Saturday, August 9, 2014

On to Vermont

Sunday, 6 July:
Sunny and pleasant. We took a walk to the fishing pier at the other end of the waterfront. Not nearly as busy as yesterday. Chillie decided he wouldn't need us any more, so after chatting with friends for a while we left at noon --- destination Vermont.

Leaving from home, we usually drive up I-81 for a couple of days. Leaving from the other side of the state, we decided to  follow US17 until it intersects with 81 at Winchester. After the usual traffic between Yorktown and Gloucester it became easy country driving. The road varied from 4-lane-divided to 2-lane. It was a pleasant drive in the country, seeing the farms and small towns. This is our favorite kind of travel, calm and easy.

That is, until we picked up I-95 just south of Fredricksburg. We had to get on the interstate and follow it around Fredricksburg before we could get back on 17. Traffic in the interstate was bumper-to-bumper and moving slowly. It looked like all of Washington, DC, was heading back to town after the holiday weekend. Driving back to our usual route to Alan's meant taking a wide swing to the west, rather than taking the more direct route; but we were willing to add the miles to avoid the madness of the Northeast Corridor, especially on a holiday weekend. (As it turned out, the route we took wasn't significantly different from our usual one.)

Once we got back on17 and were clear of the traffic around Fredricksburg it was back to pleasant country driving again --- except for a few miles approaching Warrenton. Just before 5:00 we connected with I-81 at Winchester. The traffic wasn't bad, so we elected to stay on the interstate. Less than an hour later, we checked in to a campground in West Virginia. Once we got settled in, we recognized it as the same one we stayed in three years ago when we took Amanda to school in Vermont.

7 July
In the morning we bought more ice. There was block ice available at the camp store. So remembering my sailing days, I bought a block. That will keep longer than cubes, but in my sailing days we didn't make Cuba Libres every night --- and I later realized we don't carry an ice pick. We had to make do with a knife (not having Cuba Libres was not an option).

We also realized that we had left our New England maps home, so leaving the campground, we headed for the nearest AAA, in Hagerstown, MD. While Jean got the appropriate maps, I went in to a nearby liquor store to get some more rum. At $37 a bottle, it was the most I had ever paid for our favorite brand. I must remember not to buy liquor in Maryland.

In mid-afternoon we stopped for an hour in a Pennsylvania rest area for lunch and a short nap. Ah, the comforts of a motorhome.

We stopped for the night at a rural campground in New York. It was raining when we arrived, and then we had to wait briefly while our site was cleared of a capsized shelter tent and some pool toys that had blown over from the adjoining site. The rain ended shortly so we went to the office and camp store to pay our fees and find something for supper. Unlike most camp stores, this one had almost no food. Back at the Roadtrek we settled down for a "dinner" of chips, crackers, dip, pimiento cheese, Cuba Libres, and soft ice-cream sandwiches for dessert. Conditions were pleasant for a while, but then it got warmer again so we closed up and started the A/C.

The campground had wifi, so we got online. Jean did some bank business but was frustrated in one of the tasks she tried to do. Grrr! Then I got on line and caught up my checkbook and went through email. Then I discovered I also had a problem with the same web site. Grrr!

8 July
We turned off the A/C in the middle of the night and woke to a clear and sunny morning. But it soon began heating up. On the road, we ran into a traffic jam just south of Saratoga Springs, where we had wanted to take a short side trip. The traffic eased up just as we got to our exit.

We went in to town to see if we could find the dancing school run by Jean's late friend, Michael Steele. We stopped at the dance museum and made inquiries, but the one person Jean could find was new to the area and didn't know where it was. We headed toward downtown, but Saratoga Springs turned out to be a much bigger and more crowded place than we had imagined. Also, there was no place where we could find parking for the motorhome. So we headed back out, promising to try again another time.

Back on local roads, we entered Vermont about 2:30. Jean called Alan and he estimated we would be at his house in about two hours. At 4:05 we stopped at the Wildflower Farm to get some more seeds. The Farm closes at 4:00 so we were disappointed. Forty minutes later we arrived at Alan's, at the same time as him. He obviously knows traveling around Vermont very well.

We spent a pleasant time visiting on his deck overlooking Lake Champlain, then off to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. The wind and rain picked up after we got back, culminating in the portable garage he had rigged for an awning on the deck blowing down. A brief flurry of activity and everything was secured for the night.

In the past we have pressed on to make Vermont in two days. This time we took three and it was a more pleasant and relaxing trip. Traveling in an RV, our experience has always been that slowing down makes things better.

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