Day 3.5 (Pictures)

I forgot I was going to share more pictures… here are some for your perusal.

This is a super low ceiling in the parking garage.
At Bunker Hill
Check out the blue sky! At the entrance to New Brunswick.

No so sure about eating mussels.
Seafood salad and a ton of french fries–what a dinner!
Rebecca looking for just the right shot.

Old school with the map or modern technology with the gps?
The map is winning.

No moose sighting yet, but we did see 2 deer.

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Day 3—What a Difference a Day Makes!

We woke to beautiful sunshine! Not sure how early the sun actually comes up but when my eyes opened at 5 it was already bright daylight. 
Today’s plan was to get to far North East New Brunswick, well over 8 hours of driving time.
We were immediately in Maine and for this part of the trip sticking to the interstate. Thankfully, my mom mentioned the toll roads so part of my purse weight is the stash of quarters I brought along. Of course, they take greenbacks too…and several of them at each stop. 
Such a difference in traffic today. Yesterday as we tried to get out of town there was some kind of traffic problem and we drove less than 10mph for at least an hour. Bleck. Hopefully, it was actually a problem because I would pull my hair out to drive in such traffic every day. 
Oh, speaking of driving. Here’s today’s helpful hint. Do not buy a new GPS the week before leaving on vacation to a strange town. We do not think learning how the GPS works is a very smart idea, especially in Boston. I mean really, how many times can one drive the block trying to find the right turn before going crazy? It doesn’t help that Bob asks me questions about things beyond the current picture on the screen. (He has solved this problem by buying a new road atlas…and this one shows all the Walmart stores along the way 🙂 ).
How many pictures of flowers should I take??
As soon as we left the coast of Maine (like 5 minutes into the drive) it became very rural.  Lots and lots of trees, of many varieties. The sides of the road are filled with purple lupines, yellow and white daisies and some pretty pink flowers. This is the head of the Appalachian Trail with lots of hills and even an occasional mountain off to the west. 
Some mountain to the West in Maine… no one remembers the name already.
We took advantage of the easier driving and listened to some old radio dramas and then everyone thought we should listen to the audio version of Anne of Green Gables. Since I just watched the movie Saturday I can tell you the story seems to match the movie pretty close. Lucy Maud Montgomery was a much better writer than I. She has such colorful writing.
Oh, Canada! (I would sing it for you but those are the only words I know.)
New Brunswick is just as beautiful as we imagined. Still lots and lots of trees but there are more clearings and not as many swamps and bogs. It seems like there is also lot more farming here. We turned on the radio to hear French programming. There must be many moose here, though we have not seen any. The fences along the freeway have one way gates so errant moose can find their way back to safety. Rebecca wants to know how hard it is to teach the moose about the gates.
We are staying in Moncton, NB. It appears to be a moderate sized city, even has a Walmart. I’m not sure why it’s big except it seems to be at the crossroads for Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Western Canada. There are a lot of French speaking people here. A lot. 
Fine Dining
For our first night treat we found a small restaurant where we could sit on the enclosed patio at the bay.  For fun we ordered mussels. Matthew did not want to eat one but after he finally tried, he thought they were pretty tasty. Rebecca was not so sure. But we all enjoyed our seafood dinner!
The hotel has a very warm Jacuzzi which really helped everyone to relax and sleep well.
We’re off to Prince Edward Island! Matthew is excited to see Anne’s house. He liked the movie and is very attentive as we are listening to the audio book. Don’t ask me how he picks his likes and dislikes. 
More tomorrow!

Day 2—A Rainy Day in Bean Town

Grounds of the Kennedy Library
Back in the planning stages we talked about a contingency plan for rainy days. Good thing we did, as our first day in Boston we woke to rain, rain, and more rain.  Mixed, of course, with fog. But there are many things to see in this historic area so we just changed things around and visited the JFK Library. Don’t turn up your nose at this… The presidential libraries are anything but boring. They are little glimpses into history during the period of the president. The Kennedy library was filled with memorabilia from the 60’s. Transistor radios, the first electric typewriters, giant television cameras (like the stuff in your attic). There were also rooms dedicated to different parts of JFK’s life. We liked the PT109 room and learned that had it not been for a trustworthy native carrying a message carved onto a coconut that JFK and his shipmates might not have been rescued after their boat was sunk. (I know, you history buffs probably already knew this but I didn’t.)  We also watched the end of Kennedy’s life and the funeral. Can’t imagine the pain of the country during that time. 
The important thing to take from our morning is that if you have a chance to visit a presidential library you should go. Use those brain cells.
USS Constitution (remember it’s nickname? you learned this in 5th grade… Old Ironsides!)
Since it was still raining we visited the USS Constitution, the oldest continuous active duty military ship in the US. Because it’s still part of the Fleet it is kept in pristine shape and taken out to see annually. It must be beautiful to see sailing. We were amazed that it took 150 men to man the sails and nearly as many to operate the 50 canons on board. All fed by 2 cooks. One for the captain and one for the crew.  Some things don’t change.
Even though the rain hadn’t stopped we could see the Bunker Hill monument from the shipyard. The raincoats I’d packed were left in the car but we braved the elements and hiked up hill and to the monument. Matthew was fine because he had his new sailor hat and held the umbrella close to his head. Bob and Rebecca fought over the other umbrella. The good news is, we didn’t melt. The view from Bunker Hill was not as it was during the Revolution. Lots of high rises and modern stuff made it a challenge to imagine. But maybe it wasn’t as rural as I expected. One two story brick building across the street from the monument had a 1781 established sign.
At the TOP of the Bunker Hill Monument. Yes, that is sweat pouring off us.
So if you go to Bunker Hill, pray for a cool rainy day. Because you’ll want to climb up the stairs to the top of the monument. All 294 stairs. I counted every one. All inside a skinny block circular building. All steep. And when you get to the very tip top there is a grate over the hole that goes all the way down to the ground. Trust me, it’s very scary. But just tell yourself, if Teresa managed to drag herself all the way up then surely you can. I put it on my list of accomplishments. Though, I’m not sure I actually looked out the windows once there.
By then we had used up nearly the whole day and so we headed out of town. Our goal was to get as far as possible because we Day 3 is going to be 8 hours of driving. More fun tomorrow.
Au revoir. (Practicing my French for Canada)

PS I almost forgot to share the most funny thing. At the JFK Library we were in a representation of the Oval Office and suddenly Matthew stopped. He was very intent and I couldn’t figure out why until I actually looked at what he was looking at. Here’s a picture.
Did you guess? It’s the famous Resolute Desk, gift from England. And of course, you saw it on National Treasure. So, sure now you can guess what Matthew bought in the gift shop. Yep, his own copy of the Declaration of Independence. He’s ready for a treasure hunt.

Day 1 We Learn About Patience

The first day of our exciting vacation certainly started out exciting. Because I was so concerned with arrival time I neglected to look at the departure time for our flight to Boston. We were all surprised to discover the flight left at 4…AM… Naturally that meant only the guiltless could have a restful few hours of sleep. The rest of us tossed and turned watching the clock and news reruns until finally at 1AM we decided to put the coffee on and stop pretending.  We arrived at the terminal by three and of course, flew through the security line. Our only other companion turned out to be the president of ASU. He was also on our flight but it seemed a bit strange there were only the five of us heading to the gate. Being the clever people we are within a short time we figured something was wrong and sure enough we got online to find our flight was cancelled. 
Yikes! Bob got on the phone and finally tracked down a live agent who said yes indeed our flight had been cancelled due to mechanical problems. But not to fear they found another flight got us set. It was only to be two hour delay so we decided to skip the plans to leave the airport for breakfast. But, At the gate we discovered that our new flight was delayed an hour. Grrr… Yes, we could have gone to Denny’s and been back in plenty of time. Our new route went via Chicago where, yes, once again we heard the familiar “Your flight has been delayed…” except they added, “the mechanic should have it fixed soon…” More crabbiness…
The days turn into weeks and the weeks into years… okay not really, just seemed that way.
We decided it was good that we hadn’t made any big plans for the afternoon, though somehow we arrived only two hours after our originally scheduled time. Don’t ask me how this is happened. Our plane was only slightly larger than a Cessna but maybe we travelled at warp speed. Or something.
As you can imagine Matthew was not in the best of moods. He He does pretty well for one with autism. We start talking about the trip about a week before leaving and two of the carry-on bags we carry are filled with his important stuff. But unexpected delays are hard. He doesn’t like that other people were boarding other airplanes while we were sitting and waiting. Well, that and the fact that they had CNN on the television until someone switched it to Cartoon Network and then, in what seemed like less than a minute, switched it back to news.
Oh look! A dinosaur right in the middle of O’Hare airport!
Technology does aid travel and he used up the battery skimming through pictures on the ipad, admiring himself and sister. I realize too that there are a whole bunch of “Matthew” pictures  I don’t remember (like the flashlight on top of the 12 pack of soda—I’m sure there is some good meaning to that.) 
We did have one highlight and that were able to get Matthew’s picture taken with a very polite soldier who waiting for his flight to Arkansas. We think we might start working on a book of Soldiers and Matthew. He does like these heroes a lot.
Oh, I am reminded of our whole TSA experience which I have to share. Of course, the first time through was a breeze. The agents were super friendly and very conscience of Matthew. It was so easy. Since we had to rebook we ended up going through security a second time. This time the day shift was on. Talk about a bunch of grouches. No smiles, no asking how are you. Nothing. Instead, they barked orders to us and when Matthew forgot to take his hat off the scowling agent took it off his head and checked it for contraband. As Rebecca says, there are good reasons to catch that early flight. 
Day 2 adventures will surely be more fun.