Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You can't go home again!

How many times have I heard that old saying, "you can't go home again"? I guess it means that after a while, your old home bears no resemblance to the home as you remember it. Today I took the dogs down to Carver, MA for a swim. This is right behind the area where we used to live and over the years the boys and I spent many hours hiking and fishing this area. A few years ago, when we were up here, the area was closed to travel as it was being developed into a housing development. I went anyway because I knew I could find a  way around the gate. Surprise! Surprise! There was no gate and there was no development. This must have happened as the housing market was crashing. I drove in and let the dogs swim in the pond we used before. After they had their fill, I dried them off and got them back in the Jeep and investigated further.

I found a crew building acres and acres of new bogs. This was not low land that they were converting to bogs, some of this was hill and woods, now taken down to a level that would grow cranberries. Of necessity, a bog must be very moist to grow cranberries. For many years it was the only use for land that was too wet to farm normal produce. I saw two bulldozers running back and forth over one area leveling a deep base of dark, rich earth. In another area another crew was spreading a thick layer of sand on top of the rich soil. I would find out more later.

My next place to check out was the railroad line that ran around the big reservoir of Edaville Railroad. Edaville is named for Ellis D. Atwood who built a narrow gauge railroad that ran through cranberry country, especially around the large pond in the middle  of the property. This too was very low land and in order to have a base for the railroad tracks, dirt was excavated from both sides of where the track would be to raise a substantial berm that the rails could sit on. This left a deep channel all around the pond right next to the railroad tracks. The raised area was wide enough to drive beside the tracks and there were numerous places to pull off and fish, allowing others to pass as well as the occasional train. It was a good place to fish because the channel was so close to shore that even the smallest child could cast to great fishing spots.

I found myself in the general area of where I thought the tracks were, but could find nothing. At least nothing I was expecting. Of course it has been more than 30 years since I've been here but....... What I did find is a number of huge, magnificent homes, much larger than any I had seen in Carver before. I encountered no "No Trespassing" signs and headed toward the pond, sure that I would find tracks before we got to the water. Nope, didn't happen. Heading back out to the paved streets a met a man in a new pickup truck heading my way and he stopped. I opened my window and he asked what I was doing. I explained that I had fished here 35 years ago with my boys and was now looking for the same spot to take my grand kids. He told me that as an employee of the company that bought all this land, he cannot grant me permission to fish here, BUT, his policy is to ignore anyone on the property unless there is vandalism. He was the foreman of the A.D. Makepeace company who owns most of the cranberry bogs in Carver, Plymouth, and the surrounding area. Then he gave me a little history lesson.

Edaville Railroad has been sold several times. The previous owner ripped up the railroad tracks, moved earth, and built the large homes that now abutted the bogs and the pond. This was again around the time of the real estate crash. I guess he lost his shirt. A. D. Makepeace stepped in and bought all the bogs and adjacent area and someone else bought what was left of the railroad. In fact, I contacted Edaville RR before the vacation to check about being able to take the grand kids there and found that the new owners are operating at a much reduced size and are building a multi-million dollar water park. An expensive water park in the woods of carver? Someone else is going to lose his shirt.

As for the new bogs. Using the technology of three spaced laser generators, the bulldozers at the first bog had the blade levels controlled to a laser level so the bog would be absolutely smooth. The deep layer of rich earth is for nutrition of the cranberry plants. The 6 inch layer of sand is because the cranberry plant likes the sandy soil and the sand keeps weeds from growing. Why so many new bogs when berry farmers were always complaining about losses? There were never losses, the old farmers just wanted to keep a good thing for themselves. Now with a world wide market and cranberry hybrids that triple the crop it's almost a cash cow.

The bottom line for me as that all these bog systems have little ponds of water to irrigate the crop and they're usually full of fish. I'm hoping that I can introduce Kolbie and Kourtnie to the fishing their Dad used to know.

More silly data. When Helen and I moved to Carver in 1970, there were 2700 residents in a town of 39.7 square miles. The 2010 population was 11,509. There are a multitude of stores of all kinds and they have added traffic lights. There was one traffic light in Carver in 1970. The rural atmosphere of Carver will remain because of the large percentage of land taken by the bogs. They may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it beats the view of a housing development or industrial plant. In addition, the woods that surround the bogs are home to many deer, fox, rabbits, and other wild animals.

The End.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trouble with Picasa and Google

I have been having a heck of a time posting pictures on my blog and thought that I was doing something wrong. As I normally would, I add pictures to a new album in Picasa and then upload them to the web albums. From there, I could easily select the pictures that I wanted and insert them in my blog. That is no longer possible as Google has changed the system. Now the pictures are uploaded to a new place and when I click on "view" I am denied access to the page. Anyone with an alternative system should help me out. I no longer have faith in Picasa or Google. My email is paulandhelen67@gmail.com, and this email address may change again too.

As for what's going on up here in Massachusetts....... Yesterday Helen and I drove into Logan Airport in Boston to pick up our grandchildren Kourtnie and Kolbie. The ride to Logan was fast and we encountered no problems or traffic on the way. Unfortunately, once we got to the airport I got completely confused. Looking for parking, we would see a sign that said go right for parking and I'd go right. Then it would immediately say get in the left lane for parking, but I couldn't because of a car in the way. So I continued to the right and found myself heading out of Logan Airport. Then we saw another sign pointing to Terminals A, B, C, and E, and we took the turn and headed back. Again we were spell bound by the confusing signs and found our way to the exit again. After at least three tries and possible as much as five, we found our way to the parking area. From there everything started to work very well. We took the shuttle bus (Rt.# 88) to Terminal C and were there in plenty of time. Making sure that we would be in the right area at the right time, we checked around and asked directions. Very few people working at the airport speak with a Boston accent. In fact, very few speak with an American accent! With plenty of time to spare, we indulged in a bite to eat and a drink as we waited in a place where we could see Gate #33, where their plane would come in. The flight was early, and when we saw the plane pull in, we scampered down stairs to the baggage area, through which the kids would have to pass.

Our concerns about Kolbie's fear of flying were unfounded as he proclaimed that this was the best day of his life. He thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Kourtnie was also unfazed by the trip. Leaving the Terminal, we took the bus to the parking lot, got in the car and headed out. By now I was very used to finding the exit. We left Logan Airport and headed south on what used to be the Southeast Expressway. Since the "Big Dig" it is now called something else and it's not the same road that it was when I used to commute along this area 45 years ago. Wen got off the expressway at one of the first exits and headed toward the Prudential Building where Helen wanted the kids to see Boston from the Skywalk on the 50th floor. I was there over 40 years ago and I wasn't happy to be going up that high again. My fears were unfounded. The elevator zips you up in no time and there is no feeling of sudden acceleration. Once on the Skywalk, I was unfazed by the height. It really bothered me the last time, but it didn't bother me at all yesterday.

As you enter the viewing area, you are given a device that will play a short recording as you walk around the  walk. At many windows there would be a number. Plug that in and you get a short message telling you what you can see from that particular point. We were amazed at all the information. Helen saw the yellow finish line for the Boston Marathon, painted across a street. It was noon, but we could see many people filing into Fenway Park to watch a Red Sox game that wouldn't start until 1:30. It was a perfect day for viewing Boston and the noon sun was high above so we had an excellent view of everything. There were dozens of sail boats on the Charles River ad well as a number of racing shells (long, thin, rowboats). The air was so clear that we could see way out in all directions. The kids were as excited as Helen and I.

When it was time to come down, Helen and I were discussing where to take the kids for lunch. Someplace nice with a Boston atmosphere. When we got to the street, we mentioned lunch and Kourtnie's eyes lit up as she saw "California Pizza Kitchen". "Ooh, my favorite place" she said enthusiastically and what could we say. By now, we had already passed the entrance inside the Prudential Plaza and instead, we entered through the emergency exit that leads to the outside dining area. Sounds like Tamazula again!!! It was no problem and we were soon seated. Kourtnie knew her favorite going in, as did Kolbie, so it was four cheese ravioli for Kourtnie and a pepperoni pizza for her brother. Helen and I each had a Caesar Salad. It hurts to get old.

Then we headed back to the campground to feed and water the dogs. The kids were up early and running all day, so they rested a bit. Kourtnie was in a near coma when we woke her to go to our friend Roz's for supper. Also, Helen and the kids were going to stay there for a few days to see more of Boston. Roz again put on a veritable feast! Lasagna, special salad, meatballs made to perfection, and desert. I passed on the desert but she forced, forced I tell you, four of her special blueberry muffins on me. I took them home and tossed them in the freezer, as I was stuffed. Unfortunately, I got up in the middle of the night and found that they were not too frozen and I had one. Planning ahead, I left them out on the counter so I could have them with coffee in the morning, and I did.

This morning I got up an went to a truck supply to buy muffler clamps for the tail pipe. I also bought a universal hanger to replace the original which had failed. It did't take too long to get that done once I got back. Then it was time to tackle the refrigerator PC board. As I took apart the old board connections I used my camera to take several pictures of the process, wanting to make absolutely sure that it went back properly. The job went very well until I tried to run the refrigerator on gas. It would show as LP on the panel, but there was no sound of ignition and flame. I checked outside just to make sure and there was no flame. Damn, I'm thinking, I'm going to have to take it someplace anyway. I went back inside and fiddled with the controls. When I did, I noticed that when I replaced the board, the temperature control had reset to 1, the warmest setting. AHA!! I hope that thee was no gas flow because there was no demand for cooling. I set the setting for colder temperatures and the igniter clicked and the gas flowed and all was well with the world. I set it to Auto and it self selected to electric. back outside, I disconnected the 110 AC and it went back to LP. I was thrilled. Now all I wanted to do was run down the library and get this blog out. Thast and try to figure out the problem with posting pictures.

That's about all for now. Any Ideas about what to do with my blog or Picasa will be more than welcome.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Still June in MA

It's Saturday, June 9th and we're still in Wompatuck State Park. This location works well for us because it is situated between places we want to see and people we want to see between Boston and Plymouth. It's also a great place for the dogs. The campground is a leash only area, but beyond the campground the dogs can run off leash and they do. They run and run until they stay close to me for the walk back to the camper, their tongs hanging out as they huff and puff along.

Yesterday we had dinner at Roz's and Roz is one fabulous cook! One course after another until I felt like a Thanksgiving turkey. It was all so good that it was impossible to behave myself at the table. Today we're meeting with several friends at a local restaurant to catch up on past times. It should be a good afternoon.

I'm having a continual problem posting any pictures on my blog. Using Picasa, as I always have, I upload the pictures to the web album and it says it went through and asks if I want to view them online. I click "yes" and it says I'm not allowed at that site. I thought it was because of some filter that the library uses to keep the teens from getting to places they shouldn't, but last night I was on-line at my brother's and got the same message. I am perplexed, a usual state for me recently.

At my brother's I picked up the PC board for the refrigerator and the replacement tail pipe for the motorhome. It was a comedy of errors. My brother left me a voice mail that the parts would be on the bench on his front porch. He would not be there as he was heading for the Cape. At his house, I found the tail pipe, but no PC board. I called Rick's cell phone, but it's really his work phone and he must have shut it off for the weekend. I called the house, but there was no answer, of course. Next I called my nephew, Todd. When I explained my situation he admitted that the error was his. He saw the stuff on the porch and ASSUMED that the tailpipe was something for a boat, but told his sister, Tammy, to put the other package inside. Todd called Tammy and told her to get home post haste and let me get my package. Well, Tammy was many mile away and it took her about a half hour to get home. Again apologies were made, but it was really no one's fault. A little failure to communicate. I took the time to log into Ricky's wifi and was able to catch up on some stuff.

Tomorrow we have a busy day, picking up grand kids Kourtnie and Kolbie at Logan Airport around 10:30 AM. Then Helen want's to take them to the Prudential Tower. It will be back to the camper to walk the dogs and then back to Roz's house for the evening. I sure hope it all goes well, it has been an eon since I had to navigate through Boston and I hope that we have no problems. That is precisely why we wanted the kids to fly in Sunday morning. Any other day of the week would be very difficult with the Boston traffic. That's it for now, but I hope to get my picture posting resolved before the next blog.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Heading for Massachusetts

Thursday May 31, 2012

We spent today getting the motorhome ready to go. I moved it to the other driveway and connected the Jeep. The connections were checked and double checked and all was fine. Later on we added a few more things to the camper. I installed the Brake Buddy and ensured that it was also working well, then, I unplugged the brake so it wouldn’t drain the battery. Time is getting closer.

Friday, June 1, 2012

OK, time to get going. I double checked the Jeep connections one more time and made sure that the key was in the correct position to allow the steering to turn, as necessary. The Brake Buddy cord was plugged in and………it just wouldn’t work right. I disconnected the power and drained the air. When I repowered, it still wouldn’t work. Enough!!! The brakes on the motorhome are more than enough to stop the motorhome and Jeep, so we continued. I got well out of town before I told Helen.

Later on, heading up RT. 75, we could hear a beep coming from the rear, specifically the refrigerator. Helen thought that a door was ajar; as that happened in the past. Nope, that would be too easy. There was no LP flow to the refer. The next rest area was our stop and I ran a few tests. The burners on the stove worked, so the problem was in the refrigerator. Running the generator showed that the refrigerator was working on 120 AC. More testing showed that there was no power to the gas solenoid to the refer.  I called Norcold and got the number for a service facility in Valdosta, GA. I called and the woman I talked told me that she would check to see if they had the proper parts. After assuring me that they did. We agreed to meet just off  75.

The technician told me that it was the PC board. I explained to the woman I talked to that I thought it was the PC board. The technician did NOT have a working board with him, so all he could do was suggest I stop at some Camping World up the road somewhere. He still charged me $95.00 for the service call.

We continued up 75 and someplace just beyond Perry, GA we headed northeast toward Athens. This is a completely new route for us and we found it to be very rural and quiet. In fact, we were able to travel a long time today because the drive along this route was so stress free compared to Rt. 95, Jacksonville, etc. We finally decided to try to find a campground and within two minutes we saw a sign for Pine Lake Campground. It wasn’t long before we were camped for the night.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

When I got up this morning Helen greeted me with the news that she had a terrible cup of coffee. There was no milk in the refrigerator. That was the last thing I was supposed to do yesterday morning. I thought I got the milk. The question is where did I leave it? Did I leave it in the refer? If so, that's not so bad, but it probably wont be good in a month. Or, did I leave it on the hood or trunk of Helen's car? Nothing worth worrying about. We stopped at the first Quick Mart and bought milk. So all is well. I waited until we had milk before I had my coffee.

 After a good night’s sleep we took off from Pine Lake and headed toward the northeast once again. At one point, someone beeped at us but I didn’t cut anyone off and didn’t see any debris in the rear view mirrors. We stopped in Fair Play, SC for fuel. I checked the internet and found they had the lowest diesel price at $3.63 a gallon. When I pulled in, I was surprised to see the price was down to $3.54. Since diesel was $4.11 when we were planning the trip I budgeted $4.50 per gallon for the trip. $3.54 was a welcome change.

We got on Rt. 77 to Rt.81 and put on some miles. Before the trip, I bought a new GPS, A Rand McNally 7710 and I LOVE IT!! You put in your destination as you usually do, and this GPS computes the directions, taking into consideration that you’re driving a 37 foot motorhome towing a car and are 12 feet 6 inches high. It won’t let you drive on a road that will cause you trouble. It warns you of upcoming traffic, construction, or speed limit changes. In addition, you plug in that you’re looking for a rest area along the route and it will list them for you from nearest to farthest. When one of the rest areas is a Wal-Mart, it says “overnight parking OK, Notify store manager” We stopped at a rest area and Helen was comfortable enough that she wanted to stay.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We were on the road again early and were enjoying the scenery, more or less. The scenery was nice, but the number of dead animals on the highway was depressing. All told we saw probably 3 dozen dead dear, half a dozen groundhogs, and 1 cat. What really surprised me was one black bear in SC. It was not a cub, but one that would weight about 150 pounds, by my guess.

Soon it was time to fill the beast once again. I pulled into a truck stop and took my credit card to the cashier. Walking back to my motorhome, I was shocked, shocked I tell you. My tail pipe was gone and the area around the pipe was black with soot. Is that why someone was beeping at me earlier? The truck stop had no replacement pipe and didn’t know where I’d get one on Sunday. Too bad! In Wildwood, Florida, about 17 miles from my home is the Rt. 75 Chrome Shop that carries all kinds of tail pipes. I settled for the next best thing and stopped at the first Lowe’s that we came to, about 14 miles away. I bought a section of 6 inch stove pipe and several huge hose clamps. Ten minutes later, we were on our way again. Travel on Rt. 81 was smooth and the transfer to Rt. 84 east was easy. We elected to find a campground near Waterbury, CT. Wolf’s Den campground was ours for the night.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wolf’s Den was a nice place. Two ponds, a pool, Wifi, friendly, and only 2 hours and 15 minutes from the campground in Hingham, Ma, our final destination. Wolf’s Den is also a Passport America campground so it’s half price. I also figured that if we stayed, I could package up the Brake Buddy and have it shipped from UPS or FedEx. It is now evening. Helen is watching cable TV and I actually got the brake unit shipped off. Tomorrow should be an easy day, having all day to go 123 miles.