A Year with Serenity

On August 31, 2010 we flew into Denver, rented a car and drove to Pueblo West. Why would we fly to Colorado for the Labor Day weekend you might ask? We flew there to pick up our new home. From the moment we saw her in the parking lot we knew we made the right decision. Then we walked inside and within minutes Leslie managed to break the shower door. We broke it so we knew we had to buy it.

It took a few days for all the paperwork to get worked out and the money to be transferred. On Friday September 3rd everything was completed and Serenity was ours (although we did not have a name for her at the time – it came a little later.)

And then the fun began. It was the Friday before the Labor Day Weekend, we did not have reservations for anywhere to stay over the holiday, and we had to get our new home from Pueblo, Colorado up to Seattle – a trip of just over 1500 miles and we had only driven a 40 foot motorhome a couple of times during test drives. 

The plan was to spend the holiday weekend driving, then we did not have find a RV park to stay in. So on Friday evening we drove our new home a couple of miles to get the tank filled up (a 150 gallon tank – that was a bit of shock), and then back to the parking lot of Rocky Mountain Boat Company to spend our first night in our new home.

It has been just over a year. Since we got Serenity we have driven 11,291 miles, traveled through 26 states. Tomorrow we pack things up again, pull in the slides, hook up the Jeep and head down the road to a Massachusetts state park for a few days before we head up to Maine.

It has been an exciting, wonderful, and at times daunting year. As we move on down the road we look forward to the challenges and adventures over the years to come as we roam the countryside in our house on wheels, Serenity.

Fall River, Massachusetts

Many years ago I was born in Fall River and lived for about six weeks. When I was about six weeks old my parents moved to Montevideo, Uruguay for my father’s job and lived there for the next couple of years. After returning from Uruguay my parents lived in Fall River again for a short period of time before we moved to Easton, Pennsylvania. After a number of years in Easton, my parents then moved to New Jersey where I lived until I left for college. Throughout the time we lived in Pennsylvania and New Jersey family trips occurred a couple of times a year to visit family in Fall River and the surrounding area.

Since our home is currently parked about 40 minutes from Fall River, we decided a visit was in order. We started the day at the Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast / Museum. The house was built in 1845 on Second Street in Fall River as a two family house. Andrew J. Borden, a local businessman, purchased the house for his family and converted it into a single family house for his second wife Abby and his two daughters, Lizzy and Emma.

On August 4, 1892 Andrew and Abby were brutally murdered in the house by an assailant wielding an axe. Lizzy was arrested a few days later and stood trial in June 1893 and was acquitted.  The house is now a Bed and Breakfast / Museum which does tours for four hours each day. The tour gives lots of information about the Borden’s and the murders along with showing the various rooms of the house that now contain furnishing that match or come close to the ones that were in the house at the time of the murder. 

Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast

Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast

In 1965 the Battleship Massachusetts was saved from the scrap pile when veterans, Massachusetts citezens, and schoolchildren raised $50,000 for presentation of the historic battleship. During family trips to Fall River I visited the USS Massachusetts as a kid. Today we returned to Battleship Cove to visit the Battleship along with the other ships that have been added to make Battleship Cove the largest historic naval ship exhibit.

The USS Massachusetts (BB-59), a South Dakota class battleship was commissioned in May of 1942 and earned 11 battle stars during World War II. It was both the first and second American ship to fire its 16 inch guns in WW II. Visitors are able to climb up in the 16 inch gun turrets. Sitting in the close quarters of the turret it was unconceivable to imagine what it would be like to be one of 28 men in the turret during the heat and noise of battle conditions.

Battleship Cove - USS Massachusetts

Battleship Cove - USS Massachusetts

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850) is a destroyer that was commissioned in December of 1945 earned 2 Battle Stars during her Korean War service. The destroyer Kennedy participated in the blockade of Cuba and was part of the recovery teams for both Gemini 6 and 7.

Battleship Cove - USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Battleship Cove - USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

The USS Lionfish (SS-298) is a Balao-class submarine like the Calmagore that I toured Charleston, South Carolina (http://wheelsunderourfeet.com/2011/05/05/patriots-point-naval-maritime-museum/).

Battleship Cove - USS Lionfish

Battleship Cove - USS Lionfish

The Hiddensee is an East German Navy Missile Corvette that was transferred to the U.S. Navy in the early 1990’s and served as a testing and research vessel.  A Corvette is a small, highly maneuverable, lightly armed warship.  It is the only Corvette museum ship in North America.

Battleship Cove - Hiddensee

Battleship Cove - Hiddensee

Battleship Cove also has the only pair of restored motor torpedo boats in the world. PT boats were small, fast ships that carried torpedoes and depth charges in World War II.  The hulls of PT boats were constructed using two layers of double diagonal mahogany planking with a glue impregnated cloth between the layers.  PT-617 is the sole surviving 80 foot Elco type PT boat which was the most common US PT boat in the war. PT-796 is 78 foot Higgins that is painted like a shark.

Battleship Cove - PT Boats

Battleship Cove - PT Boats

After spending hours and taking almost 400 pictures we managed to find the houses of my grandmother and uncle that I visited many times on our various family trips to the area. Forty-seven percent of the people living in Fall River are of Portuguese descent so we decided to round out our visit of Fall River with dinner at a Portuguese restaurant. Sometimes it is nice having a smart phone where you can look things up on the internet and get reviews. We chose Sagres Restaurant for our dinner, which has a sign just inside the door that says “Where the locals eat”. It must be true because we did not see any outside signage that gave the name or even said it was restaurant.

Sagres Restaurant

Sagres Restaurant

Our dinners were excellent – we would give the restaurant a solid 5 out of 5.

The Revolutionary War

We had had a great time traveling up the east coast seeing some sites connected with the Revolutionary War. Back in early May we were in the Charleston, South Carolina area and visited Fort Moultrie (http://wheelsunderourfeet.com/2011/05/08/south-carolina-forts/) which was attacked by the British Navy in 1776 prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Later in May we visited the historic triangle in Virginia and spent some time at the Yorktown Battlefield (http://wheelsunderourfeet.com/2011/05/18/the-historic-triangle/). On this field General George Washington lead the combined American and French forces to a decisive victory which was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. We also visited Valley Forge.

Today we visited the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.  On April 19, 1775 five companies of Minutemen and five companies of non-Minutemen militia engaged with British light infantry companies in the first battle of the American War of Independence.  Three British soldiers were killed in the battle are buried by the Old North Bridge.

North Bridge

The Old North Bridge

Tomorrow we are hoping to head to Fall River to continue our tour of World War II ships.