Friday, October 16, 2015

Weird, Cool, & Unusual Along the Way

So, as we wandered around various parts of the country, we saw a number of ... interesting things. Some were cute and funny...

Found in a Dollar General - yes, that's the freezer case of ice cream treats that Anna is sitting on.

Some were just bizarre and confusing... like this unidentified object seen on our way out of Buffalo, NY.
And then you get closer and it's all pink and wrinkly...

WTF is this thing on the side of the road?

Early in the trip we saw someone driving a rather large boot down the street (yes, some of you have already seen this)

And we can't forget the Kermit riding on the back of a motorcycle...

I feel like he should have a helmet or something. I worry.

This was an... interesting? piece of art at the Renn Faire. It came from Aradani Studios, in case anyone's interested. I liked some of their other stuff, but this one creeped me out (I really didn't like the IT clown, but who did?) so I had to share.

This one, well it was part of a whole collection of celebrity high school photos. I just had to share this because teenaged Helena Bonham Carter looks WAY more like Emma Watson than I ever imagined she would have.

In the Youth section of the Lynchburg, VA public library - Harley Quinn. :)

Heather had to come to the back deck and save me from this monster praying mantis. That's an entire wooden plank it's sitting on - like 4.5 inches, and it's at a diagonal. It was HUGE. I'm pretty sure in went off to take a substitute teaching job when she scared it away.

I had to text Heather because it wanted to eat Xander!!!
And last but not least, you've all seen this before, right?

Well Highway 100 in Vermont has an asphalt version ...     

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ohio - the Good, the Bad, and the Horrid Crack-house Lodging

We still have a bunch of Vermont stuff we'd like to post, but I'm skipping ahead to the 1st of October and a few days after, as we arrived in Ohio to visit people in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas.

We arrived Thursday evening to find that our temporary apartment wasn't ready for us (i.e. had no furniture in it, despite us making a reservation with security deposit so we could check in that day.) So, a trip to Red Roof Inn in Miamisburg it was. On the plus side, it was super close to friends Jess & Jen, so we were able to meet them for breakfast Friday morning before they took off to get paperwork to legalize their marriage of six years. They had a tiny little private ceremony & signing on Saturday, but I was just thrilled to find Sew Dayton, a wonderful small business owned by two ladies who were so sweet and welcoming to me. I got to go in there, use a sewing machine, cutting table, ironing board, etc. while I completed a wedding gift for this really sweet couple (who are essentially me and Heather, only younger, and one is left handed.)

Not the best of pics, and I had to fix a bit in the top left corner after I took this, but you get the idea. These are their fave colors, and the embroidery blends purple & green together in a variegation. I can see all sorts of uneven spots and crooked bits, but really, I'm quite proud of how it turned out. Oh, and the white bit at the top is a pocket so it can hang from a dowel or curtain rod on the wall. :)

 We ate at a wonderful little cafe during a Saturday visit to Indiana -, where they not only had a decent gluten free selection (rough to deal with sometimes when you're on the road) but even put a little flag in my sandwich to show that it was GF and that they had paid attention to my needs (i.e. changing gloves, cleaning work space, etc.). I was highly amused by these bathroom doors, too, especially the fact that they are considered unisex bathrooms, and people often don't get that because of the gendered images on the doors.

Horrid Crack-House Lodging (aka, Dayton location) began on Friday, and ended early Monday morning when I reported that we still had bedbugs even after they replaced the infested sofa. I won't go into all the details here, but suffice to say I am covered in bite marks and it was gross and scary. While we were packing up and waiting to move to our new, non-scary lodging, there was a fight, a domestic issue, cops called, and a screaming match between a "crack whore" and a "bald bitch." It was like being in the middle of a Jerry Springer episode, and I've never liked his show.

Monday afternoon, we moved to Cathy & Dan's (found on, a much better option based on all our experiences) and spend the first bit of our time just lounging in the hammock and enjoying the wooded back yard.

Heather and Sandy, being cute.

So really, the first lodging was awful in many ways, and the second was amazing in just as many. The best part of our trip, though was visiting with the people of the area. Jess & Jen are among our closest Chosen Family, despite having only seen each other 4 individual times before this trip. I think we managed to get that number up to 9 with our various days/evenings spent together. The Renn Faire will be a post all its own, and there really aren't any photos of other times together, but that's okay. We shared many stories (old and new), and Jess & I worked with sticks and strings while our wives watched with grins (as usual).

We did also manage a visit to some Cincinnatti peeps we don't know very well but had a great evening with! Ocean & Skylark were incredibly welcoming, and again there were shared stories (some of mutual friends) and really good food (they make tasty Thai, which might have something to do with Skylark living in Thailand for a while).

All in all, Ohio was a good trip. It's kinda nice, but also kinda weird to be home again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Robert Frost & Wooded Paths

So, along 125 in Vermont, a road that passes over and through the mountains and was a 2 minute walk from our place, there is a Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. Apparently he lived & worked near there for about five minutes at one point. The parking area and trail head are just off the road, and the trail is definitely more of a walk in the woods than an actual "hike." I did this one alone, and aside from the family that passed me a few times here and there, it was quiet, solitary, and very peaceful. 

This was near the end of the trail, as I was heading back to the parking area. It struck me in a thinky-thought spiritual way.

My absolute fave of his poems (and one of my fave poems ever thanks to The Outsiders)
cool little squiggles of green & purple moss

what does this even mean?

I was gonna climb a bit of this tree...
Until I got close enough to see all the pine sap dripping from it.

Some of the area just looked out over fields of wildflowers and the mountains in the distance, while other parts of the trail wound through the woods (and diverged a few times - I always went to the left when presented with a fork. The other people there were going to the right both times. We passed each other in different areas of the trail.)

lovely bridge going over the river

and some of the pretty wildflowers up close

It was a lovely walk, and though I didn't remember some of the poems posted, it was kinda cool to read them, and to see some of the other info posted as well. One display described the process of empty fields and bare hills & mountains slowly turning into the forests we see today. The things we don't usually think of...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Packing the TARDIS

So, below are pictures of all of our stuff, before the packing began. 

I then did my thing and got all that in our little car. What's more... I was even able to look out the back window for the drive. :D

(This post brought to you by request of our most recent hosts who couldn't believe we could fit all this into the car)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Visiting Vermont Friends

We had a total of 4 get-togethers with a total of 4 online friends while in Vermont. Bubbo & David have visited our house in Tennessee a few times, and it was so much fun to see them in their space, too.

First we got to have Bubbo, her hubby David, and another online friend (MTcup) come to our place and do group nachos of tastiness and talk about books and hiking and traveling and how awesome Vermont is and knitting and funny stories and all sorts of things. It was a very very lovely afternoon, but we were having so much fun together that we forgot to take any photos.

A week or so later, Bubbo asked us to come to her place for dinner. This was her first time hosting friends for a meal in a couple years, so she was super excited to have us there, and we were super excited to be there it it was all just super exciting.

See how super excited we are?

Bubbo made Indian food, Beurre Butter Chicken, steamed rice, Paneer stew (with homemade paneer), and mixed veggies. There was also a yogurt sauce, fresh tomatoes, and chai rice pudding for dessert. OMG delish!!
It looks a little blurry, but it tasted amazing!
We talked about a hike/picnic with Bubbo & David, too, but it got rescheduled a couple times, and then turned into homemade stir-fry at their place and watching the blood moon lunar eclipse. It was awesome, and there were photos, but not on my camera. :(

So, another thing that came from the visit with Bubbo was this: These signs for public picnic areas are fairly frequent along the roads in Vermont, especially in the mid-Vermont area we stayed in. When I first saw them, I was thinking "drunk trees" but Bubbo said they make her think the trees are leaning over, being interested in what the picnickers are having, and that stuck with me - the rest of the time we were there, I giggled every time I saw one of these signs.
"Hey, whatchya eatin'?"

And then, finally, on our very very last night in the state, we got to hang out with another wonderful online friend, Knittywriter. She was, in fact, living in France until a few months ago, and finally came back to VT just in time for our visit. :D She drove to our place that evening while we were starting to pack. The plan, I believe (on all our parts) was to have quick hugs and hellos and a bit of a chat, and for her to be on her way an hour or so later. She arrived around 8. She left at 1:30 in the morning and we all had sore muscles the next day from laughing so much. 

Knitty doesn't show her whole face. I'm used to seeing it with a wine glass in front. ;)
All these visits were just great, and I only wish we had more photos (and more time - because more visits with all four of these people would have been lovely).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lots of water falling between countries

So, yeah, we didn't post as much last month, and there was that one quick update last week. I thought a few new pics and details might be fun to record and share. :) I'll post in little bits, and schedule them daily so it doesn't overwhelm those 2 people who actually read this thing. :)

Heather mentioned that we went to Niagara Falls on our way to Ohio. I can't even begin to describe how excited I felt about this. Niagara Falls, man. It's one of those wonders that you hear about all your life. I got to go there! I got to see it in person and get sprayed by the mist!

That's the American Falls behind us

 We had a great time wandering through the park, bought a Niagara Falls holiday ornament (because one of our traditions is buying ornaments to remind us of our travels - after a bit more walkabout, they may have to be the only ornaments on the tree), road the trolley for a bit, and just listening to the different sounds of the falls. I mean of course you have the rushing thunderous sound of the falls themselves...

It's a little surprising just how loud this is

... and then you have the smaller bits where it's quieter, more soothing, less exhilarating.

Toward the end of the Niagara rapids, not too far before the big falls.

Heather suggested I take this picture - it's the monument to Nikola Tesla, whose inventions and ideas are still used today on both sides of the falls (not to mention pretty much everywhere else) and one of the things we thought was awesome about it is the little electric vehicle at the charging station behind him.
My pop culture brain always expects him to look like the vampire Tesla from Sanctuary

We didn't get to go to Canada since neither of us have valid passports and we didn't want to get stuck there. (eek - too much hockey) We did, however, wave at Canada across the river, and at the tippy top bit of the park we could see this view of horseshoe falls.  The bit of fence is because they are in the middle of construction on a new area with wheelchair accessability that will go out further and down a bit to offer a closer view of the Canadian falls from this side of the border.

There's a tiny dark spot in the rock across the river - that's one of the Canada view points.

We are definitely planning to go back there, talked about summer 2017, with passports, and taking a few days to really enjoy all they have to offer.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Yesterday and today were travel days. Yesterday we left Vermont and drove to Buffalo, NY. Well really North Tonawanda but you get the picture. We drove by the Birthplace of the US Navy, which was neat. Our hosts were pretty cool, seeing as one was transcribing some sort of audio thing and the other was recording something for an audio thing. And we ate at Ted's Hot Dogs. They had really good GF buns and tastiness was had by all.

So today we went to Niagara Falls. It was awesome. As we were driving up we saw this huge cloud of smoke or something, turns out it was mist and we could see it from several miles away. We crossed over the American Falls rapids (which were really rough) onto Goat Island. We walked down towards the falls and then over to Luna Island which is right at the edge and has falls on both sides. Thanks to the mist we got plenty wet. After that we saw the statue to Nikolai Tesla, which is really cool. We then saw Horseshoe Falls, which is the set that most people are familiar with.

Then it was lunch time. I ate at Duff's, which had the best wings of my life. The wings were cooked perfectly and the sauce was amazing. Then it was off to Mighty Taco so Cindy could eat. Also good food. Grabbed a coffee from Tim Horton's and away we went.

Along the route there were several spots where I could see the vastness of Lake Erie. We drove through the Seneca nation and made it to Dayton in excellent time. The place we were supposed to stay wasn't ready yet as somehow the room was clean but had no furniture. I don't get that, but it's the truth. So it was off to dinner and then the quest for bed.

The restaurant we ate at is called The Amber Rose. They had a wide European selection of food. I got the Lithuanian Platter, as I had never eaten Lithuanian food before. Cindy got BBQ Gouda chicken. Both were excellent. We settled at the Red Roof Inn, where I am typing this. So, now we are all caught up. :D