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Monday Sept 8, The journey begins............
.A Carriage rally in Essex Junction Vt. About 2 and half hour ride straight up rte 89. Trouble begins right away ....... The cats begin their
go and hide mode, one in the bedroom and the other we believed to be in parts unknown in the rubbish closet which has many openings where we can't see and can't get at. After hunting around for about an hour and given up on our travel plans for the day, the cats decided to make an appearance. Back to all systems go,the cats are pack away safe and sound and we are ready to hook up.
Hooking up, turn the wheel this way, turn the other way,go slow,straight back okay your off by a foot, try again, and again, about an hour later and some screaming, yelling, and head shaking in disbelieve, we managed to hook up, what a relieve! Okay it's about 2 'o'clock, and we wanted to leave bout 3 hours sooner but we did it our selves. The cats are yelling, our stomaches are empty, but we did it ! Leaving which has been our home for 3 months, leaving friends and Amy and Doug very tough,but we shall return, sometime next summer, by that time I should be very experienced driving and backing up, and with a lot of good pictures and stories to show and tell.
The ride was very uneventful, straight on rte 89 and arrival time was bout 4;30, camping people are very helpful and the host help me back into a spot(I have no problem asking for help)
We settled in, Jacks down,hitch off the truck is off the hitch. Time for rear stabilizers, whoops, not level, stabilizers skipping gear, oh well thats the best we can do, lousy equipment. Slides out, cats in, water hooked up, we got power. Made it!! time for a beer or two. After getting stuff to where they should be, we went for a walk and meet up with a couple we knew and had a drink with them and then supper and bed.
Tuesday, Sept 9,
Some shopping today, Christmas tree store, Ocean Job Lot, out to eat at the Ponderosa. The rally had some things going on, supper of salad, lasagna and prizes. We won a sewer hose.....yippee, won't fit unless we have an adapter,which so far is hard to get. Today or yesterday we also learned that the rear stabilizers are not use to level the camper. Now guess who has been trying to level his camper with the rear stabilizers, and guess who thought they were broken when they wouldn't level the camper, and it sounded like the gears were slipping.......duh.
Wednesday-Saturday Sept 13.
We over slept, for the coffee and donuts at the rally,oh well. getting up early isn't part of our routine any more, why should it be? I used to get up at 5 in the morning for work, don't know how I did it for so many years. After breakfast we took a stroll to the rally buildings to see what is going on. bought an adapter that goes from 30 amps to 15 in case we ever plug into a house . Our camper needs 50 amps to run everything, 30 amps runs one ac and a few other things before it blows. That we know because thats been tested a few times. We have some time, so we go explore and find a cheese and wine store .A nice store, $50 dollars later, with plenty of cheese and some wine we return back to the rally. A giant hot dog for lunch, so big it fills a hamburger bun... yummy.
Bad news maybe a very bad news.
I was outside our rig,Diane was inside doing something. This fellow, another Carriage owner, came over and we started talking bout trucks and stuff. Dale was his name,Dale wants to buy a bigger truck, go from a 250 to 350 dually and our truck has less than 9000 miles on it. So I tell him I really like it so far, runs good, except for the braking system. When we stop a message comes on saying the trailer has been disconnected, kinda scary when that happens, especially being new at this thing. We ask members on the Yahoo board, common problem , probably a loose connection somewhere, Ford dealership, says bring it down we will keep it for a full day,check it out, but we probably won't find anything. They have no way to simulate a load on the breaking system. Does the message come on when we are not towing/. DUH very stupid question coming from the Ford tech... It can't come on because it isn't connected. One trick is to use electric grease,
tighten the connections and that may work. The message did came on a lot in the beginning, and once we tried the tricks it only came on once going to Vermont. Maybe, just maybe problem solved, or close to it
We bought a new Ford because of the towing capacity, and Ford is the one with braking system factory built in. We had disc brakes put on the camper, better stopping power, about 3500 dollars worth, Mor-ride hitch with brakes one of the best. So we should be good.
Okay, getting back to Dale. Dale says he heard that our braking system may not be compatible with more-ride and the disc brakes we have. Hope, Please make him wrong, just what we needs where do we double check? A mechanic who seems to knows a lot about Carriage products, arrives and we ask him....... NOT Compatible, wouldn't go down to many hills he says.......OH OH, what do we do now? how much is this gonna cost? Diane is ready to cross over to the Panic Mode We supposedly have the best there is in brakes, More-ride hitch - Ford tow command. NoT Compatible. The mechanic says he may be able to get the part and install it right here What a guy Yippee. Problem solve.
OH OH something going astray, the mechanic comes along Clay, (Clay and his wife run a camping store, selling campers and repairs) with the part, tries to fix it, now he needs a wiring diagram because of the change in the 08 Fords wiring Things are going down hill. Diane calls the town of Henniker Nh and wants to renew the registration, get that settle. The lady at the other end calls back a little while later and says she made a mistake and the camper will not be registered after the end of Sept.
Panic Mode starting to settle in, big time. No way do we want to go back to Mass and pay the sales tax plus excise tax and what ever tax, but ...... we don't want to drive a $100,000 camper unregistered, plus no brakes . Okay , what to do? What to do? First we made an appointment to get the brakes put on, on Monday.
The rally ends Saturday. Stay an extra day here anyway and see if can stay longer ,till Tuesday, or go to another campground a little ways away with full hookups so we can wash our clothes and dump our water. (forgot to mention we had our tanks empty on Friday and, as of now, no dump stations here at the Fairgrounds) We also heard we can register our camper in Vt. should be easy. (Nothing is easy anymore.) Okay when do we do that? The adventure continues. It's early Saturday morning, campers are pulling out, there were over a hundred campers here, and little by little they are leaving, but not the Kessinger's.
The rally has ended and I must say it was very informative, very nice people and very well organized. We will go to another one if we get a chance.
Saturday noon time, most Carriage people have left and only a few remain. Diane is getting papers for registration the camper in Vt. I have checked around and no can put those brakes on till Monday anyways, so we will be here, or at another camp ground for a few days. I guess it will be a day of relaxation (maybe).
One day, all these crisis will be over and we will get to really enjoy the journey, but right now it feels like one major obstacle after another, one crisis after another and it gets nerve wracking.(drive myself to drink...literally).
Saturday afternoon we were heading out for a ride and Keith, my nephew called, (he is attending college nearby, so we picked him up and went for pizza in downtown Burlington (a nice area to walk around and good places to eat.
The few 5th wheelers that are left from the rally are beginning to leave. We start thinking if everyone leaves before us, and something goes wrong we are stuck. We mange to hook up,everything goes according to plan and travel about 12 miles south to Shelbourne camp ground and we back into a site (it took awhile and old lady who had her truck parked near our site moves it twice just in case. but we did it! Tomorrow the brakes , and then hopefully we can get the registration fixed up here in Vt. We are staying here until Wednesday.
Monday morning Sept 15......
We got up early and said our good byes to friends we meet at the show, both of us are first timers going to these rallies and they are really nice couple who have some traveling experience and have been at places we want to go. (Gettysburg for one)Both have a nice sense of humor which is critical when things go wrong.
Then off, to the truck dealership, 9 o'clock appointment, we tell the service manager what we want ... huh, not compatible.... never heard that one before. Okay he tells the tech and he comes over and says now what do you want me to do? We tell him ...huh, have to call Clay to inform them that some of the trucks they sell aren't compatible oohhh! Clay is the guy we meet at the rally who said the brakes weren't, he knew he had to get a wiring diagram from Ford, also knew about reseting the computer in the truck.. So 6 hours later the truck is ready. Hopefully problem solved
Next we went to Magic Hat for tour of the place and some free samples, no tours but we did have free samples yummy. Then off to the Christmas Loft and some pictures with a new setting on the camera that I just found out about.!
Back to the camp ground and time for a beer and some relaxation till tomorrow when we try to register the camper in Vt.I hope some pictures come out and will try to attach them to this page.
Tuesday Sept 16,
It's off to the registry, I hate going to these places,wait in line, wrong line, don't have the proper papers .but this one was pleasant, they will register the trailer but they need verification of the vin number, that calls for a Shelbourne police officer to come down and check our trailer or we could bring it to the registry. A36 ft trailer and rookie (me) driving into down town doesn't sound to appealing ,so we drive back to the camp ground call the police and ask if they would kindly come down. Sure they say, be right down and within 15 minutes they were there. The cop did his paper work and then came in and told him we were heading for Cooperstown,. The cop was a Red Sox fan and has been to Cooperstown and said it was great place. Lunch and back down to the registry, 1700 dollars later and the trailer is now registered in Vt. plates and everything! Everything we needed to do has be accomplished. Now its off to Church street (downtown
Burlington, with good restaurants and a great place to people watch, a burger and beer and then back to the camp ground.
We decided to stay one more day in Vt. no hurry, do a few odds and ends, that's the beauty of this life style, go where you want and stay as long as you want (like everything else and has its up side and down side)
After Cooperstown we are heading for Penn, Coudersrport and visit for a few days with friends, before going to Gettyburgs (maybe go to Lancaster first) our plans are to meet someone in Gettysburg about the 1st of Oct.
Thursday Sept 18
Time to get ready, get all the stuff packed away, study the maps once more,decide what route we want to go. The GPS tells us one way, map quest has us turning a lot, at different places, go one tenth of a mile take left, go two tenths take right,...... don't like that rte After careful investigation we decide on our way.
One of the first things we do when we prepare to get ready, is to close the bedroom door, thats so the cats can't crawl under the bed and we are narrowing the space they can hide. Okay, the bedroom door is closed and the cats know something is up, they start shrinking (like we can't see them) and try to find a place to hide. Daisy is the tough one, of the two. Diane gets the cat holder and places it on the table, Daisy walks over and gets in. Unbelievable! What is she thinking, did she decide there was no place to hide, did she just give up, again unbelievable.?
On the rode again
Down rte 7 onto 22a, down 22 into New york. The scenery was great, rolling hills, open fields, with mountains in the back ground, the leaves are more colorful as we head south west into New York. I must say everyone we meet in Vermont was very nice (even the people in the registry were nice)
Okay we are in New York and think its time to program the GPS system, thinking it will take us on the right road. Right thru the city of Saratoga, straight thru the center towing 17000 pounds, a few lefts ,a right, ....made it! I am doing great! I now have about 19 hours experience towing this monster.
We are now in Amish country also, and get to see a horse and buggy on the main road, Pretty cool! I got this big truck and 36 ft of trailer and we are sharing a little road.
OOOOPS ..... missed a turn the GPS system needs to reprogram, then it tells me to take a left. Diane starts yelling, you hit a stop sign and its stuck in a slide out, Yep she's right, half the trailer is in the road I was turning, and the other half is blocking traffic. The road the GPS told me to take was not built for towing big stuff. Some one stopped, examined the problem and said we need to take down the stop sign, he asked for a few tools and proceeded to unloosen bolts holding the stop sign, more people joined in, a volunteer firemen called the cops. Good news the stop sign is loose and disconnected from the trailer,... back her up says one guy... Oh great.... backing up, me ! I did it like a pro (didn't hit anything else) straighten her out and then parked on the other side and had to wait for my tools ( they had to put the stop sign back up of course) then up a little further and the cops wanted to check out everything, no police report
just a little scrape to the trailer and the stop sign has some bruises. The cops were more interested in the rig we own than anything else
Made it to the camp ground, nervously laughing about our experience with the stop sign,Whew..... it was a pull thru site, and set up was easy and we are eating supper in about an hour.
Friday morning .... the temp is about 34 degrees.... Its cold, time too turn on the fire place to get the chill out, and the first cup of coffee should do nicely...mmmmmm
Cooperstown ........Baseball Hall of Fame.
I was telling Diane the story of when I was young...... I had some friends who lived about 3 blocks away and we would study the Baseball encyclopedia, the most hits, most runs, doubles in a season (Dave Sisler ) etc, read everything we could, even stats back to about the year 1894, collected baseball cards, traded a little mostly knew a lot of the stats of ball players. I followed baseball most of my live, (forgot more than half the baseball stats that I knew, never really needed them or never used them I guess but some are still stuck in my brain) but always wanted to go to the Hall of Fame.
Cooperstown is about 20 minutes away from the camp (past another Amish in a carriage) They have it set up nicely and was really enjoyable (Diane enjoyed it to, even though not much of a baseball fan)
Lunch of burgers and fries and a beer in Cooperstown and home we headed, back to the kitties and time to write of the travels.
So far, have gone to New Hampshire have seen a little part of Maine, back to Henniker , up to Essex Junctions VT. down to Shelbourne VT., heading south we went down 7, to 22a, right near the border of New York onto rte 22 headed a little west till 29 into New York down to 80 then 20(I think thats how we went, I will double check the map sometime and here we are in Cooperstown
Saturday A day to explore.
Rolling hills filled with corn, a lot of cows, small towns, with run down houses, little shops nothing worth stopping for, we had to go about 20 miles to a super market more than that to get diesel fuel. Not much exploring...., the day is just about shot.
Diane cooked a nice chicken diner, and now its time to read the maps and decide how we want to go. Do we want to go thru Cooperstown, a small town, filled with people, and a lot of traffic, or go around. We decide to go around, a few miles extra (fewer stop signs).
We also rearrange some of our stuff, our lounge chairs, which we put inside once the slides are in,got stuck in a slide. Time to find a new place for them, we moved things around and the chairs are packed away. Also a hinge holding a door broke, I replaced the other one,and we had an extra hinge a while back, but that was a while back and awhile back means who knows where it is,no sign of the hinge, and will have to buy another one once we get settle in Pa.
The cats are doing good, Daisy(my girl) is becoming very affectionate, very spoiled, needs my lap every time I sit down. Zena is Ma's girl
except when Ma is on the computer or doing sometime, then maybe dads lap will do.
Something very strange about the cats occurred about ago . The cats loved a certain treat, and every night about a certain time they would tell me it was treat time and they would both go over to their bowl and wait for me. Sometimes I would just say its treat time and their ears would perk up, and even in the town house house if Daisy was upstairs and she heard the word treats she would come a running. This has been an on going thing and we may sure we had extra treats for journey. One day,lately, both of them decided they don't want treats any more . When we mention treats now, no ears are perked, no getting up, no desire for treats. Who knows what happen.
Sunday morning........Sept, 21
Time to pack up and head on out, we reread the maps, for about the fourth time, ask directions from fellow campers, the truck says we can go 310 miles before empty, and we need to go 228 miles, so okay there. We have to go thru Cooperstown, pick up route 28 and and it should be easy going after that. We really didn't want to go through Cooperstown but that saves us some mileage and time. According to map quest it should take us 4 hours and 28 minutes,
Okay maps are in the car, three maps,lunch is packed, cats are in the truck.
Time to hook up, back up, go forward just off buy about a foot, try again, now 6 inches,go forward, back up........got it. We are ready to go, it is now close to 12 , any chance of getting there early is shot, no football games for me to watch.
Twenty minutes later we are lost !I am driving thru the town of Cooperstown looking for the highway, after a few turns this way and that, missing a few curbs by a few inches, we made it thru the town and heading out, onto route 88. Things are looking good.
About 1:30 we decided to take a break, have a little lunch, so far so good. The truck nows says we have enough diesel for about 220 mile, okay, things are still going good.
Suddenly we have taken the wrong road again, we can go straight on this road and catch the highway about 20 miles down the road, no problem. 160 miles till empty.
Maybe there will be a big gas station on the highway,that sells diesel and its a pull thru.
Onward we go! Down to 80 miles till empty Running out of fuel doesn't seem like a good idea, especially pulling a 36 foot rig! We made it to route 6 in Pa, 40 miles to Courdersport, Pa. the truck is now saying 38 miles to empty, and its going down fast.. It starts to rain
Black clouds are starting to loom over the Kessinger's in more ways than one. Wait.... I see a gas station. I pull in a little ways, no diesel, and the overhead is 13 feet. Diane says to me I told you to measure this f.......ing thing..! 13 feet, now let me think ,mmm. what was the measurement of this trailer 12 feet something, maybe I can pull around the overhead. Okay did it! I past everything and on the road, out of harms way . The truck is now saying 20 miles to go before empty. Diane is doing good, not saying much, just watching the mileage go down quickly. No phone service. We stop at a restaurant and ask about diesel. The woman says straight up the road about 10 miles. Truck says 15 miles before empty Hope we can make! heading out 14, 13, 12 10, the mileage is going down quickly It starts raining again. Diane ask me if was time to panic yet. I say no, no yet! truck says 8, then quickly turns to 6, its going quickly,5, then 4 then 3, 2,1, 0
.miles till empty. No phone service, raining . Now would be right time to panic. I pull in to a big parking lot, next to a bar. We try checking to see if there is any reserve........., doesn't say
I have a list, with emergency telephone numbers AAA, Good Sam (that's a travel club like AAA)and another one, I walk into the bar, with the list. Everyone has a beer in their hand, People are shooting pool, no one looks at me, a lot of smokers. I try to squeeze into the bar to explain my predicament, bar is full. I finally made it to the bar. I have just run out of diesel fuel and I need to call triple A, can I use your phone? I am pulling a 36 ft trailer and I have ran out of fuel.
Some where I heard a voice say, ....good place to break down(meaning right at the bar. The bartender, a young lady,says there isn't any place that delivers,.... but its right down the street A guy says,do you have a gas can?No,I respond .I wish I had one now, I'm thinking) Okay he says, I have one at home .We will go and get it, and then to the gas station. I tell Diane I will right back, going to get some fuel. She locks all doors, and sits, it stops raining. This guy (never got his name) is a red sox fan, and pulls a trailer himself, just got back from Pittsburgh, pulling some kind of race cars or something he says. We go past a gas station into a small mobile park, he parks, goes to a large barn and comes out with a five gallon jerry can, goes into his house, probably telling his wife or girl friend what going on. Back to the gas station, yep, they have diesel!, he gives me the can, I fill it to the brim. I would never be able to get my rig
any where near these pumps, 5 gallons of diesel, back to the rig in no time! Pouring 5 gallons of fuel into the tank, wow... I now have 5 gallons! I give the guy 20 bucks for his kindness, and thank him again. While I was doing my thing,Diane was sitting in the truck, doors locked , thinking about, if something happen to me,and I didn't comeback, Here she is, parked, in a new Ford dually, a 100,000 dollar 5th wheel, no experience driving, no fuel, no phone, next to real seeded bar, blocking their driveway on rte 6 in Pa.
What else could go wrong?
5 gallons, how far will five gallons take us? The camp was a just a few more miles down the road. We pull in about 7. There is a note for late arrivals and has our name on it and our site. Site 11, its a back in. By 8, we are having supper and, Diane burst out laughing, I joined her, and we talk about our adventures of the day. Now, I am ready for bed and a new tomorrow.
Monday..... Sept 22
It's a beautiful day here in Coudersport., we need a sweatshirt or fall jacket, but the sun is warming the day nicely. I take a walk to the office, to tell them we arrived, and to get information about interesting things to do around here. Sign on the door, open at 10. It is only 9;30. Okay... as I was heading back to the trailer I was stopped by a gentleman and he ask if I would like some wood to burn, he was leaving and didn't want to take it. We both carried an armful of wood over to our camp site, doing it twice. gave me a nice little stack. He tells me, he is going south for the winter, and he tells me, the owner of this camp ground is very nice but has some unusual hours and who knows when she will show up. He was on camp site four, and was watching us back in last night. He said sometimes you can have too much help, but I think he probably laughing at us trying to back up. (thats what I would have done if I was him).
Coudersport Pa. why here? It is fisherman, hunters, ATV,snow mobile, paradise, We came to visit friends we meet through the hepatitis C group. We have meet Bob and Jenn a few times ,once in Colorado, once in upstate Pa, and even in Washington D.C., and Diane keeps in contact with them with e-mail. We have meet many people ,who come from this group and we want to stop on our way cross country to visit them. This group of people, all ages, all sizes, male, and female, have or had hepatitis C,or their spouse had. Some have been cure, some haven't. The treatment for hep C, can be so bad, I say its like cancer treatments and can have some awful effects on the body its trying to cure. Its success rate isn't that high, and some try 3 or 4 times or more with the treatment with no success. Diane was one of the lucky ones, 9 months on treatment and it worked. No sign of hep C after 6 years.
Bob and Jenn live about 8 miles from here and came over for lunch. We haven't seen them in about 6 years. It always good seeing old friends. Burgers and good conversation made up a good portion of the day. They had to leave about 3 and the rest of the day was relaxation and writing. Little or no phone service, the internet is very slow, so its a good time to chill out. Bob came back about 8 and we sat and talked for awhile, going to go to his house for supper on Tuesday. Bob is trying to think of things to show us.(I don't think there is much) but we will have fun anyways.
Tuesday....... Time to explore
We drive a few miles on route 6 and find Sheets, a big gas station, sells diesel fuel. I fill the truck up, 136 dollars worth. drive a little more through town, we see this building, it must be one Bob was telling us about, cost over 20 million to built. We are told, it is all cherry wood inside, two big columns in the front. Very impressive building, but out of place in down town Coudersport. It was office space for just a little while. It sold a few years back for 3 to 4 million, it is on the auction block again.
The leaves are starting to change color, more here than when we left Vermont. We thought we would see more color up north than in Pa, In a few weeks from now it should peak and this area will very picturesque.
We arrived at Bob and Jenn's house. They own 40 acres of land, very nice house, we tell them what we did and saw today. We ask about different things we have seen here in town and they tell us of the history of the area, of different places in town that are now closed but were very busy at some time. A place like J.C. Penny, located in the center of town. Their doors are all locked now, but people could buy just anything there or order it thru their catalogue. A good place to buy shoes and shirts, or order furniture, and have it delivered to the store. J.C. penny decided to close its doors. Too much trouble having a big truck go thru town,squeeze into a small alley and delivery big stuff.
Now its 50 miles to a Walmart.
We have a very nice supper,Bob then showed Diane and I their heating system. They heat their house with wood, but the furnace (if thats what you call it is ) is outside about 20 feet from the house. That heats water with the wood, that flows to the house at a certain temperature, and thats 3 feet underground spreads through out the rooms of the house through piping and returns and get reheated (I think that how works) Bob cuts his own wood and has about 2 years or 9 cords ready..
We did talk with the camp ground owner, very nice lady, who showed up about noon time, that Monday. We talked about staying a week, a little longer than expected, no problem, but, we have your site for someone else on Thursday, you can move over to site 4, those people are leaving today.(the guy with the wood)
Diane and I also talked about stopping about half way, Gettysburg is about 250 miles.
The trip down here was very long and tiring, plus we are planning to meet someone, if the timing is right, it is right near highway 80, about half way south to where we want to go, and on the way east to where she wants to go.
Today... Wednesday........We have to move our trailer, only about 4 sites over. Sounds like no big deal yeah right.....We have pack some of the stuff, get the cats in the carrier, hook up the truck, disconnect the water hose, and disconnect the power, We could almost carry some of the chairs, and the wood that I brought over here a few days earlier, taking it back . Hooking up ,I lost my patience..... there has to be an easier way,... a way that I can do it myself. A fellow next door came over and helped us hooked up. Then he was trying to help me get in the new site, and after a few tries with no success he ask if he could do it. Sure, let a stranger drive your brand new truck with everything you own in the trailer. He tried and tried (I think I could have done just as good as he did, maybe?) It was a back in site with obstacles on both sides, more help. This new guy knew what he was doing and gave good instructions and we made it in. Getting
out of here could be a little trouble with those obstacles.
The camper is level, the water and electric are hooked up, sewer hooked up, slides are out, we even have cable. The cats are out that lousy carrier. Things are looking good. Time for lunch.
It has warmed up nicely, not a cloud in the sky, time to sit out read , write and relax and watch the campers come in. This place is a ATV camp ground and its filling up. All types of campers are arriving, some really big and some small, but almost everyone here has a ATV..
Sept . 25 Today is my birthday, 61 years old today. I don't feel older?
It is another great day in Coudersport, cool in the morning and warming up nicely. We have a few errands to do during the day, and tonight we will go out for pizza with Bob and Jenn and their daughter. One store we went into, was the dollar store, I bought a toilet plunger. I am hoping that may help me back in, its flexible, its removable, maybe I can get it to help me see exactly where the hitch is, I have a toolbox right in the back and its blocking my view of where the hitch is Maybe the pole on the plunger will be tall enough for me to see it when I'm backing up.
We spent a little time over Bob and Jenn's house, before going for pizza, on every visit we learn more about, Coudersport, and the surrounding area. Pizza was in down town,Coudersport but there was plenty of parking places for the big truck, across the street was the district court, one block up was the jail house, Jenn, tells us, sometimes they walk the prisoners over to the court house, and back to the jail house. We had brownies and ice cream back at our place and Bob and Jenn joined us for the desert.
Sept 26...... Friday...........
The weather is changing.........It is cloudy, and raw outside and the wind is shaking some of the leaves from the trees. Good chance of rain for the next few days, and we are going to have company come down from New York, for the day, on Saturday.
Our plan is, if its seems like a nice day we will get together at our place, if it looks like rain we will go over to Bob and Jenn's house where there will be more room inside.
Friday we did a few errands and Diane started cooking for tomorrows gathering.
Saturday .......Sept 27
It raining , but suppose to stop later on during the day. Shelly and Jay arrive, they live about about an hour and half away.(some place near near Cuba, New York.)I haven't seen them in about 7 years in Cook Forest, PA.
Shelly had or has hepatitis c. She lives in a remote area, raises goat, has a few birds, a least one dog, cuts her own fire wood for heat,works as a teacher's aid , baby sits for disable people, makes a little over 9 dollars an hour, and loves her work. Shelly has done pretty good on her own,since her husband went to jail about 6 years ago. Jay is 28, I'm not sure of the right term to call Jay, but has a many disabilities, and needs a lot a attention, but he can tell you the words to a lot songs and sing them to you..(if you want)
They arrived at our place and we talked awhile before heading over to Bob's and Jenn's house.
We had a nice lunch of Sky line chilly from Cincinnati, in fond memory of Jamie (from Cincinnati) who past away about 3 weeks ago who was going to join us on our adventure cross country. Diner was great, salad, and chilly (this chilly you pour over spaghetti), and a cheese cake for desert.
Shelly and Jay stayed to about 5 (had to go home and feed the animals) we stayed a little later and talked some more, took a few pictures and decided it was time to leave and get ready for tomorrow's adventure.
Jamie......I could write a lot about Jamie, everyone who knew Jamie could write a book on Jamie. We meet Jamie through Hepatitis C network. Diane and Jamie became very good friends through e-mail, and I first meet him at Cook Forest Pa. that was my first hep feast.
I use to call these people that Diane's knew on line, imaginary people, because I never meet them, but I did know, she got a lot of good information and some of these people went or were going through the same thing Diane was going through when she was on interferon( a treatment for hepatitis). I meet Jamie a few more times and he even came to visit us for a week, in Westboro
Jamie loved his new computer and scanner, and would love to take roll after roll of pictures, have them developed and scan the pictures on his computer. We tried to talk him into buying a digital camera, but with no success till a few years later. Jamie would would go off by himself for weeks at a time and take picture of everything, he especially love. the Kansas, plains. Jamie's wife Paula, was an artist and had a show room in downtown Cincinnati, but didn't go to any hep feast or go with Jamie on his adventures. Diane and I would wonder what Paula thought of Jamie's hep c friends and Jamie's picture taking adventures. Jamie was hoping to recover enough from cancer surgery to travel with us. Traveling with Jamie would have meant many funny and interesting stories to tell. They found more cancer, and it took his life. Jamie's brother John was the inventor of the Dr. John tooth brush and made a fortune with Gillette.
Sunday Sept. 28...........Its raining, bummer! We have to hook up and drive a few hours in the rain, oh well. Things went fairly easy, hooking up only took a little time, and we were on the road by 11 thirty. We headed east on rte.6, past the bar I stopped in and ask for fuel, about 40 miles east , then south on highway 15 , Milton is just past, Williamsport Pa, just south of highway 80. I am glad to say things went very good, and had everything set up by 4. It was about 125 miles.
I forgot to say every day is a learning experience and what we learn from the past trip is that it is very wise to carry extra fuel in a container and leave with a full tank. Also, what may take the average driver a few hours, it will probably be slower for us, because of what we are towing.
Monday.. SEPT 29
We explored downtown Lewisburg Pa. a nice quaint town with old buildings ,Bucknell University is located here, the weather has been cool with some rain. We have decided that we will head for York Pa. instead of Gettysburg. The reason being, there is holiday (Columbus day) and the prices go up for long weekend, plus Gettysburg is filling up fast because of an apple festival in that area, that week. York is in between two places we want to go , Gettsburg and Lancaster Pa. Lancaster is Amish country plus a big railroad museum, and quilt museum for Diane.. Plus its right near a major highway, for easy traveling when we leave there. I am also trying to catch up on my history of the civil war, and should be able to find some good books in southern Pa.I almost bought one that had some major battles of the war and the maps that the generals were following at that time, and I was reading how poorly most maps were at the time and some major battles were lost
because of these maps.
Wednesday .... Oct 2
Thursday.... Oct 3rd........ Not much to write about the last few days,we did find some unusual stores, an antique store that went on and on, that was a woolen mill factory a long time ago, beer barns, which are drive through (you order what you want from your car, someone gets it for you and you pay him, all without getting out of you car). We heard of a blueberry festival where they have blueberry whoppie pies. Turkey stuffing is called fillin in these parts.
Tonight we having company, a woman from hep c net is driving from Chicago, and going to get here around 6 p.m.. Sue-real is her name and I have met her a few times. Sue is fun and energetic and staying with us a few days, so there should be some tales to tell.
This campground (Yogi Bear campground) we are staying at has a pool but its closed, has a fishing pond, (catch and release, no permit required)and has a bunch of cabins that you rent for days, or weeks at a time that are located right near the water. At this time of the season it is quiet around here but I am sure it fills up fast during the summer months. They even escort you to your site when you register to stay.
Sue arrived about 6:30,she had driven about 12 hours, 650 miles and looked like she had just driven a few miles down the road to get here. I haven't seen Sue in about 6 years and she looks the same as 6 years ago.
We had supper and stayed up and talked to about midnight.
We went exploring again, this time we headed out in a different direction, looking for the Amish in their buggy's and decided to go Penn's cave. To explore Penn's cave, you need to ride a small boat. The boat ride was fun, and I took a lot of pictures that came out real dark, someday I am going to learn how to take a good picture in dark caves.
Saturday we went looking for wood,for a real campfire tonight. The last few nights, Sue has been looking around other campsites and has seen campers wrapped up in blankets shivering around real camp fires, while we were in side our camper, cozy and warm with the fire place going and looking at those campers, and saying that's not fun camping. Found some wood at the local super market. Time for a real fire. Saturday night was trick or treat and there was a lot of kids dressed up in their costume, so we sat around a real fire and gave out candy. Trick or treat was over, it started to get cold, so the heck with real camping and back inside to the electric fireplace. We walked around downtown Milton the next day, just a few old buildings, that were closed, so we decided to go to the Slifer House Museum in down town Lewisburg. The house was built before the civil war,and was a farm with servants and over 400 acres at one time. Slifer helped supply the union army during the war, and became an officer from Lincoln. The house had some really cool stuff from that era, a doctors case, that had about 3 different saws for cutting of limbs, wall paper in the ceilings,some garments the women wore in time of morning,(black, for the first year after a death)
We left the museum at closing time and Sue lost her keys to the car. She looked everywhere. Sue thought she had ONSTAR and thought she could just call up and have them unlock the doors. Onstar expired, time to make a few phone calls, Its Sunday afternoon,how long would it take someone to get here? Okay, we have a locksmith on the way. The curator of the museum stayed with us during this time which was very nice of him.
Sue found the keys! They were in a pocket she never checked. Time to go home and have supper.
We decide to go to buffet for a big meal before we hit the road. Sue is going east, we are going south heading for York. We get back a little later than we wanted to, but it was fun time at the restaurant and our drive shouldn't take to long. We showed Sue how we pack up and how the slides come in, and how we hook up (which went pretty good also)Sue was great guest and we think she had a great time camping(if thats what you want to call it)
We arrived about 4, with no problems, (we must be getting better at this towing thing). It's a back in site, the owner is here to help us and we do it like a pro.. (almost) It is a mobile home park, being converted over to a camp ground.,(not much here) but its cheap with water, electric,sewage, and wi-fi,no cable, and no kids around and no Yogi bear with BOo BOO . York Pa is centrally located for our needs, so it should be good.
Gettysburg is about 24 miles away,The visitor center is the place to go, brand new building,... we drive, a little past Gettysburg into the next town, ask directions and the woman doesn't know where the new visitor center is, we head back, find the battle ground, and drive around, look at the monuments and take some pictures of the cannons and open field.
We find the center, it is very big, it has a museum, a cycle rana, (I spelled it wrong but it was cool) a few restaurants and a store in side.
They did it up very nice, and Diane and I enjoyed the museum.
We head out to Lancaster, which a about 24 miles going east, we want to see the quilt museum, maybe take a ride on a Amish carriage, and see what else is around.
Parking.....We drive around downtown Lancaster, looking for a parking place some where close to where we want to go. Public Garage, height 6 ft 6 inches (how big is our dually?)I pull in halfway, I get out of the truck, look at the distance between the truck and the roof of the garage and declare I can make it! Do not try to do this! Public garages are not made for 350 dually's. I think my truck height is about 6 ft 3 inches.I make it to the 4th floor, parking is tight for a regular car, parking is very tight for this truck. We find a good spot and it takes a little while to fit in. I hope the owner of the car next to me is not too big or he won't get into their car. Whew!
The quilt museum was a disappointment,although they had some really nice quilts, made by Amish people, The museum was small, and it didn't take long to go through it.
We had a sandwich and beer at a local pub and walked around for awhile. Not much there. Leaving the garage...again the garage is small and not made for a big truck with a 8 ft bed in back.I forgot too mention we were ducking our heads as we went up the 4 floors,waiting to hear a crash or the sound of our roof lights or roof hitting the ceiling. No weird sounds going up! Okay back to leaving the garage, the exit ramp is like a big circle, my steering wheel is turned about 3 quarters of the way, my front bumper is inches away from the front part of the exit ramp, my rear tires are very close to the walls of the garage,it was a very long way down and out. Next time you are in public garage, look around and see how many trucks are parked there. Not many I bet.
We drove past Lancaster Pa, into Bird in Hand, PA, right next to Intercourse,Pa..we saw Amish working their farm, riding their buggy's and almost causing an accident. Hopefully we will have another day around here and visit an Amish farm, before we have to leave Pa.
A tour of the Harley Davidson factory,(no free samples)took about an hour (very nice tour), then over to Hooters for some wings and a Philly cheese steak and a beer.No pictures were allowed in both places,... sorry!
We have been on the road for a month. At times it seems like a long time, but we have seen a lot of things we would never get to see, and to go places we would never think about going. The learning curve of towing a fifth wheel may at last be going our way. Every day is an adventure and a learning experience, with a lot more miles to go.
Today was a, do minor repairs day, fixed a window, replace a fire alarm, find the next camp ground,place a magnet on the washing machine so the cover will remain open.... huh? (to difficult to explain) do a little shopping and have steak on the grill. I forgot to mention it was kill some bugs day. Last night Diane woke me up about 2 in the morning, some bugs have manage to sneak in the camper and they were mostly in the bedroom. I got my secret weapon (central vacuum hose)there were a least 10 of those suckers in the bedroom and a few more in the kitchen.We retired once again, but the bugs returned in the morning, and the secret weapon did its job once again. The bugs, we think, are coming in either thru the door or the vents.
Monday ...... Oct13
We are leaving Ben Franklin camp ground this morning, the weather is great, going to be near 80 today. Ben Franklin camp ground was located about 500 feet off rte 616, which is right near rte 30 which connects to 83 south, thats the way want to go. We pack up,set the GPS system to where we want to go. Off we go, cats are screaming,the gps system is telling me to take lefts when I know I want to take rights,Diane is asking me what she did with the maps, can't find them, looking every where.I am trying to concentrate on my driving. Finally there is peace in the truck, maps are found, the cats settle down,and the gps system and I are both right road heading south,....yeah!
We are only going about 120 miles south, but we have to by-pass Baltimore, and Washington D.C. both busy high ways and there was a lot of traffic. Very intense driving.
We make in about 3 hrs, its a back in, and but its only about 12 feet wide,and it has a deck over looking a lake.It is the nicest looking camp ground we have seen so far. The scenery is fantastic. the bad news is, no sewer hook ups, plus very hard to get into. It was so hard getting into that spot, we blocked traffic and kinda force the next camper coming in to help direct me in. I had it in about half way but had real trouble trying to straighten it out, with some help we manage to get it in.Not much room on either side, because of a tree on one side and the deck on the other, , the slides come out without hitting anything, but the awning has to stay in, but that's okay. Time for a beer on the deck.
This is a big Marine base and we got lost trying to get out. We are now looking for a Campers world or Walmart, we want to buy a external holding tank, that way, we can empty the tanks without moving our camper, and, or, stay at and longer at places that don't have sewer hookups, (it is a cheaper rate without sewage in camp grounds).We have to travel to Manassas Virginia for the campers world or Walmart.
My last trip to Manassas was many years ago and I meet up by accident with my old roommate, we went to night club in a rent a truck,full of equipment, and when we came back to the hotel we try to drive under the drive through,we made it with little damage to the truck but the sign came down, hotel manager and security guard talked and threaten us with jail, but we escaped with no jail, no police, and the next day the sign was put back up.
We did manage to find both a Walmart, but they didn't carry that product, so across the street was what we thought a campers world. When we went there the store was closed and won't be open for three weeks. We were ready to leave when the sales guy ask what we wanted and said maybe they have some holding tanks in stock
They did, and now we have 30 gallon crap carrier......yippee. Can't wait to use it....
Other news, Betsy, our friend who lives in Northboro the next town over from Westboro Ma. still works for Natick Labs where Diane use to work, she just happens to be in town this week on business, working with the Marines. (we are staying at a Marine base).
We have planned to meet Betsy at a restaurant, named Tim's River shore. We set the GPS and off we go, we know we are not very far from the restaurant because the GPS tells us the expected time of arrival which is 15 minutes away. The GPS got lost, they change some of the names of the streets, and it had us going down dead ends. We had to ask directions and the guy knew exactly where it was, and we had to go over the railroad tracks, down a dirt road, it looked like there was nothing down there but there was the restaurant right on the water, (right next to the railroad track) only 2 ways in, one is by boat and the other the dirt road. We never thought Betsy or any one else would be able to find the place, but Betsy did and the crab cakes I ordered were the best I ever had. We did find out that GPS don't work for that place because of new roads and changing of street names.
Since we have been here, we here gun fire every morning, the FBI shooting range is close by, and every once in a while we here an explosion, some type of ordinance going off some where in the distance, we don't know if thats the marines or FBI, but its not too close and not too loud.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.......
Not much going on during the week, we did go the Potomac Mall, one day, went to the village on the base, on day, Shopping another day.....kinda boring huh?
Sunday Oct 19,
I spent most of the day trying to empty our gray and black tank. Both tanks hold a least 30 gallons (maybe up to 50 gallons. We bought an external 30 gallon waste tank, it has a handle in front and 2 wheels in back. The site we have is great except for sewage, we even saw 5 deer grazing on our site as we were having supper on Sunday.
Back to the tanks...The official dump station is about 2 miles down the gravel road. The site closest to us has sewage and is about 60 yards on a slight hill. The tank has a lock when traveling but no lock when filling it up, so that means it needs to be held down, there is no gauge so that also means that the only way to find out how much is in there is to look, even then the tank may look somewhat filled and only have a little bit in there, Pulling a full 30 gallon tank 60 yards on a slight grade is tough. I made that trip back at least 10 times, a few times it was completely filled, other times, who knows but it was a lot of work. I had to make so many trips is because we needed to do so wash and who knows how many gallons do a wash take? So that was my workout for Sunday. That day we decided that New Orleans was our destination for Christmas and New Years.We can't think of a better place to be, since we hope or better be in that area of the country.
Today we went to Fedricksburg. It was about 30 minutes away. We are also looking for a hardware store and some were to by booze.We found Federicksburg and walk around the center, a lot of old stores, most of them closed on Monday, we had lunch at a pub that was once used as a storage place for the civil war, then it became a hardware store and then a bar, I don't think it changes much in past 40 years, but the burgers were okay.
We have maps, a gps system and still can't find the place we want to go.I have a terrible sense of directions, and Diane is pretty good at that stuff but not knowing exactly where we want to go, plus the big truck equals a lot of not getting to places we want to go, which equals getting mad at each other.This is getting to be common and we really get mad and it ruins the rest of the day for both of us.Is it worth it to do this, to be angry every few days? Hopefully we can find a solution!
Tuesday Oct 21........
A few more trips with our new external tank starts the day, overfilled the first time with gray water, thirty gallons up hill, the drain cover is on too tight and can't remove it! I have gray water water in my drain hose, thirty gallons in the tank and can't open the frigging drain. A good wrench gets it open, and things go smoothly and I drain a least 30 gallons and still don't know how much is in there (the gauges get stuck all the time)Oh well....
I think more shopping today, we are running out of cat food and need food and maybe a hardware store.
Obama may be in Virginia tomorrow and we may go see him. we have to check how far it is, and he may cancel also because of a sick family member.
Shopping...we find all the stores we are looking for.
They were located on the road we were on yesterday on the way back from Federicksburg. Diane said she knew they were there yesterday, but didn't say anything!Maybe it was too late to say something..... who knows? We did have a good day, today, no problems.
Federicksburg.....half way between Washington and Richmond, both capitals during the civil war. There was certainly a lot of civil war battles around here,a lot of history. Tomorrow more wash... more trips with the external tank, good exercise.
Sitting outside on the deck and having a beer by myself, the lake is really peaceful, just a few ripples to give the lake a glowing effect, the leaves that are remaining on the tress are very colorful, and soon to fall to the cold wintery months ahead.
Thursday Oct 23......
We get going about 10 in the morning and heading south about 60 miles for repairs, just a little north of Richmond, a little later then what we wanted, but still manage to make it to the shop about 11:30. We have a crack in the gray water tank, two ways to try to fix it. One way is to order a new tank , that could take a a while to get here or maybe have it delivered somewhere we may be in a later date, Second solution is to try an epoxy and see if it seals, that is the easiest, and thats what they going to try. So that means staying overnight and then they will fill the tank in the morning to see if it holds water. The poor cats were in the carrier for about 7 hours today and they are acting like they may be mad at us for keeping them them in there so long.
Friday.......Oct 24. The mechanics came around 9 with a long hose, they are going to fill the tank to see if it holds.No leaks.....they also fix some more odd and ends stuff. We decided to stay in Ashland 2 more nights, so we pack up and move about 5 miles, we have a pull thru site with cable, sewage and electric, the move went smoothly(we must be getting better at this thing). The reason we decide to stay a few more nights is we want to meet up with Carl, who also goes to the heb.c web site. We have never meet Carl before, but Carl wrote and wanted to meet us,so...... the first day, we drove to Carl's house, it was about 25 minutes away, heading into Richmond, a very nice area with a lot of new stores in the area.Carl made us feel very welcomed and we stayed a few hours, and meet Carl's girlfriend,Adrian also very nice. We invited them over for diner the next night and they accepted.I don't think Adrian had any idea of what to expect of our camper, (not sure if Carl knew either)but they really liked our place. Diane made lasagna (it was great as always).We had a lot in common with Carl and Adrian and wish we could spend more time with them.They are a very nice couple and hope we stay in contact with them.
Sunday .....Oct 26
On the road by 10:15, we have over 200 miles to go, but it is all highway 95 south (a filled gas tank in case anyone is wondering) Fayetteville hear we come. It took about 4 hours, stopping just a few times in rest areas.To get to the camp ground, you need to take a dirt road about 2 miles in, but the camp ground is nice a pull through, water, sewage, and electric and its cheap.Helicopters flying around all night, but thats okay.the camp ground belongs to Fort Bragg, home of the army airborne. We are all set up by about 4 and settle in for the day. The camp grounds we have been saying at are very nice, but the people staying in last few camp grounds don't appear to be very friendly for some reason.
We go visit Karen, Diane's friend that use to work with her. Karen and Tim (Karen's husband)live in Fayetteville, Tim's job took him here, they did live Colorado Springs and we stayed with them for a few days out there. Karen has family back in Mass, so they come back once a year and we try to meet up with them if at all possible. Karen and their kids stayed with us a few days on their last visit to New England while Tim had to work. On Monday we drove to Karen's house and stayed and visited then the three of us meet Tim for lunch,had a grand tour or there neighbor hood, which was very unusual because there is a small landing strip between some houses a few blocks away and a few hangars where a few planes are stored. Had supper at Tim's and Karen's, and found our way home eventually.
We meet Karen at the Army Airborne museum, (it is the big attraction in Fayetteville) it trace the Airborne from its beginning to now,It has in the museum, a c-47, a glider, helicopter, and a few other aircraft, hanging from its rafters,there was a lot to see and do there, so we had lunch and went back for more. Some shopping and that was our day(we spent over an hour in CVS trying to get a prescription refilled, no more refills so they had to call the doctor, back in Westboro, and of course he didn't call back, so hopefully it will called in tomorrow)Left over lasagna with some store bought chicken and that was our day.
Oooops...... forgot to mention we are heading for Myrtle beach next Sunday. I called Jimmy Moquin, a friend and former room mate and he is living in Myrtle beach with his wife and said,... come on down, so we booked it for 4 days. It will be good seeing Jimmy,I haven't seen Jimmy in about 4 years.