The Cat is OK so back to Cool Stuff and Adventure

Trip Start Aug 13, 2006
Trip End Aug 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Monday, October 16, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

So here is the next installment of the Hope's excellent adventure. And what an adventure the last week and a half has been. Leaving PEI was relatively harmless and easy. I say this because the trip had a number of bumps on the road. We went back by the bridge as it was the fastest route to New Hampshire and our goal of getting to Neskaya, a fantastic dance and natural movement centre tucked away in the White Mountains. I highly recommend that you all check out this place on line or in person .

More about Neskaya and our dance weekend there with Stephan and Bethan from England in a moment. First I need to tell all of you about how much fun it can be traveling in an old vehicle. We left PEI in relatively good shape but things went down hill fast. We got into New Brunswick and thought all was looking up when we saw that gas was only .84 cents a liter, better than the dollar plus we had been spending. We got past St. John and all was still well. This would have been on Wednesday, October 4th. We needed to be at Neskaya on Friday the 6th. We have learned that it is good to give ourselves more time to get somewhere as things can happen. And boy did they happen. Our intention was to get to the boarder that night and go through with sleeping children as that can be the best way to cross, not even U.S. boarder guards like to wake up sleeping kids. We didn't quite make it.

We pulled in for supper as we had no more food in the van. Crossing the boarder we did not want to lose any fresh meat or vegetables. I got out of the van and noticed that one of the tires was very low. On closer inspection one of the belts had given way and there were gaping holes letting all the air out. Not so bad I thought, even if we are in the middle of nowhere New Brunswick. I have a spare and we can make it to the boarder in time to get to a Canadian Tire and get things back in order. This is where it gets worse.

I got out the jack to lift the van. It is an old style lift that attaches to the bumper and lifts the vehicle with the tire iron. I put a small block in front of the front tire and proceeded to lift the van. I got the tire off and then went in search of the spare. A donut sized tire under the bed. It was tough to get at the tire and I gave it a little bit of a yank. Much to my horror the front block was not big enough. The van skipped over the block and came right off the jack. Dropped right on the ground and the jack punched a golf ball sized hole in the back of the %*#$!#% van. Now the adrenalin was flowing.

O.K. got the van back off the ground with better blocks in front of the tires. Getting ready to put the donut on and what do you know the donut doesn't $%^&# fit!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggg!!!! By this time I had taken a break for supper and I was quickly coming to the realization that we would not be crossing the boarder that evening. In fact it was looking like we would not be going any further that evening. I put the flat back on the van and we asked the restaurant owner if we could stay for breakfast as well.

In the morning we called CAA for assistance and the tow truck came and I convinced him that it would be better to take off the two rear tires and go to a garage to have them replaced. He agreed but said that he would not be able to get me back to the van, which was now sitting on my jack stands in the middle of the restaurant parking lot. He did phone the garage and they said it would not be a problem to drive me back and get the tires back on. So that is exactly what we did.

Got two new tires for the van. I had done a lot of calming down by then. Come to the realization that the tires were likely 10 or 15 years old and it was long past time to have new ones. One of the mechanics drove me back and we got the tires on the van and off we went. A brand new day, new rear tires and a new frame of mind, seemingly good traveling conditions.

We crossed the boarder with very little trouble and we entered into the land of cheap gasoline, .72 cent liter and it got better from there. That was roughly $2.45 a gallon and we have since bought gas for $2.16. For those of you following our saga that is half price from the $1.14 a liter in Newfoundland. Ah but I digress.

We were on the road again and ready to get to Neskaya that night a full day early. That of course was not the case. The drive into Maine and New Hampshire was very beautiful. The trees were in their full colour of fall, deep reds, yellows and oranges. Every corner brought a gasp of delight at the mountain vistas and wonderful colour. We drove into the night after stopping for dinner somewhere between the boarder and our destination.

As the road got darker it seemed to get even twister. April mentioned that the van felt a little more wobbly than usual. I had been driving for several hours and did not notice the changes that had been occurring. I just thought that the winding roads and the constant driving up into the mountains were responsible for the wobble.

We pulled into Gorham New Hampshire for gas and I heard a clinkety-clink coming from the back of the van. I thought that we had picked up a piece of metal on the road. The place we pulled into for gas seemed open. The lights were on and there was even someone there to pay for the gas. She however had different ideas and turned all of the lights off once I tried to start pumping gas. So we clinkety-clinked off to the next gas station down the road. Filled up and I fortunately decided to check out the noise.

It was coming from one of the rear tires. I took off the hub cap to find two of the five bolts that hold the tire onto the van had sheared off and the other three were well on their way to letting loose. Wow!!! Wobbly indeed. We talked to the gas station owner and turns out he had a large back lot that we could stay in because driving any further was not an option.

It appears that one of us either the mechanic or myself did not tighten all of the lug nuts on the tire when we put it back on. I do not have a clear memory of the event but it doesn't really matter. At this point in the game I have come to a much greater acceptance of things such as this. I am just very grateful that the tire did not come off completely while we were moving, especially on the dangerous roads we were traveling on that evening.

The next morning we wobbled into a garage and spent more money. Fortunately we were in New Hampshire with no state sales tax so the repairs were not as expensive as they could have been. Turns out we needed to buy two new rims for the back as they did not have a match to the one that was on there and now we have a full size spare in the trailer. In the process I also decided to buy a spare for the trailer. Turns out we have gone over 6500 km with two different sized tires on the trailer. Gods!!!!! Well I fixed that too and we were back on the road before 11 am. This got us to Neskaya in the early afternoon.

I can't begin to describe how wonderful Neskaya is and the people that run it. Neskaya is dedicated to circle dance, yoga and tai chi. The centre is built out of ferro-cement and cedar. It is very difficult to describe and I will have to encourage all of you to see the pictures. I took a particularly good one the other day at sunset. There is also a yurt structure which we were able to stay for our entire time at Neskaya.

After two straight months of sleeping in the van I cannot express my gratitude at being able to sleep in a real bed. I think that you would have to have walked the same miles in my shoes to understand. For those of you that would not choose willingly our brand of insanity I would suggest to you that the experience was blissful. The yurt is up in the trees and every night we were there the full moon was shining down through the sky light in the middle of the building all night long. One night the screeching of a couple of owls having a discussion awakened us. I am not really sure what they were talking about but it sounded cool to us. I wonder if there are animals out there that think the same way when we are having a similar "discussion" in the van LMAO! There are also pictures of the yurt for those who are interested.

Now that you have a sense of our new accommodations I can get back to the purpose of our journey there. We went to Neskaya to enjoy a weekend of sacred circle dance instruction from Stefan and Bethan. They are very well known and respected in the sacred dance community and it was easy to see why. They are fantastic teachers and it was a pleasure to dance and make music with them.

It is difficult to tell you all what it is like to take part in sacred circle dance but for me it is definitely a very spiritual experience. The movement allows me to connect on a very spiritual level and the music is always very captivating. The people that are there are also on similar paths and the energy that is built during the dance is in a word magical. The end of the dance sessions the energy and light that has been built up is released into the universe to do well and I can honestly feel the world become a slightly better place when we do it.

The entire weekend was dedicated to dancing and learning. Even the kids got in on the action and had a great time. We even got to do more dancing after the weekend. There is dancing on Sunday and Wednesday nights. We were permitted to stay in the yurt until this past Friday. What a treat. Thanks again Jenny!!!! Jenny is the founder of Neskaya and we definitely have to thank her for her foresight and vision for such a beautiful place. We look forward to going back there to dance for years to come. We also have to thank Kayla and Jenny for sharing books and the surrounding countryside with us. I was also given the privilege of doing a little bit of work for Jenny at her home and was very gratefully paid for my efforts.

All too soon it was time to leave Neskaya. None of us wanted to leave but it was getting too cold to stay in the mountains with the van. We headed out on Friday after gathering everything that we have spread out all over the place and headed for the coast again. We had an invite to go to our new friend Carl's place to stay for a little while and in particular go to a local contra dance where I would get a chance to play my drums with his band.

Jan from Dancing Bones/Neskaya asked if she could come with us to Carl's for the weekend as she is his friend too and we gladly accepted her company in the van. Jan got to ride in the back on the bed and that suited her just fine. The trip back to Maine was relatively uneventful with the exception of a few bad drivers. The breaks in the van work well.

We arrived at Carl's at dinnertime last night and he had a beautiful soup with corn bread ready for us. This is the place we had stopped before when we scared his son by camping in the driveway. The welcome here this time was much warmer. Not that Gus, his son, wasn't accommodating, but as it turns out we get to stay in a bed again. Having a place to spread out is soooooo nice.

Carl has lived in this house for a number of years and has cultivated one of the most wondrous vegetable gardens, that is still full of bounty. We have been enjoying it since we got here. The soup he made for us was full of fresh vegetables from the garden and not to mention lots of local mussels. YUM!!!

I am now sitting in a comfy chair in his living room listening to music and writing this entry. We are getting ready to go to supper and the contra dance later. I am not sure when I am going to get the chance to upload this but I am sure it will be soon enough.

Time to go and do more cool stuff.


P.S> The cat found a home and a big traveling thanks and collective sigh of relief to Jo and J'lene for making this happen. You guys rock :)!!!!!! "Thanks for you words of encouragement too," says April.
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