Saturday, July 6, 2019

#LeapFrogs: From Bar Harbor to the Erie Canal

After a beautiful time in Maine, and vows to return, we began a new trek west.

My irrational mountain fears kicked into gear, so we planned a route that would keep us as much out of the mountains as possible. One day, I'll return to the area and explore it all, but for now, this has to suffice.

The drive through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont was beautiful and surprising, because I found some delightful small lake towns. My imagination went wild thinking of summer homes there. Ha! Unfortunately, I was driving so I didn't capture any pictures until we got to the Vermont welcome center. (I think I could move in there and be perfectly content!)



Before we left Vermont, we were determined to get some maple syrup. Tim's grandfather and uncle made maple syrup in Virginia, so that will always be his favorite, but we did find some Vermont syrup in the quaint town of Bennington. Tim's the syrup person but I delighted in the meat market where we found it - Henry's.

Henry's is a small corner store with all sorts of local delicacies. They roast their own meats for the deli counter, too, and we snagged a delectable chunk of their roast beef for sandwiches. They package the end pieces and sell them in chunks, in addition to slicing, and those chunks make the best "leftover" roast beef sandwiches. (I need one now.)



We'd found a campsite where we could stay awhile, so we headed to Macedon, NY after we left Henry's. We drove along the top edges of several of the Finger Lakes, and vowed to return there, too. The area was a bit crowded as we passed through, but the towns were unique and interesting, and the water incredible. The town of Skaneateles really captured my writer's imagination, so I hope to set a script there at some point. (I'll just need to learn how to pronounce the town name first!)

We weren't sure what to expect when we got to Macedon. The campsite information gave us the basics - free, portajohn, small town. The information was correct, but it was so much more.

The city park sits along the edge of the Erie Canal, and Macedon hosts one of 35 locks on the Erie Canal. The city provides the camping spots for hikers and bicyclists who trek the Erie Canal Trails.


When we arrived, there were a couple of tents set up on one side of the street, away from the canal, but there was one site closer so we chose it for ours. 


The Chief Lock Operator was on hand and while we were there, he educated us on how the system works, and let us watch him work. He gave Tim a close up tour one day while I was at the library working and then some of the other employees, Wink and Wes, taught him even more on other days. 




After I'd worked a few days, I took a day off to explore the area and discovered this park also offers a little library and a butterfly garden. 





One morning, Tim whipped us up some pancakes one morning so we could sample that Vermont maple syrup, too.



I took clothes to the laundromat one day, too, and the Lord had a special blessing and surprise for me. A kind lady was sitting in the lobby and after I got our clothes in the washers, she introduced herself and we began chatting. Her husband came over and they told me they had a local ministry based on the FROG principle - Fully Rely on God! I told them about our journey, the #LEAPFROGS, and he went out to his car to return with this little friend, which he gave me. 



When it was time to leave, they both took my hands and led us in prayer. They said they'd continue praying for us on our journey.

I love divine appointments such as these. They refresh and revive me, and minister in ways in ways I never knew I needed. 


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#LeapFrogs: Covering a Lot of Miles
#LeapFrogs: Holy Ground in Kerrville



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Monday, July 1, 2019

#LeapFrogs: Majestic Maine

From Cape Cod and Boston, we headed to Maine, another one of those 4th grade social studies destinations I'd always longed to see. As an adult, I wasn't sure I could handle the cool temperatures I was sure Maine would offer, but I was pleasantly surprised and quickly fell in love with the state.

One interesting aspect I noticed right away - even though most of the area where we'd traveled thus far on this leg along the east coast was already experiencing summer, when we arrived in Maine, we noticed that spring was just beginning. Trees were just beginning to bud, and flowers just beginning to spring their blossoms.

Acadia National Park was already getting crowded, but we met some great folks as we drove around snapping photos. My photos don't do justice to this area. I look forward to returning to the area again.

This is one of my favorites - we watched the cloud move over the island then completely envelope it.





Funny story. While we were driving around the park, we decided to stop for a picnic lunch. These talkative blackbirds joined us, and kept up a running chatter with us the entire time we ate our sandwiches. (Yes, we talked with this. Don't you?)

As soon as we got back in the car, they swooped down to the table to snatch up any crumbs we left behind. They seemed to nod their head in thanks as we drove away. 











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#LeapFrogs: Exploring Carlsbad's Treasures
#LeapFrogs: Settling into New Mexico
#LeapFrogs: Change of Terrain and a Midnight Visitor
#LeapFrogs: Covering a Lot of Miles
#LeapFrogs: Holy Ground in Kerrville



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Thursday, June 27, 2019

#LeapFrogs: Cape Cod and Boston

Before we left Hershey, we decided that we'd save New York City for a later visit. (Interestingly, I learned there is an affordable campground in Brooklyn that we'll eventually explore!) So we worked a route around the city, and headed for Plymouth and Cape Cod.

When I was in fourth grade, we had a social studies textbook that caused me to fall in love with the world and with the idea of exploring the whole world. In that book, I learned about Plymouth and Cape Cod and had longed to visit there ever since.

On the way, we stopped in the town of Mystic.



 And then the Cape Cod seashore!



I loved discovering these mats that make the beach much more accessible for those with limited mobility or in wheelchairs. 


The town of Plymouth was a delight. I've vowed to return one day to just hang out for a few days. 




And yes, the rain moved in on us again.

When we started this east coast journey, our plan was to get to Boston by July 4, so we could picnic on the lawn and listen to the Boston Pops. My mom had always tuned into their celebration each year, and the idea of enjoying the music and fireworks up close and personal had always been a desire. But reality finally sunk in - to get a seat on the lawn, we would have to arrive early in the morning and stay until after midnight, then fight traffic back to wherever we planned to stay. After checking campgrounds and hotels online, and admitting that I don't enjoy driving at night anymore - in traffic - in an unfamiliar town - well, that just changed all our plans and we decided to visit before the crowds arrived. 

And I'm so glad we did. As we were circling round and round in town, I kept thinking I'd never complain about Atlanta traffic again. At least most of our roads and signs seem to make sense - Boston's didn't seem to make any at all. Ha! 

We were excited to discover we could visit and explore the USS Constitution. Parking was easy (in the garage across the street) and the site wasn't terribly crowded. 









Affordable camping options weren't available in the area, so we sped through and didn't give the area the time it so richly deserves. But we will be back. We're already planning return visits to several locations.

For now, we continue our trek north.

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#LeapFrogs: Exploring Carlsbad's Treasures
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#LeapFrogs: Covering a Lot of Miles
#LeapFrogs: Holy Ground in Kerrville



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Monday, June 24, 2019

#LeapFrogs: Zigzagging into the Northeast

When we left Prince William National Forest, we knew we'd have a few days of car camping ahead of us, because free or cheap camping options in the northeast are limited. So we zigzagged our way around to the places we most wanted to visit, rather than searching for a campground first.

Many years ago, I watched a travel program where the host visited Annapolis and always wanted to visit. We discovered that Annapolis makes a good destination town - to arrive, plant yourself in a hotel in the midst of everything, and then walk everywhere. But for a drive through visit, it was a little tense. Streets are narrow but not all one directional, so we found ourselves on two-way streets, with parking on both sides of the street. Pretty much a nightmare for trying to explore by car. I wasn't able to immerse myself in the history and architecture while driving, but I grabbed a quick parking spot to snap a few water photos - and met a very nice fisherman who'd already caught a few!



Then onto Baltimore. I'd visited the harbor many years ago, and loved it, but Tim had never been. We arrived in town when traffic was minimal and were able to find a parking spot at the visitor's center so we took a stroll.







From Baltimore, we moved into Pennsylvania where we made several fun stops along the way. Before we found a car camp spot for the night, we discovered a family dairy with some incredible ice cream, which made both of us pretty happy campers.





Tim got a luscious black cherry, and I got Bobby's Black Mud - a mixture of dark chocolate and coffee. It's a wonder either one of us left there - they also sold fresh meat and bacon. Great area for families to come and play, too.



The next day, we visited Hanover, Pennsylvania and took a tour at Utz Chips factory where we learned that Golden Flake was purchased by Utz in 2016. Surprised us Bama tourists who grew up on Golden Flake!



And then, another tour!




No, we didn't buy the chocolate syrup - or the bank! But it was great fun exploring all the fun souvenirs and taking the free tour.

The next day, we zigged and zagged again, to weigh in on one of the biggest debates on the east coast.


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#LeapFrogs: Wacky Experience in Albuquerque
#LeapFrogs: Discovering Arizona
#LeapFrogs: The Grand Grand Canyon
#LeapFrogs: Grand Canyon Bound
#LeapFrogs: Mountain Fears and the Saguaro
#LeapFrogs: On to Arizona
#LeapFrogs: Speeding West Again
#LeapFrogs: A New Tent and a Little Time to Breathe
#LeapFrogs: Running from the Weather
#LeapFrogs: A New Town and a New Ministry Idea
#LeapFrogs: A Desert Experience
#LeapFrogs: Exploring Carlsbad's Treasures
#LeapFrogs: Settling into New Mexico
#LeapFrogs: Change of Terrain and a Midnight Visitor
#LeapFrogs: Covering a Lot of Miles
#LeapFrogs: Holy Ground in Kerrville



Get your #LeapFrogs Merchandise here: