My new life - retired and full time!

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by pudge, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    On the Road Full Time
    Well this should be the start of daily postings. I’m now fully retired and we have started the adventure of traveling the country. We have no house to come back to and no storage unit – everything we own is in our Ram 2500 and the Flagstaff. At this point I should introduce you to Navy Bear and Marine Bear. These are our travel companions and my goal is to post a picture of them at every location.

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    Our first visit is at Charlestown Breachway. We love the beach settings. Charlestown Breechway is a marked parking lot. While the sites are wide, it is flat and open. Other than being right on the breechway it is not visually appealing. The access road has numerous speed bumps so proceed at the posted speed limit – or less. The campground has no services but provides clean Clivus composting toilets. Since there are no utilities provided generators are a nice option My first impression however, was that this place is the large generator rally point. Generator hours are 8 am to 8 pm and a large portion of the campers run generators the whole time. The guy two sites down from me was actually at his generator at 7:55 pm monitoring his watch.

    On the positive side we are close to the beach and the campground has a boat launch that is not directly on the ocean so kayaking is easily doable. These are all features that Lori loves. We all know the adage. Happy wife – happy life!

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    Since this was our first day. We decided to go out to dinner. We first tried Johnny Angels Clam Shack but they were close (for a babysitting issue – really?). So it was off to Cap'n Jacks Restaurant for a mediocre meal. I had the clam cakes and chowder. The chowder was thin and lacked creaminess. The fritters had little flavor and it was like one big chunk of clam was in each ball. Lori’s fish was good but the fries were flavorless and possibly refried – which is OK for beans – not for fries.

    We also discovered we had some friends camping here from the Venture Post my American Legion sponsored. Always nice to find a friendly – and familiar face or two. We got to enjoy the evening sunset talking about going full-time. They are also planning to full-time this winter so we shared tips, tactics, and philosophies over a few glasses of grape juice (the place is alcohol free).

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    Tomorrow we explore the Ninegret Pond with the kayaks. Should be a good time!
     
  2. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Well today started out well. I got in a 2.25 mile run/walk to get the day started. Yup, I’m trying to get back into shape. Since we are about a mile from Johnny Angels Clam Shack I make that my turn-around point. Not record time but I’m improving. From there it was breakfast and a shower. Our plan was to kayak to Ninegret Pond, possibly to Green Hill Pond. As we were getting set showers arrived so we go to Plan B. We needed quarters so it was off to the bank. Rand McNally handled this task easily Next, however, we plug a Laundromat into the Rand McNally GPS and it sends us down 5 miles of country back roads to – nothing! So it becomes “Hey, Siri” time. Siri gives us accurate directions to 3D’s Laundromat. In Narragansett – yup the town the beer is named after! 3Ds is a recently expanded and modernized laundry. The days of sticking quarters in machines –we had plenty and were ready to - are long gone!! In about an hour we have clean, folded clothes and its back to the campground with cleared skies overhead. With clothes put away we load the kayaks into the truck and head to the boat launch at the end of the campground. This was a short-lived adventure since the current was strong and we were headed against it So…Plan C…off to the beach. We et the kayaks out of the water and stored at the campsite and spend a couple of enjoyable hours at Charlestown Beach. Lori really enjoys the waves and today they were large and constant

    After the beach it is supper time. Finally a chance to clean up the refrigerator a little bit! I try to do most of my cooking on a Weber Q. I fuel mine from a 5 pound propane bottle. I have a 20 pounder as a stand by and some green Coleman bottles should there be a problem with the safety devices in the propane hose (there is one at each end and their failure limits flow through the hose to 10%). Well my 5 pounder went empty but initially gave indication of a hose failure. This took a little time to figure out and when I’m hungry …well patience is not my virtue. I finally got it figured out and was cooking on the 20 pound tank.

    After my morning run/walk I went to the beach to stretch. It was high tide and the wave action was impressive. The second high tide of the day was at 6:52 p.m. so I decided to bring Lori back to the beach to check it out. Well, it was not as impressive as the first. So its off to the other end of the campground to watch the sunset and call it a day. The mosquitoes and pretty aggressive here at night – though not as bad as Assateague Island – and rumor has it there are a pair of friendly skunks that like to mingle with the campers. We are told they are very acclimated to the humans in the campground and pose not threat – NO THANK YOU!!!!
     
  3. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Since we towed to Rhode Island it was time to get gas. My AAA app on the cell phone directed me to a Shell station on Rte 1 in Charlestown (the app said it was the cheapest). Since I’m not smart enough to get the AAA app to give turn-by-turb directions it was another hand off to “Hey, Siri!” At $3.189 for mid grade it will be good to get out of New England!

    Any self-respecting veteran from SECT (Southeast Connecticut) who ends up in SoCoRI (South County Rhode Island) need to stop by Ninegret Park. This is the old Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field (aka Charlietown). It was used extensively during World war Two and during the jet age became the emergency airfield for Quonset Point Naval Air Station. The reason for the visit is to pay homage to Navy Ensigns George Krauss and Merle Longnecker. Two young aviators who were training on the latest night fighting technology – Radio Detection and Ranging – or what is now commonly referred to as Radar. I a mock Battle the two collided over what was once the Norwich State Hospital property. Neither survived the crash and the debris fields from both planes remain a Connecticut Archeological Prreserve – ensuring the final resting places for these two young warriors remains undisturbed.

    Next it was off to The Fantastic Umbrella Factory. What an eclectic place. Most of the facility seems stuck in the 1960’s. But it is a beautiful place to tour. It has gardens and animals (Emus, goats, and a variety of chickens) and a number of small shops catered to impulse buying. It is a nice place to browse r shop and definitely somewhere where you can kill a couple of hours doing the tourist thing! Just be careful of the Emu’s on of the little buggers pecked my arm as I was leaning on its fence – no damage though – to either one of us.

    Since my Navy flag was more than faded we made a stop at Charlestown Flag Company For a small shop it is well laid out with everything in a logical order. I replaced my Navy flag and found a First Navy Jack to go with it. Lori grabbed a wind sovk for the trailer and a kite…probably to entertain the grandkids with.

    A quick stop at the Charlestown Post Office to mail some condolence and birthday cards and it was off to Stop & Shop for the weekly grocery shop. It was a little farther of a drive but the familiar layout of Stop and Shop more than makes up the time.

    As I mentioned yesterday, my 5-pound propane bottle went empty so we stopped at Breachway Bait and Tackle. Asked to refill a 5 pound bottle and got the quizzical stare followed by “I don’t think I have an adapter to fill those with.” Once I told him the connection was exactly as it is on a 20 pound bottle we were off and running – along with all the jokes about my 5 pounder being the awkward, weaker cousin of the 20 pound bottle! This is the place to do business with – the staff is lose and friendly and adaptive to the situation – since apparently 5 pound propane bottles are the rarity here. By the way my bottle only took a little more than ½ gallon so I think the next place that fills it will have to give it a good venting!!

    After all the errands it was time to…you guessed it…hit the beach again. I’m hoping tomorrow is a quieter day because this retired life is wearing me out!!!!
     
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  4. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Graceville, Florida
    Great write up, thanks for sharing
     
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  5. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Well-Known Member

    Looking forward to the next chapter!
     
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  6. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    While Charlestown Breechway has many pluses, including location, its downside is it is boondocking! There isn’t even a water spigot in the entire place. Normally I shower using the campground facilities. Since there are no facilities here I showered in the trailer. So a 45 gallon water capacity that normally lasts a week to 10 days now lasted three. And trust me both of us know how to conserve water – including taking Navy Showers (if you don’t know about these just ask!). We could have gone to Burlingame State Park on our beach pass and filled up my six-gallon jug – but I forgot that I had it with me!!!! So the search was on. The Walmart at Dunn’s Corner in Westerly, RI used to carry 3-gallon containers but no longer does. Apparently the new fad is to purchase these water-cooler-like bottles for $14 and then swap them out when empty for a full one at a cheap price. Kinda like the Blue Rhino propane fad. Of course at Walmart Lori needs a new sundress – so add that to the list!

    Just down the road from Walmart is a Stop & Shop – that is closer to the campground then the one my Rand-McNally GPS ran me to the other day – stupid GPS! Fortunately Stop & Shop carried 2.5 gallon jugs so I got 4 of them to hold me over – and to add to my gas points.

    You can’t go out on a ot summer day in Rhode Island and not get a Del’s Frozen Lemonade! So it’s a quick stop at East West Market. What a place! By my AAA phone app it has the cheapest gas in Charlestown. It also has a deli with great sandwiches, a café/bakery, convenience items, and the aforementioned Dells! Man was that frozen lemonade delicious!!!

    Heading to the campground I notice a sign on the horizon I notice a large sign for Ocean State Liquors. Since the wine was running low we decided to stop. However, since the Breechway is alcohol free we didn’t buy a thing –wink – wink!!!

    Speaking of parties. It looks like the boaters use the beach across from the campground! I'm sure the canoers and kayakers in the campground head there to enjoy some adult refreshments!

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    I have two schticks now that I’m retired. One is taking pictures of two stuffed bears (Navy Bear and Marine Bear) at the sign for every facility we stay at. The other is getting a picture of me with an area law enforcement officer. Since Charlestown Breechway is our first stop this proved to be more difficult than I though. Environmental Police (ENCON) stopped in the park but it looked like it was to evict a guest. When they’re busy leave the cop alone! I ran into this very nice Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM) officer. She doesn't carry a side-arm - but I'm counting it!

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    Tomorrow is up early since check out here is 11 a.m. Fortunately the tow is only about an hour-and-a-half to Horeseneck Beach State Park in Westport, MA. We will be the host camper there through the month of September so if you are there – be gentle using the facitlities! And stay tuned!!!
     
  7. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    Northeast Pennsylvania
    Great write up Dennis! I'm glad you and Lori are enjoying your retirement. Someday I hope to be able to do the same thing. Enjoy!
     
  8. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    On the Road Full Time
    Stay tuned!!! I am running a blog (Blogger.com\Aimless Wandering) which will be copied here on a (near?) daily basis
     
  9. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    On the Road Full Time
    Well we successfully left Charlestown Breechway and made it Horseneck Beach campground to start our adventure as host campers. We have stayed Horseneck Beach several times so the layout is familiar to us. For those unfamiliar with host camping, you get a free site in exchange for some amount of labor – or community service if it is a state or federal facility. Here at Horseneck the prime mission is restroom cleanliness with general maintenance secondary.

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    Once at Horseneck we were greeted by Pete, the park manager. The state property consists of both the campground and a large state run beach. Pete gave us our vehicle pass and a copy of the rules and told us Andrew, the campground manager would be out after we setup to show us ‘the lay of the land’. There are three sites reserved for campground host at Horseneck. There are currently two other hosts here, Ralph and Melinda – each in one of the other host sites. They have been busy since there is no one to clean when they are not here. Ralph has been handling the mens side with Melinda handling the chores on the other side. Ralph was happy to see us arrive since it would allow him to have a ‘day off’.

    I was completely setup when Andrew came by the site – immediately noting that some of the wood I had brought in was not local – whole logs are always a dead giveaway. Andrew gave the tour of the facility pointing out things to look for and we setup with Ralph to go through the mechanics of getting things done. I was shown where the ‘tools of the trade’ are stored and Ralph went over the routine with me.

    Now that we got through the initial ‘indoctrination‘ it was time to get a few chores done. When leaving Charlestown I noticed my propane regulator showing the on-service tank was empty. So it was off to Westport Ace Hardware for a 30 pound propane refill. Every time we get to Horseneck we have to stop at Oriental Pearl so I can get my fix of Fall River style chow mein. This is what most of the country calls chop suey but it is served over a thin, short egg noodle that is deep fried. A quick stop for gas and it was back to the campground.

    Some not so subtle differences between Charlestown and Horseneck are that you are more spaced out at Horseneck. Charlestown is literal a parking lot and you are stacked slideout-to-awning! Charlestown has no utilities, not even a water spigot so once your fresh water tank is dry you have to have Jerry cans or jugs to tide you over. To dump tanks at Charlestown you have to go about 12 miles to Burlingame State park, so even totes are not a solution. Horseneck has water stations throughout the park and a dump station.

    Well Ralph just dropped off the keys and let us now he is taking tomorrow and Tuesday off so it looks like I’m back to work!!!
     
  10. BBQdave

    BBQdave Member

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    Aug 31, 2016
    North Carolina
    Hey Pudge you may already have this information, but on the propane cooking, make sure the stove is off and slowly open the propane tank valve. If you hear a click, close the valve and wait a minute or two and then try again. That safety valve is sensitive :)

    Great write ups! Thanks
     
  11. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    New Plymouth, ID
    Sounds like you're off to a great start to your retirement! I have friends who retired 5-6 years ago, & have been doing the 'migrating' camp host thing ever since. They've traveled all over the lower 48, serving as camp hosts, they love it.
     
  12. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    We hope to be joining you on the road soon...
     
  13. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Thanks. Between the OPD device in the tank and the ruptured hose devices at each hose fitting there is a lot that can wrong!
     
  14. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    My first day of work – technically it is community service – went well. I started with a bicycle tour of the campground, shopping-sized trash bag on the handle bars. In addition to the campground I rode the path to the beach and also out to Gooseberry Island. After the ride it was breakfast and a shower.

    [​IMG]

    The place was actually in pretty good shape and I had less than half a plastic grocery bag of trash to dispose of.

    Melinda stopped by to show Lori the ropes in the women’s side of the restrooms and then I got busy on the men’s side. The work is pretty simple and everything gets done in under an hour. That gave us plenty of time to head to the shoreline of the campground – this is too rocky to really be called a beach. For some reason we need to bring all kinds of ‘stuff’ with us when we head to the beach. Chairs, a backpack, Lori brings a large drink container of water. Lori also brought her Fitbit fitness tracker to the beach and when she got to the water remembered she had it on and handed it to me. I fastened it to the shoulder strap of her backpack. In the ensuing logistical nightmare of returning to the camper her Fitbit was lost!

    What a nightmare it is to replace a Fitbit. Lori’s was a Charge 2 and she liked it very much. Well Fitbit is moving to the Charge 3 and taking pre-orders. This means it will not ship for four to six weeks. Well I’ll cover a lot of geography in that time period and the Fitbit would be sitting at the Good Sams mail forwarding service until our schedule settled out. Since it takes about ten days for the service to forward mail a little planning is required. As we get more experience on the road I’m sure getting mail will become easiers. Since we are local to the children for the next few weeks I would prefer to use one of their addresses as the local shipping address.

    Well none of this really mattered because Fitbit has gone insane. Originally you could buy Fitbits in Small, Large, and XL (Why isn’t it small/medium/large?). Now they only sell the trackers with small or large bands. If you need an XL band (wrists greater than 8” circumference) you have to order that also and then swap out the bands when you get them. What a deal – buy a tracker and two bands so you can throw one band away! So a quick Google search (Sorry Bing lovers) finds the cheapest at “HeartRateMonitors.com”. The link to their site gets me to a ‘sold out’ page – great!!!! So its back button to the Google search results and the link to Overstock.com finds me the exact Fitbit we lost just slightly more expensive than the HeartRateMonitor.com site was asking! .

    So now its time supper and a fire and maybe tomorrow will be better!
     
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  15. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    The host camper experience is working out well. If I can survive Labor Day weekend here we may be on to something. Today I again took the bike out to Gooseberry Island. There are two World War II watch towers that are intact on the island. The towers are covered in graffiti but in reasonably good condition, surprising since there is no real care-taker for them. The east tower has the access secured but I noticed stones and an iron structure set up as a breech to allow access through the window opening. The west tower has access to the ground level and I found a homeless encampment.The park staff was aware of the mattress and supplies in the west tower so it was a pretty easy morning.

    [​IMG]


    The cleaning task went easily today so we were again able to enjoy some time on the waterfront. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to take anymore sun but I stayed covered and kept my boonie hat wet, plus there was a nice breeze today that gave a significant cooling effect. After a little relaxation on the water it was another tour of the campground. Today waste collection came emptied the three dumpsters in the campground. However, as is usually the case at a campground, the dumpsters were full and there was additional trash on the sides of them. Do you think the dumpster guy would take that? Nope, apparently his job does not require him to leave his truck. So off I went putting all the trash that was alongside the dumpsters into the them so they have a good head start towards full – stupid trash guy!!!

    The plan is for Ralph to be back tomorrow so Lori and I will be off. We look to be kayaking Westport Harbor. I would also like to visit the Horseneck Point Life Saving Station but as we are slowly figuring out – there is so much to see and do and not enough time to do it all correctly.
     
  16. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Active Member

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    What an awesome time so far! Thanks for sharing your adventures. My husband and I hope to do some similar rv/camper traveling when we retire.
     
  17. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Stay tuned! It’ll only get better. From here it’s a month in MD. Then to FL for licenses& plates. Then TX, NM, and AZ. Hopefully I can learn the abbreviations for other states so I can visit them!
     
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  18. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Lori and I spent many years in a Coleman Seapine (I think 12) and then a Niagara (8 years). Would have reired with the Niagara but setting up everytime you want lunch or a BR break is too much!
     
  19. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Well Ralph did not make it back as planned. I guess after being stuck here without relief for two months, some time away is a good thing! For Lori and I it is not a big deal since the tasks are pretty easy and don’t eat up much time. Because Ralph was supposed to be back I planned on a run/walk instead of the bike ride. It was 75 degrees with 95% humidity in the morning so the run was brutal. But the NOAA app on my phone was advertising a heat warning for the area- and they were right! So after the morning exercise, some breakfast and a shower it was chore time. Apparently the toilet paper shortage is over as Pete showed up with some much needed supplies! Cleaning was fairly easy since I brought my own squeegee to do the mirrors and dry the shower walls. Place is looking good!!!

    Lori was off to the beach (again?). So I joined her for a bit. While there was a nice breeze at the waterfront the constant bombardment of rays from the sun left me a little off so I decided to take in one of the local – and free – sights. The campground has walk-in access to East Beach Rd. As soon as you get to East Beach Rd. is the Westport Fishermen’s Association (WFA). [​IMG]The WFA is a grassroots environmental organization that was founded in 1983. The WFA advocates Westport River and local streams. It also manages the historic Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station (HPLSS). [​IMG]The station dates back to 1888 when it was the last of 69 coastal rescue stations built by the Humane Society of Massachusetts. Of these 69 stations only four remain intact and open to the public. The entire purpose of this station was to house a surf boat and rescue equipment necessary for volunteers to venture out (mostly in the worst weather) and rescue a ships passengers and crew. In the age of sail ship groundings in this area – and I’m guessing many others – was common since charts were limited and navigation aides of the day were unreliable. [​IMG]The HPLSS is small about the size of a one car garage but it is packed with interesting information about the station and those who manned it, along with details of some of the more notorious ship wrecks and groundings to occur in the area. The WFA building is adjacent to the HPLSS and contains information about their organization. It is manned by a docent and has souvenirs and such at reasonable prices. They accept donations. Since this is a camping blog – their summer hours are Wed., Sat., and Sun. 12 to 4 pm. It is worth the short walk from the campground!
     
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  20. pudge

    pudge Active Member

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    Well today was a day to catch up on some much needed chores. We loaded up the truck with laundry and a Walmart return and stuck the food shopping list in my pocket! Plugged Dartmouth Laundromat & Dry Cleaning into the GPS and we were off! Unfortunately the sneaky GPS fooled me again. When we got to the location as announced by the GPS there was no Laundromat. So we do the loop around to check again since the place is on Rte. 6 and the speed limit is 45 – hey, we could have missed it. Even after the double check it is still not there so we “Hey, Siri” and find it is about 2 miles back!

    On the way to the Laundromat we passed a Walmart. So we took advantage and pulled in to return a defective camel back style hydration system – the one we bought had a leaky bladder. Well the line for returns seemed long – even for a Thursday (who sells this much crappy stuff?). Actually the line moved quickly and the stuff was pleasant – so KUDOS Dartmouth Walmart! “Hey, Siri” got us to the new location of the Laundromat – yes it moved recently so the GPS wrong but not like it was in Charlestown! I thought the Laundromat was pricey and said so in a Facebook post. Since I did a Facebook check-in at the Laundromat, they monitored my post and informed me that their prices were competitive with other Laundromats in the town. OK next time I’ll go a town over – or three as my middle son advised me that in his town the Laundromats are cheap!

    After laundry it was off to Lee’s Market. Lee’s is one of my favorite places. While it is a relatively small market, making selection somewhat limited, they have the best prepared meats. Marinated, teryaki seasoned, garlic and lemon…you name it! They vacuum bag it so the marinade gets all through the meat. I also need to figure out the store brands. Since I get a card for all the places I frequent – and the card holder is getting full – I find the store brands drive the discounts.

    While we were out and about my son, Jim, sent me a text letting me know that there was a car show in Acushnet and that he and Erin were going to take the kids.

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    I try to never pass up a chance to be with the grandkids!! Since Jim lives near the center of town and the car show occurs in the center of town we had to work around a few detours. Jim actually lives inside the blocked off area so I had to convince one of the local PD to let me in! The car show is an incredible collection of local machines as well as local talent and food. The car show had this one WWII era truck. My grandson, Jules, was fascinated by this vehicle! The owner was kind enough to open the rear canvass and let Jules sit in the truck! Jules was a little apprehensive at first since it seemed kind of dark in there but he ate it up! He even asked if he could drive it - so the owner let him in the cab! How much damage can a three-year old cause? This is an event sponsored by the town and the Acushnet Celebration Committee. More towns could learn from these events. While this specific event had food vendors – who got excellent exposure – it provides exposure to the town in a positive manner. I spent many years living in a town where few things seemed to happen and in those instances where a few (literally an undermanned staff) got together to pull off a fantastic event – anyone remember First Night Norwich? – they were bombarded with complaints and lost the will to continue.
    [​IMG]

    Lets title this picture "The End" *L* At least for today.
     
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