Colonial Williamsburg with Alex

Just a year later we finally got to take our grandson Alex to Colonial Williamsburg for a week, on the motorhome.  This is a first for him as the last time we had him out it was with Cory and it was just an overnight. Our drive to American Heritage RV was uneventful, the repairs held up nicely, and as soon as we settled in and disconnected the car we were off to Colonial Williamsburg.  I must say that their pricing is confusing and at this time there are so many options that my mind was boggled.  We settled on a simple multi-day ticket (that is three days) but could not buy the senior tickets online.  We bought them at the campground where they were just $2 less than at the gate.  Alex’s junior ticket was cheaper online, although maybe I could have saved $.50 at the campground.  Go figure.

We began with a tour of the Governor’s Palace guided by Mary, the Housekeeper, who was a bit rushed because she was preparing the house for a ball that evening and needed to survey all the public spaces and her office in preparation.  When we took this tour a year ago we were impressed by the carefully researched and prepared presentation.  We were no less impressed this year.  Although this was a different “actor” clearly she had the role down perfectly and was able to respond to questions in character.  we were all delighted and walked out into the beautiful day to tour the gardens and then take a broad view of the entire historic area.  Alex was particularly interested in seeing some chickens.  He has won awards for his raising and handling of Bantom Chickens and knows far more about breeds and breeding than one would expect from a 12 year old.  We were given the location of two chicken flocks on the premises, but were not able to get to them on Friday before things started to close down at 4:30.  At 5:30 there was a Fife and Drum Corp with torchbearers that marched from The Capital to The Palace Green with a stop at the Magazine for the firing of the canons.  We were entranced and marched along with them for about half the parade route.  Bandwidth will not permit me to show off Alex’s video footage of the torches and the playing.  We rode the shuttle bus back to the visitor center and returned to the coach for a late dinner and early to bed for us – very late for Alex.

Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast and headed back to Williamsburg to have a conversation with Thomas Jefferson in the Palace Garden.

Mr Jefferson gave a very moving monologue for about 40 minutes on the development of the colonies that date in 1776 and the ideas that he thought would make for a good government.  He addressed many questions from the attentive audience including some from the far future.  We might not agree with all of his ideas, after all he was a slaveholder and a political leader of his time.  However he had many who disagreed with him in his time as well.

After training to be part of the militia:

We wandered on from there to the Capital where the tour included a presentation in the House of Burgess about the doings of the days and the fact that the Lords had left town rather hurriedly upon hearing of the happenings in Lexington and Concord.  Seated at the table were Patrick Henry, James Madison, and er, ah oh well so much for my memory.

The guide talked about the issues leading to the need for the colonies to declare their independence from the Crown and concluded (you need to click on this):

We moved downstairs to the Courtroom where capital crimes are tried and look who we found in the jury box – reserved for members of the upper house:

Alex soon found himself answering a question correctly before the questioner could turn and ask for an answer.  He found himself seated in the governor’s chair.  This may not have been the best place to be for in a day they were all escaping from “the rabble.”

We ended the day with a stop at The Wythe house where there was a lovely chicken coop with chickens of the same breed Alex is raising as well as other breeds he recognized immediately to the surprise and pleasure of the docents.  We concluded the day by wandering through the museums of folk art, furniture and other collections.  Needless to say we got lost in there and could easily have spent the entire day there.  Instead we retreated to the coach for dinner and a good night’s sleep for all.  In the morning we were taking the coach and car to the Historic site so we could leave directly from there.  Here is Alex on the coach steps:

Our plan for the last day in Williamsburg was to start at The Powell House where we were told there were more chickens and then no real plan.  Alex was not totally thrilled with the chickens as they were the same breed as at Wythe House.  Also the rooster was far more protective and would not let him feed the hens without trying to peck him.  He did see some pigeons, actually Giant Runts, that were being kept in a coop.  He ventured into the coop followed by Dean, the keeper.  They returned into the light and Dean gave Alex this pigeon to hold:

I wan’t sure we would get to leave.  Indeed we spent an hour and a half there.  Not only were there birds to hold but there was salt to grind and friends to be made.

Report from Covesville

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The trip from Rochester to Covesvilles was not quite as planned.  Dan got sick and could not fly in to drive the Prius.  We decided to go back to Plan A which was to take turns driving the coach and the car with Josh riding  along and maybe driving the Prius with me as copilot.  We made a remarkably on time departure and got to Main Tire Exchange in Dansville, NY early only to find that the only tech capable of doing an alignment had been sent out on an emergency road service call.  While we waited another tech pulled the coach into the service bay and determined we had a loose bearing on the wheel that had had the worse tire wear..  Apparently that was the source of the wear.  By the time he had that tightened and put back together the alignment guy had returned.  He set up the equipment and determined within minutes that nothing had changed since the last time he had seen the coach and we were on the road again by noon.

We continued on to the Yogi Bear Shangri-la on the Creek in Milton PA with me driving the coach and Carol pushing the Prius.  We are not partial to this type of campground, but with three on board we needed to be able to pull out the slides for comfort and having hookups really made sense.  In the morning we rolled out in the same configuration.  After stopping for propane at the Carlyle Flying J we had an “incident.”  Neither Carol nor I are quite sure what happened, but the driver’s side mirror was removed from its rightful place and left dangling from it’s electrical connections.  Carol saw me swerve away from the passing truck and we conjecture he must have drifted into my lane.  My first indication of the contact was the sound of the mirror breaking away.   A brief stop on the shoulder allowed me to tape the mirror to the side of the coach so I wouldn’t lose it.  Then came the fun of driving with no mirror.  Fortunately we had radios with us and when I wanted to move left I could ask Carol to block for me and let me know when it was safe.  Fifty miles of that was enough and we pulled into the first available rest area so I could make further repairs.  By a miracle the glass had survived the impact and the primary damage was to the head of the mirror.  I was able to remount the mirror arm and with a liberal use of grey tape I was able to secure the mirror in a usable position and we continued on to Covesville with no further incidents.

Unfortunately Carol did not want to drive the coach with the taped up mirror and she was not comfortable with Josh practicing his driving under the conditions so he didn’t get the on road experience we had hoped to give him. Upon arrival I went online and found that the manufacturer of the mirror was still making the exact model and had them in stock.  I ordered one for second day delivery and planned to install it myself.  After crawling under the dash I determined that the entire installation amounted to driving four screws to mount the mirror and two plugs under the dash to power the adjusters, heaters and turn indicator.  This seemed to be quite an easy task.  Yesterday, Wednesday, when the mirror was due I crawled back under the dash to actually prepare by unplugging the two plugs, a seemingly trivial task albeit performed while lying on the floor contorted around the driver’s seat reaching over my head.

I tried three different tools to cut the one tie wrap used to secure the harness.  This was made difficult because I could not get leverage to slice it with a knife nor could I get the scissors under the wrap because of the angle.  I finally got it loose only to discover I had dislodged two other cables from places I had not noted.  One came from the control switch for the leveling system and after two tries and several uncomfortable minutes I was able to reset it on the circuit board so the levels worked as always.  The other was a red wire with a half circle on the end.  I traced that to the controller for the supplemental brakes in the car.  Since the black wire from the controller went to a screw on the frame it seemed clear that the red wire needed to be connected to a power supply and there was an open slot on a fuse block just in reach of the wire.  I will know tomorrow when I connect the car to take Alexander with us to Williamsburg whether I made that connection right.  If not it will be a simple matter to stick it in the other side of the slot.

I need to wrap this up and go help prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner.  A highlight will be a Skype video call with Malena’s sister Tafiline in South Africa.  Also her father, David, will be with us.  He was supposed to be going to Iran this week, but the security situation and visa problems are keeping him safely state side.  I look forward to the chance to spend some time with him face to face as we have have had many interesting conversations via email over the past year.

Carol has been working on her images and has them posted at  Here is a message she sent to her blog list:
Hello all;

I am pursuing a new venue to promote and sell my artwork on Imagekind, an online gallery and store. Today, I am honored to be one of the featured artists. Please visit Imagekind and click on the Featured artists link for Ann Carol Goldberg.  I hope you enjoy viewing my work and with the holidays coming up, I hope you will consider my work as gifts.  Note please that my galleries are still a work in progress, I am slowly uploading images to my galleries and loving being part of the modern world at this stage of my life. 

Hugs to all,
Ann Carol

Roll Out Preparation 2011-2012

Anticipation is building.  That means I am sleeping less and spending more time thinking about Gee 2 and the RV lifestyle.  When I sit down at the computer I first go to and then to RV,net/forums.  Then I check my email and if I think of it or am triggered by the news I may check the markets, there I thought about it and went to check, they are up at this moment.  Since getting home from the nine month grand circuit, we have spent a lot of time and money restoring everything from the coach to the bicycles to full operating condition with new whatever it takes to assure pleasant and safe travel.  The restoration of the RAV4 was the most extensive.  We had Vogel Collision redo the front of the car to repair or replace most of the damaged parts, no collision but lots of stones.  Then they had to put a new tailgate on as the “little dent” in the door had crushed the inner support structure.  As a reward for faithful service we bought a Tow Guardian to mount in front of the car to reduce the amount of stuff kicked up by the coach and traffic hitting its front.  We will soon see if that reduces the damage.  The coach has all new tires, the car has new brakes and we are a year older, as are the toys.  

Our departure will have some modifications.  We really don’t need the Prius to sit in the garage all winter so we are giving it to Dan.  Not being gluttons for punishment, we suggested that he come and get it so we would not have to drive down in caravan alone.  He also will be bringing Josh (his son) with him and Josh will get an extended driving lesson so long as Dan’s nerves can take it.  I have taken Josh out for a number of driving lessons and I must be much more relaxed as a granddad than I ever was as a father.  He says he has only seen me prepare for sudden destruction a couple of times 🙂 Josh can tell is own story, seek him out on FaceBook, that is how we know what’s going on.  

We actually have plans and reservations for after Covesville.  We will be visiting Bunny and Alan Bernstein in Baltimore where they assure me there is room for the coach.  I have confirmed this on Google maps.  Most people have no idea just how big 36 feet by 12 feet (open for camping) really is, especially when it wants to be level.  Then we will make a rather swift transit to St Petersburg FL fr a visit to Carol’s brother and sister-in-law while we stay in Ft Desoto County Park.  We made reservations to be assured of a place to stay, that’s Florida in December.

We do not know what our route will be after Florida.  We do know it will get us to Los Angeles, just not when or how.  

It has taken me forever to write this because we are spending so much time with friends here in Rochester and attending to “stuff” that, for the most part, can only be done in