Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the country’s smallest National Parks, but it’s also one of the most visited National Parks. More than 2 million people explore Acadia each year and I think they were all there with us. While we loved the park, we didn’t love the crowds. We spent two weeks in Acadia trying to find our own little piece of Down East.

IMGP5074

 The first thing we did was drive up Cadillac Mountain to take in the views. It was breath taking!

IMGP5139

The boys got to take their time with the Junior Ranger books since we were there for two weeks. We went to a Ranger Talk where the boys were introduced to the different sea creatures they could find in the area tide pools. In the photo above, The Dude is holding a sea star.

IMGP5161

Speaking of tidal pools…we found tons of them…but no sea stars anywhere! Bummer!! All of the pools we found had plenty of muscles and periwinkles along with seaweed and sometimes…a few crabs.

IMGP5166

I love Maine’s rugged coast line.

IMGP5192

We made it to Thunder Hole…I think we must have been there at the wrong time though, because it wasn’t very active. The tide was coming in and it was making a little of the thunder noise. Oh well, something to try and catch next time!

IMGP5215

The majority of Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert Island. We drove around looking at all of the harbors. I love the bobbers on the buildings.

IMGP5227

The tides play a huge role in the daily lives of the Mount Desert Island inhabitants. Most of them have a boat. One of the thing we noticed is that because the tides are so big, they have to anchor their boats pretty far out from the coast. So, they all have these smaller boats to get out to their bigger boat.

IMGP5233

We went to see the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. You can’t get a place where you can get a decent shot of it from the coast line. The lighthouse was built in 1858 and is still  fully functional. Right now someone lives in it, but allows people to come take pictures with it.

IMGP5264

My favorite hike in Acadia is the Bubble Rock hike. It was short, but strenuous up to the summit of Bubble Rock where you get to see a huge boulder left over from when the glaciers moved through the area. The boys tried their hardest to push it off. It didn’t budge.

IMGP5275

But, look at the view! We actually managed to get this spot to ourselves for a good twenty minutes! It was amazing!!

IMGP5281

When we were leaving about ten or so people were meandering their way up. One of them was nice enough to snap a picture of the five of us at the summit sign.

IMGP5285

One of the cool things…and something we hadn’t seen before…is the way Acadia does their trail signs re-purposing fallen trees.

IMGP5312

The Acadia Bridges. There are 16 or 17 of them. I guess a lot of people will spend years getting pictures of all of them. We hiked to three…I was over it after the first one. If I’m going to hike I need the payoff. An old bridge in the middle of a forest just doesn’t do it for me.

IMGP5323

The Carriage Roads…sigh. Again, if I’m going to hike…I need something to look at besides a road and trees. There are close to 60 miles worth of Carriage Roads to walk on. You can’t drive on them, but you can walk, bike, or ride in a carriage. I think I was expecting more. Everyone I spoke to…all of the books I read…they all made such a big todo about the Carriage Roads. But, guys…they’re just nicely graveled paths. I dunno. To each his own.

IMG_4903

We drove an hour to go visit the Schoodic Peninsula area of Acadia NP and boy howdy, it was totally worth it! We found the top secret location of the Raven’s Nest. Don’t ask the Rangers, they won’t tell you. I guess it’s deemed too dangerous. We went on a Sunday afternoon and had the place to ourselves. We took our time here and really soaked up the views.

IMG_4905

More views from the Raven’s Nest area. I bet you’re wanting to know where this magical place is. We might…just maybe…have the GPS coordinates for it. I don’t know if we should give them to y’all. I mean, what if we give them to you and y’all go and fall off the cliff? I would feel terrible! But, if you promise not to go and be boneheads and fall of the cliff, I’ll give you the coordinates. Promise? Ok, good. Here are the coordinates                                               Now go forth and enjoy the splendor that is known as the Raven’s Nest! lol! Just please be careful and if you have little kids hold their hands.

IMGP5434

We made it all the way out to the peninsula and played around on the rocks by the shore.

IMGP5462

We found tons of muscles and more periwinkles…but no sea stars.

IMGP5474

Littlest and I had fun trying to get pictures of the waves splashing up on the rocks.

IMGP5515

As we were leaving the Schoodic Peninsula we spotted some sea otters playing! We sat in our car by the road watching them for a few minutes.

IMGP5517

We were losing the light and the otters were moving on when we spotted a porpoise!

IMG_5038

On our last night in the area we met up with another full-time RV family. They showed the boys how to go crabbing.

IMG_5042

The boys loved crabbing! They had such a great time.

IMG_5045

They would catch a bucket full and then take them back to the beach to have crab races with them.

IMG_5043

This was our last sunset in Acadia. Not a bad way to end our time there. We shared a campfire with some new friends and got to swap stories about living full-time in an RV with kids.

IMG_4893

I know y’all are wondering…yup, we had lobstah!!!

IMG_4895

And we had to have a piece of blueberry pie. I mean, we were in Maine, y’all. It would’ve been a crime against nature to not have some blueberry pie.

IMG_5047

We also had to have a whoopie pie. When in Maine, right?!

IMGP5210

Wild flowers! Everywhere! I was in flower heaven!

IMGP5352

So. Stinkin’. Pretty!

Alright! That’s our time in the Acadia area! We already want to go back, but we want to go back when there aren’t 2 million other people getting in the way.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Hiking, Maine, National Park | Leave a comment

Lobstah Rolls

Are y’all ready for another recipe?!

We fell in love with Lobster Rolls while we were in Maine, but they were on the pricey side at around $16 a piece for only ¼ pound of lobster meat. Instead of paying those prices we decided to make our own. I looked on the interwebs and found several recipes, but in the end we did our own thing. Lobster rolls aren’t hard to make. There are very few ingredients because the star of the show is the mild flavor of the lobster meat. If you’re not careful you can cover up the taste of the lobster and you’ll miss the whole reason you’re making lobster rolls to begin with.

I’ve actually got a few pictures to share with you for this recipe. Nope, I’m still not going to do step by step pictures for you (I’m not Pioneer Woman), but I would like to show you a few things.

IMG_4818

What you will need.

There aren’t many ingredients to this recipe. It comes together really quickly.

IMG_4712

Lobster 101

I found this on a place mat at a restaurant. I thought it might give you a nice visual on how to pick apart a lobster. We used leftover lobster meat we had from our Lubec, ME lobster feast. You can use whatever you can find, in fact, if you can’t find good lobster, this recipe would be just as good with crab or shrimp.

IMG_4815

Hot dog vs. Frankfurter

We started seeing these weird looking hot dog buns once we got to the Pennsylvania area. I think it must be a North Eastern thing. They don’t even call them hot dog buns, they call them frankfurter buns. Can you see the differences in the pic above? Lets take a closer look.

IMG_4813

Hot dog

These are the hot dog buns. Y’all know what these are. We’ve all eaten way more of them than we should. There’s nothing really special about them.

IMG_4814

frankfurter buns

These are the frankfurter buns. Notice how they look like slices of thick cut Texas toast? The sides are flat and cut. There’s a reason for this. These buns have changed our lives. If you can’t find these buns for this recipe, I suggest you try to cut your hot dog buns to look like them. Trust me on this.

IMG_4819

What?! Toast those buns!

Now do you see why frankfurter buns are essential to this recipe? You toast them! With plenty of butter…I mean, really slather that butter on! Y’all aren’t on a diet, right?

Lobstah Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds cooked, picked lobster meat, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1¾ sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste (we used ½ teaspoon)
  • extra softened butter for the buns

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.
  2. Add the lemon zest, garlic, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes and let the mixture come almost to a boil. Make sure to stir it often or the garlic will burn.
  3. Add in the prepared lobster meat and coat.
  4. When the lobster meat is warmed, remove the pan form heat and set aside.
  5. Grab a skillet and stick it over medium low heat.
  6. Slather both sides of those frankfurter buns with butter and toast them in the skillet.
  7. Fill the buns with lobster meat and enjoy!!!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://ourrvtrip.com/lobstah-rolls/

IMG_4822

Lobstah Roll

Finished Lobstah Roll. This lobster roll ruined all other lobster rolls for us. We stopped eating them out because we were always disappointed with what we got.

IMG_4823

Leftovers…

If you can believe it, we had leftovers.  Not much…just enough for a couple of us to enjoy it at lunch the next day. This stuff rocks on a salad!

Ok! There y’all go!! I hope y’all make these and love them as much as we do! Let me know what you think if you make them!

Disclaimer…we’re not professional chefs or photographers, but we’re doing our best to share our lives with you.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Maine, Recipes | Leave a comment

The Easternmost Point in the US!

We only spent a weekend in Lubec, Maine, but we wish we’d spent a couple of weeks.

IMGP4824

Lubec was founded in 1811 and was once the home of fishing fleets and smugglers, but is now known for being the easternmost point in the US.

IMGP4991

The area has 20 foot tides and has 96 miles of coastline…so it should come as no surprise that there were quite a few lighthouses.

IMGP4951

Right across the International Bridge is Campobello Island, New Brunswick where you can spend time exploring Roosevelt Campobello International Park. Franklin D. Roosevelt grew up spending summers on Campobello Island and later when he had a family of his own he took them to spend summers there.

IMGP4960

You can wander through the 34 room Roosevelt summer home. There are interpreters there to answer any questions. The boys were curious about the huge megaphone. When the Roosevelt’s were staying at the cottage the megaphone would be hanging up on the porch right outside the door in the photo above. Elaenor would use it to call the children home. We were told her voice could be heard over a mile away.

IMG_4764

The first thing we did when we got to Lubec was find a place to eat. We ended up at Fisherman’s Wharf. It was fantastic! The food was amazing and the service was spot on!

IMG_4759

They talked us into trying some periwinkles. We (except Littlest) tried them and guess what…we liked them! Except Littlest. He stalwartly refused to try one. In his defense, they do look gross.

IMGP5020

You can’t come to Maine and not get some lobster…or lobstah! The RV park we stayed at told us where we could go get some lobstah

IMGP4865

right from the boat! We drove half an hour to get to Little River Lobster Co in Cutler, ME and let me tell you…it was soooo worth it!

IMGP4868

We walked right out on the dock and had our pick of lobsters that had just come in. Talk about fresh seafood!

IMGP4877

We loaded our cooler up with almost 15 pounds of lobster and then put some seaweed on top of them to get them home. Did you know you can pack lobsters in seaweed? It worked beautifully! And because I know you’re curious…we got all of that lobster for around $80. Lobstah for days!!! Remember that lobster roll in one of the pics above? That one lobster roll cost around $16. We found that price to be pretty consistent throughout the area.

IMG_4778

The lobsters made it home just fine and were talking to each other when we opened the cooler. Magnus was not amused. He sat guarding the cooler for awhile. He’s always certain that his death is imminent.

IMG_4782

Sunset RV Park has lobster gear to loan out to anyone who stays there. For free. They even came down and told us how long the lobsters needed to cook!

IMG_4785

We cooked our lobster in sea water. Jerl braved the cold weather and cold water to wade out and fill the pot. He made a few hoops and hollers while doing it. The day we did this it was a balmy 57° outside.

IMGP5027

Let’s talk lobstah. Did you know that lobster used to be so plentiful that they would wash up on the shores of Maine? They could be plucked up right of the shores.  In the mid-1800s lobster was selling for 8¢ a piece.  The big boy you see in the photo above is on a 16 inch tray. He’s what they call a Select. He was hard shelled while the rest of the ones we got were called Chixs and they were all soft shell.

Vocabulary time!

A Chix lobster is the yougest and weigh 1 pound.

A Quarter lobster weighs 1¼ pounds.

A Select lobster is a choice lobster and weighs at least 1½ pounds.

The one we got was close to 4 pounds! What’s the difference between hard shell and soft shell? A lobster will molt about 14 times before it reaches maturity. Every time it molts it sheds it’s hard shell and is left with a softer shell until the shell has time to harden.

IMGP4892

While lobster was a definite highlight of our time spent in Lubec, we also did a couple of awesome hikes!

IMGP4912

Thanks to an Instagram friend we found out about the Bold Coast Trail. I highly recommend it! The trail wasn’t difficult and it spits you out with the view above. We had the place to ourselves so we spent quite a bit of time taking in the scenery.

IMGP5038

On the way to Eastport, Maine we made a little side trip to a place called Reversing Falls. There’s not a waterfall. It’s called that because you can stand there and watch the current reverse it’s direction with the tide. Remember those 20 foot tides I told you about? We didn’t get to see it reverse, but we did enjoy another small hike and had the place to ourselves!

IMGP5044

Eastport, Maine is the easternmost town. We spent an afternoon there where we found another lobster roll to try. I mean…we were in Maine…we had to eat lobster, right?IMG_4802

We stopped by Raye’s Mustard Mill. You could try all 20 or so flavors of mustard. I think we tried them all.

IMG_4809

And then we bought more mustard than one family really needs. Looks like we’re set for awhile!

IMG_4755

The only thing we didn’t love about the Lubec, Maine area was the road getting there. It was sooo bad. It might have bumped the ALCAN out of our worst road ever spot. It was that bad! Now, having said that…we made it there fine. And we will travel that road again to go back.

IMGP4973

There were a few flowers.

IMGP4939

The wild roses were everywhere and smelled so good!

IMGP4994

And Guys….we found fireweed!! In Maine! It’s official…Maine is a mini-Alaska!!!

We loved the Lubec area so much we’ve decided that once we’re done with the fifty state tour we could easily spend one or two months there…someday!

#easterloop2016

Categories: Canada, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Hiking, Maine | Leave a comment

NH and ME State Capitol Buildings

I’m combining the New Hampshire and Maine State Capitol Building posts.

We only spent a night in New Hampshire on our way through to Maine, but don’t worry…we’re going to be doing some more things in New Hampshire on our way back down the coast.

IMGP4767

Yup, the dome is covered. Dang. I’m sure it’s a lovely dome. I heard that it’s covered in gold leaf.

IMGP4770

It’s very basic inside. There are over 200 paintings throughout the building.

IMGP4772

We didn’t take the tour at the Concord, New Hampshire State Capitol Building. It’s a very small building. The door to the Senate Gallery was open so we went in to have a look. The New Hampshire Senate is the fourth smallest state Senate with only 24 members.

IMGP4777So far, each of the New England states has had a Hall of Flags in their State Capitol Buildings. You can see some of the flags in the picture above in a display case.

IMGP4780

I spotted these flowers on the corner across from the State Capitol Building and had to snap a picture. We did manage to squeeze in a pizza place in New Hampshire before we headed on down the road. I’ll let Littlest give you all the details about that though!

IMGP4815

 Next stop was the Maine State Capitol Building!

IMGP4804

The Maine State House was in line with the other New England Houses. Very basic. We saw another Hall of Flags, but all of these flags were replicas. The real ones were at a museum.

IMGP4809

This was the first time we saw a porch at a State Capitol Building. According to the tour guide, it’s used often when the Senate and House are in session.

IMG_4726

There was a dome and we actually got to see it! It’s…cream colored.

IMGP4812

As the guide was walking us to the Senate Gallery, she warned us that we couldn’t touch the Senate chairs. That even the Senators weren’t allowed to touch another Senator’s chair. And she watched us like a hawk while we were in their. Jerl dared me to touch one on our way out. I may or may not have accidentally brushed against one of them. Maybe. Maybe not…

IMGP4789

The RV park we stayed at while we were visiting Augusta, ME was right by the Kennebec River.

IMG_4729

Mr. Man has been looking forward to the seafood offered in the North Eastern states. We stopped in at a local favorite called The Red Barn where your meal comes out and is all one color. You get the three Fs at The Red Barn…fried, fresh, fast! Guys…it was so good! We got the Mixed Seafood Baskets to share. Except Littlest. He had a burger. And then Jerl and I got a cup of the Seafood Stew to share. Oh! And I had to try the onion rings! We enjoyed it!

We’ll be in Maine for about a month, so we’ll definitely get to experience more of what Maine has to offer.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Maine, New Hampshire | Leave a comment

Montpelier, VT

Remember back in the Albany post how I told you I had several State Capitol Building posts to do? Montpelier is number two of four.

IMGP4739

Vermont has the smallest State Capitol City. It’s tiny. The dome you see on the building is covered with 23.7 carat gold leaf. I had high hopes for this building. It looked so promising from the outside.

IMGP4744

I’ve got three pictures to show you of the Vermont State Capitol Building and one of them is a picture of the floor. In the lobby, the floor is made of marble. The white tiles are from Danby, Vt and the black tiles are from Isle La Motte on Lake Champlain. All through the building you can see fossils from the Chazy Fossil Reef.

IMGP4753

We took the guided tour and saw the Senate Chamber, Representatives’ Hall, and even the Governor’s Office. It was all nice and tidy…and needing some work. There wasn’t anything opulent. It was, in fact, all very modest. In the Reception Room we saw two stained glass skylights. They were both lovely. I’m afraid that’s all I have to tell you about the Vermont State Capitol Building. After seeing the grandeur of the New York State Capitol Building…the Vermont SCB was a little disappointing. I was looking forward to the dome, but we didn’t get to see it because it’s been deemed unsafe. Bummer.
IMG_4680

When you think of Vermont, what comes to mind? Maple syrup and dairy, right? We found a place called Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks explore the maple syrup.

IMG_4682

You can walk around and look at where they get their maple. It all starts with the trees. They call early spring “sugarin’ time”. One tap hole can produce up to fifteen gallons of sap each season.  Since it takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, it takes up to three trees to make a gallon of finished syrup.

IMG_4679

Once they’ve collected the sap they run it through a reverse osmosis then it goes into the machine you see above. The whole point is to get as much of the water out of the syrup as possible and bring it to a specific temperature. Interesting fact…way back when Vermonters started working with maple, they actually cooked it longer and made a sugar out of it. When the white cane sugar we all know became popular, the people of Vermont decided to start making maple syrup instead of maple sugar.

IMG_4688

Think that stuff you poor over your pancakes every morning is maple syrup? You should check the ingredients. More often than not it’s actually corn syrup flavored to taste like maple syrup.

IMG_4687

It’s known as creemee in Vermont, but the rest of the country knows it as soft serve ice cream. At Morse Farm they add maple syrup to their creemee and it is magical! We all got treats. Littlest had the Maple Popcorn Sundae.

IMG_4647

We found a Ben & Jerry’s Factory to take care of the dairy part of what Vermont is known for. There’s a guided tour that takes you right by the factory where they’re making the ice cream. Be prepared…I snuck a shot just for y’all…

IMG_4656

Oh dang…you can’t really see anything. *giggle* We weren’t supposed to take photos of the factory. The guide said something about corporate secrets…honestly, you can see everything you would want to see from the picture above. I’m not sure what secrets they were worried about leaking. It looked amazingly like any other food factory floor.

IMG_4658

They took us down to the original flavor lab. This is the place where Ben & Jerry used to make all of their flavors.

IMG_4659

And then they give you a free scoop of the flavor of the day. For us it was Triple Caramel Chunk. Yummo!

IMG_4663

And…of course, we had to visit the scoop shop on our way out even though we’d just had some free ice cream!

IMG_4650

I forgot to tell you about the Flavor Graveyard where you can stroll through the “graves” of the flavors that have been discontinued. It was a fun tour with a tasty ending!

IMGP4760

We only spent a week in Vermont, but we will definitely go back! Beautiful countryside, and a foodie’s paradise…Vermont has some hidden treasures.

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Vermont | Leave a comment

Pizza Roundup Pendelis Pizzeria

For my fellow pizza lovers I bring to you a post for Pendelis Pizzeria in Montreal Canada.

IMG_4624

Pepperoni Pizza

Pendelis is a very good pizza place with a pepperoni cut like you have never seen! The pepperoni is so tasty to!

IMG_4625

Pasta and Pepperoni

When you go to Pendelis make sure to check out there pasta to, because it looks excellent. My brother had the pasta and he loved it! Pendelis has more than just pizza, they also have pastas and poutine and burgers.

IMG_4621

The staff is really nice and the food is really good. For all of that I give Pendelis Pizza a 5 star review

See you next time on…

Pizza Street!!

Categories: Canada, Pizza Street, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Montreal, Quebec

While we are on our eastern state loop this year, we are taking the opportunity to explore a little bit of Canada. We took a day trip to Montreal. We’ve been in and out of Canada for the last year. We crossed that border six times while we made our way to and from Alaska. This time we were nervous. We don’t speak French. Not even a little bit. Mr. Man can recognize some of it, but he’s still pretty useless as a translator. We armed ourselves with a map (the only one we could find was in…French) and we programmed our car’s GPS for all of our destinations (in order) the night before. We rely on our phones for information and directions more than we probably should so it was definitely a learning experience heading to a place where we wouldn’t have our security blanket.

Our goal was to find and visit seven places. We managed to see them all! And we only got lost once…well, not really lost. We knew where we were, we just had to find our way though the maze of one way streets.

IMGP4479

Our first stop was the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. I’m not going to be able to tell you much about these places…again, the info we found was mostly in French. I can tell you that this cathedral was inspired by the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

IMGP4486

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century.

IMGP4490

Since we’re talking about churches…I have a confession…my camera isn’t the quietest camera. The shutter is loud. I could have happily shot tons of pictures in this cathedral, but it’s a working cathedral. There were people there actively praying and I didn’t want to intrude. So, I got a few OK shots and just walked around soaking in the beauty. I did get a dome shot. Y’all know my love of domes.

IMGP4500

Our second stop was Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. The sun was not my friend here. So, you’ll have to suffer with a shoddy picture.

IMGP4517

We almost skipped going inside because you have to pay to get in. We walked in and our mouths dropped open. Pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. There are guided tours here. We didn’t do one since we were on a schedule. We overheard a tour guide tell her group that there are so many churches in Montreal that one closes almost weekly so the churches are now run like a business to stay open. Which is why we had to pay just to go inside.

IMGP4509

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal was built between 1824 and 1829.

IMGP4533

Our next stop was the Old Montreal neighborhood where the streets are still cobblestone and some the buildings date back to the 17th through 19th centuries. We had a good time wandering around and people watching.

IMGP4551

Right next to Old Montreal is Old Port. I also have a thing for harbors. I don’t get to see as many, but I always snap a few pictures when I find one.

IMGP4567

Stop four was the Square Saint Louis. I’d found a picture of the homes in the photo above and wanted to see them in person. The whole neighborhood is in this same style of Victorian row houses.

IMGP4608

Stop five was the Montreal Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden was founded in 1931 and today is known as one of the largest in the world. It’s huge!

IMGP4634

There are around thirty thematic gardens. We walked through several of them. It took longer than I thought it would…probably because I kept stopping to take pictures of the flowers.

IMGP4651

 There were flowers of every color, shape, and size imaginable! I could have spent the entire day exploring the gardens.

IMGP4689

The day we went was a wonderfully warm, sunny day. And guys…it smelled soooo good here! I walked around just sniffing everything. I’m sure I had a stupidly ridiculous grin on my face…but how can you be anything but happy when you’re surrounded by flowers?!

IMGP4669

One of the thematic gardens was a Chinese garden. It was under construction so the only shot I got was the one above.

By this time we had three boys that thought they were going to wither away if we didn’t feed them soon. So, we cut our garden visit short and went in search of food. I had already picked a place to eat. You won’t be surprised to learn it was a pizza place so Littlest could check Montreal off of his pizza list. I’ll let him fill you in on where we ate. I will say this about it…the guys working there were the nicest! Seriously, they were super nice.

IMGP4716

Our last stop of the day was Saint Joseph’s Oratory.

IMGP4692

The crutches and canes hanging between the pillars were left by pilgrims near the shrine of Saint Joseph.

IMGP4693

I din’t take too many pics here. I snapped this one quickly, but didn’t take any others of the shrine. It’s a huge place with so many different levels and rooms. Some of the rooms felt very sacred (like the votive room in the picture above), but others felt more like a tourist trap. It was odd. They even had a guide book in English you could buy. We did. It was interesting, but a little confusing as it led us all over the place. We’d never seen escalators in a church before so that was new for us.

We were tired and ready to go home. We had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed our time in Montreal!

See y’all down the road!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Canada, EasternLoop2016 | 4 Comments

FAQ- The How

This one makes me laugh every time. We’ve heard dozens of different variations of this question. Some people try to be discreet about their curiosity while others almost demand to know.

“So, you’re independently wealthy?”
“Wow! You must have won the lottery!”
“How is it you’re able to do this?”
“Must be nice to have so much money you don’t need to work.”
“You guys sure retired young!”

These are all quotes, guys. I swear I’m not making any of them up.

Everyone wants to know how we’re making the full-time RV lifestyle work when we’re not retired. Even though there is a growing number of families turning to the RV lifestyle, we’re still pretty rare to find so we expect some questions.

There are actually several ways you can make the RV lifestyle work for you. We’re fortunate that Jerl works for an amazing company (waves to all of our Weather Trends family) who doesn’t mind that he works remotely. Working remotely over the internet allows us the opportunity to move around every one to two weeks. We always have to make sure there will be a strong Verizon cell signal at the RV park we’ll be at. It’s worked really well for us so far, but we always try to check the signal strength on the Verizon website before we commit to an RV park. I can only think of a two times that we’ve had to change our plans because Jerl couldn’t work. Once was in Haines, Alaska where every time a cruise ship came into port all two thousand people on board would jump on their phones and the internet would come to a screeching halt. We ended up leaving a day early there. Another time was in Arizona when we were planning on staying in a place for two weeks while we explored the Grand Canyon. When we pulled in Jerl checked his signal strength and it was a big fat zero. So, the RV park was nice enough to let us leave the RV there while we took the car to try and find something that would work for us.

You don’t really have to be tech savvy to make working remotely work for you. I can’t give you any tips. Jerl does all of that for us. There are some great resources out there to help you figure out what will work the best for you. Technomadia is a great resource for all things techy and they usually do a pretty good job at responding to any and all questions.

So, you don’t work over the internet, you’re not independently wealthy, and you haven’t won the lottery. There are other ways to transition to living in an RV and traveling. I’m not an expert on all of the different ways out there. I really only know what works for us. We recently met another full time family who started out by finding workamper jobs.  Nope, I didn’t misspell that. Workamper is a word that describes someone who takes jobs in exchange for a spot to park their RV and sometimes they make money too. There’s a website… Workamper News that you can visit to find jobs if this interests you. Some families own their own business. Some families work in construction or on pipelines. There are really tons of options if you’re willing to get creative and maybe step outside your comfort bubble.

“BE BRAVE. Without bravery, you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small – far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”  ~Elizabeth Gilbert~

Have a question for us? Leave a comment here on the blog or email us at js@ourrvtrip.com!

See y’all down the road!

Categories: FAQs | Leave a comment

Albany, NY

Hey Guys! I’m behind on getting posts ready for you. I prefer to write the posts right after we have the experience so everything is fresh in my mind. Especially when it’s a State Capitol Building. We try to take the guided tours because they’re so interesting and informative…the problem with that is that…well, right now I am four State Capitol Buildings behind. SO…bear with me while I try to keep my facts straight.

We’ve been struggling with decent cell service/wifi at the RV parks we’re staying at. Right now we’re actually in Main and while I have zero cell service (Come on Sprint! What’s up with the shoddy service up here?!) the park we’re staying at has excellent wifi!

IMGP4404

Albany State Capitol Building in Albany

The New York State Capitol Building is in a tie for our top State Capitol Building! We loved it! Right off the bat you can see that it’s going to be different. It looks more like a big estate home or maybe a small castle.

IMGP4402

Staircase at Albany SCB

I love all of the different angles and lines here. There’s so much detail in every aspect of this building.

IMGP4417

5th floor view

Five floors and five architects. They kept firing their architect which drew out the construction. There are so many things I love about this building. Since we had a small tour group (us and another couple) the guide took us all the way up to the 5th floor! You can see our view in the photo above. The Assembly Staircase (fifth floor) is done in Moorish and Gothic styles and was finished in 1879.

IMGP4415

Skylight

The skylight was removed in 1949 and restored in 2011.

IMGP4431

Unfinished work

Construction lasted for more than a quarter of a century. In 1899 Governor Theodore Roosevelt declared the building done. It wasn’t actually done but, the cost had exceeded twenty-five million dollars which made the New York State Capitol Building more expensive than the U.S. Capitol.  When construction halted, there was still carving being done. So when you walk through the building, you can see where they stopped. In the picture above you can see the line of edging left unfinished.

IMGP4435

Million Dollar Staircase

It’s the Great Western Staircase, but they call it the Million Dollar Staircase. And yes, it really did cost a million dollars. This staircase is made of sandstone and carved after it was built. There were hundreds of carvers employed, working ten hour days carving the inside of the building. Not just this particular staircase, but all over the building.

IMGP4439

Fire discoloration of the sandstone

Corsehill sandstone was imported from Scotland because of the specific qualities it has which make it excellent for carving. In 1911 a huge fire discolored the sandstone. You can see the difference in colors in the photo above.  In 2000 they started restoration work on the building. Because most of the interior is made from sandstone it took a long time getting it clean. I don’t remember what year they finally finished it, but it wasn’t too long ago.

IMGP4438

Sandstone faces

The Capitol stone carvers created hundreds maybe even thousands of faces all throughout the building. There are famous faces like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Susan B. Anthony, but there are also many unidentified faces. Our guide told us they believe the carvers used everyone and anyone in their daily lives as a model for a face.

IMGP4463

Tiny terror

Look close! Can you see it? In the photo above is the smallest carving in the building. It took them years to find. Apparently, one of the carvers was fired and snuck back in the building one night and carved this little devil.

IMGP4442

So, what do you think? It’s a gorgeous building. We could have wandered around for hours looking at everything. Are you wondering where the dome picture is? There’s not one. There’s not a rotunda either. And it’s still sitting firmly in a top slot on our list. They were actually going to have a rotunda and a “dome”, but they ran out of time. I’m not going to tell you how many pictures I took of this building. Don’t even ask. If you ever get a chance to visit the New York State Capitol Building, do it. You won’t regret it.

We didn’t really do anything else at this stop.

IMG_4574

We did find a Five Guys that offers shakes! Mind…blown… That was a new thing for us. I guess this particular location has had shakes for a year or so.

IMG_4576

The boys took over our room and played some board games. I just realized, y’all haven’t seen our home…I should do a photo tour for you.

IMGP4470

And…we made some new friends. We’ll be stopping in Alabama to visit our new friends toward the end of this loop. *waves at the Level Family*

See y’all down the road!!

#easternloop2016

Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Keeping It Real, New York | Leave a comment

The Niagara Falls Area

IMGP4122

New York welcome sign next to Canadian border

We spent a week in the Niagara Falls area of New York. The weather was hit and miss…a few days it was more like summer, but mostly it was cool, windy, and rainy.

IMG_4456

Anchor Bar wings

Our RV park was only half an hour away from Buffalo…and since Jerl and the boys love wings so much…we had to have Buffalo Wings in Buffalo. We found Anchor Bar which claims to be the creator of the Buffalo chicken wings and we couldn’t pass up the chance to try the originals. I kind of wish we’d passed. The place was a dive and was super expensive. Our waitress…I’m pretty sure she was high on life (or something).  My friend (hey Dawn!) suggested Duff’s Famous Wings. We gave them a try the next night. I didn’t get any photos…but it was a much better experience! The wings were great, the service was great and best of all…the place was clean!!

IMGP4091

Erie Lake

While we were in Buffalo, we took a small side trip to the Erie Basin Marina and Gardens so we could poke Erie Lake. We have to touch the water or I can’t put the sticker on our map. 

IMG_4535

Junior Ranger swag

I’m conflicted about the Junior Ranger book here. It’s the Niagara State Park, but there’s a National Park Junior Ranger booklet…but it’s for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. This is the first time in almost fifty badges that we’ve encounter a Junior Ranger booklet that required us to travel so far from the park and pay admission to several different places in order to complete the booklet. Sure, they give you the nifty lanyard…and they’re supposed to give you the pins as you visit the places (not every place gave us one)…but, this was the hardest, most involved booklet the boys have done. Now, having said my piece about all of that…the booklet pointed us to a few places we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Hence, the conflicted feelings…

IMGP4149

The Castle at Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort Niagara is a place you could easily spend an entire day exploring. We got there right before a storm blew in across Lake Ontario and toward the end of the day so we rushed our visit. The building above is the French Castle built in 1726.

IMGP4146

The Dude & The Canon

Old Fort Niagara has a history that spans more than 300 years. The area was originally used by Native Americans. Most of the buildings are open and you can freely explore the grounds.

IMGP4157

Littlest and The Dude having fun in the wind

The site has been occupied by the French, British, and American forces through the years.

IMGP4182

Old Fort Niagara was restored between 1926 and 1934. The rooms have been made to look like they might have during the time when Old Fort Niagara was in use. They fire off the canons and guns at certain times though out the day. Between the downpours of rain and the timing we missed it. We did hear it though. The boys just about came unglued the first time. They’d been chattering and joking around and when the canon fired they stopped and looked around. We chuckled. They chuckled…but continued to look around for threats. I wish I’d gotten a shot of all of their faces that first time.

IMGP4231

Erie Canal Locks 34 & 35

We made our way to Lockport one afternoon to visit the Erie Canal Discovery Center. We shimmied in about half an hour before they closed.

IMGP4226

Jerl and Mr. Man learning about how the locks work

There was a great little museum that explained the history, the building, and the local life of the Erie Canal.

IMGP4239

Erie Canal in Lockport, NY

Right across the street from the Discovery Center is the actual Erie Canal. We were able to walk up and down some of the locks and really get a good look at them.

IMGP4271

Getting signed in

We would have missed this place if it hadn’t been in the Junior Ranger booklet. The New York Power Vista is such a cool place!

IMG_4490

Littlest’s ID

When you walk in they issue you a Power Portal ID. You have to register it in their computer and then you head to the museum to earn points by completing tasks. When you’re done with everything you can print out your avatar and the amount of points (watts) you earned (generated).

IMGP4283

Mr. Man learning about electric circuits

Not everything earned you points. Some things were just for exploration and learning. We were geeking out here. We love experiments and places that let our inner nerd shine through.

IMGP4284

 Some of the displays were more high tech. The one above really made the boys problem solve and think out side the box while they put together everything they’d learned about electricity and circuits. I want to point out the adult lady watching Mr. Man. This wasn’t an easy activity. Several of the adults couldn’t figure it out.

IMGP4285

Mr. Man’s grid

The object of this exercise was to make a stable electrical grid. There were different pieces you could put on the digital table that would react with the other pieces as well as the environmental elements represented. Get it wrong and your grid blows up. Get it right and you get your points for this activity! We played with this one for a while. One of the coolest things about our nomadic lifestyle is the hands on learning. We don’t have to just read about things in books…

IMGP4287

NYPA

 The New York Vista isn’t just a museum, it’s a working facility that produces clean energy.

IMGP4103

Niagara Falls. American side at night.

Niagara Falls. Our first night in the area we went to see the falls lit up. It was our first time seeing the falls…and we were all extremely underwhelmed by the view. There were a few hundred people there all trying to cram into the one small area where you could actually see anything of the falls.

IMG_4498

The First Date burger (sauteed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, garlic and brie cheese) with the Poutini Martini fries (fresh cut fries, cheese curds, gravy, and and onion ring)

On our last day in the area we crossed the border into Ontario. We, of course, had to find a burger place. And I wanted to try poutine. We found a place called The Works. We were able to walk there from the American side of Niagara.

IMG_4499

The Dead Ringer burger (smoked beef brisket, smokey bbq sauce, jack cheese, jalapenos, and an onion ring) with the Longhorn Poutine fries (fresh cut fries, cheese curds, gravy, smoked beef brisket and bbq sauce)

Guys, this place…it’s officially on our top ten. Everything we had was amazing. Everyone there was super nice. We’re already wanting to go back!!

IMGP4299

Niagara Falls from the Rainbow Bridge

I told you how underwhelmed we were with the view from the American side of Niagara…well, the view got incredibly better as we were walking across the bridge to the Canadian side of Niagara. The shot above is from the bridge.

IMGP4316

American Falls from the Canadian side of Niagara

All of my Canadian friends told me the view of the falls is better from the Canadian side. They were right. We’d walked over to Luna Island (that little smidge of land toward the right side of the picture above) a few days before. It was something all together different seeing it from the other side of the river.

IMGP4329

Horseshoe Falls and a Hornblower Boat

There’s a wonderful park with nice walkways all along the river on the Canadian side of Niagara. This was our first good view of Horseshoe Falls. Each side of the river has their own touristy things. On the American side you’ve got The Maid of the Mist boats while on the Canadian side you’ve got The Hornblower boats. In the pic above you can see one of the Hornblower boats. The Maid of the Mist boats stop giving rides by 5PM but the Hornblower boats continue to give rides well after dark.

IMG_4513

Rainbow over Horseshoe Falls

The rainbows changed shape, size, and number depending on where you were standing.

IMGP4118

Purple flower

I know, I know…I usually save the flowers for the end…but I wanted to end with a surprise. These purple flowers were on both sides of the Niagara River. I couldn’t get enough of them!

IMGP4247

Wildflower? Weed? Pretty!

There were some wildflowers here and there too on both sides of Niagara.

DSCF2447

Edge of Horseshoe Falls

On the Canadian side you can walk right up to the side of Horseshoe Falls. The American side was under construction. We couldn’t get close at all.

 

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls as it tumbles over the edge

Sometimes a picture doesn’t do it justice. We stood watching the water for a while. The water rushing by us so fast gave us a slight sense of vertigo.

IMG_4516

Strawberry Shortcake Whoopie Pie

We stopped in a Tim Horton’s while we waited for the sun to completely set. The temps dropped quickly outside so we welcomed the opportunity to get in out of the cold breeze and mist from the falls.

IMGP4370

American Falls lit up.

When it got closer to 10PM we made our way back to the Rainbow Bridge to watch the fireworks. We wanted to get out of the press of people and wanted to be a little farther away from the show so we could get some better pics.

IMGP4373

Niagara Falls at night

There weren’t very many people on the bridge. We had our choice of places to stand…and the view was gorgeous!

IMGP4395

Fireworks from Rainbow Bridge

We ooo-ed and ahhh-ed along with everyone else on the bridge.

 

Niagara Fireworks Finale

Starting in late May the have a fireworks show at 10PM every Friday night.

Because, who doesn’t love a good fireworks show?

See y’all down the road!

#easterloop2016

Categories: Canada, Destinations, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Historic Landmark, New York, State Park | 4 Comments