The Bear, the Eagle and the Elk

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A real life National Geographics moment.  While traveling along Yellowstone, we came across a large roadside crowd armed with large lense camera’s and binoculars.  We learned three days earlier a large Elk had died, floated down river and washed up along the river bank.  A large grizzly laid claim to it and has been feeding on it ever since.  Per the Park Ranger, other grizzlies (including a sow and two cubs) have made attempts to share the elk, but the grizzly would have none of it.  Apparently, he even has slept on top of the carcass each night to protect his meal.

This is all taking place under the very watchful eye of a bald eagle perched just above.

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After some time, the bear was finally full.  He left the carcass and started wandering down river, not without turning and rethinking it as if to say “Na, I’m full”.

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All of this with the bald eagle NEVER taking his eye off the bear.  Look closely as the bear swims across the river behind the eagle, the eagles head pivots with his every move.

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And now off to a big ol’ nap in the woods.

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A very surreal moment!

 

Little Bighorn Battlefield, A Place of Reflection, Montana

Ted and I always search out the local history in every new town we visit. We were told we had to go to Little Bighorn Battlefield. We arrived just in time to hear the Ranger give a very animated, one hour history lesson about the US Army’s 7th Calvalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne battle knows as Battle of Little Bighorn.  This battle was the Sioux and Cheyennes last ditch effort the preserve their way of life and their land.  They won the battle against Lieutenant Colonel Custer and his troops but eventually lost their land and life as they knew it. A piece of history worth learning about and a park definitely worth visiting (recommended book, A Terrible Glory – Custer and The Little Bighorn by James Donovan).

Beartooth Pass

Red Lodge, Montana to Yellowstone Northeast Entrance

This amazing ride is one of the top motorcycle rides in the country.  This road will curl your hair. Lotsa UP (nealry 11,000 feet) and DOWN, little guardrails, awesome scenery. You couldn’t build a better route than this one! You see more bikes on this road than cars! Everything from incredible mountains, dense forest, rivers, rocks to snow and tundra. The pictures show don’t do it justice …

 

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2017

Sturgis is the World Series of motorcycling and if you ride, it is a “bucket list” must.  I have had my sights set on this one for the last 4 years.  In reality, the RV trip around the country was conceived out of wanting to do Sturgis.

For 77 years, now over 500,000 bikers converge into the tiny town of Sturgis, South Dakota (Population 6,600).  After what we have seen this week, there is no wonder why… Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, The Black Hills, Badlands National Park, Needles, Iron Mountain, Deadwood, Keystone, Buffalo Chip, Iron Horse Saloon and much more.  We rode over 1,000 miles this week and enjoyed every one.

Words can’t explain it so I will let the pictures do the talking.

Downtown Sturgis

Mount Rushmore

 

Crazy Horse

 

Needles

 

Custer National Park

 

Badlands National Park

 

The bike got some new paint

The Doobie Brothers at Buffalo Chip

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HOG (Harley Owners Group) Rally – Cookesville, Tennessee

We had an amazing week in the Bahama islands, now it is time to hit the roads of Tennessee.

We met our friends, Rod and Jaime, in Cookesville for the HOG Rally. A week of organized rides, interesting and fun day trips and lots of laugher.

Our first ride took us to Cumberland Caverns-Home of the Bluegrass Underground. Literally, a bluegrass band in underground caverns. Unique and very beautiful. You snake through the cavern to end up at this build in amphitheater. A huge chandelier was donated to the cavern by a hotel in NY that was being renovated. Amazing that they erected this piece of artwork 50-60 feet in the air and secured it into the rock ceiling! The “amphitheater” was carved into the side of the underground cavern. There are 32 miles of caves that can be toured.  We went as far as the music was going to take us and “dined” on chips, hotdogs and pulled pork sandwiches (not gourmet but it hit the spot). A very cool way to start the week.

Our second day at the rally takes us to prison. Yes, I said prison! At the end of a fantasitc ride through the foothills of Tennessee, we ended up at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. It opened in 1896 and closed in 2009. It housed James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.  It is now open for public tours.  If prison tours were mandatory for the youth in America, crime would go down considerably. Talking about being scared straight.  This place would do it! 3 hours was enought for all of us 🙂

 

We really did it up that last day. We went rogue, split away from the group and headed out on our own to Jack Daniels Distillary.  We have our own organizer and her name is Jaime Larue! Jaime picked our desitination for this sunny day and we had a great time. Rod and Jaimes friends, Rodney and Denise drove in from Alabama to meet us. That was a nice suprise.

The tour at the distillary was really interesting.  The water used in all the whiskeys comes from the spring that is on site.  The corn mush is recycled and sold to local farmers for live stock meal.  The barrels are made into JD souveniers.  Amazing how a young orphaned boy, raised by a local lay preacher and moonshine distiller, turned his trade into the number one whiskey distillary in the United States. The story is not only interesting but inspiring.  This is a “must stop” if you are in Lynchburg, whether you drink whiskey or not. In our case, we do like whiskey so after the tour, we treated ourselves to the whiskey tasting.  We all came out with our favorites, but Jaime and I really liked the Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. Yummy!

Our next stop, shopping of course.  The Lynchburg General Store is owned and operated by Jack Daniels.  There are over 20 local artisians that take the old barrels and create amazing pieces of art work.  Rod and Jaime purchased this amazing barrel bar set with table and stools. It will go perfect in their home.  A perfect way to end our Tennessee HOG Rally trip!

 

The Abaco’s – Saltwater, Sun and Fun!

It has been a whirl wind month since we went back to Florida.  We sold are house and are now full time RV’ers traveling the United States until November.  Very exciting time.

We threw in a trip to the Bahamas while we were home with our friends to get our fill of sun, saltwater, beach fun and boating before we hit the road again!

First, we took Driving Miss Crazy (3 – the water version) to Bimini for LYC Bimini Blast. We got a chance to spend quality time with TJ & Kristen, Ali & Eric and great friends.   Especially if you call 5′-7′ with sets of 10′ every 15 minutes quality time.  All survived (barely) just a little wetter and rattled than when we left.

After Bimini, we headed for Lucaya to pick up Zoltan, Jen, Jeff & Christine.  From there….Abaco here we come.  We stayed on Tilloo Cay at the most magnificent house on the island.

Abacos

What an amazing place and an even more amazing vacation. Our house was one of maybe 10 on the island.  We were the only occupants on the island the majority of the week. Pretty cool.  The “compound” is called “The High House of Tilloo Cay”.  We rented the guest house on the compound.  As we approached the house (via boat), we were in awe that this was going to be “our home” for the next 7 days.  We all immediately went into Chill mode 🙂

Ted (our fabulous captain) took us to a different location each day to experience the multiple islands throughout the Abaco’s.  We shopped, fed the pigs, snorkeled, ate (and ate some more), beached, cocktails in the water (more cocktails in the water), laughed and played 3 coin all week. What an awesome trip to jump start the summer!

Fun Fun Fun: Cracker P’s….Pete’s Pub…. the Hope Town Inn & Marina shit show… Our favorite quotes for the week: “I’ll make you a special drink”… “It’s only 3′ deep”… “jump and breath”….. “Anchor Monkey”….. “I don’t talk much”…. “Shut up Zoltan”…. “Meanest captain ever”…. “Who’s Up?”

It was a beautiful place enjoyed with fabulous friends. No better way to jump start the summer.

 

 

A great week in North Carolina!

After a great trip throughout New England, it was time to head back South. Our first stop in North Carolina was Asheville.  We stayed at this great campground called Campfire Lodgings.  We secured one of of spots that overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We found a couple of great hikes when we visited the Blue Ridge Mountains visitors center. An Asheville visit would not be complete without a visit to the Omni Grove Park Inn for cocktails and appetizers on the veranda. The hotel has such great history and is a great place to visit while in the Asheville area.

It was time to stop by the house to see the progress. Wow! Things were moving right along. The superior walls were already up and they were getting ready for the lower level slab. So exciting.

Mother’s Day was a beautiful sunny day!  We took the Harley into Blowing Rock for lunch and a walk through the town.  We stopped off at Sunset Vine and picked up an array of cheese and meats for a charcuterie dinner on the property.  A bottle of Caymus, desert from Kilwin’s, a fire and magnificent sunset.  Mother’s Day was a success.

New York City, the city that never sleeps

We decided to take a break from nature and head to NYC! A two day diversion that included a Broadway show, Rockefeller Observation Tower, a stop at FOX News, NBC Studios, St Patricks Cathedral, 9/11 Museum Tour and the Statue of Liberty Ferry Cruise. We crammed in a lot in a short weekend.  NYC is an experience, even if you just walk around the city.  We stayed across the Hudson at Liberty Harbor RV in New Jersey. A 15 minute ferry ride and whah la! we were in the City.

Broadway – Six Degrees of Separation

Great show. We are a fan of Allison Janney and she did not disappoint.

 

Rockefeller Observation Tower

The ticket gets you up to the observation tower (which is pretty cool) and a walk through history that tells you about the Rockefeller family, the building, the artwork that fills the halls and the famous lighting of the Christmas Tree each year.

 

Photo ops along the way 

St Patricks Cathedral – So beautiful 

 

National September 11 Memorial Museum 

Statue of Liberty/Manhatten Ferry Cruise/Fire Boat 343

She is more grand then you can imagine. A picture does not do her any justice. The boat’s name, Fire Boat 343, comes from the number of FDNY members were killed in the line of duty on September 11th, 2001.

 

 

Maine-Acadia National Park-Sunrises and Hiking. Definitely one with nature!

Acadia National Park-Cadillac Mountain

You cannot plan a trip to New England without going to Maine.  All blogs, Trip Advisor, travel guides and people said sunset on Cadillac Mountain is a must! Dress warm, get there early, find a good seat, and bring a camera. We arrived at 4:30 a.m. The sun was already peaking through behind the mountains emanating a beautiful bright orange as we arrived. It is an incredible experience. A sunrise to remember.

 

Acadia National Park- Hikes – Gotham and North/South Bubble Trails

There are no shortage of trails in Acadia National Park.  You get the best of both worlds, woods and water. The hikes are breezy and refreshing along with being a visual wonderland. We chose two moderate hikes.  Perfect way to get a great work out for 2 hours in the fresh air.

Gotham Trail

North/South Bubble Trails

Lobstah Dinner

We ended our Maine trip with a relaxing, delicious dinner at Galyn’s Bar Harbor. Yummy!

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Bawstin (Boston), The “Cape” and a bit of the “burbs”

Union Oyster House

No sooner did we arrive that we went to the station, purchased out T weekly pass and headed into the city.  First stop, Union Oyster House.  That is always a must when we visit Boston.  I do not think I ever sat in the restaurant and this time was no exception.  Ted and I got our “usual” seat at the bar and ordered our usual dozen oysters on the half shell. Is there really any other better way to eat them? I think not 🙂 Between 2 men behind the bar, they shuck over 1700 per day on a weekday.  That’s a lot of oysters! The bar seats maybe 8 -10 people. You are bound to strike up a conversation with someone who is sitting inches away.  A Samuel Adams (they make a special brew just for Union Oyster House) and a dozen oysters. We are off to a good start!

 

Massachusetts State House

After lunch, we moved on the the Massachusetts State House.  They were starting a tour in 2 minutes when we arrived (last one of the day), so we jumped at the opportunity. Our guide was a young man who was a political science major.  He had a real passion for the history of the United States  and Massachusetts and it came through in his delivery of all the information he shared with us. The tour starts on the main level in Doric Hall.  There they have a magnificent portrait of Abraham Lincoln painted by Albion Bicknell around 1900.  A short distance away in the same hall is an 1826 sculpture of George Washington by Sir Francis Chantrey.  Amazing pieces of art and history.

We learned that Massachusetts is one of three states in the nation where the Governor does not live in an official governors’ residence. The existing Governor, Charlie Baker, has 10 different offices throughout the building but he has to catch the T at the end of the night just like his staff (well maybe not the T-but he does have to leave).

We learned what the state motto means that is on the Massachusetts state seal in Latin, “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem”.  Loosely translated into English it means, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty”.

We were taken to the flag room (oldest flag in the room from 1620, Town of Plymouth), through many of the hallways which displayed beautiful paintings and more sculptures, but the best was the House of Representatives of Massachusetts. Very impressive room filled with history. The desks are all original. To the top right of each, there is a round well. Originally they were used as an ink well, then ashtrays, now cup holders. Cool tid-bit of info. If you are going to Boston, put this stop on your list.

 

Sox vs Yankees 

We cannot visit Boston without going to a Red Sox game and having a beer at the Cask n Flagon. Period. It has become “our tradition”. No matter the crowds, the weather (cold) or where we sit in the stadium.  Going to a Sox game is exhilarating and cult like all at the same time. The fans are loyalists. They eat, breath and drink the Sox. It is a day’s celebration (even on a work day). Fenway is always full to capacity. You can’t help but have a good time.  We did not win 😦 but we watched the most amazing National Anthem sung by Red Lion HS Choir (PA) . I always shed a tear when I hear that song. This time was no different.  We cheered on the Sox, we sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the Seventh Inning Stretch, ate junk food and drank beer. A perfect night in Boston.

 

U.S.S Constitution “Old Ironside” 

What better way then to work off the “Boston calories”, then to walk the Freedom Trail. This 2.5 mile walk takes you to 16 locations significant to the history of Boston and the United States.  You follow a brick path and each location is marked along the way.  This trip we visited the Bunker Hill Monument and the U.S.S Constitution.  The Bunker Hill Monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill. If you are in the “mood”, you can walk to the top of the monument. A mere 294 steps to the top.  We were NOT in the mood 🙂

The U.S.S Constitution is breathtaking.  A magnificent wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate of the United States Navy named by President George Washington. It was launched in 1797. She is the worlds oldest commissioned navel vessel afloat.  The tour is given by Naval Officers.  They tell you about the history of her launching, survival during war and then allow you to wander around the vessel on your own. The museum is just as interesting and enlightening.  A great stop on the Freedom Trail.

 

New England Aquarium

What do you do on a rainy day in Boson? Go to the New England Aquarium and the IMAX Theater.  The aquarium is huge. The tank that is in the center is 23 ft deep by 40 ft wide.  It holds over 100 species of marine life.  Just beautiful. There are tanks on every level filled with marine life from different continents and regions of the U.S. Super cool. Especially if you have little ones.  Hands down, the penguins are the most popular attraction.  So cute. I love those little creatures.

 

Cape Cod “The Cape”-Provincetown

Timing is everything, especially with the weather! With a beautiful day in our future, we decided to take the bike and drive down to Provincetown on The Cape.  Such a nice ride. Provincetown is an adorable little artsy town with shops, restaurants and great scenic views of the water.  It is a great day trip to walk around, ride a bike or go whale watching. Better yet, get a “lobstah” roll and a cocktail. Thats how we ended our day in Provincetown 🙂

 

 

Hingham -A walk and a burger

Ted lived in Hingham for 6 years back in his 20’s (long, long ago) so we decided to do a day visit. To start the day we went on a great walk through a great park, Worlds End.  It was a crisp day so we knocked out a 3 mile walk that gives you the most amazing views of the Boston skyline. Feeling super refreshed and hungry, we headed off to lunch.

We made our way to Wahlburgers (yes, there is a theme here-we exercise and reward ourselves)  A seat at the bar, a beer and the best (and I mean best) burger I have ever eaten. Perfect way to send off our trip through Massachusetts.

Loves Massachusetts, but as you know, we are onward and upward (literally)!

Heading to Maine…………

 

 

Where we stayed in MA- Normandy Farms est. 1759. 

Ted and I found this little jewel (not so little) of a campground in MA called Normandy Farms. Established in 1759 by Francis Daniels.  It is a beautiful camp ground nestled in between Boston and Cape Cod.  It has over 500 sites on property and activities for all ages. If you are an RV or camping enthusiast, this is the place to stay when you are in this area. It is a great central location with many amenities on site.