Day 157 - Familiar Names, Different Places

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Nov 08, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison, Connecticut

Flag of United States  , Connecticut
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On our way out of Fishermen’s Memorial State Park this morning we stopped by the office to complain about the cleanliness of the facilities and to see if we could get a partial refund. The staff in the office didn’t exactly fall over themselves to help and when Neil pushed the matter they called the Regional Manager. He was on his way over, so we waited 10 minutes or so for him to arrive. He was even less helpful, quite aggressive, and either blind or in denial, as he said that he used the showers at this site every day and they were fine. When we asked him to walk down to the shower block with us and check out the ladies’, he replied that he was far too busy sorting out his mail machine to do that!!!! He also said that the facilities had been refurbished at the beginning of the season. Well, doh! It’s now the end of the season and they will have been used tens of thousands of times since then, so that really has no relevance today. We managed to get the e-mail address of his boss, so we will try to get him to intervene. It’s criminal that these state–run facilities are taking full price from campers and then not bothering to keep them clean. Isn’t that what the fees are supposed to go towards, someone maintaining and cleaning the facilities??!!

A few miles back up the 108 and we re-joined Route 1 and headed south again. It was quite a grey morning and so felt even colder than the last few days. It wasn’t long before we crossed the State line and entered Connecticut. Thank God! Let’s hope this will be a more positive experience than Rhode Island. That particular state hasn’t left us with particularly fond memories.

Only a few minutes in and it was time for our first interaction with the folk of Connecticut when we pulled into a fuel station to fill up. Neil got chatting to the chaps inside who were very friendly. Being well traveled themselves they were very interested to hear all about our trip. Then it was time for one of those “biggest in the world” moments that the U.S. is so good at, when Neil came out with the key for the loos. There was no way you could accidentally walk off with it!

After about an hour of small towns and narrow, windy road, we briefly had to join I-95 to cross the Thames River, before exiting to go into New London! We found a shopping mall and went in to use the loos (too much coffee this morning!) and then used a wi-fi signal we picked up to check our e-mail.

Another couple of hours down the road and we found a small shopping mall with a Wal-Mart. Unfortunately it wasn’t suitable for us to spend the night at, so after doing some shopping at the food store we carried on another couple of miles to Hammonasset State Park. It was open but there was no electric. After umming and arring over what to do, we decided that if the showers were clean then we would stay anyway, as it was miles to any other State Parks that may or may not be open, may or may not have electric and may or may not have clean facilities!

To our surprise and delight the employees of Connecticut State Parks appear to be more hardworking than those of Rhode Island and the showers were clean and well maintained. There was also a disabled pitch next to the shower block which had electric so we decided to try and sweet-talk the staff into letting us use it if no-one with a disability arrived before closing. Sadly they weren’t having any of it. And so we chose another pitch quite close to the showers in the hope that we could move close enough later on for our electric cable to reach!

It was perishing cold and so Mel cooked dinner whilst wearing a wooly hat! Meanwhile Neil was braving the elements outside whilst sitting and having a beer and one of the other campers came over to chat to him. During the conversation Neil learned that just along from us was the Campground Host’s trailer and he was a bit of a jobsworth, so we decided the plan to use the electric wasn’t such a good idea after all. After eating dinner sat under a blanket we attempted to keep warm by having the gas stove turned on. It was reasonably effective for a while but not really practical. As it says just below the knobs on the stove, "It Is Not Safe To Use Cooking Appliances For Comfort Heating"! And so we just got layered up, dropped the roof, filled the hot water bottles and had an early night.

Miles travelled: 91

Total miles travelled: 15011

Days on road: 137

States visited: 32

National Parks visited: 21
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starlagurl on

What a shame!
I thought Rhode Island was lovely! The people and the environment were just incredible when I went last summer.

Maybe some day you'll give them another chance, I hope!

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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