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If you've been following our journey, you know we had a great time over the summer touring the Maritimes with Norm and Linda Payne. We completed our tour and re-entered the US on Septemeber 17 at the St. Stephen-Calais border crossing. Going through US Customs was a bit of an experience as they were confiscating any and all beef products. Luckily, we didn't have much Canadian beef, so we gave them what we had and after a brief walkthrough of our motorhome, we were on our way.

We had never visited Acadia National Park, so we decided this would be a great time to spend a few days in the Bar Harbor area. A check of the campground directories seemed to indicate that the Bar Harbor Campground would be a good choice as it was the closest to the park and the price was reasonable. The following is a CAMPGROUND ALERT: we pulled into the Bar Harbor Campground and went into the office to see about a couple of sites and check-in. I guess our first indication that we might not like the place was the "attitude" of the lady behind the desk. Linda and I were asking about a site and the price and got a very negative attitude from the lady, like we were bothering her. It didn't help when we asked about credit cards and she said they didn't take credit cards. That was our fault as the directory did not indicate that they took credit cards. However, when we went to get our checkbooks, she told us that they wouldn't accept checks for anything less than a week's stay, and she said it with an attitude. That was ridiculous and neither of us was very happy to have to part with three days' camping fees via cash. The lady said we could go pick out a site and then come back to register.

We drove the two rigs down into the campground to a couple of large pullthru sites. What we found was that they were rather severely unlevel. That, combined with the attitude of the lady in the office, plus the fact we would have to part with lots of cash, made us think about the other campgrounds in the area. I made a couple of calls to get prices and other pertinent information and then Norm and I left the motorhomes and drove to The Narrows Too Camping Resort. What a difference. From the time we walked into the office and were greeted by two friendly ladies behind the desk, to the view from the top of the hill in the campground, it was obvious this would be a better place to spend a few days, even if it did cost a bit more than we would normally want to pay for a site. Norm and I drove back to the Bar Harbor Campground to get the motorhomes and then we settled in at The Narrows Too. I'm quite positive that I would never stay at the Bar Harbor Campground on a return visit to that area. For another review of the situation, you can read Norm's review on his website at

It was now around dinner time and we most certainly noticed the lobster place next door to the campground, so it was a no-brainer that we would go there for dinner. It was a nice, warm evening to get a lobster meal and sit outside to eat. They were serving new shell lobsters along with corn, a biscuit, and slaw for $11. After dinner, we drove into Bar Harbor and walked around for a while. It was originally settled in 1763. By the early 1900s, it had become the summer home of many wealthy and prominent people from the northeast with names such as the Astors, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and the Vanderbilts. It is most definitely a tourist town, but Diane and I don't have anything against tourist traps. Some of them are fun and quite interesting, and I'm a people watcher. We scouted out some places to eat for future evenings and then stopped for some ice cream before heading back to the campground.

Acadia National Park is the only National Park in New England. The park is located on Mount Desert Island, along with Bar Harbor that lies just outside the park's boundary. Mount Desert is the third largest island on the Eastern U.S. seaboard. Only Long Island and Martha's Vineyard are larger than Mount Desert. The island was discovered in 1604 by Samuel de Champlain. Inside the park one can  hike the may trails and  also travel on some 50 miles of carriage roads. Those roads were the dream and vision of John D. Rockefeller who, in 1910, purchased a summer home at Seal Harbor. It was his dream to build a system of carriage roads with granite bridges for use by horse-drawn carriages that would allow people to view scenery unavailable to auto traffic. To this day, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the carriage roads. One can take a horse-drawn carriage, or walk, or bicycle on the roads.

We drove the route through park with several stops along the way. There were lots of hiking trails for those so inclined to do some hiking in the area. We saw some people up on one of the trails that went along the high rocks. It was definitely not for the faint of heart nor for someone who doesn't like heights. The park isn't all that big and the highlights can be easily seen in a day's tour through the park. We did hike one of the trails, the Bubble Rock Trail, up to Bubble Rock. The views from up there were spectacular. We ended by driving up to Cadillac Mountain and walking around the top of the mountain to take in the views. Down below was Bar Harbor with a cruise ship in the harbor. We called ahead for reservations at the Poor Boy's Gourmet Restaurant and then headed down the mountain and into Bar Harbor for a great early bird dinner for $8.95. It was quite good.

We spent another day in the area that served as a do nothing day and then headed to Yarmouth and the DeLorme parking lot for a night. Norm and Linda had to exchange some software they bought on the way north, and we all wanted to pay one last visit to LL Bean in Freeport. Our friend, Tom McGonegal, drove down from Ocean Point to have a final dinner with us before we headed south. Between the shopping and dinner with Tom, it was a great day.

It was now time to think about starting to head south, but first we wanted to make another stop in New York to visit friends and family. This was a short visit, so it was spent mostly with our son, grandson, and Diane's sister and niece. We drove to one of our favorite parks, the Rondout Valley RV Resort, and found out that we drove right smack into the middle of a blue grass festival that was going on the entire weekend. The park was filling up and we were lucky to get a couple of sites outside of the festival area, albeit they were just electric and water and, much to my chagrin, in an area where trees blocked access to the satellite for our dish. We arrived on Thursday and by Friday the campground was pretty full as the music started around 3PM and went non-stop until Sunday. There was a different band on stage about every 45 minutes.

We walked around the campground before the festival started and ran into Bob Case. We met Bob back in 2000 during our maiden voyage in the motorhome and we've seen him every time we've been at Rondout. Bob is a semi-retired DJ, working when he wants to work, but not much in the summer as he likes to get away in his Winnebago. He has a marvelous mural of Elvis on the back of his motorhome, which you can see on the photos page. Bob's wife, Kathy, comes up on weekends, so we finally got to meet her on this pass through the park.

Unfortunately, rain was forecast for the weekend and, sure enough, it rained, and rained, and rained all day Saturday, which was the main day of the bluegrass festival. I felt so bad for the people who traveled from many states, some from far away, to be a part of the festival. We pulled down the big awning and set up a couple of tables and the grill and had a cookout with Norm and Linda, our son, Curt, and grandson, Talisian, and Diane's sister, Marge, and niece, Michelle. Diane and Linda introduced Marge and Michelle to Boggle. Later that evening, Diane and I, and Norm and Linda, hooked up with Stefan and Marie Giesel and drove to the Mountain Brauhaus for brats, beer, and German polka music.

The weather started to clear up on Sunday morning. Although it was cloudy all day, it was dry. But the field where the festival was being held was quite wet, and it was muddy back where RVers were boondocking. For us it was pretty much of a do-nothing day. We all went over to Stefan and Marie to play some cards (Phase 10), a game we introduced them to and that they really came to enjoy.

Monday would be our last day with Norm and Linda and would conclude traveling together for about 10 weeks. Diane and I went into Kingston for a movie double feature (Matchstick Men and Once Upon a Time in Mexico). Diane and Linda played Boggle one last time. These two ladies had a great time playing Boggle and they never seemed to tire of it.

We were planning to leave on Wednesday and start heading towards Atlanta, but Hurricane Isabel was coming up the coast. So we decided we would just sit and watch the storm to see what path it would take once it hit land. We wanted to go down the coastal route to Atlanta rather than to the west through Pennsylvania and then south. So we booked a few more days at Roundout, and moved to a full hookup site where we could use the dish, and took in a couple of movies (Secondhand Lions and Fighting Temptations) and visited with Curt and Talisian again,

Before we left the Hudson Valley, we made plans to meet Mary Ann Laudano, who I used to work for, in the Fishkill area for dinner. Mary Ann had recently returned from an assignment in Paris for a year, which is something Diane and I would love to do (the living in Paris part, not the work part). So we asked lots of questions about what it was like to live in Paris and filed the answers in our mental data banks for future reference. We had a very nice visit with Mary Ann. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me so, sorry Mary Ann, no photo this time.

It turned out well for us and Isabel headed to the west and into Ohio. That meant we could follow our plan to drive down through the eastern states and visit some folks along the way. We headed out on Sunday with the first stop targeted for Freehold, New Jersey and the Pine Cone Campground. This was the closest campground to Hazlet where Diane's good friend of many years, Emily Herzberg, and her husband Ed lived. We last saw them back in 2000 as we were on our maiden voyage and we traded our time share week for a condo in Massanutten, VA. Emily's mom, Nani, lives with them and she looked marvelous for someone in her 90s. Diane had a good time catching up with  Emily during the two days we were in the area.

We now headed further south with a couple of one-night stays to visit a few more friends along the way. Our next stop was Dirk Harrington's house in Delaware (sorry Dirk, none of us thought to get a photo of our rig parked in front of your house). We parked the rig on the street alongside his house and had a nice visit. We would see Dirk again at the Tampa RV Show in January.

Next stop was the Rockville, Maryland area to visit with a couple that I used to work with when I worked in Miami.  We hadn't seen Alan Gnaizda for some 10-15 years, and Hedda Litwin Gnaizda for probably 20 years. In any case, it was a very long time. Alan was a sales rep and Hedda and I were systems engineers. We were able to park the motorhome in the cul-de-sac where they lived and had a marvelous time reconnecting. I actually found Hedda first via a search on the web, as I do from time to time to see if I can locate folks from the past. I knew Hedda was pursuing a law degree, which she completed and was now a lawyer. That's pretty impressive to me because I know I didn't have the drive to do that kind of studying. It was great to see them again and now, hopefully, we can maintain contact.

We last visited with Jim and JoAnn Hollis in Manassas, Virginia in summer of 2002, so we put Manassas in our path and pulled into the Wal-Mart for the night. We met Jim and JoAnn for dinner and caught up on the past couple of years.

Once again we pointed the front of the motorhome south and headed down I-95 towards Georgia. Given that we aren't usually in any hurry when we drive, we drove as far as Flying J in Florence, South Carolina and parked it there for the night. After breakfast in the restaurant the next morning, we were on our way to the Lake Oconee area to the east of Atlanta, and a visit with Tom and Linda Roberts. We met them in 1982 when we moved to Marietta and we were neighbors for many years before they moved out to the lake. They had a summer cottage on Lake Oconee and ended up deciding to sell the house in Marietta and move permanently out to the lake. Diane and I visited several times, including overnight, and we totally understood the lure of the lake. Over the years, they did a great job increasing the size of the cottage to a good sized house. We parked the motorhome for three days at the Coast to Coast park on Lake Oconee, the North Shore Resort at Lake Oconee. We arrived on Saturday and got to visit with Tom and Linda and their four daughters who used to pal around with our kids in Marietta. Tom makes the best escargot and omelettes. It was like old times as we enjoyed both of those feasts during our visit. It was great to see them again and we hope to stay in touch.

We also had the opportunity to visit with Denny and Barb Biscan who also lived on Lake Oconee. Denny and I worked together in Atlanta for many years. They sold their house in Alpharetta and retired out to the lake. They had a pontoon boat and took us for a nice ride around the lake. The day was sunny and warm which made for a magnificent day on the water. The campground was on the lake and had some docks, so we made a stop and walked up to the motorhome to give them a tour of our house on wheels. Then we returned to their house and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Denny and Barb and talked about old times. We love reconnecting with old friends.

After three very nice days at Lake Oconee, we drove on to Douglasville and into Jill's driveway. We stayed there most of the month of October to take care of visits with the doctor and dentist, and to visit with the kids and grandkids. Everyone loves the movies, so we took in several movies and just lounged around for a few weeks. Ashley turned three while we were there, so we got to help her celebrate with a party at Chuck E Cheese. I hadn't been on a big street bike in many years, so Tonya gave me a ride on her Harley. What a hoot. Then it was time to head to Florida for a while, but we'd be back for the holidays in December.

Our first stop was in White Springs and the Suwannee Valley Campground that we use as a base to visit with Diane's brother and his wife. This was just a quick stop and a short visit as we planned to spend the New Year's time frame in this area.

Next was a stop in Ocala for a week at the Ocala RV Ranch that we used as a base to visit with my mom for the week before heading to Orlando for a couple of weeks.

One of our favorite spots to stay is the Encore park in Clermont (Orlando area). It's just down the road from the main entrance to Disney World on Route 192. This year we decided we would treat ourselves to seasonal Disney World passes and take in all the parks at our leisure. We knew that Kirk and Pam Wood were workamping south of Orlando, so we touched base and hooked up in Epcot for a meal at the German pavillion and a nice visit. It had been a couple of years since we last saw Kirk and Pam and it was nice to reconnect.

Our friends, Ray and Earline Greer, were at the Encore park for the winter, and Norm and Linda Payne were also there for one of the weeks we were there. We all got to visit together a few times and chat about our tours of the Maritimes. The Greers were working on one of the caravans last summer and we bumped into them a couple of times in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland.

After having some maintenance done on the motorhome at Independence RV, we headed over to Crystal River for a couple of weeks. Norm and Linda were there already, and then John and Libby Veach came in for a few days. It had been a long time since the three couples were together. We always have a great time when we are together. John and Libby left and went to their site at the Big O in Okeechobee, which is where we decided to spend a few weeks in February. Other than a few days when we drove to Ocala, including Thanksgiving, the rest of the time in Crystal River was spent hanging around and eating out and playing golf.

This seems to have become our routine in the Fall - to visit family in Atlanta on the way south and then a few weeks in Florida before going back to Atlanta for the holidays. We decided we would take two days to drive up rather than a long seven hour drive, so we stopped at the Coast to Coast park in Unadilla overnight.

We got back to Jill's driveway on December 3rd with plans to stay until right after Christmas. As I've said before in other travelogs, I love the routine when we are in Douglasville, the walks in the mall, the cappuccino at Starbucks while reading the papers, the movie theater in the mall. It provides a nice break to the traveling that we do.

It had been many years since we last saw Dave Kukielski who we knew from our parish when we lived in Marietta.  We lost touch and it had been many years since we reconnected around the holidays.  He was now married and living in the Atlanta area, and we got a chance to visit with him and his wife, Lorraine, at their home.  Dave also came over to check out our house on wheels.  It was great to chat about old times and old friends, and we hope to stay in touch in the future.

We were also able to hook up with Melanie and Wane Carlisle for dinner one evening. They told us they would be down in Florida in January and we'd probably get to see them at the Tampa RV Show or at Lazy Days.

Christmas was always celebrated at our house when we lived in Marietta, but we passed the baton to Jill when we hit the road. She is the eldest daughter and does a great job decorating her house for the holidays. As usual, we celebrated on Christmas Eve with all of the kids (Jill, Henry, Theresa) and grandkids (April, Richard, Amanda, Raven, Ashley, Chase) who live in the Atlanta area. We had a grand time.

Before we left the area to head to Florida, we wanted to do one more thing with the older grandkids and that was to take them to see the Cyclorama. It had been a very long time since we were there and it was a good time to start introducing the grandkids to the place. It's a diorama about the War Battle of Atlanta when Sherman came through the area during the Civil War. We took April (14), Richard (12), and Amanda (8) and I wasn't sure how they would like it. Well, they loved it. I would suggest that anyone spending any time in the Atlanta area to visit the Cyclorama.

It was now time to head to Florida for the winter.

Until next time, safe travels.....

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