Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cities’ category

One Day in Bangor

Monday, September 16, 2019

I got to Northern Light Walk-In Care at 7:40 and registered at 7:45. I wanted a Lyme’s Disease test since I had been having some weird symptoms over the last two and a half months. My friend, Pam, had recommended this clinic, so I felt confident it was a good place, and if anyone knows Lyme’s Disease, Maine should.

Deb checked me in, weighed me, took my blood pressure and said Rebecca would be in shortly. Soon Rebecca came in and introduced herself. She is a lovely, young lady with a beautiful smile. A physician’s assistant, she asked why I was here and what the symptoms were. Then she listened to my heart and breathing and asked some more questions. How do you feel? Fine. Anyone in your family have autoimmune problems? Huh? Yes, mother had Lupus. Then a bunch more questions, seemingly unrelated to Lyme’s.

Then she asked if she could take an EKG. OK. “Then I will show you a bunch of Lyme’s rashes on the computer.” Deb came back in and did the EKG. She had been off last week, and they spent it in Bar Harbor. She looked at the results and took them to Rebecca, who returned in a few minutes. Showing me the chart, she said, “You are in Atrial Fibrulation”, describing the appearance. “I know you came for a Lyme test, but this is more important. I want you to go to the emergency room.” OK.

After some discussion about taking an ambulance, I thanked her for her very thorough exam and history and asked if she could do the Lyme test before I go. “They can do it at the ER.” Looking at me with a wrinkled brow, she escorted me to the door with address and directions to Northern Light Hospital, 11 minutes away. She had called ahead, so they knew I was coming.

I guess I could have had a massive stroke on the way, and it didn’t help that Google Maps wasn’t talking to me, or that it was rush hour. I parked in the emergency room parking lot and walked in. They took me right in and hooked me up to an EKG. Technology! It said A-fib right on the screen.  I texted Martha that I was in the ER and what I was there for.

Dr. Melia came in, took a quick history. “So you came in because of chest pain?” “No, I went to Walk-In for a Lyme’s test.” He ordered a chest x-ray, and a nice lady came to get me. Starting to walk down the hall, Dr. Melia said, “He shouldn’t be walking.” Geez! I never did find out if anything showed up on the x-rays.

A pretty, young nurse, Paige, came in and started asking a bunch of questions when a physician’s assistant came in, introduced himself and started asking questions. “Do you have a cough? How long have you been feeling lethargic?” “I don’t feel lethargic. I came in for a Lyme test.” Then he left, apparently in the wrong room. The ER was very busy this morning. Paige said she liked it this way. “Makes the day go faster.” She usually works three 12-hour shifts, but was on the “Princess Shift” to day, an 8-hour day. I asked if she was a runner, as she looked athletic and had on running shoes. She said no, but gets up at 4:30 every morning, goes to the gym and does sprints and lifts weights.

A lady came in and put an IV drip in my right arm, and another drew blood from the other arm. I asked what they were going to run. Blood studies and I think it was troponin to see if I was having a heart attack. And a Lyme test – good:}

Paige came in every 15 minutes to check the vitals and gave me a dose of Cardizem. The doctor came in quickly and said they would keep me overnight, but it would take a while to get a room. Once admitted, they would run an echocardiogram, and cardiologists would decide if I should be shocked back into proper rhythm. Great.

Martha came in, of course distressed. After signing up for another night at the campground, she had Uber’d to the hospital.  “Couldn’t we just go home and do this? What’s the hospital rated?” Looking on my phone, I said “2.5”. I had decided not to get checked in St. John’s, Newfoundland because they were rated 2.5, and Lyme’s doesn’t happen there much. “What is UVA rated?” she asked. “2.5”, I found. Looking at the monitor, she said, “You are still in A-fib.” I couldn’t see, as it was behind me. We sat and waited for an hour or more.  While watching the monitor Martha said the A-Fib indicator had gone away.  Paige came in and confirmed I was no longer in A-fib and she did a great job of explaining in simple terms what A-fib is.  After a while Martha went back to camp. She would do some grocery shopping (we had tossed all the vegetables and fruits when we crossed the border), and surely she would relax better there. 

Long waits. The first heart attack test came back negative, so they took another sample. About 2:00 a physician’s assistant, David, came in, asked some questions. He was the first to ask if I had cancer. Then he said the Lyme’s was positive, which I thought was very good news, explaining some of these weird symptoms. Then he said the medication had reversed the A-fib, also good news. He said if the second troponin test was negative, they could release me, and I could have the echocardiogram done at home. They could also keep me and do it here, but it would be tomorrow as they had quite a few heart attack patients today. Sounds great. I opted to go home.

By 3:00, Dr. Melia came back in to give me some instructions. He was retired Navy and was last stationed in Norfolk. Another doctor came in to tell me all about Lyme’s Disease. The positive test didn’t mean I had Lyme’s disease. If it had been negative, it would mean I didn’t have it. But he said I have all the right symptoms of a bite, a rash and wandering pains. Apparently, many people don’t know they have been bitten and don’t have a rash. It is a tiny tick and it takes a few days to transfer the bacteria that causes all the trouble. Once the tick has fed, it drops off, never to be seen again. All this makes diagnosis difficult unless you find the tick and have the classic target rash.

Dr. Melia wrote two prescriptions for me, Cardiazem and two weeks of Doxycycline. Paige unhooked me and gave me all the paperwork to take to my doctor. I got dressed, texted Martha, and headed for the pharmacy.

Waiting for the prescription to be filled, I reflected on this 2.5-rated hospital. This morning I had been to their walk-in clinic where I saw two outstanding people, Deb and Rebecca. At some other location, I might have just gotten what I asked for, a Lyme test. You won’t find a better person or physician’s assistant than Rebecca Rider. At the ER, they took me right in. I saw an excellent nurse, a Lyme’s doctor, an excellent ER doctor and two physician’s assistants. Not usually doing Lyme’s in the ER, they had done mine. I don’t know how many rooms they have, but I know they had people with a lot more serious problems. I give them top ratings.

North Head Trail/The Rooms

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2014

We hiked North Head Trail in St. John’s, which works its way around Signal Hill, out to the point and back around the edge of St. John’s Harbor, through a pretty, little neighborhood. this is a gorgeous hike, one many residents hike every day. What a beautiful place to get your exercise. Diego is a marathon runner, so this was little strain for him, but Martha and I were tired, but happily tired. 

Then we drove over to the pretty, little lighthouse guarding the entrance to the harbor on the other side. Parking at the bottom, we walked through maybe 10 homes in a beautiful spot, one with a porch looking back at St. Johns and another looking out toward the sea. A young couple walked by, saying “Good morning”. The girl was wearing a backpack, so they were off to hike the East Coast Trail that follows the coast south for 300 km along the coast. It is rated one of the best hikes in the world.

 

They hadn’t gone 20 yards past when she screamed, “Whale!” At the mouth of the harbor was a whale blowing steam straight up. We watched for about 5 minutes as it worked its way north around the corner. We had been watching all morning, and it was great to finally see one. The young lady was so excited and smiling broadly. She said they had taken a whale tour for $70 each and seen nothing.

We followed them up to the lighthouse for another great view of the harbor and the hike we had just taken on the other side. A little house sits at the top with two chairs on a porch looking out at this incredible view.

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Hungry now, we went back downtown and parked in the same parking garage beside the wharf. In a busy downtown, it was the only way to park a big truck. Martha had decided on a Chinese vegan restaurant, wanting a lighter lunch than yesterday. St. John’s is a bit like San Francisco was 50 years ago. From Water Street it was a steep climb uphill for several blocks before we found The Peaceful Loft, a tiny place run by a husband and wife. The husband did everything downstairs, while his wife did the cooking upstairs. He was quite a character, very nice and very informative about their foods and where they get them. 

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After lunch we climbed the big, steep streets to “The Rooms”, a great museum. Like San Francisco, it is a city of steep hills. We enjoyed the brightly colored houses. A Newfie told us there is so much fog, cloudy weather and snow, they need the color.

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Following Google maps, we climbed up the streets, but stopped to try to determine where we were going. A couple passing us, overheard our conversation and said to follow them. They were going somewhere else, but it was close. Several times the lady looked back to see if we were following. At the top, they stopped to show us where to go. The husband said to be sure to go in the cafe because it is the best view of the city.

“The Rooms” is a beautiful museum with great views of the city, just as our guides had told us. The art of one sculptor was particularly interesting, Billy Gauthier, but it is always the wildlife displays I enjoy most. Gauthier is from Labrador and uses all natural products, whalebone, Labrodite, baleen and others.

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Sleepy Hollow Campground

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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Wyatt runs a very nice campground near Phoenicia, NY.

Natchez Trace – Mount Locust

“Of the 50 or so primitive hostelries established before 1820 along the Trace, only Mount Locust remains. It is one of the oldest buildings in Mississippi, dating to 1780. In 1956 it was restored to its form as a frontier hime of the 1820’s, which was the peak era of the Trace’s foot and horse travel. The old framework of the house is sassafras and was found to be in almost perfect condition where the other woods had succumbed to the years of southern Mississippi’s moist heat. The interior trim and walls are poplar, the exterior siding, cypres.”  From Guide to The Natchez Trace Parkway by F. Lynne Bachleda.

It is a gorgeous setting for a farm and “stand” (tavern or hostelry). You can walk the trace behind the house, and there are family and slave graveyards. The original brickwork remains in walkways and chimneys. The bricks were made on the site.

I should have walked the Mt. Locust Scenic Trail, which is described at pristine and stunning in Bachleda’s book, but I didn’t read about until later.

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Houses of Natchez

I spent the afternoon driving, but mostly walking around Natchez. One neighborhood along the cliff overlooking the Mississippi was most impressive. It’s only a guess, but I suspect the city codes for historic homes might stop some people from buying. Next door to some incredibly beautiful homes are once-beautiful homes that are in disrepair. There are also intermixed modest homes that are often quite pretty. Blocks away, I found a modest neighborhood that looked like Elvis’ birthplace. Rhett was right. This is a very cool town, rich in heritage and history, and I didn’t even get started on the cuisine. Next time 😊

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Loved my campsite at Natchez State Park.

Natchez Trace Emerald Mound

Like the Grand Village, this is a sacred and impressive site of the Mississipians beginning about 1300. Mound building was practiced for thousands of years. It was a place of ceremonies, trade among nations all the way to Indiana, and games. Here they placed stickball with only their hands. They still return every year for ceremonies.

Note: if you click a picture, you can then scroll through them as slowly or quickly as you want.

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Driving back up the Trace from Natchez, I wanted to see Mount Locust, one of the hostelries along the Trace. It is the only one that remains. The framework of the house is sassafras, and was found to be in almost perfect condition. The interior trim and walls were poplar; the exterior siding cypress. From “Guide to The Natchez Trace” by F. Lynne Bachleda. Unfortunately it was not open. I visited some other sites along the way, a beautiful cemetery on the Trace, the remains of Elisabeth Female Academy (1818-1845) and Loess Bluff, an ancient wind-blown cliff.

I went back to Natchez, visiting St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Natchez National Cemetery that my tour guide recommended. Walking along the boardwalk, there are three impressive homes standing above the Mississippi.

Natchez, Mississippi

My friend, Rhett Riplinger, told me Natchez is a great and interesting town, so I spent a couple of days exploring. Still I left a lot undone. I walked around downtown and along the riverwalk. Then I saw a little horse and carriage with a man standing beside it in front of the old train station. I hustled over just in time. Within a couple of minutes I realized this guy was going to be a classic, and I started the recording app on my phone. He grew up here, adding a lot of color commentary, but he knew his history…..although some may have been embellished.

There was the ‘Hanging Tree” at the court house and old jail, where paranormal stories abound. There are Clan stories. Bowie’s Tavern has an old bar where Kit Carson inscribed his name. Sam Bowie, born in Kentucky, grew up across the river, gaining fame in the “Sandbar Fight” in the middle of the Mississippi River. He was shot twice and stabbed three times, once in the sternum with a sword cane. With the sword sticking out of his chest, he grabbed his opponent’s shirt, killing him with his large sheath knife.

The Natchez Indians had settled this site on a high bluff above the “Father of Waters” for 1,000 years before the Europeans came. Probably the “Mississipians” had been there long before. When De Soto came in 1540 with 600-700 armored and mounted soldiers, the Natchez “Sun God”, Quigualtam, had heard how he had treated Indians along his journey. De Soto sent emissaries several times asking for treasures and surrender. On his last attempt, he said he was the father of the Sun and was more powerful than the chief. Quigualtam told him to prove it by drying up the river. When that didn’t happen, the Natchez chased and raided De Soto all the way to the Gulf.

The Mississippi originates in Lake Itasca in Minnesota, traveling 2300 miles to the Gulf, which makes it the third largest watershed in the world. It carries a half million pounds of sediment every day. Over the eons, it is responsible for making what is now south central United States. From “Guide to The Natchez Trace Parkway” by F. Lynne Bachleda. It remains a relatively untamed river.

Samuel Clemens spent a lot of time in Natchez. My tour guide told the story of Clemens being invited to the 1st Presbyterian Church. Before the service, he noticed the Slave Gallery upstairs. He tried to go up there to join them, but couldn’t find the way up. It was said that was one of the inspirations for “Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn”, where the kids fake their death on the river and view their funeral from the rafters. Later he was asked what he thought of heaven and hell. He said he didn’t want to comment because he had friends in both places.

Natchez was a rich town before the Civil War, with river transportation, lumber and cotton being the primary businesses. After the war, times were different. A lot of the shipping business went to New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The transition from slavery and today didn’t always go easily. I visited the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. You could spend the rest of your life reading all the books in that museum. I was their only visitor that afternoon, and was given a guided tour that lasted three and a half hours. I was thankful, but exhausted. History is rich here. We discussed recent issues we have had in Charlottesville, or what I call “Statue City”. They said it could have easily happened in Natchez. Diving back to camp, I couldn’t help but think of how terribly the Native Americans fared. Yet we hear little of it today.

Natchez State Park was a great place for me to stay. It was quiet with a good staff and good facilities.

Natchez Trace – Grand Village of The Natchez Indians

I didn’t tour the plantations and mansions, but there are lots of beautiful ones. I opted to tour the Grand Village of the Natchez. There is a nice information center. I listened to a person of Natchez decent telling his history to the lady at the desk. I wished I had recorded it. He was telling about his family’s land, going back to early European times and how the tribe wouldn’t accept him now. He thought the new casino might have something to do with it.

The Grand Village is impressive. It reminded me of sites in Mexico, though no buildings remain. You could imagine large numbers of Indians in ceremonies and games. It’s an impressive site. “The Natchez Indians inhabited what is now southwest Mississippi ca. AD 700-1730, with the culture at its zenith in the mid-1500s. Between 1682 and 1729 the Grand Village was their main ceremonial center, according to historical and archaeological evidence. French explorers, priests, and journalists described the ceremonial mounds built by the Natchez on the banks of St. Catherine Creek, and archaeological investigations produced additional evidence that the site was the place that the French called “the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.” from http://www.mdah.ms.gov/new/visit/grand-village-of-natchez-indians/

Stickball

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The origins of Lacrosse is often attributed to the Algonquins, but the Indians of the southeast played stickball for more than 1000 years.

“Among the Indian nations of the Southeast (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Natchez, Seminole), there were two basic ball games which were played. These games had both social and ceremonial meaning.

Stickball was played with two sticks per player. The ball sticks, made from hickory or pecan, were about two feet long and were bent at one end to form a racket. The balls were made from deerskin which was stuffed with deer or squirrel hair. Players would catch the ball between the nettings of their sticks and then throw it. They were not allowed to strike or catch the ball with their hands. The players, however, could tackle, block, or use any reasonable method to interfere with the other team’s movement of the ball.

Points were scored when a player hit the opposing team’s goal post with the ball. Among the Cherokee, a team had to be the first to score 12 points in order to win. The Creek, however, required 20 points in order to win.

The field for the game might be as long as 500 yards or as short as 100 yards. The object of the game was to get the ball between two goal posts or to strike one of the poles with the ball.

Stickball was often used to settle issues between Choctaw communities. This approach to settling internal issues reduced the possibility of civil war. In these instances, the goal posts might be located within each opposing team’s village which meant that the goal posts would be several miles apart.

Among the Choctaw, the players were not allowed to wear moccasins or any clothing other than a breechclout. On the night prior to a game, there would be a dance in which the players would dance in their ballplay outfits and rattle their ballsticks together.

Among some of the tribes, players would not eat rabbit prior to a game as it was felt that this might cause them to become frightened and confused. They also avoided eating frogs because this would make them susceptible to broken bones. Players would generally fast before the game.

The number of players varied greatly. Sometimes there were games with as few as nine players per side, while other times there were games with several hundred players on the field. A game might last several days. Play was rough and it was not uncommon for the players to suffer severe bruises and even broken bones.

The Southeastern nations also have a single pole ball game which is played in ritual context. Like stickball, the single pole game is played with sticks and a small ball. In this game there is a single pole, about 25 feet high, with a wooden effigy of a fish at the top. Seven points are scored when a player manages to strike the fish with the ball. Striking the pole scores two points.

This game has been played for more than 1,000 years. The game is often played in association with the Busk (or Green Corn Ceremony). The game, which is played on sacred ground, brings a sense of balance and harmony by bringing the secular and sacred together.” From: https://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/949

 

 

Rain! Petoskey, Michigan

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We woke up to HEAVY rains, thunder and lightning. Like a small hurricane, the winds blew hard. I was worried a tree or big limb would fall on the Airstream. It was predicted to last all day, so we read most of the morning. By noon it let up, so we drove into Petosky and went to the library. Certainly one of the nicest libraries I have been in, the nice lady at the desk told us it is more quiet on the second floor. With comfortable tables, chairs and lounge chairs, we picked a good spot to catch up on the blog. 45 minutes later I was done. We headed across the street to an old church that now served as Crooked Tree Arts Center and checked out all the work, most of which was for sale. 

By then the sun had come out and it was warming up, so we decided to go to Bear River Valley Recreation Area, where the river had been turned into a 1.5 mile white water section. You’d better know what you are doing to run this one. Of course it was rocking from that torrential rain last night. By the time we had walked up the trail for a while, we started peeling layers off. From the 49 degree start of the day, it got up to 75 and sunny.

On our way back to Petoskey State Park, we stopped to look at the incredibly pretty houses overlooking the bay. I hadn’t walked very far when a gentleman, out for his walk, asked me how I was doing. The next thing you know we were walking together, talking about Petoskey. He said he has been coming here for 76 years, his parents bringing the family from the time he was born. He went on to jobs bringing distressed companies back to life, living in many places including Florida and 8 years in Hawaii. He said this is the best place he has very been, and I believe it as it is gorgeous. He told me we should buy a cottage here. Then he gave me recommendations of where to eat and places to go, among them Pictured Rocks and Harbor Springs. We said goodbye. A couple he knew came up the other side of the street, and he went over to talk to them. He must be the mayor of Petoskey. 

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I resumed taking pictures of the lovely homes, but didn’t make it down to Bay Street where the biggest houses are. Martha had made it down and around two blocks before we met again. We decided to go to Petoskey Brewing Company for dinner. A good burger and fries complemented the porters we ordered. A group of 10 guys were seated next to us. I couldn’t help but listen in as one guy told the story of deer hunting when a wolf killed a deer right in front of his deer stand. After all that rain, it turned out to be a pretty good day. 

Nature & Me RV

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October 2, 2018

Our appointment at Nature & Men RV was at 3:00. We went to the grocery store and got a few things, one being a new lighter for the gas stove. I was looking through a whole display of them, mainly looking for one that was refillable. Martha walked up and said, “Why wouldn’t you get the Ohio State one?” I couldn’t believe here in Michigan was an Ohio State lighter. I had settled on a Michigan State one as a souvenir for our trip, but since we had been at Ohio State for five years, it was an easy choice. 

Then off to Backcountry North on Rt 31. Martha wanted to trade her gloves that she bought downtown. It’s a dangerous store. With kayaking, hiking and camping gear and a very nice and helpful staff, I enjoyed cruising around while Martha found gloves and a sweater. I bought some kayak gloves and a light neoprene shirt for kayaking in this weather…..if I get to do it. I should have bought pants, but had already spent too much.

We had lunch, checked out of the campground and went to Nature & Me RV, arriving about 1:30 for our 3:00 appt. I checked in with Joe, telling him we didn’t expect to be seen until 3:00 and would just hang out. Maybe I could catch up on the blog on their WIFI. After cruising the parts and accessory section and looking at all the Vespa scooters, I went out to the truck to get my computer. I was surprised to see Alan already working on the hitch. I asked if he minded my watching. He didn’t. I always like to watch, so I can learn what is done in case it happens again. He was very nice explaining things, and it was obvious he had done a lot of these things. I told him I was glad He was doing the job, as I could see it was going to be very secure as he tightened the bolts with his air wrench. He replaced both bolts on the affected side and the other side for good measure. 

I went in to pay the modest bill and enjoyed talking with Joe, who grew up here. He asked where we hiked. He likes to float the Boardman. In the same way I complain about my home, Charlottesville’s growth, he said he and his friends walked or biked everywhere, never feeling threatened. Traverse City has steady growth, with steadily increasing traffic. “You should see it in the summertime”, he said. I could be friends with Joe. He loves his town and all the great outdoor things to do and likes his job. He is going to visit the Airstream factory in Jackson City for the first time soon. I told him he would really enjoy that. He was still apologetic about not being able to see us yesterday. “Hey, we never would have taken that great hike at Brown Bridge”, I said. I thanked him very much. Lucky us!

 

We were on our way at 3:00, heading up 31, east around the bay, then north. On the map it looked like you would see water on both sides, but we rarely got a glimpse. Still, it is very pretty land, farms and little towns. We drove through the cute, little town of Petosky to Petosky State Park. We found a spot near the beach and set up, then built a fire in the Solo Stove. I really like this thing. You can snuggle right up to it to stay warm without the smoke driving you away, and it burns hot. Martha cooked some Brats, acorn squash and veggies over the fire. Then we walked over to the beach to watch the sun set. We put everything away except the Solo Stove as the rains were supposed to come in the night.

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