Travel Log – The details…

Some of you have asked that we post information on our adventure up to St. John’s Newfoundland for the Targa event.  If interested click on the photo below and this is where I will try to blog daily on where we’ve been, where we are, and random thoughts on traveling with Fish.

Targa Newfoundland Bound

Day 1 – Saturday, August 29th.

…so it all begins….  Fish arrives at our place on Whidbey Island pumped up on caffeine and bringing far too much gear.  …so much for travelling light…  We fire up The Enterprise and catch the 9 AM ferry from Clinton to “America” (Muiklteo), gas up, hit Starbucks and head to Racecraft in Woodinville to pick up Willy.  We spend a bit of time trying to lose 500 lbs of spare parts in our various nooks and crannies, Fish has to fix the door that squeaks, and we’re off!  …not 10 minutes later, Fish has developed a list of at lest a dozen items that need to be fixed – the speakers aren’t “phased” correctly, a certain drawer’s latch isn’t working just right, a few other drawers need re-organizing, and so on.  On the plus side, he whips out his iPod with a wireless transmitter, we dial in the appropriate FM channel, and we have tunes!  …of course to Fish, the audio leaves a lot to be desired, but we both agree that the 104 decible engine noise sort of cancels out any incremental improvements we might make in this whole affair – plus the music really sounds good when we are going downhill!.  … so - fast forward to making our way East on I-90 through Spokane and then into Idaho – along the way we do some Google searching and find the Blue Anchor RV Park (with wireless internet), and here we are.  Enjoying a tasty beveridge and meeting our new neighbors. 

Day 2 – Sunday, August 30th

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 Lot’s of windshield time today – over 12 hours and 600+ miles.  We have the opportunity to meet up with son Bo near where he is attending University in North Dakota Monday night, so the half-way point was Miles City, Montana.  ..so at 7 AM, we set off for our destination thinking we would be there by cocktail hour.  …wrong…  We forgot to factor in the myriad mountain passes and the fact that we are heavy and really don’t travel that fast uphill (requiring hazard lights on many of these ascents).  The Continental Divide came and went, but Montana is one looooong State.

This was Fish’s first day driving The Enterprise and he showed off his years of experience traveling with bands on tour buses by performing flawlessly.  …well, there was a minor scrape at a Flying J gas station, but we won’t talk about that….  Any day where we are still running and don’t have to detour for some emergency reason is a good day.  Fish was talking to the duck the whole way:

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I keep looking back at the trailer in our rear-view camera that’s hauling Willy and cross my fingers that everything goes well so we are on time for our ferry in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  We’ve factored in what we thought were a few extra days, but The Enterprise fully loaded hauling a trailer slightly over gross weight isn’t exactly like driving cross country in a car… 

Day 3 – Monday, August 31st

Today was another early start and 10 more hours of windshield time.  We crossed into North Dakota and watched the same scenery roll by all day…  We decided to deviate from our route slightly to meet Bo halfway to Grand Forks and avoid what are some pretty horrendous RV parks in the Fargo area (great business opportunity for somebody!).  We chose the Hillsboro Campground & RV Park in beautiful Hillsboro, ND with one of the nicest hosts I’ve met.  He was pretty interested in the Targa event and took some time to check out Willy.  Fish’s project of the day was to fiddle with The Enterprises side mirrors – constantly – I think they are now broken…  After Bo got out of class he brought down his friend and roomate Jerome and met us at the campground.  Some pics:

Bo and Jereome

Bo and me - ND

We had a great dinner at the “Paddlewheel Restaurant & Bar” nearby and got to catch up on their final year at UND.  We decided we would meet with them on the way back as well. 

Day 4 – Tuesday, September 1st

…a late start today as both Fish and I slept in after a raucous night at the Paddlewheel with two college kids…  We rolled through North Dakota, Minnesota past Minneapolis (a major milestone) and then into Wisconsin.  Here we are in Osseo, Wisconsin at the Stoney Creek RV Resort – an amazing park with a sand volleyball court, skateboard park, basketball court, tennis courts, pool – and so on.  I’ve never seen such a large RV “resort” so empty…  We had our choice of over 100 pull through spots and took the one closest to the WiFi.  I finally got out for a run.  The Wisconsin countryside is beautiful and every driver that passed me had a friendly smile and waved.  …all 6 cars in my 50 minute run…  Using a few RV review sites, we have so far managed to find some great places!  …now on to some Wisconsin beef on the barby…

Day 5 – Wednesday, September 2nd

Today we made it to the Eastern time zone!  Our route today included a really tortuous trek through the Chicago area and toll booths – lots of toll booths.  I’d forgotten what travelling was like in this part of the country…  After Chicago, we needed a break and stopped for fuel and decided that this place looked pretty good:

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….and it wasn’t – but it seemed like a good idea… 

Another observation today was that the roads steadily got worse.  A lot worse.  Between toll booths and bad roads, I can see that our travel times will get longer.

Another not so good idea was choosing this place to stay tonight:

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We got into our spot and listened to 14 million screaming kids who can’t get enough of the waterslide and other really “fun stuff” at this park (if you are pre-adolescent)….  However, we did have great neighbors and managed to have a good time:

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Day 6 – Thursday, September 3rd

Today was another milestone day (as far as travel goes) in that we made across Ohio, a short segment through Pennsylvania and then into Upstate New York.  Not much to report, but felt happy to have made it this far with very few problems.  …OK, there is a new “whining sound” (probably AC), the sunshade crashed down on my side after a major pothole.  …and in trying to fix said sunshade, Fish decided to get onto the dash to investigate and there was a major “CRACK” as the dashboard gave way under all those years of chips and salsa.  …but other than that, The Enterprise is still running!   Here in New York, we saw sights like this:

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And just after getting into Byron, I had to remind Fish of our race team:

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We pulled into our new “home away from home” here in Byron, New York  at the Southwoods RV Resort and quickly realized that Labor Day weekend is upon us.  It’s crowded!  …and looking ahead at tomorrow night, most parks are booked…  I’m sure we’ll manage as we are getting close to Sydney, Nova Scotia and finally Newfoundland.  We have a lot of miles behind us and spirits are high.

Day 7 – Friday, September 4th

Wow – it’s been a week!  Fish and I are still speaking, The Enterprise seems happy, we’re in Massachusetts and the weather is fantastic.  We started our day with an oil change for The Enterprise along with an inspection of the dilithium crystals.  All pressures and fluids were good. 

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After $80+ in tolls, we made it to Sturbridge, Massechusetts where the only RV park we could find was – (sigh) – yet another Yogi Bear RV Park.  …this one could be called “Yogi’s misadventures”.  It must be their first one.  Old, run down – but hey – they have cocktails at the above-ground pool.  …I kid you not…  I took a short and very dangerous 4 mile run along what the locals call “thickly settled” rural country with small windy roads and zero margin coupled with speeding cars that seemed not to notice my frantically waving arms.   Although our drive is short tomorrow, I suspect we’ll be leaving early.

Day 8 – Saturday, September 5th

Today was an incredibly beautiful ride through the Maine countryside.  3800 miles and 8 days later, we are just minutes from the Canadian border here in Houlton, Maine.  We’re staying at a great place tonight called “My Brothers Place RV Park”.  Rolling green lawns and nice trees.  The weather our entire trip has really been phenominal.   The temps here are a bit cooler – low 70’s – but mostly sunny.

 Along the way today, Fish fessed up that he had bought a Yogi “doll” at Jellystone – probably after last call at the poolside bar (hey, they had a DJ).   Yogi saddled up on to Mel the Mallard:

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 …yeah, I know – but these long days of driving get a bit boring…

Day 9 – Sunday, September 6th

I booted Fish out of bed early today as I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over the border.   For the first day on our trip, Fish didn’t wear one of his signature tie dye shirts to avoid any wrong first impressions at the crossing…  As it turns out, crossing from Houlton, Maine into New Brunswick on a Sunday morning at 7 AM is pretty easy.  There was just one commercial truck and ourselves.  We were asked the usual questions and waved on through.  I believe this is the fastest crossing from the US into Canada that I’ve ever had.  

From there, we had an amazing drive through New Brunswick then Nova Scotia.  The countryside is extremely hilly (The Enterprise worked hard) and we were either going up a hill or down (seemed like mainly up).  Around every corner it seemed, there was even more awe-inspiring scenery.  Traffic was light and we made quick progress.  We saw a lot of scenes like this:

Nova Scotgia drive

Nova Scotia Drive

Nova Scotia Bridge

Cape Breton Nova Scotia

We arrived in North Sydney, Nova Scotia at the Arm of Gold RV Park and settled in for what will be 3 days before we catch the 11 hour ferry to Newfoundland on Wednesday.  The trip odometer reads just over 4100 miles since we tripped after stopping for fuel right after the ferry from Whidbey Island to “America”.   From our park looking out over St. Ann’s Bay these are some of the scenes:

Arm of Gold RV Park

Arm of Gold - Sydney Nova Scotia

St Anns Bay Nova Scotia

On our first day Monday morning the weather was sunny, brisk and a bit windy.  Fish and I will be exploring Sydney on our bicycles today and do a little laundry.  As Fish was getting the bikes out of the car trailer, the wind slammed the door closed.  The latch was loose and he was trapped.  …no, I’m not making this up…  My mobile rings (I was in The Enterprise working on these photos) and Fish meekly asked if I would come let him out of the trailer.   All kind of exciting possibilities raced through my mind as I stood outside the locked trailer door, but decided to give him a break and let him out.  …besides I was getting hungry so we hopped on our bikes and rode to this place:

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Oh yeah – I bought a shirt.  And the hamburgers weren’t bad either!  Right across the street was their “sister” business:

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We worked off our meal by biking into North Sydney but everything was closed – even the supermarkets.  It’s Labor Day here in Canada – the first one in recent memory where this Holiday falls on the same weekend as Labor Day in the US.  The only place we found open was a small museum, but it was actually pretty cool with lots of old photos of the town, coal mine, etc. 

….to be continued….

9 comments to Travel Log – The details…

  • Fish

    But we did make it for cocktails! Not really that late, plus we lost an hour going into mountain time. We’re going to lose another today. Jack! Wake up! We gotta go see Bo!

  • Ed

    Looks you are either imparting great wisdom to the next generation, or just a tall tale. Can’t tell which, but I have seen that look before. Hmmm

  • Jack

    Congratulations…..You have arrived on the last fold in my USA Interstate Freeway System Map.
    Keep up the daily reporting. I’m sure I’m not the only one following your daily commentary. The destination is the reason for the trip, but the trip is an adventure to be enjoyed as well….Jack

  • Deilke

    Ahhh..roadtrips!

    Yogi deserves the full Targa experience as Willy’s hood ornament during the race. (after “taking one for the team” by keeping that male duck-whore satisfied across time zones and international borders:)

    If you can’t “bear” drilling mounting holes in the hood, then at least ziptie him to the kidney grille.

  • Doug

    Jack (above) isn’t the only one following your daily scribes! What a great trip so far. Let’s hope the rest of your mileage, including the rally, is just as … if not more … successful! I’ll be anxiously awaiting how you guys will be doing. GOOD LUCK! … and may the “Flying Rubber” do its job! ;)

  • Don

    To hell with Yogi. Ziptie ME to the kidney grill. What an “E” ticket ride!!……Oh wait, I remember the LAST time I went for a ride in that car. burp–urp……RALPH……
    Sorry bout that.
    Oh well.
    May flying rubber prevail, (and may flying rubber not refer to a guibo). Keep us posted.

  • Bo

    It was awesome seeing you two! Yea when he holds his glasses in that fashion it is your typical let-me-tell-you-sonny. Maybe I’ll bring the whole crew down to Hillsboro next time and we can show you a true college night :)

  • Bo

    Meaning lots of studying of course

  • Mike Helton

    How did it go? Your PIR Enduro team (Race is Fri Oct 17th, practice 16th) breathlessly awaits the outcome. However it turns out you should be well warmed up after the Targa.
    Mike

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