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USA Road trip-The stars are out in Bristol

Updated on October 9, 2012

Week 18 – Wow, wow, wow – The stars are out and shining in Bristol!

After the great experience of Niagara surely anything else could only be an anticlimax – don’t you believe it! The campsite at Fair Haven Beach was really beautiful but as we travelled further east the amazing leaves of the changing autumn colors kept us calling out “look at that!” The picturesque farms in the New York State northern areas along Lake Ontario were quite beautiful with mile after mile of vineyard and fruit farms and their red and white barns being picture perfect.

Missed the prize winning 1200lb pumpkin on display at Newhaven by a day, but saw some seriously big ones at the county fair at Loudonville, as well as a nice selection of pigs, cows and various crafts on display. For a week in October the town closes its streets and celebrates what the farming community does. Outside almost every house in these rural areas, and even in urban areas, is a display of vegetables, dolls, scarecrows and flowers celebrating harvest time. Every now and then the Halloween displays are starting to go up and shops sporting “Boo-tiques” had us giggling!

· As we however moved into Vermont the beauty of the changing leaves along the country roads tempted us to stop at every possible place but as it was overcast we realized that to really see the leaves in their full glory the sun would have to come out. Do we move on or wait? If we wait, how long? But then the sun finally came out at Bristol and the leaves were in full display- “ indeed the stars were out!” The man walking his dog who Audrey spoke to directed us to the 22N road that he had travelled last week and was “quite amazing”, even for someone who lived in this area. A woman from the area told us that this was an exceptional year! What a wonderful experience it proved to be, town after town, field after field and mountain after mountain of colors – yellow, magenta, green, red and orange in ever changing mosaics of the most amazing combinations! How could one ever try to capture it on camera or try to explain it to someone? The only way was to experience it and then the images would be burnt forever in your memory? As the sun lit up the leaves they changed from being merely beautiful to mindboggling in a burst of amazing color that had us gasping and drew “foliage chasers” from all over the USA. We saw groups from New York, Colorado, Ohio, Maine and even Ontario in Canada to mention just a few.

The camp ground at Elmore Lake State Park, Vermont, that only stays open until this coming Monday, was another sensory delight, with the ground carpeted in leaves of the most beautiful selection of colors and the surrounding trees and hills a visual experience that must have had Rembrandt turning in his grave and had Audrey running around throwing leaves in the air.

The vegetable and ham stew that we cooked on the camp fire was another masterpiece and the 6 minute hot shower for 25 cent ended a perfect day as we looked towards Maine and new adventures of tomorrow. Temperatures of below 30 degrees at night loomed ahead but as we were soon to head for warmer climes in the south Matilda seemed to be a safe haven as we would begin our journey towards Florida in a few days time.

Breakfast in Vermont, lunch in New Hampshire, supper in Maine, and a feast of colors and delights in between. It is now becoming seriously cold and we are wearing beanies, gloves and long-johns to survive this kind of weather with daytime maximums only rising into the low 50’s. Tonight we camp in St George Lake State Park in Maine and tomorrow hope to be in Arcadia National Park having completed our journey from the N/W to the N/E coasts of the USA, a distance of some 3000 miles and what an experience it has been.

It was, in fact, a month ago that we were at Williams lake in Idaho with Patti and Loren and we could hardly believe that time has passed so quickly as we sat in Arcadia National Park this evening watching the sun go down and taking photos of a group of Common Eider in the blue water of the Atlantic Ocean below. Last night at St Georges Lake the water left in the frying pan froze, but it does not seem nearly as cold this evening as we enjoy a vegetable and ham ‘potjie’ (curtsey of Lena, Bryan and Laurie). The weather forecast at the Welcome Centre at Arcadia NP was for snow tomorrow and so we will wait and see!

This last week we have done a European and World tour in the rural areas of N/E USA. Last week we started in Greece on Lake Ontario and since then have visited Poland, Russia, Manchester, Leeds, South Britain, Bristol, China, Belfast and Holland, to mention but a few. Obviously the early settlers arriving in this area were really homesick and named their settlements after their countries or home towns in where ever! We have also noticed that we have in this last week hardly seen any African Americans in this area, except for a black gentleman we saw riding a bike today somewhere in Maine.

The photos we took while travelling across the New England area are amazing as we reviewed them this evening and we look forward to more colorful leaf changes as we start our journey south tomorrow or the next day towards Florida and Errol and Jessie. Almost every morning and evening we hear the sound of Canadian Geese honking their way south and we are moving in the same direction, if a bit more slowly than we intended and the Geese should have! Many of the Hotels, Golf Courses, Restaurants and Theme Parks this far north have closed down with a sign “Thanks for your support, see you in the Spring!”


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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Saw some Ider Ducks at Arcadia and Loons on the NW Coast.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad that you liked Acadia National Park. I just lived about 40 minutes east of there, the next county over, Washington County, the Land of the Sunrise. Hear and/or see any Common Loons?


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