Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday, Sept. 28, 2012:  After leaving Cabela's and moving onward, we stayed at Bennington, VT Walmart one night and then on to New Hampshire. We've been at Saddleback Campground in Northwood, NH for this past week. Curt has been working on installing AirForce One braking system in the Jeep and RV, changing light covers outside, fixing leaks, etc. One of these days he'll get to actually just sit at a campground. Saddleback Campground accepts Passport America, so it's half price . There's electric and water; no sewer, but there is a dump station. So I didn't wash clothes this time, but we can dump the tanks and fill new water. There's free Wifi, so I spent a lot of time searching for places to go.

The trees were really pretty going through Vermont. The area we drove through was mostly hilly. As it leveled out toward New Hampshire, they were more green again. We'll see as we go through to Maine this weekend how that area is.

When we were at Bennington, I got some groceries at Walmart, but it was a small Walmart so they didn't have much. So on the same lot was a PriceChopper store. We were surprised to see live lobster swimming around to be picked. I took some pictures of the seafood, but wasn't able to get the squid as there were people standing by that one.

There were moose on the loose!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Saturday, 9/21/12:  Tonight we are in Matamoras, PA. It's probably the closest to the New Hampshire border without being it. The river borders along the way. Tomorrow we will drive through New York into Vermont. After that head on in to New Hampshire and finally make it in to Maine. The leaves are just starting to change color now around here.

After Hershey area last weekend, we moved on to Lebanon, PA. The weather forecast wasn't very good, so we stopped at  Lowe's and ended up spending two nights there, waiting out the rain and storm warnings. They supposedly got 2-1/2 inches of rain. When it rains in the east coast, it doesn't mess around!

From there were went to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA. It has a huge lot with a separate row for RV's and separate area for semi's. It is a huge store also. They have a whole area for "Deer Country" that's larger than some stores.  We spent some snooping around in there.

Thursday we went to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.  There are look-out areas on the mountain where researches and others view the "raptors" and other birds and wildlife and keep count of them during the fall migration south. They do this from August 15th to December 15th. I can't quite imagine sitting outside all day with binoculars doing this, especially in December!  We took the Jeep up there, paid our $6 each and hiked the mile up the loop. Most of that trail was easy, but there were some areas that were pretty rocky, especially toward the end. They had other trails that had lots of rocks/boulders that I decided I didn't want to do.  We stopped at the South Lookout which only had 3 people there watching with binoculars. We went on to the North Lookout, which is supposed to be the best area, and there were about 15 people. As we got there, a volunteer explained who the researchers were, and an intern from Spain, who were keeping track of the raptors migration. There were boulders all over that people were sitting on. The only talking was when someone spotted a bird and said where it was in the sky, then everyone looking for it with their binoculars. Before we got the binoculars out of the backpack, there was an osprey with a fish in his mouth being chased by a bald eagle. The osprey dropped the fish and the bald eagle caught it - I would have liked to have seen that! Curt used his camera lens to watch and I used the binoculars. We are able to see some birds, but I had no idea what I was seeing. Most of the ones mentioned were osprey, broad winged hawks, eagles and turkey vultures. At the visitor's center they show the migration pattern and the different birds.

So we got to try out Curt's new backpack, which seemed to work okay; we have to figure out how to pack it decently.  We had lots of extra stuff in there for a couple of hours on the trail, but Curt said if we get lost...

I thought this was a cool billboard!

South Lookout

Part of the trail. There was red paint on some of the trees or the rocks to follow.

The busier North Lookout

2 eagle sculptures near the visitor's center.

Hamburg, Pennsylvania Cabela's

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday, September 16th: Happy anniversary to Dean & Valerie today, and happy birthday to my dad. It was a lazy day today, mostly catching up on reading forums and I read some books on my ipad.

We spent most of last week at Pennsylvania Dutch Country Resort at Manheim, PA. It is a Passport America and Thousand Trails resort, so we got it for half-price. Again, an older resort, nothing fancy, which is fine with us, but there could be some fixing up done, road maintenance, etc. There are a lot of seasonals there, some of which looked like they had been there since day one. It was pretty quiet though, except for the gun club noise about a mile away. I thought the place was okay, Curt wasn't impressed. Curt did RV repairs and washed the RV and the Jeep, while I did cleaning inside and baked cookies and washed clothes.

Friday we left about noon and went to Palmyra, about 5 miles from Hershey, and stopped at Walmart. They said we could park along the outside of the lot so we parked and then unhitched and went to Hershey so we could find the RV show  and see if our RV could make it there, etc. It cost $10 each to get in, so we decided we would wait until Saturday for that, but we were able to see some of the rigs they had outside; most of them were locked. The roads into the arena and parking would be kind of hard for the RV, so we decided we would just go back in the morning with the Jeep. When we got back to Palmyra Walmart, there were a couple of motorhomes parked in the lot with this. By the time we went to bed Friday night, there were 4 other motorhomes, a minihome and a travel trailer parked in the lot, along with a bread truck and a Walmart semi.

Saturday we went back to the RV show and paid $10 each to get in. They had some seminars regarding full timing RV and RV insurance that we went to. Also a solar panel one. There were lots of vendors inside and outside, and lots and lots of campers/trailers/motorhomes to look through. For the prices of the new ones, we couldn't really find anything that we really liked. The larger ones just seem to get fancier and waste space. I don't want mirrored ceilings and 2 bathrooms to clean.

After walking around for hours, I wanted to go to Hershey Chocolate World and go through their chocolate tour. The tour was free and fun and we got some free chocolate at the end (yum). We found a cache in the area and a challenge.

The weather has been in the 70's this week, lows in the 50's.

 We were able to ride in seats that took us through the made-up factory area. It was a good tour. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

09/09/12, Sunday: Wow, didn't realize it's been that long since I've been on here. Lack of decent internet does make a difference though. We're at Lowe's right now, will be heading to a campground at Manheim, PA for part of this week, waiting for the Hershey show to start.

We've been in Lancaster, PA area  for the past week, touring the countryside basically. 

At York we toured the Harley Davidson factory. The basic tour was free; there is a steel-toe tour which is $35 each and you get to keep a safety vest. That is 2 hours, the free one is 1 hour. Needless to say, we chose the free one. I thought it was interesting, I've never been in a factor tour before. All of the bikes that they make there are already sold; so no problems there. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the factory itself. York isn't a really RV-friendly town. There are signs posted everywhere for no loitering, no overnight parking. We spent a night in a lot near a Home Depot, there was no room in their lot. The lot we were in had Staples, Family Dollar, Petco and a few others. We were there one night and the next day a policeman stopped by and asked if we could move on, as the lot is posted for no loitering. We did not see any signs when we came in; but are definitely looking for them now. 

The Lancaster area is amazing. There are covered bridges, Amish buggies, roadside food stands, barns in towns, old buildings, clothes hanging out on the line from house to barn. We were able to leave our RV at the Lancaster Visitor Center on the edge of town during the day and use the Jeep to drive around and sight-see. We got a map of the area and directions for the covered bridges. Some you can still drive through, some are off of the road and not used any more. A lot of the bridges had to be made higher due to a hurricane and flooding years ago. As you drive from small town to small town, there are ads all over for Amish tours and buggy rides. There's roadside food stands, gift stores, restaurants. Some towns are so small we didn't realize we had gone through a town, as there's buildings all along the road. We stopped at Bird'n'Hand Farmers Market. It's a large building with food and crafts. As soon as we stepped in, we both remembered being there when we were in Pennsylvania in 2007. This was where we had bought 1 of our rugs in the RV; and they still had them. There is a meat market there, all kinds of baked goods, candies, herbs. There are crafts and wood items. You have to check things though; not all of the items are made in Pennsylvania - some are made in China,  wherever.

We went to Intercourse Canning Company and Intercourse Pretzel Factory for tours. Nope, not much of a tour. The Canning Company you can watch in a kitchen area if they are making anything at that time. They had a video showing the factory, and there were samples from salsas to jellies. The pretzel place we waited for the next tour for half an hour, and then the person didn't show up, so the lady there was calling around to find her. The lady behind the counter took us to the back and told us about how they do the pretzels - still making them by hand - and gave us some dough to have us try making a pretzel like they do. They have a small business needless to day, but it works for them. They can't make them when the humidity is too high, or they don't dry correctly and become stale. 

We went to Wilbur Chocolate Factory and Museum in Lititz. There, again, we could see only in the back area if someone was making something at the time. They did have a video about cocoa beans and how the chocolate is made, which was interesting.You could hear the machines going in the upstairs area. They did have some chocolate samples, which we both thought were really sweet. Guess we're used to the cheap chocolate! 

The countryside is so interesting. You can have a house/barn in middle of town. Across the street can be a million-dollar home. There are are some really old buildings and some really expensive-looking ones. Most of the barns have openings for drying out the tobacco crops. We saw some Amish harvesting tobacco by hand. There is corn, tobacco and we think field peas all over. The corn is so tall. I stood beside some, tried to reach the top, and it was still over a foot taller than my arm reach. There are clothes hanging out on the clothes lines many places. The line extends from the house up to the top of the barn. The Amish buggies clip-clopping down the highway. Every road we were on was paved, and we took a lot of back roads. The buggies have a slow-moving sign on the back, along with lights. When we had the rainstorm yesterday, I was wondering how they handle that. It was so windy, the RV rocked, and cars were pulling off the road to come into the parking lot. There was so much rain and wind, they couldn't see.

We've been having some trouble with the electrical/dash/throttle. Curt traced it to a solenoid, and we were able to find an Advanced Auto Parts who ordered it for us and would get it the next day. Conveniently, they were right beside Walmart, so we stayed there overnight. That is probably one of the dirtiest Walmarts we have been to. The store itself was fine, except there were no carts to be found; they were all outside all over the parking lot. There were carts everywhere, garbage all over. There was another motorhome there when we got there. There is a security car that drives around. The next morning Curt got the part and put it in, but things still didn't work. Terrific. So, more research. He called Monaco and they said it was a front solenoid. Really? Two of them at one time? So, more checking things out and, sure enough, that's what it pointed to. Okay, now back to Advanced Auto Parts for another one. The guy at the counter said someone had just come in to get one this morning. We never order these. Curt said, yeah, that was me. So, another night at Walmart. By that evening we had 3 motorhomes and a travel trailer around us. Got our own little village going. The next morning Curt got the new solenoid and put it in. Things started working again, but our backup camera is messed up with all of this going on. So, hopefully, that will come back. 

Along with that, we've had a few rain storms; and when it rains out east, it rains. No messing around; it downpours. We have a leak in our bathroom shower area that needs to be fixed. So it looks like this week at the campground will be maintenance week. No matter how big or little your house or vehicle is, there is always maintenance.