dreaming of summer: let’s go for a RIDE

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above: Hershey Park / Hershey, PA

2013 Summer Roadtrip Recap: Picturing Thrills and Chills

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Months have gone by and summer seems both a distant memory and a longed-for mirage on the other side of this bitterly cold winter. We thought it’d be fun to do some more roadtrip recaps, to capture more of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, and other images from Summer 2013. 

Before and during our big road trip the girls and I enjoyed rides that are faster, louder, steeper, twistier, and a heck of a lot more thrilling than driving around in the B Bus!

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Last summer we spent more time than we usually do at amusement parks. I took lots of pictures while they went on LOTS of rides! These are some of our favorite old-time carnival-inspired amusement park photos, from Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, and a few other tourist spots.IMG_0988

Our favorite ride at Canobie Lake Park: Da Vinci’s Dream. Always best at sunset.IMG_0987 IMG_0991

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Old-timey Over the Rainbow.IMG_4663

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PHB, GHB, & LHB all contributed to this post

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winter coat

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Everyone’s talking about the cold. We’ve had some snow this winter but the weather headline is the freezing temps. After a temporary thaw and some rain, we are headed back into the deep freeze tonight. I took this photo of the creek at Whipple Hill yesterday.

It’s not the super extreme school-canceling Midwestern freeze, but it’s bitter and sharp, especially without pretty blankets of snow. What’s left is actually pretty gray. The girls and I have really noticed how hoary and ancient the B bus is looking, in its winter coat of salty grime.

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Definitely looking less spiffy than on the summer road trip! But the B bus is hardy, as are we.

– PHB

all that remains

all that remains

This year’s January thaw has been quite dramatic. Just a week or so ago I posted the pics of our arctic adventure and we had well over a foot of snow on the ground. I got the flu, and New England got a crazy warm spell, with temperatures nearly reaching 60 degrees yesterday, and accompanied by torrential downpours and even some thunder.

Today was seasonably chilly, windy and sunny. The Christmas trees littering the curbs all over Arlington started to blow over and into the road. Weird, ungainly tumbleweeds. We pulled ours back away from the street to wait for the pickup (delayed by the storm, they are supposed to be picked up for chipping/mulching this week). The last patch of snow out there where the B bus lives is filthy and grimy. When most of it melted, we also found Halloween remnants: the pumpkins I meant to chop up for foraging wildlife. I actually don’t know if that’s a good idea or not (would be nice if a bunny wants a nibble, but we wouldn’t want to make a buffet for raccoons…), so I suppose it’s just as well they’re just sitting there thawing.

xmas endThe light in January feels a bit harsh at times. It’s not that I’m not refreshed by seeing a little more daylight every day. But it can shed a daunting glare on all the undone post-holiday chores. The tree is out but the Ghost of Christmas past is still haunting the house with bits and pieces and bins. I rather like not having to primp or decorate our space for anything at the moment – we’re just living in it, taking 2014 one day at a time.

– PHB

champions

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Well, they did it. People often say that Red Sox & New England fans are sort of “scary” fanatical, when we talk about growing up here and growing up as citizens of Red Sox Nation.  There’s no two ways about it — if you are like GHB and LHB and you grow up here, the Sox are an integral part of the infrastructure of your everyday world.  Here’s yet another B pumpkin — this one we spotted while trick or treating on Mt. Gilboa on the night after the big win, and two days before we’d see the World Series trophy placed in homage on the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

On Monday I stopped by GHB’s classroom at the end of the day and noticed this corner for the first time:

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That’s the front page of the Globe from the 2004 World Series win, along with the front page of the sports section from the same edition and a mini shrine of Fenway memorabilia and ephemera. We have that same front page stashed somewhere in a file cabinet in the basement, and we’ve got a fridge magnet of it, too.You can tell the newspapers have been up there for a decade – they’re yellow and faded and tired looking (our magnet’s pretty faded too). But the corner is not dusty and a lot of the items are new.  It’s an active, living, continually curated permanent collection that is equal parts tribute and inspiration and fun for the kids who sit in this classroom every day.  I don’t really think they are blase’ about a third World Series championship in their 10- or 11-year-old lifetimes. I think they see this kind of thing, and the way parents and teachers talk about the Sox, and they know they are part of an epic tradition, rooting for a worst-to-first kind of legendary baseball team.

– PHB

another B: a pumpkin in honor of the pick off

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In honor of the incredible game-ending play by Koji last night (Game 4 in St. Louis), a seasonal holiday decoration from the annual Spooky Walk in Arlington, courtesy of friend and neighbor ATC who snapped the pic.

Go Sox!!

– PHB

a decade of big papi

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The excitement continues here for the B Bus gals and everyone else in Red Sox nation. Game 4 tonight in Detroit, after the last 2 incredible, nail-biting, games. We were in the car after volleyball and dance, listening on the radio last night when Napoli homered to put the winning – and only – run on the scoreboard for the game. It was so much fun to see the kids really “get” the magic of baseball on the radio for the first time. Quiet listening to the pitch count and daunting strikeout stats for our team in this series, and then suddenly a huge hit and happy shrieking in the B Bus.

GHB is wearing her Big Papi shirt as she heads off to school – he has been playing for the Sox since 2003, which is the year the girls were born, and she has had a #34 shirt in teeny, then tiny, and then smallish but increasingly larger sizes, for her entire life. This one is a treasured World Series champions shirt from 2007, worn for luck today. I remember the 2004 team so clearly – it’s hard for me to believe he is the only one left from the historic curse-reversing year. LHB & GHB were asleep near midnight on Sunday night when his grand slam HR made Fenway history, but we hope to see more Big Papi moments this week!

the B is for… the RED SOX!

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Minutes away from the first pitch of Game 1 of the ALCS at Fenway and we are inspired to post some of our best ‘B’ photos. (Or at least some of the ones I can find, since we are mid-transition to our new iMac and the photo stream is sort of out of control right now). There is more excitement in Red Sox Nation now than in any other time since we started blogging. We’re hoping that Sox-tober will get even more exciting in the coming days. Go Sox!!

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At Fenway in August

road13 Ohio Turnpike

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Seneca Falls, NY

FerryB4 Saco, Maine

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the mighty Mississippi

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meet the new B (remnants of the 2007 B still stuck to the car)

– PHB

misty morning in maggie valley

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Summer Roadtrip Recap: Maggie Valley, NC

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Now that we’re home, we want to recap some of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, in both words and images, and not necessarily in chronological order.

Maggie Valley is in the heart of the Smokies about an hour west of Asheville, and close to the Oconaluftee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also boasts the added attraction of Tom’s Stand, a magical mountaintop home on Bear Stump Gap where we were fortunate enough to have a beautiful visit with dear friends I hadn’t seen in literally decades.

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The girls were meeting Jane for the first time, and we got to sleep in her incredible art-filled log house, surrounded by flowers, horses, cattle, hummingbirds, friendly Jay Jay the Jack Russell guard dog and — perhaps in the middle of the night — a roving bear or two.

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The road to the house was shrouded in mist when we headed up off the highway in Maggie Valley near the pancake house, past the family’s Cataloochee Ranch. mail.google

The curving dirt road simply disappeared into the clouds in front of our eyes.

The Odyssey doesn’t have 4WD and this driver was modestly freaked out by the fog-shrouded drop-off at the edge of the steep road. So the B Bus had to spend the night at the ranch.  And Jane picked us up in her intrepid Subaru for our overnight in the clouds. When we pulled up at the big hand-hewn log house with its elven guest cottage across the lawn, LHB’s reaction was priceless: “She lives in a fairy house!”

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And so it proved.  The cottage kept appearing and disappearing into and out of the mist like something from Brigadoon.

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In spite of the rain that obscured the views, our visit was a joyful highlight of the trip, an evening of wonderful conversation and catching up with Jane, who was one of Emmy’s dearest friends back in NYC days, and son Ames, last seen by me sometime before either of us learned to read. The girls marveled at Jane’s multi-textured rooms brimming with art, photographs, ceramics, and curious objects. LHB took many photographs, including some of these.

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When we awoke the next morning steady rain had set in, and we still couldn’t see over to the driveway.

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IMG_0626We said goodbye to the hummingbirds and headed down to see the ranch and meet some of the other residents, including cows, horses, turkeys, and the staff and dudes (guests) at the ranch.

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LHB hopped in and out of the car to take these great livestock and landscape photos.

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We left a quahog from the Cape for Jane’s garden pond — a little piece of New England for her beautiful haven in the Smokies.

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It was tempting to stay longer and we could have spent at least a week exploring these beautiful mountains, but we had to pull ourselves away from Cataloochee, bound for Chattanooga!

– PHB

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parked in the driveway

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3,601 miles since our Massachusetts to the Mississippi adventure began, the B Bus is home again tonight. We can’t believe we were only away two weeks — the weeds out in front of the house, along with leggy sunflowers and out-of-control hostas, are giving everything a very Jurassic Park look (this an especially apt comment by friend and neighbor ATC). But in spite of epic amounts of weeding (and laundry) to be done, we are happy to be home. It was an unforgettable road trip loaded with wonderful experiences, places, people, and creatures.  But we’re all a little travel-weary, and glad to have a week to settle in at home before school starts.

I learned a lot from being on the road with GHB and LHB. They are genuine road warriors now, accomplished at navigating everything from Google maps to strange towns, new situations and unfamiliar food choices. It was a great way to mark our milestone birthdays together. We hope to post some more of our stories and pictures in the coming days, but for now we’re enjoying the chance to stop and rest!

– PHB

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Cumberland, MD

valley forge

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A final national park stop before we arrived back in the northeast yesterday. At Valley Forge the girls were eager to find the monument to Baron Friedrich Von Steuben – they are fans of the baron from Ms. Power’s cool summer fun course on the American Revolution. We left a B bus quahog there in tribute to the troops and the winter of 1777.
Now we are homeward bound – will sleep in our own beds tonight!

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Photographing the baron overlooking the Grand Parade grounds.