A day trip south

We drove down to Sandy’s parents’ home today for “lunch” which turned out to be a full dinner. Her dad’s sister was visiting from Puerto Rico, and many of the foods they have been serving this past week are the things they ate back in Portugal. I love the cooking too and enjoyed every bit of it – oh so many dishes, vegetables and meats, and then followed up with several desserts. I always love the espresso with a drop of sambucca at the end of the meal. Sandy’s aunt has traveled and lived all over the world as a military wife, and now her daughter has been with the government in numerous parts of the world. As a traveler, although not nearly so well traveled as they are, I loved hearing the stories of the countries they’ve been in. It’s too bad I won’t fly any more because there are so many places I didn’t get to. I am very happy seeing more of the U.S. the past few years though.

It has rained steadily all day, is forecast to continue for the next week, and the temperature has dropped at least 20 degrees. I’m glad my daughter-in-law was driving.

We talked to my son earlier today via Skype. Sandy showed me how to add him to my list of contacts. I have several people on my list, but only two actually can connect. I don’t know the first thing about it, nor do I understand how to fix the contacts that need fixing.

I’m going to bed early tonight. I ate so much today I will actually waddle towards my bedroom!

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Saturday Soccer

This is Saturday so it must be soccer.

And in hopes I’m on a roll here, I will try to download a picture or two of the T-Ball game a couple of days ago.

I really don’t know what to do about blogging. I don’t like the new version even though it looks like it loads pictures more reliably and faster. I tried to back up the blog so I could import it into another format, but was unable to figure out how to do it. I am still looking at other web programs, but they all seem to have their learning curves, and freewebs, which I used for my Appalachian Trail journal, either won’t let me create a second blog or I just can’t figure it out. I don’t find anything challenging about dealing with new looks and new programs. I’ve recently cut back on computer usage and would like to keep it that way. So I might just continue posting from time to time on Blogger if I can’t find another program, but I’m not sure about anything at this point.

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I have been thinking about the route I took through western NY to get here, and how it is steeped in Revolutionary War history. You can look into the trees, hillsides, meadows, and forests and just imagine what it must have been like back in those days. Even here in Dutchess County, which sits between the Hudson River and the state of CT, are numerous traces of history, including the Old Post Road. I am planning to try to follow it one of these days, at least as far as Hyde Park and the FDR library and museum. There were several Post Roads – one ran from Manhattan to Boston – and ran along old Indian trails in some places, through dark forests. It must have been frightening to a man who rode a horse carrying the mail from NY to Boston, or in the case of the one here in this county, it once connected lower Manhattan with Albany. I’ve also been interested in some of the names that seem to get a lot attention from visitors, for example, Fishkill, which is either a Township, Village, City, or Hamlet, and I can never remember the difference. In the case of Fishkill and E. Fishkill, it may be more than one of those definitions. The word “kill” is the Dutch word for stream or creek, and fishkill was originally called vis-kill by the Dutch. I’ve also gone through Beaverkill, Wallkill, and while I didn’t go through it, I have heard of Peekskill. Peek may have been a person who owned the land on which that particular kill ran through, or maybe not. It is interesting that the organization PETA was trying to get Fishkill renamed to something less offensive in their eyes, but I don’t think that would go anywhere. It is a perfectly good name and if anything, there should be more publicity on the meaning rather than just ditching it. Last night I attended a T-Ball game that my oldest grandson played in. It is so cute to watch, and I remember when his daddy and his uncle played. There are really no rules and the coaches just introduce the boys to the concept. Each team puts all its players up to bat, they swing until they hit the ball and then advance base by base, but usually just one base at a time. No home runs. The outfielders all converge on the ball and probably never get it to first base. When each player has had a turn, then the other team does the same thing, and this goes on for 3 “innings”. The outfielders switch positions as the game goes on so each gets a chance to see the game from different vantage points. Also, no score is kept because, of course, they all score a run. I am now switched to the new and improved blogger, and have made several attempts to load some pictures but to no avail. I am fed up with Google, and I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me or not. After I published I took a look and it seems they don’t recognize paragraphs, but it is just one long rant. I wish someone could tell me how it is improved. Lady is perking up, by the way. She is still an old dog, but she seems to be doing a little better – the two grandsons are trying to make sure she is getting exercised and brushed. And this morning we met Bosley the boxer who lives down the street. He and Lady just checked each other out, but I think they might become friends.

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Springtime in New York

It is so nice to be back in New York, where today and tomorrow will be in the pleasant sunny 70’s. That is my kind of weather.

I luxuriated in the shower this morning – my son and d-i-l have a water softener and the water is pure bliss. I know a lot of people complain about feeling like they still have soap on their skin, but it’s difficult to get used to “clean” after using water that leaves mineral deposits. I especially love washing my hair in soft water, and have a load of laundry going right now – it makes a difference in that as well.

Walking Lady was so pleasant – the road is rural and surrounded with trees, a creek, hills, and in general, is what you should think of when you think of New York. Most people just think of New York City, which is a wonderful place like no other in the world, and I hope I can get there for at least a day this trip, but most of the state is entirely different. I could easily live here if all my kids were close by.

I fueled up the car this morning and was able to compute my mileage for the trip – 29.4mpg. I had sort of hoped it would top 30, but found that most of the way across country the fuel has ethanol added. Plus, I understand that some states add something during the summer months that reduces mileage. I don’t know what it is, but I sure hope it is a plus for the environment if it’s going to lower my miles per gallon.

My trip odometer has 3035 miles on it, but the actual trip was 3016. I reset the counter to zero the night before I left CA after fueling the tank. I used 102.6 gallons of fuel which cost me $445.67; lodging for 6 nights was $242.97. I spent 3 nights at my brother’s house in Milwaukee. I think the tolls cost me $21+, but I can’t see the breakout for some reason. I checked this morning but didn’t write down the amount posted against my again because it still didn’t have yesterday’s bridge toll of $2.50 included. $21 plus change sounds right. I would have to go back to last year’s entries to see whether I mentioned tolls, but I’m almost sure they were in the neighborhood of $35. The I Pass is well worth using no matter if the cost is the same as throwing money in at all the toll booths. NOTE: I checked and rechecked my figures but won’t say unequivocally they are exact. An accountant out there will undoubtedly find a small error, at least I hope it’s only a small one.

I see that google has made good on its promise to force everyone to use it’s new and improved look. I have either deleted or forward to my aol account all but 3 messages in gmail, and deleted all the trash, sent mail, etc. I’m fed up with google and wonder how long before blogger does the same with its new look. You would think at least they would get feedback from the people using their programs, but they don’t, nor does anyone else with a website. I love my credit union and have been with them since I was about 18 yrs old. For years they did their own website and account monitoring program, but now they have an outside company doing it. Of course they have to constantly change it to prove how diligently they are working. I hate it. I guess if I signed on at this point I wouldn’t know any different, but they should take into account the preferences of people who actually have to use the program.

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Arrival in Dutchess Co. NY

As much as I wanted to sleep in this morning, I couldn’t sleep. I got up at 7:30 and with all the slow motion I went through, left the motel at 8:45. I arrived at my destination at 12 Noon. I brought a lot of my things into the house, and took a 2 hr nap this afternoon.

The drive from Binghamton goes through the Catskills, is scenic, and not heavily traveled. It is a divided highway (Rte 17) which is eventually being incorporated into the interstate system. The interstate part has a 65 mph speed limit, but the state speed limit is 55, so I was constantly resetting my cruise control. Most NY drivers move along well in excess of the speed limit, but I did see quite a few pulled over by the state police. I am certainly not about to get dinged for speeding!

I met one of the neighbors walking her Yorkie, Vickie (for Victoria’s Secret) when I took Lady out. I swear the dog is in a yorkie costume, but she can’t be that breed because she didn’t bark once! At first Lady didn’t want anything to do with her, and Vicki sort of was afraid of Lady. I think they might become good friends eventually. A man further down the road walked out into his front yard with his Boxer, but we will take one dog at a time.

The neighbor gave me a lot of info about the tick problem in this area, and I have ordered a collar from CanadaVets that paralyzes the ticks and makes them fall off. The northeast is heavily infested in ticks, in part due to the development of what were once rural areas. Now they can’t burn leaves or brush, and the ticks are never controlled. I have always been pretty unconcerned for myself regarding ticks, but I think I might become more aware – usually I just scratch my scalp and brush through my hair, and let it go at that. I brush the dog after her walks and hope that dislodges any of them before they have a chance to burrow, plus she is on Frontline treatment for fleas and ticks.

The adjoining property is an 80 acre parcel, entirely in woods, with a sizable deer population. The deer walk through the yards usually twice a day, eat any flowers you might want to grow and are generally just a cute nuisance. They carry ticks, so while they are still cute, they are way more than a nuisance.

Debbie also recommended a local vet in case I need one, plus gave me the location of a locally owned store for pet products. I will call the vet tomorrow to find out about boarding Lady for the graduation weekend in PA.

I’m ready for another nap, but my grandsons will be home soon so I’d better be quick about it. The only info I can remember about the trip is that I drove 3,035 miles from home to here, and took 10 days to get here, requiring six motel stops. I am so tired of driving, but will go to a nearby station to top up the gas tank tomorrow. I think I did pretty well on mileage.

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Binghamton, NY – Last stop

Last night I turned off my computer, the TV, and the lights at shortly after 7 pm, and didn’t get up until 6:00 this morning. I had planned to take a shower in the morning, but couldn’t get myself to step into that tub. It just didn’t look like it had been rinsed properly, so I decided to forgo it and have a nice warm shower tonight or in the morning. Left Toledo at 7 am and after a quick stop for gas I drove pretty steadily with only short rest and fuel stops.

Ohio has beautiful roads, especially the Ohio Turnpike. But they have section after section designated as road work areas, with a corresponding reduction in the speed limit. I only saw one crew actually on the road the entire way across Ohio; most were in the median, which was protected by concrete barriers between the median and the roadway. Even at that there were few crews or machinery in the median. I just don’t understand it, but having driven safely from California to that point, I didn’t intend to get a speeding ticket so I slowed down when they told me to.

Actually after I got away from the Toledo and Cleveland areas there was very little traffic. I was happy to enter Pennsylvania, which is beautiful in any season. The trees aren’t yet in leaf but I did see some with buds that were ready to turn. I love the way the trees are close to the road, sort of up close and personal. In New York, they are set back on the rolling hills for the most part. Both states are gorgeous! New York’s road are smooth as well, except for a couple of counties.

Lady ate her food last night, probably since I added a bit of wet food to the bowl. A few nights back she managed to lick the kibble clean and then left it, so she had dry food until she finally ate it the last night we were in Milwaukee. First thing when I get to my destination is to find someplace I can buy Cosequin for her. If I can find a Petco I’ll compare the price of Cosequin to the pills I had been giving her – I know they work and won’t try anything else unless it is cheaper. The poor thing can barely bend her back legs, which makes it difficult to do much of anything.

The I Pass has been wonderful. One real advantage is that your pass is charged less than you would have to pay at the toll booths. I just checked my account but they haven’t yet posted the Ohio Turnpike charges, so I will share the total when it is all in. I get to use it once more, at the Newburgh Bridge in NY.

Fuel has been under $4 a gallon all the way to NY, but the lower prices are over and done with for now. I hate to think of what it will be by mid-summer. I also notice the motel charges are way lower than last year when I traveled in April, and I would expect them to be higher in summer as well.

I have a very comfortable room here in Binghamton, and the shower was the first thing I checked. I actually had to enter by an end door, but the rooms have double sliding doors and I parked directly in front. You can’t lock them from the outside, so I don’t walk Lady very far. It sure is convenient when bringing things to and from the car. Great trip so far, and I only remember the good parts!

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Toledo, OH

Although I wanted to drive as far as Lorain, OH (Cleveland) this afternoon, I waited until the biggest part of commute traffic was gone this morning, and got a later start than usual. It was nice though, because my niece came over and she, my s-i-l and I had a nice time to talk. My brother went to work earlier. Also, I moved into the eastern time zone so I lost an hour. So here I am at the same motel I stopped in last year on my way to NY.

The weather has been pretty good – once in a while a few rain drops, but mostly clear and windy. I could barely make it from my car to the motel entrance because of the wind, and I will have to go out again with Lady and to get a few more items from the car. The wind is causing high pollen counts and I can sure tell it!

Lady finally ate supper last night after refusing to eat for 3 days. She has a really difficult time getting up and down as well, and the first thing I will have to do when I get to NY is to get her something for achy old doggie joints! I was getting a little concerned about her not eating.

I am SO glad I got the I Pass, and can’t believe how many toll booths there are along the way; I had to stop at all of them last year and it is so nice to just drive on through.

I’m almost too tired to write down all the daily trip info, but I don’t want to let it get away from me as I’ve kept up with it so far. I’m so thankful I made it around Chicago, and hope Cleveland will be relatively easy. That should be the last large city I’ll have to deal with this segment of the trip.

Coming through Northern Indiana I get a little pang of nostalgia when I see the RV manufacturers along the highway, but not much (nostalgia, that is). Every time I think about it and wonder what it might be like to try it again, I realize it is not for me. I sure am glad I tried it for a couple of years, although I’d like to have the money it cost me – even just the depreciation amount. I hope all the RVers out there have some great trips this summer.

I don’t know if I’ll be in PA or NY tomorrow evening, as I’m still making up my mind which route to take. At any rate, I hope to be at my NY destination on Wednesday. I know one thing – I’m buying a pillow to sit on for the trip back!

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