Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept. 6, 2013

Mystic Seaport

Layover day.

In the northern part of the village of Mystic is an historic re-creation village called Mystic Seaport.  It is located on the harbor shore on land that once was the site of two ship building companies.  At one time the Mystic harbor was the largest ship building area in the world.  One of the ship building facilities in Mystic Seaport is still in operation, now as a restoration operation.  The fun and interesting thing about all of Mystic Seaport is that everything is done as it was historically – by hand.  No electric power here.  The only power tool I saw the whole day was a huge band saw and it was powered by belt drive from a diesel engine.  The yard is several years into the restoration of an historic ship.  The hull and everything below waterline outside is completed and the ship is afloat.  There is still MUCH to do.  In one building we watched a man doing some shaping on the bowsprit.  His only tool a hand plane.  The masts were shaped the same way. 

The other 2/3 of the village consists of historic buildings and shops that have been moved to the village and rebuilt along several streets.  Each building houses some aspect of the fishing/whaling/sailing era.  Cooper smith, boat smith (blacksmith for boats), rope making, navigation, boat building, carving, and on and on.  Each building has crafts persons giving demonstrations and lots of explanations.  There are some self guide areas but mostly there is some one available to give explanations and history.  Here too everything is done by hand.  No power tools for the cooper smith – just planes and draw knives and ropes(to squeeze the staves together).  Need a metal part for your boat? – Visit the boat smith who will make it by hand.  Learned that the intricately carved parts of the boats all had a function.  The carving was secondary.

Several vessels tied at wharfs for walking on and through.  Each with docents to explain things.  There is an area with several museums covering aspects of commercial sailing and ship building.  Good exhibits!  I get bored easily in most museums and these kept my interest.  There a cool small pool that has several hands-on stations demonstrating the physics of sailing.  Hull design comparison, water displacement, ballast, bilge pumping, rowing, and others.

We spent over 4 1/2 hours at Mystic Seaport and covered most but not all of it.  Admission is good for two days and one could easily do that to see it all well.  Another cool thing. – We got a senior discount AND a AAA discount on top of that.  Never seen that before. Smile

L.A. Dunton


Mystic Seaport Museum Town

Plymouth cording company ropewalk

Twine in from left, rope out the other side.


Mystic Sabino Steamboat


Deck Prisms

These look like ornamental paperweights but they have a historical function (the clear ones anyway).  The hold of a ship has no windows so is very dark.  The prisms were mounted on the deck.  Light gathered by the prism was transferred to the hold to give light below deck.

Sept. 5, 2013

Hyannis Port, Hyannis, Coast Guard Academy, Eagle, Nautilus, Mystic Pizza

Before leaving the campground on Cape Cod we took a quick trip over to Hyannis and Hyannis Port to see what the deal was.  Many expensive homes, narrow streets, yacht clubs, private beaches.  Good to see once but not my style.

Hyannis, MAHyannis yacht Club


John F Kennedy Memoria, Hyannis, MA


From Cape Cod to to Rhode Island and Burlingame State Park.  Largest campground we have ever seen.  755 camp sites split in to several loops.  Each with fire ring and table and LOTS of space for each site.  Many, if not most sites could hold five or six tents and a couple of cars.  Sites are level and open but with enough brush between sites that it doesn’t feel like a camping city.  Rustic camping with only a few restroom buildings supplemented with port-a-potties.  No problem for us.

We parked the carbus and drove to Connecticut to see the Coast Guard Academy.  Typical small college with lots of athletic fields (seems to be a thing with service academies).  From the Academy a few miles to see the Eagle, Americas tall ship and training vessel for the CG cadets.  Got to walk all over the deck and spoke with several crew members.

Coast Guard Barque Eagle


Had to hurry on to allow time to visit the Submarine Museum.  Home of the Nautalus, first nuclear powered submarine. 



The ship is now a museum in itself.  Self-guided audio tour down into and through the front half of the sub which housed living quarters and command and control sections.  Very interesting.  Actual thing is nothing like impression given by movies and TV.  The inside of a sub is very cramped (the bunks are 6’ long however)


and every available cubic inch is used in some way.


Forward torpedo room.


Officers mess. One of the more roomy areas.  There were eleven officers.  Looks like one guy either had to stand or was on duty Smile.

  Hard to describe how condensed and compressed everything is.  



The actual Submarine Museum is very well done.  History, science, evolvement, personal stories, and much more presented in an interesting and captivating way.  Had to rush through a bit because of impending closing but would go back if chance arose. 

Submarine Force Museum, Nautilus

Fun picture.  Rings show circumference of largest and smallest navy submarines now in service.


Return to campground involved going near Mystic, CT and it was close to dinner time so why not?  We went into the quaint, picturesque town and headed for Mystic Pizza.  There really is one.  We ordered a pizza, walked around town while it was being made, picked it up, and drove back to the carbus.  Pizza was tasty.  Over priced but good.  Been there, done that.

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Clouds over eastern Cape Cod just before sunset.

Sept. 4, 2013

Cape Cod

Today was a sightseeing day.  Drove the entire length of Cape Cod National Seashore to the very northwestern most tip of Cape Cod.

First a word on todays weather.  Yesterday started sunny then got progressively cloudier and then moved to some pretty intense thunderstorms.  Areas we drove through on our way to our campground ended up with flash flooding in the afternoon.  Today was different.  Chamber of Commerce day.  Bright sun all day.  No clouds.  Mild breeze.  Crystal clear skies. Temp – 77 degrees. All the beaches had people enjoying probably the last very nice day of the year. 

Cape Cod NS covers the eastern and northern edge of the cape.  The interior and western edge is mostly privately owned and has much commercialism.  Motels, restaurants, mini-golf, fast food, etc.  Towns are picturesque, quaint, filled with restaurants, antiques, and a new element – lots of ‘galleries’.  Also lots of people even after Labor Day. Would hate to be here in the summer.  No wax museums but lots of tee shirts.

The National Park portion is very pretty and there are a number of historic sites showcased.  Will try to describe some with photos.


Cape Cod.

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Just outside visitor center.

Nauset Beach

A Cape Cod beach.

Pete in the Atlantic Ocean, unexpectedlyP1010330

Feet in the Atlantic.

Nauset LightHighland LighthouseRace Point lighthouse from Herring Cove Beach

There are lots of light houses.


Seals on the move 50’ from shore.



More Cape Cod beach.


Sign telling about western terminus of Trans-Atlantic cable

P1010338P1010339This is it!  Western end of Trans-Atlantic cable.  Pretty impressive huh?


View from atop northern visitor center.  Building in distance is historic rescue station.


Fishing boat headed to Atlantic from Cape Cod bay.


Hard to make out – wild turkey.  He got to brush before I could get camera ready.



Hard to read.  Plaque describing drafting of Mayflower Compact just offshore from what is now Provincetown on tip of Cape Cod.  Actual first landing of Pilgrims.  Plymouth is across the bay to the west.  Tower commemorates Pilgrims, etc. Tallest granite structure of some sort.

Sept. 03, 2013

RV Repair and on to Cape Cod

First – apologies for delayed posts.  Have had a string of days with no time or WIFI or both.

We spent the last three nights in Connecticut.  We will return in a while but my impression so far is nothing to write home about.  Some quaint towns, some picturesque roads,  but also some very busy areas with lots of traffic and congestion.  We drove along a portion of Long Island Sound which was scenic but busy.  Went down a city road to a harbor and found a lobster shack.  Had hot lobster rolls.  Roll about 2/3 as long as a hot dog bun, painted inside with melted butter, and filled with 4oz. of lobster. $15 each. (Cheapest price we saw.  Other places were $20)  Been there now and done that.

Third night was spent in a rustic campground on a semi-remote lake.  A bit pricy but would be a nice quiet vacation spot for a family.  We chose this spot because it was not far from a spot we hoped to visit Tuesday morning.  Several days ago the generator in the carbus stopped working.  Would not start.  Searched the internet for RV repair shops and called one on Saturday.  He suggested we contact an electrical contractor he knew of who also worked on Generac generators.  Holiday weekend so no answer when we called but we took a chance and got close.  Tuesday morning early I called and they said to come by and they would see what they could do.  Pulled in at 8:30.  Shortly thereafter three guys descended on the problem.  Quick test determined that the starter was bad.  That meant pulling the entire generator from the carbus.  They had all the tools and lifts to attack the problem (other shops might not have had way to lift unit) and soon had it out.  Starter was indeed bad.  Some issue as to find replacement.  They considered taking starter from their own generator but were able to locate a new started at a local small engine repair shop.  Installed new starter, reinstalled generator unit in carbus and pushed start.  Success!  They then replaced flaky start switch with switch from their own generator which was new. We fixed and on our way before 10:30.  THANK YOU Rock-Vern Electric very much.  Class organization.

Sue figured we could get a better deal campground cost wise if we altered our (loose) plan a bit and headed to Cape Cod, so we did.  Distances are much different here.  Bopping on over to Cape Cod is not too big a deal.  After we got situated in a motorhome resort (with its’ own private beach) we drove through several Cape Cod villages to see Chatham  Pier Fish Market.  Here we watched a fishing boat unload its’ catch for the day.  Occasional dropped fish is thrown into water where it is quickly scarfed by a seal.  Fish market sells lobster buns – $20. 

Interesting day weather wise.  Sunny all morning.  Fog on the Cape in the afternoon but not like fog we know.  Fog pretty heavy (150 yard visibility) but warm (75 degrees).  Everyone in shirtsleeves.  Late afternoon as we returned to carbus, HEAVY rain.  First time we have ever used high speed on the windshield wipers.  Now calm and clearing.