Travel Diary Six by Dave Hileman

Day Six

The rain from Florence has arrived. It began last night and is still raining this morning so we are glad we did the grounds at Vanderbilt Mansion yesterday. We began the morning at a neat old fashioned bakery called El Deliziosa (invented the chocolate chip cannoli) It is located in a tiny spot almost under the old railroad bridge across the Hudson. Anyway, the more they kept bringing out freshly made goodies from the back room bakery the more we lost focus. Settled on some mini pastry, cookies, biscotti and CJH’s cannoli. Then off to a tour at the Vanderbilt Mansion in heavy rain. I simply do not understand how people lived in those dark places when they could live anywhere. With his money really anywhere. Then off to the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America, for another amazing lunch, this time at the Tavern. We finished our short day with a tour of the school led by a student and she was informative and enthused.  

Cadillac’s Correct Viewpoint!

So, I asked how far we would get today and found out we were going no where again. And seeing more moldy old houses. So I decided to stay here, get a nap and work on notes to my family that are missing me, I’m sure. Then I find out they ate at the CIA and a pastry shop. THAT was not part of the briefing this morning. So, I am going to bed and hope for a better outcome tomorrow. 


Travel Diary Five by Dave Hileman

We were able to leave the trailer at the campground and head north toward the tiny village of Kinderhook to Lindenwald, home of Martin Van Buren, our 8th president. You might know that if you recall your memorization of the presidents. Of course the list was a lot shorter when I learned them. The Federal style house had an added tower with inside stairs used by servants and Pres. Van Buren’s grandchildren who spent summers at the farm. The grounds are still actively farmed. The 200 plus acre farm was on the Albany to NYC Old Post Road - a very small unpaved portion is still extant in front of the house. Influential political guests often stopped by. The ranger, Ed, gave us an excellent tour. It was only Cindy and me, so a private tour. He made an obscure president from an era we know little about relevant and interesting. Yay, Ed. We also toured the grounds of the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park (inside tomorrow as it is scheduled to rain) and Mrs. Roosevelt’s home, Val-Kill. Another excellent tour. Dinner at the Eveready Diner and then home. 

Cindy and I split an excellent piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie from Love Apple Orchard near Kinderhook.

Cadillac’s Correct Viewpoint!

The day started with such promise, we headed North. Then as I could sense the Vermont Hills in the distance, we stopped. Not for a good reason, to visit a “president’s” home. Right like there was ever a president named Van Buren. And I could not even go in as the magnificent antlers I sport were deemed too large. A bright spot is that we stopped and had a doughnut and ice cream for lunch. Of course, we had to share. Then we were off again to yet more houses. I’ll not bore you. The worst part is that we ended up where we started. How did that happen? Will I ever get to see my cousins?

 The Italian garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion.

The Italian garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Travel Diary Four by Dave Hileman

We attended church today at Collective in Frederick for their first anniversary service. The service included stories of people who now are part of Collective, and the excitement of the 300 people there was really fun to be a part of on Sunday morning. Great experience. 

We then made excellent time traveling toward Scranton so we stopped at Steamtown, a NP museum in a roundhouse devoted to the era of steam train travel. It was full of huge locomotives and descriptions of how they work. We especially liked the car dedicated to the U S mail service. A quick stop with our trailer in tow at an overlook along a winding road to see a portion of the Upper Delaware Scenic River proved to be more exciting than we expected as we hit upon the local hangout for hot import cars and motorcycles. They were running fast, as in VERY, up and down the very narrow highway along the cliff overlooks. Taking a photo was a bit dicey. But we did. We then ended up Sunday night at the KOA near New Paltz, NY we had planned to stay in on Monday and Tuesday. Dinner was scrambled eggs and at 8:15 tasted wonderful.

Cadillac’s Correct Viewpoint!

Even I will admit to a very good time at the church service this morning, primarily because they had divine (ahem) cupcakes after the service, in three delicious varieties. They were homemade by Tabi and her crew. I, of course, tried all of them because making choices is not something I like. And it was nearly the first decent food I have had this entire trip. The service was also good but would have been even better with a large horn section! Also, we finally started moving north again. We had an unnecessary stop at some dead train station but finally I can feel a change in the air as we entered NY. Much closer to family. 


Travel Diary Three by Dave Hileman

Day Three

Travel distance, 14 miles! We are staying overnight at the Grace Community Church in Frederick. Today is a workday. I am working on my presentation for a conference that happens in Tennessee right after we return from this trip. CJH is working on books but slowly as the internet in SC where our bookkeeping program is hosted is very slow. Not surprisingly. We are in a nice coffee shop called the Baltimore Coffee & Tea. Really nice with amazing selection of both coffee and tea and free re-fills. Not sure what will happen for dinner but I guess it will not be too much as we are eating a great sandwich and salad here at the coffee shop. 

Another Viewpoint!

What is wrong with my guides for this trip? We barely moved at all today. Maine is still as far away as it was yesterday. So, we did arrive at a decent place for dinner last night after an interminable trip through yet another battlefield. However, we ordered the special. The “special” was not a filet and, of course, that is the bare minimum order for proper steak. I’m traveling with Philistines. The single bright spot so far is that I finally have WiFi and a decent latte today. 


Travel Diary Two by Dave Hileman

Day Two

We have a bonus day in the trip today. Since we are at a campground and have the trailer parked, we chose to go to visit two National Parks that we have seen but both of them long before a camera, Harpers Ferry and Antietam. They are only about 20 miles apart. Harpers Ferry is a beautiful spot and has much more history than John Brown’s Raid but that event does dominate. The weather was very dark grey and rainy; it added to the musty atmosphere of many of the old stone buildings. We thought the place needed a bit of life in the shops and exhibits. Antietam was the site of the bloodiest single day battle in America’s history until June 6, 1944. The same grey day at Harpers Ferry was actually interesting at Antietam because we visited three days from the 156th anniversary of the battle which was also reported as taking place in mist, heavy atmosphere, rain, and fog. Not ideal for photography. 

Another Viewpoint!

I am so bored. Cannons! I have seen cannons in 75 states. I don’t need to see another cannon but we did. Where is the buffet? Where is the lido deck? What is a lido deck? And I cannot believe they almost sent that airhead, Christmas Moose in my place. She hates to travel, does not know the difference between a Napoleon and a fruit tart and has no relatives in Maine. North Pole Moose are barely even moose. We tolerate their abhorrent eating habits but travel with her, unthinkable. I hope we find a nice place for dinner tonight.


Travel Diary - One by Dave Hileman

Day One

(Reminder, we are working with a couple of days delay to try and be consistent with posting because we do not always have internet access.)

Left Raleigh two days early to get ahead of Florence - and while it made preparations hectic I think it was a good decision. It was driven in part by our intention to be at the first anniversary of Collective, a church our organization planted in Frederick, Maryland. Trip up I-85 and I-95 was unusually easy, not much traffic and no delays the entire trip. Shocking! We had no specific destination in mind other than north but the lack of traffic kept us going until we arrived a few miles from Frederick at Little Bennett Regional Park just of I-270. CJH located this place using Campendium a great app for finding camp sites. The site is a bit pricey but very nice. You can read about it in “Camping” section. We were surprised to be just a few miles from where our wedding reception was held. Still going!

For several years, we have traveled with a small stuffed moose that our youngest granddaughter purchased in Maine. It is a bit of a game now that she is older but we all participate. Leaving early prompted Cindy to send a note telling EB to pack Cadillac’s suitcase but she was not home so her parents and sister found a different moose and brought it to our house. EB’s Dad showed up a couple hours later with Cadillac and his suitcase full of snacks and camera with the news that Dancer, the substitute moose, was not a good traveler and Cadillac was really counting on seeing his relatives in Maine.

Another Viewpoint!

I am NOT a “small stuffed” moose. Perhaps a bit petite for my species but quite in the range of moosedom. And there is no way I can be stuffed on this trip. EB did not send my spending money so I have to rely on “frugal Dave” one of my guides on this trip so no chance to ever be stuffed. My palate has been finely tuned and I am not munching grasses in the marsh when there are fine steaks and organic carrots. So far this trip is a disappointment. Can you believe we had to drive 50 miles out of our way to see if, IF, the inn where my guides had their wedding reception was still there. Remarkably it was (rebuilt eight times I guess.) We are barely into Maryland and I expected to already be nearer Maine and I have not had WIFI at all. I think I will eat a few of my suitcase snacks. 


Adjustments Needed by Dave Hileman

I asked rhetorically the other day, what does the hurricane mean for the trip. The answer is now a bit more clear. We are leaving early Thursday morning instead of Saturday to stay ahead of the storm. We still plan to be in Frederick MD on Saturday and Sunday but not sure where we will be the next two nights. We may or may not stay in the trailer, depends if we find an open hotel or a safe spot for the trailer. If the current expectations hold, NOVA and the area of MD where we are traveling ought to be lightly affected. But no one really knows. 

So, it has been hectic here, work later in the day and then packing and house preparation at night. Lots to do before we can leave but we are close to a manageable level. If all goes well or close to well we should be north of the major issues by Friday if we leave about the time this posts on Thursday AM. 

We are doing what we can to secure the house, we are low and have lots of drains around the house. So that is a concern. I am creating some dams to move water to where I would prefer it goes. Very grateful to have family nearby that does not mind checking on things and picking up after the storm. I hope we do not have to return but that is a possibility to park the trailer somewhere are drive back. 

So, we completed the packing of the trailer with everything except fridge food, cameras, computers, and medicines. Truck is 90% done as of this morning, Wednesday, about 6:45. 

Another change is we will be doing our daily trip diary a bit earlier. So, the first post will be either Monday or Tuesday instead of Wednesday. We intend to post with a three-day delay because often we will not have WI-FI and we would like to be consistent. So when we post Monday, for example, that would cover the trip on Friday (and Thursday). I am sure we will miss a couple of days. 

Please be cautious where you might be, storms are often worse than they seem and everything is so saturated that it will not take much to topple more than a few trees. Blessings.


"Things that Actually Work" - Coffee Thermos by Dave Hileman

A critical need for all of humankind is good, hot (or cold) coffee, (Or tea, I guess, Rusty.) certainly we all agree on that - and they don't think we are united! I have a drawer full, actually since we moved they were all tossed, of poorly made, drippy, unpleasant or just "did not work” travel mugs. Then I found this one, Zojirushi. They were way more than I ever paid for one (might be the initial problem) but claimed that they would not drip and stay hot. So I spent about $22 on one. On Amazon they are more or less today depending on color. It worked and worked more than well. I have to cool the coffee off slightly if I want to drink it in the first 2 hours or it is too hot. I have had coffee sit in the car for 6 or 7 hours and then drink a perfectly acceptable coffee. I bought CJH one too and we have used them for three or four years now. Clean well, still seal, no leaks or drips. Very happy. I do occasionally put iced coffee in and it works equally well at keeping it cold - no ice needed if I pour from the fridge. They are not for carbonated beverages. 


Crunch Time by Dave Hileman

We are under a week for our scheduled trip and now things accelerate. Also time to pack the camera bags - plus a hurricane is probable. How does that change things?

So, in preparation for the trip we did a short run  a month ago and found out most of what we did worked well with a couple of minor tweaks but the fresh water had some “sludge” in it which meant a clean out was needed, actually overdue. So we did the purge however, yesterday we found out it did not work completely, almost, so - and I hope when you read this it is done, another round. This consists of half filling fresh, adding some cleaner designed for this purpose, driving around, filling balance and then emptying after 30 minutes. Refilling with clean water. 

Sunday I am installing our new monitoring system for the LPG tanks. Already set up outside of the trailer tank holder and both are working well. This is a real relief as we were always guessing how much propane was left in the tank. When it gets to 35 degrees one night in Bar Harbor we do not want to run out of gas! Already tried camping in cold weather with no heat, twice was enough. If they work over the whole trip I will add them to the “Things that Actually Work.” I also have to replace a hook and a towel bar that the 3-M tape did not hold. Command Strips are up next. 

The potential hurricane is a challenge. We are planning to leave on Saturday for Frederick MD. I have an appointment at a church plus the first anniversary service at Collective, a new church is Sunday. So I guess we will pack early and be done mostly by Wednesday night - at least to avoid packing some of the stuff in the driving rain and make a decision then. We can, if we get to Frederick ahead of the storm on Thursday work remotely on Friday but that is not ideal. We would rather stay here, make sure everything is fine at home and leave Saturday with most of the storm ahead of us. Or that is the current plan. 

I also will finish Sunday preparing my camera equipment. I take everything from my main bag, clean it out and repack. Counterintuitively, then I take each lens, filter and some other things out one at a time and clean them. Then do the same with the camera. Next, take each SD card and reformat all of them along with fully charging each of my four batteries. I then check out the tripod and make sure I have the allen wrench and correct plates and everything works. One non-Fuji battery I have goes in a charger in the truck so I have an emergency battery if needed. I can also put regular batteries in that charger. The 110 volt charger is then put into the trailer. I also check to make sure my insurance is correct and that I have instruction books on hand (iPad is great fits a library). I actually go over the guide at home before and always learn something new. I will go over settings in the camera before we arrive in PA for Steamtown National Historic Park. 

I have a second small bag, recommendation from Dennis Mook of The Wandering Lensman, that I will use in many of the places especially if I know I will not use my long lens or if it is a short walk to the truck. For example in Steamtown I will pack camera, cleaner, second lens, extra battery and extra SD card for walking around the train displays. The key is to return the lens and camera to the main bag when I am finished at a site. The other stuff stays in the bag.

Monday I will also plan alternative routes based on the storm potential. 

Tomorrow the first “Things that Actually Work” post.


Mists by Dave Hileman

Barely visible in the heavy morning mist is the sailboat at anchor along the down east coast of Maine. 

"I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”  Isaiah 44:22 NLT


Checklists, Yay by Dave Hileman

So checklists. Wow, the fun never slows down here. I actually have several checklists and they are not infallible for making certain everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be (because of operator error!) but they go a long way to solving problems before they occur. 

We have a packing checklist for getting equipment, food and clothing to the trailer. We have a “to do” list that includes most everything we need to accomplish before we leave for a trip, a list for both inside and outside of the trailer anytime we move it from camping sites or storage, a checklist specifically for camera gear and one to remind me of the order of operation for the generator. Oh, and one that specifies what goes in the front and back of the truck. 

I hate to get on the way and then remember that the grill is still in the garage or I didn’t bring the hiking sticks or worse, the battery charger for the camera is still plugged in at home. You cannot easily replace everything and, besides, you don’t really need duplicates of equipment or the extra expense. So make sure you have packed carefully and the way we do that is with these lists. The primary packing list for trailer and truck is generated new each trip with whatever adjustments we need. For example we added walkie-talkies that we use to help me avoid trees and tables and low flying aircraft while backing into camp spaces and they are great. So, add new items or subtract things you no longer need to take. The items on this list are crossed off only when they are  in place not just stacked by the door to go out. Lesson learned! 

The checklist for preparing to move the trailer is really important to me. I think because I have done it a lot that I know how, but the more familiar you are the easier it is to do something without really thinking and that can lead to disaster. For example, our list says check the five points at the hitch: emergency brake, two chains, electric and hitch lock. Easy right? Well one day I did four but did not latch the ball just dropped the trailer and drove off. Fortunately I only drove to the dump station in the campground but still, stupid. I was distracted and did not read the list. So, CJH does the inside list, I do the outside list and she checks the outside. 

I will write about the camera gear and what I do to get ready in a couple of days but the checklist is so helpful when I am getting gear from two bags, a bin and a few other spots. 

Checklists have really helped us be safer, be more ready for a trip and to enjoy more time doing what we want to do because we have remembered hiking boots and bug spray and binoculars and…. 

Add write yourself a checklist to your checklist - worth the effort.


Let's Talk More Money (Part 2) by Dave Hileman

I wrote a few days ago about the actual cost of a trip considering the hidden costs of ownership of the trailer. Because it is really money! Yet that is not how it feels and on some level not how it actually works. The costs are real and substantial. In our case they are incorporated into our living expenses across the year. Insurance and storage are paid monthly and I put aside a bit each month for property taxes, license and maintenance. So it is a household expense like the electric bill and cell phone. When time comes for a trip like we are preparing for now, those sunk costs are not really felt.

We will leave for this trip with the first two nights stays at no cost, one night in a friend’s church parking lot and one night at a casino - we like contrast! We will have no outside electric or water but that is fine we can operate for 3 or four days on the water we carry and a combination of driving and solar restores the batteries. The next two nights are in a KOA we like chosen because it is central to what we want to see, close to the interstate for an early morning exit on Wednesday and because the cost is a reasonable $37 with full hook-ups and pull through site. Even cable TV! Membership with KOA costs $25 a year. For that you get 10% off any stay, earn free nights, get good reservation system and more consistent campground experience. 6 or 7 nights pay for the annual fee. 

Then we have two nights yet to be determined where we stay followed by 3 nights in a state park near Boston. Again very reasonable ($22) with water and electric at the site. After one more unknown stop we do 6 nights in Acadia National Park for $90. In the first two weeks of travel we will spend under $300 or about $22 a day. The week across central NY and across PA to home likely will be a bit more, figure 35 each for the last 7 days and you have 500 for three weeks of lodging. And that could reduce because we have found what looks to be one good free site and the state parks we are looking at are about $28. 

We have NP lifetime passes, so no charge to enter parks and we will eat 15 or 18 meals out depending on what we find and how we feel. The meals in the trailer are no different cost than eating at home so no extra expense there and you begin to see why travel is not too, or at least does not feel, too expensive in the Oliver. Fuel for this trip will be about 600, lodging a bit under 500, add another 1000 for meals, ice cream, parking, tolls, other admissions, and a few odds and ends and you get about $100 a day for a 21 day trip. 

By comparison, a short trip to a near-by state park we took to make sure everything was working well on a site with power cost $109 total (gas and food included) for two days. A trip to Disney is 110 a night just for the campground. 

That is why the travel trailer seems like a bargain. When we travel for these three weeks the out of pocket expenses are very reasonable. Again, we realize we have an initial investment (discussion for another post) maintenance and annual sunk costs. If we drove fewer miles we would have less expenses, gas being our largest or next to the largest expense, but I seem to be incapable of not driving a lot. You never know what is over the next mountain until you go.  Next time Checklists, wow this is exciting stuff. 

 You have to buy groceries! Abandoned store in north central Tennessee.

You have to buy groceries! Abandoned store in north central Tennessee.

Let's Talk Money! (part one) by Dave Hileman

Travel is expensive, period. Unless you plan to bike or walk and sleep along the side of the road it costs money to see the sights in this large, beautiful country. Travel that to me is well worth the cost. This is not a discussion on whether buying a travel trailer is a good idea, we will have that sometime, but about relative costs now that we own one. At first glance it seems pretty cheap as decent, moderate hotels are well over $125 a night most places often lots more and camping is a quarter of that. But as in most things there is more. We pay personal property tax, insurance and storage fees for our trailer. They are equal to about 10-12 days in hotels. So with the mileage penalty from towing you basically break even for a two week trip. This year we are traveling for three weeks and about 3000 miles. We will save about $1500 on lodging for the trip figuring all ownership expenses. Of course, this is our fourth excursion this year and the two were lots fewer miles, so we are really ahead before we leave. But just considering this trip it is a savings but not as significant as first assumed. 

We also think we have both tangible and intangible value as well. For example, we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in house unless we wish to eat out. And when we do eat out we often have lunch or another dinner from the restaurant meal leftovers. This is ultimately healthier for long trips and you get to be more selective about restaurants. Coffee (lots of coffee) and other drinks and snacks are much less expensive when you get them from your fridge. We sleep in our own bed, shower in our own bathroom and live in our own environment - clean or less clean it is our mess. I like that aspect. To set up or hitch up the Oliver is easy and quick, so that is a non-issue unless it is raining hard or backing in a slot is tight. It really takes not more or much more time than unloading luggage and making a second trip to the car for what I forgot. I like the easy access to clothes, shoes, equipment etc from closets in the trailer. We have a nice entertainment system- use it little but it is there and if we have WIFI, connect to lots more. It is comfortable to read, work on photos, plan the next day or write.

Camping is often in nice places, not always, sort of on a par to hotel choices. You don’t know for sure what kind of space you will get anymore than you know how loud the folks are in the adjacent room in the hotel. It is hard to put a financial value on a beautiful park campground with a great view. And to stay in National Parks, like Acadia where we will spend six nights for $90 and walk across the road to the ocean, wow. 

Finally the longer the time traveling, even factoring in distance, the more savings. When we travel to Alaska next summer for four months even with the mileage costs we will save thousands. In fact we would not be able to take that kind of trip without the RV. So we deal with the fixed expenses, occasional repairs and service, and the mileage penalty while seeing sights we could otherwise not easily afford. And that is a hard to measure value until you are up early - already in a beautiful National Park seeing sunrise over the mountains, the ocean or a lake, mist rising everywhere, with beautiful light and then you know the experience is priceless.

 I mean who hasn't been to a cash register museum?

I mean who hasn't been to a cash register museum?

Route Planning by Dave Hileman

There are different types of route planning depending on the type of trip. Going to the beach for a week, not much planning on how to get there. Going to Disney for a week, lots of planning for fast passes, food and where are the closest ATMs. We are not doing that kind of trip. Once we pick a furthest destination than we start planning. 

This fall Saint Croix Island NHP on the Canadian and Maine borders is the apogee of the trip. We also determined that we wanted to complete the NPS units in the New England states excepting NYC. Admittedly this is not everyones idea of a vacation. Traveling to one or more sites each day, rarely staying too long at any camp site and lots of driving. I like the driving so that is not an issue and once we chose to visit and photograph all 417 NPS units, the outline of multiple trips was set. 

So, how do we go about planning a route? The first stop is not usually too close to home because closer ones are easier to get to so, on this trip, stop one is Scranton, PA - home to a mythical paper company and our first new National Historic Park, Steamtown. We choose this because it is an easy alternate route to NE only slightly off our normal travel. Also, the bonus is that there is a NP scenic river not too far away in NY that we will stop at shortly after leaving Steamtown. The next stop is defined by the campground being central for three sites, one new and two we visited long ago but before photos. The super bonus is a meal at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY. So, trips are structured by NPS units, available camping and FOOD. Often by food. Usually by food and or ice cream or bakeries.

We are then going to Weir Farm in Connecticut. Here is another issue not just for NP sites but lots of places. Weir Farm is only open Wednesday to Sunday so we had to adjust our schedule to arrive when they open on Wednesday and that was not the first iteration of this trip. This unit has very limited parking so when you are towing that becomes a part of planning. On Apple Maps I bring up the satellite images and look for close alternatives for parking if the lot is full when we arrive. 

Next stop is late afternoon in Providence RI and that brings up another factor, traffic. We need to leave the farm early enough to not be a part of rush hour on 95 headed out of NYC. 

Not going to go over the whole itinerary but that is a sample. So, how is the planning done? We use paper maps from AAA, online maps, and past experiences to chart the broader course. But this is general process at this point, a specific plan follows and that will be another post. The best part of planning is that it allows us flexibility without missing what we really want. Lots of things unexpected arise: traffic, road construction, places to see we did not know about or ice cream shops the must be tried. A plan allows you to stop and adjust often and we do.

 Planning Lists On left list of NPS units, right, distance between major stops so I know how to plan a day and where to camp.

Planning Lists On left list of NPS units, right, distance between major stops so I know how to plan a day and where to camp.

Welcome to Journeys by Dave Hileman

Much looks just the same today as it did last week but Two Lane Touring is making a change that is more significant that it first appears. "Journeys" will occupy the space that has been "No Itinerary" for the last three years and for two years before on the old site. This was an eclectic place for photographs that did not fit under the National Park Service portion of the TLT and, sometimes, it still will. However, there are lots of planned differences too. 

We will be writing longer pieces one or two or even three times a week on topics related to our travel: selecting routes, planning, gathering information, and preparation among many others. Related to how we travel is the camping aspect. That too will be a focus of Journeys. Again lots of preparation for travel when you are living with what you tow. We will talk about food, campsites, set up, issues finding a parking space when you are 36 feet long, what needs repaired or replaced, and how you camp free off the grid are a few of the subjects we will cover. We will review “Stuff That Actually Works” to make the trip easier or more productive from simple to critical like what flashlight can you depend on, what will keep your coffee hot, what generator works and how do you find WIFI while traveling. 

We will share why we use travel and camping check lists (five or six of those) that help us arrive with what we need, usually:) We will talk about planning verses flexibility, reservations verses looking for a place as it gets dark and what is “restaurant instinct.”

The most challenging change is one that will occur this September. We are going to do a daily travel diary while we travel along with the photos, or as much of one as we can. Our three week trip to New England this fall is a trial for us for the four month Alaska trip next summer. Plus several short jaunts in between.

On the fall trip we will travel across eleven states, visit and photograph around 20 National Park sites including 14 for the first time. Which leads to the last component, photography. This is after all a photography site first and I intend to share more of how and why and what - than I have done in the past. I am still very much a learner and I find having to explain post effort helps enormously for the next photo. So, you won’t confuse this for a teaching site but I hope to unfold a bit behind the photo. And talk about some of the gear I use.

So, thanks to those of you who often visit Two Lane Touring. Your participation adds to our joy. Please leave comments, drop us a note or ask questions, we appreciate each of you.



High Nest by Dave Hileman

What a secure place for a nest inside the ring atop the steeple at Christ Church in New Bern. It is made with the moss growing on the trees in the church yard. 

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.          Psalm 84:3,4 NLT


The Vinegar Bible by Dave Hileman

This bible was given to Christ Church in New Bern by King George II in 1752. The bible was published in Oxford in 1717 by John Baskett, the King's printer. This folio edition of the King James Bible would be a presentation piece piece for use in churches and the homes of the aristocracy. It had one major issue, poor proofreading it was riddled with misspelled words and worse. The Parable of the Vineyard became the Parable of the Vinegar, hence the Vinegar Bible. It also gave rise to a phrase we use today, "basket case" referencing a total mess as in that old car is a basket case and unlikely to be repaired. 

 A rather rare and valuable bible

A rather rare and valuable bible