Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Codroy Valley Bike Ride

Friday, July 19, 2019

Martha talked with Jason about a bike trail. He suggested a 14-mile loop through Codroy Valley. These are country roads, not a bike trail, but there isn’t a lot of traffic. It proved to be a beautiful ride, although it was 17 miles – not exactly challenging for my bike-riding friend, Steve Aquilino, but it was plenty tough for us.

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We stopped at the Codroy River Nature Center and walked their trail. Visiting inside, the staff was very friendly and informative. It is sponsored by Ducks Unlimited.

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We stopped halfway at a long, ocean beach. We chatted with a couple walking the beach. He grew up in Corner Brook, but they had never been to this area before. He suggested we buy fresh fish from a fishing company just up the road.

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Elvis Street

I thought I was going to cramp up as we got close to the campground. I could barely walk to the trailer to get two spoonfuls of mustard. Instantly it was all gone!

After a long shower, I talked with Mark from South Carolina with a big rig RV. He had been in Newfoundland for a month, and was pouring out information faster than I could remember. He found Newfoundlanders like their seafood fried. Sometimes the batter is too thick so there is a big space between the fish and batter. He suggested a French island, St. Pierre. They took the ferry across to Labrador and had their best meal of the trip.

We went to the seafood docks, but they didn’t have anything fresh. We bought two pounds of shelled and cooked lobster for $30/lb and a pound of scallops for $10.

At the top of the hill we stopped at the pretty Anglican Church in a gorgeous setting overlooking the ocean with mountains in the distance.

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The Ferry to Newfoundland

Thursday, July 18, 2019

It was a bit chilly in the morning, and Martha asked for a little heat. I said, “Sure, turn it on.” “It doesn’t come on”, she said. I told her to put it on furnace, but still nothing. I got up to check the thermostat, but there was no power to it. None of the fuses were tripped. We have been lucky that everything else works since the accident, but traveling in Newfoundland for two months, we were going to need heat!

I showered in the nice shower house and walked around a bit. Battery Provincial Park is such a nice campground. We had an hour’s drive to North Sydney Terminal, and you are supposed to be there two hours early, so we left at 8:00 for an 11:45 ferry. We tooted at the office, but no one was in yet.

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We were surprised to see the lines had already started, and we had to wait to get through the toll gate. A nice young lady checked us in while another measured the truck and trailer at 47’. She gave us two passports. We went into the big terminal building and were surprised at an announcement to return to our vehicles. There were plenty of campers and lots of tractor-trailers.

There was a car with a pop-up trailer behind me and the driver motioned me over as I walked by. It was a young couple with two cute little girls. She was from Newfoundland, and they were going back to visit family as they did every year. I asked how it was in the winter. Then they described the deep, wet snows that sometimes made canyons after snow plows had done their work.

They loved the Airstream and wanted to know about the backup camera. At least he could see over the top of the popup camper, but he still couldn’t see what might be behind it. They told us many places to go and things to see when the line next to ours started moving. I told him he had to be an old fart like me to have an Airstream.

I got back in the truck, but our line wasn’t moving. Another Airstream owner, George, came up to my window and started talking. They are going over for a month. He would like to stay longer, but they have grandchildren and his wife, Karen, wanted to get back. He is a 61-year recently retired guy who loves traveling in the Airstream. He would be in Newfoundland all summer if Karen would do it. 

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We loaded up on the ferry and went up to the 8th floor for seats in front of the back window. There was a poor, young lady with an awful cold a few seats over. As she fell asleep, we got up and moved to the other side. 

It was cold on this floor, and we were surprised to see it wasn’t full at all. The 7th floor is the same kind of seating, but was more full. It’s amazing how many vehicles went on this ship, and it still wasn’t full. I asked Martha what floor we parked on and was happy when she said 3. I had no idea. I think they put the tractor-trailers down low.

The seas were choppy, but the big, heavy boat barely knew it. Once we got out in the middle it rocked a bit, making walking a bit humorous. I get seasick, but it didn’t really bother me. By 4:00 we went down to the 6th floor to a huge, nice restaurant for dinner. They had a nice staff and the meal was good.

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It was a 30-minute to Codroy Valley RV Park, a highly-rated private park on the Codroy River. Thankfully, there were very specific directions from the campground about how to get there. I have learned to follow those directions!

Alice greeted us and checked us in. I had given her the wrong arrival date, but fortunately it wasn’t a problem. She said her parents started the campground, and now their son, Jason, was doing most of the work. She said Jason had started a fire behind the office where people meet to chat about the days events. Often there is music and singing. It was another long day’s travel, so we just wanted to rest. First a walk on their pretty hiking trail through the forest. At every turn was a sign with an inspirational quote.

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Move to Battery Provincial Park

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Poor Martha was tired from the long trip yesterday, but we have a 3.5 hour drive to get closer to the Ferry to the 11:45 Newfoundland tomorrow. Still groggy with Jet-lag, Martha went for a walk around the park. After I straightened up and got ready to travel, I walked down to the point. 

Grand Lake is quite pretty. A person on a paddle board was getting their exercise this morning. It is so quiet and peaceful in Laurie Provincial Park, and they keep it very nice. Still, I marvel at humans who will throw their trash over the fence in a place so pretty. 

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l hooked up while Martha took a shower. Seeing the campground host doing his morning surveillance walk, I went over to thank him for the great care they take of this park. He said they are all volunteers, and they love it. “You must be from the States”, he said. Asking why, he said, “Because you have an Airstream”.

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Stopping along the Trans-Canada Highway for a break, where you can gas up, visit the information centre (a cubbyhole), get lunch and an ice cream.

It’s a pretty drive to Battery Provincial Park, but we had both had enough by the time we got there. Driving in, there were picnic tables near the water and up the hill in the shade, all perfectly-kept. this is a lock system where boats can enter the huge lake, Bras d’Or. 

You always wonder about the next campground, especially when the last one was so nice. We entered the little office and checked in with Jerry. With a cheery face, he excused himself and went out on the back porch. He returned to finish checking us in. I had chosen site #4 from the internet, but you never know what it is really like. Jerry suggested driving around the loop, pointing out site 34, saying it was higher with a better view. Then he said he would be right back. 

Martha asked what he was doing, and he said, “Cooking trout”. He came back into the tiny office with a plateful of grilled trout. then he said, “Take one” , offering us a plate. are you kidding me?!! A friend of his stepped out of a room in the back and said he would bring more. 

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A couple walked in to register and looked at us devouring this delicious trout. Perhaps our luck has turned. Never, never, never have I walked into a campground office and met anyone like Jerry – soft-spoken, understated and with a face like Santa. He changed our mood instantly. 

Jerry was busy registering the new guests, giving them similar options. Martha walked behind the desk to return the plate when Jerry said, “Can you turn them?” She went out the screen door and I quickly followed. There was a gas grill on a small deck. He had a cast iron skillet with butter with two trout cooking. Martha flipped them. As we walked back through, with a smile Jerry said, “Thanks”.

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He was still talking to the new guests when we waved and said thanks. As I got outside I knew that just wasn’t enough, so I turned around and loudly said, “I love you Jerry!” A voice returns from behind the screen door, “You’re not too bad yourself”.

We passed site $4, which was OK, but a bit crowded. All the sites have a view of the water as you climb the hill, but as he said, site #34 was better, so that’s where we went, calling the office after we got set up. A lady answered and was a bit confused. I could hear Jerry in the background telling her it was OK. 

It started to rain as we set up, but we got some lunch and settled in. We drove into the little town and picked up a few things including a cooked lobster. Sadly, lobster season is now over, so we wanted one while we could get it. It was $21. A man in line behind us said you can get them off the boat for $7. We felt like stupid touristas, but then he said, “It will be good though”.

We had a nice dinner of lobster, baked potatoes and peas and reviewed the route for tomorrow. We did NOT want to miss that ferry, as we were booked in campgrounds for the next month. It rained hard all night with no leaks 😊

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Martha Arrives

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Martha is coming tonight at 11:45. She left specific instructions that everything had to be clean. I checked off the list: The truck is clean and the trailer has been washed. Despite the accident, all other systems seem to be working. I have patched the roof, and hopefully stopped the leak. I had done the laundry and put clean sheets on the beds.

I straightened up inside, swept and washed the bathroom and dusted. Next on the list was to repair the injured WeBoost antenna. I have found it essential for cell phone reception. It gives you one more bar of reception, which is often just enough to get things done. The accident knocked it backward, and it was laying flat on the roof. Backing up to the front of the trailer as close as possible, the truck stuck out in the road. Sorry, but there was no other way to do this. Fortunately, cars could get by and no RVs had to pass. 

Cleaning all the roof cement that held it on was the toughest part. I had bought a plastic scraper at the hardware store so I wouldn’t scratch the aluminum, but it wasn’t very efficient. Finally I climbed down and got a knife out of the truck, and that helped a lot. Industrial Strength Velcro is my best friend. I have many uses for it. I put it over anything inside the trailer that bounces around during travel. Now I would attempt to hold the antenna with it. Finally I was satisfied with the job. The cable to it is big, so that went a long way in keeping it on the roof.

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After lunch I took a little break and walked around the campground a bit. It is a very pretty place on Grande Lake. Not a big provincial park, it very nicely laid out, well-spaced and the staff does a great job. The bathrooms and showers are clean, modern and some of the best I have seen. It has also been a great spot to recover and get things done.

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While I worked all day, looking out at these beautiful flowers and forest helped.

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Poor Martha had a 7-hour layover in Newark. She called and said her flight was delayed a half hour. The ferry to Newfoundland is scheduled for day after tomorrow, so there was a bit of wiggle room, but the schedule was to move to Battery Provincial Park tomorrow, which is only an hour from the ferry.

I got in a pretty good sleep, setting the alarm for 11:15. I hate to wake people in the campground driving out, but that’s just the way it is. I was glad to see Martha. We were both tired and a bit grumpy, but a new adventure now begins.

A Day of Projects

Monday, July 25, 2019

A nice couple had stopped to admire the Airstream. They were from Newfoundland, but moved to Nova Scotia to be near their children. There are no grandchildren yet, but they were taking care of the dog this week. I asked if they knew a place where I might wash the Airstream. They suggested talking to the campground staff.

I had Googled truck wash, but it was questionable whether I could get the trailer in. Hooking up, I stopped at the office. Two young men were in their golf cart ready to start their workday at the campground. They told me there was a Shell station in the next town where they had seen lots of people washing their RV’s. I thanked them profusely and headed that way. It may not seem like much, but there are not so many places you can wash and Airstream, much less one of those big RVs.

I found the Shell station and very cautiously pulled in, getting out several times to check clearance and to see if the arm of the washing wand could travel to both sides of the Airstream. I was joyous when I saw it would. Finding no change machine or credit card way to pay, I went inside for Loonies. The lady said she could change my American, but without the exchange rate. I was just happy to find a place and agreed. 

I took a good hour or so to wash it good. A fellow with a big RV pulled in the bay next to me. Climbing up on the truck toolbox, I sprayed the solar panels and roof the best I could, wondering if it would leak.

I filled up with diesel, and started talking to a fellow gassing up on the other side of the pump. He was from Newfoundland, and wished me well in my travels. He was impressed we were going for two months. I drove back down the road to an auto parts store and bought five gallons of DEF. I asked the nice man at the desk for a hardware store, and he directed me. 

I looked all over the well-stocked hardware store for any kind of sheet metal before finally asking a man. He took me through a closed door into the sheet metal cutting shop and cut me a 3’ x 2’ piece of aluminum. I then got some sheet metal cutters. I have some, but did not bring them on the trip.

I felt good getting all this done before noon, so went back to Laurie Provincial Park, ate lunch and took a big nap.

The roof repair at Profile was pretty good, but there was a depression where water was collecting and eventually leaking. Backing the truck as close as possible, I could climb up on the roof. I usually bring a ladder, but of course this time I didn’t. I cut, placed and riveted aluminum in two pieces trying to level out the roof. I taped one with RV roof tape (great stuff), the other with duct tape since I ran out of RV roof tape. I would ask Martha to bring more. Lots of people watched as they walked by, but I couldn’t afford the time to look up. 

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Then I moved my “ladder” and washed the solar panels. Now I could engage with people walking by. Many said how much they liked the Airstream, and everyone was so nice. 

It was a good day. I got a lot of important things done, but now I was very tired. Martha comes late tomorrow night, and I still had a lot to do, but they were little, manageable things. 

Laurie Provincial Park

Sunday, July 14, 2014

I showered early, but you can’t make all the noise it takes to hook up too early in the morning. It was Sunday, and people were on vacation, so I defrosted and cleaned the refrigerator. I probably made too much noise as there was a tent right behind me, but the fridge looked good. 

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It was a 3.5-hour drive to Laurie Provincial Park, not far from Halifax International Airport. A big semi-covered bridge leads into the park. I stopped and examined it – a 21 ton limit (good) and a 15 ft clearance (good). There are no attendants at the office, so I drove through to a gate. They had given me an access code, but I had to go into the trailer and get it off my computer. 

I found my site and started backing in. There is always something you can back into, so I got out to take a good look. A gentleman was walking over from his site next door and asked, “Can I help?” “Yes, thank you. Don’t let me hit the picnic table.” It was on my right side and I was backing left, so I could not see it in my mirror. I could see it on my backup camera on the trailer, but I was using the truck mirrors. He guided me perfectly, and I thanked him.

 

I was here to recoup and do a bunch of errands and projects before Martha arrives on Tuesday night. It felt good to be in a provincial park. I walked down to an overlook, which was very pretty. Walking back, I chatted with a couple. They asked if I was from Texas and where I was going. Telling them we were headed for two months in Newfoundland, the lady practically jumped up and down for joy! She was 37 years in Newfoundland, born and raised in Gander, where the planes landed during 911. She asked if I had read the book. I told her I would. She said we would have time to get to know it a bit in two months. “Drive down all the side roads”, she said. “Talk to everyone”. They were both very proud and excited for us. I went back and fixed dinner, a lamb curry.

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On to Canada

Saturday, July 13, 2019

It cooled off in the night, so I got a good night’s sleep. Anxious to get on the road, I made coffee, ate some cereal, hooked up and set the GPS for Laurie Provincial Park near Halifax, a nine-hour drive. Well, it couldn’t find Laurie, so I set it for Halifax. I have three GPS units, the GMC one in the truck that is sometimes possessed, a Garmin I recently added and my phone and it’s Google Maps. 

I wasn’t going to use the possessed GMC, and I didn’t want to burn phone data for nine hours, so I set the Garmin. It said 11 hours, but it had me starting in the right direction. I could check it later. Two hours later I pulled over to find out why I wasn’t getting on I95N. Google Maps gave me a different route, and it was still nine hours to get there. #@*&#!

I traveled some back roads to get back on course. It was pretty, but I was in no mood to enjoy it. Finally I got back on I95 and relaxed a bit. When it said to turn in 100 miles, I turned it off, and then back on when I got close to that mark.

I was still four hours away when I exited onto 1A in a long line of traffic. Was I close to the border?? I got out of line and went the other direction to a Lowe’s parking lot, getting rid of fruits, vegetables and lunch meats. I neatly stacked firewood in the grass. Someone would surely pick it up. 

Getting back on course in the long line of traffic, Google tells me to turn left on some small road. Do I trust it? Shall I ignore it? I have found it best to make my travel plan on the computer, then send it to the phone. Then you are sure, and this is what I did. Was it changing because of all the traffic? A few turns later I got onto Rt. 9 that crosses Maine. It’s a beautiful road with little traffic. Several times I wanted to stop and take some pictures, especially when I got to Moosehorn National Wildlife Preserve, but there were miles to go and lots of work to do.

On my two dashboard GPS’s I saw I was paralleling the Canadian border. I prepared myself for the now-familiar questions: “Where are you going? How long are you staying? Where are you staying? Do you have any alcohol, fruits or vegetables? Any firearms, firewood? I think I’m ready, but it makes me nervous. 

I came to the border at Calais, Maine. This state likes to name places after other famous world places. It wasn’t busy at all. As I waited for one car ahead of me, two agents walked down the side of the truck and trailer, eyeing my toolbox. I had unlocked it and meant to open everything, but never had an opportunity. The officer in the booth motioned me forward and started all the questions. 

He asked, “Where are you from?” I said Keswick, Virginia. “But your license tag says Texas.” I smiled, saying I have been getting that question everywhere. The Virginia tag has a big TX on it, which I think means truck, xtra large. He sang, “That’s right I’m not from Texas.” Immediately I recognized the take-off from one of my favorite artists, Lyle Lovett. I smiled as he resumed the questions. “Any mace or spray?” “Shoot” I said, “I had some bear spray, but I’m pretty sure I took it out.” He motioned me on. At first I thought it might be to the search party ahead, but there was none. I crept forward until I was clear. Then I remembered the last time I came across. I had thrown out a bear spray, and the nice lady said, “Oh you can bring it as long as it is clearly labeled.”

Rt 1A, the Trans-Canada Highway, is a beautiful road here. There was so little traffic, I began wondering what the reasons might be. Was it the economy, the price of gas or that it was Saturday? I passed the turn to St. Andrews, where we had stayed at beautiful Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping, but it was too far out of the way.

I was running out of energy later and knew I would not make it to the Park. I found a reasonable place on the Garmin, but it was 10km away and would take an hour and 15 minutes to get there! I called the campground, but my phone didn’t work. I had been texting Martha. Why wasn’t the phone working?  It wasn’t until later I realized Canada does not have daylight savings time, so it was really an hour later, and I had to turn roaming on.

I finally found a KOA and pulled in. I got the special “walk up” fee, but didn’t complain. It was Saturday and the place was hopping. They had a drive-in movie theater feature that night and a dance. “Will you be joining us for the dance?” “No, I think I will be asleep then. I have been driving all day.”

I pulled up to my spot and backed in. It was just one of those days that it happened to work. A gentleman next door watched, then turned to his friend and said, “Now that’s the way it’s done.” I smiled and said, “SOMETIMES it works out.”

A giant bouncy thing was across the driveway. Kids of all ages were bouncing and yelling. Others were riding bikes around the campground roads. Stuff was going on everywhere. It’s hard to get upset about kids having fun. 

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Profile Stateline Superstore

Friday, July 12, 2019

I wasn’t sure when Tom and Dickey were going to be able to patch my Airstream. Could be today, tomorrow or next week. I didn’t know whether to rebook campgrounds or cancel more, and I didn’t know where to stay tonight. I just knew it wasn’t here.

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I was hungry and needed coffee. A google search took me to Little Miss Sophie’s in Rochester, NH. Like Magrilla’s, this is a happening. The parking lot was full, there are plenty of regulars who know everyone and the staff of ladies are classic waitresses, quick with the comments and very efficient. I sat at the bar and watched the ladies work. I had some excellent corned beef hash, eggs, grits and pancakes. I couldn’t eat it all. What a great place! I asked who Sophie is, and the lady pointed to the wall of pictures. I still don’t know.

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There is a great carwash close to Profile, so I washed the truck. Then I looked to see if it was big enough to wash the trailer, but it wasn’t.

I talked to Martha, and she had found several acceptable hotels in the area. I drove over to Stateline and peeked in the workshop door. Someone had bashed the back window of their Airstream, and probably felt as bad as I did. They were just pulling it into the shop. It’s the busy season. Lots of people are on the road, and stuff happens. We all want to get back on the road. After staying a night in that miserable cabin, I really wanted to sleep in the Airstream tonight.

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I went in and took a propane tank to be refilled, trying not to bother them. There wasn’t much else I could do, so I went into the showroom and went through all the new Airstreams. They had some pretty decent prices, and I think there was room for negotiating. I got some ideas for ours – little things like a little white board and a unique storage hammock that I couldn’t find the name for.

Then I walked around the parts department. I needed to replace an awning hook, but they didn’t have one. There were no white boards or storage hammocks. I’m sure there will be something I need later, but I couldn’t think of it. I went in the back door of the shop and fixed a sandwich. Tom walked by so I asked if I could fix him one. “No”, he said, “but we’re getting ready to start working on yours next.” I quickly finished up and got out of the way. 

I snuck in an hour or so later. Tom was working on the roof while Dickey was working inside. These are all good people at Profile. A couple of hours later I peeked in again. Tom said they were finishing up. I climbed a ladder next to the trailer and took a look. “Wonderful”, I said. Very few shops want you in there. There are also regulations and insurance issues, so I felt very fortunate to be able to come and go. Besides, it is so much fun to see how skilled people work. 

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I went into Paul’s office to pay the bill, but he hadn’t gotten all the details. I offered to get out of the way, as I saw how busy he had been all day, but he said, “No, no. You can stay.” Then he told me they were trying to finish up by 3:00 today. One of their technicians of 17 years had died at 59 years old. The funeral was today. GEEZ! Suddenly it put things in perspective. I had a damaged Airstream while they had lost a valuable colleague. 

I happily paid the bill, as I didn’t want to charge the insurance for this. I wanted to get on the road, but it was a long-day’s drive to Halifax. Maybe I could get in a couple of hours, but Paul recommended I stay here and get a good night’s sleep. They could put the trailer next to the shop where I could plug in and run the fans. He was right, so I took him up on the offer. Again, these are just really good people! I thanked them profusely.

Sitting next to the shop in the sun, it was hot. I took all the clean laundry out of the truck and put it away. I put the clean sheets on the beds, and sorted out things in the truck. It was hot, very hot, and the sun was pouring in through the skylight. After the accident, I had taken the shade off to push the plastic skylight back up, and put it in the truck. Now I needed it, so I retrieved it and tried it in, but it didn’t fit any more. 

For an hour I sliced it, cut it and finally was able to refit it into its distorted space. Finally pulling it closed, the solar heater was damped. I took a cold shower in the trailer, fixed a vodka and orange juice, had dinner and went to my comfortable, clean bed. 

Then the thunderstorm came. All this heat and humidity had to produce a storm. I guess it made a good leak test, so I kept looking for one. Wonderful, there was no leak. Tom said he was 95% sure it would be leak-free. In the middle of the night I heard a small stream of water fall onto the floor. I quickly got up to sop it up in a towel. There was a low area beside the skylight that apparently collected a pool of water. After sitting there for a couple of hours, it found a way through all the caulk. I would have to see to that at some point. 

A Day in Lebanon

Friday, July 11, 2019

We got an early start for Boston, leaving a little before 6:00. An hour and a half trip without traffic, we made it in a little over two after stopping at McDonald’s for breakfast. Boston is a busy, hectic city. Kelly jumped out of the truck in front of the train station, grabbing his bags. We said a quick goodbye in heavy traffic. Yesterday Melanie Brittingham shared this video on Facebook, and it is just the way I felt driving in and out of Boston……well, except for the food court. In the video people were driving 115 miles an hour, and she is a country girl, who had never driven the New Jersey Turnpike. This may not play on the blog.

Thankfully, I didn’t miss any turns getting out of the city, and then traffic settled down. I began sorting out things I needed to do. I had left a note on the door of the Airstream saying I was worried about rain this afternoon, and could they cover it in some way? I told them I would be back about noon.

Now the whole Newfoundland trip for two months is dramatically changed. We would have to stay in B&B’s and eat every meal out. I’m sure Martha would like this, but it will make it tremendously more expensive. How would I get all these clothes in the truck? What would I do with the food in the referigerator? I needed a better cooler. The ice in my current one lasts about a day. At Walmart I bought several tote bags to put clothes in, as I don’t have a suitcase. I didn’t find a decent cooler, so I went to a marine supply and bought a soft one that you put ice substitute in. That may work out better, since I can put the ice substitutes in the freezer every night. I canceled the first two campgrounds.

Back at Profile, they had moved the Airstream inside their huge shop. I went in to see what was going on. Paul said to come in and sit down. Oh dear! He had a new estimate of the cost of repair. The entire roof would need to be replaced, as it is all one piece. In order to replace three ribs, all the cabinets would have to come out of the inside. I was devastated when he told me the price, which was almost what I paid for the trailer. That sick feeling came back. Dickey had come in to listen, and Lisa stood at the door. They all looked very concerned. All I could say was to submit the claim and see what happens.

I went to a laundry and did several loads of wash. I’ve done my share of laundromats, but I couldn’t figure out why my credit card didn’t work. I tried a second, turned it around all possible ways, but didn’t work. I asked a gentleman on my left, and he took me over to the pay machine where you put your credit card in and get a laundry credit card. Sheez! Now I have to guess how much I will spend. I had to get a second one for the dryer, but didn’t use all the money, so I gave it to a couple who were just starting.

I needed a place to stay. I have been in so many campgrounds with cute, little cabins, I thought I would try one. The first campground was full, as it is the peak of camping season. I went to a KOA, which was also very busy, but they had one. Whew, at least I could take a shower and sit and think. 

I was very disappointed when I opened the door to the cabin. It wasn’t clean, no sheets on the bed, two bunk beds with nothing but pads on them. There were no pots, pans or utensils. Luckily, I had all the wash in the truck, which included sheets, and I had a stainless steel drinking bottle I could drink out of. How would I do coffee in the morning? Fortunately there was instant hot water that was hot enough for coffee, and I had one Starbucks straw left. I want my Airstream back!

I was hungry and Googled restaurants. I opted for Magrilla’s in Rochester, NH, which was rated well. Then I got a call from Paul. He said Tom and Dickey had seen how devastated I was, and wondered if I would just like to patch it up to get me back on the road? They could put a piece of aluminum over the hole, push the roof up as much as possible and seal everything. “What? Say that again. Yes, yes I would LOVE that. Thank you soooo much!” I texted Martha.

I found Magrilla’s and went in. Pat greeted me like I was an old friend, handed me a menu and asked if I would like a drink. “Yes I would!” I asked for his recommendation for dinner. Taking his advice, I ordered mushroom ravioli with grilled chicken. It was great and the wine helped. It was like I was in Cheers. Some regulars sat around a rectangular bar. The young lady bartender knew them all, and so did Pat. A group of runners came in one by one until there were 12 of them. Pat joined the group, talking in a circle by the front door. He came by my table and said they come every Thursday, go for a run and then have dinner. 

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There was a family of four by the front window, also regulars, probably grandparents taking the kids out for the evening. The two little girls, maybe 9 and 11, kneeled in their chairs to play some game between them. With good news Paul, I enjoyed the spirit of this place and the friendly atmosphere.

I was very tired when I got back to the cabin, so I had no trouble going to sleep at 8:00, but I woke up at 3:00. In the dark, I slowly made my way to the showers. Thankfully, they were nice. I fixed my one cup of coffee and tried to wrap my head around another change. “The cheese moves. Move with the cheese.” I have to read that book.

A Mess in New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I didn’t sleep well and got up at 3:30 after being awake for a half hour. My head was spinning with the events. I tried not to let my mind go back to the accident. It was just too painful. I read an email from my friend, Ed, that helped put it in perspective, but it was still difficult. I tried to focus on what to do next. “The cheese had moved. Move with the cheese.”

We were staying at Lake Francis State Park in New Hampshire, right on the Canadian border. My phone said I was in Canada and charging me accordingly. I would later learn that’s where the nearest tower is. I went down to the very nice bath house and showered. As daylight came, I walked around to help clear my mind. It’s a gorgeous spot where the Connecticut River runs into Lake Francis. We were here to fish the river. All the write-ups described miles of river to fish, most of which are tailwaters from three lakes that keep the water cool. The people population isn’t so great, and it feels more like Canada.

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The campground is very pretty and well-maintained. Several guys in their 20’s came down with rods in hand, two spinning and one fly rod. They had been catching fish, mostly Brook Trout 10-12 inches and one 16″ Rainbow. The guy with the fly rod had caught the most fish. I asked what fly he was using, and he said, “A brown wet fly with white wings.” Had I felt better, I might have smiled. I wished them luck.

At the top of the hill, a young man was rigging up his fly rod. His 5-year old girl asked, “Daddy can you….”, but he said, “Wait a minute dear. Daddy has to get his fishing rod ready.” His cute wife had just come back from a one-hour bike ride at 7:00. 

I spent the morning talking and emailing Chris Burch, Airstream service advisor at Jackson Center in Ohio. I sent him all the pictures, including ones after Kelly and I had cleaned everything up. It took a long time because we are surely not the only ones that needed help. I have had service there before with our 2005 30’ Classic, and they did a great job. I think he would also go and talk with his service people and managers and ask what would need to be done. 

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It was about 11:00 when Chris said it would be a lot of work. The roof would have to be replaced, so everything on the roof has to come off. Then three of the ribs need to be replaced, which means they have to take the inside shell off and take the cabinets out. It would be expensive, but they couldn’t do it until the fall. 

I was about to throw up when Sue(?) came up in her golf cart. She is the campground supervisor and had seen the air conditioner sitting by the dumpster. “Have you reported this to the police?” We thought a guy behind us had done that, but she gave me the number of the Pittsburg police chief. I called him while she watched. John, the chief, said he would go and look, then come and talk with us.

It was a long morning of waiting. Kelly was beginning to think how he might get back home, if he could cancel his flight out of Bangor, Maine and what towns or cities we might be passing. There was no sense in driving all the way to Jackson Center, so I called Paul at Profile State Line Superstore in Lebanon, Maine. He was very nice, and said they were happy to help get us back on the road. They couldn’t do the work for three weeks though. They were four hours away, so it just made more sense to go there, and leave it to be repaired. Martha and I would have to go to Newfoundland and stay in B&B’s or something.

Where was that sheriff? We hooked up the trailer and got ready to travel. Finally John came. Big and strong, in his 30’s, John introduced himself. I told him the story as he checked my driver’s license and registrations. He took some pictures and I gave him mine. I was liable for the bridge damage. Apparently that liability falls on the truck insurance while the trailer damage is covered by a different company, but that’s another story.

Then John said I needed to pay for hauling the air conditioner away and should go down to the office and settle with Sue. Sheez! I went down and told Sue (?) we were leaving, hoping to get two nights refund to pay for removing the air conditioner, but she said she didn’t know if it could be refunded on such short notice. I was about to lose it as John left. She said I needed to contact a recommended service to pick it up. “OK, can I use your phone to call them?” “No, you have to send them a letter.” Are you kidding me? John had suggested $40 to remove it, so I put it on the counter and left. I had really liked this campground, but now I was ready to get the hell out of there.

We set the truck GPS for Lebanon, Maine and started out. It told us to turn left on a gravel road and we did. In a short distance we saw it was not a good idea. It took 15 minutes to turn the trailer around. I tried to keep calming myself, afraid I might make another mistake and damage something else. Finally back on the road, we stopped at a Y. The GPS told us to go left, but that is where the covered bridge is. There was one in front of us, but it was just a decoration now. I began thinking about suing the state for keeping these cute, but outdated bridges.

An attractive lady drove up in a golf cart pulling a lawn tractor behind. She stopped and asked if we were lost. I told her we didn’t like where the GPS was sending us. “Oh, GPS doesn’t work up here. Go straight down this road and you will get to route 3. Thanking her, we drove down the gravel road to Rt 3, turned left and saw a gas station where we refueled yesterday. Are you kidding me?! All we had to do yesterday was drive a half mile from the station, turn right on a good gravel road and go 3/4 mile to the park. The GPS couldn’t have taken us on a more convoluted route! Now I wanted to sue the GPS. I understand phones not working, and I understand GPS not working, but this was crazy, like some demonic spirit in control just to have a little fun!

Driving New Hampshire roads while pulling a trailer is not fun. Someone told us Newfoundland roads are terrible. They can’t be worse than New Hampshire roads. The countryside is gorgeous though, and driving through the White Mountains is very pretty. The adrenaline was fading now, and I was getting tired, so I asked Kelly to drive. There are few people I would let drive and he is one of them. Still, it makes me nervous.

We arrived at Profile Stateline Superstore at 4:15. Tom came out to greet us. He is the technician and pulled out a ladder, climbing up to assess the damage. I waited for the “Oh my God” to come out, or the head shaking, but neither happened. He just looked, pointed and calculated. Then he went inside. Again, no muttering or comments, just calculating. Then we went inside to see Paul. They did some talking and quick calculations, and Paul thought it might cost $10,000. The parts are expensive. Shipping from Jackson Center is expensive. Big sheets and panels, packed and shipped carefully would surely be costly. “OK, go ahead” I said.

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Kelly was eying this little 14.5′ Airstream for Rhonda

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Kelly packing up

We had no place to stay and we hadn’t had lunch today. They said we could park beside the service building. There is even a power hookup there. Well, I wasn’t going to run the air conditioner. We stayed there. It was just easier. It was hot sitting in the sun, but we opened all the windows and turned the fans on high, and soon it cooled down. Kelly searched ways to get home by plane or train. We had just bought all this food. What were we going to do with it? How would I put all this stuff in the truck? There were things I didn’t need, and thought about renting a little storage unit. We cooked a steak in the frying pan, corn on the cob and some mixed vegetables.

Kelly finally found a train to Richmond leaving from Back Bay in Boston, an hour and a half away. I didn’t like it, but the plan was now to leave the trailer here, go to Newfoundland and come back to pick up the Airstream after the trip. We probably wouldn’t stay as long, as it would be a lot more expensive, staying in hotels and eating all our meals out, but that was it. It had been a very long day and we were tired. Martha was coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia Tuesday night. I made a list of things I needed to do.