As soon as Thanksgiving was over, we blasted out of Massachusetts and headed due south. And by “blasted” I mean, drove about 50 mph down I-95 in incredibly terrible weather for hours on end….

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And yes, we will actually drive through conditions this bad just to get the hell out of Jersey.

Winding Up Our Time In Massachusetts

While Massachusetts was a pretty nice place to be during the fall, as soon as daylight savings time ended, it became a pretty difficult slog.  By the time we left, it was getting dark at 4:30 p.m., all the leaves had fallen from the trees, and we were having to use propane to keep warm at night (meaning: it was really cold). RV insulation can best be described as “crap,” the single pane windows we have are pretty worthless, and because the underside of the RV is exposed, the floors get very cold very quickly.  Most RVs are simply not meant for cold weather and we never planned to be living in one up north during the late fall.  It was time to go.

Our final days in Massachusetts were still busy.  Our friends Danielle and Art, who I’ve known since approximately the beginning of time, were in town for Thanksgiving.  To celebrate Danielle’s unmentionable birthday, we accompanied them to Boston for a brewery tour.  We had heard from multiple people that the original Sam Adams Brewery was a fun place to visit, so when Dannie suggested checking it out, we were immediately on-board,

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I remember when Sam Adams first started advertising in the 1980’s. They were one of the first popular “craft brewers” who produced beer that actually tasted like….well, beer. At the time, there were only about 500 brewers in the U.S. Now, thanks to them and companies like them, there are more than 3,000 breweries nationwide. And we get to travel around the country trying all kinds of varieties and flavors. So thanks, Sam Adams!

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The view from the tasting room onto the main factory floor.

The original facility, located in Jamaica Plain, is tiny, all things considered. It’s primarily used for R&D and small batch production, while the majority of Sam Adams beer we see in stores comes from much larger facilities outside Massachusetts. The tour educates visitors about the process of making beer, shows off the facility, and concludes with a pretty lengthy tasting of several beers. It was well done and absolutely worthwhile.

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We then went out with a private tour company and hit several smaller breweries in and around town. Of particular note: Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Mass, which is right outside Boston. If you’re in Boston, go.  The beers were uniformly great and it was a busy and lively spot, even on a Monday night.

Thanksgiving Successes and Fails

Thanksgiving was spent with my brother and sister in law.  As you may have gathered, Kevin is a pretty good cook… and he LOVES BBQ. So when my brother got a new smoker, Kevin helped him set it up and taught the young Padawan the ways of the BBQ.

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Who’s got BBQ skills? These guys!!!

For Thanksgiving, he figured he would demonstrate how to make a bacon bomb… “What the hell is a bacon bomb??” you ask?

That would be where you wrap onions, green peppers, and shredded cheese in sausage, roll it up, wrap the whole thing in a basket-weave of bacon, coat it with BBQ sauce, and smoke it.

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A proper bacon bomb….

It’s basically a combination of everything that’s good and right in the world, all together in one place, cooked in the best possible way.

Well. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway….

But sometimes, as we’ve learned here at Chapter 3, things don’t go exactly as planned. And when things go wrong for us, they tend to go wrong in EPIC fashion….

In other words, sometimes your bacon-y, sausage-y cheese -y temple of perfection, turns into a towering inferno of despair…. your hopes and dreams of a smoke infused, bacon wrapped, ode to carnivorous gluttony reduced to nothing more than smoking embers of disappointment, black crusted and acidic…like the feeling in your heart when you realize all that effort was for naught.

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NOT what its supposed to look like….

Yes, when crisping the bacon bomb on a regular grill, it can actually catch fire…..and it did….

While, unfortunately, I failed to capture an image of the flaming bacon fireball, I did capture this image of Kevin as he realized what had happened:

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From the heights of bacon joy to the depths of bacon despair…..

Ahhhh well. I’m pretty sure Julia Child accidentally lit some of her creations on fire too. She just edited that stuff out of her TV show. Weak, Julia. Really weak….

Anyway, the turkey came out great and that’s what really matters.

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Mmmmm Turkey…..

So, in spite of the Great Bacon Tragedy of 2016, we’re still putting Thanksgiving in the “success” column!

Barney’s Trip to the Beauty Salon

On Sunday, we joined the masses on the highways and finally headed south. While there are many places we can take Barney to get Tiffin warranty work done, one of the most highly regarded is Connecticut Motor Cars in Plainville, CT.

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Since we had a number of issues that needed to be addressed, we decided to stop on our way south. They had hookups in their lot, so we could stay overnight comfortably, and they got everything done within a day.  Also, they take customer service very seriously.  Before interacting with any humans at this facility, Cody, the Director of Customer Relations, will happily greet you and do his best to assist.

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“I am here to help. Who needs help? Do you need help? I can probably help. I like to help. Who needs help???”

He’ll then listen carefully as you describe your problems and offer you reassurance that he’ll get to the bottom of the problem:

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“You say that light just keeps coming on, hm? Well yes, that does sound like a pretty serious issue. I’ll get my guys on it right away!”

Finally, he’ll give you the opportunity to de-stress by giving him attention….

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“Who’s a good boy?? Cody’s a good boy!!!!”

Anyway, if you’re a Tiffin owner and you can make your way toward the northeast, this is the place to get work done.

Destination: Virginia

The drive south was lousy – a rainy, gray, foggy, mess. But before we knew it, we were back in our old stomping grounds of Northern Virginia. As it happens, the park we’re staying at has a winter lights festival that we get to drive through every night. We took the opportunity to go practice some of our (currently non-existent) night photography skills, until the rain chased us off.

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Our visit has been quick and packed with errands that we needed to take care of before heading out on the road again. We plan to be back in the area again in May for a longer visit and hope to catch up with more people then.

Next up, we’re heading south to Charleston and Savannah before making our way to St. Augustine. Getting to Florida by Christmas has been our main goal ever since I got hurt. So getting there on time will be a huge win for us.  Plus, at last check, St. Augustine was sporting temperatures in the low 70’s. Which will not suck.

Dixie is ready to hit the road and so are we!

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“You ready?  I’m ready.  Let’s go.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. I feel ya on the bacon cooking debacle! I am queen of burning things, breaking things and such in the kitchen. My latest? I broke a crock pot. Put the ceramic insert directly from the fridge onto a hot glass stovetop to re-heat. Because I am lazy and didn’t want to put some into a pot to re-heat. Oops! Try it again, it looked really good in the before photo!! : )

    • HAHAHAHAHA! There’s nothing better than kitchen disasters. Especially those that are self imposed. If you haven’t already, check out the various “nailed it” memes where people tried to recreate recipes they found on Pinterest and failed miserably. Whatever disasters you have created, I promise, they are nothing compared to those photos. 🙂

  2. You sound more upset about the bacon bomb than leaving MA! 🙁 you must admit, you miss Bellingham! It WAS better than Plainville or NJ. I’m surprised Cody didn’t give you PTSD! Miss you guys!!!

    • I can neither confirm nor deny the allegations re the bacon bomb…. but I will agree, Bellingham was better than Jersey. 🙂 We miss you too!

  3. The padawan will one day become a Jedi smoking master. ???? You both are missed by the Indian and Thai restaurant, local breweries and taverns, and Walmart has not sold any goats milk recently. We miss you as well. Enjoy your trip south.

    • You learned valuable lessons, no doubt. Most importantly: “don’t light your food on fire.” 🙂 We look forward to visiting in a couple months and being treated to a full BBQ feast!

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