Adirondack Balloon Festival, Saturday Evening

Saturday evening, September 24: By about 5:30 that afternoon, balloons were starting to lift off; I and my chair returned to the viewing area. I don’t know if the blue and purple one in the center is a test balloon, or just eager to be off – I think it was the first one out that morning, and it was the second in the evening. And the flag balloon was still in the same place. Did they deflate it during the day? Good question – I didn’t notice!

Again, the Magic balloon inflated behind me, and I think this time it was taking up the person who won the door prize from the NEHARVers. Behind the balloon, you can see about 15% of the RVs in the field!

They delivered chicken dinner, and walking back from the camper after getting a fork, I was struck by how the rounded roof of the vintage VW echoed the top of a balloon!

When all the balloons that wanted to fly had cleared out, they did what I think they called “Moonglow” where they light the balloons using their propane flame. The American flag showed up the best, and it soon became too dark for the phone on my camera to take respectable pictures.

Roadtrek Goes to the Adirondack Balloon Festival

Friday, September 23: Another Roadtrek owner had suggested I join her at this annual event. The Northeast Hot Air RVers use a large field just south of the county airport in Queensbury, New York, filling it with RVs large, larger, medium and tiny; dogs large and small, old and young; children of all ages, and the adults who get to tag along. By five that afternoon, our two Roadtreks and another larger RV belonging to friends of hers, were lined up among dozens of other vehicles. One must be self-contained, as there are no sanitary facilities, so there weren’t any tents. It’s obvious that the larger crowds were down at the airport – one runway was used as a parking lot, and the traffic was said to be horrendous, but that didn’t affect us, going in on a different road. The following photos were all taken Friday morning. I was on my way down to the viewing area with my chair when the first balloon rose – pretty much as the sun did.

I realized that one crew was inflating a balloon immediately behind me, so I went over to watch:

And it flew right over my head!

Shaped balloons are a big deal, and probably really expensive; there were several. The panda was probably my favorite, as it reminded me of my godmother, who loved them. But Taz was a hit, and the snowman. None of them went anywhere Saturday, and the American flag balloon was also stationary; I think maybe it took passengers up staying tethered.

I worked a volunteer stint at the registration tent, then visited through the afternoon until the evening launch. That will be the next post!

The Roadtrek and I are Home Again

My last night on the road was spent in the Green Mountain National Forest, on the town line between Sunderland and Stratton. The road was closed to the campsite I wanted, so I ended up right next to the road. But there were only two vehicles between bedtime and dawn, so it was very quiet, and level enough, and certainly dark! There were some raindrops in the night, but the sun was out in the morning. There were some wildflowers around; this was all within a few feet of the camper. I know the one on the left is wild strawberry; I think the one on the right is a vibernum. I’ve never seen the one in the center before; as far as I could tell without damaging it, it had no leaves.

I went on to Chester, to Six Loose Ladies, for Wednesday morning knitting group, then, with stops at the Post Office to collect my accumulated mail, and the library to return the book I’d taken on this trip, I was home again. I don’t have the statistics with me; I know it was over 2,000 miles, but don’t have the total fuel or cost for my two and a half weeks on the road. I do know that the gas mileage was a disappointing 13 miles per gallon; time to go see the mechanic.

And today it is raining – I’m hanging out with friends, and later will head out to knitting.

Leaving Maryland, Starting North

Yes, I have left Maryland, heading for home. The first rose photo was taken when I arrived in Maryland, and was the only one blooming on that bush. I love the color! When I left four days later, the entire plant had burst into bloom!

I got a late start yesterday; there had been ferocious thunderstorms Sunday night, making for interrupted sleep. I didn’t pull out until about 11. Then road construction sent me on an unlabeled detour at Baltimore, and then there was a major accident (three police cars weaving their way through four lanes of stopped traffic! At least three fire trucks, and more police cars.) well east on Route 1. I did make it to my planned camping spot before dark – barely! – and was pleased; I stayed in a free Pennsylvania Delaware State Forest campsite. They do have to be reserved, but this time I was able to do it by phone. The reservation was supposed to show up on my e-mail, but didn’t, but no one came by to check, and I had a dark and level and mostly quiet (an occasional car on the road past) night. And slept exceedingly well!

This was a former CCC site, and there was not much evidence that they’d been here, just this lump of concrete, and what might have been a foundation – but there was too much poison ivy for me to go check it out! I’m itching now, just thinking about it and seeing it in the foreground of that lump of concrete:

There was a small stream just behind the camper – but the photo I took didn’t do it justice. Can you even see that there’s a stream?

I pulled out shortly after 8 this morning, and it’s not far to New York. Or New Jersey, for that matter, but I’m not going that way!

Stranded, Without Water…

I’m not really stranded; I just can’t get either of my vehicles out of the driveway!

Returning home from Virginia and Maryland, Friday, February 25, I drove nearly up to where the car was, in the dark, late in the evening. The next morning when I tried to leave to go to the Knitting Goddess gathering for which I’d come home, this is where the Roadtrek decided to go – crosswise in the driveway, on what turned out to be glare ice! I am fortunate in my friends – one couple has a spare car, and another gave me a ride over to borrow it, so I was able to join my knitting friends for the day. And I was able to keep the borrowed car for a few days, which meant I was able to go get buckets and buckets of sand, and spread them around and under the camper. I put everything I could think of under the wheels to give more traction. Nothing worked! Then it rained, creating more ice when it froze. Meanwhile, when the house was warm enough, I primed the water pump, and it ran without problem, got up to pressure, and shut off – but I could hear water doing something it should not. A solder joint had failed. Needless to say, a plumber is not going to make it up my driveway until I can get the vehicles out of the way!

But I am fortunate in my friends. I can shower at the neighbor’s, and haul drinking and cooking water; I can catch enough water off the roof for flushing the toilet. The neighbor is willing to let me borrow the car, or take me shopping when she goes. The friends with the spare car are going to see if another of their spare cars runs, and let me borrow that. Spring is coming (sap is running), and I’ll keep trying to extract the Roadtrek until something works – although that may not be until the sheets of ice melt! For days, I didn’t step out of the house without micro-spikes on my boots; it was really treacherous underfoot. Now, with a few inches of new snow, and using ski poles for extra safety, it is easier to walk without them.

That’s why I’ve not posted lately – not only have I been busy hauling and shoveling many 5 gallon buckets of sand, but without high speed internet at home, posting doesn’t work so well. I will keep you informed, and let you know when I am FREE again!

Roadtrek as Moving Van, Again

Saturday, February 12: We were still loading up the Roadtrek as the sun set in Solomons, Maryland. I will miss visiting here, at this condo on the water, with its spectacular sunsets. I ate dinner with the family, then left at about 7PM for Richmond. It’s amazing how much the Roadtrek will absorb; I could have packed in more boxes, but they would have had to have been light – the floor was filled with boxes of books, two deep, and the file drawers that were added at the last minute were very heavy.

On arrival in Richmond

After putting the bag of frozen food in the freezer, I unloaded a change of clothes, a book, and some bedding, and headed to bed.

My copilot!

February 13: I unloaded some light things, and the two very large plants, before it started to rain/sleet/wintery mix. I’m taking it easy today – I had a nap this morning, may have another this afternoon, and am spending my time in the sun room watching it be wet and nasty outside, knitting and reading.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Winter Edition 2

Sunday, January 30: Having left a day late to let the snow finish doing its thing, I had miles (and miles!) to cover – but that didn’t mean I wanted to get on the interstates and bore myself! It was a stunningly beautiful sunny day, although it never got above freezing, and I kept having to clear the slop off the windshield. I took a new route through western Connecticut, where this graveyard for monitors is, and then into New York State; that’s where I found the single lane road through state forest land.

It was slow and gorgeous and uneventful – until this plow truck came up the opposite way! I was able to back into a nearby driveway, and he went by. And immediately met another vehicle coming down! That was too much for him; he reversed a half mile or so down the road (shown backing here) until he could pull off, and we went past. That takes some skill!

On through New York, and New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, getting to my cousin’s apartment in Baltimore, Maryland for a quick stop. I wanted her to try on the sweater I’m making before finishing the second sleeve; she’s happy with the fit so I’ll hope to finish that before heading north again.

I ended the day in southern Maryland, and tomorrow start helping a friend move to Richmond, Virginia.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Winter Edition

I left Vermont yesterday, January 28. Going to Connecticut and visiting the month old great-grandson was first on the list – and his mother, and aunt (to whom I was delivering mittens knit as a late Christmas gift) and his grandfather. I was good to see, and catch up with, that piece of the family – and have a chance to snuggle the latest addition! Then it was over to visit a friend. It was supposed to be a quick overnight, and leave this morning for Baltimore and southern Maryland – but the weather forecast made that seem very unwise. When the big trucks are asked to be off the highway by 6AM, I figure I should, too! So today was spent knitting, and being leaned on by Bader: 

We did go out to clean off vehicles, and so I could bring in the makings for dessert – and again when the men with the snowblowers showed up to get the vehicles out of their way, so they could clear the driveway. It was still snowing when it got dark.

Seed head on ornamental grasses

Better Late Than Never? Roadtrek Roadtrip Summary

Ah, yes. Life has been full, and I never put together the promised summary of my recent trip – even though I’ve been back for weeks!

Miles traveled: about 6277

Days away: 46

Money spent on camping: $10!! (Most camping was in National Forests, and free; otherwise I was mostly in driveways.)

Money spent on 313 gallons of fuel: $987 (Not counting the last fill up after I returned, because I didn’t record it.)

Average: 19.9 MPG – better then my usual 15 by quite a bit! I’m pleased with my van.

Meals eaten out: 2 (the advantage of having my kitchen with me!)

States visited: VT, NH, MA, CT, NY, PA, MD, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, OK, KS, MO, IN, IL, OH, then back through WV, PA, NY, VT. Not quite half the states in the US! And I was only gone six weeks…

There should be some photo on this page – but nothing jumps out at me. I’ll make up for that as I post about what I’ve been doing since my return! I had a great time kayaking, visiting family, knitting, visiting family, kayaking, visiting friends, knitting, visiting family, camping in some beautiful places.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 17: Pennsylvania to Vermont – Home Again, Home Again!

Sunday, December 5: I parked in a Cracker Barrel parking lot last night, as the campgrounds I wanted closed for the season two weeks ago. Grumble. I’m not sure why – it’s hunting season, hunters camp. And they don’t have running water anyway, so the possibility of it freezing is not an excuse. And there’s no snow yet, around there. But it was flat, and quiet, and dark enough. I treated myself to breakfast before I left, and still was on the road at 8:25. My route alternated between secondary highways and pieces of interstates, a good balance between speed (not that I cruise as fast as the speed limit, usually!) and interest.

Lewis Hardwood, in Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania – I wish I knew the stories these murals tell!
These two photos were taken from an overlook on old route 220. They would have been so much better if it had not been overcast and hazy, but the views were amazing.
The largest “Little Free Library” I’ve seen, this one was in New Albany, still in Pennsylvania. I didn’t browse the collection, as I wasn’t looking for books and didn’t have any in the camper accessible enough to leave.
Then I was into New York State, cruising through lots of forest and farmland, and on to Vermont.

This sculpture is probably by Anna Radocchia, of Bennington, Vermont. I’ve not seen a lot of her work, but this one I really like – even just leaning against a barn, not displayed to advantage. I bet when the sun hits it right, it casts really interesting shadows.

Tomorrow I’ll try to do a summary of the trip; the cat is demanding attention!