Once out of the park it was just a short drive to the first town, where we pulled into a McDonalds car park to use their wi-fi and a phone
. We used the Internet to locate more Wal-Marts, both in Connecticut and up-state New York; and with the phone we tried to phone New York State Parks, but it wasn’t working! We tried the shopping mall across the road but there weren’t any there, not even in the supermarket. After several miles we finally found another one to try, this time outside a not too appealing-looking diner, but at least it worked. Mel phoned NY State Parks to find out where there were campsites open and if they had electric. We thought we might head down onto Long Island, towards the far end away from the madness of New York City. That way we wouldn’t be far away from New York City once we got the call from the shipping company to say our paperwork had arrived from the DMV. But the state park employee informed Mel that whilst there were a few parks open, they didn’t have electric and the nightly fee ranged from $39-$54!!!! For a cold campsite, off-season!!! We thinks we will pass on that! We can be cold in a Wal-Mart car park for free!!!
Mel also phoned a KOA in up-state New York that was still open. Their rate was just over $30, but at least that included electric. It’s a little further north than we ideally want to go, but it’s always an option.
Because we didn’t want to get embroiled in the sprawling Metropolis of New York which basically begins right over the State line from Connecticut, we took Highway 1 as far as New Haven, where we drove past parts of Yale University and then began to head inland on the 34 towards Danbury
. Although there was a Wal-Mart there, we decided to carry on, as it was only mid afternoon and too early to park up for the night. And so from there we took Highway 6 / 202 across the state line into New York State. We decided that we would head for a WM supercentre at Fishkill and the most direct way to get there was by taking the I-84. We had been climbing steadily for a few hours and just before we pulled into a rest area around 4pm, we came through a cutting in the rocks and in front of us was the most spectacular view of the lower ground in front of us, and the Catskill Mountains on the horizon, all carpeted with multi-coloured trees. It was like being on top of the world again. It was especially stunning as the sky was blue and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. It was however, quite chilly and so once parked up in the rest area it was time for tea and donuts!
After a short stop we travelled the last 10 miles or so to our intersection at Fishkill. The Wal-Mart was clearly visible as we exited the Interstate and we were in our spot for the night within a couple of minutes. There were a few motorhomes parked up and we tucked ourselves in front of one of them in a lesser-used corner of the car park. Once we had set up we wandered across to the store for a few provisions and a warm fleecy blanket to throw over our sleeping bags. As the sun was setting in the sky, the temperature was dropping quite rapidly
. While Mel prepared dinner, Neil got chatting to the guy who owned the big motorhome behind us. His name was John and he was the
Master Wine Cellar Builder, which meant that he had lots of very nice wine on board. He gave Neil a couple of bottles for us and also invited us to go round after dinner to sample some more. And so a very nice evening followed, chatting with John in his huge motorhome (the first time we had been in one so big; it had a separate bedroom, bathroom and a fitted kitchen to send most housewives green with envy!) and drinking very, very nice red wine. As we stepped out of John’s centrally heated van into the very cold night air, we knew that we would be glad of our new blanket tonight.
Miles travelled: 94
Total miles travelled: 15105
Days on road: 138
States visited: 32
National Parks visited: 21
Although it was very chilly when we woke this morning, the sun was shining and the sky was brilliantly blue. After lovely hot showers and packing up we drove the bus down to the beach area of the park for a wander and to take some photos before we left. The beach was wide with small dunes at the back, the sand was soft and golden and the waves were lapping very gently onto the shore. Gorgeous! And there, right out in the middle of the ocean was what appeared to be either a submarine floating just above the surface of the water, or a flying saucer hovering just above it. We deduced that it must be land and that the weather conditions, be it sea haze or heat haze, were creating an optical illusion that made all the land around that one small area appear to disappear, if you get our drift. When we checked on the map we realized that the stretch of water in front of us was the Long Island Sound and therefore the land that we could see must be Long Island.