I still remember going to bed with window fan blowing hot humid air into our bedroom (I shared a bedroom with 1 or 2 of my brothers depending on the year). Hey, at least it was air movement, and we were happy for that. Other times we would have our beds right next to the window and get our faces as close to the screen as possible hoping, just hoping, for the slightest cool breeze to cross our faces. The other thing I remember about this era in my life was listening to the Minnesota Twins on my 9-volt transistor radio tuned into WCCO radio. I would have to hide the radio under my pillow so my mom did not know I was listening when I was supposed to be sleeping. Harmen Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew… I had some of their posters on my wall. Mom had to know I was listening to the radio because at least once a week I would be frantically searching for a 9-volt battery because I fell asleep with the radio on again.
The scene that brought back these memories was when I rolled over in bed and saw Barb laying kinda sideways in bed with her face pressed up against the screen trying to get some cool night air. On the other side, I was doing the same thing. But there was none. The air was as still and as quiet as it could be. Just plain hot, humid and miserable. And it was not even that hot. Our highs were in the mid 80’s and it was miserable trying to sleep. I could not even imagine 90’s or higher and humid. No thanks!
After two nights of this Barb made it her mission to find someplace cooler for us to sleep. We really did not have an agenda for this leg of our adventure. Just work our way south from Maine to Pennsylvania by the 23rd where we will be meeting our daughter and family for a few days of camping before going back to their place.
The other thing we wanted to do was cross off a few states that we had never visited. Pretty easy to do up in this area without really going out of our way. We were able to cross off Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. I will tell you, that these states have beauty that will rival anyplace else we have been. The wooded mountains and valleys across these states is incredible. You can see for miles and miles on top of some of them. This then transitions into the rolling farmland in Pennsylvania with a beautiful mixture of farm fields and woods. Amish buggies along the side of the roads make driving a little challenging sometimes. They must have some very well-trained horses not to spook at all the cars that go zooming by them. There is a tiny (very tiny) bit of jealousy as you see the simple lifestyle the Amish lead out here. One cannot help but wonder what it is like to live that lifestyle.
Our favorite place was Wildgus State Park in Vermont. Very pretty, right on the Connecticut River. I was sick for two days, so we just hung out here and chilled. Well, I chilled as I could not get warm even with a blanket and 88-degree weather. Barb did not chill, but she read her book. I broke out the hammock Jessica gave us as a gift a few years ago and Zoey kept me company as I read, slept and let my body repair itself.
Two days later I was raring and ready to go again. Barb had spent that time researching different areas, different routes and the temperatures in each of these areas. Her first spot was only a few hours away, but it was up in the mountains at some free National Forest land. It had a ½ dozen remote campsites with a 14-day stay limit. But when we got there, they were all take by people who had obviously been there well over 14 days. Most of the sites were well maintained but a couple of them were going to need some major clean up if and when the current tenants ever leave.
She thought this might happen, so she had a plan B location a few miles further down the road and we found a nice quiet, shaded spot where the temps only reached the mid 70’s during the day.
The next day found us again traveling south in search of a cooler temps the comforts of a shady retreat. We found it in the Catskill State Park. I was a little leery following the woman-in-the-box as she provided directions to more and more remote roads. When she finally said “You have reached your destination” we found ourselves on a one lane gravel road deep in the Catskills.
There was said to be 5 campsites in the area, but we did not see them. All we had seen so far was “No camping” signs. So, we carried cautiously optimistic. We came across a single lane bridge with a sign that stated it had a 5-ton weight limit. “How much do we weigh?” I asked Barb. “I have no idea”, she responded. My next words are ones that Barb will wonder about for the rest of her life; “Why don’t you get out and I’ll meet you on the other side”. She gave me a puzzled look and asked, “Are you concerned for my safety or do you think I am fat?”. I just smiled and told her I’d met her on the other side.
|She looks a little sketchy!|
Once I was across the bridge there was an open spot with a nice rock fire ring. I did not see a “No Camping” that accompanied many of the other spots, so I pulled in. That is when I noticed a little round sign on a tree. I got out to take a closer look.
This will do, this will do just fine. We spent the afternoon in the shade, letting the dogs play in the creek and reading. Another relaxing afternoon.
The next day we continued south towards our Harvest Host destination for the day. Along the way we stopped by Glen Ricketts State Park where they were said to have an awesome waterfall hike that had not, one, not two, but 22 waterfalls along the trail.
We were not to check into to our Harvest Host until 3:00 so we had time to kill, and it looked like a beautiful hike. And it was. However, the creek was more like a trickle and the waterfalls were merely water spilling over rocks.
Regardless, it was nice and cool in the trees and the girls got to play and the water to keep their body temperatures down.
By the time we got back to the truck, the girls were dry, and it was baking outside. Time to get in the truck, turn on the A.C. and carry on to our destination; Groveland Winery in Wyalusing, PA.
It was hot, stupid hot, and we were parked in an asphalt frying pan. Luckily, the tasting room of the winery was nice and cool and dog friendly!
We each sampled 5 different varieties of wines and a charcuterie platter while the dogs laid on the nice cool, tile floor. This is a very nice winery with good, food, employees and atmosphere. A definite recommendation if you are in the area. Unfortunately, the two wines I liked were “Wine Club Exclusive” and you had to sign up and commit to several cases over the year to buy them. Barb did find a Blackberry Sangria she liked and added to our collection.
That night was the first of our, what would be two, miserable nights. Way too hot! The girls opted for the cooler floor of the camper while Barb and I pressed our faces to our respective windows. We were finally able to fall asleep.
The previous day had worked out so well for us we decided to try it all over again and found another State Park on our route to spend the day at. The nice thing about Pennsylvania State Parks (at least the ones we went to), is that they are free. As we drove into each, I kept expecting to see signs with a Day Use Fee listed but never did. Whipple Dam State Park was not as nice as Glen Rickertt but it had water and shade; two things we were looking for.
The water was brown and mucky, but the girls did not seem to mind. Nor did the hundreds of other people just down the shore at the public beach. Again, we let the girls swim then we read and had lunch while they dried off.
Soon it was time to head to our next Harvest Host; The Spy Glass winery. As far as wineries go this was a lot better than the one we went to in Lunenburg but nowhere near as nice as Groveland. The atmosphere and wines were subpar. I did not find any that I liked but Barb once again found something. A Hard Grape drink that she got a growler of.
We then went and got set up right on the edge of their vineyard on top of a hill. It was hot but had a nice breeze which helped keep it bearable.
Luckily for us, they had a brewery too! So, when they opened up at 5:00 we went there for supper. What the winery lacked; the brewery made up for! They opened the doors at 5:00 with about a dozen people waiting to get in. We took a seat at the bar and ordered a calamari appetizer and a pizza. Soon the place was packed with a line of people still waiting outside. Very good food and a good selection of beer to try.
Saturday was the day we were waiting for as we made the final leg of this week to Raystown Lake. We first stopped in Huntington to get some groceries and a haircut. After 3 months on the road, it was time for me to get a trim. This would be the first time in 9 years that I paid for a haircut. I went in and they were able to take me right away. She asked me how I wanted it cut and I told her, “A #3 on top and tapered shorter on the sides. Well, she just basically shaved my whole head and said, “There you go!”. Oh well, it will grow back and will be a lot cooler!We then drove our remaining 20 minutes to 7 Points Campground on Raytown Lake. We are parked in site #191 on a ridge above the water and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jessica, Shane, Dylan and Kendall tomorrow afternoon. Until then, it is time for a little shuteye!