Aaron’s visit…as told by Aaron

So, the Nick Tahoe’s experience didn’t quite live up to our high hopes.  I think the recipe changes after midnight and it can only be noticed in a completely sober state (an extra scoop of grease to keep the volume up and the cost down)!  It didn’t matter.  This was my first night home on a week long stretch with my brothers.  The company couldn’t have been any better!

While all three of us brothers moved away to attend Universities up and down the East Coast, I am the only one that hasn’t found a way back home.  This has been difficult for me over the past 9 months.  I have been fortunate to be able to meet Bret on the road several times and also to make it home when adventures were more local, but I would rather spend every minute there.

This trip was planned at the very last minute as Bret and I talked back and forth about where and when to meet.  Would I fly to the West and meet for a Yellowstone adventure?  Well, after trying to make a grand adventure work out, we decided that a little lower key and closer to home sounded pretty good!  I was flying in and out of Rochester and we would travel in the Northeast.

After slowly waking up, still tasting the Garbage Plate, we got packed up and hit the road.  As Bret wasn’t feeling very well, we made a couple attempts to get going, but eventually started making good time heading east.  The first day, we made it to Old Forge, NY in the Adirondack Mountains.  We decided to spend the night in the Volvo in a campground.  It didn’t take long to figure out that the Volvo is great for two, but maybe not for three to sleep!  It got really warm, so we had to open the windows and sunroof.  Then the combat trained mosquitoes launched an all out assault.  We ended up throwing blankets over the windows to keep the bugs out and get a little air flow.  More effective on the bug screening than the air flow!

After a few hours of broken sleep, we were on the road again heading toward Vermont.  Soon after driving out of Old Forge, we noticed a sign on the side of a barn advertising Sea-Plane Rides.  How could we not turn around and inquire?  We decided to go up for a 15 minute ride and then decide whether we would extend to 30 minutes.

What an amazing feeling taking off from a calm mountain lake with beautiful early summer views all around us!  Then the turbulence started.  I can handle the bumps on big commercial jets, but the rising pockets of warm air were throwing us back and forth in this small Cesna fitted with pontoons.  It didn’t take long for Bret and I to look at each other and decide that 15 minutes would be more than enough!  Even while clinging to the seats with white knuckles, what an amazing experience!

After landing safely back on the water, we were back on the road.  We continued northeast where we were going to catch the ferry across Lake Champlain into Burlington, Vermont.  This ended up being a bigger challenge than we had expected.  The first two ferry docks were under water due to recent heavy rains.  Fortunately, the last and most northerly was open and running.  We made it safely into Burlington where we decided that a Marriott would probably help us get a better night of sleep!  Before calling it a night, how could we come through the home of Ben & Jerry’s and not grab a pint or two?

     On the third day, our destination was Mount Washington in New Hampshire.  After crossing out of Vermont into New Hampshire, it was time to find some lunch.  At this point most of our driving was in public State Park lands, so restaurants had been hard to come by.  Then, in a small distance between parks, we passed through the small town of Conway.  We noticed a Boar’s Head sign in front of a small café so we decided to stop.

Once we entered the front door, we saw that there were several people standing in an attached dining room.  When we inquired about what was going on, the woman behind the counter informed us that Newt Gingrich was giving a campaign speech.  While none of us are Gingrich supporters, we couldn’t resist the chance to see him so close and personal.  After several pictures, an autograph and a hand shake, I might just have to vote for him!  Okay, that might be pushing it, but still an amazing coincidence that we happened to stop at such a random spot and have this experience.

By early afternoon we were at the base of Mount Washington, the highest point in the Northeastern United States.  Mount Washington is most renowned for two things; being the earliest and most noteworthy drivable mountain peak and having the highest recorded wind speeds on the surface of the earth.  As we pulled through the entrance gate, the attendant informed us that visibility was poor, but we didn’t come all this way to not make it to the top!

At about mile 1, we pulled around a curve in the road to find a black bear in the road.  It quickly entered into the edge of the woods as we approached.  We were excited to get a good photo, so Bret was going to jump out of the car and chase the bear to get closer.  Being the protective type, Shannon replied “No Bret, Aaron will do it!”  Thanks Shannon!  Now I know where we stand!

After a hairy ride up the mountain with narrow cliff-hanging roads, switch backs and steep inclines, we made it to the top.  Sure enough, you couldn’t see more than about 8 feet in front of you.  It was chilly, very windy and extremely foggy!  After a quick walk around, we headed back down about a hundred feet to get below the thick clouds.  We stayed there a while and enjoyed the amazing view!

The following morning, we were on the road and making great time on the highways heading back to Bret and Shannon’s house.  During the drive, we started making plans with Mom, Dad and Ryan to have a family adventure in the Rochester area the following day.

In the morning, we all met in the bay area where we took a shuttle ride to a kayak launch.  We each jumped in a kayak and paddled down the river for a few hours.  It was a great experience on a mild early summer afternoon.  What a great way to spend my last day in Rochester with the family!

More on the kayaking adventure in our next blog…


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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23 Responses to Aaron’s visit…as told by Aaron

  1. Scott says:

    So glad to see the adventures continue!!! Still checking in every day, and glad to hear from someone. Hope you are all finding comfort in each other, and continuing to hold your family in my prayers. Godspeed.

  2. nanci bogan says:

    So glad to hear that you are once again “riding in a good direction”. Thinking of you guys always and keeping you in my prayers!! Thank you so much for the update, I have been worried!! with much love!!

  3. Christine & George says:

    Thanks, Aaron. It’s so good to see Bret and Shannon smiling and riding in a good direction. We are glad that you all had such a wonderful time together. We think of all of you often. We’re always sending love and good vibes.

  4. Peggy says:

    thanks for the post, love all the great pictures and hearing fun stories…
    y’all are always
    in our hearts and prayers!

  5. Judy Lynd says:

    .Great to know you are out about and enjoying the beautiful Northeast..keep riding. Judy
    PS: Fun to see Shannon at the farm market.

  6. Michelle Lindsey Piedmonte says:

    How very fun!! I would be willing to place bets on that seaplane and seaplane driver being the very same one we took up in the early fall. My son nearly lost his breakfast, but kept it together, for the sake of keeping his bacon. Can’t wait to hear about the kayak adventure…..

  7. Sherry (CCS friend) says:

    So nice to see your post and to hear everyone is enjoying time together. All of you are such great writers. Still thinking of all of you and keeping you in my prayers. 🙂

  8. Cousin Nancy says:

    Thanks for the update and the photos. I am glad you got to spend some time together and enjoy the great weather.

  9. joe kohler says:

    Many Thanks Aaron for sharing this upbeat experience and Please tell Bret and Your Family that the World of Bret continues to Grow each and every day with Prayers and Good Thoughts for Him and Your Family…

    As mentioned to Betsy IF you want to bring Bret down to Bristol Harbour Village for luncheon at our lodge Please contact me @ 585-905-0462 as MY VIP Guest(s).

    joe kohler

  10. Rob Goodmam says:

    Wow Aaron….what a great visit you had! It makes my day, as I know so many others as well, when I open the blog and see a new entry! I am so glad that you are getting the opportunity to spend some real quality time with the family. These memories will last a lifetime. It is awesome to see Bret out and smiling….I know your visits must mean so much to him.


  11. Such fun adventures! However I am not sure I know how you all could resist to only one pint of Ben and Jerry’s when you were in ice cream land and that freezer was Stocked full!!! I would have eatn myself into oblivion!

  12. Timpla says:

    Sounds like quite a trip. So fun!

    All our love
    Porter and Timpla

    • Marianne Borrelli says:

      So glad to see a post today! You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Aaron you always let the good times roll!! Your adventure looked like so much fun. I’ll have to talk Fred into taking me to the Ben and Jerry Farm !!! Chunky Monkey is my fav!

      I see the garage plate just doesn’t feel the same does it?!!!! It looks like you all survived it! I miss country sweet chicken wings. I have to stop and get the sauce every time I’m home!
      So glad to hear from the Hoefen gang again. Maybe Aaron finally brought summer up north! Love to you all.

  13. Ray Ferran says:

    Glad to see the Starship Enterprise (aka:the Volvo) has been launched again. Looked like a blast, all except for the small plane. I”ve flown in them over the local hills…no fun. I’ll stick to wide-bodied planes.

  14. Terry says:

    just stopping by to say hi and thinking of you and your family. hope you are feeling ok. Sure miss hearing from you.

  15. coleen Swan says:

    Your family is the perfect example of a HUG…..like one collective heartbeat with arms wrapped around each other with comfort, love and joy all at the same time…We think of you all with smiles and with hope… Mike and Coleen

  16. mary ann says:

    Thinking of you daily. Hope you’re enjoying the great weather.

  17. Dawn says:

    Good Morning Bret and Shan- When you speak with yiour cousin Jeff ask him about his old shirt and his new shirt. He has a “Cow Bell” story for you.

  18. Valeree Bahai says:

    We have never met, but my husband Ramin Bahai works with you at Ginna. He told me about your story and I have to say that you are truly an inspiration. My children and I pray for you daily and think of you often. If you are ever in the Farmington area we would love to have you and your wife over for dinner.
    God Bless!!
    Valeree Bahai

  19. Yvonne M Sellers says:

    We have enjoyed reading about your continuing adventures.. We were in Pultneyville.. Thereabouts for a Birthday Celebration dinner for my Husband.. The Big 50! And when I realized what town we were in, I just wanted to drive around, hoping I could find your house & stop in to say hi! But, I did not even try, not wanting to be the stalker type (lol).
    I continue to hold your entire Family in my prayers, and I look forward to posts.. By everyone in the Family!
    Stay safe, well, and cool.

  20. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Just sitting here thinking about you guys. We were staying with friends in Sodus a few weeks back . Drove through Pultneyville and waved. Didn’t have your adress but you’ve been on our minds a lot. Sending you much love and continued prayers.

    Auntie Cuz

  21. Nanette P. Hance says:

    Thanks for taking all of us on yet another adventure! While this one may have been closer to home, it sounds exciting and so memorable!

  22. Cazare Mamaia Sat

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is excellent, as well as the

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