Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Proud grandparents

This was a really routine day. It was great getting back to the gallery and getting caught up on all the news. I was even home in time to chat with Jean.

Plus, as they said on the weather report tonight, this was a "Chamber of Commerce Day" - the kind we should be able to bottle and save for midwinter or midsummer. We had a high in the low 70s, bright sunshine, and low humidity. What a treat it was!

I did some work on my photos from the trip. I'll be ready to start posting some soon. But tonight, I want to start by sharing photos of some proud grandparents with their grandson.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Day for Doctors

There was good news and not-so-good news from our multiple doctor visits.

The good news was that I saw my radiation oncologist today for what turned out to be my last appointment with him. I'm 4 1/2 years out from my breast cancer treatment, so he's no longer a factor in my followup. I will continue seeing the surgeon following my annual mammogram.

The not-so-good-news is about John's hand. The nurse took the cast off. The pin had gotten embedded in the cast, and came out of the fracture. It was over 3" long, and had been placed from the knuckle length-wise through the center of the bone. The fracture is still displaced and has not healed very well. The doctor says that, after 4 weeks, there should be some healing there, and there is no movement there. But, on x-ray, to us, the fracture looks pretty much the way it did before the surgery. Dr. L said that if he had seen it earlier and that there had been no healing, he would have recommended additional surgery. He is not recommending that now - at least as long as healing eventually does take place. Even though it will not be an optimal result, assuming the fracture does heal, John will be able to use his hand almost normally. I specifically asked if he would be able to grip the handle of his oar. The answer to that was yes.

In any case, he was sent directly to a hand physical therapist where a fitted splint was made, and he was started on an exercise regimen. He is to go to PT twice a week for four weeks, with the first return on Thursday morning. Dr. L wants to see him again next Tuesday, when he'll also probably have his third PT session.

We're disappointed, of course, but we'll have to see what happens from here. John's glad to be out of the cast, and says it's not hurting.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A more regular Monday

And now it's back to the regular routine - mostly.

It was great to get back to the swim class. John walked on the treadmill, and we both enjoyed getting caught up at coffee. We picked up the accumulated mail, and spent about an hour getting through that. And it'll take lots longer to get the magazines at least skimmed. The bills are all taken care of, though.

John has talked to the motel's insurance company, and we've started a file folder for the paper that will quickly document the accident. He'll see the orthopedic surgeon here in town tomorrow morning.

It was great getting back to bridge, too. The cards weren't all that great, but, again, it was good to get caught up with all the folks there.

I hope everybody else is enjoying the Ken Burns series on PBS about the National Parks. So far, there has been only one site where we haven't been - the Devil's Tower. We've seen it in the distance, but not "up close and personal". It's nice to learn the chonology and history of the parks' formations, too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


We've had a glorious day in TN today - in the 70s with fairly low humidity - lots of sunshine. Lots of surfaces in our house were covered with mildew when we got home - and we did have the a/c on - just turned up fairly high. The basin in the de-humidifier was full, of course, and it had cut off. Even John's car was all mildew-y. Yuck!

I'd love to have a big HD TV this week for the Ken Burns programs on the national parks. I know that'll be lovely. Remember how we thought that it was so great to see Bonanza in color??

Walmart was a breeze this morning - didn't take as long as I had feared. And the wash has been done and put away. It's been really quiet otherwise.

Alison & Joe will be in South Carolina for a week - arriving next Thursday. We'll be going over there for at least an overnight sometime while she's there. We'll wait until after John sees the doc on Tuesday before we make any decisions as to timing. John's sure the doc will take an x-ray, say it needs more time, and leave the cast on for a few more weeks. We shall see. I see my radiologist on Tuesday for my annual visit to him. I don't expect anything unusual there - but it's always something to worry about.

Matt & Amanda have bought their first house and moved in over the weekend. I'm sure we'll stop in to see them on our way back from SC - just for long enough to oooooohhhh and aaaaahhhh over the new home. They're so excited about it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home again!

We left Norfolk about 6:30 a.m., and got home a little after 6 p.m. - a long day, but it's always nice to know that "home" is waiting for you at the end.

The rain during the drive today varied from mildly annoying to "I can't believe I'm still driving in this stuff!" Mostly that was because there was never any place to pull off. Sometimes the rain was incredibly hard, and others it was just the very thick spray kicked up by the cars and trucks. We took a fairly good lunch break at a Cracker Barrel, so the almost 12-hour drive wasn't too bad. It was mostly interstate. We stopped the last time for gas in Knoxville, and there was just light rain after that - and no other problems with the roads.

We drove over 4,000 miles on this trip - and that was considering that we had lots of days when we weren't driving at all. We did four really long days, and the rest was in shorter stretches.

I've got the laundry ready to do tomorrow. I hate going to Walmart on Sunday, but I'm going to go early tomorrow - there is nothing in the refrigerator! And then I pick up the mail on Monday - that'll take ages to go through. But it's still good to be home!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heading home

Finally back on the internet for a good session. This has been a long, but very good trip. We've spent time with loved ones; seen new places and things; met new people; and learned lots. Sometimes we just manage to get a bunch of good stuff into one package. But we're ready to be on the down side and headed home.

We left Crisfield about noon today and headed down the Delmarva Peninsula. We crossed over and under the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. It's a great piece of engineering, and good to drive. We got settled into a motel in Norfolk and gave Jesse a call.

We took him out for a steak and a beer, and some catch-up about his life in the Navy. He's such a sweetie - and looks great!

With some suggestions from Jesse, we've figured out a different route home (I-85 to I-40 to I-75), and plan to tough it all out tomorrow (weather and traffic conditions permitting). It looks like we're in for some rain, but hopefully it won't be too bad. We do know the area fairly well, so we can always bail out if need be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday - Crisfield, MD

Terrific Elderhostel day! We started out with a second talk by a native Crisfielder/city councilman/hospital charge nurse - a very knowledgeable and entertaining guy. Next, he took us on a walking tour of the area, with visits to the only soft-shell crab packing plant and hard crab picking plant left in Crisfield. The industry has declined substantially. It was fascinating to see how these delicious foods are prepared for market. After lunch, we had a tour of the Tawes Museum (the sponsor of the program) and then a talk by a Museum volunteer. This D-Day survivor showed us how a crab pot works. He also has set up a model of a crab shanty with "pens" holding live crabs. We got to see a crab in the act of shedding her shell - coming out of the old hard one into the new, much larger soft one. This shell will harden in a few hours if the crab is left alone. It's really a fascinating life cycle, and we were shown so much of it.

Unfortunately, after all that, we didn't have soft-shell crabs for dinner. Dinner was good, but land-based. 8^( , We were told that we weren't through getting crabs for meals, so our hopes are high for that.

There was also the news day about the Elderhostel name change. It's changing to Exploritas. WHAT???? How stupid sounding is that?!? And according to our coordinator, the programs will now be open to anyone over 22 years of age. It's going to make for a lot of changes in programs. They are obviously abandoning the previous target consumer of older and retired folks, and heading for a younger demographic. It'll be interesting to see the comments, the fallout, and the results of this new direction for the program.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No internet connection! AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

Sorry folks - won't have much internet for the rest of this week. But...

Crisfield, MD, is a delightful little fishing town. And I will make you miserable by telling you that we have had crab in one form or another at every meal except breakfast. It's been really tough to take.

We took a boat trip to the tiny Tangiers Island yesterday, and will be going to the even smaller Smith Island tomorrow. Learning all about the Chesapeake Bay and its ecology and bounty.

I'll check in when I can.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Six states

Today was a six-state day!

Maine - woke up in Lewiston. The overpriced motel didn't even have a free breakfast. But we got a pretty good one at a local cafe a few exits down the Maine Turnpike.

New Hampshire - only 17 miles - but we did help their tax base a bit by stopping at the state liquor store with its own exit on I-95.

Massachusetts - we found Marjorie with no trouble. What a joy it was to give her some big hugs! She looks great - just a few grey hairs among the dark ones. She has a wonderful tiny apartment (although bigger than Alison's), obviously built in an attic. It has a turning staircase to get up to it, and low ceilings. She has it fixed up really nice. Anyhow, it was fun to catch up on family news. Her Mommy and all the rest of the family (except Ricardo) are still living in the Redondero and doing well.

We ate a nice lunch at a little Italian place around the corner from her apartment, then walked her back home. Pictures will come later. We found our way out of Boston OK, and headed west on the Mass Pike.

Connecticut - we thumbed our noses and gave a one-finger salute at the UConn exit.

New York - we managed to traverse a corner of NY and the Tappan Zee Bridge without incident.

New Jersey - we got onto the Garden State Turnpike, heading west and south into the sun.

It was a long day - we didn't stop until 6 p.m. And we had one of the best meals we've had along the road at a little local diner. But we did have the nice break in the middle of the day. Tomorrow will be an easy one. We may drive down to Cape May, NJ, or we may just wander along the upper eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday - Grand Manan to Lewiston, ME

We got checked out of the Marathon Inn this morning, and drove around the island some more on our own. The ferry left at 11:30 for its 90 minute trip to the mainland. Another couple left at the same time we did, so the time passed quickly with nice folks to talk to.

When we got to Black Harbour, we headed on down the road toward the border crossing at Calais, ME. No problems there, either. We finally got on to I-95, and pretty much sailed south to a stop in Lewiston, ME. Dinner was a definite come-down. John had a good meal of fried clams and scallops. I had a lobster roll (who can leave Maine without having had lobster), and it was pretty much tasteless. Granted, I'm not a big lobster fan - blue crabs are SO much better and tastier. But anyhow - I did have the required lobster.

John's doing well with his hand. Although he found out tonight that he can't write enough to do the crossword puzzle in USA Today.

We'll be making arrangements tonight to meet up with Marjorie in Boston tomorrow sometime. For those who might not know, Marjorie was our exchange student from Venezuela in the mid1970s for about 9 months. She's living in the US now, so it'll be a real treat to see her.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, Grand Manan

We had another great day today - out on the boat again. John had gone for a walk with some of the others, and I went to find a pharmacy to pick up some stuff. I found some great gloves! I guess they're usually used as liners, and they looked like children's gloves. But they were very stretchy, and surprisingly warm. Plus they came 4 to a package. So John got to have one on his "good" hand. It wasn't nearly as windy or as cold on the boat today, but I was still very glad for the toboggan hat and the gloves.

We got to go whale watching again and saw another group of whales thrashing and playing - maybe 25 this time. Actually sex play - not mating, but the North Atlantic Right Whale males are just oversexed, and are ready at any time. Just amazing! And we looked at some of what they call the Dark Side of the Island. Not many people live there because there are high cliffs that fall straight into the sea. Grand Manan is really lovely!

We had grilled scallops, basmati rice, sweet potato, and leeks for dinner tonight. The food here has been spectacular! I'm dreading getting on the scales when we get home. But the clothes still fit. And I even got a new t-shirt today in a MEDIUM!!!!! I haven't worn one that size since I can't remember when!

We packed up after dinner tonight. John got our tickets for the ferry tomorrow, and we'll be on the 11:30 a.m. ferry heading back into the US. We'll probably stay somewhere in Maine tomorrow night.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday on Grand Manan

We've had a lovely day today - a boat trip to some of the small outer islands. We got off at one which is usually unavailable to visitors. It's owned by Bowdoin College and is a research station. It is one of the few (or maybe the only) nesting site of Leach's Storm-Petrels. (Doesn't that sound knowledgeable???) But there are some 30,000 - 40,000 nesting burrows for these birds on this little island. There are only two caretakers there now, and they let the folks who run this Elderhostel come ashore a couple of times a year. The birders were thrilled, and John and I and some others just enjoyed the boat ride and the walking through the woods. The guides showed us a burrow site, reached in and brought out a 5-week-old baby. The parents were off foraging for food, and wouldn't be back to the next until dark. The baby was used to being handled, so wasn't agitated. It was just starting to get some feathers, but was mostly covered with incredibly soft, dark-colored down. That was a treat - even for us.

We stopped at the Grand Manan Museum on the way back and had a nice walk through some of the history here. I also found a warm toboggan hat at a "dollar" store for $3.00, so my ears will be happier on our longer boat trip tomorrow.

Another great meal (pan-fried haddock), then a quick bus ride out to the northern-most point of the island to see the sunset. There was some nice light, but mostly there was a cloud-bank along the western horizon, so not much great color.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday in Grand Manan

Today was a little quieter. The planned activity was an all-day birding excursion, which we opted to skip. We did go on the small free ferry to the adjoining island with the group - but we were in our car (with another couple who elected to join us), and had a nice time driving around, looking at a few birds, picking up neat rocks. The woman who was with us, Barbara, was a geologist, so she told us a lot about the rocks we saw. Also I found out how to pronounce a word I had only seen in print before...Chalcedony. Basically, it's a red rock, and is pronounced "kal SAID o nee". See - we always learn something new - even if it's unexpected.

I got Betsy's socks mailed to her, and we visited a local knit shop. (suprise!). I bought a couple of skeins of New Brunswick yarn (lucious with lanolin) at $5.00/skin, plus a few odd balls of left-over yarns from the "free basket", which the owner insisted we raid. Great fun.

Supper was another triumph from the sea - salmon this time. Plus I got a load of laundry done.

All in all, a very satisfactory day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, Grand Manan

A lovely long day today. We spent the morning touring the local marine resource center and the fishing wharf area - the boarded a motor-sailing vessel for a whale-watching afternoon.

We had sack lunches and enjoyed them while motoring with the wind (hence warmer) and in sunshine. After an hour or so, we found whales! Lots and lots of whales!!!! There are only about 400 Northern Right whales left in the entire world, and there were maybe 40! in the group we saw today. They were basking and napping and playing and sounding and having what was probably group sex. It was an incredible experience! There were also some fin-back whales in the vicinity.

Unfortunately, we had not brought my long lens - so no close-up photos for me. And John's battery ran out, so he didn't take as many photos as he had hoped. But we did use up as many pixels as we could. In the meantime, the captain had gone to only sail power so as not to disturb the whales with our engine noise. She (!) was a terrific ship-handler and did a great job maneuvering in and around the whales, keeping us in close proximity to the group.

After an hour or so, the activity slowed down, and we turned to head back to the North Head Harbor. Unfortunately (again), it had clouded over and we were headed into the wind, so it was VERY cold. We put on all the clothes we had brought, and even huddled under some blankets they had on board. But it was still after a hot shower back at the hotel before I warmed up some.

On the voyage back to the harbor, we came across 2-3 humpback whales, feeding and playing. One did a tail flick, dived, and then did a full breach out of the water. What an incredible sight!!! And such a terrific climax to a super whale-watching trip.

Another great meal of cod, rice, broccoli (I got John's, of course), and carrots, with the most obscene 3-layer, 3-variety, chocolate mousse for dessert.

The program after dinner was a slide show by the guy who is doing to lead the bird-watching hikes and walks tomorrow. Interesting, especially to the hard-core birders in the group. But I'm afraid John and I both dozed a bit during the evening.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Grand Manan Island, NB

After getting lost in Bangor, ME, again this morning...(OK, now if you're through laughing, I'll continue)... we finally got on the right road toward Calais, ME. That's the border crossing we were taking to get into Canada. Once we finally got out of town, it was an uneventful and pleasant drive. I must admit that while driving through the Maine woods, in the fog, in the middle of nowhere, I was somewhat aware of the possibility of a moose hurtling out onto the road in front of me. But no such excitement!

We got to the Blacks Harbour ferry landing in plenty of time, and got on the appropriate ferry for the 90 minute ride. Again, an uneventful trip. The only problem was the thick fog that kept us indoors and unable to see any of the scenery along the trip.

New Brunswick is on Atlantic Time (an hour before Eastern Time), but at 10:45 AT (9:45 ET), John's already snoring away.

This wonderful Marathon Inn doesn't have a level floor in it or more than a 60-watt light bulb, but the rooms are big, the ceilings are high, the food so far is great, there is a wrap-around veranda facing the water with Adirondack chairs, and there is wireless internet access in our room. (We're in the Annex - the building to the left in the photo - attached by the veranda.) And they're going to make us go out whale-watching tomorrow. Aaaawwwww...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Back to the internet!

Finally - internet access!

Clyde, NY, and (surprisingly) Seneca Falls, NY, did not have internet access at their boat docks. Of course, Clyde didn't have much of anything - except for two gorgeous peaches at their Thursday afternoon farmers' market.

We got back to the dock at Seneca Falls about 4 Friday afternoon. We all had showers on the boat, and got ready to go out for our final dinner. Which turned out to be a huge bust! We went to a highly recommended restaurant in a hotel across the street from the dock. It was lovely, and elegant. We placed our orders. Then, after over 45 minutes, only Ann's soup had been served. And we decided to leave. They did comp the soup, but with no explanation as to what had happened to our meals. We got the car and went looking for pizza. We finally got some great pizza, but again, the service was interminably slow. We went back to the boat, and just got packed up and went to bed.

This morning, we left the dock about 7:45 a.m. and took Ann & Al to Syracuse to pick up their rental car. They're going to wander around the Adirondacks for a few days before they head back home. We headed out for our longest day of driving. I did most of it, but John did drive some of the more rural stretches. The rain all through Massachusetts didn't help any. At least the traffic was minimal since it was Saturday. This 580+ miles took us about 10 hours (with lots of potty stops).

We had decided to press on to Bangor, to have an early start tomorrow, getting to the ferry in Blacks Harbor, NB. Unfortunately, we had a hard time finding a motel room. A number were full, or wanted lots of money. We wound up in an expensive place after all (Courtyard Suites) about 7 - but it's a lovely, very comfortable room. We did go out and got a good simple dinner, and picked up some stuff at a local drug store.

We'll get an early start in the morning. The Erie Canal trip was really fun - and we had a good time. I'll probably write more of a specific review with recommendations later on.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

If it's Wednesday, it must be Newark, NY

We're docked tonight in Newark, NY. They provide great services for boaters (and I presume for bicyclers) - and all free. There's a shower, bathrooms, a washer/dryer, and internet service. I kept asking about charges, and the dockmaster kept saying "Welcome to Newark!" I'm sure this gives them great 'press' throughout the boating community. It was great to get a load of wash done. We've been gone for 10 days with nothing getting washed. I'm sure everybody else appreciates it, too.

John's doing fine. The swelling in his fingers is almost completely gone. He says holding the cards at bridge makes his hand hurt, but he works through that. I think I said he already has an appointment at home with an orthopedic hand specialist when we get back home.

Another good meal tonight - these small towns really have some good local restaurants. We haven't had to eat at a chain yet (except for the first morning when we didn't have shore power and had to eat at a McD's). We're going to eat up leftovers and "doggy bags" we've brought back for lunch and dinner tomorrow.

PS: Joe, thanks for the great research!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Last night we stayed in the charming village of Pittsford, NY. What a wonderful place this would be for bicyclers to stay. There's a B&B (I think), the Canal Lamp Inn, right on the canal, the tow path runs west all the way to Buffalo, and eastward to Newark. Then there's a short break before the final run east to Albany. The canal is lovely through there. We had a nice dinner last night at a Greek place, then breakfast this morning at a creperie (Yum!).

Today, we went west as far as where the Canal crosses the Gennessee River, south of Rochester, and then turned back east. We're stopping tonight at Fairport, NY, another lovely village. There was a classic car show on the opposite side of the canal from where we're tied up, with a local band that played until 9 p.m. I finally found some long-sleeved t-shirts for me, but not before I got some sunburn on the back of my neck and my forearms. (I can go to the beach for a week in July with no sunburn, but....) We had a marvellous dinner at Joey B's just a few minutes' walk from the boat - scallops for John & Al, pork filet mignon for Ann, and shrimp/feta cheese/spinach for me. Excellent food! And we're going to check out a local diner for breakfast in the morning.

We have had such gorgeous weather, chatted with some lovely people, and found great food to eat. Except for the obvious thing with John's arm, this trip has really lived up to expectations. There is a busy train track that runs just on the other side of the tow path from the canal. But that's really kind of nice to listen to at night.

Plus there is an internet connection available here.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day - 2 p.m.

Just a few minutes of free WiFi dockside in Pittsford, NY. Don't know if I'll get back on or not. All is well. John's able to drive the boat. Beautiful canal going - lots of bicyclers on the tow path. Until next time.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Day 6 and 7 - on the boat

Sunday morning - 9-6-09 - Aboard Freedom. Not too bad a start yesterday. The guy who got us started on the boat was just the "boat guy" (Jerry). He took us through the first lock out of Seneca Falls, and then watched while the guys took us through the second one. Then Jerry abandoned us! Oh, dear.....

We did three locks after that - one on the Seneca Canal, and two (25 & 26) westbound on the Erie Canal. We stopped later than we had hoped at Lyons, just below Lock 27. Unfortunately, we were too late to get a tie-up place where there we could reach a power source. So no overnight power.

The VFW in Seneca Falls had been having a BBQ chicken dinner sale at noon on Saturday, and we loved that idea. We ate those for our dinner. And we had some lights (off battery), but no hot water. We weren't too dirty, so that's okay. And we had enough light to play bridge.

We walked into town this morning looking for a local cafe for breakfast, but nothing to be found on a Sunday morning. We wound up (would you believe?) at McDonald's. I tried to get internet access back at the boat - just across the canal from McD, but it doesn't reach. I could pick up two signals, but both protected.

We're not going to try to go nearly as far today, and we'll get to a power source to tie up. And maybe find some WiFi.

We have found a sort-of distressing lack of information. Jerry didn't show us how to work the range, so we had to call him to get that info (cell phones work!). The information about the towns don't seem to be too accurate - as to where there are power sources or eateries. Plus there's a discrepancy about what we've paid for the boat and what they advertise in the brochure - by enough to definitely want a refund and explanation. We'll have to talk to the business people when we get back.

It was right chilly last night, and we broke out the jackets and sweat shirts. Surprise! John couldn't get into any of his long-sleeved shirts or sweatshirts, or his nice South Carolina jacket. He did bring his rain suit, and that jacket has adjustable cuffs, so it worked.

Sarah, you'll have to get Grandpa a new CofC sweatshirt (size L). I had to cut the cuff off and open up the seam a bit of the right sleeve, so he could get some wear out of it.

Sunday evening - docked at the Macedon Landing west of Lock 30. A lovely day cruising, with a stop for a good lunch in Newark, NY. We had to have help docking here at Macedon landing because our bow thruster wasn't working. Al found out later that a belt had slipped - and it's working now. The others are happily sipping adult beverages, I have a workable, but slow, WiFi connection, and we'll find something for supper.

Life is good!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Day 5 - followup

Thanks for the kind wishes for John. The broken bone is actually in his hand - sort of the continuation of the little finger bones along the edge of his hand. Anyhow, he's in a good sturdy cast. He carried on like a trooper today, and we did all we intended to do (Corning Glass Museum, Glenn Curtiss Airplane Museum, a winery, dinner). But at 9, he admitted to having some pain, took one of his pain pills, and crashed. He even asked me to set out one of the pain pills so he could take it in the middle of the night (he can't open the bottle with only one hand).

I left a message for our family doctor today to make him an appointment for followup and pin removal as soon as we get home. And they've already callled with the information. The orthopedic who did his shoulder repair doesn't "do hands", but there's a new guy in the practice who specializes in hands - and that's great! I've e-mailed the surgeon in Binghamtom and gave him the particulars so his office can get the records to Chattanooga by the time John goes for his appointment. Isn't the internet wonderful!

John has Medicare and a supplementary policy through retirement, but presumably the motel's insurance is going to be paying for this. I don't know how they're going to work that out. I guess we'll notify the two insurance companies when we get home, so they can take care of it.

He's planning on being able to help with the driving after the boat time. I don't particularly like the idea of his driving in any tricky traffic, though - with only one hand. We'll see how it goes.

We went to a really nice restaurant for dinner tonight - sat out on the deck. It was cool, but pleasant - right on the Keuka Lake shore. Unfortunately, the fact of the meal didn't come up to the sound of it on the menu. The wine was too sweet for their tastes (they all like really dry wines). The server was slow getting to us, and the food was WAY too long being served. She said they had given two of our dinners to somebody else. We said to just serve the two they had ready. Mine (which came a bit later) was not correct, and Al's was the last to be served. The server did comp for my meal, but it still wasn't a great experience. Oh, well. Lunch was great at a small-town cafe called "Chat-A-Whyle". How can you NOT like something with that name! We love places like that. This one had the BEST clam chowder and sticky buns. Yum!

We start the canal trip tomorrow. The weather has been gorgeous, and there's even a huge full moon tonight. More smiles today!

Oh, yes - I did take some pictures, but with my phone camera. And, sorry, I don't know what to do with them now. I'll get some more on the boat when I get the REAL camera out.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Day 4 - Shit happens!

Shit really DOES happen! And, of course, at the most inconvenient time and place.

John slipped in the shower this morning, and grabbed at the grab-bar. He caught it only with the little finger of his right hand - with immediate pain. But he didn't fall. He thought he had dislocated it and it had popped back into place. I taped the ring and little fingers together, turned in an incident report to the motel manager, filled a zipper bag with ice, packed up the car, and with me driving, headed down the road to our next stop. This included mostly visiting with one of John's and Ann's cousins.

We left John at a walk-in clinic in town and the rest of us went to the cousin's house. John called - x-rays showed that he had a broken bone in his hand. They were contacting an orthopedic surgeon in Binghamton, NY, who would probably plan to do surgery on his hand. Well, wonderful!!!!

I left Ann & Al with the cousins and went to pick up John and take off for the 20-mile drive to the hospital. I can say that the people at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton were wonderful to us! We kept telling them - we're just starting on a long vacation. And, no, we weren't planning to head right home. And, no, John didn't want to stay overnight in the hospital. And, yes, they could do the surgery, but no, he didn't want to stay overnight.

They really were so helpful and solicitous and accommodating. They took him off to surgery at 5 p.m., and the surgeon came back out to talk to me at 6:15. He couldn't do a closed reduction, so wound up doing an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), with pins and cast, of what they term a "Boxer's" fracture. I saw the x-rays, and the bone of his little finger in the hand (metacarpal?) had a diagonal break and the ends overlapped.

In the meantime, Ann & Al and Bob & Anita had come to the hospital to see how things were going. Then B&A drove A&A around the area, and they all went out for dinner.

John was finally released from the hospital and we got back to the motel to meet the others about 9:30. A&A went out to get us something eat. Now, everybody else has gone to bed, and I'm getting the news out.

We do plan to continue on with our trip. Granted, John won't be much help for a while, but we'll do fine. We didn't have too much planned for tomorrow, and he'll be able to get some rest on the canal boat. I know it's really going to bother him most in the next couple of days, though. The surgeon wants him to be seen in about 10 days for a followup x-ray, so we'll see what we can work out about that. And then he'll see an orthopod at home to see about getting the pins out.

We really weren't looking for this kind of excitment. Sighhhhhhhhhhhh

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Day 3

We're still having gorgeous weather - highs in the 70s and lows around 50 (my favorite weather!). We drove a bunch of interstate today, so I did more of the driving. And I got to drive through all the wonderful construction zones. BTW, avoid Wilkes-Barre, PA, on I-81 - It took more than 30 minutes to go 4 miles. John's SO sweet - he always "lets" me drive through the construction stuff.

After lunch, we took off on some back roads. We got lost a couple of times, but still saw some pretty countryside, and got to the Syracuse airport right on time to pick up Ann & Al (John's sister and BIL). We hadn't seen them since last September, and we always have a good time together.

We're in a little town south of Syracuse tonight, then will head to another little town near the PA line to visit with one of their cousins for the day tomorrow.

Questions to research: We've seen a lot of churches that has something like "Sons of the Brethren" in their names. That was a new one on me. Does anybody know about that? (can't find much in google). Also, I noticed a town in PA called "Loyalsock". I found a Wikipedia article about the town, but can't seem to find out how it got its name. Help!!!

Now it's time to crash!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Day 2

We left Morgantown this morning, and drove into PA. We stopped to take some photos of the waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park - a lovely place, with perfect early morning light.

We went to see the FLWright houses Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater in SW Pennsylvania. We'd been to both before, but they are so wonderful. Glad we decided to make a return visit. We also stopped in Johnstown, PA, and went to a museum with history of the Johnstown Flood. What a tragedy that was!

We'll be picking up Ann & Al tomorrow afternoon at the Syracuse airport.