.  I was to meet him the next day in Rockland for lunch and hopefully get some help from him too.  My speedometer drive had failed and I did not have the 1 1/4" wrench I needed to install the new one I had gotten.  I was also convinced that the balancing job I had gotten on the front tires was less than optimal, causing a vibration in the steering.  It had also been about 14,000 miles since the rear wheels had been balanced causing some of the general vibration I was feeling.  Before meeting Jeff though, it was necessary of finding a place to spend the night as I was not relishing the thought of setting up camp in the rain.  A small Motel called Claddach proved to be just the kind of motel I was looking for.  The motel is as close as you can get to Ireland and be in New England, white picket fences abound and each room is uniquely decorated in a style that might be straight out of an Irish cottage and at a reasonable price too!  The proprietor is an import from the Old Sod with an accent that would make you think he just walked off the boat.  I asked him if I could get a discount since I was driving a car made in Ireland, but my AAA discount was it (LOL).  He did have some stories about John Delorean though and it was interesting to hear them from a person who had been in the area when the company was being built and run.  A nearby laundromat/drycleaner/tanning salon let me get some much-needed laundry done.  Dinner was at the local grill where the cook took one look at the car as I was parking and ran in to tell the waitress to treat us right!

blog Day 77

Sept 29, 2012

I returned from a two week trip with my brother and my mom and landed at Logan Airport.  It seems strange to be returning from a trip and rolling right back into the trip I was on.  As I walked out, I was greeted by a friend from Houston who wanted to see the fall sites in Maine from a Delorean.  The car shuttle was a little slow picking us up, but the car was waiting and after a little rearranging, we got everything loaded and were on our way.  Landing at 4:30 didn't leave much time to get out of town and find a campsite, so I had reserved a hotel room before I had left in York, Maine.  I still am not quite used to how close things are together here after driving through the western states.  Driving from Boston to York was the matter of an hour and a half or two.  There was a slight drizzle on the way to the Best Western.  The hotel was clean, but no personality, just another box with rooms.  Going to dinner that night, we stopped in to a local place and had some clam chowder and a lobster roll.  The chowder was excellent, but different being more of a soup than a chowder.  For those of you who have never had a lobster roll, they take chunks of cold lobster with a mayo dressing and slap it into either a hot dog bun or a big piece of toasted bread folded in half.  All the lobster and none of the work!

Blog Day 76

September 9 2012

I had a chance to wash the car this morning and I went east on Rt 6 to the National Seashore.  I visited a couple of light houses while going along the coast.  The old Fresnel lenses have been replace with electric versions long ago, but they just don't have the beauty of the Fresnel lenses.  It did eliminate the light house keeper though.  The Highland light house has actually been moved back from the edge of the eroding land by about 400 feet to keep it from falling into the ocean.  I also went up to Race Point on the north end of the cape.  The sea was amazingly calm and I saw sea lions popping their heads out.  The influx of seals and sea lions over the past few years has also brought one  their predators, the great white shark!  As a result, not too many people are swimming here.  The water was very calm with breakers only thumping on the east side of the cape.  I sat on the beach for a couple of hours enjoying the sun with a dip into the cold water now and then.  I also puzzled my intermittent speedometer.  I think when I had the instruments off the other day I must not have fully reseated the cable in the back of the speedo.  I did try to tug it out, but it did not budge.  I'll get it eventually.  Tonight I will pack for my family obligation and get the car ready for storage for a couple of weeks.  I will return to the blog then.  See you soon!

Blog Day 75

September 11 2012

9/11 a day to remember.  As I left North Adams and went east Along the Mohawk Trail several towns were having their memorial services to honor those lost when the towers fell.  After hearing about what happened in Libya, I wonder what our response will be: will it earn us respect, will it make clear we can be walked on?  Between that and our dealing with Iran (or lack thereof) regarding the enrichment of nuclear material, the world is an interesting place to be in the Chinese sense (old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times.". The trail is a picturesque drive, just be prepared to take your time.  Somewhere on the way to Worcester, the speedometer died again.  I got in to Cape Cod fairly early, I'm still not used to small states.  After stopping at a friends parents, I worked on the speedo and really didn't find the issue.  Either one of the two cables is slipping out of it's socket or the little gear drive is failing.  My new hosts feted me with lobster for dinner when I got done working on the car.  This is an old area with most of the homes along 6A being on the historic registry, some being built in the 1600's.

Blog Day 75
September 10, 2012

It rained again last night and the temps dropped off quite a bit too.  I thought I was done with that for awhile.  I spent the morning catching up on posting photos which I was way behind on while I had a good connection and planning my route for the next few days.  I got really frustrated with Facebook because it would not let me create a new album, the option had just vanished.  After wasting too much time trying to figure it out, I shut it down and drove up to Bennington, Vermont, the home of the Hemmings Automotive magazines to visit their museum.  While I was looking at their cars, their blog editor (Dan Strohl) came and hunted me down as he had seen me drive in, and started asking me about the car and the trip.  Just to make things interesting, I handed him the keys and we went for a short ride.  By now he has already posted something at Hemmings.com. While we were driving around we went by the Battlefield Memorial, the tallest memorial in Vermont and perhaps the tallest man made structure too at over 300 feet tall.  It was built to commemorate the victory over the British when they tried to take over one of our main supply depots.  The American troops held with the help of the Green Mountain Boys and England's failure to capture these supplies led to some future significant defeats.  After Dan and I returned, I finished going through the museum and went back to the memorial.  I paid my $3.00 and took the elevator to the top.  Inside the base they have a history of the battle as well as the making of the memorial.  Once on top you could look into Massachusetts, New York and Vermont.  After that i turned the car back to Massachusetts.  My host had mentioned Mt. Greylock, so that is where I headed.  On the way I saw a small windmill farm, they are not just in the great plains anymore.  Those big windmills requires minimum of about 13 mph of wind to work so I hope they did their wind studies carefully.  They seemed a little out of place in the green hills, but I like the graceful way they move.  It was a twisty road up the mountain, just the kind I like.  On top it was still pretty blustery so I ate lunch in the car.  There is a stone tower atop the summit, so I climbed up that for a nice panorama.  Mt. Greylock is close to North Adams so I was back soon enough to stop into Mass MoCA the Museum of Contemporary Arts.  Their was an exhibit of "Oh Canada" and "Hidden Cities", most of which I liked and some I definitely did not understand the point of.  I'm not sure why filming a staged public confrontation is art, I guess it is acting, but it didn't do anything for me.  Back at my hosts, I sharpened a few knives for the kitchen and played with the baby while my host made dinner.  I also showed off the car to a few admirers that came by.

Blog Day 74

september 9 2012

What a rain!  It really came down last night.  The dry creek behind me was bubbling away when I got up.  Nothing was better than seeing a clear blue sky to start drying everything out.  Lucky for me the tent had stayed nice and dry inside, so I actually got a good nights sleep.  I strung a clothesline, but the Delorean made a better dryer since it was sitting in the sun.  While things were drying I pulled the dashboard apart to play with the fuel gauge and pulled the blower motor to get rid of a noise from there.  For once all went as planned and both items were fixed before everything was dry and packed.  I had spoken to a friend of mine back in Austin who had mentioned  the Hemmings Museum in southwest Vermont and he just happened to have a sister that could put me up across the border in Massachusetts. 

On my way down I traveled down 100, a scenic route marked on the AAA map.  I saw a working gristmill in the town of Weston, Vermont so I stopped in to check it out.  As with so many of the stuctures near water, it had been damaged by the recent floods.  The foundation had been replaced and the the water turbine that had been washed downstream had been dragged back and set up on the new foundation.  The original foundation was just dry stacked rock with no mortar and part of it was still there.  The new foundation was poured concrete, which might not be in keeping with the period, but is a lot more durable.   I mentioned the turbine, this mill used a water powered turbine similar to what is used for power generation today, but on a wooden bearing.  The water wheel they had was only for decoration.  The water was low in the Mill Pond, luckily they had a back up electric motor to run things too.  Underneath the mill the turbine, wooden gears, pulleys and belts were all easily visible and you could understand the mechanical workings easily.  The mill was originally a saw mill, then it was a shingle mill, it was only recently it was converted to a gristmill.  They hope to get the woodworking equipment hooked up one day soon.  The gristmill stones were brought over from France as ballast in the 1800's and were set up, I believe, in the 50's after being brought from a defunct mill.  The bottom millstone does not move, the top one is attached to the belt driven drive shaft and can be raised or lowered.  The corn gets dumped in a chute above the center of the mill and a little agitator keeps it moving steadily into the hole in the top of the top stone.  Varying the distance between the stones grinds the corn to varying fineness.  You don't want the stones too close together though because the heat and friction can burn the corn or even start a fire, so you smell it to see if it is burning,, thus the expression "keeping your nose to the grindstone".

In the same building is a tinsmith, who has hundreds of patterns for building all kinds of things out of tin and a few out of copper.  Everything I saw was meticulously done with beautiful solder joints.  He had made ornaments for the White House Christmas tree as well as things for numerous museums.  All his equipment is hand powered and if you have the time, it is great to watch him make a piece.

I arrived in North Adams, Mass and parked the car at my new hosts house.  No one was home, so I walked into town.  It was late in the day so the Mass MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) was already closed.  I walked around the town a bit taking some photos.  This town has a LOT of churches, some of which are closed and up for sale (shades of Alice's Restaurant!) as well as being home to a college with another one nearby.  I got back to the house in time to meet my host and her baby and take them to dinner at Public.  The restaurant had live entertainment that night and the food was good.  Anne was a wealth of knowledge on the area and had a list of things for me to go check out.  I got back and caught up on emails.

Blog Day 73

september 8  2012

The Vermont days always seem to start cloudy, at least they have since I've been here and today was no different.  The car was packed and I said my goodbyes and headed down to see the Grand Canyon of Vermont otherwise known as the Quechee Gorge.  The Grand Canyons seem to be shrinking as the states get smaller.  Will the Grand Canyon of Delaware be a bar ditch?  Anyway the gorge was due to some interesting geologic erosional activities having to do with soils deposited by a glacial lake over metamorphic rocks that later drained when it's natural dam failed cutting not only through the soils, but also through the harder rocks below.  There was a nice little hike along the gorge from where it had been dammed of to make a mill pond, to the end where it opened up in an area of very tortured rocks and ponds that kids were playing in.  Traveling east along Rte 4 I went through Woodstock, no not that Woodstock, and headed further east where I turned off on 101 to go south to Plymouth Notch, home of Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President.  I did not remember that he became president after Warren G Harding died in office.  He was born in the small house that was attached to his father's general store.  It was a small farming and dairy community and the buildings have either been nicely preserved or have been rebuilt as part of it's historic landmark significance.  I spent a couple of hours at the museum there and wandering through Plymouth Notch (that part didn't take long).  I headed north on 101 and picked up some groceries on the way.  I stopped in at a campground fairly early and set up camp around four o'clock hoping to take another shot at the gas gauge issue, but the skies decided to open up and it poured cats and dogs.  The new tent seemed to stay dry while I huddled in it and caught up on the blog.  I hope it stops long enough to cook dinner or I am going to be eating tomorrow's lunch.

Blog Day 69 to 72

9/4/2012 to 9/7/2012

I lumped these days together since they were mainly spent working on the car or helping to fix up some things in the house.  (I like to earn my keep.)  I tried to take care of the alternator light that likes to flicker, thinking I had found a bad connection, that ended up not being it so it is still flickering.  It has been doing this since California so I don't think it's going to stop charging anytime soon, but it is annoying.  The low fuel light was not working and I tracked that to the sending unit, so there is not much I can do about that, but in the process of checking it out the fuel gauge went wonky and now reads way below empty and is stuck there.  Sometimes you just can't win!  I did get the door latch working properly as well as the lock on the drivers door.  I also managed to one more time repair the antenna.  This time the fuse holder corroded through and I replaced it. I also redid the radar detector and got it out of the way.  Some states here don't allow them so I unplug it, but  really don't speed much as there is too much to see.  The home repairs were various, from screen patching to wood repairs to electronics.

In the afternoons there were some side trips including a drive to the state capitol not far away.  I have to say Vermont life, or maybe New England life feels different.  I never really grew up in a small town and maybe that is what it's all about.  Lots of small towns, hamlets, and just groupings of a few houses on a very green and rolling terrain.  Everyone seems to know everyone and the big event is the county fair and hunting season.  Driving through the countryside you see small farms, dairies, maple syrup operations and other small operations, most of which have been handed down from generation to generation.  People know half the people that pass by them on the street and the biggest crime seems to be kids breaking into empty houses. 

Blog Day 68

september 3

I had a good downpour this morning.  I got things mostly dried out before packing up the tent.  Before I left I stopped at the overlook once more to see the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania in the low clouds.  The view was a little more brooding but still nice.  I headed north into New York and stopped at the town of Corning to see the Corning Museum of Glass.  This is definitely a must do stop if you are in the area.  They have the history of glass, tons of glass art, and an innovation center that shows how glass is being used in science and industry.  There are hands on things you can do that cost a little extra, but they fill in quick.  They also have lots of demonstrations of glass blowing too.  Time passed way too quickly and suddenly four hours had gone by.  I headed north past the race track at Watkins Glen and north along Lake Senneca.  This is the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Looking at a map, it looks like a giant clawed the earth with his fingers and gouged out these long parallel lakes, the reality is much more mundane.  All the Finger Lakes were scraped out by glaciers that advanced to the south and left behind huge ravines.  The lakes are miles long, but very narrow in proportion.  These lakes are deep as well and I believe several of them serve duty as drinking water reservoirs as well.  The hillsides of these lakes are home to numerous wineries, every one of which has produce some medal winning wines, or so it seemed. I'd like to know how many contests they have to have so everyone can have a medal!  I did pick up a couple of bottles for a family friend that was going to put me up for a few nights in Vermont.  I put in some long hours and got thoroughly lost following the GPS as I got close to my destination.  It steered me down a windy little dirt road that dead ended in someone's yard.  Partway down the road it hiccoughed when it realized I was in the wrong place and tried twice to make me go through a blocked off road.  I ended up back tracking and getting to my destination later than planned, but I was able to let them know and they waited dinner for me.  I'm starting to get used to sleeping in a bed, even if the dog insisted I share.I packed up my car and was originally going to head to Indianapolis just to go by the Brickyard and tour the track.  It is amazing to see how far the influence of Chicago seems to extend as I was trying to leave.  My choice seemed to be toll roads or county roads with lots of stop lights.  The amount of retail stores also seemed incredible.  It seemed like there was as Home Depot every five miles not to mention all the other chains.  I can't imagine these people commute to Chicago, but the city is definitely an influence.  On the way I spotted a Sport Clips and since it had been two months since my last haircut, I stopped in.  I was lucky, they had opened recently and I got the full treatment of a haircut, shampoo, scalp and shoulder massage, and a vibrating chair massage while I got my hair washed, who cared about sports videos!  Anyway, Vanessa did a great job for just $9.95 (yes I gave her SA good tip).  She mentioned that she and her husband had been to Cedar Point not long ago.  For those of you who don't know it, this amusement park has some of the best roller coasters in the US if not the world.  I decided to save Indy for when I could see a race and stay north.  

As I entered Indiana I stopped off at the visitors center.  This is an award winning building and brings the elements of the lake, the dunes, the agriculture and the industry together.  They also showed short videos there about the Indian Dunes, the huge US Steel plant and the local area that were quite good.  The building contained an exhibit on John Dillinger ($4.00) that might interest someone, I passed on it though.  A photographic exhibit was also on display.  All this convinced me to go to the Indian Dunes National Lakeshore and camp.  There were campsites left, lucky for me since this is Labor Day weekend.  I set up camp and went over to the lakeshore.  Parking was very limited, but I finally found parking at Central Beach.  As soon as I sat down and ate my lunch the seagulls showed up.  Luckily the people here are smart enough not to feed the seagulls, or lake gulls, as the case may be, and they were not obnoxious.  It was strange to be so far inland, yet be lying on a sandy beach sipping on a beer.  I lay there on the sand content to just be...letting the sun beat down on me and the sound of the surf in my ears.  I guess I got tired of being because I fell asleep.  The small waves were crashing on the beach, but the lake was smooth enough for the water skiers going by.  That lake is BIG!  The water disappeared into the distance.  A nap and a few swims later I headed back to camp where I had to deal with something for the first time on this trip, mosquitos.  I finally got to use the insect repellent I bought in Houston!  I cooked a quick dinner, answered questions about the car, caught up on the blog and took a shower.  On to Cedar Point tomorrow

Blog Day 67

September 2, 2012

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Blog Day 66

September 1 2012

When I left Indian dunes I headed east along the upper part of the state.  By staying off the Interstate I was able to avoid the toll roads that seemed to be everywhere.  I guess we have it lucky out in Texas.  We may have a few toll roads around the city, but you don't have to pay a toll to cross the state.  As big as Texas is, at these rates it would get expensive!  On the way east I missed a turnoff and ended up in Michigan.  Correcting my mistake, I continued east and turned south near Notre Dame, home of the Fighting Irish and stopped off in South Bend.  Why there?  The info I picked up at the visitors center as I entered Ohio said it was once the home of a great American car company, Studebaker.  The Studebaker Museum covers the rich history of the company, from it's start as a blacksmith shop to being one of the best wagon makers in the world.  They made all kinds of horse drawn vehicles from broughams to water wagons used in WW I.  Many of the wagons the made were work vehicles for farms, or dirt hauling.  Some the ideas can still be seen today in modern vehicles.  They made their entry into powered vehicles by starting with electric vehicles, some having a range of fifty miles with a top speed of around twenty to thirty mph.  They even made two cars that ran up and down the tunnel between the Capitol and the Senate. The increased range and speed of the gas engine made the transition to gasoline engines inevitable, and they got into it by buying another company, but their coach work experience in building the wagons stood them in good stead for the car bodies.  Many of the early car bodies were built over wood frames.  Shoot, their is wood in the Delorean!  The cars got bigger and more powerful and were quite cutting edge for their day, having shatter proof glass and four wheel brakes way ahead of their competitors.  WW II kept them busy too.  Car production was halted and they made jeeps, airplane engines, and an all terrain vehicle called the Weasel.  New models came in after the war, but distribution, pricing and management caused problems.  The car that was going to save Studebaker in the early 60s, the Avanti, was late and had initial quality problems, but once the bugs was a very advanced car and still looks good today.  It could even be ordered with a supercharger and set many speed records at Bonneville.  Unfortunately it was not enough to save the company and the South Bend plant closed with their other plant closing not long after.  The Avanti lived on a lot longer in testament to its design though.  Someone bought all the tooling and it was manufactured by various entities until 2007.  Who knows, someone might make them again, the design still looks good, kind of like the D seems to live on.

On my way east I stopped off in Sandusky, OH and went to the Cedar Point Amusement Park.  I have always loved roller coasters and this place has the best and the most in one place!  I got there late, but was able to ride three, the Raptor, Millenium Force and the Maverick before the park shut down.  The lines took awhile, but talking to the people made the wait go fast.  There were more coasters, but that just gives me a reason to come back again.  There were some wood coasters as well as a new one to be built next year that will hold the record for size.  It was after 10:30 by the time I walked out of there so I found a place where they left the light on for me and went to bed.


 Blog Day 65

August 31, 2012

I packed up my car and was originally going to head to Indianapolis just to go by the Brickyard and tour the track.  It is amazing to see how far the influence of Chicago seems to extend as I was trying to leave.  My choice seemed to be toll roads or county roads with lots of stop lights.  The amount of retail stores also seemed incredible.  It seemed like there was as Home Depot every five miles not to mention all the other chains.  I can't imagine these people commute to Chicago, but the city is definitely an influence.  On the way I spotted a Sport Clips and since it had been two months since my last haircut, I stopped in.  I was lucky, they had opened recently and I got the full treatment of a haircut, shampoo, scalp and shoulder massage, and a vibrating chair massage while I got my hair washed, who cared about sports videos!  Anyway, Vanessa did a great job for just $9.95 (yes I gave her SA good tip).  She mentioned that she and her husband had been to Cedar Point not long ago.  For those of you who don't know it, this amusement park has some of the best roller coasters in the US if not the world.  I decided to save Indy for when I could see a race and stay north.

As I entered Indiana I stopped off at the visitors center.  This is an award winning building and brings the elements of the lake, the dunes, the agriculture and the industry together.  They also showed short videos there about the Indian Dunes, the huge US Steel plant and the local area that were quite good.  The building contained an exhibit on John Dillinger ($4.00) that might interest someone, I passed on it though.  A photographic exhibit was also on display.  All this convinced me to go to the Indian Dunes National Lakeshore and camp.  There were campsites left, lucky for me since this is Labor Day weekend.  I set up camp and went over to the lakeshore.  Parking was very limited, but I finally found parking at Central Beach.  As soon as I sat down and ate my lunch the seagulls showed up.  Luckily the people here are smart enough not to feed the seagulls, or lake gulls, as the case may be, and they were not obnoxious.  It was strange to be so far inland, yet be lying on a sandy beach sipping on a beer.  I lay there on the sand content to just be...letting the sun beat down on me and the sound of the surf in my ears.  I guess I got tired of being because I fell asleep.  The small waves were crashing on the beach, but the lake was smooth enough for the water skiers going by.  That lake is BIG!  The water disappeared into the distance.  A nap and a few swims later I headed back to camp where I had to deal with something for the first time on this trip, mosquitos.  I finally got to use the insect repellent I bought in Houston!  I cooked a quick dinner, answered questions about the car, caught up on the blog and took a shower. 

On to Cedar Point tomorrow.

 Blog Day 64 
August 30, 2012


I repacked the car and headed to Crystal Lake, home to Dave and Julee Swingle, owners of DMC Northwest.  The car had been pulling to the left and I thought it might either be due to the hasty alignment I'd had done or the wear on the tires.  Either way I needed an oil change so I headed up to their shop.  I don't know if you have ever been around Chicago, but it seemed like every highway was a toll road.  I managed to pay all but one.  Lucky for me Illinois has a website to pay for missed tolls, lol.  I got their fairly early and we put the car up on the rack.  We swapped front tires and sure enough it pulled to the right now.  I bought a new set of front tires at Discount Tire and picked up some Mobil One 20/50 for my l change.  Back at the shop we put the new tires on, but Dave had noticed some odd wear on my rear tires too.  The upshot was that we replaced my rear swing arm pivot bolts and bushings too.  The old ones were obviously worn, causing alignment and wear issues.  While we were under there Dave also noticed a cracked transmission mount.  This one had cracked before and had been repaired by the Houston shop when I had the stage II engine mods done, but it hadn't held and had cracked again in two places.  Lucky for me he had one just back from the plating shop and we swapped them out.  These are no longer made so I am sure after mine is repaired it will see life in someone else's car.  After all this was done I drove it over to a nearby shop for an alignment.  All four wheels were aligned for toe in with a full load of luggage in the car.  Driving it back to DMC there was no pull at all!  Not all was quite rosy though, the camber of the rear wheels was off and there is no adjustment for it.  This is probably what is causing the wear on the rear tires.  A bit of history here, the suspension was designed by Lotus and just before production, taller springs were installed to meet a proposed bumper requirement.  DMC Houston offered new shocks and springs to return the car to it's design height, which I had installed.  Over time either the rear springs have collapsed a bit or they weren't quote tall enough to start with, otherwise you would think the camber would be correct.  Anyway, some guy will take your stock lower rear control arms and put an adjuster in them.  Another project for when I get home.  At the end of the day and about $1,400 dollars poorer, I had a car that tracked straight and true and even braked smoother.  I want to thank Dave, Julie and their crew for their hospitality and professionalism.  They identified issues on my car I had missed.  Could I have fixed them cheaper?  Sure, but they had the knowledge to identify the issue and I would have been cussing, lying on my back under car for a lot more hours and I probably would not have noticed the crack in the tranny mount until it failed completely.  Again kudos to the Swingles and their crew.

I found deal at a nearby Super 8, did laundry and cleaned the car up a bit.  After grabbing a bite to eat, I went by the new shop that DMC Northwest is preparing to move into.  Julie was painting, Dave was installing a phone line and Mike was chopping up a tree.  They are buying this new place and not renting, so congratulations to them and their new location that should be opening next month.  

The morning started early at 4:30. Mom caught the 5:00 shuttle to the airport.  She said she felt like she was abandoning me as I carried her bag to the shuttle.  We had always traveled well together and this trip had been no different.  We had spent many a long hour together and I got to hear stories of her life I had never heard before, like the time Eisenhower's aide questioned her or her ways of rebelling against her parents.  I wish I had been as creative,  travel may be simpler moving east from here, but I will miss her companionship and wit.


Blog Day 63 
August 28, 2012

We waited till 9:00 or so before we headed in to Chicago to miss the morning rush.  On the way in we took a small detour and went by the house I lived in when I was a kid.  It was still there and was in the process of being fixed up but the present owner, the son of the former owner.  The big trees we had in the front were gone, replaced by some smaller ones, but memories came back as we got a tour through the house.  The present owner is into salt water aquariums and had a couple of big ones in the basement.  The house was being remodeled, but I could see that more windows and some French doors had been added making it a brighter place.  It is nice to know your old house is in the hands of someone that is taking care of it.

We headed to the Museum of Science and Industry just east of downtown.  This was one of our favorite places when we were kids, and it is still just as neat today.  Modern technology has been used to upgrade the displays and the place is as interactive as ever.  The science portion covers such things as tornadoes with a three story man made tornado you can actually interact with, tsunamis (wave tank), light and more.  All the displays are interactive which gets all the kids involved.  I thought the magnetic liquid was really cool myself.  The old WWII German sub, U-505 no longer sits in the parking lot, but is now in an underground display area.  The myth busters demonstration was a little disappointing for the extra that it cost though.  Still this is this place can take you a couple of days to go through and there are exhibits that change too, keeping the place fresh.  The was even a working toy factory and a coal mine.  Before I knew it five hours had passed and we were getting hungry.  We were caught in the afternoon rush so our drive along Lake Shore Drive was leisurely to say the least.  We took a short detour past the Navy Pier and headed to the hotel by the airport.


Blog Day 62 
 August 28

We were thinking of going by Oshkosh where they have the annual experimental aircraft fly in, but that was already past.  Instead, we decided to head south to Rock Spring and visit Taliesin.  This was the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect.  If you go though, be prepared to spend some money.  The tour tickets for one adult and one senior came to $89.00.  The house itself is built on a hilltop overlooking some 600 acres.  It was over 2,000 acres at one time, but some was sold to pay back taxes.  You go by a small pond he installed along with a small hydroelectric plant he put in for power.  The house itself is a sprawling affair of some 37,000 square feet, but not all that footage is house space.  At one time Wright wanted the house to be self-sufficient, so he had the students (some of whom are still there) farming and raising pigs, so part of the building was a pig sty, hen house or horse stables.  He also used his student labor for much of his construction.  The house was always a work in progress so it was always being added to or modified in some way.  This process even continued after his death in 1959 as his third wife made her changes to the building.  You approach the house on a long winding drive that makes you take in the area and the house before you go in.  The first thing you notice is the low roof lines.  All the roofs have a low pitch and connect all the separate buildings together.  The roof line is the only thing that connects them though as you have to step outside to go from building to building.  Some of the farm buildings were later modified for people.  The next thing you notice when you go in are the low ceilings.  Wright was 5'6" tall and many of the ceilings were less than 7'.  I guess he wanted tall people to bow down to him.  Bedrooms and beds are typically small while living spaces were large with many odd angles nooks and crannies.  The house burned twice, once due to arson from a servant who also killed 7 people when they tried to escape the house, and once from lightening.  Both times only a portion was burned.  Rebuilding gave him more chances to modify, changing porticos to rooms or enclosing porches.  He did manage to keep the sun coming in all over even though some of the additions were quite large.  Taliesin was always an experiment in progress as he added or changed it and he was not striving for either good engineering or permanence.  The house is constantly under renovation or structural repair.  I don't think I saw a straight roofline in the whole house, lots of sagging roof eaves and ridges.  In some places you could feel rough flagstones under the carpet in areas where he had expanded.  Since this house was being built on his own dime, there was extensive use of cheaper materials such as plywood.  Wright not only designed houses, but he also designed furniture, lighting and clothing, much of what was made by his students n the shops there. Taliesin was only used in warm weather and he and his students would go to his place in Phoenix in the cooler months.  He even had the main heater removed and sold.  Many other places he since designed have had structural issues.  He may have been a good designer, but he was somewhat engineering challenged.  

We went across the Wisconsin River to a local park and ate lunch.  While we were there I used my iPad to book a flight for Mom to take home to Dallas and rooms for the next couple of nights as we were getting into Chicago.  The D never ceases to gather comments.  We tried going by another unusual house in the area, the house on the rock, but the GPS had me driving down a path that was not even a dirt road.  I decided discretion was the better part of valor and got back on the main road and headed towards Gurnee, a suburb of Chicago.  Once again Hotwire got us a good discount on a hotel.  You don't see much of a savings in smaller towns, but in cities where there is a lot of competition the savings seem to be substantial.  I also got Mom a flight home for just $150 bucks.  Sure it was early, but at least it was direct.  We managed to find a little local restaurant, The Backyard, among all the chain restaurants and had an excellent dinner.


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