Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jerry Garcia is Alive and Well in Vermont

We are really behind schedule. According to the world of Garmin, we still have 130 miles to go and will arrive in Colebrook , NH around 11:30pm. As the crow flies Colebrook from Newport, VT is 52 miles, but when you are chasin stuff you end up zigzagging your way to a final destination. After all there is a ton of TONs and BURGs in between. Made 2 phone calls to local hotels. One is 98 and the other is 54. You get what you pay for. We drove past the Pepin Motel and from the road it looked fine. I get the nod of approval from MeAsWe (and this will probably be the last time for that) and we head in.

Let me say from the check in process, I had this sinking feeling that I had made a mistake. I get the key and proceed to Room 8. I let MeAsWe open the door just in case there was wild varmits inside. So gallant.

The room looked like the kind you see in the movies where someone who just got out of prison or drug rehab and were spending the first night in the free world. Not that is was dirty or anything, but it certainly wasn’t posh. Good thing MeAsWe has a sense of adventure.

Well how does Jerry Garcia fit into this. When we pulled up, I noticed a gentleman sitting on the stoop out in front of his room. After we got settled and I went across the street for a 6 pack of Rolling Rock, we got to know this guy. After a couple of beers I leaned over and said to MeAsWe, that Jerry Garcia actually was alive and retired to the Pepin Motel to get away from the hubbub of music world and constant touring and living right here.

Jerry has changed his name to Rick and we settled into a night of conversation with him. Lenny (another guest of the Pepin Motel), a retired Air Force and Vt Sheriff joined in our conversation. He told us some hilarious stories about being a LEO up here, especially some of the concerts he was assigned to. Around 11 pm, we were told by management that we would have to quiet down, because some of the other guests were complaining.

All in all, despite the room, the experience was a plus in the scheme of things, with Rick and Lenny making our stay bearable. OH Phish had their last concert in Coventry VT, which is only 5 miles away. A coincidence?? Perhaps.

Around Swanton VT in 80 Minutes

One word that has been extremely difficult in the NER Treasure Hunt has been the acquiring of Hot Air Balloon. The actual requirement was “Hot Air Balloon (the entire phrase; in honor of first flight in 1783)”. During this weekend’s journeys, there were 2 opportunities for HABs. The first one was in Essex Junction called Above Reality. We called before we left and called while we were on the road, but both times reached voice mail. On our way to BurlingTON we took a small side trip to go to the address that is on the web. Well our balloon was popped. No Above, Below or any sense of Reality in Essex Junction.

Next opportunity is Swanton, Vermont. This town counts for both the Titanic Tour and Call of the Wild Tour. SWAN and TON. U-KEN-DO is the name of another Hot Air Ballooning place. I have grabbed the post office in Swanton, pull out the cell phone and call U-Ken-Do. We have put in a couple of calls and always received voice mail. Expectations were not high and I almost didn’t call because we were way behind schedule.

I called and there was an answer from Penny. As I begin my spiel about how I am in a motorcycle treasure hunt and one of the words is hot air balloon, does your business have a sign with those words, Penny decides to let her husband handle the rest of the conversation. I begin again and Ken says I can meet you at the Duty Free Shop with my chase truck, which has the words you are looking. He gives us directions and says I will met you there in a few minutes

We mount up and a girl at the gas station, says just go up one block and hang a left onto Spring St and that will take you there much faster. Off we go.

As I am racing, up there, I am thinking wow these people are really going out of their way to make this happen. UNBELIEVABLE, I really love Vermont. We get there about 8 minutes later and the Levesuques’ had already arrived. Beyond the actual picture taking, we had a really nice conversation with them about Ballooning and other things

From Ken’s and Penny’s website:

This is why we named our balloon “The Dream Maker”. Hope you'll come out and see us. Even if it is just to see what ballooning is all about. So pack the camera, and bring your whole family out to see us. We'd love to meet you.

This statement is spot on.

Check them out at

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Titanic - The Beginnings

It’s Saturday and I am plotting Burgs and Tons in MapSource, contemplating where we might travel to today. The post office doesn’t open until 7:30, but the mail doesn’t get put out until around 9:30. During the plotting I have been eliminated from 2 poker tournaments. MeAsWe is peacefully sleeping in the other room. 8:30 comes around I figure I would walk over to the post office and take a break. I bend down (my PO Box is on the lowest level), spin the combination and open the little door.

Starring me in the face is that little yellow card indicating there is a package behind the counter because it won’t fit in the box. IT’S THE TITANIC rally rag. Number 459. I run (well a fast pace walk), burst into the bedroom and start sweeping MeAsWe face with the flag, saying look what came, look what came. MeAsWe opens a dazed eye, wondering if all this commotion is Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddie is up to his terrorizing tactics again. Becoming more alert because of the incessant sweeping of this rag across her face, she realizes it is just Me (Freddie might have been a welcomed visitor).

I said, Guess where we are going today. Get up have your coffee and cigarettes cause we are On the Road Again. At 10:30 we depart N Uxbridge and Head Out on the Highway. The highway part is the Mass Pike just to get out to Westfield. From there it is all backroads to our destination for the night, my home town, some 375 miles of traveling and dinner at Pal’s Cabin for a Redwood.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Disorder is This ?

I recently mailed off 2 letters with applications and checks to participate in some AMA Grand Tour Treasure Hunts. The Call of the Wild has 9 animals, like Elk, Eagle, Deer, etc that you must find, ride to, take a picture of a sign, town hall, police station or some other mean of identifying and representing the town that contains the words in the name of the town. For instance, DEERfield, MA works. We have to November to submit 30 photos to the RB, which will then assign points via a random drawing of cards, Ace thru Jack to declare the winner. The other one is The Grand Titanic Tour. Here one will ride, photograph with your bike, rally flag a Post Office or Welcome to sign for towns that end with TON or BURG. One must have at least one burg in the first 25 photos. So WesTON works but Westonia does not.

I also ordered and received the Blue Goose Passport book for capturing National Wildlife Refuge System stamps very much like the National Park Passport program. We received this on Monday.

Of course we are still participating in the NER 2010 Treasure Hunt. We finished in first place in May and have the overall lead for the season.

In September, we head to Utah, to capture INK at Dinosaur, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and a bunch more to begin my 3rd NPT and MeAsWe 2nd tour and this one will be a Silver certificate hopefully.

Last but not least is Massachusetts State Passport which list 75 places to get MASSINK. We are well underway with this program as well.

Oh I forgot to mention We are still pursuing Towns and Cities, NRHP, Clocks, Neon, Post Offices, Dunkin Donuts, Compass Roses, Sundials, Dated Buildings, and trying to fill in all 1900+ categories. I doubt we will get to Czech Geodetic Points this year.

I did consider entering the Minuteman 1000 again this year, but this one got away from me.

So what do you think, OCD. Can’t be it doesn’t produce anxiety, it is a release. ADD, can’t be. This chasing requires attention, organization, and procrastination is a No No , which are anti-symptoms of ADD. Conduct Disorder, there is some similarities, such as pattern of repetitive behavior wherein the rights of others or social norms are violated. However this can’t be because there is no cruel conduct toward people or animals, no destructive behavior, etc etc. Borderline Personality Disorder, doesn’t fit the ticket (trust me on this one). Acute Distress Disorder, nothing terrifying about doing all of this.

After careful self - analysis, I have come to the conclusion it is just plain FUN.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On a Mission for Expedition

In May one of the NER Treasure Hunt words was EXPEDITION. I waited until the very end of the month and sandbagged my 2 difficult words. The other word was VOLCANO. As it turned out Expedition was not that hard. There are plenty of statues around New England commemorating the China Relief Expedition. ( I really need to look that one up ). I also did not use the pictures below, in case the Rally Bastard disqualified these photos for some reason only he would know. The story is worth telling. (Remember it is my blog)

Location: N41 43.134 W71 15.835 Harding and Fairview Ave Warren RI

Name of Business: Video Expedition

Story Line: I rode to Warren with great expectations of expeditions to be had. Arrived at the location sans MeAsWe. I found myself in a Hood with no signs. A quick call to MeAsWe, WTF is this place. Got the number, called em, got voice mail. A guy comes of his house and I say Is this Video Expedition. Of course the answer was No. What address you looking for, he said. Found out I was in the wrong spot. Something about Ave and Terrance. Drove around the corner. Saw a guy mowing his lawn. Stop, shut the bike down.

ME: Is this Video Expedition?
VEG: Yes it is.
ME: Do you have a sign?
VEG: No it is a business that is on a pute and we work inside the house.
ME: Got a Business Card ?
VEG: Of course !!
ME: Can I get a picture of you and your card ?

Me is me of course and not MeAsWe and VEG is Video Expedition Guy (I actually have his card someplace at home and should really see what his name was)

And that is how it was on May 2nd Two Thousand Ten.