Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Still Out

Sunday - Fourth of July weekend

Surprisingly, I had no problem falling asleep to the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the Roadtrek and the thunder and lightening outside. I awoke in the morning still not certain what we would be doing for the day depending on the weather forecast. I put on the Weather Channel and also the local news show's weather report. There was a 60% chance of rain for the day and the report was that the storm front was moving southwest. At the moment they showed live video of heavy rain falling in NYC. The map showed the weather moving in our direction. Interesting, as weather here usually moves northeast. OK - plans for the Kutztown Folklife Festival would be postponed to Monday when the weather was to be cloudy and cooler. Things that we had planned for Monday would be on the schedule now for this day.

We got up and decided that since we had this time, perhaps we should take the opportunity and fill the water tanks. The "black" tank was also getting full - at least it seemed that way as the monitor panel was not working correctly for the black tank since we took delivery. It is one of the things on the service center's list of repairs for our next visit. The grey tank was not very full at all and we wanted to fill that tank so that we could flush through the macerator after dumping the black tank. We started running water in the sink and let it run. We went outside to start dumping and start filling. After that we would unhook and head out for the day. It had rained heavy the night before and outside the humidity was steamy. The rain also brought the mosquitoes out in force. There is that cute stream that flows behind the campground and suddenly it was not so cute as it had to be the source of a lot of these mosquito. As soon as we got outside they were swarming on us.

Years ago, in a Discovery Channel store, we purchased a solar mosquito repeller. This is a little device about two inches long with a key chain on one end. There is a small solar panel on it which charges the device to run a high pitched whistle which is supposed to chase mosquitoes away. Into the Roadtrek I went to find this. I am not sure it worked very well but there were less mosquitoes on us, but we were being bitten a great deal.

With enough water in the gray tank, we dumped the black tank and the gray tank into the sewer. We got out the hose - and the external filter and connected that to the water connection and filled the front and the rear tanks. In the process the front tank overflowed and covered the door and driver's seat in water. Once we dried everything off it was time to unhook the electricity and the cable TV and be off for the day. I am sure that in time we will get better at this all, but it took us almost two hours to do this that morning.

Finally, we were off. As I had said in the last article, because of the religious base of the local Amish and Mennonites, most things PA Dutch are closed on Sundays with very few exceptions. Sunday is not a day that you really want to plan to be in this area unless you want to go to the Outlets or see some of the non-PA Dutch attractions - and there are some.

We stopped for lunch and headed over to the Harbor Freight store. I love Harbor Freight stores - they are a supermarket for men. There are aisles of tools and gadgets to buy - and you will find men pushing shopping carts meandering down the aisles, filling the carts up. In the past year they opened a store local to me - but it is not as big and just not the same as this store in PA.

We then headed for the Strasburg Railroad. The Strasburg Railroad runs real steam trains through the countryside and farmlands. Many think that these trains are from the early 20th Century and earlier, but steam engines were in use in the US until the late 1950's and still are in some parts of the world. The big locomotives that have been lovingly restored and run on the Strasburg line are from the 1940's and 50's. The cars that you ride in are of similar vintage and their most famous car was used in the movie, "Hello Dolly!" - and is named as such so you know which one that it is. For many this is a very old movie, but for Barbra Streisand fans, this train car is still a big deal. You ride the train from Strasburg to the town of Paradise. Once there the engine is turned around, hooked back up to the train and you drive back on the same track that you came in on. I have ridden the train many times. We were not riding the train this day - I was there to take photos of the train and the trains being restored in their rail yard.

It was a good thing that we did not go to Kutztown. It was hot and it was extremely humid. So much so that it was very uncomfortable walking around outside. We went into the gift shops at the railroad station several times just to cool down. I was trying out a new camera strap that I recently got for my camera and had not yet used. It slings over the shoulder and I found that it was far more comfortable than having the DSLR hanging around my neck. I have sold some photographs and I have won an award for one. I am always looking for "different" to photograph. Despite the heat, I took some interesting shots around the railroad station and trains. (This site tends to blur the images and does not do them justice.)

Across from the Strasburg Railroad is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and this large museum houses many beautifully restored engines and trains. They are exhibited both inside and out and if you are what is know as a "rail fan" this is a must see. There are combination tickets that include a ride on the Strasburg and admission to the museum. The museum is under reconstruction but it is still open.

Parking for the Strasburg Railroad for RVs is limited. There is a large open area at the rail yard end of the property that one can park a large RV. We parked the Roadtrek in one of the car spaces. I chose a spot that was toward the end that did not back closely on to an opposite row of parked cars so that there would be no problem with the back sticking out of the space.

It was good to get back into the air conditioning of the van and we headed off to see a campground that I had read about that is "nearby" that is open all year. Most of the campgrounds in this area close in the late Fall and reopen on April 1st. This one stays open. It's address says it is in Stasburg but it is closer to the town of Quaryville than the populated town of Strasburg. It is south and into the mountains and to find it we were on some winding and steep mountain roads. The Roadtrek had no problem with these - though I was not thrilled with the twists and turns down and then up again. We actually found the campground and it is in the middle of an open field. We headed back on a different route and discovered that it is possible to get to this campground on less steep and winding roads. I am not sure that I would want to drive the Roadtrek on either route in the ice or snow. But it is open and there is a local event that we may like to attend in Lancaster in the month of March - when hopefully - though this past winter found March to be as bad as January - there will not be any snow or ice.

Coming back from Strasburg brings you right to the Outlet Center. We spent the rest of the day until dinner looking - not buying, just looking.

Fourth of July fireworks in Lancaster County don't happen on the Fourth of July. The big shows are generally scheduled on Saturday or Sunday before the Fourth. With the Fourth on Monday, the fireworks were scheduled on Sunday. After dinner we went to a spot to park - at a Home Depot - that we know has a good view of the fireworks show at Long's Park, the larger of the area shows. Along the way we could see the fireworks show being presented at a local golf course and there were many cars parked along the side of the highway to watch. Comfortable in the Roadtrek's front seats we watched the fireworks. You see them, you hear them - you just don't get the musical accompaniment.

And yes, we stopped again at Walmart for a short time to check on a few things and we went back to the campground. As soon as we got out to hook up the mosquitoes swarmed again, attracted to us and the lantern that we had to see when we hook up in the dark. We set the "lego" blocks under the wheels again to level the RT, hooked up the electric line and the cable TV and settled down inside for the night.

It had been very hot and humid all day, as I said, and the night was not much better. We have been running the Roadtrek's A/C all along at night and have found that with the small space that this room size air conditioner has to cool it does too well a job. There are two fan settings on the Cool Cat heat pump/air conditioner that is installed in the Roadtrek. There is a thermostat control and a fan/auto setting. I have kept the fan set on low and have had it on the auto setting which turns the a/c on and off when it reaches the temperature set on the thermostat which I have placed anywhere from 68 to 75 degrees. We both freeze and get too warm with the A/C. We sit in the front seats and there is really no way to direct the flow of air away from us no matter where we set the direction of the three vents. The cold air all too easily reaches us. So with the temperature still in the 80's outside, there I am sitting with a jacket on and Meryl in a sweatshirt. It is a relief when the auto setting shuts the fan off and off comes the jacket and the sweatshirt, but shortly after it starts to feel too warm and as it should the A/C comes back on and so do the jacket and sweatshirt. The low fan setting seems more of what medium should be, but there is nothing lower. Now, I would rather be cold than hot and I am not really complaining, but a little more variation in the settings would have been nice. We could not help but laugh at how we were sitting there shivering on Fourth of July weekend.

Tomorrow we would go to Kutztown Folklife Festival - the highlight of the trip.

To be continued in the next article...


  1. Glad you are enjoying your camping. We are too.

  2. If your seating in the front seats just open up the bathroom door and it will block the air flow from hitting you but will still cool the whole inside.I have an older RT and it helps me doing this. But I'm not sure how yours is set up inside.

  3. Meryl and Me Hit the RoadAugust 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    That would work if we were not watching the TV but the bathroom door cuts off the TV. Thanks for reading!