Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...

Tuesday - the day after July Fourth

This was the last day of our trip. We like to travel at night and spend the day still touring around the area on our trips so we had some things planned for this last day. Before we packed up to leave we decided to dump the tanks again - they were not near full, but we would be having service on the Roadtrek on Thursday involving the tanks and I did not want to bring the tanks to the dealer's service tech with any surprises inside for him to empty first. The black tank really should be at least 2/3's full before dumping so we started filling it with water. The quickest way is to fill a gallon jug at the campground hose spigot and pour the water down the toilet, so we formed a two person bucket brigade - me inside pouring, and Meryl outside filling. At this point, our monitor panel was not working correctly - the one of the reasons for the service visit at the end of the week back to Pennsylvania - and it would not show when the black tank was 2/3 full. It would go from 1/3 to Full. We decided to count gallons poured in, knowing that the tank only holds ten gallons. That done, we dumped all of that water that we had just filled the tank with and then dumped the grey tank. I also wanted to flush the black tank with clear water (no sure why) so we repeated the bucket brigade and I poured ten gallons of water into the toilet and we flushed it all out through the macerator into the campsite's sewer connection. I must say that the Roadtrek is very easy and fast to dump. It takes a lot more time putting the extra water in the tanks to fill them to the dump point than to actually dump it all out.

Once that was done, we unhooked the electric and the cable, secured everything inside the Roadtrek and then got out of the Roadtrek and decided to walk around the campground and actually take a look close up at the whole place in the day time which we had not done before. There were few campers there - most had either left the day before or were out for the day. It was too early for new arrivals. The campground is very nice. We stopped in the bathrooms and shower rooms just to see how clean and each was very clean and well maintained. We strolled around the whole campground. Half of this campground has unusual spaces. They form a "T" with two RVs or trailers face to face with a short access driveway from the campground road. You must back up that driveway and then turn, backing up into your site which is one half of the top of the "T". These sites are large, but the problem is that those with trailers park their cars in that driveway completely blocking access in or out if the car is there. This is a real problem is you are like us and go out for the day and stay out until late at night. We could see that our small Roadtrek could maneuver up the grass and around the car(s) into the space if we had to, but I would not really be happy with that. We made a note to make sure that we always request a non-T space. I had read about these spaces on the forums and reviews, saw them drawn on the map, but did not really understand them until we saw them in person. We continued our walk around the campground. We passed an older couple who were sitting on folding chairs. He was reading the paper and she was painting. They were facing the stream and the farm across the water. We said hello and they said hello back. The mosquitoes were not out with much force and we leisurely walked back to our site and the Roadtrek. We got in and pulled out on our way for the day and eventually, home.

Tuesdays in Lancaster mean Roots Market in the town of Manheim off of Rt. 72. Roots Country Market and Auction is similar to Green Dragon that I told you about visiting on the day we arrived (check back four articles to see that). Roots is a smaller version of Green Dragon, but it is more out of the tourist area and much less known by the tourists that come to Lancaster County. You are not going to encounter many tourists at Roots (pronounced locally as Ruts) but there are a few so you will not feel uncomfortable there. What you will encounter are more Amish and Mennonites and they come here to buy and to sell. They also come for the auctions - both animal auctions and household/produce auctions. There is a large building with stands inside and there is a smaller building with antique sellers - and one of the auctions. Outside there are stands with produce and there are also flea market stands scattered through out. There are also several places to have a good lunch. One of our favorites is Raub's Subs (also located at Green Dragon) and you can get a nice hero/sub/hoagie/grinder (whatever they call it in your area) here at a reasonable price. There are tables that you can stand at outside and we found a canopied area added now with picnic tables in the back near the new restroom building. They recently added a building with very modern restroom facilities. The former building was a bit rustic - but always clean. There are a few other food choices as well including a Pit Beef stand and a Pork BBQ stand. Of course, there are hot, soft pretzels for sale baked before your eyes. Roots has been around for 85 years and is only open on Tuesdays from 9 to 9 and 9 to 8 in the winter. During the summer they do have a flea market on the property outside on Saturdays. We always enjoy walking around Roots, looking at the great produce - and now we have a refrigerator with us to take it home in - and seeing what each stand has to offer. Across the road from Roots at the back end is a large field with flea market stand holders - they close early at about 2 so get there early for those. There are also two buildings on that side of the road selling antiques and collectibles.

When we arrived at Roots I did not expect the crowd that was there - but after all this was July 4th week and many take that week for vacation. The parking lots, front and rear were crowded, but a normal car would have had no problem parking. The Roadtrek sticks out a bit at the back (or front, depending on the space) and I was not going to chance squeezing it into a single space with a flow of cars in the parking lot aisle. I drove around the back and saw the rear parking lot in a similar state, but across the road there is an Auction House that was not open and their parking lot had a few vehicles but there would be plenty of room for the Roadtrek or other RV. We drove into the lot and parked there. It was just a short walk down and across the road into the main section of Roots.

It was hot but not unbearable and we had a great time at the market. We found a few things that we had thought about getting but were not able to find - these places are great for finding things that you can't find anywhere else. We spent most of the afternoon there.

We left Roots and drove a bit around the country side. We had one more thing that I wanted to do locally and after a while I drove back to Kitchen Kettle - that I wrote about on the Saturday article of this trip. Why Kitchen Kettle again? It was not for jelly. I wanted to test something on the Roadtrek and Kitchen Kettle provided two opportunities. It provided a large parking lot for us to pull into and not look out of the ordinary and it is very close by to Beacon Hill Campground where we had stayed on our first night in the Roadtrek on the day of delivery.

When we were at Beacon Hill I could not get the TV/Antenna on the Roadtrek to pick up any watchable digital signals, despite the lady in the office telling me that others get at least 18 clear channels to come in. Well. I got none. When we got home I discovered that all of the antenna wiring had been done incorrectly at the factory at Roadtrek. I looked at the various wires and knowing how a TV, and antenna, and a Cable coax wire need to be connected, took apart the wiring and re-did it correctly. At home we got many clear channels after that. I wanted to see just how many channels and how watchable the channels would be if we returned to Beacon Hill Campground where there is no cable TV hook ups.

We parked in one of the RV spaces at Kitchen Kettle. It was near the end of their day, but there were still people visiting and the shops were still open. There was plenty of parking. I put up the antenna, directed it toward Lancaster city, and got the TV ready to tune in digital signals. Immediately, the chart started to show channels being locked in. There were more than 25. I went through what was available and there were many good channels to watch. Now I knew. I would prefer the cable hook up but in the event that I can't get a campground here with one, Beacon Hill would be our preferred alternative. Test complete. My wiring was correct and there was watchable digital TV in the area.

The last stop before dinner was at a small local department store out of the Lancaster area in a town called East Earle - which is next to the town of Blue Ball (really). The store is called Goods and it is a small local chain with several locations. This is the location that we prefer and it is near two good restaurants for dinner before we head home. Goods Store is also one of those places to look when there is no other place that has what you are looking for. It is off of Rt 23 just past the intersection with Rt. 322. The store is undergoing a major expansion. I am hoping that they are not growing larger than they should. Service from the Mennonite ladies who work here is always excellent.

It was getting late and local restaurants in the Lancaster region close at 8 pm. We headed for dinner before we got on the road to go home.

Traveling home was... interesting. There was construction on Pennsylvania Turnpike and the road service was uneven. Going from bump in the road to bump in the road at high speed the Roadtrek bucked like a rodeo bronco. It is a long van and a heavy van and the shocks and springs react to whatever you go over in the road. Slowing down just below the speed limit evened out the ride. When we got into Brooklyn on the highway we encountered the perpetual road construction and found ourselves being detoured off the road as the overpass on the highway was being replaced and the highway was closed for all of a mile. We got off, followed the other cars and the easy to miss signs, and wound our way back through the streets of Brooklyn near Coney Island to get back on the highway. I am always amazed in NY in the city boroughs that the roads are just as crowded at 2 am as they are in the middle of the afternoon. In addition the road surfaces are terribly poor and despite the constant road construction never seem to improve. Every bump and ripple in the road was transferred to something banging around inside the Roadtrek. At one point we stopped and and Meryl sat in the third seat to see if that was what was causing some of the noise. It was quieter, but there was still the bang, bang bang. We would be doing a lot of investigating of noises in the days to come. As is getting usual lately with the roadwork, the trip took a lot longer than it should (and it has in years past) - and nothing to do with the Roadtrek - and it was almost 3 am when we arrived home. Home again, home again... Only to need to return to PA in two days to go to the dealer service for necessary repairs. Why not just have stayed? We had things at home that had to be done and business that had to be attended to. Despite what some may think, neither of us are retired.

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