Friday, October 30, 2009

Tidbits~from Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket to Cruising X-Country

A recent article in Sunday’s Hartford Courant talked about the plans being discussed for the 100th anniversary of the death of Mark Twain. It promises to be a year filled with memorabilia, celebrations, readings and plays. I think it’s interesting that reported visitor figures to the Mark Twain House in 2009 was 64,000 people, 75% being from out of state including all 50 states and 61 countries. Figures during 2010are expected to far surpass last year’s so check the website often so you won’t miss any of the upcoming dates. www.marktwainhouse,org.

It’s almost November, but if you think the season is over for visiting Connecticut wineries, just have a peek at the website for Haight-Brown Vineyard. The list of activities is impressive, both in its numbers and versatility. Hopkins Vineyard won a silver medal at the 2009 Big E Wine Competition for Sachem’s Picnic, one of my favorites and mentioned in my book. And, Gouveia Vineyard has a Xmas Sing-a-long scheduled for December 20th from 2:30-4:30. That sounds like fun! Check out the events at these and all the other Connecticut wineries at

Since returning from my x-country trip just over three weeks ago, I have only been on one day trip and that was to the Town of Kent. Although Kent Falls State Park is one of the day trips in Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket, I chose to partner Cornwall Cover Bridge to this outing. However, since Kent is only 5 miles of so further, if you find yourself in this area of the state, do navigate to this small, charming town.

I am slowly getting back to a somewhat normal routine (if I could remember what normal was I would be able to arrive faster!) I have been moving and organizing the mountains of papers and books collected along the way, and sorting through hundreds of photos. I had been mildly complaining for the last couple of years about exchanging my 35 millimeter camera for a digital, but after this trip, I am even more aware of the benefits of choosing this camera, especially while traveling.

Aside from the cost of processing dozens of rolls of film only to find one of two from each roll that, if I am lucky I deem outstanding, the real value for me is the ease and safety of downloading my valuable x-country photos into my computer and backing them up while on the road. Back home, when I look at a photo of a mountain, instead of wondering which mountain I am looking at, I can match up my itinerary to the date and exact time stated underneath the photo to know where I was on that day and at that hour. This photo journal has already proven to be a valuable backup to my written journal.

I find I am always lagging behind the pact with any kind of technology, resisting and thrashing about until at some point I just give in. Then, it's only a matter of time until it suddenly occurs to me how happy I am that I took the leap. So it is with my digital camera. Finally.

Friday, October 9, 2009

36 Days and 6,469 Miles Later...

As expected, Teddy Tripper and I had mixed emotions when we arrived home on Tuesday. We loved being on the road looking for adventures, making new friends, and touring National Parks. Whoever said that the National Parks are this Country’s greatest treasure sure got that right. While we were on the road we felt like we could go on forever, but when our frantic pace slowed down, an incredible weariness set in. So, we have been resting up for tomorrow’s start of my fall promotion schedule for Cruising Connecticut. (Check my website for upcoming functions at

While I continue doing what I love, which is talking to groups about all the great treasures in the State of Connecticut, I will also begin writing my new book about the thrill of visiting 10 National Parks in five weeks, how to travel solo and not be lonely, and introduce readers to some interesting places and people I met along the way.

I loved blogging during the trip, receiving comments and responding back. It was such fun! I will continue blogging on a semi-regular basis, just as I have been doing for the past year, keeping folks up to date on new day trips I discover, as well as upcoming functions at destinations in Cruising Connecticut. Oh, and of course, sharing picnic recipes.

Also, from time to time, I will let you know how my new book is coming along. Suggestions and/or questions will be welcome at any time, but especially now, while I am planning the format and preparing my outline. What would YOU like to know about the National Parks, or x-country travel in general, solo or otherwise? Shoot me a comment at the end of this post, or email me at:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You Meet the Most Interesting People While Sitting at a Bar, Especially in Durango, CO

The fact that the restaurant we went in to order a takeout was located in the historic Strater Hotel, and that this same hotel was hosting the annual Cowboy Poetry Convention just might be the reason why over half the patrons were dressed in their finest cowboy outfits, including a woman I sat next to at the bar while waiting for our order.

She said that she had ridden her horse here from Florida! I asked her where she slept and she said she had a sleeping bag and sometimes strangers would put her up or feed her. Now, I had a couple of dozen more questions, like what kind of roads she traveled on and how long did the trip take, did her horse get enough to eat, what she did for work, and where was her next destination, just for starters. I mean, I was practically salivating thinking abut the story I was onto.

However, before I could continue with my "interview" she caught the attention of the manager and asked him if she could bring her horse into the restaurant to have his picture taken. No kidding! At this point, my eyes are fixed on the manager, and I was mighty impressed by how cool he was. After only a second's pause he said he couldn't allow a horse into the restaurant, but that she could bring his head inside the door if someone was ready inside with a camera.

Just at that moment, the waitress arrived with our order, and another time it might not have mattered if we sat there for a while longer, but our takeout was a chocolate avalanche dessert that this restaurant is noted for, which among other sinful things, includes ice cream. So, there was nothing to do but hurry home and get it in the freezer for our after-dinner treat.

I guess it's a good thing I didn't pursue the profession I thought about in high school - a newspaper reporter. If it was dinner time, I probably would have missed the big scoop.