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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rumble In The South But No Damage

While most of you bloggers are far from the happenings of Tropical Storm “Sandy” you have probably heard about the incredible devastating impact the storm has had on US coastal cities. And just like I thought the flooding turned out to be the worst of all problems.

Right now and over here we hear thunder rolls rumbling in the south. The temps have been around the 18C mark and that is very warm to be the day before Halloween. When still living in Alberta, Halloween used to be the day when the first snow would fall.

Early this morning I drove down to Herring Cove Beach to look at the surf. It was low tide so the waters were quite a ways down, but one could see that the surf had been reaching all the way up where the green beach grass was.

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Most impressive was the dark atmosphere along the beach. With the air full of humidity the vision was limited. An eerie feeling was creeping along my back.

Was this FRANKEN STORM? What would it do to us?

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Well, here on Campobello island, it didn’t do any damage at all. The full wrath was directed towards the Great Lakes where people experienced a whole lot more trouble.

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The van is now equipped with a receiver hitch and we have reserved a little U-Haul trailer from November 10 to take up all our camping gear we cannot fit in the van. Kind of unusual for us to face this situation, but hey it’s just a new experience. And I will be such a happy camper when I roll out of the gas stations knowing that the gas I bought is not gonna cost the same as the Diesel we needed for our motor home. Most places in Maine Diesel is now 60 cents over the price of reg. gas. That does not make any sense to me.

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Guess that must be all for now. I have the hitch-itch real bad and need to make a list of what to take along on the road.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

She’s Gone

She’s probably the most prominent victim of the storm Sandy. The replica tall ship “BOUNTY” sank in the storm off the North Carolina Coast. And just a few weeks ago she was a guest at the Eastport Pirate Days.

 

 

14 rescued, two missing from storm-hit tall ship Bounty

(AFP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — US Coast Guard helicopters plucked 14 crew members of a replica tall ship called the HMS Bounty out of the sea in the midst of Hurricane Sandy Monday, but two others were missing.

The daring rescue in waters off North Carolina came after the crew abandoned ship, donning cold water survival suits and life jackets and launching two canopied life boats into the howling sea.

The Coast Guard, responding to a distress call, dispatched a C-130 airplane and established communications with the crew. That plane was later joined by two MH-60 rescue helicopters from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The first helicopter "hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people," a Coast Guard statement said.

"The C-130 Hercules aircraft remains on scene and is searching for the two missing crew members and a third Jayhawk crew is en route to assist search and rescue efforts.

"The 14 people are being flown to Air Station Elizabeth City where they will be met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel," it added, while lowering the crew size to 16, having earlier stated 17 had abandoned ship.

A Coast Guard spokesperson said crew members were being interviewed to try to determine who was still missing, and "where we need to search."

The ship, meanwhile, was reported to have sunk, the spokesperson said.

The owner of the vessel, which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando and has also featured in Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, said he lost contact with the crew late Sunday.

The US Coast Guard command center in Portsmouth, Virginia subsequently received a distress signal, confirming the ship was in trouble and locating its position.

"The vessel was reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion," the statement said, noting that weather at the scene featured 40 mile-per-hour (65 kilometers-per-hour) winds and 18-foot (five-meter) waves.

The current HMS Bounty is a replica of the eponymous British vessel known for the mutiny that took place in Tahiti in 1789.

The vessel was approximately 160 miles (250 kilometers) west of the eye of hurricane, which as of midday Monday was packing sustained winds of 90 miles (150 kilometers) per hour.

At 1500 GMT, the storm's epicenter was 205 miles (330 kilometers) southeast of Atlantic City but hurricane force winds extend out 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the center, the National Hurricane Center said.

 

 

 

Over here we haven’t noticed too much of the storm yet. We are having some wind, but very little rain so far. It seems that most of the impact is directed towards  the inlands, but things can still change.

We’ll keep you posted as we go along.

 

What is new on the UPS-story?

Well, this morning I checked out status and it said that the delivery address is in a “remote area” and that delivery would happen on Tuesday. However, when I returned from a shopping trip across the border, the package had arrived.
The cost of this 2000km detour was 36 Dollars which is just 150% of what the part costs. Ironically, I had to get the package across the border again for sending it up to Houlton,ME. The cost of that was just $5.35.

 

I have now secured a physical address across the border to send packages to.

Enough is enough!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Turn In The Weather And What’s Gonna Happen Next

They have named it FRANKENSTORM and the name indicates a grueling experience with the biggest storm since 2003.
Are we gonna get pounded by a super storm? Canadian weather men are warning that “Sandy” could cause major power outages and widespread damages to property. Headlines like this one are all over the news:

Sandy's a storm that will cause havoc over 800 miles from East Coast to Great Lakes

Not only are we fearful of the strong winds but the incredible amounts of expected rain will cause flooding in many areas. For our own sake we are located along a sloping terrain so whatever water comes, will also run farther down towards the bay. Properties in low lying areas and along rivers and streams have a lot more reason to be fearful, as every little creek will swell up.

The question is whether the storm will stay on a predicted course towards Toronto or turn eastward ending up over Atlantic Canada. One thing is for sure: We will get enormous amounts of rain.

Since we are planning to leave around November 10 we might encounter damaged roads, washed-away bridges and barriers of knocked-over trees.

Our new trailer is waiting for us in the town of Walcott, IA. Lets hope we will reach that place without having to do huge detours.

To be on the safe side I got a 5gal. can of gasoline which will run our Honda 2000i for a few days. Power outages are quite common over here, mostly due to the very old grid supply lines. If power companies could finally start to bury them in the ground like they have had it over in Europe for 50 years power supply sure would be more reliable.

Thanks for stopping by again!
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Finally a Decision…

 Yesterday evening we were doing a last effort to find a suitable trailer on the internet. I had looked at the same page many times earlier without noticing this one:
screen-capture-1It is a Flagstaff Super Light, box length 27ft. and within our van’s towing limit.
Also the hitch weight is at a mere 440punds.
trailer104
trailer100 trailer101 trailer102  We made sure we landed on a trailer with a welded aluminum frame as opposed to the heavier old-fashioned wood-framed trailers.
This one’s got three slides, which is kind of unusual for travel trailers. In fact there are still trailers out there with no slide-outs. We really liked the interior with it’s roomy kitchen and the open floor space in the middle.
This trailer, along with others from this company is heavily discounted. My guess is that they would sell way beyond $30,000 in Canada. Luckily, we will never take this trailer to Canada. It will remain our home in the U.S.

While all this comfort is waiting for us down the road I am still busy applying my construction skills to the conversion from a passenger van to a camping van. The basic bed construction is finished and today I made a little kitchen counter, where there will be room for a dish bowl and a small cook stove.
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A neighbour coming by today were making the comparison of how we would travel like the Hippies did, back in the late sixties. Well, I have never been a Hippie or hung onto flower power since I was a bit too young for that kind of stuff, but I certainly owned a Volkswagen Bus once and yes, I did fit it into a camper van back in the seventies, about 10 years after the time had run from those days of hippie life.
1-DSC_0097 We had an incredible warm nice day and simply had to take a coffee break in the sun              
I still have very fond memories of that Volkswagen, even though the first engine quit on me after 60,000km (40K miles).

While I was having a ball with my tools, Bea had gone chasing golf balls all over the Campobello Golf Course. Nope, she is NOT any habitual golf player, but said neighbour took her along to learn the basics. As I understand quite a few balls were lost into the brambles, never to be seen again. But, alright, learning is what a coming master has to do and the main thing is that the girls had fun. I had always thought that golfing is something for the rich and lazy, but according to Bea it was a real trim to make those walks across the green.

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Is she gonna hit it?
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Not to speak of the involved concentration to hit that round little thing and not to kick the turf around.

Well, maybe it’s me next time, who knows. I can start exercising in the sand dunes of California. At least there are no brambles around.

Have a great Day and thanks for skipping along!








   

Friday, October 26, 2012

The World of UPS

Last week, it was the 19. of October, I ordered a part from an RV-place in Bangor, ME. They said they would ship it by UPS. Now, neither UPS nor FEDEX or any other of the known couriers have ever been seen on this island.
So I was looking forward to see what would happen.
Monday, the 22. ran up and went by with no delivery. I called the RV-place and they gave me a tracking number. When I had punched in the number I saw that they did not process the package before October 22.  GOOD~SERVICE …or?

Several days went by and no delivery.
This morning I punched in the tracking number again.


What I found, made me scream. You need to know that Bangor, ME is 2.5 hrs from Campobello. That is if you observe speed limits. which I think UPS should do. So what was it that took UPS so long?

Here is the copy of the package:

In Transit On Timeclip_image002

Change Delivery

Request Status Updates

Scheduled Delivery:

Monday, 10/29/2012, By End of Day

Last Location:

Arrived - Moncton, NB, Canada, Thursday, 10/25/2012

Additional Information

Shipped/Billed On:

10/22/2012

Type:

Package

Weight:

1.00 lb

Shipment Progress

Location

Date

Local Time

Activity

Moncton, NB, Canada

10/25/2012

11:30

Arrival Scan

Lachine, QC, Canada

10/24/2012

22:44

Departure Scan

10/24/2012

16:54

Import Scan

10/24/2012

16:02

Arrival Scan

10/24/2012

13:05

Registered with clearing agency / Shipment submitted to clearing agency

10/24/2012

13:05

Registered with clearing agency

Plattsburgh, NY, United States

10/24/2012

8:18

Arrival Scan

Chelmsford, MA, United States

10/24/2012

4:18

Departure Scan

10/24/2012

1:03

Export Scan

10/24/2012

0:19

Arrival Scan

Brewer, ME, United States

10/23/2012

19:59

Departure Scan

10/23/2012

19:31

Origin Scan

10/23/2012

14:58

Pickup Scan

United States

10/22/2012

14:45

Order Processed: Ready for UPS

As you can see they sent the package on a wild goose, chase, all the time carefully avoiding to get into the vicinity of Campobello Island.

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The total journey (so far) is about 1762km. or just about over 1000 miles. If it ever reaches Campobello it has traveled more than 2000km.
The distance between Campobello Island and Bangor is a mere 188km or just a little over 100 miles.

What we witness these days is a sure sign that our world as we know it goes straight to hell. Not only are these “procedures” environmentally wrong, but they are also producing unbelievable delays in our strained economy.

I am not saying that UPS is the only one pursuing such crazy freight patterns, no they are in good company with Fedex, DHL and even our trusty Postal service.

Now the print-out on my package says “Scheduled delivery” Monday October 29.
Hey, that’s pretty fast, after all the package was dropped off with UPS on October 22. Just a week to travel those 188km. Let’s see, if we calculate the speed of a bicycle at 20km/hr it would take…..correct 9.5hrs to get to Campobello.

Now, THAT”S fast!


Thanks for hanging on here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And then it was Monday

The week started with a big day for me. It was time to start next year’s tourist marketing. With my partner, who is a boat operator, I went to St.Andrews and together we went through 5 meetings with owners and managers of local accommodations. The plan is to pick up tourists at St.Andrews and bring them by boat to Campobello Island, where they will spend a certain amount of time before they return to the mainland.
I’ve got to say that all meetings went extremely well and that we are looking forward to a great season in 2013.

Coming home before dark, I was as tired as can be and it didn’t take long after supper until I had fallen into my bed and was lost to the world.

And I guess that’s a sure sign that I’m not 25 or 30 anymore.

Today was an all-together different day as I started to convert our sightseeing van into a travel van. Since we are planning to leave what-ever trailer we‘re gonna purchase in the south, we want to have our van equipped as comfortable as possible.
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First of all I will build a bed in the rear. Under the bed and behind the bed we’ll have a storage area. A portion of the bed can also be folded up and be used as a bench. Between the bed and the front seats we will have a mini kitchen and a simple table, but also storage capacity.

I am also considering a roof rack for a storage box. The challenge will be how to reach up to the roof as the van is already pretty high. Maybe a small ladder will come in handy.  It is a typical project where I need the van being in place to take measures all the time.
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Another challenge is that the van’s inside walls are not symmetrical. Left side has a different plastic cover than the right side. Even the floor has its challenges as it is not even from one side to the other. The points where the three passenger benches are hooked into the bottom are sticking higher up than the rest of the carpeted floor.

bed conversion

 

Thanks for stopping by! 

T’was Delivery Time

After Saturday’s most excessive rain of the season was over, Sunday morning was a pure delight. The sky was clear and the first rays of sun were lighting up the city of Eastport across from us. But the air was chilly. After all we are getting close to the end of October. While the west of the country is having their first adventure with snow, we are still blessed with relatively mild temperatures.
1-DSC_0008                                                          Maine Hwy 1
Sunday was the day we would have to say Good Bye to our motor home.
I had started the engine for a warm-up and gotten everything ready. Molly was to be the guest of our neighbours for the day. I hooked up the auto hauler behind the motor home and drove the Jeep onboard. The trailer was sold to the same buyer and that way Bea wouldn’t have to follow the motor home with the Jeep.
At 9am we were on the road and bound for Houlton,ME.
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Maine Hwy1 can be bumpy so we kept a very moderate speed. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge was glowing in fall colours.  Maine is known for the wonderful fall season and it attracts thousands of visitors every year. Soon we were climbing to  the top of a high ridge from where one has the most stunning vistas stretching far to the north and beyond the Canada-border.
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Large dark blue waters of the Chipnuneticook Lakes embedded in colourful autumn scenery adorned with even higher tops, the far-slung last expanses of the Appalachian Mountains. This area is so beautiful, it is breathtaking. 
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                                                                                                                     The Chipnuneticook Lakes
 

Farther to the south and west of our route lies Mt.Katahdin (5270ft) which really is the last great challenge for hikers following the Appalachian Trail from the south.


The Chipnuneticook Lakes are a group of several lakes along the International Boundary between Maine and New Brunswick.

They are East Grand Lake, North Lake, Mud Lake, Spednic Lake, and Palfrey Lake
The lake’s outlet is the St. Croix River which actually is also the border line between Canada and the U.S.

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We stopped for a coffee from our themos and had a simple sandwich lunch, before we got to our destination at Linneus.

Arriving at our buyers place, we seemed to trigger a stream of family members visiting to see the motor home. It was a circus.

Of course it took a while until every function of every switch and every feature was explained to the new owners, and I just imagine that they will be pouring over manuals in the days to come.

We were back on the road around 3pm and reached home just before dark.

 

 

Being tired from the long day we hit the sack pretty early. After all, a new exciting day was coming up on Monday.

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Thanks for following along!

 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tropical Storm RAFAEL Came Visiting

 
1-DSC_0002We knew it would be raining today and so we had canceled the delivery of the Motor Home to Houlton ME. But what we got was slightly more than a normal fall rain. Tropical storm RAFAEL dumped about 3 inch of rain over the island.

When Bea heard a gurgling noise (I hadn’t..) she went after it. It turned out we had a creek through our basement. Luckily the previous owners must have had similar rain bursts before and build a grove all around the concrete floor. And that was where the water was making those gurgling sounds.
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Well, there was nothing we could do about it and of course the bonus is that the basement has a piped outlet, otherwise we could have opened a swimming pool down there.
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Needless to say we were spending most of the day inside. When there was a short break in the rain, Bea ventured outside with Molly.
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First during late afternoon the rain relented and I had enough of filling up my IKEA Poäng chair. Besides, I was curious to see how the waves were crashing into the rocks of Liberty Point. So Molly and me went into the JEEP and into the Roosevelt Park.
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Boy, the park had changed a lot, or at least the forest. The roadways were strewn with yellow leaves, many trees were completely bare.
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The main entry road was flooded as Lake Glensevern had gone up. A sign said ROAD CLOSED, but of course, everybody went through it anyway.

When I got out at Liberty Point, the wind almost took away my caps. I commanded Molly to stay on the path and away from the view platform as I was afraid she could slip underneath the rails. Between Grand Manan and the coast of Maine the sea was a raging monster of white caps as far as I could see.
The wind was howling in the trees and from across the water I could hear a buoy screaming out her warning. Luckily there were no boats or ships in sight, it would have been very uncomfortable onboard.
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Supposedly the sun will be out again tomorrow and with that we will drive up to Houlton to deliver our motor home.
I know we are gonna miss it for a while, but then we will be in a cozy trailer and enjoy the sun of the south west until again it is time to turn homeward in April.

Tis the life of a snowbird!

Thanks for being out with us today!

Friday, October 19, 2012

An Unbelievable Alaskan Co-incidence, And Fall Colours In Maine

I was on my way to a meeting and had just come across the bridge, driving up through the old town of Lubec, when a truck, green and tall, came from the other side. Instantly I knew I had seen the very same truck before. About six months earlier it had been parked for a few days at the Holtville Hot Spring. I had  talked to the owners, John and Linda and now they….what the heck..how did they manage to come here? John and Linda are from Alaska and are world travelers. Currently they travel in a home-made RV based on a 4x4 FUSO-Truck. The whole thing looks expedition-style and that’s about what they are doing.1-DSC_0001  1-DSC_0005-001

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I turned around immediately and caught up with them when they parked behind the CBP-building/post office. And then I was standing in front of their driver’s door, Linda in the driver’s seat and we were staring at each other. Linda, because she didn’t remember me at first and I because I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

                                                                                                                                                                                
Above: Their rig in Holtville1-DSC_0018
John had gone around to get their passports from the “house”. When I was finally seeing him I got the same stare, yeah he had seen me before but where was it? Aah, right the Holtville Hot Springs. Correct!
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Both told me that they were on their way to SOUTH AMERICA, but did a little detour to see the east coast and visit with their daughter.

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When I invited them to stay a day or two, they looked at each other and shook their heads. They had come to see the Roosevelt Cottage and were in a hurry to get down the coast.
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And I was on my way to a scheduled meeting. I whipped out my cell and called Bea at home. She was going to meet them at the Visitor Centre.
And that’s what she did.
May our paths cross again!
Have safe travels on your way to South America John and Linda!
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Not only is the customs office guarding the bridge, but also the gulls.

Thanks for stopping by!