Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Burlington and beyond

Monday, 3 August and Tuesday 4 August

Monday was a casual day --- for us, not for Alan and Valerie. Valerie went in to work, where she is dealing with a software change-over, always a recipe for problems. Alan and Jean went off to deliver a new refrigerator to one of his rentals. I caught up on some chores around the motorhome, did some stuff online, and took a nap.

In the evening we went to the edge of downtown to a Mexican restaurant. There we had a long, casual meal and lots of conversation. Afterwards we walked down to the waterfront for Gene to have his annual look at the Lois Maclure, a reproduction of a 19th century canal boat rigged as a schooner. On the canal, she is towed as normal. On the Hudson or Lake Champlain she raises her two masts and sails. She seems to have fallen on hard times since the last time he saw her. She is no longer moored where visitors can come aboard and the hull needs quite a bit of work. Her masts are up, but there are no sails bent and while she has booms rigged there are no gaffs. She was a pretty sad sight.

Then we went up the hill for cremees. That is what they call soft ice cream in Vermont. We sat on the deck and enjoyed a striking sunset while slurping our cremees. A lovely end to a quiet day.

Tuesday was departure day.  We had topped off our water tanks on Monday so we were away by 9:30. Away but not quite on our way. We drove up to the campground at North Beach where we dumped the tanks. Then to Hannaford's for some groceries. By 10:30 we were actually on our way. Namely, Gene tried to recall how to get to the interstate from the various trips he took with Alan. We made it with only one wrong turn (easily corrected) and headed for Montpelier.

We like downtown Montpelier, but it is damnably hard to park a motorhome there. We finally found a place at the edge of the business district and headed for a store we knew about. When we got there it looked threatening, so Gene went back to the rig for the umbrella. We had gone to get a particular bumper sticker we had seen there on a previous trip. Their stock of bumper stickers was way down and they no longer had it. Shucks.

By then it was time for lunch and we headed to another of our favorite places, the Skinny Pancake. We got there just as it was beginning to rain. Lunch was accompanied by a heavy downpour with hail. By the time we got out it was still raining, but lightly. Still, we were glad to have the umbrella.

Next item on the list was a visit to Bragg Farm. This is a maple sugar farm that we had stayed at a couple of years ago thanks to Harvest Hosts, an organization that puts RVers together with farms, vineyards, etc. for overnight parking. When we were there we bought a supply of maple syrup, and we have gone back there for our supply ever since.

Having checked off everything on our list, we were footloose and fancy free. We decided to follow I-89 to Quechee Gorge, "the Grand Canyon of Vermont." Along the way another heavy storm caught up with us. Rain and a little lightning for a while. We both decided that Vermont is beautiful, even in bad weather.

We pulled in to the campground at Quechee State Park, which is actually leased from the Corps of Engineers. They told us to pick a spot and come back and pay for it. When we got back, Jean learned that the fellow who handled our registration is a student at JMU.  At the same time, a Class C pulled in and asked for the site we just claimed. It seems he camps there frequently and knows which sites he wants. Luckily he had some other preferences as well.

This is a great campground. The sites are large, well-separated, and surrounded by trees. Like most state parks, there are no hookups, but the bathrooms and showers are well-kept. Probably not a place we would choose to dry-camp for a long time since the trees filter out most of the sunshine, but it suited our purposes just fine. We'll probably stay another day.

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