15 November 2017

Truck Camper Rally and Coolspring Power Museum

Oct 12
Leave Maine - sob!

Tamworth New Hampshire

We are not the only truck campers! 

Fun group of people, the campground employees and fellow Jamboree attendees.

Oh, btw, the KOA will be charging you $2.50/day/dog for the privilege of having your dog with you. Oh, yeah, it is on our website if you dig deep enough, just a sweet little addition for your invoice. Surprise!

And we are going to put you right off the main road in site 7 so you get to listen to traffic all night long. No need to thank us.

But, we will give you a discounted rate since the pool is drained and you don’t have to listen to screeching children your entire stay. 😄 $14.00 off for $41/night, oh, plus the $5.00/nt pet fee.

Nice sites, wooded, plenty of space.  Full hookup.  Site 7.
It is a nice campground for a KOA, and blessedly small child free (and remember, while they don’t charge for two or fewer children, you will be charged for all four legged family members). Can we get a discount since we don’t want to pay for playground equipment or upkeep? It is not like we are allowed inside the playgrounds! No dogs allowed signs abound!!!

I've always wanted a heater at my sink.
[We still remember the KOA in Hayward, WI, 2016, requesting their quietest tent spot ... they put us across from the playground.   Right across the street.  Talk about noisy ... holy cow!  Definitely did not fit our definition of quiet.  I think we now give KOAs hell for this alone!]

Oct 13- 15
Time to plan the pot luck for tomorrow, probably a pot pie dish from Dreena Burton’s "Let Them Eat Vegan"

Meet up with Jamboree, hang for the day, meet new friends, try to keep the pups quiet when they see other dogs (mixed success with that last).

We have a newbie discussion (including weight considerations, a HUGE thing with truck camping), wintering in FL (we did not attend - we've been to Florida twice and that is probably enough ... we LOVE Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, though), and a Torklift seminar. We have quite a collection of Torklift products, ourselves.

The dogs are moderately well behaved. 

We head into Conway for shopping, The Local Grocer, Pharmacy, and Eastern Mountain Sports. Holy cow, is traffic nuts!

And the boy twists out of his new leash. Yikes! (And several quiet little curses.) No more using THAT one again. I will be contacting Ruffwear.  (We do NOT recommend the Ruffwear Front Range Leash, especially with D rings, for this reason. The D ring can place enough pressure on the clip to open the gate, releasing the D ring.  It could make for a so long puppy.  Luckily, our boy did not go far.)

Bulk spices are sooooo much less expensive than the bottled option.

Make Winter Pot Pie in the instant pot.

While we have been asked to include an ingredients list for the "Pot Luck" dishes, few people bother. As such, out of several tables of food I can eat my pot pie, a quinoa salad (it was good!), and a fruit skewer. And someone stuck their macaroni and cheese spoon into my pot pie. Shudder. Next time I’ll set my serving aside beforehand.

Now it is time to leave, and we start a discussion for where to next. I want to boondock in the Green Mtns, but that will not work since himself is not sure we can maneuver through the logging roads. 🙄  So, as I’ve suspected all along, we’ve spent a sh!t ton of money on a rig that will never leave pavement. 

Disappointing, but not surprising, I suppose. Time to go download some more books.

NH Thoughts ...
New Hampshire drivers are overly gracious. Right of way has NO impact on their thought process.

"You go first."

"No, you go first."

"No, I insist, you go first."

This is cute to observe, but scary to drive in, because drivers are highly unpredictable.

And people REALLY need to brush up on 4-way stop rules and etiquette. Contrary to popular opinion, it is NOT a free for all!

Tonight is a Pilot in Schenectady, NY. Traffic yesterday (Sunday) was NUTS.

This Pilot is really built for shorter rigs. We had to unhook the Jeep, and we’ll have to figure out how/where to re-hookup.

Oct 16
PA bound 
Traffic today is much lighter

Hoosic/Hoosac NY and Moosic, PA ... too many icks.

Visit Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA.

They need volunteers! Welders, painters, machinists, etc.

To me, it looked like another train museum. The turntable is unique.

The connoisseur of our group was disappointed by "all the posters" but thoroughly enjoyed the locomotive shop tour. Our guide, Ken, knows the machines, processes, and history - in depth. He was a pleasure to listen to.

And he was ready to bring us on as volunteer workers at the end of the tour. 😄

Tonight was going to be another Pilot night, but when we pulled into the parking lot we realized: 1) traffic was nuts, 2) parking was right near the drive-thru, and 3) there is a Walmart across the street.

So, we called up, got permission to stay at Walmart, and moved.

Less traffic, interesting characters, and shopping opportunities in one.

Oct 17
Our first frost of the season! 

The pups are cold, and ready to bury themselves. Someone forgot their winter coats. Uh-oh. ☹️ Bad Kira.

These two do not need a cold snap as an excuse to snuggle.

Except for the lawn care company that showed up in the middle of the night, and ran the blower for an hour and the really weird vehicle engine making a funny cha-choog cha-choog noises, we did sleep fairly well.

Though we moved from a high traffic customer parking spot to a high truck traffic parking spot. I think it would have been quieter away from the trucks. But that is my opinion. 

Drive to Melilo’s Coin Laundry in DuBois, PA ... another expensive laundromat visit. Approximately $20 in quarters!

A visit to the local PetCo to look at dog coats (what crap quality).

We spend the evening in a nearby Lowe’s (with permission). Wow, is it quiet once every store shuts down!

Himself is VERY disappointed that the parking lot lamps do not have enough either lumens and/or appropriate spectral range to charge our solar panels. 😆

Oct 18
Slowly drive to a Pilot in Brookville, PA. We check out their dump station. Park, shower (fill up both black and gray tanks), dump tanks, pull up to fill fresh water ... uh oh, middle fresh water faucet does not work. Pull around to use the last faucet, whew, it works. Look up to fill gas tanks? There is no gas tank use in this slot! 😢

Pull around AGAIN, to fill gas tanks.

In all, we’ve circled this Pilot’s RV fill and purge setup four times. 🙄

Mosey on down to Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, PA, a more boring area I’ve rarely seen. But the people we meet are charming. This will be our second visit to this museum. Mr. SMT quite likes it. I get to read. A lot.
Camper view.

While walking the dogs before bedtime, I look to the sky and realize I have rarely, if ever, seen this many stars (and planets). In fact, I can see them from my bedroom window. Sigh. It is a gorgeous sight.

October 19 - 22
More of the same.

He listens to loud, earth-shaking old engines, while the pups and I wander and curl up and read.

And sew!  The pups do not help with this.

Oct 23
We left Coolspring, and returned to the Pilot.

Shower, dump, refill propane, refill water. 😄

Yes, we still have room in the gray water tank after five days to take two showers. (Or, rather, I spit bathe and he showers.)

Once that is finished, it is time to hit I-80, and drive, drive, drive.

25 October 2017

Maine and Oceanfront Camping at Reach Knolls

October 1
Let’s blow this overpriced, under-serviced Popsicle stand (Rhode Island) and head north.

How does Maine sound? Yes, let us go back.  (We visited in 2009.  Probably the first state we fell in love with once we started traveling with dogs.)

How does Oceanfront Camping at Reach Knolls sound? Hm, intriguing. Let’s take two days to get there, we can stop for the night at just about any rest area or casino or truck stop. 

Yay, buddy. 

Except, 7 hours later, we find ourselves navigating that campground in the DARK, because Mr. SMT just wanted to drive on through. Ugh!

We arrive tired, irritable, and hungry. Luckily, Carol flags us down in her golf cart and gives us the warmest welcome you can imagine.

We take temporary shelter in one of the open spots until we get a better view in the dayIight, and eventually choose site 12, which is a tent site, but has a large enough pad for both vehicles and plenty of living space left over. 🙂

There’s beautifully built and maintained "pit toilets" all over the site, several places to get potable water, and an onsite dump station.

I have no trouble with pit toilets, I’ve never understood the reasoning behind "let us foul good drinkable water with our human waste products." That is crazy thinking right there.

A couple Oceanfront Campground views

Oct 2 
Hang at Campground, move to new spot

Walk the beach

Low tide

High tide

Oct 3
Run with pups

Oct 4

Visit Eggemoggin Country Store and buy groceries, postcards, organic cotton tourist t-shirt, and dog biscuits.

Visit Stonington for a Lobster lunch at Harbor Cafe, I had veggie pasta, lotsa pasta, teensy veggies ... I asked for more and they provided for no additional charge (peas, red pepper, carrot, broccoli, and water chestnut mix). 

Write postcards for home and mail 'em out (because if I don't do it today, I'll get home with them STILL in my purse).

Walk along the Harbor front.

Lovely place to visit with easy to find parking at this time of year!

Oct 5
Get camper washed by Downeast Mobile Power Wash, Adam was a great guy. He knows his tools and applies them carefully.

Highly recommended.

Oct 6
Signs all over Stonington mention their Friday Farmer’s Market, so we made sure to drive in and see what they got.

So excited.

Lots of cars.

Park here. 

Sacks for purchases - check!

Dogs - check!

Drippy nose indicates Mr. SMT is coming down with something - check!

Walk, walk, walk.


No market. Anywhere.

Apparently, we don’t do markets in non-tourist seasons. Ugh. I’ve seen massive tomatoes in local gardens.  Don't the locals attend the market?

Ah, well.

Head into town, Blue Hill, and hit the grocery store instead. Tradewinds is AWESOME! If this was my only grocery store, I could be happy! 

Call little brother and wish him a happy birthday.

Oct 7
Mr. SMT’s sick. And I’m coming down with it. Hang close to home.

Oct 8 
Kira’s getting sicker. Hang close to Home.

Oct 9 
I cannot breath. I hate being sick.

Pups are happy to help me nap.

Move to tent site 8. More open, more water view, more activity. Slightly longer walk for water, shorter walk to toilet and trash.

Himself just wanted a change. I think he would try every site given enough time. Just because.

Oct 10
I can breath! Yay!!!

Acadia National Park at Winter Harbor, Schoodic Penninsula.

This area is so gorgeous.

We stop by Viking Lumber to refill propane, our first refill of the only bottle we’ve used. We cook with it daily, but we only heat so much water and run the furnace rarely.

One month, in fall, for a propane canister. Not bad. Propane cost = 4.3 gallons at a total of $13.98.

Some guy makes screeching cat noises at my dogs while we are waiting in the lumberyard parking lot. (Head smack ... really?) He thinks it is hilarious when they jump. Ugh, why can’t guys grow up?

I’m noticing a theme here ... lobster, lobster, and lobster.  (Oh, there's an occasional clam as well.)

Back to Tradewinds for groceries. Sometimes, I think it would be cheaper to pick up pizzas! 🤣

Mr. SMT gets his flu shot ... I never do. He always reaches fever pitch, "gotta get my flu shot NOW" flustered after going down with a cold.

One more day before we head out. 😢 I wanna stay.

October 11
We drive around Blue Hill Peninsula to get a better feel for the place, and to look at properties for sale.

Acquaintances, casual friends, and the rare (non-blood related) family are happy to tell me where I should or should not move. I am regularly regaled by the things I will HATE moving into a northern climate: Black fly season, mosquito season, winter.

Well, Black flies, yes, this will be new-ish.  We've run into them on our travels.

Mosquitos ... our mosquito season in the south lasts about 363 days a year. I think having a "season" will be a nice change.

Winter. Nope, I’ve never lived in/with snow (traveling does not count). But, I’ve got a vehicle that can handle it, and I do not get stir crazy at home very quickly. I once spent close to a month cooped up in my house (before I ate as much fresh food as I do now) and I did not lose my marbles. Assuming I had the marbles before, I kept them.

I get that it is not fun fighting snow when you need to get to work. 

But the next person who responds to my moving musings with, "Oh, you don’t want to move THERE!" is likely to get an avalanching emotional response. Just sayin’.

Back to Blue Hill and Oceanfront Campgrounds at Reach Knolls. This area feels like home. You know the neighbors, they know you, you gather around campfires together, you learn from your friends, and you feel welcomed.

This is the feeling I’ve sought. I found that in Corvallis/Philomath, Oregon, but I cannot afford to live there. We have million dollar tastes with a fraction of the budget!

Blue Hill is off the beaten path, not heavily touristed in the summer, and has a fairly moderate winter ... considering it is Maine, and looking at its latitude 44 degrees N, shared with: France, Italy, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China, Mongolia, Japan, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. 
Yes, I should stock up on woolen garments. Or, rather, THICKER woolen garments!

I almost feel like a member of the family up here. 

Tick count 8 picked off dogs, 7 at the crawling stage, only one had bitten down (no engorgement). I also killed a couple ticks in Pennsylvania. Our pups are tick magnets, and I believe it is due to their short coats. That body heat is a siren’s call to blood sucking parasites.

Cleanliness of OCRK
We lived in 3 different sites, and I picked up one piece of trash in the ENTIRE campground. ONE!!! 

Campground office offers: coffee, showers (including an outdoor shower!), area information, DVD and book library, WIFI, and an outdoor commercial sink for washing dishes (dogs, babies, etc).

The pit toilets are, by far, among the cleanest toilets I have ever made use of, including some of those rare granite covered flush joints with attendants that practically wash your hands for you afterward.
 I could live here.  Easily.