December 2017 - March 2018
  • Day1

    Lesson in tolerance [Providence]

    December 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ❄️ 1 °C

    Seemed appropriate to start the year with a lesson in tolerance. On Christmas Eve we visited the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI. It's also a National Historic Site and the oldest synagogue in the country. What makes it really special is a letter George Washington wrote to the congregation in 1790 after they had written congratulating him on his election. In his letter he spelled out his belief that the United States was founded on tolerance and that people should be free to practice their own religion. This document is ranked as one of the most important in US history.

    Seems like revisiting these values will help make America great again.

    You can read the letter here:
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  • Day11

    Ice-Nine [Boston]

    January 3, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ -7 °C

    For those who don't remember their 60s popular literature, ice-nine was a scary chemical in Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Cat's Cradle." Anyway, it's taking over the East Coast. When we left Boston on January 2nd it was -5 degrees.

    As we traveled south we OD'd on battlefields and military parks. Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Antietam, Monocacy, Harper's Ferry. It will be nice to escape the gorey cauldron that shaped the US.
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  • Day13

    Friends on ice [Vienna]

    January 5, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ -8 °C

    In stopping off in the DC area we were reminded of the only thing that makes us second guess our decision to move-- the good friends we left behind. Impossible to replace decades-long friendships.

  • Day15

    Crazy [Richmond]

    January 7, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ -5 °C

    Sometimes it's the smallest detail that sticks when you visit a historical site. Cold Harbor, Va. was a sprawling landscape of carnage that included several major battles in one June 1864 fortnight. So, what did we walk away with? The plantation house [and later, Union HQ] where Patrick Henry was married is also where he kept his first wife chained in the basement. Supposedly, his wife was so crazy she had to be restrained.

    Give me liberty... or just shackle me to the basement wall.
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  • Day18


    January 10, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Winding down the obx (Outer Banks) basking in the warm 60's weather. Saluted the Wright Bros at Kitty Hawk, pondered the lost colony at Ft. Raleigh (whatever happened to Virginia Dare?), and enjoyed lighthouses and surf to Hatteras. Lovely stop at KOA on the beach with giganto hot tub, ahhhhh...Read more

  • Day19

    Bank Hopping [Ocracoke]

    January 11, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Got a taste of island commuting as we worked our way down the Outter Banks. We spent half a day either waiting for a ferry or riding one. Along the way we picked up a hitchhiker/commuter who worked on Hatteras but lived on Cedar Island. She had quite a life story to tell.

    Ended the day at Cape Lookout. It is quite a contrast from the hubbub of Hatteras. Nature is the dominant theme here as the Bank is roadless and only accessible by small Park ferry. There was even a lovely film about the Cape that was narrated by Meryl Streep. [Meryl Sheep to Sesame Street afficianados.]
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  • Day20

    Before Jim Crow [Beaufort]

    January 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    We covered a lot of ground today but most of it was wet and obscured by incessant rain. Our only stop was one of the newest parks in the system. The Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort, SC. In fact, today was their grand opening. Alas, the Great Orange Haired One and his we're-not-racist cronies basically zeroed out the new monument's budget. So, nice building but no story to tell. Guess Jim Crow laws were fake history.Read more

  • Day21

    Fort-itude [Savannah]

    January 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    We visited the first of a string of forts dotting coastal Georgia and Florida. First up, Fort Pulaski. With a drawbridge, allligator patrolled moats, two-foot thick walls and the guiding hand of a young engineer Robert E Lee, Fort Pulaski was built to last. Except it didn't. The Union's nifty experimental rifled canon forced the Rebs to surrender it after one day of precision pounding. Gators, too.

    We also visited Fort Frederica, further south in coastal Georgia. This colonial fort was the brainchild of James Oglethorpe and built to thwart Spanish designs up the coast. What gets lost in this fort story was how Georgia was founded more on the enlightened model of Pennsylvania and not just another slave-based economy. Wha' happened?
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  • Day22

    Forts and Plantations [Jacksonville]

    January 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    Three more forts today-- Caroline, Castillo de San Marcos and Matanzas. Plus Timucuan, an ecological and historical preserve. The forts told various stories of colonial mahem and hegemony between the French and Spanish. And there was also the indingo/cotton plantation at Timucuan. A white slave trader who married and freed his 4 African (simultaneous) wives but advocated for continued slavery. Sent his kids to Hatti, the only free black nation in the new world then when the US took over Fla with more restricted black laws. Very weird.

    One display related the various punishments meted out to slaves. Among them was 39 lashes for using foul language in front of a white person. Although it may sound insensitive one has to wonder what the punishment should be for using such language in front of an entire nation? Maybe wash his mouth out with soap.
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  • Day23

    Canaveral seashore/ De soto [St Pete]

    January 15, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Started out the day exploring the Cape Canaveral seashore donated to the NPS by NASA in the 60's. One of the last wild Fla seashores, terrific 30-40 foot Indian oyster shell middens. On to Brandenton on the Gulf side. See our tiny trailer next to the semis. Endured the De Soto memorial, 4 1/2 years of tortured Indian suffering by the cruel hands of De Soto in his relentless quest for new world gold. Oiy!!!!Read more