Day #173 – Hello/Good-bye, Vermont!

LOCATION:  Near Plymouth, New Hampshire – in central part of state
CAMPGROUND:  Baker River Campground.  Nice, grassy site.  Level.  Picnic table and fire pit.  Electricity and water.  Full hook-ups available.  Volleyball court, playground, horseshoes. Good bathroom/shower,  Small and very quiet.  A Mom&Pop-kind of place with super friendly owner/hostess.  $43/night.  4 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Cloudy with intermittent showers all day.  High 76

We had a nice overnight at the Valcour Brewery Harvest Host site in Plattsburgh, NY.   We headed over to the nearby Burger King for coffee and wifi.  Then, we hit the road for today’s destination – Plymouth, New Hampshire, the only place in Maine/Vermont/New Hampshire where I could find a Covid 19 test appointment available. 

We drove north to the Quebec border – we could actually see the crossing.  (We are not crossing to Canada via Quebec, as we would have to go far north to get to Nova Scotia.)  We took a bridge over  Lake Champlain into Vermont, and then turned south and east. There aren’t major east/west highways in Vermont and New Hampshire, due to the mountains, so the drive was mostly backroads.  I just LOVE Vermont.  Our drive looked so Vermont-y!  New England-style barns, lots of farm stands, old old buildings, quaint villages, maple syrup stands, etc. 

We saw lots of signs warning us of moose on the road, but didn’t see any.  😦 

We crossed the Vermont border into New Hampshire and entered the White Mountains.  Tonight we are in the country.  Our campground is popular earlier in the summer for tubing the river that runs through it.  There are also rock-climbers here who like this place.  We will be here 2 nights – tomorrow to get the test, and hopefully the results ASAP.

DINNER:  More of the salmon.  This makes the 3rd dinner from the salmon filets a fisherman gave us several weeks ago while on Lake Michigan.  Tonight I made salmon burgers with some frozen salmon.  They turned out great.  Side was leftover farro mixed with rice, and green beans. 

BOOK:   “Shadows in Death” by J.D. Robb.  One of a series about a female detective that takes place in 2060.  A book I picked up at a campground “library”.  A good fall-back when I need a hard-back book to read.

We don’t have any TV reception here, so watched a Rick Steves’ travel DVD.  We are almost through with the entire set! Thanks to our daughter for the gift!!

Day #172 – Traveling through the Adirondacks

LOCATION:  Plattsburgh, New York – near the Vermont/Quebec border.
CAMPGROUND:  A Harvest Host brewery – Valcour.  It is an inn/restaurant/brewery, located on an old Air Force base.  Nice grassy place to park next to the inn.  5 stars out of 5.
WEATHER:  Rain most of the day.  Cloudy.  High 74

We woke up to the sound of rain on the roof.  Good news….no leaks!  I spent a few frustrating hours trying to find a location where we can get our Covid 19 test to get into Canada.  I am searching all of the states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  We have to time it just right…..get an appointment, get the results, and then cross the border within 72 hours.  Our travel route will depend on the day and place we can find a testing place.  Unfortunately, the websites are clunky and the number of appointments is slim to none.  I finally got one in New Hampshire, so that is where we will head tomorrow.  What a hassle!

Last night’s stay, the Whipperwill Campground,  has a 10:00 AM check-out time (rather early), so we had to rush our morning routine.  Off we went through the VERY touristy village of Lake George.  It is full of restaurants, shops, putt-putt golf courses, arcades, etc like any touristy town.

We passed lots of resorts, motels, hotels, housekeeping cabins, and inns.  (All with No Vacancy signs).  The lake is very long and thin so this goes on and on.  There are also fabulous lakeside mansions with tennis courts that line the lake.

We are in the Adirondack Mountains, so of course there are Adirodnack chairs!

Not in any rush, we took a scenic by-way all of the way north along the Lake.  It went on for about 40 miles, and then we followed Lake Champlain.  It was a beautiful drive, and would probably be drop-dead beautiful with autumn colors.  We went through a lot of quaint towns with signs saying that they were settled in the mid-1700s. 

We stopped at this beautiful chasm that is quite popular.

We arrived in Plattsburgh in mid-afternoon and found our Harvest Host site.  Parking was kindly marked.

The entire area used to be a huge Air Force base.  They have converted the barracks to the inn/restaurant/brewery where we are camped next to.

We walked over to another brewery that was once the fire station for the Air Force base.

Other former base buildings are now lofts, offices, child care centers, and museums.  It is nice that they have preserved the buildings.  George was interested in this B-47, once one of the greatest in the USA

DINNER:  We ate in the inn/restaurant.  George had a Smoky Hog sandwich with smoked, pulled pork, bacon, and cheese – just decadent.  I had part of a feta/spinach flatbread that will provide leftovers for future lunches.

Even without electricity, we can use our inverter to watch a little TV.  We watched a little PBS before an early night…..nice and quiet.

Day #171 ….Lake George, By George!

LOCATION:  Lake George, New York
CAMPGROUND:  Whipperwill RV Park and Campground.  Full hook-up.  Great location for those wanting to visit popular Lake George.  Cable TV.  Very crowded – we got the last site.  Decent bathrooms.  Swimming pool and playground.  Good fire (no grate).  $55/night.  3 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Cloudy in AM; rain in the PM and evening. Cool.  High 74

There is a hint of autumn in the air.  Some of the trees in the mountains around us are just starting to turn.  These leaves gave us a clue that fall is on its way.

We got an early start as we had a ways to go today, and wanted to get ahead of the rain.  We took the “Avoid Highways” feature off our GPS  so Gigi, our GPS,  took us on Interstates most of the way.  Some weren’t too bad, but going through cities and connecting to different Interstates was not fun. 

We stopped in Albany, NY to talk with a Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy about getting our Covid 19 test for entry into Canada.  What a hassle!  The websites are not too friendly and the phone tree is impossible. We thought talking to an actual person would help, but it was an unsuccessful experience. 

We were relieved to arrive at this campground….We actually do hear whipperwills calling all around us.

The host, a very friendly young man, greeted us by name, got us registered, and offered us free beer!  Can’t beat that!  (Although it is n/a)

George made a nice fire and did some grilling.

DINNER:  Salmon pasta.  I sauted cooked (grilled) salmon leftovers with onions and a lot of garlic.  I added lemon juice, capers, and cream cheese to make a light cream sauce.  I served over thin spaghetti.  Sides were grilled tomatoes and corn-on-the-cob.  All quite tasty!

Day #170 – Making progress on our way to Nova Scotia – made it to Pennsylvania.

LOCATION:  Tioga, Pennsylvania – in north central part of state, not far from NY border
CAMPGROUND:  Ives Run on Tioga-Hammond Lake/Reservoir.  Army Corps of Engineers campground.  Paved, long site with firepit and picnic table.  Electricity and sewer.  New bathroom and shower.  $20/ night.  No water views.  4 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Hot.  Some rain.  High 89

We didn’t rush our departure time.  While George did his daily exercise routine, I walked around the campground.  Yesterday I said that the campground seemed about 10% occupied.  I need to revise this to about 3% occupancy.  In my walk, I found several other campground loops, with about 500 sites.  Only a handful were occupied.  I think it is because they do not have electricity.  Our small loop is the only one with hook-ups.  In this heat, people really want their A/C.  I saw two deer eating their breakfast grass on the walk. 

Then, we hit the road.  We went almost due east and a bit north.  Pennsylvania is a wide state.  Our atlas has two pages of Pennsylvania – Western half and Eastern half.  We finally managed to get to the Eastern half.  Again, we took the back roads.  We could have made much better time had we taken the Ohio Turnpike (horrible), but enjoyed seeing the little towns and countrysides. 

This shows where we were last night, tonight’s top, and the remaining route to Nova Scotia – in the Annapolis Valley.

Twice we encountered “Road Closed” signs without any directions about a detour.  I just turned wherever I could, and Gigi (our new name for our GPS) caught up. 

This was particularly inconvenient in a gritty part of Youngstown, Ohio. Speed limits all day were 25, 35, or 45 mph. 

Then, we got into the Allegheny Mountains and Allegheny National Forest.  We started to climb.  The clouds rolled in and we really got a downpour.

It got foggier and visibility got worse as the clouds lowered in the mountains.

We arrived in the campground in the downpour, and managed to set up without getting too wet.  We hunkered down for the rest of the evening.  Thank goodness for books and Rick Steves travel DVDs.

DINNER:  I am trying to spread out the salmon so that we don’t have it every consecutive night.  So, without much else in the refrigerator, I put this together…..I made some farro (like quinoa but nuttier).  Then, I added some veg that I previously sauted and had frozen – red bell pepper, onions, and mushrooms.  I warmed that up and added some bits of salami – a homemade gift from our friends in Ontario whom we visited.  I doused it all with Parmesan and it was good.  Tomorrow…..back to salmon,  I think. 

Day #169. Canada…..Here we come! (Again)

LOCATION:  Berlin, Ohio in west central part of state
CAMPGROUND:  Mill Creek Campground on Lake Berlin – Army Corps of Engineers.  Gravel, level site with picnic table and fire pit.  Electricity only.  Central water and dump.  Old but clean showers/bathrooms.  Some sites have lake views.  We almost do.  At $12/night, 4 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Hot and muggy again.  High 88

We hung around at the Airstream factory in the AM.  We parked overnight in their terraport, with about 10 other Airstreamers having service on their rigs. 

  While George worked on Joy a bit, I took a stroll around the Airstream grounds. This is one of the factories.

Even the security guard’s entrance looks like an Airstream.

Each of the factory buildings builds a different kind of trailer.  These are the small Base Camp models.

These are called Interstate and Atlas, a type of Class B small motorhome.  They start at about $200K.

This is a very old Land Yacht that has just had repair.

This long one, probably 33 feet, just got repaired, too

We took off, heading north and east toward Nova Scotia.  With 1600 miles to go, we need to keep a pretty quick pace.  Even though we wanted to cover a lot of miles today, we took secondary roads.  We programmed the GPS in the mode “avoid highways and tolls” and “she” really did.  We drove through small towns and a lot of soybean and corn fields.  Being in the “Rust Belt”, each of the towns seemed to have at least one type of factory, some working and some deserted.

Miss GPS took us through a suburb of Akron, Ohio.  Who knew that there is such a lovely part of this city that has a bad rep…..It is called Portage Lakes.  It is a series of lakes at different elevations, so at each turn in the road, you encounter a different lake, all surrounded by beautiful homes.  It probably got its name as settlers would have had to portage their boats from lake to lake. 

We drove through a lot of Amish country.  Besides the road signs, you can tell by the horse do-do on the road and the laundry hanging.

Our campground is only about 10% full, reminding us of camping in previous years. 

We got settled in watched a little PBS.  George built a nice campfire for us to grill a big piece of salmon that a fisherman had given us when camping a few weeks ago near Lake Michigan.  One of my blog readers had recommended this non-stick grill mat, and it worked very well.

DINNER:  Grilled salmon, stir-fried zucchini with tomatoes, and rice.  We have a lot of leftover salmon, so I am already thinking about what to do with it for upcoming meals.  I see salmon burgers, salmon tacos, and salmon pasta in our near future! 

Day #168 – In Airstream-land

LOCATION:  Jackson Center, Ohio
CAMPGROUND:  Airstream Factory Terraport
WEATHER:  Scorching hot.  High 95.  Muggy.  Heat index 105

We had to get up bright and early so that the tractor could come pick up Joy for her “doctor’s appointment”.  This is the maintenance bay with the tractor.

There are Airstreams everywhere – all shapes and sizes.  These have had maintenance and are waiting for their owners to pick them back up.

Airstream has a nice waiting room with great wifi.  We chatted with the other couples having service today.  George met with the technician.  The things we needed are – fix the leak, wheel bearings, and our stair steps.  He thought it would be completed by mid-afternoon.

So, off we went for errands.  George then went to an aeronautical museum while I did a ton of laundry.  He said the museum was great.  A lot of astronauts are from Ohio.  The laundry was not as much fun…..

From there, we went to a nearby town to “Ohio’s best beer bar”.

Jackson Center does not have much to offer – a Subway restaurant, post office, Ace hardware, a bank, and some gas stations.  There is one restaurant that opens rarely.

We were intrigued with a fried bologna sandwich on the menu, something that we haven’t had in years, so we ordered one to share.  It was sinfully good. 

The technician called us at 3:00 and said that Joy was repaired and back in its site.  While Joy was in the shop, we turned off the refrigerator to defrost it.  When we came back, we had a nice clean refrigerator and freezer that we loaded back up.

The technician didn’t find a major leak, but sealed some small cracks.  We hope that will solve the leak problem. 

DINNER:  We had planned to go to the town’s restaurant, but found it closed.  So, pickings were pretty slim –  we had pork & beans, and a salad. 

BOOK: “Leaving Everything Most Loved” by Jacqueline Winspear.  This is part of a series of a female detective in the early 1900s.  A nice series to fall back on.  4 stars out of 5

Day #167 – Lots of ups and downs!

LOCATION:  Jackson Center, Ohio – in central part of state
CAMPGROUND:  The “terraport” of the Airstream factory.   Full hook-ups.  Free.  No shade, so very hot.
WEATHER:  HOT!!!  High 95.  105 heat index. 

We got up early since we had a long driving day ahead of us.  We were pleasantly surprised that there hadn’t been too much road noise during the night, even though we were right off Interstate 75.

We had a lot of ups and downs all day.  First up and down —  the morning temperature was very pleasant, at around 65.  During the day we watched the gauge go up and up – to 95.  Then, we drove through a very hard rain storm and it cooled down to 75.  After the rain, we watched the temp go back to a very muggy 95.

For lunch, we stopped at a roadside park where we saw really unusual, huge mushrooms.  George looked them up – Jack o’ Lantern mushrooms

Second up and down – the price of gas jumped all around today.  We started the day seeing signs for $3.29/gallon.  During the trip, the prices went down to $2.65/gallon.  When we needed gas, ours was $2.85/gallon, the cheapest we have bought in a long time.

Third up and down –  our GPS took us through a lot of backroads.  Most were ok.  We turned a corner and saw a bridge that said – no vehicles over 9 feet.  As we drove farther, we saw why – a very low underpass.

George said, “I THINK we can make it”.  I was driving and freaked out, thinking that I did not want to chance it.  So, I turned into a church parking lot to make a U-turn.  The church must not have wanted travelers to do this very thing, as they had put up a cable about 8-feet high to keep out vehicles. (How un-Christian!!!)    By this time, I was halfway in the driveway and halfway still on the highway.  Of course, all traffic was stopped.  George got out and directed me so I could inch forward enough to get off the road.  The problem was that the cable would hit our air conditioners.  We just sat there, not knowing what to do.

There was a very friendly telephone man working in the parking lot.  He saw our dilemma, and suggested that we push up the cable with a broom.  So, George lifted the cable while the man watched the clearance, and directed me to go forward inch by inch.  We made it!  But then, the un-Christian church had totally blocked the other entrance/exit, so I had to do a U-turn and do the whole thing  all over again!!!

I was too scared to try the underpass, so turned the wheel over to George.  I shut my eyes and he drove through.  Cars waited for us as we approached, and let us straddle both lanes and go through the highest point in the middle.  Whew!

We made it to Jackson Center, and set up in their terraport.  It is a great system.  Airstream likes you to arrive the day before your service appointment.  Then, tomorrow morning, they will pick up the Airstream  with a tractor at 7:00 AM to start the work. 

DINNER:  We will be defrosting the refrigerator tomorrow while they are working on the Airstream, so tonight was a mish-mash of leftovers…..I baked some leftover grits in a casserole dish, adding dollops of cream cheese and parmesan cheese.  After it hardened up, I topped with sauteed bell peppers and salami.  Side was salad.  There isn’t too much left in the refrigerator. 

Day #166 – Back to the USA!

LOCATION:  Gaylord, Michigan – in north central part of state
CAMPGROUND:  Another Harvest Host site – Big Buck Brewery.  We are in their very large, paved parking lot – so setting up was easy.  Concerned that there will be road noise overnight
WEATHER:  Hotter.  Sunny.  High 84

We took our time at our friends’ house in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  George chatted the whole morning with our friend.  We took off around noon.

The border crossing was a breeze  –  the easiest we have ever experienced.    We were the only vehicle in line!  So — no wait.  We showed our passports.  After one easy question – did you buy anything in Canada?—- the agent welcomed us to the USA.

I did the driving again today – making myself cross the scary Mackinaw Bridge.  I did it! 

We arrived in Gaylord in mid-afternoon and got set up.  Here is a big beer bottle at Big Buck Brewery where we are parked….

We walked to their cute downtown.  It is called an “Alpine Village” and the architecture is Bavarian.

Lots of nice flowers, too

We are on the 45th Parallel – halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. There are 45th Parallel shops here.

We found a brewery that had been recommended and tried some of their beers.  Then, we walked back to Big Buck Brewery for another beer and dinner.  We had one of the 45th Parallel IPAs.

DINNER:  Pizza and beer. 

Day #165 – A Day on Lake Superior with Friends

LOCATION:  Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario
CAMPGROUND:  At our friends’ house
WEATHER:  Beautiful.  Sunny.  High 82

What a wonderful day with friends!   We enjoyed Sunday morning breakfast with the Trains, with whom we are staying.  George made his famous Southern grits for them.  (Not a big hit). 

They showed us around their property and we checked out their vineyard.  They told us that the bears like the grapes, too!

Then, we loaded their motorhome and took off for a day on Lake Superior.  Other friends that winter in Retama Village have just bought a cute house there.  They  have a lovely view of the lake..

Here is the gang hanging out at the lake.

We spent the afternoon chatting (and eating and drinking!)

Our friend Steve took the stand-up paddleboat out.  Luna, their great dog, followed along…

DINNER: Grilled chicken and salad. Homemade wine, topped off with lemoncello. Wow!

We drove back home, about 30 minutes, and made it an early night.

Day #164 – Oh, Canada!

LOCATION:  Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario
CAMPGROUND:  At our friends’ house outside of town
WEATHER:  Hot – hottest day so far here.  Sunny.  High 86

We scurried around in the morning, trying to get an early start.  I didn’t even have time to use the KOA’s wifi this morning, one of the few of their amenities that we use. 

I was driving and volunteered to get us across the Mackinaw Bridge.  Normally, I give the wheel to George when crossing scary bridges, but I thought I should make myself do it.  It was really frightening!  ….but I DID  it!   From there, we went another hour north to Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.  There was hardly any traffic on the highway – kind of weird.

Then, to the border crossing.  There was only one lane open.  There were only 5 vehicles ahead of us, but we waited an hour or more for our turn.  We had entered all of our data (screenshots of our photos and our Covid immunization cards, our quarantine plan,  (if necessary), details of our Covid 19  test, time of crossing,  and our address in Canada, into  the “ArriveCanada” website.  After completing their questionnaire and giving them this info, I got an approval to cross, along with an email and code.  (I did all of this yesterday).  So, when it was our turn to speak to the agent today, we gave him our passports, and he looked up our profile in the “Arrive Canada” website.  After 2 quick questions – do we have guns, alcohol, and/or cigarettes, and how long will be in Canada, he waved us through.  It took only 5 minutes or less.  I think the people ahead of us had not filled out that form, as it took each of them a LONG time with the agent.

After getting lost a bit in Sault Ste. Marie, due to construction, we arrived at our friends’ house.  They are our neighbors in Retama Village, Texas.  Due to Covid, they haven’t been able to see them for a while.  We had a great visit in the shade.

Joy is happily parked in their driveway. 

They took us downtown to their brewery which is quite nice.

Back at the campground, we sat around the fire chatting the evening away.

DINNER:  We just munched on chips/salsa and George had a crab sandwich.