Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shellmound County Park, FL

A Willet & Friends
Thursday, October 31, 2013, Shellmound County Park, FL - 7.5 miles, 2122.1 For the Trip

Happy Halloween! The shortest move from one campground to another of the trip, in fact, probably all of my trips. While the Sunset Isle is a nice park, Shellmound is more my style. Lots of room between sites, nothing going on, uncrowded (as of 1:00 there is one other camper in the 40 sites). Beautiful view out my front window, and shade, keeping the trailer cool in the 80°F temperatures.

After setting up I walked down to the boat launch & met a Jane & Phillip, a couple from from Geneseo, NY, about 200 miles from Oswego. Phillip taught Geology at SUNY Geneseo, the college my daughter attended for her undergraduate degree. After talking with them I headed for the Shell Mound, a 28' high pile of shells built up over 6000 years of first people discarding their shells, bones, etc. It is hard to believe that a hill that size is made of discarded shells, but looking at places where the tree roots are undercut you can see them. Amazing!

I wandered around taking photos, then went for a drive on a 9 mile gravel "Lower Suwannee Nature Drive". A nice drive, but I expected some water views.

Back at the campground I talked again with Phillip, and discovered that not only were we from the same general area, taught within the SUNY system, and did lots of traveling, but he is also a Viet Nam vet, serving in the south at the same time I was in I core in the north. Small world! Took some more bird photos. The larger one is IDed by someone who knows a lot more about them than me as a Willet. The rest look a lot like the larger one so maybe they all are. In any case I love the image I used for today's page where they line up with each other. The rest of the photos are on today's Lakeshore Images Page.

Dinner will be a pork chop, snap peas & mashed potatoes. After that is is time to head for the shower (and I do mean shower - there is only one). I'm covered with DEET - the "No See Ums" are out in force. Don't know if it is because I'm under the trees, or it it the entire campground, but they are ferocious!

Till Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cedar Key, FL

Cedar Key, FL
Wednesday, October 30, 2013, Sunset Isle Campground, Cedar Key, FL - 45.8 miles, 2114.6 For the Trip

Another short day with the drive from Manatee Springs to Cedar Key. Before leaving, I stopped by the spring for a couple of morning shots. You can use the third one for a "Count How Many" photo at a tree full of vultures. Here at Sunset Isle I'm in site 46, a full hookup site for $31.39. While more than last night, not too bad. The park is a bit crowded, but nice bathrooms, a Cafe that serves 3 meals a day, movies in the rec room, etc. I met a couple from Ithaca, NY that have been here for a couple of days.

After setting up the trailer I went into town to take some photos, see the Cedar Key Historical Museum, and have a late lunch at Tony's. It was suggested (all right, I'll be honest - threatened if I didn't) by a fellow camper a few stops back that I had to try Tony's Clam Chowder. She was right; it was delicious! A bit spicier than my traditional New England Chowder, but excellent. The cheeseburger was only alright...

I walked around the town taking photographs, drove out to the airport for some views of some of the docks along the sound, and found a few birds to photograph. I hope I'm right on calling these white birds Egrets. The sign at one of the docks didn't show a photo at an Egret, but a White Ibis. Similar, but I think the bill is different. In any case, I'm no expert, so take the ID for what it is worth! Find the rest of today's photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the big lunch, I'm just going to snack for dinner. Probably some cheese and crackers after sunset. I'm going to try for some "Sunset on the bay" photos, assuming it doesn't cloud over.

Till Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Manatee Springs State Park, FL

Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Manatee Springs State Park, FL - 117.1 miles, 2068.8 For the Trip

Another relatively short drive to Manatee Springs State Park. I've been here before on a cross country trip in 1996. This time I'm 8 sites further around the Magnolia camping area in site 19. I do remember the sand - it tracks in everywhere. At least it is easier to clean up in the trailer than in the tent we were in in '96.

After setting up I walked to the spring & took a couple of photos. I love the color of the water at the spring. Was hoping for some Manatees, but it is still too warm for them to be heading for the spring. Speaking of warm, it only got down to 60°F last night, and hit the mid 80's during the day. I was listening to WRVO (my Oswego NPR station) over the internet this morning and it was in the mid 20's.

Since it was mid day, the lighting wasn't all that good for photographing the spring, so I decided to drive to Cedar Key to check the availability of a site for the next couple of days. I've tried to get to Cedar Key a number of times, starting in 1994, and something came up with each attempt. Even had a reservation for a week stay at a waterfront house with friends that I had to miss when my father passed away. The last attempt was killed by the threat of a hurricane in 2012. This time I made it. I had hoped to stay at the Low Key Hideaway, a campground run by some RVers who's blog & wonderful photographs I've followed for a number of years. Unfortunately, there are only 4 sites, and they are booked until at least Sunday. So, I headed just down the street & am booked for tomorrow night at the Sunset Isle Campground.

After driving back to Manatee Springs, I grabbed the camera and headed back to the spring under better lighting conditions. It is interesting that there are a collection of snakes hanging out on the branches of bushes along the edge of the spring. I apologize to those with spider of snake phobias, since I included photos of them in the last two posts, but I haven't had much choice in wildlife. I did get a photo of a squirrel & a cute sign asking you not to feed them. There are deer that roam the campground - maybe I'll see one tomorrow.

I did see a large flock (I assume you call them flocks, not murders like crows - where did that come from?) of Turkey Vultures. They are a beautiful bird in flight, but once on land (or in a tree top) not so pretty a subject. In any case, a couple of photos. I also managed to sneak up on an egret & get a couple of better photos than yesterday's. I would have had a great one of a Red Tailed Hawk, but someone coming down the boardwalk from the other direction scared it away as I was changing lenses. The rest of today's photos at LakeshoreImages.

Dinner was simple - I warmed up a tub of left over bean soup that I made yesterday. Actually, like most soups & stews, it was better today than yesterday. Ice cream for dessert. While there is little on no AT&T connectivity here in the park, depending where you are, at least here in the trailer I have a solid, but slow Verizon connection, so today's page is on its way!

Till Tomorrow -

Monday, October 28, 2013

Faver-Dykes State Park, FL, Day 2

Female Golden Silk Orbweave Spider
Monday, October 28, 2013, Faver-Dykes State Park, FL, Day 2 - 0 miles, 1951.7 For the Trip

Since I'm in the park with little to do today, I decided to try making crock pot 16 Bean Soup. I usually add some kind of sausage; this time it is Kielbasa. Either my crock pot is hotter than most or the cooking time in the recipe I used is wrong - it said 8 hours on low, and it was done in around 5. Of course an advantage of being single & a day with nothing to do is dinner can be anytime! So I now have a couple of freezer trays of somewhat mushy bean soup and an early dinner.

I did go for a hike while the beans were cooking & found a large spider. I'm not all that fond of them, but I do enjoy photographing them. For anyone interested, I looked it up and believe it is a female Golden Silk Orbweave. One of the biggest spiders I've ever seen (about 3" across), and the web was right across the trail. If I hadn't been paying attention, I would have walked right into it!

I also found a very distant Egret and took a lousy photo, a bunch of girdled trees, and a dead Cicada (yes, I posed it!) Not sure why the trees were girdled, but when I stopped by the ranger office to ask, no one was there. The rest of the photos are on today's LakeshoreImages Page.

This is a very laid back park, very quiet, but nice people. I met a Tai Chi Instructor who gives lessons at the dock here in the park. If interested, he has a Facebook page.

The rest of the day was mostly spent reading.

Till Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Faver-Dykes State Park, FL

Site 10, Faver-Dykes State Park, FL
Sunday, October 27, 2013, Faver-Dykes State Park, FL - 104.9 miles, 1951.7 For the Trip

A mostly relaxing drive south on US17, a bit on I95 (which wasn't relaxing!) and US 1 to Faver Dykes State Park. I got a bit nervous since the sign at the gate said the campground was full, but I've learned not to believe the signs. Far too many state & national campgrounds have full signs left over from when the it was full, so it is always worth checking. In this case, it is a1 1/2 mile drive down a sand road to check, but there were lots of 2-3 day sites available. I'm in site 10 for two days.

After setting up the trailer I called a friend and mentor John Mincher, the man responsible for getting me into technical theatre (and for the most part, the path of my life throughout my years at SUNY Oswego. John created a miracle at Oswego that produced some of the best theatre technicians & designers anywhere. It was great talking over old times. I headed back to the campground after dinner (thanks John!) since I don't enjoy driving at night, particularly down a 1 1/2 mile unfamiliar dirt road.

The only photograph for today is of the trailer in site 10, a pretty but sandy site not too far from the bathrooms. I hope I'll be able to post this - The MiFi is showing a RSSI of 50% & -101db 4G LTE signal.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Crooked River State Park, GA

Weird Treetop
Saturday, October 26, 2013, Crooked River State Park, GA - 139.1 miles, 1846.8 For the Trip

Well, as you can see (that is read) from the title of today's post, I'm not at Jekyll Island. I decided to skip it and save a visit for the next trip south. Instead, I stopped at Crooked River State Park, which is far more to my liking than Tybee Island. Even got to do laundry, and at $.75 per wash and dry, about the least expensive for any of my trips. Since the Verizon connection was a solid 4G, I decided to download and install Apples latest update of my operating system - 10.9 or Maverick. Discovered at least one problem - it seems to have dropped support for the Express Card slot, which I have been using with a Lexar Express Card Reader to move photos from the D700 Express card to the Mac. Good thing I also carry a Sandisk USB multi card reader - it worked fine.

Took a walk on Palmetto Trail, and photographed a strange tree topped by a limb larger than the one supporting it. I also got about 3/4s of the way along the trail & found a "Caution" tape across the trail. No explination why, so while I probably should have ducked under it and continued, I went back the way I came. Of course since it is a loop trail, if I had started at the other end I'd have run into the same tape after a much shorter hike! They have serious "cabins" here in the park. They are actually houses! Photo at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

Got back to the trailer around dinner time, cooked up some Kielbasa, more snap peas, and the rest of yesterday's potato salad. I do wish there was some way when purchasing snap peas to tell if they are stringless or not. Todays were, and it sure saves time stripping out the strings.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tybee Island, Day 2

Fort Pulaski, GA

Friday, October 25, 2013, Rivers End Campground, Tybee Island, GA, Day 2 - 0 miles, 1707.7 For the Trip

It was a tourist day. After breakfast I headed out to Fort Pulaski. While there I hiked a trail to a view point for the Cockspur Island Lighthouse. After that it was back to Tybee Island & an "official" visit to the lighthouse. $7.00 to see the lighthouse, the grounds, and the Tybee Museum. While the museum was OK, it could use some improved lighting. I did get to climb ( and it was a climb - about the same as the Fire Island Lighthouse in NY) the lighthouse & take a panorama from the top. Not including it here; a bit too large to process on the road. I did include a couple of frames - if you look carefully, in the vertical view you can see the RAV4 in the parking lot. A great view of the island from the walkway around the top. The rest of the photos are at Today's LakeshoreImages Page.

I took a shower after I got back to the campground. The bathrooms are the "all in one room" type, but the rooms are very small with no place to set things down. At least there were two hooks, and the hot water was hot, which was good because a fan went on with the light, blowing cold air over everything.

Dinner was a steak, potato salad & a fruit cup with coffee ice cream for dessert. I'll be heading out in the morning. I'm going to try for Jekyll Island for tomorrow night.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rivers End Campground, Tybee Island, GA , Day 1

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Thursday, October 24, 2013, Rivers End Campground, Tybee Island, GA - 218.1 miles, 1707.7 For the Trip

I did take a couple of photos yesterday, and included one of the beach for those of you still in Oswego (WRVO, my hometown NPR station was predicting snow). A fairly long drive (for me) of 218 miles, mostly on US 17 Alt, and a bit of I95 & US 80 to Tybee Island. This is one of the places I've heard about, but never visited, so I thought I'd spend part of the weekend here. I'm in for two expensive ($52.10 per day with a Good Sam discount) days here. I walked down to the lighthouse and old Fort Screven to take a couple of photos. Some beautifully landscaped houses along the way, many of them rentals, but many lived in by islanders.

On the way back to the campground I passed a TV news team set up with a relay truck. It always makes me a bit nervous to see them in a residential area, but didn't hang around long enough to hear what they were reporting on. The rest of the photos on Today's LakeshoreImages Page.

Now I'm back in the campground sitting in my lawn chair typing this. It is still in the 60's at 7:00, but it is cooling off at night. This morning it was 47°F at Myrtle Beach. Hope it is a bit warmer here!

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Myrtle Beach State Park, SC, Day 2

A Pigeon on the Pier

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach, SC - 0 miles, 1489.6 For the Trip

Light rain off and on overnight, but it stopped by morning. I didn't do anything today other than a bit of walking, including another trip to the pier. I was hoping someone would catch something interesting, but no luck. I did take advantage of the showers, and I have to say they don't want to take a chance that you might get burned by the hot water, or, should I say, warm water. Warmer than the cold showers at Ocracoke, but not by much! No photos for the day.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading - currently Olen Steinhauer's An American Spy. An interesting, but somewhat complex plot. Dinner was veal parmesan and the rest of the snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Myrtle Beach State Park, SC

Fishing Pier, Myrtle Beach State Park, SC

Tuesday, October 22, 2013, Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach, SC - 158.5 miles, 1489.6 For the Trip

Woke up with a stiff neck this morning that stayed with me all day. Anyhow, I got out of the campground around 9:00, and headed south, mostly on US 17. Stopped for today and tomorrow at Myrtle Beach State Park. It was recommended by a couple of people - not bad for a 400 site campground, although even though it is a state park, I'm back to the full priced campsites - $64.06 for the two nights.

After setting up in site 239 I took a walk to the fishing pier. From the pier you can see the development in the city of Myrtle Beach not too far north of the campground. Lots of people catching fish, however very few near keeping sizes. For anyone following my web pages, you know I love interesting trees. There were a couple of them along the walkway back from the pier. The rest of the photos are on today's LakeshoreImages Page.

After the walk I found a Casita on the way back to the trailer. Took a photo since there are not all that many of us "fiberglass eggs" in this part of the world. Haven't decided what dinner will be - we are having light rain off & on. If it keeps up I'll fry a couple of frozen veal cutlets. If it stops, I'll bake some frozen chicken in the toaster oven.

So, the rain got heavier, still not bad, but enough so I didn't want to cook outdoors. I fired up the toaster oven in the trailer & cooked a couple of Barber chicken, broccoli & cheese frozen meals. I don't like the pre cooked, microwave versions of their meals, but the ones that start with raw chicken you bake are OK for a fast and simple meal. I don't usually cook inside, but this is a meal that doesn't "grease" up or stink up the trailer so I'll do it when I can't cook outside. Combined with steamed snap peas, it was good!

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cedar Point National Forest Campground

On the Cedar Island Ferry

Monday, October 21, 2013, Cedar Point Campground, NC - 87.3 miles, 1331.1 For the Trip

I had a quick breakfast, stopped at the campground dump station, then headed to the ferry. I was there early for the 10:00 ferry, (of course) and showed the trailer to a bunch of people waiting for the boat. It was a longer trip than I remembered (although I'm remembering from 1996 so I have an excuse) but we arrived at Cedar Island a little after 12:00. I do remember the island as a quiet section of coast, at least compared to the outer banks. Still looks much the same as it did in '96.

I hadn't planed exactly where I would stop for the night since I wasn't sure how long the ferry ride would be, but after turning the propane back on so my refrigerator could cool off (They request you shut off the propane while on the ferry) I decided to try for the Cedar Point National Forest campground near Cedar Point, NC. I tried following the directions to the campground but while the directions state it is north of NC 24 on NC 58, if you are coming from the north, 24 splits into 58 north before the town, and north of the campground. I drove about 5 miles away from the campground before I decided something must be wrong. Eventual, I found it. A very nice campground that is $17.00 (including a $5.00 charge for an electric hookup.) The electric hookup was great since I got to recharge all my stuff that I put off because I was on solar (without much sun) for the last 3 days. They even have hot showers, although they use a push button that has the shortest run time of any shower I've ever used. At least it was hot enough!

I did manage to get a call through to my son to wish him a happy birthday.

Dinner was a Bubba burger, fruit salad & steamed green beans.

Until next time -

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ocracoke Campground, Day 3

End of the Road

Sunday, October 20, 2013, Ocracoke Campground, Ocracoke, NC - 0 miles, 1243.8 For the Trip

Not too much going on today. The nice weather went away this morning - very windy, heavy clouds, and a little rain. It did clear up for the afternoon & I went for a short hike along a road near the dump station that lead to the bay, and an official trail - the "Hammock Hills Nature Trail". The first two photos are at the end of the road - I couldn't get the bird to stand still. The others are the trail.

The group camping across the road from me dropped off a couple of flounder fillets which I had for dinner. A bit different from the flounder I had in Nantucket - I wonder if the warmer water makes the difference? In any case, a big thanks for the fish & a great dinner.

After dinner I hooked up the trailer so I wouldn't have to do it in the morning. It isn't all that an early boat - I need to be at the dock by 9:30, but it gives me more time to putter around in the morning.

A pretty sunset tonight - A photo of the sunset & more at today's Lakeshore Images page.

Until next time -

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ocracoke Campground, Day 2

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Saturday, October 19, 2013, Ocracoke Campground, Ocracoke, NC - 0 miles, 1243.8 For the Trip

While a few more campers showed up before sunset, the campground is well under 1/4 filled. Fell asleep to the sounds of the Atlantic waves - just like home and Lake Ontario, but the waves are further apart.

It rained off & on over night, but so far today has been mixed sunshine & clouds, with no rain. Met a young woman from Old Dominion University's outdoor club. A group is here surfing & bike riding as part of an outing that included West Virginia & Babcock State Park. I must have just missed them in WV.

This afternoon I made a reservation for the Cedar Island ferry for the 10:00 boat on Monday. I also added a day to my site reservation. You can't beat $11.50 per night for a developed site, although I could do without the cold showers! I chickened out & showered in the trailer.  Sure could use another foot of elbow room in the wet bath.

I found a bunch of mushrooms at one of the sites & had to take some photos. Also met a "Crabby" neighbor. One of the less pleasant parts of nature here at the campground is a grass that sports "Sand Burrs". They stick to just about anything, and are very sharp, and strong. I stabbed my fingers a bunch of times until I switched to removing them from the rugs with my Leatherman. Nasty things! There are a few pretty wild flowers growing around the area.

I also stopped to photograph the Ocracoke Lighthouse on my trip into town to get the ferry reservation.

More photos on today's LakeshoreImages Page.

If the rain holds off, it will be the rest of the chicken thighs, along with some rice & coleslaw for dinner. I found my favorite packaged coleslaw - Dole with a sauce that you add after opening. It is difficult to find - strangely enough, it was in the small grocery/variety store in Ocracoke.

Until next time -

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ocracoke Campground, Ocracoke, NC

On the Ferry to Ocracoke

Friday, October 18, 2013, Ocracoke Campground, Ocracoke, NC 32.4 miles, 1243.8 For the Trip

After a haircut & packing up the trailer, I stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, then made the short drive to the Ocracoke Ferry. Didn't make the first one, but squeezed onto the second. While crossing, gave the first tour of the trailer for the trip to a couple from Tennessee.

Once on the island, I decided to stop for the weekend at the Ocracoke Campground, part of the National Park Service. Good to see it is open. There have been a couple of individuals on the Fiberglass Trailer forum that mentioned October camping here at the campground, but so far I'm the only "egg". There are a couple of pop ups, some tent campers and a few larger RVs, but the place is mostly empty. It is dry camping, and while it has flush toilets, the showers are interesting - a shack with a string attached to a spring loaded showerhead that only "speaks" cold water! I suspect they were added to rinse the salt water off swimmers & fisherman that got to far into the waves, not for bathing.

Todays additional photos in the usual place - Today's LakeshoreImages Page.

It does look like I have a useful Verizon signal so I will try to post this and add more as the day goes on.

It is later on & other than a run into town for some chicken for dinner, not much else is happening.  I am enjoying 70° - 80° weather, although I've been told that this is also one of the warmest Falls in my home town of Oswego.  In any case I'm settled in for the night.  A light rain is falling off & on.

Until next time -

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wright Brothers Memorial

Wright Brothers Memorial

Thursday, October 17, 2013, Sands of Time Campground, Avon, NC 111.8 miles, 1211.4 For the Trip

The jets were not too bad although I suspect they were practicing touch & go landings from the sound. They stopped around midnight, and didn't start again until 8:00.

TOURIST ALERT! - After getting on the outer banks, I stopped at Kitty Hawk & the Wright Brother's Memorial. It opened today, thanks to the idiots in Washington, DC finally getting their act together (well, somewhat together). Enough said. I also stopped at the Bodie Island lighthouse and took a few photos while driving across Pea Island.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

I stopped for the night at the Sands of Time Campground, Site 34 in Avon, NC. The first "Cash Only" campground I've run into on this trip, in fact, one of very few over the years. More photos at today's Lakeshoreimages Page.

Tried to get a haircut, but the nearby hair place only does appointments, and didn't have anything until 9:30 tomorrow, so I'll wait until then. I did do a couple loads of laundry - good to get the laundry bag empty. Other than that it was sitting around and relaxing for the afternoon.

I did have to fight with the data connection.  The campground blocks uploads, and my MiFi is flaky.  Good 4G signal, but it constantly drops the connection, and will not reconnect until restarted.

Until next time -

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 7, Northwest River Park, Chesapeake, VA

An Empty Campground

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, Northwest River Park, Chesapeake, VA 135.4 miles, 1099.62 For the Trip

I managed to sleep through most of the traffic noise, although I'm still trying to get used to full time traveling. It usually takes a couple of weeks before I sleep normally while traveling each day.

I made a stop at Mechanicsville Toyota for an oil change, tire rotation, and the biggy, drive train fluid change. While I'm still under the recommended change for the RAV4, I have the color of the fluid checked each oil change, and my local dealer suggested getting the transmission fluid changed at the next oil change. A bit more expensive than the quote in Syracuse, but it is good to be set for the next 30,000 miles. It did end up with a late start out of Richmond, but since the mileage was less than the last couple of drives, I still made the campground by mid afternoon.

I'm at the Northwest River Campground, a City of Chesapeake campground. Seventy sites, and I'm the only one here! Don't know if it is the season, the early stop, or what, but it sure is empty. No photos today other than one of the empty campground & the site. I already have read about the jet fly overs in Campground Reviews, but unless they are constant, I can live with that. I was hoping to do laundry, but the closest one is closed, and the one in the far bath house is a bit "rough". I think I'll wait. I did fix some broken links on the trip pages - the links to the home page and other trips were broken.

Dinner (yes, I'm back to telling you what I'm eating for lack of anything more interesting) will be a steak, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.

Until next time -

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 6, Kosmo Campground, Glen Allen, VA

The Escape at the Glade Creek Mill

Tuesday, October 15, 2013, Kosmo Campground, Glen Allen, VA 252.6 miles, 964.2 For the Trip

I was up a bit late today, around 8:30, not that I'm in a hurry to get anywhere. After coffee & breakfast I packed up & headed to the main part of the park to take a photo of the Escape in front of the mill. Even at 10:00 the parking lot was full, so I couldn't get the position I wanted, but I did manage to get everything in the photo. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had no photos, but after I posted the page I took a short hike on one of the campground trails. Nice light through the trees. The last photo is today's campground photo, site 12. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The drive started out with 25 miles of the most twisted, hilly road I've driven in quite awhile, US60 heading east from the campground. After that it was a long, boring drive on I64, stopping for the night at the Kosmo Campground in Glen Allen, VA, a suburb of Richmond. An easy stop for the night, but nothing special. No facilities, and a bit of road noise; the site just off US 1.

Dinner will be something simple, probably soup & a sandwich. While I have a picnic table to cook on, I don't feel like making a production.

Until next time -

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 5 Babcock State Park, WV

Glade Creek Grist Mill

Monday, October 14, 2013 Babcock State Park, WV - 0 miles, 711.6 For the Trip

It did stay dry enough to grill the chicken. While there were drops falling from the trees, no new rain. Not much going on today other than trying to make my reservation for the Oregon Gathering at Bullards Beach State Park. They let you reserve 9 months prior to your first day on the site and, since I'm staying at the park for the entire week of July 14th, today is the day. At 11:00AM (8:00AM Pacific time) it started out OK, but as soon as I tried to give my type of gear, it froze. Tried a couple of different sites, and the same thing happened. I gave up on reserving on line & called Reserve America. After a 23 minute wait, they managed to get one of the sites actually reserved for the week in my name. So, I now have 3 reservations for rallies in the West, 2 in Oregon in April & July, & one in Washington in May. As soon as they become available, I'll be making one for the Escape rally for June in Osoyoos, BC.

As to tomorrow, I'm going to try to go down the coast. I have no idea whether it is possible to travel along the coast without reservations this time of year, but if it becomes a problem, I can always head west. The next planned stop is in the Cedar Key area of Florida. Of course I will spend many days getting there...

No photos today, so here is another one from yesterday. I thought about going back to the mill for some photos with fewer people, but it is raining so I'm hanging out in the trailer. Not sure if this will post - while I do have a fairly strong internet connection, it is very slow - much slower than 56K dial up. There is a chance - the upload speed is actually faster than download, so I'll try.

Until next time -

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Babcock State Park, WV

Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park, WV

Sunday, October 13, 2013 Babcock State Park, WV - 184.1 miles, 711.6 For the Trip

I left Morgantown Campground around 9:00, heading for Babcock State Park in WV. A mix of roads - some 2 lane such as much of US119, & some 4 including I79 ans US 19. Not a bad drive - the trees, particularly around the tops of the mountains are in full Fall colors. I pulled into the Babcock State Park Campground around 1:30, and set up the trailer in site 26. The plan is to stay for 2 days, then head south. I thought about staying a week so I could attend Bridge Day (They shut down part of US19 for the day & open the New River Gorge bridge to base jumping). Since about 80,000 people attend, it seems like a bit too much like Oswego's Harborfest (without the fireworks).

I did discover an interesting problem while setting up the trailer - sometimes, it the slope is just right, the Anderson Leveler (the new combined leveler & wheel chock) only works as a leveler. As I was cranking the trailer off the RAV4 hitch, the chock slipped & the trailer twisted off the blocks the foot was on. A bit embarrassing, but nothing broke!

After thinks were finished, I headed over to photograph the Grist Mill in the main part of the park. I don't believe I've been at the mill on a Sunday - it was very crowded; almost impossible to take a photograph without people in it. The leaf color was good, but very little water flowing in Glade Creek. Here are a few, along with the campsite photo:

After getting back from the Grist Mill, I set up my chair & planned to relax. Light rain had been falling off & on all afternoon (mostly off) so I put out the awning. Just as I finished, it started to pour. I hope it stops in time for dinner - the plan is for grilled chicken. If it is still raining, I'll warm up some soup in the trailer. Actually, while I'm typing this the rain has mostly stopped, so there is hope for the chicken!

Until next time -

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 3 - Morgantown Campground, PA or WV - not sure which!

Morgantown Campground

Saturday, October 12, 2013 Morgantown Campground, PA - 300.2 miles, 527.5 For the Trip

I was up early (well, for a retired guy) at 7:15. After breakfast, a mug of coffee, and a quick trip to shave at the bathrooms (too cold for a shower) I headed out at 8:00. The batteries are down 20 amp/hrs before running the coffee pot. I'm not sure why, but the Tri Metric battery monitor seemed to reset itself after running the coffee pot. It should have added about 10 amp/hrs to the deficit for a total of -30 but as I got ready to leave it was at -3.5. I guess I'll have to read the manual!

The drive was long, but boring, mostly on 4 lane roads. I did make a useful, if not obvious discovery - don't stop at McDonalds & Walmart for coffee & supplies near the University of PA on a Saturday game day. While the traffic wasn't horrible, getting out of the shopping plaza took 5 red light changes to move one car length. I wouldn't have even been able to do that without the kindness of a driver that let me in.

I decided to try for the campground the GPS suggested. Sometimes that works well, other times not so good. This would be a "not so good" but usable. The Morgantown Campground is listed in West Virginia, but it just across the border in Mt. Morris, PA, at least I think it is. In any case, it is a residential campground with no showers or bathrooms, not even a picnic table or grill. I can set up my own table, and use the trailer's facilities, but for a transit visit, I probably could have done better. In fact, I have on past stops in Morgantown.

The only photo today is the campsite image. I called Babcock State Park, and although they do not take reservations, they were pretty sure I could get an electric site tomorrow since it is a Sunday. We'll see - there isn't much else in the area so I hope one will be available. At least it is a shorter drive than today. I really prefer 150 - 200 miles; 300 is stretching it. I know many do 400 - 500 in a day, but that isn't my style of traveling.

Until next time -

2014 Trip - Day 2, Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

Ricketts Glen State Park

Friday, October 11, 2013 Ricketts Glen State Park, PA - 0 miles, 227.3 For the Trip

Lots of rain overnight, but by morning it stopped. As I suspected, there was not enough Verizon signal to post yesterday's page, so it and today's page will have to wait for posting.

I drove to the Lake Leigh parking lot & hiked down to the lowest waterfall - Murry Reynolds, and started shooting photos on the way up. Much more practical than yesterday's shooting on the way down. The constant stops to take pictures gives you a break. I still seem to enjoy photographing the cascades as much or even more than the waterfalls. I took lots of photos, starting with one someone on a forum asked for; the sign indicating a 2 mile, 18% grade going from the park to Red Rock, PA. - Of course most are waterfall photos - here are a few:

On the way back I met a park employee repainting one of the large wooden signs. Tough work - the lettering is pretty small. Keeping the park up has got to be a tough job for everyone. Lots of trails along streams that overflow during the spring thaw, and, after talking to another employee that was picking up trash, a bunch of hikers that don't seem to understand that to keep the place looking beautiful, you need to haul out your trash instead of hiding it behind a tree or just tossing it away. I also included a photo of one of the bridges & steps on the trail.

Most of the hike was in cloudy conditions, perfect for shooting waterfalls. A bit of light rain towards the end, but by the time I got back to the trailer around 2:00, it had stopped, and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. The solar panel is trying - putting out around 2 amps. For those 12V power geeks, I used 14.1 amp/hrs by this morning, mostly to run the furnace since it was in the 40's over night. , As of 2:30, I still have a deficit of 9.1. Under full sun that would already be down to 0. I'll have to watch how much electricity I use if I want to keep enough to run the furnace at night (and, of course, I do). Since I'll be leaving tomorrow, I'll have no problem making a pot of coffee since both the solar panel and the RAV4 will recharge the batteries on the trip to Morgantown.

Until next time -

A New Trip

Ricketts Glen State Park

Thursday, October 10, 2013 Ricketts Glen State Park, PA - 227.3 miles, 227.3 For the Trip

Well, I'm off on another trip around the country (and Canada). This time it starts with a bit of a "Gulp" - I'm heading south for the winter. Yes, a snowbird! While my previous travels have always been spring & summer, I decided it is time to pass on Oswego's infamous "Snow Belt" winter and try to stay above freezing for the entire year. Yes, I did say year. Don't know if I will be able to stand living in a 17' box (actually a 14' since the trailer size includes the tongue) but the plan is to head south, check out the west coast of Florida, then across the south, wintering in Arizona, and hopping up to the Utah parks as it gets warm enough. I already have reservations for the Spring NOG (Northern Oregon Gathering) at Champoeg, OR in April, and will be making reservations for the July Gathering in Oregon & the Escape Trailer Rally in Osoyoos, BC in June as soon as reservations open. After that I may try for part of August in Leadville, CO. In between, the plan is to visit as many interesting places as possible. While I may return earlier, I have to be back in Oswego by October 3.

So, that is the plan. Like all my plans, there will be many opportunities for change! I must have walked around the house 5-6 times hoping to see something I forgot, but as far as I know everything is packed. I left Oswego around 9:00, stopped by Seven O's RV Sales & Service for a replacement tank vent cover - my original seems to have blown off the trailer on the last trip. Another stop at AAA for maps & campbooks for most of the US and I hit the road. Starting out the RAV4 has 75,253 miles on the clock. Today I drove 227.3 miles, most on 4 lane roads. Started out on I 81, switched to US 17 in Binghamton, then US 220 & PA 487 to Ricketts Glen State Park. I'm in site 104 for tonight, and if thinks work out, tomorrow night as well.

While there was light rain off and on, I decided to try for some waterfall & cascade photos. I definitely got my 2 miles in - I started at the Rose parking lot & hiked down to "Where waters meet, about 1.3 miles. For some reason, the stairs & trails seem to be getting steeper every year. Can't be me! Even though I'm here a week earlier than any of my other fall visits, I still have not managed to catch more leaves on the trees than on the ground. Still, there was some nice color in what remained on the trees, and the sunless sky was perfect for shooting waterfalls. Oh well, I'll just have to keep trying. More Photos at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

Made it back to the trailer by 6:00, grilled a Bubba Burger for dinner (yes, I'm still keeping them around for quick, unplanned meals) and took a shower. I'd like to donate a shower curtain to the park. I can understand it taking awhile for the water to heat up since it is pretty cool out (51°F) and the campground is almost empty, but without a shower curtain the ice cold water sprays over you, your shoes, etc. Eventually it warmed up, in fact got hot. Then it was back to the trailer to process today's photos and put together the page. The rain has gotten serious - no wind, but it is pouring out. I hope it quits by morning since I want to hike the other side of the waterfalls tomorrow.

I'm afraid none of you will see this for a couple of days - while there is a very weak Verizon signal here at the campground, I don't think it is strong enough for posting.

Until next time -

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Copake Fiberglass Trailer Rally, Day 3

Our Hosts, Sue & Ed at Their Casita

I woke up to light rain this morning that changed to a soft drizzle by 8:00 or so. No activities today, just packing up & getting ready to head out. I arrived in Oswego around 3:30, unpacked some of the trailer, but left most of it packed since I'm leaving for the winter next week.

I can't speak for everyone, but I had a great time even fighting the end of a cold. Many thanks to Sue & Ed for taking over for Jim (the second time he "turned over" a rally to them) and putting together a great rally. If there is another one next year & I'm back from the west, I'll be there!

Until the next time!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Copake Fiberglass Trailer Rally, Day 2

The Pot Luck Dinner

Lots going on today. I added a couple more trailer photos ; the ones I missed yesterday. This morning there was a get together to meet & greet each other, then in the afternoon trailer tours where we got to see the different types of fiberglass trailers - there are 14 trailers here, 2 Escape 17Bs, 1 Escape 5.0 fifth wheel, a Parkliner, 2 13' U-Hauls, 2 Scamps, a Scamp 19 Fifth Wheel, 3 Casita 17's, A Trillium & a Burro. Lots to see for who haven't seen some of the different makes, and a chance to see the additions & modifications owners have made.

Finally the Pot Luck Dinner. All kinds of food, with plenty for all. I even went back for seconds! After dinner we had "Solar S'mores" although because the sun was already down the light source was the theatrical lighting instrument. After that we sat around a campfire. I left early so that I could post the page & because I'm still trying to kick a cold.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Till tomorrow -

Friday, October 4, 2013

Copake Fiberglass Trailer Rally, Day 1

Friday Night Campfire
As the day went on many different fiberglass trailers pulled into the campground.  I didn't manage to get photos of every trailer or their owners, but a bunch are posted on today's Lakeshore Images page.  I'll try to list the numbers & makes of trailers tomorrow.

After dinner we gathered around a campfire.

More tomorrow -

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Copake, NY Fiberglass Trailer Rally, Day -1

Bash Bish Falls

Welcome to day -1 of the Copake, NY Fiberglass Trailer Rally. Day -1 since it doesn't start until tomorrow, but I had the time so I left Oswego a day early & here I am. I'm in site 100 at the Copake KOA. A large park with over 200 sites, a gate that needs a card ($20.00 deposit) but nice & quiet.

After setting up the trailer I headed out to Bash Bish Falls, located on the border between NY & MA. In fact, it has two parking lots & two trails, both on Route 344. The NY parking lot has a 1 mile, flat trail & the MA parking lot has a short, but steep trail. Of course I decided to try the MA trail. Yes, it is steep, but not as bad as many I've hiked along getting to & around waterfalls. After all, most of them are in gorges.

There is also a very short, steep hike to viewpoint at the MA parking lot that overlooks a valley. You can hear, but not see the stream that makes Bash Bish Falls.

Here are some photos of the viewpoint, the stream & the falls, as well as the ever present site photo.

Depending on what is happening for the afternoon & evening, I may add more.

Till then -