Mon 3 Jun - Falmouth, MA

Long lazy Monday morning in Massachusetts, doing very little for a long time, not hurrying to do anything. Why?

Well, a couple of pictures from just outside our room door may clarify things...

Free car wash...

We changed our plans for today. Instead of exploring the old majestic houses of Newport, Rhode Island we decide to do almost nothing. Unfortunately it means we will probably miss seeing Newport, but it can't be helped. We expected "showers" (the weather forecasts here are very good) but the rain bucketed down and the streets started flooding. It would not have been fun to drive for 90 minutes each way according to Google Maps and likely longer given the circumstances as the rain is now predicted to continue until midnight.

At 11am we needed to leave our room so that the housekeeper could do her job, so we braved the elements to do some grocery shopping. We wanted to stock up so that we could keep going for a week or so with breakfast supplies, some microwave dinners and snacks.

Why did we need breakfast supplies? The motel did supply "continental breakfast" but when we explored that offer, we quickly assessed that it was not for us - a coconut butter cake, flat wafer sugar cookies and mini chocolate donuts. Sugar coated cereals. No bread and no toaster. Far too much sugar. Even the coffee was grim. They did provide milk and OJ which we will use but we won't be touching the rest during our stay here.

So out we went for grocery shopping. First and most and wine!

About 2 minutes drive away from our motel is a liquor superstore called Kappy's Liquor (for those in Oz, think Dan Murphy's) and it had more than enough to keep up happy and tipsy.

We found that Yellowtail Australian wines are really good value in the US. A 1.5 liter bottle for $10. Yes, it's "just plonk" but it is drinkable which is more than we can say for the cheap Californian wines that we have randomly tried as we don't really know anything about them.

Here is the Australian wine taster among all the Australian wines. They had quite a selection wouldn't you say?

18 beers, 4.5 liters of wine and 6 pre-mixed margaritas later and we are set for a while.

The local Stop & Shop supermarket nearby was also a pleasant surprise. Hans was quite happy with being able to walk the aisles with a cup of coffee - it cost $1.25 and you buy it inside the shop itself.

We also found that the store had a fresh bakery (so fresh rolls for lunch), a great cheese selection and also nice seafood. These lobsters were alive and very active. Maybe they were struggling to escape the fate of "free steaming", see upper right corner of the tank?

We spoiled ourselves with some nice treats such as fresh raspberries, Alaskan smoked salmon and Castello Blue cheese - not to be eaten altogether - so the final grocery bill was $130. The checkout ladies were funny and gave us all the discounts that card members get plus a scratchie. We liked that. Unfortunately, no win on the scratchie.
We headed home to the Motor Lodge to unpack and to eat soup and fresh rolls for our lunch. It was a nice change to have a simple lunch at home as in the last month we've mostly eaten lunches "on the go" as we did our sightseeing.
A lazy arvo followed making this a real "down day", which was very relaxing after a pretty full on month in New York City.
At 3pm or so, Di was getting a bit stir crazy while Hans was happy to continue the lazy day. So...we went out for a drive, to explore the hood a bit and to see if we could get a cuppa somewhere.
We drove down our road to the eastern side of the Falmouth Inner Harbor ocean inlet. Rain and fog was the theme.
Around to the other side and Surf Drive west takes you to Woods Hole. We found a number of these beach shacks along Surf Drive. Several had portaloos outside which made us think that they may not have running water at all. They were probably true old beach shacks from the past now converted onto something as good as the zoning rules would allow them to be.

Cute with flower boxes outside.

When we came to this piece of flooded road, Di asked Hans whether she should go through. Today's top advice was from Hans in "Go through, but don't get stuck".
Di obliged, cursing as she went, but all went well. We noted another car turned back - maybe the driver didn't get the same great advice...

Woods Hole looked charming and we had seen a cafe called Pie in the Sky. We thought there was a real chance for a cuppa and a piece of apple pie and can happily report all was good (and a bargain - a wedge of pie to share, a tea and a coffee for $7).

Trendy place, eclectic decoration including a full sized coffee roaster in between a few tables and stools.

With a gap in the rain we dashed back to the car and headed home again. We decided to go back through the same flooded road and the water seemed deeper on the return journey but we still made it (although the brakes of our brand new car squeaked a bit for some minutes afterwards). No advice from Hans was necessary this time...

Great atmosphere on this coastline in the wet and windy weather. We could certainly see the connection between Cape Cod and some British ports. Half the town and village names around here seem to recognisable from the UK.

Back to the ranch for more R&R. No more going out for tonight. We enjoyed a drink or two and a frozen meal heated up via microwave oven magic and then reading and, in Di's case, watching TV!!??

Weather is supposed to improve over night with sunshine forecast for tomorrow so we should then be out and about again. Until then, That's all for today folks.

Footnote: Since today was a slow and lazy day which kind of encourages reflections and thinking, here are some observations of lately:

  • People sizes - After a month in New York City, we got used to that people looked more... Ahem... normal, as in not oversized. Obviously, all that New York City walking everywhere, climbing stairs up and down subway stations and not that many owning a car would have a huge impact. As soon as we got back into the "land of the automobile", we saw lots and lots of the plus-sized people again. It was truly noticeable
  • Mobile phone (or cell phone) usage while driving - Given signs we saw along the freeway out of Boston, it appears that mobile phone usage while driving is prohibited... For teens. That was an interesting new angle of something that Australia takes quite seriously (strictly prohibited, fines apply). In the US, it appears that it is fully prohibited in some states (Delaware comes to mind) while most states do not seem to have any rules against it. Would we guess that some MA teens are looking forward to the day when they can be on their cell phone while they are driving their cars?
  • Land of the free... Privatized, regulated - For a country claiming freedom as a core element and basic right, so much of people's movements seem to be restricted by rules and regulations (go to any beach and read any sign of what you can not do there...). Private rules, on anything from access to beaches to land to restrooms to whatever. Often available only to a select few. We had been told earlier in our trip that in past times, the right of freedom for every man was in reality only for "white man with land". Perhaps not that much has changed since then.
  • Car radio station choices - lots... Our car tunes into satellite radio channels known as XM and the choices and specific types are endless. We have preset 6 favorites - Classic Vinyl (1st generation rock), Classic Rewind (2nd generation hits), 60's, 70's, 80's and Symphony Hall (5 classic rock and pop and 1 classical music, funny that). In addition, there are some speciality stations like Grateful Dead radio and Big Hair radio (no, not for us). We can always find something we like and at times feel we are listening to Hans' iPod. We do note some preferred playlist among the first 5 - plenty of Rolling Stones, John Cougar Mellancamp, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and for some reason we don't understand, Bad Company. Keep the motor running...

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