OBVIOUSLY, we are mobile, and can change our course and our plans to avoid danger.
As we wind our way south from our Canadian Extravaganza, we are finding ourselves with a new challenge, unfamiliar to midwesterners. HURRICANE WATCHING. We will be transiting the east coast through September and October, ultimately ending up in South Georgia for our final scheduled rally this year. That takes us thru areas that either will have been or could be impacted by storms. OBVIOUSLY, we are mobile, and can change our course and our plans to avoid danger. We are watching and paying attention to the weather reports, that’s for sure!!!
But there are some unforeseen implications that can toss a wrench in the works. For example:
If Virginia and Tennessee get a lot of rain, roads would be affected at a minimum, but Campgrounds, too. These tend to be relatively unimproved. They often have streams or rivers nearby. All positive features for bucolic, peaceful stays EXCEPT if there has recently been 2 feet of rain. Which can cause them to become unusable quagmires. Doesn’t matter if you had a reservation, or if a rally has been planned for over a year; it may not be possible to get there or stay there!
And another potential issue: Construction and power restoration crews swarm to areas that have been impacted. Many of them come in trailers and need places to stay while they are working to mitigate storm damage. This can mean that campgrounds that are still operating are actually full to capacity, even though the “season” is over and kids are back in school. This means we may no longer expect to show up at a campground and find space available for us, depending on the weather.
And, all of that does not even consider the impact of these storms on the local folks that make our travel so rewarding and uplifting. So we watch the weather reports and HOPE for minimal impacts anywhere. Our carefree wandering continues, but a little less carefree. We have an extra step or two before we start the engine and move. Can we get there? What are the conditions WHEN we get there? And are there events forecast that may impact leaving there if we do get there?
The good news? This distracts us a bit from the rest of the news, which sure feels like a hopeless quagmire!
But before penetrating the hurricane zone, we followed a bucolic track to get to our first fall rally in Cape Cod. This included two stops at Harvest Hosts members. You may recall we joined this group to allow us the pleasure of staying at various farms, wineries, breweries etc. as we wander. There were several options between Burlington and Cape Cod.
The first was Gould Farms…which is an Apple orchard with a Cider problem. Or a Cider brewery with an apple problem. Whichever…a GREAT place to stop for the night!!!
Unfortunately, they did not have a space for us. ;-( After we arrived, the owner was getting ready to park us; then he mentioned we had to be out in the morning by 8:30, “As [he] mentioned in the phone message he left for me…” He never left a phone message for me…someone else was getting that spot and we were S.O.L.
But, not ENTIRELY S.O.L. There was another campground about 3 miles away. And while it was VERY threadbare, the owners were friendly, they had a spot AND there was a Brewery just down the road!!!. This brewery was actually very nice – a very intersting selection of beers, including a Sour that had just been kegged that day, so VERY fresh.
The RV next to ours had what must have been a WORLD RECORD number of dogs therein. They had SIX pointers of some sort…heading to a dog show in the area with one of them, but apparently travelling with the entrant’s whole 4-footed fambly. For moral support, I assume. Friendly, not barky – in short, no trouble at all. In fact, since having a dog is not practical for us at present, I can get my dog fix by petting others’ while Liz rolls her eyes and thanks her lucky stars that I have gotten my fix for another week.
Next, we stopped at Cisco Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. This was a Saturday night, the brewery has a restaurant and entertainment. And, as it turns out, some sort of landfill or industrial outgassing pipe just adjacent. It was flaming all night – kinda like a post-apocalyptic campfire. Very romantic, even tho it smelled a little, too; but once the wind died down, not a problem. We had a very nice evening at the brewpub … food was actually somewhat mediocre, but the beers were good, the patio quite comfy on a delightful evening.!!!
Finally, we stopped at a State Park (WOmpatuk) in Hingham, Mass. This spot was picked for proximity to Barry and Wendy MacQuarrie, whom I worked with for many years, planning, producing and executing Technology Conferences for an association of Management Consulting Firms. Barry is not quite retired, and had changed jobs since I last spoke to him, but did respond to contact in Facebook and LinkedIn. Which implied that they actually WANTED to see us, since radio silence would have had us passing right by. As complicated as it was establishing contact with the MacQuarries, getting TO Wompatuk was even more drama-filled.
We figured it was wise to penetrate Boston and come out the other side on a Sunday vs. a weekday, just from a traffic standpoint. We chose to (try to) stay on US1 from Portsmouth all the way thru Boston. This started out pretty well, as US1 is kinda “main street” for a bunch of exurban parts of Boston. But, what we learned was: State Highways are not marked very well once they turn into surface streets in major metro areas. I guess I sort of knew this since you cannot easily follow US12 either thru Minneapolis or thru Chicago. It sort of comes in at the west and leaves East. But the cities are sort of impregnable, unmarked black boxes.
Dr. Google and Ms. Garmin were actually ARGUING with each other
Normally, it is Liz and I “discussing” our route, but with regard to following US1, I had Dr. Google on my phone as well as the Garmin RV GPS going, and they were actually ARGUING with each other!. Today, I SWEAR this is true… instead of saying “…recalculating…” the GPS was saying, “NOT THAT WAY, Be-yatch!” I thot Dr. Google might be better, and was following it and ignoring the GPS until the Ms. Garmin practically SCREAMED: “9 ton restriction ahead!!!” (we are about 16 tons).
Now that could have been a residential street, a parkway or other road and the intention of the restriction sometimes is just to keep commercial trucks away – I would have been happy to ignore THAT and apologize to the Cops if we were stopped. But there was a LOT of city traffic, a pedestrian festival – general mayhem dead center Downtown Boston. Could have been a REAL weight restriction on a bridge…Boston is OLDER THAN Chicago (older than Dirt, even).
I wondered, how does one exit from a tunnel immediately?
Fortunately, I saw a sign for Interstate 93/US1 South and followed it. Soon we were heading for a tunnel (I assume “The Big Dig”) and the GPS was again screaming – “PROPANE RESTRICTION, Exit immediately” – this time with a bright red alert on screen!! I wondered, how does one exit from a tunnel immediately? I spotted a directional sign for “HM” which I think means “Hazardous Materials” that swooped us up and out of the entrance to the tunnel. We continued following that sign until we popped out of Boston on Hwy 1 heading towards Cape Cod. WHEW!!!
But, we were not out of the woods, yet.
“Why did you go down the dead end,” Liz Asked?
We were headed for the woods (Wompatuk State Park). The GPS took us down some smallish roads, and then eventually there was a sign “DEAD END.” About 100ft past that sign was the entrance to the park…LOCKED and CHAINED. Liz was asking me “Why did you go down the dead end.” I should not have, but the road justy B4 the dead end was already small, with nowhere to turn around or go in a vehicle our size. So had I stopped B4 the sign, we’d still have been stuck.
WHAT TO DO?
Turning around was NOT a very good option. Cars parked on both sides, no real space to turn. Looked like we would be backing up about ½ mile. Then a fella came out of the house right by the gate.
–> He said, “This happens all the time, which is why I asked the Park for a key!”
(Things are looking up…).
—> “Unfortunately, my son has the car and the key is in it.”
(Things are looking down…).
—> He said, “You can turn around in my driveway,” which looked barely do-able.
(Things are looking SLIGHTLY up).
—> We started that process – I had navigated backwards around a strategically-placed pine tree and into the drive, and was just about to pull out and go back the way we came
—> When someone came by (not his son) who ALSO HAD A KEY.
Gate was unlocked and we achieved the campground!!!
Normally, we have a setup routine at a new campsite.
This time our routine needed to start with an adult beverage!