Friday, August 25, 2017

On the road again, to Newfoundland

Well, folks, we’re back on the road again, on our big adventure to explore Newfoundland and Labrador!  When we first visited the Atlantic Maritimes in 2014 we made it to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, but not to Newfoundland/Labrador, so we’ve been looking forward to this trip for some time.  Originally we had planned to leave sometime early August, but we needed to do some maintenance around the house, the main thing being having the outside painted.  Well, unlike last summer when it was dry, dry, dry, August in Cherry Log has been wet, wet, wet!  That meant the painters kept getting delayed, to make sure the house was dry enough to paint, so we weren’t able to leave quite as early as planned.  The good news is that the painters finished, doing a great job, and all the other household maintenance items got handled by the end of last week.  Since it’s a 15 hour ferry ride from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, we figured the earlier in the fall we could make that crossing the better.  So we took off on Saturday, August 19, figuring that if we didn’t get outta Dodge then, we would be stuck in the eclipse traffic—and, man were we glad we did!  All the way up the country on Saturday and Sunday the southbound traffic on I-75 and I-81 was insane!  Bumper to bumper in many places.  Anyway, we knew we wanted to make as much time as we could, so we drove farther than we typically do in the RV, just to get on up the road.  But you know what?  As much as we enjoy seeing lots of new places and revisiting places we’ve been, just riding up the road in the RV—in case any dear reader has forgtten its name, we christened it HAPPYX2—with my sweet Trisha in the seat beside me is just the best way to spend a day!  She’s the navigator, the one who searches out potential campgrounds as we roll along, makes sure I take the correct turns, and just smiles her smile—what could be better??!!  We laugh so much about the memories of when we first decided to live the RV life, so many people told us it would be tough spending this much time just with each other—one friend even made Trisha a bet that we wouldn’t make it 2 months on the road!—but we’ve said many times how much this has seemed like one long second honeymoon to us.  On our first trip—7 months in 2013—we met an older couple in a campground in Pensacola Beach, FL who had a big RV, and a small tent set up outside.  We first thought they must have grandkids traveling with them who would be sleeping in the tent, but when we asked the woman about it her response was hilarious:  Oh no, honey, that’s for when I just can’t stand to be inside with my husband any longer so I come out and sleep in the tent!  So we joke about this all the time, and so far, neither of us has felt any need to buy a tent—HO!HO!HO!
We made it to Wytheville, VA on Saturday night and stayed in a lovely campground, nestled in a clearing among the trees.  It was about 10 miles off the interstate—good news and bad news.  The good news is that it was much more secluded than a place right next to the highway; the not so good news—it was a bit more challenging to get in and out of.  The small road leading to it was narrow, with lots of curves and tight turns.  The main issue was that once arriving at the campground, the turn off into the drive was a sharp left hand turn, with an immediate steep drop.  Not too much of a problem for a car, but with the length of an RV plus a tow car, a bit tighter.  We made it into the place okay, but coming out the next morning meant we had to make this sharp right hand turn, climbing up and onto the road.  Well, it was such a steep climb, and with the sharp turn, even though I was going as slow as I could, all of a sudden the refrigerator door came open and stuff tumbled out onto the floor—fortunately none of the containers opened, and we were especially grateful that the big one holding the delicious vegan chili Trisha had made survived, or it would have been a red mess all over the carpet!!  Anyway, while we were at the campground we met two young girls who lived with their Mom at the campground—a number of permanent residents there—who loved playing with Sophie.  Of course Sophie loved the attention as well!  A couple pulled into the site next to us who had traveled from northern Virginia on their way to Knoxville to view the eclipse.  They were recent retirees and we enjoyed talking the joys of RVing with them.  There were also quite a few Mennonite families in the campground as well—reminded us of the big Amish and Mennonite population in Sarasota. Deer Trail Campground, Wytheville, VA.  Gonna try to remember from now on to identify the campgrounds where we stay, as several times folks have asked us where to stay on the road, so I’ll try to do better this time.
Sunday we made it into Pennsylvania, spending the night near Hershey.  Beautiful day for driving, lots of sunshine and clear skies.  Found a KOA less than a mile off the interstate, which, after the previous night’s adventure, was a welcome relief!  Very easy on and off, and a Pilot gas station just 10 miles up the road!  Jonestown/Hershey KOA.
Monday we drove to West Boylston, Mass, where we parked in a Walmart lot and got to visit with our good friend, Gary Childs, whom we met at Sun_N-Fun in Sarasota.  We’ve become very good friends with Gary and his wife, Linda, over the last 4 years.  We jokingly refer to Gary as the Mayor of our section of Sun-N-Fun, and he’s known throughout the park as the man to call if you need any kind of help.  He’s a retired big rig truck driver, so many times when someone is having trouble getting a rig parked, I’ve seen him just hop in and drive the rig into their place for them.  And he’ll give you the shirt off his back in a heartbeat.  Linda was on a trip to Paris with one of her retired teacher colleagues, so we didn’t get to see her, but it was wonderful to see Gary.  And, of course Sophie loved playing with her good friend, Chino, their dog!  We took Gary out to dinner and he chose his favorite neighborhood grill and bar, and it was just the neatest place—virtually everyone there knew him by name and were so friendly.  The classic neighborhood pub—made you think of the themesong from Cheers—where everybody knows your name!  He gets a kick out of hearing our accents when we talk, and we love hearing them!  When Trisha was talking to him on the phone getting directions, at first she was not sure where he was talking about when he said we needed to be sure to make it through Hahtford before rush hour—we forget about the Mass folks replacing r with h!  Anyway, he mapped out our route for us to get to him, and for us to get from there on into Maine the next day.
We drove to Eddington, ME on Tuesday, and we stayed at Cold River Campground and which was lovely!  Great family campground, lots of seasonal and permanent residents.  Some RVers don’t like to stay at places where there are a lot of seasonal or permanent sites, and, admittedly, in some campgrounds some of these sites do seem to get left unmaintained.  But we love it, to see how folks have done things to make their site homey, like building decks, landscaping, lights, etc.  We love to see creative ideas folks have used—one sign read “Welcome to our campfire—where marshmallows and friends get toasted!”  Anyway, a couple pulled into the site next to us in a very small Class C motorhome from Washington state—quite a ways from home, but they were having a wonderful trip.  They appeared to be a fair bit older than we are, and, of course that always excites us, to see folks still RVing into their older years—remember folks, despite what our kids may say, we’re not old—HO!HO!HO!  And the campground was full of kids; the first little boy who saw Santa just stopped in his tracks and stared.  So I pulled out my Santa’s List book and “found” his name on the Good Boy List and signed a picture for him.  Well, soon there were a whole bunch of kids riding their bikes all around our RV, until one of them worked up the nerve to knock on the door and ask Mrs. Claus if Santa could come out to play—so much fun!
Wednesday we made it into Canada—to St. Andrews By the Sea, New Brunswick, a lovely little town right on the water.  We had stayed here in 2014, and took a sailboat whale watching cruise, where we got to see lots of whales, including a mama and her baby frolicking in the sea—one time Mom just dove down and swam under the boat and surfaced right on the other side—quite a thrill.  The campground where we stayed before—Kiwanis Campground, which is right smack dab on the water, in the middle of downtown—was full, but we found a good place at Island View Campground, about 5 miles out of town.  Again, this is a nice family campground, very friendly folks, with a number of permanent residents.  One word of caution to any RVers who might stay there—stay away from Site 9—this was the first pull through site they gave us, but it was on an incline and we couldn’t get the RV level.  But they were very accommodating to let us move and site 51 is a perfectly level site.  There was a lovely family across from us and we enjoyed visiting with them.  We drove into town and walked around the dock area, where we had boarded the sailboat before.  We had also found a wonderful little yarn shop right on the water, but by the time we got into town, it was closed.  Trisha had found some great yarn there before and had hoped to visit with the owner again, but we had fun just walking around this quaint little town.
Using a new app for this blog now, and can’t figure out how to include pictures, so I’ll try to post this and put up pictures later.

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