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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

April and May 2022

Just two weeks after returning from Mexico, we headed east by plane to visit friends in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. All was well until we were almost to Chicago for our plane change. In Chicago the weather was very bad (tornado warnings and lightening storms) in and around the Chicago area, and our plane wasn't going to be allowed to land. After hanging out in the sky for hours waiting for the weather to improve, we were finally diverted to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we sat for some more hours near the runway. Eventually, we were given a gate. The flight attendant advised that we could deplane but no restaurants were open and those who got off would have to take all their belongings with them. We stayed in our seats.

Amazingly, not one person behaved badly during this diversion and lack of available food. Eventually, we arrived in Chicago where we managed to just catch our connection to Hartford because not one plane was able to land in Chicago during the weather issue. We arrived in Hartford about 3:00am the next day, finally. We were six hours late but safe.

The next day we drove to Norwalk where our long-time friends Lou and Cathi live. Lou and Cathy put us up almost 33 years ago when Dan's parents refused to let us stay with them as had been planned because along the way east we deviated from the plan and acquired two sweet kittens (Smokey and Tennessee) that we found next to the road. Now the kittens were traveling with us. That was my first time meeting Lou and Cathi. We've met up several times since and each meeting always involved great food, wine, and theater visits with Lou and Cathi.

After visiting with Lou and Cathi, we thought we'd also visit Dan's cousin in Connecticut. But the day before we left home, Gary told us he had tested positive for Covid and disinvited us.

Our last stop was to be in Duxbury, Massachusetts to visit Dan's college roommate Bill and his wife Karen, but that was scheduled for the end of the week so we had some time for sightseeing along the way. Bill and Karen also housed us and our two kittens on that same trip in June 1989 when they lived in Boston.

Our first stop was a Mystic Seaport Museum. The weather was cool and damp and not too much was open at the museum, but we strolled around anyway. We toured the restored Charles W Morgan Whaling Ship which is the oldest wooden whaling ship anywhere. 

The restored Charles W Morgan whaling ship
In the shipyard, a beautifully shaped Viking boat was "in the repair shop." The Draken Harald Hårfagre is the largest Viking Ship built in modern times. Construction began in Norway in 2010. Materials used are Hull: Oak; Mast: Douglas fir; Sail: Silk; Rigg: Hemp

Draken Harald Hårfagre Viking Ship
The original Douglas fir mast broke. The Norwegians acquired another Douglas fir mast (one single tree trunk) from Scotland. That mast sits in the foreground of the photo below.

Our next stop was Boston where we stayed at the Encore Boston Harbor Hotel in a room on the 25th Floor with a view of the harbor. The decor is very bright and warm in contrast to the gray weather outside. The first and the mezzanine floors were decorated with large suzani (needlepoint in Persian) textiles from Tajikistan/Uzbekistan. 

One rainy day we took the hotel's shuttle to Chinatown in Boston for a walk along the waterfront and to some of the historic sites. Because we were on foot and because it was rainy, I left my camera at the hotel and used only my cell phone this day.

The location of the Boston Tea Party
We walked through the Granary Burying Ground established in 1660. Most of the grave markers are illegible at this point. Benjamin Franklin's parents, Josiah and Abiah, are buried here. 

Just down the street is the Old State House built in 1713 and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States and the oldest surviving building in Boston. It is dwarfed by the skyscrapers surrounding it.

We strolled the Boston Public Garden which dates to 1839 and is the first public botanical garden in the United States. 

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod. We stopped in at the National Seashore and took a short walk before arriving in Duxbury to visit our friends. In Duxbury, we walked down to the end of their short street to see where he docks his boat when the weather is better. There are huge tidal swings in Cape Cod. We watched a guy with his child and dog gather shellfish at low tide.

Bill and Karen took us sightseeing in and around Cape Cod. We stopped in at Plymouth where the Mayflower II is mored. She must be stunning when her sails are up, but this day, she looked a little lonely.

This is also where Plymouth Rock is on display in a rather pretentious colonaded enclosure for a lackluster rock with "1620" etched on it. Once again my US history education has failed me because I expected something much more impressive than a broken rock.

Not far from here is where the Plymouth Colony (AKA the Pilgrims) settled after they made their way from Provincetown to Plymouth Rock. The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, on September 16, 1620. On November 11, after finding dangerous shoals ahead, the pilgrims decided not to go on to the northern parts of Virginia, and instead landed at Provincetown Harbor. Scouting the land they had a first encounter with the Wampanoag and beat feet in the Mayflower to Plymouth Harbor where they took up residence on December 20 in an abandoned Wampanoag village called Patuxet.

We visited this 17th-century English village which is now the Plimoth Patuxet Museum. It is a living museum with actors playing the parts of the 17th-century English men/women doing their chores and discussing their challenges and some gossip as well. It was quite entertaining to listen to their banter. In addition to the 17th-century English village the museum also has the Wampanoag village with an indigenous person to explain how boats were made, which foods were gathered and eaten, and how they lived.

Also, this month we went to the Sacramento County Fair with my nephew and his kids and my brother and his wife. The fair had a Kid's Expo area that the kids loved. Lots of hands on games for them, and fair food for us. The duck races were a kick.

This month I renewed my driver's license in advance of my July birthday. One big change is that now I have to wear glasses for distance. I tried the vision test without glasses, but couldn't read the chart. The 1.25 magnification over-the-counter glasses worked just fine and I passed. This felt monumental because I've always had exceptional distance vision--no more.

I got my second Covid booster this month three months after recovering from my Covid bout in February. A little tenderness in my arm, but nothing else. In local Covid news, the number of cases has increased due to the Omicron variant that has made its way to the west coast. In April and May there were 331 and 1130, respectively, reported positive cases bringing the county total to 28,249 reported positive cases and 217 total deaths. Just 61.1% of county residents are fully vaccinated and as a county we are behind both Sacramento's vaccination rate and California's average vaccination rate.

It was a busy month, but I had some time to catch my breath and get a little more caught up on all the things I put off because we were traveling.