This summer’s getaway: better than ever

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Sep 27th, 2014
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I’ve often said that I need to record events in my life so that I won’t forget. This years vacation is not the case. It was the definitive “unforgettable” trip. A trip of a lifetime.

This year we packed up and headed west. (That was pretty much the sum total of our planning. West. How could we fail with a rock-solid plan like that?) Weather and finances be damned, we boarded the dog, tucked the children away with other people, and proceed to pack up the Harley with what we hoped were enough clothes for roughly ten days.

From our neck of the woods, heading due west will take you straight to the St. Louis area. And while it’s a lovely area, we had been there within the last year so we made no effort passing through to stop. Except we had to stop. Under an overpass.

A torrential summer rain had me wetter than Shelley Winters during the filming of the Poseidon Adventures.











Yep, that’s just what I looked like by the time we found a place to get out of traffic and pull over. You can just bet that I was stunning.  But the rain didn’t last and we journeyed on.


Further we drove into Missouri and Kansas loomed in our future.  I sat on the back of the bike searching my brain for whatever knowledge I could dredge up about the Missouri/Kansas area.  My educated mind came up with the following items:  a large river, Sunflowers, Leavenworth Penitentiary, barbeque, and something about Mark Twain.  Ya’ll, it’s a wonder Mensa isn’t beating my door down wanting to vote me their next president.  Don’t you just know that somewhere there is a history teacher knocking back tequila shots and looking up hand baskets on eBay for all his former students to ride to hell?  I apologize, Mr. Sixth Grade teacher.  It’s not just you, I can’t remember geometry either.  And the only way for me to remember anything about government is to sing that Schoolhouse Rock song from Saturday morning cartoons.  Maybe you should get a song?

schoolhouse rock







( I don’t remember Bill saying this!)



As we ventured into Kansas, I suddenly remembered something about Kansas.  Something wonderful about Kansas.  A Kansas Superstar!!!  The lovely Sherri Bailey lives in Kansas!  Ans suddenly I knew what had to happen.  I had to see Sher LIVE AND IN PERSON!  (For those of you not in the know, I met Sher online and instantly wanted to be her best-friend/side-kick.  She’s smart and funny and one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.   Sher and I had joked for a couple of years that we needed to meet up and spend some quality time together creating a ruckus.  So I pulled out my phone, jumped on the internet, and sent a virtual shout-out to Sher.  While travelling 75 mph down the interstate.  Ain’t technology wonderful?

Long story, whatever….The Man and I made it to Sher’s house and she even greeted us just like we were regular people.  Now knowing that I just landed on her doorstep out of the clear blue and looking like something that washed up during low tide, I should have been shy and embarrassed.  But folks, I ain’t never been shy, and if you had put your own swollen-from-the-wind-and-rain eyes on the sight of Sherri squealing and dancing on tiptoes in her driveway as YOU pulled up, you wouldn’t have cared either.  The good Lord above has to love a woman who shouts ” If I had known you were coming, I would’ve built a cake!” the first time she lays eyes on you.

We were fed some delicious Kansas City bbq (which is the best bbq, in my opinion) and got to spend about an hour or so chit chatting about this and that.  So the next time you read about some cool person on-line and think to yourself, “boy would I like to meet that person”, just know that it can be done.  Or better yet, go to and see for your own self what I mean.

Back to the trip, after leaving Sher’s house, owe spent the night about an hour away.  Not a bad day’s ride all in all.  Three and a half states away, a new/old friend, good eats and a comfy bed to lay in and reflect on the day.  Vacation is good.


(Shout out to JD for going to get the food.  I do love me some tall guys with bbq.)


Tomorrow:  Headed north.

“She’s Headed to Where She Came From”

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Aug 1st, 2013
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The title of this post is what my mother said when she found out where I was headed.  Lemme explain.


My paternal great-grandfather made his way to Indiana from a small town in Maine.  I discovered this fact in the sixth grade when some over-zealous teacher decided that we should trace our genealogy.  I still think it was just a ruse to make us insolent teens go home and actually speak to our families.  And extended families.  And call that one aunt that had the family bible so she could read all the names and dates listed inside on that one page in the middle where you can record such things.  This is also when I discovered that my parents were “practically” married when I was conceived. What’s a few weeks between friends?   So…yeah.  fun assignment.


Anyway, I found myself in the general location of the small town where my great-grandfather was born while on vacation.  Bath, Maine.  So naturally, I got all nostalgic for a place I’ve never been.  Makes sense, right?  (If you know me this totally makes sense.)


Oh, Maine.  You are so wonderfully sucky.  The weather?  Crappy.  The scenery? Awesome.  The roads?  Train-wreck.  The people?  Utterly charming.   The tourist trap-ish prices?  Outrageous.  The food?  Heavenly.  See what I mean?  Wonderfully sucky.




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Despite the rain, the skin-ripping wind, and the soul crushing, dreary, cloudy sky, Maine was really quite lovely.



So here’s the summary:  Plates of seafood eaten: (some really large embarrasing number).



Number of Maine residents that apologized for the weather during our vacation: All of them.



Seashells picked up and packed on the bike and were broken on the way home: 3



Duration of visit at the visitor center discussing my family history: 1.25 hours.



Coastal islands driven on, walked upon, lounged around and photographed: 2



Number of lighthouses that made me happy-pants: 4



All in all, it was a fantastic visit to a great state from my family’s history.  Maybe someday I can go back when the damned rain quits.



A moose and a biker walk into a bar…

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Jul 10th, 2013
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Day Three:


Leaving New York State and heading into Vermont, we were again dealing with the rain.  Big, fat drops of rain.  The kind of rain that tells you it’s gonna last all day while it runs down the back of your neck and soaks your underwear.  But we are determined.  It’s vacation, dammit.  A good time WILL be had by all.














Vermont is full of wonderful odd little tourist traps, centering on their love of Moose, syrup and bacon.  Seriously, what’s not to love?  Any state that embraces large clumsy-looking creatures and breakfast foods is alright in my book.  I had to resist the urge to buy bacon-flavored chapstick in this particular place.


Along with the rain that WOULD NOT GO AWAY, the temperature had decided to drop down and make sure I was not only wet, but also cold.  Now tell me, good readers, when you pack for summer vacation, what do you throw in your bag?  T-shirts?  Cute tank tops?  A couple of pairs of jeans because you’re riding?  Well, of course you do.  Me too.  I did bring one sweatshirt, because I thought evenings on the coast may get a little cool.  I also brought my leather jacket because of the whole biker thing.  Vermont made me put all of these things on AT ONCE.  So I was basically waddling around like that one kid from the “Christmas Story” movie in a biker version of his snowsuit.







Yup, this seems familiar.








I had visions of riding through the Green Mountains while mainlining maple syrup straight from the bottle and oohing and aahing over quaint little villages that hand everyone a block of homemade cheese when they enter town while herding smiling moose through the courtyard.  Hey, a girl can dream.  Instead I got wet underwear (and not in a good way) and a sneezing fit that threatened to knock me off the bike.  I felt icky, but decided that I had waited too long for vacation to pay any attention to not feeling 100%.





My feeble attempt to take a picture during one of the 2 minute breaks     from the rain.








I talked with a couple of different people about where we should go and what we should see while there, but the only person that disagreed was the weather man. One look at the radar told us that the rain wasn’t ending anytime soon, so we now had a decision to make. Try to see Vermont in the rain, or head out for drier ground.



It wasn’t a hard decision, although it meant that I had to forgo several things that I truly wanted to see.  But ONWARD!  Keep moving!  We can outrun the weather!  (Sidenote: We are fools.)


Somehow, and my guess would be dumb luck, we entered New Hampshire during Laconia Bike Week.  For those who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, Laconia Bike Week is the oldest bike rally in the United States.  It started in 1916 at the pier on Weirs Lake in Laconia, New Hampshire as a place for motorcyclists to race and climb up incredibly steep hills.  Over the last 96 years, it has grown to become an iconic biker gatherings that is on a lot of bucket lists.


So of course we had to go.  I mean, what are the odds?  I honestly thought it was the week before, but then again I wasn’t that surprised that I was wrong.  I’m wrong a lot.  But I saw a shopping opportunity.  And at the top of my shopping list?  A new rain suit.


We splashed, dripped and sloshed our way into Laconia and was pleasantly pleased that the rain had died down to a gentle drizzle.  At the time it felt like a sunny beach in Bahamas.    Here’s a shot of the main vendor row in downtown Laconia, next to the pier.










There might be a few bikers here.



Being from Indiana, I have a slight southern accent.  I know this about myself and use it to charm Yankees and shame my high school teachers.  But as we walked around the rally, I tuned my ears to the conversations around me wanting to hear the accent of the locals and maybe pick up some tips on what was happening in the area that day.  What’s this?  I don’t understand?  Are those real words?  Is that even English?  By this time I was running a fever and not sure I was hearing anything correctly.


As I stood puzzled over my lack of understanding, I happened to notice that several of the bikes had Quebec license plates.  Ack!  I was surrounded by Canadians!  French-speaking Canadians!  My charming almost southern accent was going to waste!


Suddenly, my plans of haggling a cheaper price for a rain suit so that I could also afford to by some sparkly things seem to fade as fast as my so-called waterproof mascara.  Like a typical self-centered American, I had “forgot” that Canada was so close.  And I’m guessing here, but I bet that bike rallies aren’t near as commonplace in the frozen tundra of Canada.  (Again, my only knowledge of Canada is hockey and bears, so the entire country must be a frozen tundra, right?)


The good news is that everyone also spoke English and I did get to buy a rain suit that fit.  OK, it was a little big, but that’s a good thing because I had plans to eat a large portion of the lobster population while I was in the area.  Wearing a rain suit while eating lobster may seem weird to you, but those little plastic bibs with a giant picture of a red crustacean on them aren’t attractive either.  Plus I’m saving the environment from plastic lobster bib pollution.


The Man and I walked vendor row and checked out all the bikes while still trying to ignore the fact that rain was pouring on our heads.  After purchasing a new rain gear for me and a pair of waterproof boots for The Man, we spent a couple hours looking at bikes, chatting with vendors and picking up some mementos.  Oh yeah, and marking our hometown on the map at the visitors booth.


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So yeah, we rode into one of the most legendary biker rallies in the nation.  Cool.  But the heavy rain was catching up to us again, so it was time to head out.  I stripped down, pitched my old, janked-up rain suit in the nearest trash can, donned my new full-body lobster bib rain suit and we headed out towards Mt. Washington.


We made it that evening as far as Ossipee, New Hampshire before calling it quits for the day.  We grabbed a room, ordered a pizza and enjoyed being dry to the rest of the night.

Fun fact:  Ossipee, NH is where the snowmobile was invented.  This fact pertains to nothing, other than there isn’t much else to tell you about Ossipee, NH.  I will try to be less boring in the next post.  Unless you like snowmobiles, in which case, YEAH!

Off on a tangent (oh look! something shiny!)

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Jul 10th, 2013
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I have a couple more vacation posts almost ready, but I got sidetracked by some cuteness and haven’t quite finished tweeking (twerking?) them.



I have been all ” I am productive! I can accomplish all the things!”, running around home and work putting things in their proper places and being all busy, when this happened:












The eldest offspring has been babysitting fairly often, and this is one of the victims kids that she has had at the house lately.  It took about four whole minutes before she had everyone (including The Man) doing her every bidding and acting a fool to entertain her.




Yes, she’s cute.  Adorbs.  Yes, she’s got that wide-eyed innocence that capitvates even cold, black hearts like mine.  But folks.  FOLKS.  The words.  Oh Sweet Baby Jesus in Footie Pajamas, the words.  The things that come out of this kid’s mouth take the cuteness factor to DEFCON 5.


According to the mind of this small person, all adults of a certain age fall into two catagories:  Grammaw and Gramps.  Which is precisely what she calls The Man and I.  Cute, right?  But no, it gets even better.  She pronounces it “Dramma and Dramps”  And then I fall into a puddle on the floor and offer to let her break everything I own and burn down the house.  Who could resist?


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” I will hug him, and squeeze him and call him George”


“Please make the child release her death-grip or I will call PETA.  Yes, dogs CAN dial the phone.”








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“May I drip red Kool-aid all over your new black leather recliner, good Sir?” ” Well      of course, dear child, drip away. And please get some on my shirt also.”







Not one grumble was heard as we cleaned jelly fingerprints off the iPad, and no one complained that someone ate all the Cool Whip out of the container with a spoon.  (This time it wasn’t me, honest-injun.)


Small children are made adorable so that we don’t leave them on a curb for pouring an entire bottle of dish soap on the dog while it’s tied up with your favorite bra and laying on your new couch.  It’s a scientific fact.    Probably.  But this kid, running around mock-whispering “Where’s Dramps?  Motorcycle?  Vroom, vroom!”  makes my non-existent ovaries hurt.


Lordy knows that I give thanks everyday that my child-rearing days are drawing to a close, but sometimes a toddler is just what a mama of teenagers needs to restore her faith in kids.


PS.  The first person to whisper “Granny-lust” at this post gets shanked.



Where’s my damned silver lining?

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Jun 29th, 2013
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Day 2


We woke up in Pennsylvania (by the way, all the cool people there only say PA, never the entire name of the state, just so you know), to a weather forecast of doom and gloom.  It seems a storm had followed us from the Midwest.





Doom and gloom, ya’ll.







Now here is where I have the opportunity to wax poetic about the glory of our great country and the beautiful splendor of Mother Nature, but the reality is that it’s hard to see any damned splendor with rain stinging the crap out of your face and a lovely sludge-y mist from the tires of the other drivers painting a fine coating of crud on your entire person.


We entered New York State under the clouds and mist you can see above, succumbing the inevitable reality that we would have to stop and put on rain suits.



We put these on at a roadside rest stop. High fashion, it ain’t. Also? Putting a rain suit on over damp clothes is an exercise in me rolling around on the sidewalk with my boot caught halfway down my rain suit pant leg and my jacket rolled up around my neck trying to choke me to death.  It leaves me panting, cursing and probably with my bra tugged up above one boob, and my boot removed and flung across the parking lot.  I am a wonder for all the rest stop patrons to behold.





Did ya’ll know that New York is one big ass state?  My mid-western upbringing caused faulty perception I guess.  Other than New York City and a state capitol that no one ever got right in the sixth grade, I honestly didn’t think that there was SO MUCH of New York.  Traveling from the southwest corner to the Vermont state line took forever.  I wish I had pictures of how much forever this took, but due to the rain, my camera (currently known as MY PRECIOUS) was tucked safely away, dry and happy.  I, on the other hand, was not.  My only shelter from the elements was a rain suit, which I soon discovered had migrated north to approximately my knees, my trusty helmet, and huddling behind The Man.  (See that teeny, tiny windshield up there on the bike?  The Man chose to replace the larger one that came on the bike with that one which he thought looked better.  And by better I mean, cooler.  Who’s wet now, Mister?)



Side story:  All this rain caused great concern for our GPS device.  How was I going to find the nearest Starbucks and/or Dunkin Donuts if it became water-logged and non-working?  While we were stopped at a gas station to fill up, I suggested buying a condom and putting over the Starbucks-finder.  This seemed fitting given my “Fuck you Weather, don’t you know I’m on vacation?” attitude.  Instead, The Man opted to ask the kind lady at the station (which also housed a Subway/Uncle Chesters Chicken/Pizza/Roller Hot Dog area) for a piece of Saran Wrap.  He then wrapped the coffee-locating-device tightly and all was well in the world again.  Coffee for everyone!



Day Two had us stopping more often than we liked because of the weather.  At some point a torrential downpour wins, and you just have to pull in somewhere and ride it out.


We made it to Albany, NY that night (almost Vermont!) and the hotel staff was kind enough to give us an entire industrial roll of paper towels to stuff in our boots to absorb all the rain that I had been soaking up for the past 12 hours.  In reality, they were probably just tired of hearing me squish up and down the hallway, leaving puddles everywhere I stepped.

Daily Miles: Approximately 420

Total Miles from Home: Approximately 925 (longer than usual but we stayed away from toll-roads)

Condition of my Ass on a scale of 1 to 10:  10 (I say this with a smile because this new bike is way more comfortable than the one we left at home.)

Condition of my New Cute Harley Boots: Wet.



Twenty thirteen vacation

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Jun 29th, 2013
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It’s time for vacation again, and lordy-chile, it couldn’t have come soon enough.  By some combination of voodoo, bribery and dumb luck, we managed to get two whole weeks off.  At the same time.  It was a damn miracle.  (Do you realize that’s half a month?  I was flabbergasted.)


As usual, we picked a general area of the goood ol’ US of A and decided to see what we could find.  Not by research, my you. Oh no, there will be none of that.  I probably did one or two quick internet searches, but other than that, NADA.  For me, not knowing is part of the adventure.


I will confess talking to one person that had previously lived in our chosen destination, but most of the conversation was spent talking about where I could find good food, and the fact that our kids were desperately trying to drive us both bonkers. I was a bit obsessed with the weather in days prior to leaving.  I openly mocked all weather forecasters, and gave the stinkeye to anyone who dared say the word “rain”.  The weather here in Bedrock had been one tree-shaking, yard-flooding, steamy-hot storm after another.  But I remained in denial, for surely after suffering through 50 weeks of work and kids and life in general there was no way the weather would stop me.


But finally, the day came.  We packed our sunscreen, underwear and electronic devices, jumped on the bike and headed out.  After years of heading south in the ass-hot part of summer, we decided that New England sounded like cool refreshing beaches and lobster in seaside shanties.  (Are shanties still a real thing? Or is it something I made up in my crazy-riddled brain?)


Day 1 Objective:  Get through Ohio.  I truly had no desire to see one single thing in Ohio.  (Sorry Ohioans.  I’m sure you’re lovely people, but your state is boring as hell.)


The sun was shining, the weather was perfect and we had 14 days ahead of us.  I could not stop grinning.  I was one happy girl, sitting on the back  of the bike, camera strapped on and music playing on the stereo on the bike.  Bliss.


With only stop for gas, food, and one Harley shop we crossed the state and made our way into Pennsylvania.  Not too shabby for a first day’s ride.  I have a firm belief that if you are still in a state that touches the state you live in, you are not on a real vacation.  Now that we were in Pennsylvania, it felt like it had truly begun.


I only have a few pictures from that day, because as I said, Ohio = boring.

We have GPS.  But only to find food.


We have GPS.  But we only use it to find food.







Ohio Barn


This is the best picture I have from that first day in Ohio.

I apologize.






When we arrived in Pennsylvania, we grabbed a bite to eat, got a room, and promptly fell asleep.  Apparently riding on the back of a bike makes an old broad tired.  Driving across one and a half states probably makes The Man tired too, but I was too tired to ask.


Once again, I’m sorry for the weakness of this post.  Blame Ohio.


Back again tomorrow to tell you all about the less boring parts.



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