Monday, August 27, 2007

Canoe Camping

Our latest adventure was a canoe camping trip on Lake Mooselookmeguntic in western Maine with Nana, Pop and the Korfmachers (Shannon's sister Katrina, husband Karl and boys Stefan (8) and Ty (10). We had perfect weather for the 30 minute canoe to our campsites on Students Island. Once there we played in the water, fished, learned Karate from the oldest cousin, played games, chopped wood, took hikes and generally adventured around. Everyone had a fabulous time, no rain, no bugs (only problem was a late night squirrel assault the last night!). Toby says his highlight was "the WHOLE THING!" and Cassidy's was making Fairy Houses (the Fairy's left the kids thank you notes! The kids all got along well but predictably started squabbling when we returned home from the trip. Cousins leave Wed and we head to the coast to visit our friends from Carbondale, the Gavettes!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Maine at Last

We are now living in Bethel Maine on Songo Pond (in Colorado it would be called a lake but Yanks are masters of understatement). The weather has been alternating between gorgeous, warm and sunny and pouring rain and so far none of the humid heat you often get in the summer here. We have been doing lots of boating, swimming, blueberry picking, biking and hiking. We had a great outing with my parents the other day, Dave and I biked to Step Falls and kids and grandparents drove there (18 miles). Step Falls is a Nature Conservancy Preserve with a creek that forms cool pools with natural rock slides flowing in to them. The water is frigid but it is worth it to take a slide, splash in and jump out again (see photo of Nana and Cass about to take the plunge). Nana and Pop then rode home (downhill :)) and we drove with the kids stopping to buy a homemade raspberry pie from a self serve roadside kiosk and again to buy 25 cent creamsicles from a little store - very Maine. The highlight of the week for Toby and Dave was a trip to the venerable Fenway Park to see the Red Sox in action against the Devil Rays. Toby outfitted himself for the big day (the night before!) in his Sox outfit - blue shorts, blue Sox shirt, Sox hat and then asked me - "do we have something I could paint my face blue with and put a red B on my face"? Though the Sox lost, it was a great game and he loved the whole Fenway experience with Meme and Dave's Aunt Glee (another rabid Sox fan) - Fenway Frank, blue cotton candy, massive pretzel etc (see photo ). My sister and family arrive tomorrow night and our kids cant wait. They are a little starved for playmates.

The Road Trip

We are now two plus weeks into our big family adventure and are having a blast. We headed out from Colorado on August 1st in two batallions - the kids and meme/Penny/grandma flew to Boston from Aspen and Dave and Shannon started driving east. We took I-70 and pretty much blasted through to reunite with the kids as fast as possible. We did bring our bikes and stopped each day of the drive to ride. I had done some internet research and found some cool rail-to-trail conversion rides to do which made things much more interesting. There were no such trails in Nebraska so our first day we just pulled off of I-70 and road through rolling farmlands for an hour and half then raced the storm clouds back to our car, pulling away just as the rain hit! In addition to getting in rides, our other goal for the drive was to not eat at any chain restaraunts. This proved challenging in Nebraska because by the time our bodies decided we were hungry, the change in time zone meant that everything in the towns were closed. Instead of caving in so early in our trip, we stopped at a small town grocery store, got local produce and had a very healthy dinner as we sped along the highway!
After a night in Lincoln Nebraska we were on the road again, this time stopping just before Des Moines Iowa to ride on the Raccoon River Trail. from Redfield. This trail was a little oasis of shade and habitat surrounded by the ubiquitous corn fields of the midwest. We finished up with a dip in the river then a great lunch at the "Dairy Shoppe" - $3 hamburgers anyone?! We highly recommend the rest areas on I-70 in Iowa and Nebraska, shade, playgrounds and Wi-Fi- access, great spot for a picnic dinner that night then on past Chicago to spend the night in Howe Indiana. Our goal the next night was dinner at my sister's house in Rochester NY so we were out again early, this time stopping in Ashtabula, Ohio for another rail trail ride (hot and HUMID and unfortunately no river to dip in but very pretty trail that was mostly shady). The highway was no longer fun with tolls to pay and traffic to contend with so we were happy to arrive in Rochester and see the Korfmachers and their new house. We didn't have nearly enough time to hang with Katrina and family but the mom sensor was kicking in hard and I needed to see my kids!!! We took off the next morning at 10 and were in Andover by 4:30 - where we were greated by the clamourous chords of the "Wild Beavers" a new eclectic band featuring Pop on the accordian, Nana on cello, Cassidy on piano and Toby on the guitar!!! The kids had been on their absolute best behavior for the plane flight with Meme and the following three days with my parents. They had been to the beach, the aquarium, the swan boats, the library and local trails -slept well, ate well, said their pleases and thank yous and generally charmed everyone. So of course, they immediately fell apart when we came on the scene :)! After a visit with my aunt and uncle the next morning we finally headed out as the four of us to my parents lake house in Bethel Maine - the first real leg togethe as the "meyer family travelers" (or perhaps now to be renamed the "Wild Beavers"??. Next post I will update on our time so far in Maine.