Whale watching at Cape Cod

Another early start to head into Salem. Luckily there was a public parking garage across from the visitor centre. Watched a great documentary about the 1692 Salem witch trials then walked around the few blocks of town full of psychics, Halloween activities and shops about witchcraft. Try this game about Salem put out by National Geographic.  Back onto interstate 95 that bypasses the centre of Boston. Miss W is still driving to the maximum and everyone else is still passing her by yet there are no police catching them.

Onto the first part of Cape Cod to organize a whale watching tour – at the visitor centre in Hyannis , the lady suggested one from Provincetown so headed west  to New Bedford for the next three nights and to book in for the Saturday afternoon tour. To get on and off the Cape Cod area you have to go over one of two bridges. These are very narrow with two lanes in both directions. Also the highways here often have 6 and 6A meaning the alternate route. Well, we ended up on 6A going home and this took us through lots of little towns such as Sandwich, Barnstable and Mashpee.

Not knowing how long it would take to get to Provincetown at the furthest end of Cape Cod, we left early to get our 1.30pm whale watch tour. Sticking to highway 6, we stopped off at Fort Hill Road to look out over the marshland area and went for a short walk. Our first chance to see some whale bones outside the Penniman House – see photo in flickrstream.

Onwards to the Salt Pond Visitors centre which told us a bit about the natural beauty of the area and some short drives to take on our way north to Provincetown.  Out to Nauset lighthouse and the surfing beach nearby. Fairly small waves but lots of surfers there at the National Seashore.

No time now for any more diversions – onto Provincetown where we checked the map to find a parking area. Pulled into the first one and paid $5 for the day. To get to the wharf, we had to walk along lots of little streets, nearly all one way only. Cars had trouble going down them, because all the foot traffic was in the middle of the road as there were virtually no footpaths to walk on. Lots of little shops but very few selling fish and chips which I thought was unusual.

Miss W did her usual thing and started chatting to some people waiting for the boat – a couple who used to help run a local campground and an associate professor of a nearby university. We all sat together at the stern of the boat on the upper deck. An hour out to find whales – none there – heard from another tourist boat that ‘Salt’ was out another 20 minutes or so. Eventually found Salt which is a female humpback whale that was first noted in 1975 and has returned ever since with her babies. None of the photos Miss W took were any good but on the last dive of our trip, Ann, the professor, took a fantastic shot and is included here. Miss W took some great shots as we were returning to shore – the sun was starting to set behind the clouds and sent down some beautiful rays.

By the time we returned to shore, it was getting dark so Miss W had to drive slowly with headlights on for nearly two hours before we got back to our motel in New Bedford.

Attribution: Ann Pitt, Boston MA October 2011

Have you ever been to a great National Park or been whale watching? What did you see?

How are you preparing for Halloween? Are you going trick or treating?


Niagara Falls and Adirondacks

We left Di and Charles after a magnificent visit in their company and headed east and north around Lake Erie. We stayed on the interstate until nearing the town of Erie in Pennsylvania. On the map was a nature area called Presque Isle State Park. Lots of lovely fall foliage and views across the bay of Erie to the east. While travelling back on the western side, beaches with curves created by small breakwaters.

I then had to do some hard convincing for Miss W to head west near Buffalo. Where did I want to go? Yeah, I wanted to visit Niagara Falls. Miss W went there with Diane and a couple of other chat room friends last time she was in America. We followed Niagara Falls Boulevard only to find later we should have stayed on the interstate – we had lots of lights to stop at as we went through the small towns near the falls. Eventually arriving there about 4pm – in time to watch the movie at the visitor centre, walk through the park and take some photos. Now to get out of the falls area during heavy traffic – again we turned off right when we should have gone left. Luckily the maps of the falls area that we got from the visitor centre was helpful in getting us on the right track to find a hotel at Batavia on the interstate.

Heading off early the next morning, we stopped off at a visitor centre on the tollroad service plaza. The man in there was very helpful suggesting what we could do for the day. So we headed off the interstate to Geneva on the lake – Miss W realised she had already been through here last time when she went past the Finger Lake area to the Corning factory. So back to the tollroad and head to the Adirondacks instead.

This was a great choice but again we were disappointed that many of the museums and attractions were already closed. So much better to be driving on narrower roads and seeing nature in all its glory rather than speeding through on the highways.

The next day we followed the Hudson River out of the Adirondacks – area had been logging and mining similar to some areas of Tasmania except for the type of trees.

Heading east towards Boston, we diverted to visit the Old Sturbridge Villagea re-enactment village from the late 1700’s early 1800’s. Rode on the horse and carriage and had my photo taken with them. Lots of practical things to do at the village and many school groups visit. A bit like Sovereign Hill but instead of gold panning, you have apple cider, candle making and quilting.

Left the village to find a long line of cars trying to get back on the interstate, so we diverted and followed another small road which after about 7 miles also became a long line trying to get on the interstate. Found out later there had been an accident on the main highway near Sturbridge area. We didn’t want to stay in Boston so headed further north to Lowell, ready to visit Salem the next day.

Have you ever been to a village or re-enactment of a battle? Have you taken part in the activities? What did you enjoy about it? Or leave a comment about one of the highlighted words or phrases.

Remember to keep checking my flickr stream for more images taken on our trip.

What could I sing?

Miss W, Davo and Diane were photographed for the front cover of the famous Rock n Roll magazine called ‘Rolling Stone’. Maybe they are thinking of inducting Davo into the Hall of Fame.

What do you think would be an appropriate song for him to sing?


  1. All the travelling he has done over the last couple of months
  2. Where he lives normally in the bush in Tasmania
  3. The fact he is a Tasmanian Devil

Leave a comment suggesting a song or write your own lyrics for a song Davo could use if inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

If you write a song, put the lyrics in your blogpost then include a link  that refers to this post here.


Staying with Diane and Charles

No, we weren’t staying with royalty but we certainly got treated well while in Ohio. Diane is a chat room friend of Miss W’s and she met her last time she came to America as well. This time we stayed at Diane’s house for three nights and went touring during the day. There were two places Miss W wanted to see: The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and some Amish people.

Day 1 was the hall of fame. Charles drove us into Cleveland through detours and road closures and dropped us off in the rain at the hall of fame. Diane, Miss W and I then spent over four hours checking out the displays, listening to the music, watching the movies about the inductees over the years and having our photo taken. Diane liked checking out the clothing worn by the singers while Miss W could be seen lip syncing with the music. No photography was allowed inside the main exhibits in the hall unless it was by the official photographers so we had to take some outside or just inside the front door. We were all given a wrist band and even though I didn’t have to be paid for, I got one put around my neck.

When we left the hall, I found we had been put on the front cover of the magazine “Rolling Stone”. I wonder what song I will have to sing when I get inducted into the Hall of Fame? Maybe that could be another post with you giving me ideas.

The next day we headed to Amish country. First stop was the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center at Berlin. Wow! Inside was a 360 degree painted panorama of the history of the Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite cultures around the world. The display was called ‘Die Behalt’ meaning something to remember. A guide spoke to us about the history as he took us around the panorama. I was amazed to find out that a new mennonite group has started in Tasmania. Looking it up on the web, apparently the idea began with some Tasmanians back in 1995.

We were supposed to meet Peggy, another chat room friend, at Berlin for lunch, but apparently we got our wires crossed. She was there at 10am while we got there about 11.30 and so we missed each other. Miss W will go back via Cincinatti to visit Peggy later in the trip.

I had been wondering why there were so many Swiss type buildings in the area, but after finding out that the Mennonites originally came from the area of Switzerland, this answered my question. Lots of cheese making in the district, so Diane bought some of Charles’ favourite to give him when we got back.

We took lots of photos of Amish riding in the horse and buggies but apparently, many also use bicycles now. Wherever we stopped for food or gas, there were Mennonites working in the shops. Tried another ice cream with Miss W; this time a hot fudge Hershey chocolate sundae.

Diane is a bit like Miss W; she likes driving around and getting off the beaten track. Apparently we began to head home and Miss W said we needed to turn right according to the brochure map we had, but after a few miles, Diane got out the …………….

Yes Tracy, you guessed it. The GPS. We then started following the directions of the female voice on the GPS to get us back onto highway 77 which would take us straight back to Cleveland area. We were following a fantastic little road called ‘Crooked Run Road’.

Back home, we enjoyed a great meal of turkey with some trimmings that Charles had begun while we were out traipsing around Amish country.

Have you ever visited a group of people like the Amish, Mennonites or Hutterites? What did you enjoy about their lifestyle? Would you be able to live like them?

Oops! Sorry, officer

It has taken me a week to convince Miss W that I can write about what happened. We left Mrs Allen’s house at about 7.30am. Maybe we should have left 10 minutes earlier or later but …….

We were about 2 miles from the Indiana border when blue lights started flashing behind us. Miss W signalled and pulled over. The sheriff told her she had been speeding. What!! All these other cars and trucks had been passing us by at a rapid rate of knots yet Miss W got pulled over. Maybe again it was the California number plates. He said he clocked Miss W doing 62mph in a 55 mph zone. Well, Miss W wasn’t going to argue like she had seen some people do in the show  “Cops” on TV, but she was pretty sure in amongst the work zone area (55mph) there had been one sign that said 65mph maximum, 45mph minimum. Maybe that was where she got caught. Luckily Miss W was only given a warning and we were sent on our way again. Whenever we drive in a work zone since then, we drop down to the maximum speed, yet everyone else is still passing us by.

This was a long drive to Brooklyn, just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. We were on many tollroads where there were service plazas for petrol and food or else you got off the tollroad or turnpike as some of them were called to go and see the sights. We didn’t divert from Interstate 80; we wanted to get to see Miss W’s chat room friend Diane and her husband Charles.

Have your parents or a relative who drives had an incident like this with the local law enforcement?

Two more classes

Over the last few days, we have been in Iowa and Illinois where we visited two classes – Mrs Krebs in Granville, Iowa and Mrs Allen in Joliet, Illinois.

In Iowa,  Miss W gave a talk to classes, the students asked lots of questions but as yet don’t have their own blogs. While we were there we also had a lunch in the school cafetaria spaghetti bolognaise, salad, and apple crumble. The students have a lunch provided at their school each day. After lunch we visited the grade 9 class. Carli was a student who took part in last year’s challenge and she wrote a great post about visiting her state which was one of the reasons for coming through Iowa this trip.

Miss W asked the grade 7/8 students in Iowa where was the one place we would have to visit that was close by. Many said the ice cream shop in Le Mars which was about 30 miles away. So we headed there and you can see, Miss W and I shared a delicious banana split at the Blue Bunny ice cream shop. Le Mars is known as the ice cream capital of the world.

It was the lady at the ice cream shop who told us a nice drive to get to Waterloo where we were staying the night. So off we went to Pocahontas then south through Hiawatha to the main freeway and onto Evansdale near Waterloo. Just the names of the two towns made it interesting.

The next day we visited the Herbert Hoover National Historic site at West Branch. A very interesting documentary about Herbert and his parents, then a chance to walk around his original birthplace, his father’s blacksmith shop and then to see his grave on the hillside.

Near Davenport, we crossed the Mississippi River which is the divide between Iowa and Illinois. Onward we drove to Joliet where we stayed the night in Harrah’s Hotel and Casino.

The next morning we headed to St Raymonds school to visit with Mrs Allen and her students. This was a full school day inside a room that also contained the library and art area. I think it was one of the only rooms without air conditioning and Miss W kept going red in the face (matching her jacket) and needing to drink more water. The students again asked lots of questions and left many comments on my blog. Some of the students had taken part in the blogging challenge last year as well. I noticed they have left lots of questions about Australia, so I am hoping some readers can answer them in the next few days.

We spoke to students in grades Kindergarten (who then used art pad to create some pictures), grades 4 and 5 (who were taking part in a global moon project) and some grade 8 students (who were learning about blogging ready to take part in the March challenge in 2012).

After school, we followed Mrs Allen back to her house. Inside was a huge boxer dog who loved to lick and smell Miss W’s feet. He was very quiet but Mrs Allen put him in the cage when he kept annoying Miss W.

Out to tea or supper at McBrody’s where Miss W had an excellent chicken wrap with tater tots or what we call potato gems in Australia. Tomorrow will be an early start to get to Cleveland Ohio, so Miss W was in bed pretty early.

Please leave a comment about a time you have had a visitor in your classroom. What did they talk about? What did you find interesting in what they told you?

Dakota – N and S

No, Dakota in Miss W’s class, this is not about you. Instead we have been travelling through North and South Dakota in the USA.

After leaving Just M and Jim in Manitoba, we headed into USA via Windy Gates Port of Entry. The car was searched again but as it was so windy, the customs officers had it pulled up inside a building. Nothing was found except the vegemite.

As Miss W wanted to visit Mt Rushmore, that meant a long distance travelling to the western side of North Dakota. We passed through the town of Rugby which is close to the geographical centre of North America. The museum and pioneer village there weren’t open. This has been a bit disappointing as most things close after Labour Day which was early September. Even the tourist information centres on the main highways were closed.

Heading south we went past field after field of either corn or sunflowers. We saw on a map an Audubon Wildlife Refuge so headed down the road nearby only to find out later that it was on the other side of the lake. In the Washburn area, we saw lots of coal mining and power stations. Still having a bit of time before stopping for the night, we followed a round route through the Knife River Valley where Native American Indians used to live on the banks of the Knife River. They built mounds in summer that were huge and would last many years. During the winter, they went closer to the river and had less permanent and smaller houses. Make sure you check out the website for more information.

After a night in a very small motel in Washburn, we headed to the Lewis and Clark interpretive centre only to find it opens at 12 noon on a Sunday. We weren’t going to wait 4 hours so went down to Fort Mandan instead where Lewis and Clerk were based in 1804. We met a teacher there, Suzan, who has already left a comment on the blog. Her class doesn’t blog and she teaches in a school near Bismarck.

Another long day of driving west and south got us to Belle Fourche in South Dakota. Suzan had mentioned going to Devil’s Tower about an hour from here, so off we went. This was a fantastic rock formation in Wyoming and was well worth the visit. I tried to climb it but was not successful. Back into South Dakota and stayed the night at Days Inn in Spearfish.

The next day was just brilliant for touristy things. We headed up Spearfish Canyon, a lovely drive through valleys full of trees changing colour. We visited Deadwood, famous for Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok of cowboy and western fame. We actually visited their graves in the Mt Moriah cemetery.

On the next part of the drive we stopped off in Boondocks – this was a town with a 1950’s diner – it was like being on a ‘Happy Days’ set. Had a shake there, which ended up being icecream in a milkshake container.

Then into Keystone and on to Mt Rushmore. It was going to cost $11 to go in and park the car, so we kept driving slowly and took a photo from the car instead. Next was Crazy Horse Memorial where Crazy Horse is being carved from a mountain side. The Mt Rushmore carvings will fit inside just the head and hair of Crazy Horse. The money spent going here was worthwhile. Fabulous information movie, lots of donated articles from local Indian tribes, sculptures, beading, photography, painting, as well as a restaurant where it cost nothing to have a bowl of stew (not sure if it was beef or buffalo), an apple and a couple of oat bars as well as a drink. Miss W put me down on the counter of the gift shop and I’m sorry, but I scared the young woman serving us – she thought I was real.

Off to Custer State Park to do the wildlife loop – we saw buffalo, white tail deer, prairie dogs and wild burros (like donkeys). Took lots of images which you can see on my photostream on flickr. We could only drive at 35mph and part of the loop included driving through rock tunnels. We were very lucky to do this part of the trip as the Needles Highway was being closed the next day getting ready for snow and winter.

Luckily Miss W had contact Mrs Krebs on twitter and organized for us to come to her school in Iowa on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Tuesday meant another long drive from Rapid City in South Dakota to Sioux Center in Iowa. It was a 6 hour drive at 70mph and add an hour for changing time zones. So we left the motel at 7.30am – our earliest start so far – and headed to Wall where we took the scenic drive through the Badlands National Park – similar to the badlands in Alberta – made sure we did some walking and exercise to get out of the car on such a long drive. Only allowed to drive at 35mph so this added time to our trip.

Back on the Interstate 90, we stopped at 1880 town – many of the props for the movie ‘Dancing with Wolves’ were housed here in this model town of the 1880’s. Lots of tumbleweeds inside the buildings which are originals and brought in from various places on the plains area to set up this little town.

Last stop today was at Mitchell to see the ‘Corn Palace‘. This building is decorated like a palace but the outside and parts of the inside are made from corn type paintings. Inside they were holding flu vaccination day so hard to find a parking space.

To end the day we arrived in Sioux Center at 7pm, nearly 12 hours on the road in total. Tomorrow should be easier as we visit Mrs Krebs classes.

You will notice nothing is highlighted in this post. Neither are there any photos. To leave a comment, visit all the links in the post and tell me which one you would like to visit and why. To look at the images check out my photostream on flickr – see widget on sidebar.

Write the caption

SnowyBob, Miss W’s dad, left a comment asking to see a photo of Miss W and myself on the 49th parallel.

Where’s that you ask?

It is the border between USA and Canada.

Well here we are in the International Peace Garden.

What do you think I am saying to Miss W?

I am in USA while Miss W is in Canada.

Think of an amusing caption for the image.

Leave your answer as a comment.