Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My last articles were about a trip cut short - as our summer trip had also been. We were determined to get out in the Roadtrek and have a trip that we could relax on. If you have been reading along, you know that the service call on this last trip required a return to the dealer's service center to have the black tank's sensor resistor replaced so that it would actually work - we hoped. We also had an appointment to have what the service center calls a "demo winterizing". Winterizing is done on RVs in cold climates in the winter when the temperatures will fall below freezing. It is done to protect the plumbing from freezing. The "demo" part at this dealer is when the owners are shown step by step what is done when the winterizing is done, and watch and help with the first winterizing, so that in the future they will be able to do this on their own. It costs more than the dealer just winterizing for you, but after this, you can just do it yourself. We arranged to have both the tank repair and the demo winterizing done on the same day - a Wednesday, a week and a half later from the last service.

When we left Pennsylvania suddenly Meryl suggested that we come back the two days before the service appointment to finish the trip that barely got started. I thought that was a great idea, but I must admit that in the back of my mind I wondered what would go wrong if we went. We decided to wait and see. We did not make any campground reservation. The likelihood of this campground booking to capacity in the beginning of November was slim. If all was well, we would call the morning that we were leaving and get a site reserved.

I watched the weather as far in advance as you can for a period of about ten days ahead. It looked good. Too good. It was to be warm - especially for November and it was to be nice and sunny. Day to day, I kept checking the updates. By Sunday of the week of the appointment we knew that the trip was on.

When we travel we take some things out of the Roadtrek that we bring back into the house that we don't want to leave inside for any extended period of time, so there were things - not many things - but things that had to be packed back inside. We also had to fill at least one water tank for the trip. We filled the tank on Saturday and put what we would need on the trip on Sunday. Everything was set to go.

And I went to bed Sunday night thinking about what could happen that had not yet happened while we were away. Meryl had joking said "tornado". Unlikely, but as we had learned this past year, anything is possible.

Monday morning came and we got up and called the campground. Of course, they had a space for us and we even requested and were given a particular one that we had been in before. We were off.

Of course, there is no such thing anymore as traveling off Long Island where we live without encountering traffic and we wound up in a long traffic jam that seemed to be the result of one car over on the side of the road with a tow truck. This was not even mentioned on the radio traffic reports, but we sat bumper to bumper for an hour. Things generally get better once you cross the state line into New Jersey and not only does the traffic improve (most of the time) but the gasoline prices drop about fifty cents per gallon.

Half-way through New Jersey and it is possible to pick up the Country station coming out of Philadelphia on the radio and with a mix of old and new country songs we cruised into Pennsylvania and headed southwest. The sun was out and the temperature was nicely comfortable. It looked like we would get what we have been hoping for - a nice, relaxing trip.

We arrived at the campground - Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster - and greeted the two ladies in the office who had been there when we had left suddenly ten days before. We told them that we hoped that another sudden weather disaster would not be trailing along with us again. All laughed, but as things have been going, it was a cautious laugh. We paid for two days and went out to the Roadtrek to get it into the space. Old Mill Stream Campground is one of the few in this area that is open all year and those that are not had closed at the end of October.

When we pull in to a space we always check the electricity and also see if we can find a level spot on the gravel. We had been in this same space before and liked it because it has easy access in and out to the main entrance/exit road in the campground. We noticed that in the space next to us there was a pop-up trailer. A pop-up trailer is basically a tent on wheels. I knew that the night would get a lot colder than the warm day temperatures and wondered just what it would be like to be in a trailer/tent with net sides. What I remembered about this space is that it is not quite level. It is close but it took a lot of moving around to find the spot. I figured that if I could find it now, we would know exactly where to place the van when we came back at night. We tried for some time and never did find level ground. It was close but off enough that we could have used a lego block under both front wheels to raise them up to level the whole van. We would decide on that when we got back at night. We were off to the places that we like to go.

When I wrote about our trip over July Fourth weekend I wrote about an attraction called Kitchen Kettle. There are some places in this area that we have been going to for years and years and we just like to go back to. For us they are relaxing and for me they bring back memories of relaxing times that I have had there in the past. That is usually one of the first places we head to when we have no special agenda to follow when we are here and that is where we went this day.

I will not go into the details. Check back in July's articles and you will see what this place is all about. Again, nothing very special, but nice. In fact, if someone said, tell me what is nice about it, I could not really say any one thing that would make any real sense. It is just one of those places that we like. We arrived, parked the Roadtrek in one of the several RV spaces - the little Roadtrek really lost in the large parking space meant for a bus-sized RV. We then just strolled around in and out of the little shops that make up Kitchen Kettle Village. Things were starting to be decorated for Christmas - even though the weather felt like early September. Pleasant and nice. And most importantly, relaxing.

By the time that we were ready to leave Kitchen Kettle it was almost 5 pm and tourist spots here close at 5 - especially out of the summer months.

We went over to one of the outlet centers to look for a few things - again, nothing exciting. We then went to dinner - which was pleasantly exciting - at a restaurant that we new to us that I had heard of and wanted to try. All in all, nothing exciting - and that is exactly what we wanted.

Now, you know that we can't end a day away without a stop at some point in a Walmart and that is exactly how we ended our evening out. We got back to the campground, found an almost level, but not quite spot on our site, did not put out the lego blocks because the level was close enough, and hooked up. No drama. And happily, all was well.

The temperature at night was supposed to stay in the forties. I did not put on the propane because I did not anticipate needing the furnace. We have found so far that the heat pump in the air conditioner provides more than enough heat inside the Roadtrek. In fact it blows heat so strongly at the front while we are sitting and watching television that I have run a fan to blow a stream of air to divert the heat off of us. We started the heat pump - and the fan - and settled in for the night. When it was time for bed, we turned off the fan, and left the heat pump on. There are directional louvers over the bed on the lower portion of the ceiling that you can direct the heat (or air conditioning) on or away from you in the bed. We had those set to keep us comfortable and we went to sleep.

Boring - that is good. That is exactly why were were there and that is exactly what we wanted. There is an ancient Chinese curse that goes "May you live in interesting times." Think about that one. We did not want any more interesting times.

The trip continued two more days. This first day was wonderful - boring but wonderful. We hoped the next day would be the same - and it promised to be. I shall save that day for next week. We are getting to the point that if I am going to keep writing weekly through the RV off season I have to stretch things out a bit or run out of things to write about with the Roadtrek on the driveway for the winter. So come on back for the next day of a pleasant trip - wonderfully boring as it may be.

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