05 October – Moscow was not in a particularly good mood weather wise and with both of us nursing colds we only ventured out in the cold and wet to get fed and did not do any more exploring of this great city.
06-10 October – Our taxi arrived right on time and our anticipated journey out to the airport was just a little over 30 minutes not the 90 that we were expecting. We had plenty of time for breakfast before boarding our flight to Oslo arriving 2 1/2 hours later. The Flytoget fast train whizzed us all the way to Drammen in under an hour (Oh to have this form of transport in NZ!!) where our friend Roald met us for the final leg back up the hill to his house.
We had a few days of R&R with Roald with a little local tripping around – including a great visit to the Kon Tiki and Viking ship museums. The Viking Ship had on display three viking ships which had been retrieved from burial mounds along with all the possessions that had been buried along with them. One of the ships in particular was extremely well-preserved.
The Oseberg ship could be both sailed and rowed. There are 15 oar holes on each side so fully manned, the ship would have had 30 oarsmen. In addition, there was a helmsman at the steering oar and a lookout who stood in the bow. The oars are made of pine, and some of them show traces of painted decorations. The oars show no signs of wear, so perhaps they were made especially for the burial. The ship was built in southwestern Norway around the year 820, and is made of oak. Each of the strakes overlaps the one below and they are fixed with iron rivets. The side of the ship consists of 12 strakes. Below the waterline, they are only 2‒ 3 cm thick, while the two upper strakes are a little thicker. The deck is made of loose pine planks. The mast is also pine and was between 10 and 13 metres high.
This cart is one of the artifacts buried in the boat, composed of parts made of different types of wood. It can be dismantled for transport, for example by ship. The frame of the cart is of oak and the cart has two shafts made of ash joined by a short iron chain. The cart has probably been pulled by two horses, one on each side of the shafts.
11/12 October – All too soon we said our farewells to Roald with the hope that he might come back to NZ for a visit. The Flytoget had us back at the airport in good time for our flight to the USA – unfortunately via Munich which added about 4 unnecessary hours on to our flight time. A nighttime arrival in Washington DC wasn’t the best for trying to find our way to the hotel, so we were rather tired by the time we got settled in. The location was good though for our visit the following morning to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. Housed in a huge hangar was a nicely laid out selection of old and new planes as well including a the Enola Gay, a Blackbird, and the space shuttle Discovery.
A good few hours later we set off for Severna Park near Annapolis for our visit with friends Scott and Donna who kindly put us up in their lovely cottage apartment.
13 October – Scott and Donna had suggested prior our arrival that we might like to visit the Harley Davidson museum up in York, Pennsylvania and had pre-booked for us all the Steel Toe tour. A pretty hour’s drive north to York and the HD factory – the tour was interesting as were taken right through the assembly process and able to get up close and personal with all that was happening. We were very impressed with the quality testing that is performed throughout the process.
14 October – Scott and Donna took us for a visit to a property their son had recently bought which requires renovation. Built in the 1950’s, it was never properly finished and despite being lived in, fell into disrepair, but on a beautiful waterfront site in a tidal inlet off Chesapeake Bay. Quite a project for them to get their teeth into, so must go back again in a couple of years to see the finished job! We followed this with a visit to an Amish market and wow what a store – it was divided into different sections – bakery, meat, cheeses, preserves, prepared meals, fruit and vege and was so busy. The market is only open 3 days a week – the Amish travel in from a few hours away – getting up in the wee small hours to bring in all the produce but the majority of the cooking was done on site – so the smells were very tempting.
In the afternoon Scott took us all in their boat for a trip up and down the Severn river right up to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The houses that back on to this river are magnificent – on large tracts of land with equally large houses.
15-28 october – On the road again we had a good drive up to Michigan over the next few days, getting to Harpers Ferry in an hour and half; enjoyed the historic ambience there and did some walking up the old C&O Canal towpath for a while after lunch. Took the old National Pike Hwy 40 up to Uniontown, Pa. in just over a couple of hours for the night.
We put away the GPS and used the map book to follow scenic and interesting byways through some of small town America. Surprised at the number of Amish in West Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Stopped for lunch at the only cafe in a little place called Liberty Centre in Ohio and found the owner to be an ex P51 pilot active in the Korean War who said the Australian/NZ pilots there taught him so much about combat flying!! What an interesting man, who was delighted with a couple of foreign banknotes we gave him to brag to his friend. He responded by saying the lunch was on him and wouldn’t take any payment!! It’s so much more fun on the back roads than always driving the interstate. Finally made our way up to Stockbridge just north of Ann Arbor, MI for a visit to old friend Suzi who has been president of the US Norton Owners Club for many years, and for Bob to catch up with an old biker friend Joe in Lansing.
There was a big deceased estate motorcycle parts and books auction there last week, so Bob got to have a private viewing of the lots one day while I helped out Suzi at the local market. That sounds like a fair division of opportunity doesn’t it? Still haven’t heard what Bob bought at the auction after giving Joe his top prices!