Coast to Coast to Coast and Back travel blog

Day 112, Sept 20, Today’s Plan; Continue West and restock the cupboards.

We awake to dullness. At first we think it is cloudy, but it is only foggy. Is fall near? Actually, tomorrow, I think. After traveling half an hour, the fog has lifted and the sun shines through. We have crossed the border into New Hampshire. The scenery is much the same. There may be a few more farms, but maybe it’s because we are traveling southward. We stop for supplies at Montpelier and then turn south onto Interstate 86. It is a strain on the truck. The speed is 65 MPH and the hills are as steep as the back roads. We cannot maintain that. We turn off at NH 107. The slower pace is more to our liking. Some of the hills in this area are so steep we are down to 60 klicks in second gear. Where I86 was a cut through the forest, the back roads are roads of the locals and we can see what the countryside looks like. We get a feeling for the type of agriculture that is common to the area. Here it is mainly dairy.

The rolling hills and the forests and farms carry on into Vermont. There seems to be more accommodation facilities here. This is ski country for the east coast if I remember correctly. We are higher here. The leaves are beginning to lose their green. There is a lot of Oak and Maple with a few evergreens higher up.

Just after we cross into New York, we notice that there are many more farms, the road is better and gas jumped 20 cents a gallon. That’s about a nickel a litre. We are in the Lake Champlain Plain. The country has flattened out and we cruise along at a comfortable 80 – 85 Kph. There is little traffic so we can pick whatever speed we like. If a car catches us we just speed up until there is a place for him to pass then slow down to cruise. Most are content to follow along fifty yards back. Here in New York the back road speed has jumped to 55 Mph (90kph) from 50 in New Hampshire and Vermont. The drivers tailgate more too. We find the farms more numerous. We pass Saratoga Springs and go to find our camp in the woods.

Day 113, Sept 21, Today’s Plan; Go west some more.

We awake to dullness again. It is overcast with light cloud and looks like rain to the SW. We pack and are going just after 9am. A new Watney record. We are cutting across the northern edge of the Catskill Mountains. We have already crossed the White mountains in Maine and New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont. All are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range.

We motor along, noting more farms, more towns and more people. By noon the sun is shining, but clouds hang low about the mountain tops. The ‘mountains’ here are 2000’ to 3000’ high. We are travelling at about 1000 feet. When we cross some of the higher ridges we find fog.

Toward the afternoon the fog(cloud?) drops to our level. Near Warsaw, we make our turn off the highway to the West. This will take us to a campground. We encounter thicker fog as we go. Soon we can barely see fifty yards. Soon the road comes to an end. Wilma gets us again.

The road that is supposed to take us 2.5 miles straight West from the highway to the campground has ended at a “T” intersection. There is a steep bank in front of us, that disappears up into the fog. Do we go left or right? The paper map isn’t detailed enough to help, so we check Wilma’s maps. If we go right, the road goes about a mile then turns and goes in our direction. We would then come to a cross road that will take us back to our original road. The road to the right has a name and number. The others around have no designation. We suspect they are gravel or dirt. We have to do something, so we chance it. We don’t go far before we find ourselves climbing. So far we are still on pavement. After a half mile or so the road levels out. We can see fields around us so we are comforted that we might not end up at some logging camp. When we come to an intersection, we find a paved road going left. That takes us to a road with the same name as the one we started on. It’s paved also. To the left we see a sign that says “No Exit”. We turn right and are soon rewarded by the sight of the entrance to Dream Lake Campground. We pull up to the office and park. It’s an Office/Store and it’s locked. A sign says the store hours are noon to 3pm on Sundays. It’s a few minutes past four. We are standing there bewildered, as a couple walks by. They suggest trying the house up the driveway a bit. They think the owners live there. We knock on the door and a woman answers. We explain we would like a site for the night but the office is locked. The woman seems confused by that. We suggest that maybe we could find a site and pay in the morning. She says that would be fine and goes back to her TV. We drive around in the fog and pick a pull-though spot. We set up and hunker down inside with the furnace on. It’s only about 10c out. Just before dark we see a truck drive by that was parked by the Owner’s house. A man is collecting garbage, but it doesn’t stop to see us. Strange.

Day 114, Sept 22, Today’s Plan; Go to Ohio through Pennsylvania.

The mourning is bright and clear. We get our first look at the campground. It is not bad. There is lots of grassy space between the sites and it looks well kept. We are decamped and ready to go just before 9. Another record. We pull out and park by the office. It’s still locked. It’s supposed to be open at 9. Annoyed, we put some money in an envelope, write on it that we hope it’s enough and put it on the clipboard on the door. Then leave. Our route takes us West, away from the fog and hill troubles of the previous afternoon. After a couple of turns we are back on US20A and travelling West. We follow 20A to Orchard Park where we cross over to US62. 62 will take us South West to eventually get onto US30. We amble along at our usual pace. The speed limit is 55 and the countryside is flat. Good for cruising.

At Hamburg there is road construction and the highway is realigned. Wilma is unaware of this and by chance Lorna sees the highway sign pointing right. We bravely strike out on our own. The route twists and turns all about town. It feels like we get a tour of every neighborhood. That’s not a bad thing. The traffic is not heavy. We both are carefully watching for road signs while we look about. We almost miss one turn because of a branch obscuring a sign. They aren’t very big on keeping what little signage they have plainly visible for the benefit of the traveler. Many times we have turned on Wilma’s advice and only seen the highway sign at the last moment.

Morning becomes afternoon as we cross into the north-western corner of Pennsylvania. We pass through many towns and villages. It’s funny, they are all the same, but each is different. Many houses have Fall decorations displayed. Some are simply a few dry corn stalks and a pumpkin or two. Some are elaborate with hay bales, corn stalks, scarecrows and lots of pumpkins. There are pumpkins growing everywhere in this part of the country. Almost every farm has a field of them and a stand for selling them.

Pennsylvania likes travelers. There are large signs indicating which roads are intersecting or routes that change direction. These are placed well before the junction, then repeated at the junction. If we are on a multilane road then there is a sign indicating which lane to follow through the intersection. Nice. We wend our way along to Sharon, PA. Again we must wiggle our way through town. The signs make it simpler. We leave town and are in Ohio. We start looking for signs to our camp ground. We find them and turn into the driveway of Chestnut Ridge Park. The place looks like a public park. It should, because it is, we find out. Our Hostess is a cornucopia of information and anecdotes. Each question leads to a wealth of new stories and directions to places. It takes about half an hour to get checked in.

Day 115, Sept 23, Today’s Plan; Rest day today.

The day is bright and sunny. We have laundry to finish, we need haircuts again and the truck needs to be serviced. We spend the day doing that and a bit of shopping. The temperature is 27C by the time we head home at 4:00. We find we are still the only transients in the park. This campground is like most others East of the Rockies and is over half full of seasonal campers. These must be the bread and butter for the operators. All complain about the lack of travelers this summer. At this time of year few of the seasonal are here making the park nearly deserted.

While we sit outside and enjoy the day, a motor home pulls in. He parks a few sites up on the other side of our trailer. We don’t see anything of him after that.

Day 116, Sept 24, Today’s Plan; Travel west through Ohio.

Between waking up and coffee the motor home leaves. We guess it was such a nice morning he had to go enjoy it. We are not long behind him and are out on the road just after 9:00. We backtrack a bit to US62 and motor SW to Canton where US62 merges with US30 and State43. US62 drops out after about 10 miles and heads SW some more, while we continue due West. We have no idea what happened to State43. By noon it’s already over 20C. We drive along and find the journey less stressful. Apparently, the tedium of all the maneuvering through towns with the trailer makes me testy.

US30 is a four lane divided highway. It has level crossings like a two lane road. And in places driveways from farms or businesses enter directly. In towns there are lights to control crossings. Stop signs are common rurally. There more transports on this highway than the others. The speed is 60-65 Mph. We like 60 better than 65. We lose about a mile per gallon at 65 as opposed to 55. The highway is wide so it’s not too bad when they pass. Eventually we reach Van Wert and turn off to our camp. We are the only one checked in so far today. The campground is mostly gravel and seasonal campers. We set up and sit out with a drink and watch the squirrels. It’s about 29C. There are nuts attracting the squirrels. The bark of the trees is scaly and falls off in strips. We try to figure out what the trees and nuts are but come to no conclusions. After dark, what little breeze there is, dies. We go to sleep with just a sheet but have to pull up the blanket in the middle of the night as it cools off.

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