Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Night in New Bedford at the Madeira Cafe

We spent most of the day with my family in Lawrence.  It was Saturday, so most of the family was there.  My father was looking better, although he was having a difficult time with his new diet.  I give him credit for trying.  It is pretty standard for a low sodium diet to be 1500 milligrams.  The doctor wanted 1/2 that.  He was trying, and I wish him well.

I was a bit distracted all day, as I was sad to be leaving, knowing I would not seem them for a few months or longer (depending on Christmas plans).  I was also jumping ahead in my head about tomorrows journey back across the country.  I was ready, but anxious.  We left Lawrence after taking a family picture.  My parents often do this when we are all together.

We headed back down to Fairhaven, got together our stuff and planned to meet Kate and Sarah at the Madeira Cafe in New Bedford.  I plugged in the address on Maps and found it to be very out of the way.  Kate had wanted us to go there earlier in our stay, but the timing never worked out.  We followed the directions, which brought us through some of the less desirable parts of New Bedford.  Tom had never really seen the bowels of New Bedford.  He has always thought that if he moved back to the East Coast, he would think about living there.  I wonder what he was thinking now?

We arrived at the address, finding a neon Miller Light sign with Madeira Cafe surrounding it and backlit awnings told me it was a bar.  Kate did mention martinis, but what about dinner?  I pulled around to the back to a small parking lot.  I kinda wished we had brought the dogs to guard the car.

We went inside and found it to be inviting.  We grabbed a few stools at the bar and ordered a beverage.  We were the first to arrive, so we waited for Kate and Sarah, reading the menus and checking out the restaurant.  It was Portuguese.  The menu had traditional portuguese meals and appetizers including the oh so famous Kale Soup.

Kate and Sarah showed up at about the same time that a band started playing.  It seemed that the late night crowd turned to music after their dinner.  For those eating late, both at the same time.  We decided to stay at the bar as the music would have been harsh on the dinner conversation.

We all enjoyed a fabulous dinner.  After meeting the owner Caroline, we found out that the fish was all locally caught.  Meals are prepared fresh daily, often by Caroline herself.  She was a wonderful hostess and everything a restaurant owner should be (in my mind).  After a glass of Medeira Wine, compliments of the house, Caroline gave me a gift basket for our journey as well as some portuguese bread that looked like a huge english muffin.  A great evening all around.

I would recommend this restaurant to anyone.  Stop by if you are in the area.  It is located at 76 Church Street, New Bedford.  If you go, tell Caroline the boys from CA sent you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An Afternoon with Aunta Suey

Our first stop on Route 6 was less than 60 miles away.  Actually, it was our second stop.  We crossed over the Sagamore Bridge, leaving Cape Cod and had some lunch at Friendly's.  I have always been a big fan of this family ice cream shop and especially their Fishamajig.  The Fishamajig is your basic breaded white fish topped with American cheese and tartar sauce  I have been eating them forever and often stopped at this particular store when leaving the Cape.  

Our next stop was to drop in to see John's sister, Kate's sister-in-law and Massimo's Aunt, Sue.  We had been calling Aunta Suey (as Max and I call her) all week, trying to make a plan to see her.  One last attempt was made that morning when we were heading out of Ptown, and we finally connected via text. She had recently moved to her fiance's house and I was unsure where it was.  I had heard that she lived closed to her mother and Richard's, which was over the bridge, so I felt comfortable headed in that direction.

One last text and I learned that, no, she lived on the Cape side.  No problem.  A quick jaunt down 6 to the Bourne Bridge and we were back on Cape Cod.  I was happy to be back in the states and having my iphone and all it's apps.  Maps brought me right to her front door.

The property was lovely with lots of green grass and trees.  Hummingbirds were flying getting there sweet nectar from the plants and feeders.  Her fiance, Tom, was mowing the lawn on his break from work.  We walked up to the house and knocked on the door.  Out came Suey, looking radiant.

We sat outside and had a beer while looking over her recent finds at the local dump.  Suey goes to the dump often, where they have a swap shop.  You don't have to swap.  You can take.  She takes a lot and shares her wealth with family and friends.  One of her most recent finds was a bottle opener in the shape of a shark.  I expressed my fondness for it and as quick as you can say fishamjig, she says, "Take it!"  I did.

Tom came to the porch and joined us after finishing the lawn.  He is a UPS delivery man, which is how the two of them had met.  Suey, a real estate agent, took a part time holiday job and they worked together, fell in love, blah blah.

Luther has this hatred of UPS trucks and their drivers.  He has no issues with mailmen or FedEx.  Just UPS.  Our packages are often thrown over the fence so the driver won't get attacked.  I was pretty cautious when Tom came out in his uniform, but Luther didn't seem to notice.  I definitely had to hold him back when Tom started his truck up.  Who knows what he would do if he ever caught one.

We walked over to the freshly cut lawn as Suey showed us around the property.  The dogs were loving the grass and it seemed like a good time for some ball play.  We plopped down on the lawn and tossed the ball to the dogs until they had enough and laid down.

Resting Time with Aunta Suey

A Radiant Sue

Suey offered for us to take a walk down to the canal.  The Cape Cod Canal, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers, runs through the arm of MA as an option for boaters to avoid going around the tip of Cape Cod.  I have never been on the banks of the canal, so I was looking forward to seeing it.  We got the leashes and headed through the quaint community.

Our first viewing was down a small and steep beach access.  Luther and I went down while Tom, BJ and Suey waited at the road.  A bit further down the road was a wider slope down to the bank of the canal.  We were right across from the Mass Maritime Academy and the very close to the vertical lift railroad bridge.  I have never seen this particular bridge from this vantage point and it was pretty amazing.  Click it's link to learn more about this amazing feat.

Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge

The dogs, being very used to water these days, whined to go in the canal.  It wasn't the time for wet dogs, but I let them put their legs in.  We continued on our walk down the beach, checking out the different views across the canal. 

Looking North

Looking South

We went back up to the road, and headed back a different way to make a complete loop.  We passed this sign and Suey graciously pointed out where her house is.

I Live Here!

We got back to the house and gave the dogs some water before putting them in the car.  It was time to get back on the road.  We were headed to Fairhaven and then to Lawrence on Saturday.  It was going to be a long weekend of goodbyes.

It was a pleasure to be with Auntey Suey for the afternoon.  Along with the shark bottle opener, she also gave us a wonderful embroider Thanksgiving tablecloth.  It was a beautiful find at one of her swap shops and I plan to use it this Thanksgiving at my friend, Joan's house.  Big hugs and kisses to you, Aunta Suey!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Journey Begins and Ends in Provincetown, MA

We woke up in the morning, did our morning coffee and began packing the car.  This was our last day in Ptown and we had to say our goodbyes.  We drove down to Pepe's, where I knew we would find our peeps.  We sadly said our goodbyes with lots of hugs and kisses.  I have always hated this part, as when I returned to Ptown, it was always like coming home.  This past week felt no different.  I was leaving home again, back on the road, heading to my other home over 3,000 miles away.

We made a commitment to Deb to stop at her house to say goodbye, which we did.  More hugs, more kisses.  The dogs were getting anxious in the car with all these stops and starts, but they would soon forget and get their traveling paws back in shape.

We were in Provincetown this past Christmas and I had seen the following sign.  It was then that I knew that we would someday take this road back to CA.  We had already been on all of the Interstates heading East/West.  Route 6 followed my personal desire to avoid tolls and I loved going through small town America.

The Journey Begins and Ends in Provincetown, MA

Route 6 travels through 14 states mostly following along I-80.  It has been chopped up and rebuilt and heralded by the US Route 6 Tourist Association as well as other road enthusiasts.  I found a few other bloggers that wrote about their travels across this fine road.

I was excited to be traveling this road.  Tom, not so much.  He thought that it would take forever and a day, only periodically looking at my research, noting the terrible traffic we would face in NY and fearful of twisters in the midwest.  We had given ourselves 10 days to get to Los Osos.  We figured that it would take that long to go through all those small towns.  We had learned of some people who lived along the way and planned to either stop in or take pictures of their houses.  I was surprised at just how many people I knew who lived near or on Route 6.

We were off.
Leaving home for home.
Two Dudes, Two Dogs, Two Lanes.
Goodbye Ptown!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Carnival Parade

Tom, Ross and I had our morning coffee at the house and then ventured off to Pilgrim Bark Park for another round of ball play with BuddyJack & Luther.

We played for a while and then drove over to Far Land Provisions, a local general store offering anything you may need while visiting or living in Provincetown.  It is owned by Jim Farley and Tom Boland, who actually live next door to Ross.  I had known them since moving to Provincetown and was pleased that they were working that morning.

We had wanted a small bite to eat and they have a bakery and deli on premises.  We ended up ordering a bagel and as we cashed out, I started talking to Jim.  I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that his father lived one block away from US Route 6 in Illinois.  He jotted down the address and made a few notes about the area and we promised to stop at his boyhood home when we traveled back West.

We were fortunate to be staying at Ross' as the parking for this day is horrendous.  We were able to get back to his house and start preparing for the day in very short order.  I had to get in my Parade Marshal shirt and hat and Tom, who was asked to work security at Pepe's, had to get an outfit for the day.

Ross said not to worry about the dogs.  He could handle them OK.  So, off we went.  The crowds had been arriving all day and the streets and sidewalks were getting filled with boisterous families, drag queens and locals.  The restaurants on Commercial Street had their tables full, just waiting for the annual parade of floats and groups.

My job, as Parade Marshall, was to keep people off the streets as the parade was passing by.  Not an easy task as the sidewalks, in places, could not hold a crowd more than two deep.  My area was outside Pepes and also had the judges area in it.  Tom set up a small table and chair and margarita next to the stairs of the upper deck at Pepe's.  His job was to ID all people going up and to make sure they were over the age of 21.  I went between the street and Pepe's through the crowds regularly, checking on the people, many of whom in "costume" for this years theme, "Can't Stop the Music."

Hair Hoppers of Ptown

Them are Beads!

The parade started at 3:00 PM, on the far end of Commercial Street.  It always took a long time to for it to get to the center of town.  I had the opportunity to see a few faces I remembered, including Irene Rabinowitz, Director of Helping Our Woman, one of the local non-profits in town.  She was our former neighbor and we spent a few minutes chatting as she was settling into the judges area.

The crowds were getting big and boisterous and then Roger told me that the parade was coming in soon to our area.  I started to politely asking people to move towards the sides of the road.  Most people listened and heeded.  Others paid no mind.

I tend to get very rigid during these types of duties and today was no different.  Move or else!  It was not going to work any way I handled the situation, so I gave up.  Until the parade comes, they are going to do what they going to do.  Just Breathe.  Aahhh.

I could see the parade coming down the road as the police drove their motorcycles down the parade route spreading the crowds out.  The first car had the Grand Marshal, Charo.  Yes!  Charo!  She had performed the night before in town hall and did her "cuchi coo" for the fans.

Charo and an Ill-placed Policeman

The Hat Sisters

Miss Richfield

Mark Jacobs Float of Huge Rollerskate with Engine

More Queens of the Desert

Just Another Parade

The parade went by and the crowds began to disperse, following the exhaust of the last float.  The streets were filled with broken beads and paper confetti as well as glitter and handouts.  I had always been amazed that by tomorrow morning, all of the trash would be cleared away as if the event never happened. 

It was late afternoon and I was hungry.  I tried to follow behind the parade in the hopes of getting a hot dog or something else to snack on.  I slid through the crowds and eventually found myself at one local food store.  $6 Dog!  No way!  Remember, I'm cheap.  I turned around and looked for a cheaper dog.  Provincetown is not a cheap place to vacation or eat, but I was on a mission.  I eventually found a $3 dog on the pier and sat back and relaxed.

I headed back to Pepe's and checked on Tom and the rest of the crowd working.  They were busy!  Busy!  They had the seats, but a kitchen can only push out so much food.  Fortunately, there was a mistake in the kitchen and a plate arrived for us to nibble on.  Yum!

View of the Harbor from Pepe's Wharf

The crowds thinned out and Tom was released from his duties and we began to enjoy the carnival evening.  We had a large table by the entrance to Pepe's and all settled in for cocktails and revelry.

Miro in his Outfit

Miro & Deb (Love her beads!)

Hostess with Style

Tom and I walked downtown to see what was happening around town.  We were both pretty tired from the day and the evening before, so we avoided the crowds of Commercial Street and headed up the hill to the Porch Bar for a night cap. Greg, the manager, was not tending bar yet, but bought our first round.  I have always enjoyed Greg as a bartender and as a conversationalist.  We have often talked politics, town issues and at times a bit of gossip.  We chatted for a bit before heading back down the hill to Commercial Street.

The streets had changed from families to a more adult crowd.  Some people were walking with a slur.  Others were headed to a few different bars, keeping the carnival going.  We strolled the streets watching the people, occasionally walking through the bustling clubs that were not charging cover charges.

We were heading out of town the following day, so we stopped into Pepe's to say good bye and thank you to everyone that had been a part of our few days back in Ptown.  Dwayne, Astrid, Miro and the rest of the crew were hanging downstairs, enjoying a last cocktail of carnival.  We said our good nights and walked home to the dogs.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gallery Hopping and Bulgarians

We awoke in the morning very refreshed.  It was a beautiful morning and was looking to last throughout the day.  BuddyJack had found a lovely spot in Ross' house and Luther was looking forward to a better day in Ptown.

BuddyJack in fine comfort

Luther Wanting More

Ross went off to work and we put the dogs in the car to take them to the Pilgrim Bark Park.  I am sorry to say that I have no pictures of this wonderful jewel for dogs in Ptown, but just click the link above and you can see what they have done with a vacant lot on the edge of Route 6.

More ball and more play.  It was a never ending repeated story.  It was great to see a few friends at the park as well as the collection of dogs which the park were visited by.  Luther loved being with the other dogs, running around with his ball always in his mouth.  BuddyJack was never to playful with the other dogs and instead ran for that ball until tired and laying down in the shade.

I dropped off Tom at Ross' house and took a drive into town to meet with Roger Chavette, one of the chairpersons for the Carnival Parade happening on Thursday.  I had seen on Provincetown's Community Page that they were in need of Parade Marshals and I had offered my services.

I was meeting him at the Tourism Office which gave me an opportunity to get more information on Route 6 and my desired drive back to CA.  Route 6 is the Longest Transcontinental Road in the US, going from Ptown, MA to Long Beach, CA.  Actually, it is no longer the longest as CA renumbered their routes and it now ended in Bishop, CA.  It was still a route that I wanted to take home.

I got into town about an hour early and walked through town after I got some delicious coffee at Wired Puppy.  There were many people working on decorating their businesses for the upcoming parade.  Beads were for sale in stores, including Essentials, always a treat to stop in.  They are a "friend" of mine on facebook and was pleasantly surprised that she knew of me from years ago.

Wa Decorated for Carnival's "Can't Stop the Music"

I continued my stroll, passing Wa, a wonderful harmonic store for your senses.  They were fully decked out.  I stopped at Ptown Spin to visit my old friend Will.  He has had a store selling dance music for years.  I notice his website is still under partial construction, but if you ever need a certain cd, call him.  He either has it or he will get it for you.  We chatted for awhile until it was time to meet Roger.

I arrived at the tourism office, still a few minutes early, so I looked at the racks of brochures, hoping for some information on Route 6.  Nothing.  I stopped at the information desk, asking the lady there if she may have had any information about Route 6 behind the counter.  Nothing.  Actually she had no idea why I wanted to know and, when told, had no idea that it went to CA.

I would have to work with the information I had collected on the web, especially since AAA would not give me any information on the outdated road, stating that people who travel west take the highways, not the byways.

I helped Roger into the building as he had many boxes filled with paper, t-shirts, hats and bags.  I filled out the proper paperwork and received my Marshal shirt and straw fedora hat.  I was the first to arrive, so I was given first choice of what color feather would be in my hat.  I chose purple.

I talked openly about our plans to leave via Route 6 and Jackie Kelly from the Visitors Service Board chimed in asking if this was true.  Finally someone who knew what I was talking about.  I promised to send her the story about our trip that she had asked for and went out into the glorious day.

I called Tom and we agreed to meet on the East End of Commercial Street.  The East End has many galleries dotted along either side of the one way street.  I had never really gone to many of the galleries, so I thought it would be fun to be tourists and check out the local artists as well as historical pieces.

We picked up the Provincetown Art Guide and started to stroll.  There were so many beautiful pieces as well as some quite odd ones in the galleries.  We stopped in Egeli Gallery and found the following painting.  I snuck a shot of it for my friend, Joan.  She loves a martini.

The Egeli Gallery also has a collection of Mud Heads, paintings found in the walls of the Cape Cod School of Art.  They are amazing pieces and worth checking out.  We continued on the trail, once marked by a green line down Commercial Street (quickly covered by black paint after community outrage).

The galleries are joined by more commercial ventures as one gets closer to town hall.  We were passing Pepe's and stopped in the antique store owned by Astrid, now being run by Ryan Landry, Mothers Little Shop Around the Corner.  The Sock Monkey head is big enough to wear and the items they are selling are just as bizarre and unique.

We passed town hall and were now in the center of town.  People everywhere.  Some new stores and some older.  We passed by a new one and stopped in as it was all about bar supplies.  One never knows when one will find a martini glass which is so special you can't live without.

We walked past The Little Store, a place I used to work at selling cigarettes, lottery and sundries.  They also had a large selection of newspapers and magazines for all people.  I was surprised to see that it was for sale.  It was a great business, and a place I missed working at.

We went back to the car after that and drove back to Ross'.  I was nervous about leaving the dogs at Ross', concerned that they would demolish the house in our absence.  They are not prone to these actions, but still.  Ross was getting off work soon and I wanted to get there before him, just in case...

We arrived and there were no issues.  Dogs were sleeping the afternoon away in our absence.  Ross showed up shortly after.  I ended up taking a nap while Tom walked the dogs on the beach.  Ross also napped for a few hours.

When we awoke, we had decided to go for dinner at, you can guess, Pepe's.  We left the dogs at the house again and headed into town in Ross' car.  He was sure he could find one of his secret spots to park, although this was one of the busiest weeks of the year and the night before Carnival.  No parking anywhere, and just when all hopes were about to be dashed, Doris Day Parking!

Dinner was, of course, stupendous.  The service was perfect and the company enjoyable.  Many of our friends were there.  Dwayne, Deb, Timmy, Barry.  Also our new Bulgarian friends were there.

There are some nights that simply magical and glorious.  I can't stress enough, this was one of them!

We enjoyed our dinner on the patio and snuck a cigarette or two later in the evening.  There was talk of going to Vixen that evening for Bulgarian Night.  It was decided and an hour later we were strolling into Vixen at the Pilgrim House being greeted by Miro, our new friend at Pepe's.  He also worked here for late night.

The place was not busy and a sharp contrast to some of the other clubs in town.  I was a bit disappointed at the crowd but soon changed my mind as the music thumped in my chest.  It was great.  I would recommend Bulgarian Night to anybody going to town.  You just have to know a few Bulgarians.

We were all up late, dancing and playing.  I have attached a few videos to show the night.  The first is one friend shadow dancing on the stage and the other is the group dancing in the lights.  Enjoy.

Tomorrow is the Carnival Parade!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day Tripping and an Overnight

Monday was rainy.  It seems that the dark clouds would come often during this leg of our journey.  We had plenty of it over the past week, although it did offer nice times to just stop moving.  We had been planning on going to Provincetown this week, although we had no idea where we would stay or what we would do with the dogs on the hot days.

A rainy day is always great for a day trip, so we decided to pack the dogs and head down Rt. 6 to Ptown.  The roads were busy with other like minded people.  On the Cape, if it is not a beach day, it is a Ptown day (at least once).

We arrived in Ptown and it was pouring.  Not a good day for ducks, let alone dogs.  We parked up at the Pilgrim Monument, paying our $5 and ventured into the rain.  The monument is located high on a hill and offers some spectacular views of the cape if you climb the 116 stairs and 60 ramps to the top.  We were not walking up the stairs this time, but quickly walked down the hill towards Commercial Street and our friend, Astrid's restaurant, Pepe's.

Pepe's Wharf is one of the best waterfront restaurants I know.  I am a bit biased as I am friends with the owner and the manager, Dwayne, had been my friend for over 20 years.  There is also a number of others that I know very well who work there, and it is always a great time.

Today was no different.  We arrived sopping wet, but the place was packed and so we had to be wallflowers for a while until the other wet customers had finished their meals and ventured into the rain.  It was great that Astrid was there and we chatted with her for a bit after she pulled a few stools over to the bar for us, squeezing us in.  Dwayne stopped over as well and soon it was old home week with many people stopping over to say hello.

Their bar is one of the last bars in the states that one can eat, drink and smoke in and have an incredible view of the harbor filled with it's many boats.  Smoking regulations have been in effect for years, but there is some clause about 3 open walls and the ability to smoke.  The deck at Pepe's was one of our favorite spots to nosh and cocktail when we lived there.

The Upstairs Bar at Pepe's Wharf

We had a late lunch upstairs.  A delicious 8 oz. fish accompanied by french fries.  Classic Fish 'n Chips.  The fish was meaty without too much batter, Tom's favorite way.  Tom got the lobster Roll that had enough lobster in it to feed a small family.  Both were eaten quickly with a marguerita.  The bartender William was a wonderful host to us.  We felt so much at home.

We were still soaked after lunch and Dwayne had suggested to go down to the fireplace.  There was a family sitting there, but surely they would be leaving soon.  Not too soon as it dragged on for over an hour.  Eventually that family left and we got to take off our sweatshirts and warm ourselves and dry our clothes by the fire.

Pepe's, as well as the town in general, tend to hire staff from Eastern Europe for the summer.  I mentioned a number of posts ago how it was getting difficult to find and afford year pound housing, so the workforce had to be imported to handle the uptick of vacationers and day trippers during the high season.  Pepe's had hired many Bulgarians, and they were buzzing about the restaurant.  There were a few that took care of us, offering us blankets by the fire and serving us some red wine.  Miro was the name of one of the staff and took very good care of us.

Fireplace at Pepe's

Lower Level Display at Pepe's

Both Astrid and Dwayne were perfect hosts.  Astrid had checked around for a place to stay, eventually getting an offer from our friend Ross to spend the night at his home on Duncan Lane.  Dwayne, author of "Mornings With Mailer", kept our stomachs full and bodies warm by the fire.  All in all, it was a perfect day.

Miro Striking Pose

A Great Room at Pepe's

Dwayne at Pepe's

We had a wonderful dinner with Ross, compliments of the house and then visited with Timmy (Helen) and Barry along with their 3 dogs.  They lived and worked on the property of Pepe's.  We went to Ross' house to sleep that evening.  Both BuddyJack & Lu enjoyed being someplace other than a car and happily rested for the night.

We drove back to Fairhaven the next morning, only to pack a few items and head back to Ptown for Carnival Week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Weekend with My Family

I decided to head to Lawrenec on Saturday to spend some time with my family.  My mother had telephoned me the day before informing me that my father was admitted into the hospital for congestive heart failure.  Saturday's are always an extra busy day at their house as the family gathers and either goes garage saleing or just hangs at the house.  It was a great opportunity for me to see some of the older nieces that I may not have seen yet.  Tom decided to stay in Fairhaven with the dogs, so this afforded me the opportunity to do whatever I needed for my father without worrying about lakes or balls.

I got to my folk's home in the morning which gave me an opportunity to talk with my mom about the condition of my father.  It seems he wasn't  feeling up to par in Canada, but kept it quiet.  He had a doctor's appointment the day before and they admitted him via ambulance, leaving his car at the Manchester VA Medical Center.

I got on the internet and tried to find some more information on his condition.  I did notice that there were a  number of consistent reasons why this would happen.  The first was too much sodium, stemming from a poor diet.  The need to exercise was also there as well as other health concerns which my father lives with.

My mother, Karen and I went up in the late afternoon to see him and to get more information.  When we got to the hospital in Concord, NH, we found his room and found a smiling man hooked up to a few machines.  The doctor was unavailable, as it was late in the afternoon, but we had an opportunity to talk to the floor nurse.  Yes it was congestive heart failure.  Yes the doctor would be in tomorrow.  No she couldn't answer many other questions.

It was decided that I would stay over my folk's house that night and go back in the morning to visit with the doctor.  We wrote down a lot of questions for him, preparing for the next day.  Needless to say, we were concerned.

We arrived back home and I settled on the couch for a nights sleep.  I awoke early and we planned our day to include picking up my dad's car and to visit with the doctor.  When we arrived at the hospital, my father was looking good.  We talked more about his diet and how to make some better choices and menu planning.

We met with the doctor, who was quite nice and answered all of our written down questions.  He would be released the following day after a few more tests and then hooked up with a dietician and a monitor system for his vitals.  It seemed that everything will be good for the time being.

We picked up his car in Manchester and I followed my mother home.  We got back and I was a bit anxious to get back to Fairhaven to Tom & the dogs.  My mother, nicely, slipped me some cash.  It is something she often does when I drive home from CA.  It always helps the gas bill and it makes her feel good because she often treats my sisters throughout the year.  It seems "fair" to her.

I got back to Fairhaven early evening and in enough time to go to Waterfront Grille for a late dinner.  I was hoping for a better meal than the Catwalk and was pleased that it was.  I was feeling a little flush with my mother's cash in my pocket.  We both had some chowder and fish for dinner.  There was very little local fish though.  Why?  You would think that there would be so much fresh local fish being on the waterfront.  It's something I will never understand.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fairhaven and a Week of Rest?

We arrived into Fairhaven around nine PM.  There was lots of traffic on I-95 and then construction on I-93 heading towards Boston.  It was a Sunday, and thus pretty typical for the time of day.

I hate tolls.  I would rather drive 20 miles per hour on some stupid road than pay a quarter.  I appreciate that it is a revenue gathering option for the state or other governing body, but I can still hate them.  Driving through Maine and then New Hampshire, I have to go through a number of tolls.  Grumble, grumble.

We arrived at Sconticut Neck Road, left the dogs in the car, and knocked at the door of our friends Kate & John and their child Massimo.  They also have two dogs, Humphrey and Calder and one cat, Mr. Banks.  Kate was missing, but John was up working on his computer and having a glass of wine.  "David?!"  Didn't Kate tell him we were coming?  

We explained that we were going to be there for a bit, two weeks, to be exact.  John made us a cocktail and we sat around and chatted about our trip and what was going on his life.  Lots of talk, and then time to get the dogs out of the car.

We stay at this home often.  A few years back, Kate & John converted their garage into a photography studio.  It is called the Fairydoo.  We stay in there on a futon with a portable toilet and a couch for the dogs.  Luther & BuddyJack know the house well as well as it's occupants.  They also know the Fairydoo well.  They would always prefer to stay in the house, but with the other animals, it is not always a good idea.

The dogs ran to the front door.  No!  This Way!  Into the Fairydoo and unload some of the car.  It is great to land somewhere for more than 10 hours.  We unloaded a lot.  Two weeks of Two Dudes and Two Dogs had the car smelling too ripe.  Dirty laundry, some dishes that may or may not have been washed well, blankets and towels, etc.  Time to download.

We ordered some pizza from YiaYia's, located across the street from Kate & John's.  They always have a fresh, home made product and that night was more of the same goodness I've had before.  A few slices and a few pizza bones for the dogs and it was bed time.

We had decided to lay low for a few days and rest up from our constant moving.  The following days would be a great opportunity to have some fun with Massimo, now 5 years old.  It also gave us a chance to start planning our weeks ahead and eventually, our trip home.

We got up early the next day, but not early enough.  Massimo was up and hanging with John.  Max was very excited to see us and showed it by giving a hug and a kiss.  There was a large box on the dining room table and Max was very excited that it was for him.  It seems that Max has taken a liking to taxidermy animals.  He quickly showed us a stuffed white ermine.  It was quite beautiful.  He had spent all his savings on his new acquisition, a coyote with a pheasant hanging from it's mouth.  He had not seen it yet, as he was waiting for his mother to come home.

The week of rest did not seem like it was going to happen.  It had been a while since a 5 year old ran our lives, but it was about to start.  Tom took most of the responsibility and was quickly reading, playing card games and drawing with Massimo.  He did this until Kate came home and then it was the time for the unveiling of the latest stuffed animal.

The big box was wrapped tight.  I split the tape and opened the box with Max to find that it was reinforced inside with wooden slats and screws.  Massimo pulled some of the extra paper filler out of the box and waited for the screws to be taken out.  A few minutes later, we were all looking at this dead animal looking eerily alive, especially with the broken necked pheasant.  Max proceeded to tell us what was real on the animal and what was fake, such as the eyes and teeth.  Massimo and I placed the animal in his bedroom so the cat would not go after it and ruin the prized possession.

We continued to hang with the family, taking breaks along the way to play with the dogs and take naps.  We did this until Wednesday, which I wanted to take a trip and head to Lawrence to visit my folks.  I belong to a number of facebook sights about the city of Lawrence and have become nostalgiac about a few of the areas of my childhood.

I first searched Google for a freshwater lake near Fairhaven so the dogs could get some exercise and go swimming.  I found one in Freetown called Long Pond.  We stopped at the town swimming beach, but there were a few families at the shore and nobody wants a dog running through their blankets and such.  I continued to follow the pond around, passing a Christian camp and then found what I was looking for. A boat ramp.

We played at that boat ramp for quite a while.  Throwing the ball far into the pond and then waiting a few minutes for us to repeat.  The water was warm as I took off my sandals and waded in a bit.  The dogs had a great time and then it was time to head to Lawrence

Tripoli's pizza was standard fare at Salisbury Beach while growing up.  Their main bakery location was in Lawrence and I wanted to have Tom taste a slice of my childhood.  We arrived at Tripoli's and I decided to do a taste test between Tripoli's and Napoli Pizza across the street.

Tom was not impressed with either, but offered a critique of liking the crust of Napoli and the sauce of Tripoli.  I ate both and enjoyed them both.  I must admit that the crust of Napoli's was crisper and more satisfying than Tripoli.

We headed to my folk's house after our taste test.  We hung out for a while at the house.  Summer vacation was still happening for the kids so they were coming in and out.  The pool was open and it was hot so a few were in there.  My parent's house is always a bevy of activity due to my sister, Karen, living behind my parents.  My other sister, Kimberly, has a second hand store, Somewhere In Time, located under the Chamber of Commerce that my mother recently retired from.  She and her husband, Shaun, have three kids and also are taking care of their grandchild.  Needless to say, there is always someone over at "Grammy & Oompa's."

My father wasn't feeling well that afternoon, so we hung out with my mother and Karen.  Little Naresh came in with their dogs, a couple of pugs, who did not necessarily like BuddyJack.  Add my parent's dog, Scruffy, and all hell was breaking loose in the house.  First I'd put them outside, then in and the others out.  The pugs eventually went home, thank goodness.

We ended going out to eat that night with my family.  They chose Olive Garden.  I have never eaten at an Olive Garden.  I was afraid that it would be just another chain restaurant without the love in the food.  I was partially correct.  I did love the endless salad and breadsticks, but the food tasted salty to me.

My father had been diagnosed with diabetes a few years back and along with some other health issues has forced him to look at his diet.  I had been doing my own research at home and saw just how much sodium there is in prepared and restaurant foods.  He had trouble getting something that would work for him at the restaurant, but eventually ordered something that worked in his diet.  Emma, my niece, has siliac disease, so there were special restrictions for her too.

It was a nice dinner with the family, but it was time to head back to Fairhaven.  Kate texted me and let me know that she was going to Rose Alley in New Bedford with her new girlfriend, Sara.  I failed to mention that Kate has begun dating a woman.  It kinda blew me away when I was told and this would give us an opportunity to get to know her.

We got to Rose Alley about 9 PM and I was very pleased that they had a beer from Firestone Brewery on tap.  Firestone is from San Luis Obispo County and one of my favorite beers.  They have a great tagline, "It's what we drink around here."  I had missed this beer since I had my last one at Telte Yet Campground in Hope, BC.  They had a double IPA which was delicious.

We chatted with Kate and Sara for awhile.  At first it was very odd as Kate was spending all her time with Sara and leaving no openings for anyone to join in.  Eventually, chairs were moved and a foursome conversation started to occur.  It seems that Kate & Sara had been seeing each other since the start of summer and that Kate's marriage would need some adjustments in the near future.

A few times I went outside to have a cigarette and took a few shots of the area.  New Bedford is an old fishing port.  It still has cobblestone streets in it's downtown area as well as many old stone buildings.  Kate's business, Crowells Fine Art & Framing is located there.  They also have a whaling museum as well as a National Park.

John has a crane company and hauls cages out of boats filled with quahogs.  They get processed in an amazing trip down and up conveyor belts.  They supply the most clams to the nation from this very plant.  John and I once mused about doing clam shell driveways, a coastal new england tradition, with the waste.

Cobblestone Street

Cork, in a stone building

We tried to sleep in the following day, but between the dogs, Massimo and the heat, we were up early.  It was Thursday and the evening had plans of Aha! in downtown New Bedford.  Kate was busy with the gallery and Aha! and John had a few boats coming in, so Tom babysat Max while I caught up on my blogs and news.  A nap was also in order, so I took it.

We had heard such amazing things about Aha! that maybe my expectations were a bit too high.  The first thing we wanted to do was eat and then do a walk about through the galleries of downtown.  We stopped in the gallery and saw Kate.  I had my brochure and it's recommended restaurants.  We were running low on funds, so I wanted to keep it cheap.  I mentioned to Kate the few restaurants I had in mind.  They were the Catwalk, the Pour Farm and the Waterfront Grille.

I thought we'd save the Waterfront for another night and Kate told us to go to the Pour Farm.  We walked over and it was pretty much a bar with food.  We sat at a table, but the music that was being played was pounding through my head, so we decided to leave.  I instead chose the Catwalk.  The worst food ever.  The worst service.  Should have stayed with the loud music.

After dinner we strolled the streets going into different galleries and shops.   The city blocks off a few streets and sets up mini stages or children's activity areas.  It also gave another chance of taking some shots around town.  I really like New Bedford and, if moving was in my future, I would certainly seriously think about New Bedford.

Solo Musician on Portable Stage

A Monument for the Whale Fishermen

Local Church

Old Fishermen's House

We ended the Aha! evening at Freestones City Grill.  It is located a few doors down from Crowell's and is a favorite haunt for many downtown NB people.  We have been going there for lunches or dinners ever since Kate took over the gallery.  The food is great and the service is impeccable.  We have been fortunate to meet David, the bartender at Freestones,  His beverages match the food and he has a great disposition.  He actually has made it onto the TravelingDog Calender for this year.

David and I at Freestones

We left Freestones, with dogs in the back seat and headed back towards Fairhaven.  We took one last detour to Le Place, a local watering hole in New Bedford.  We had been there the last time we were in town, recognizing the bartender who started working there the day we last were at Le Place.  It is located right  on the edge of New Bedford and I took the next shot of a "Welcome to New Bedford" from the back.

We headed home and went to bed fairly quickly.  This week of rest was turning into anything but.  We still had plans to visit my family again this weekend and then to head to Provincetown for Carnival.  Until then...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in the US

We awoke early at Betty's.  The rain had come the night before and the ground was muddy.  We piled our linens in the car and headed down to the community below.  We were fortunate to have had Betty's camp as we would have been soaked sleeping in then tent and then breaking it down.

We stopped and got some coffee at the big tent, planning our day.  My family was leaving this morning and it seemed like a good plan to leave this morning too.  The PowWow would be continuing throughout the day, but I was getting anxious to get back to the states.

We went to Betty's to drop off the key to the cabin.  No answer except for a barking dog, so we went next door to my aunt's.  She was awake, and proceeded to go to Betty's and wake her up.  I felt bad about waking her up, but she didn't seem to mind.  We said our goodbyes and headed over to my family's hotel rooms.  

We made one last stop on the reserve at the boat dock.  We find that boat ramps are an excellent area for the dogs.  There is not much traffic, if any and no mud.  There is an easy entrance into the water with a bit more exercise for them due to the decline and return.  We got some balls out and proceeded to play.  Into the water they went.  All was good until I threw a ball too far and it got swept into the current of high tide.  BuddyJack was annoyed that he lost that ball, but we got another and tried it again.

We arrived at the hotel to find that my family was up and practically all packed.  We grabbed some coffee and pastry from the hotel lobby and headed towards the US.  They headed to Betty's and Auntie's, and eventually to the woodpile to pick up some sweetgrass and other trinkets for the kids.
It was normal to gas up on the reserve before heading out, but since there was no discount, and we were pretty full from our last fill, we just planned on getting some gas in the states.  It was a rainy morning, and at times, it was a downpour.  We were in Nova Scotia now, heading West and then South towards Rt. 95 in Houlton, the border crossing.

Along our route, Tom found a reserve and we thought it would be great to close our Canadian adventure with some indian gas.  It was about 10 miles off of our route and about 20 miles from the border.  We had about 2 hours of driving until we got there, so we just enjoyed the leisurely pace of driving through small towns and recalling the past few weeks on the road.

We saw a sign for some falls, so we decided to stop and check them out.  When we arrived, I realized I had stopped at them many years ago.  There wasn't much to see.  Waterfalls.  Ooh!  Aah!  Okay, seen it.

We got back onto the road, after everyone and everything relieved their bladders.  We got a bit confused trying to get back onto the highway, headed in the wrong direction at first and eventually got our bearings.  The indian reserve was not too far down the highway.

We were fortunate that this reserve had a paved road headed into it.  The rain was coming down and I hate driving in the mud.  On the outskirts of the reserve was a gas station.  Yeah!  We pulled up and I got out.  I asked about the discount and the attendant asked to see my card.  He had lots of questions about my reserve and my relations.  It seems that a french man had recently been making forgeries of the cards for people who did not meet one of the requirements of having one, being at least 50% native.

I guess I answered the questions correctly as I got the discount.  It did occur to me though that if I got gas in the states it would have been cheaper.  Oh well.  It is a fine bookend for this leg of the journey.  Thank you Tobique First Nation.

The border crossing was just down the road once we got back onto the highway.  I was a bit apprehensive coming back into the states with only my indian card, but all the research I had done had said that it was OK.  My mother had done it for years.

There was a small line at the crossing and Tom got the blue bag and pulled out all possible papers that would be needed.  We approached the booth and received the obligatory questions.  "How long have you been in Canada?"  "Where do you live?"  "Where were you born?"  They did ask to see our birth certificates as well, which I think was due to my indian card.  A final "Welcome home" and we were in Maine.

I grabbed my cell phone and ta da, 3G, AT&T, Dog Parks, Maps, News.  Everything I had been without for close to two weeks was back in hand.  Tom thought it was funny that I was so excited, but I paid no mind to his chuckle.  Now I knew how far it was to go from point A to Point B and how long it would take to get there.  We had over 8 hours left of driving for the day.  Final destination, Fairhaven, MA.