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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vermont & New Hampshire

This was the view from our Vermont 'front porch'!  We realized that old man winter is fast approaching, when we could scarcely find a campground that was open past the 15th of October.  We were fortunate to find a little place near Pownal, VT that was open only because the owner's daughter was expecting a baby and he remained open until then or when the first freeze occurred.  Fortunately for us....neither occurred! I'm sure his daughter would have a different opinion!
Stacey took the girls into Bennington, VT to do laundry and school work, while I stayed at the campground to clean up and do minor maintenance on the motor home.  Here the girls take a lunch break at a Friendly's Restaurant.  Ya know your "up north" when you run into one of these places.  
With a couple of nights under our belt in Vermont,  my "Queen Of The Road" takes the wheel, as we set out towards New Hampshire for a couple of more nights before we meet up with friends in Maine. 
We take the scenic route up Vermont State Route 100 and State Route 112 into New Hampshire (also known as the Kancamagus Scenic Byway)  the locals just refer to SR 112 as the "Kanc".  Enjoy the photos and check out more about the "Kanc" here: Kancamagus Highway
Heidi poses above the Quechee Gorge in Vermont, as we stop to take in the awesome views.  The phrase "Vermont's Little Grand Canyon" is thrown around to describe this place.  You can cross the bridge and follow trail signs to the Vermont Institute of Sciences visitor center and see the largest collection of raptors in New England.
Welcome to the state that was founded on the "Live Free or Die" motto....if only we had more of that sentiment these days.
We found a nice campground in Woodstock, New Hampshire called "Country Bumpkins".  This is the scene we had near the front office, as we were about to check in.  
At our campground, which was situated on the  Pemigewasset River or as the locals call it the "Pemi" River, Heidi spots an old tire perched on a rock in the middle of the river.  She pleads with me; "Daddy, we've got go get it and put it where it belongs...in the trash!"  How could I resist?!  Here she shows off the "rescued" tire.  Luckily, we both escaped unharmed and dry!  Way to go, Heidi! 
A short walk down from our campsite along the Pemi River, we come across "Clark's Bridge".  It originally spanned the Winooski River in Barre, VT.  It was disassembled in 1960 and moved to this spot in New Hampshire and reassembled.  It is now part of the White Mountain Central Railroad logging museum.  This bridge is now the world's last Howe Truss covered railroad bridge that is still in use. 
Heidi, our every-dog lover, makes friends on our walk with "Winnie" the  Bernese Mountain-Poodle mix.  She was a hoot! 
Hailey admires the moose mounted in the quaint general store in Woodstock, New Hampshire.  This store was like walking back 25 years in time.
One afternoon, after completing some school work, we take a short drive out of town to a National Forest trail area called Lincoln's Woods. The trail is a main route into the headwaters of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and leads into the largest roadless areas in the eastern United States known as the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  Enjoy the next couple of photos of the trail and the river.
Me and my "Reds" among the reds and yellows on Lincoln's Trail. 
The East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. 
Hailey on the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. 
Heidi on the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.  You can read more about the Pemi River here: Pemigewasset River
Hailey shows of some of the huge boulders along Lincoln's Trail. 
Okay, like, WOW!  This is my wife?!  Ain't she purty?!

Time to say goodbye to our friends at the Country Bumpkins Campground! 
Team Breitmann saddles up and trucks on down the eastern portion of the 'Kanc' highway, bound for Maine!
The 'Kanc' Highway thru the White Mountains of New Hampshire is truly one of the world's premier autumn drives!  Along the way, we stop at a couple of scenic locations.  Here the gang poses with me at the Lower Falls. It is one of the most popular stops on the Kancamagus Highway, especially during hot summer weather, where many swim during low water. Uh, no thanks, this time of year!
Me and the gals at the edge of the lower falls.  The sound of the rushing water was beautiful to hear.

Yes, Hailey, that is one nice boulder ya got there!
I know, I know....good looking', right?!  The dog, of course!
Rocky Gorge is another "must stop" along the 'Kanc' and the Swift river.  The trail takes you over a foot bridge and to viewing areas of 'Rocky Gorge'.  Beautiful.
The "Reds" climb on some of the Rocky Gorge rock formations. Water and rocks...what else can a kid ask for?!  The next several pictures are of Rocky Gorge.  Enjoy!

As we prepare to leave the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Hailey compares a New Hampshire maple leaf to that of the Canadian flag maple leaf.  Yup, looks pretty much the same.  
In honor of Hailey, our 'heart' girl, who will be turning 11 years old , I'm posting this 'heart' leaf.  Happy Birthday, Hailey.  Celebrations a comin' in Maine!  C-ya there! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Erie, Pennsylvania & Niagara Falls

We received quite the send off from my family in Shelby, Ohio.  We had a great home made dinner and,  as you can see in this picture,  some of my Aunt's world famous pies , one of which was emblazoned with a heart in honor of Hailey, our heart girl!   The Burrer's really made us feel more than at home!  Thank you, guys!  We love ya!
Team Breitmann tossed out the anchor at the Lampe Marina and Campground in Erie, PA.  A few short steps outside our door and this is the view we had.  This particular photo is of a Canadian tanker ship coming into the port of Erie.  Erie, PA lies at the extreme southeast of corner of Lake Erie and is one of the most significant ports on the lake.  You can check out the campground and information about the port of Erie here: The Port of Erie, Pennsylvania
Here's something you don't see everyday!  One afternoon, I look out our motor home window and see an 1800's tall ship come sailing towards the port.  Erie happens to be the home port of the re-created brig the USS Niagara.  
The Niagara slips past the US Coast Guard Station en route to its moorings at the Erie Maritime Museum.  The Niagara is a USCG certified teaching vessel and sea cadets can live on board and learn the art and science of sailing.  It turns out , we witnessed the last day sail of the season for the Niagara.
Naturally, since we visited the site of the Battle of Lake Erie at  Middle Bass Island, Ohio; we had to go on board the USS Niagara.  You can visit her and arrange to sail on board at the Erie Maritime Museum.  Check it out here: Erie Maritime Museum
Hailey on the deck of the USS Niagara. If you recall from your history, the Niagara is the ship Commodore Perry transferred his command to after his ship, the Lawrence, was taken out of commission.  He transferred via a small launch boat with his now famous battle flag; "Don't Give Up the Ship".  We learned that this original banner still exists and is housed at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. 
One of the museum staff members gives a great personal tour of the Niagara.  Here he describes the operation of the tiller, which is how the ship was steered.  We learned that the crewman at the tiller did not look at where the ship was going, he just steered the course the officer on deck told him to steer and he kept a close eye on the sails and made necessary course corrections, in order to keep the sails "inflated".  Those wind course corrections were then relayed to the officer on deck.
Hailey and I pose on deck with a 32-pounder cannon, the primary weapon of the USS Niagara during the Battle of Lake Erie.  It packs quite a punch.  It could throw a 32 pound iron cannon ball to a maximum range of about 1/2 mile.  This type of weapon required a crew of around seven men to effectively operate in combat.  While it is a formidable weapon, it is considered a shorter range gun and during the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813, Commodore Perry's squadron was out ranged by the British, with their 24 pounders that ranged twice as long as the American guns. These cannon are fully operational and are fired occasionally during special occasions. For more about the Niagara and the battle of Lake Erie check out the bicentennial website here: The Niagara and the Battle of Lake Erie
Heidi and Hailey below deck on the USS Niagara.  Behind them is the sleeping quarters for each sailor.  Crew that sail aboard the Niagara today, live much like those 200 years ago.  The hammocks on the walls contain all the worldly possessions of each crew member and are folded up each morning.  A wartime crew roster during the Battle of Lake Erie was around 155 men.  On the day of the battle, 10 Sep 1813,  about 20-30 men were in some fashion sick or incapacitated and unable to fight. 
Hailey in "officers country" aboard the USS Niagara.  Here is where the ships officers would dine and discuss the ships business.  This area was strictly off limits to the enlisted crew of the ship, unless you were detailed to serve a meal to the officers. Behind Hailey you can see one of the three private rooms of the "top 3" officers onboard the ship, one of those being the ships doctor or surgeon. 
The "real"reason we decided to stop in Erie, PA was to link up with our good friend, Kathleen.  She flew into Buffalo, NY and stayed with her sister, who lives in Erie.   We originally met Kathleen thru our association with the indigenous missionary organization called Friendship Centre India.  We have been friends with her ever since.  We love her and consider her an extended member of Team Breitmann.  She is a true friend in every sense of the word, something you don't find too often in life. Stacey took this picture of Hailey and Kathleen having fun texting each other, literally back to back as we travel down the road on our way to drop her off at the Buffalo airport for her return flight to Panama City.  Check out Friendship Centre India here: Friendship Centre India
Heidi announces to all that we've arrive in New York state!  We had to make a stop at Niagara Falls in the autumn! We were hoping for some beautiful fall colors at the falls and.....we were NOT disappointed!  Enjoy! 
Stacey points out on our motor home travel map that we are in the Empire State.  Notice the cool weather gear!  It was rather chilly one day but overall not too bad.  It was what you'd expect during an autumn season "up north". 
The Team Breitmann Urban Assault Vehicle and the "Zorch-mobile" camped out at Four Mile Creek State Park near Youngstown, New York.  What a beautiful campground, located right on Lake Ontario.  You can just see the Lake in the Background, if you look closely. On a clear day you can see  the skyline of Toronto, Canada from here.  Check out Four Mile Creek SP here: Four Mile Creek
One of the roads within the campground.  We virtually had the place to ourselves to enjoy the fall beauty!
Another, WOW!...in the campground. 
A short walk from our campsite and voila....Lake Ontario.  This marks lake number 3 of 5 of the Great Lakes that Team Breitmann has visited.  Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes by surface area.  However, given it's size it is remarkably deep.  At it's deepest point it is a little over 800 feet deep, as compared to Lake Erie with a deepest depth of 210 feet, which is the average depth of Ontario.  Ontario at it's widest point is 52 miles and measures 193 miles long.   From where Hailey is standing it is approximately 30 miles across the lake to the Canadian city of Toronto.
A rock beach at Four Mile Creek State Park. 
The "Team" experiences a couple of days taking in the natural splendors of Niagara Falls.  We are all glad we took the time, prior to launching on the "world tour", to get our passports! Enjoy the pictures of autumn!
Time out for some chocolate and coffee!  Uh, no...that candy bar is just a bit too big for you two! 
Hailey enjoys the Canadian horseshoe falls on a crisp autumn evening.  It is amazing the amount of water going over the falls! The average amount of water going over right here is about 10,500,000 gallons per minute! And it never stops!!  Wow!  Isn't God's creation just mind-boggling??!!
Check out the rainbow over Heidi's shoulder! 

And God said: "And I do set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth .  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.  And the rainbow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of flesh that is upon the earth...this is the token of the covenant established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
Heidi and I prepare to launch off to the base of the falls via boat! 
Here we go aboard the "Maid of the Mist"! Check out the Maid of the Mist here: The Maid of the Mist
A view of the base of the American Falls side from the Maid of the Mist. 
An awesome view of the autumn colors, the American Falls and the Maid of the Mist. 
Check out the beauty and the beast in front of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls lit up at night. I'm one blessed beast! 
A few short miles from our campsite, at the mouth of the Niagara River, we tour historic Ft. Niagara.  The fort has played an import role in the struggles of France, England and the United States to control the Great Lakes and the continent of North America. It has played a prominent role in the French and Indian War, as well as the war of 1812.  It was occupied into the middle of WWI and now is a national historic site.  Check out the Fort here: Fort Niagara 
She may be small, but she's strong!  Hailey pretends to hold up the "castle", as it was referred to by later residents of Fort Niagara.  The "castle" was the first fortified structure built on the site of the fort by the French in 1726.  You can read more about the "castle" here: Fort Niagara Castle
A great photo of Hailey, a gun emplacement and the "castle" in the background. 
Hailey shows how this gun "guards" the mouth of the Niagara river as it joins into Lake Ontario.  Since access to the interior of North America was safer and quicker via the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the great lakes, anyone controlling access to the Niagara river and the Great Lakes virtually controlled the interior of North America. 
The girls get a hands on demonstration from the Fort's blacksmith on making "issued" British knives, typical of ones carried by British Foresters.  The Foresters were equivalent to our modern day combat engineers.  They would go ahead of the advancing British forces and clear the dense forest and build improvised roads for the advancement of men and equipment. One highlight that I failed to get a photograph of was a live fire demonstration of a typical musket carried by British soldiers, circa 1812.  The gals learned a lot about the inaccuracy of these weapons and the necessity to employ linear warfare tactics as a result.  You can read about line warfare here: Line Warfare 
I hope you enjoyed reading about our time here.  Now it's off to a place we've never been... a whirl-wind trip thru Vermont and New Hampshire before it snows!  We are on our way to link up with more friends, who are flying into Portland, Maine. C-ya in New England!