Always Another Journey…

Dear Friends:

Mon Dieu! Butter shortage in France!

The shortage—the worst since World War II—is a result of falling milk yields throughout Europe, but especially in France. Since most milk goes to making cream or cheese, and not butter, the effect is especially crippling. Now, supermarket shelves across France are growing increasingly bare as butter becomes harder to obtain.

We are going to have to pay more for pastries!

On one visit to France, I think a pastry per day contributed to my pound a day weight gain. Worse than a cruise!


Read my TripAdvisor reviews.


We recently had our first bedbug encounter in an EconoLodge in Harrisburg PA and it was a big one. Invasion of the bedbug army from outer space. Now I’ve been in some pretty rugged third world countries including sharing three porta-potties with thousands at a festival in Malaysia but today almost a week later you need to see Will’s body. Its like he was caught in a viper pit traveling with Indiana Jones. I’ve been doing this since before most bloggers were born and in the last 12 months, we’ve spent at least 160 days in hotels without incident.

We’ve taken every measure possible to have not brought them home.

  1. Threw out most of what was in our room.
  2. Showered and shampooed thoroughly.
  3. Sprayed, heat treated and now had our van professionally cleaned.
  4. Use all white linens on our bed and in the van to make sure one didn’t accidentally slip by.


Besides our new (to us) little home in Walterboro SC, (soon to become another suburb of Charleston), we just got back from 2400 miles in our vintage camper hunting leaf changes but perhaps October was too early this year. We spent four days at the Fryeburg County Fair in Maine and it was wonderful. Well, the campgrounds were slightly lacking as in no showers or bathrooms. Apparently, they added the wifi room since last year and unlike state and national parks the parking sites were cheek to jowl. A block or two walk to the fairgrounds made it worthwhile.

The fair was wonderful,  except for the too wonderful daily dose of french fries  – actually fried everything! This is the type of country fair everyone thinks of when you say “County Fair”. See Will’s article in our recent stories.

 I was going to enter the frying pan throwing contest but truthfully didn’t get up early enough to sign in.  We went and watched and I’m going to practice for next time. The frying pan is slightly under 6 lbs. The champ threw it about 70 feet before it hit the ground.


Life in a small camper van is fine if you can break it up with a hotel night here and there ie long hot shower and king bed!  Plus getting caught in a multi-hour I95 traffic delay and having an onboard bathroom was a lifesaver.

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So far in life, my favorite beer is Ommegang Three Philosophers and we made it to their brewery outside of Cooperstown, NY. This is home to the famous Baseball Museum which I skipped but Will loved. Ordinary people, baseball fans, walk the street in their little baseball outfits  Amazing and it reminded me of a trip to Malaga, Spain where a lot of Finnish tourists wore matching sweatsuit outfits with fake team names like San Francisco Yankees or Denver Tigers.

If you visit the brewery do the tasting and eat in the restaurant. The absolutely best salmon I’ve ever had and the french fries are true Frites double fried. The tour is nice but not different from any other smaller brewery tour or winery or bourbon distillery.  I’m waiting for the tabloid experience of Elvis rising out of the hops. Ommegang has a lot of very popular events.


We’ve rake-ing tons of pine needles (26 trees they rain off of) and satisfying my pyromaniac urges by burning them in our outdoor fireplace. DO NOT have these pine needles by your house they are more flammable than gasoline in my opinion and they are serious bug nests. They literally explode as I stand by with rakes, shovels and a hose.

Luckily I grew up in Minnesota and my mother thought we should rake all the leaves at home and our lake place. Then we burned them. Those were also the days when everyone had one of those small round wire things to burn your trash in the backyard. A few of us fought over burning duty and I loved to be out there in the cold poking a stick into the fire and watching the sparks fly up.

Today’s children, in the city at least, can’t participate in that safe fire experience and I believe that’s why they play with matches and candles inside the house or apartment that many times leads to serious trouble and death. Children need to learn about fire and how to swim!

Take care and enjoy every day on the road or home. We’re off to New Orleans. Yippee!

Happy Trails,