Sunday, July 05, 2009

Leaving Letchworth

Happy Independence Day, all.

Friday morning, we slept in, moseyed on back to the Glen Iris House restaurant for lunch, watched the staff prepare for another wedding, and then decided, rather that tangle with the holiday weekend campground throng, we would head for home with a stop inDamascus to check in on Lynne's mom -- who is looking marvelous.

We saw more deer on this trip than any other, probably because we went so late into the evening. Sadly, no pictures of this day. Lynne did her share of the driving on a couple of legs. We were amazed to find the price of gas just inside the Ohio border to be 40 cents cheaper that our last NY fill up. We monitored the progress of the corn crop with some amazement -- from six inches or even less in much of New England, to nearly 4 feet tall in lots of Ohio.

So we're home again as of about 10:30 last night. We parked Morty in the driveway, unloaded the refer and a few essentials, and set about catching up with the snail-mail. So it's back to normal for a few more weeks, probably til I head up to Oshkosh to see planes at the end of the month with Morty, and neighbor Bob. Morty need a bath, and a few more enhancements for his next trip.

Thanks to all who provided feedback and your own updates. Keeping in touch was great for us too!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Letchworth St Pk, NY

Wednesday, was a day to move relentlessly southwest for another 120 miles. We had spotted a major state park on the camper brochures we got from Fair Haven, but it wasn’t in any of the camp directories. The name was a little strange also: Letchworth, a park that bills itself as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. We now know that it is in Castile, NY. But without cell or internet service, was impossible to enter as a destination into the GPS. The helpful gal at the Fair Haven desk printed out Map Quest directions, so it was no problem. There were, in fact, road signs all the way from Geneseo NY which was the provisional destination I used for the GPS.

Lynne called for reservations as soon as we had cell service, but they put us off saying that walk-up would be “no problemo.” Needless to say, the ranger at the entrance was quite skeptical that enough sites were remaining when we arrived at 2PM. We drive to the office and ask for a site. The gal asks whether for just tonight or tomorrow also. I say having the option for a second night would be nice. She says that they’re filled up tomorrow with the holiday weekend and all. I say “well then I guess you know the answer to your question.” We have her pick us a site, and she runs the paperwork. Did you guess it? Yep it’s for two nights. Tomorrow afternoon may bring it’s own special adventure if another family shows up to claim our site.

The park runs for about 17 miles on both sides of the Genesee River, encompassing three major waterfalls, and covering over 14,000 acres.

We are once again settled in. Morty is just barely leveled, using all 10 of our leveling blocks – a new record . Leveling is not just for comfort, the gas refrigerator needs it to run when immobile. The afternoon thundershowers have shortened our initial walk around the park. So, we’re cooling our heals, and the camper itself. We are hooked up to electrical power only, and even that is just household outlet quantity, not the 30 amps we usually get. Probably means we have to shut off the TV to run the microwave. We are really “roughing it” now.

My bicycle has been out of service since Grand Isle because of a glass shard that punctured my rear tire. I got the patch stuff at aWal-Mart stop, but haven’t been able to find an adapter to pump the tire back up. I have the Euro presta valves instead of the USA Schrader type. Very few bike stores even carry such adapters, so it seems that I’m a pedestrian for the time being. Got to make sure that little item is on the “go list” next time.

First impressions of Letchworth are that it is huge. $6 fee per car just to enter. Yet the camping fees are very reasonable. Vast areas of forest and neatly manicured lawns. Hardly any people even in the camping area. Very well run and maintained. The magic continues. We thought we were in the same weather pattern as yesterday, with a clearing evening. So just as we set out on a hike to find the river gorge, the rains returned and we turned around. I was then ready to prepare dinner, but Lynne objects to the potential for steaminess. It doesn’t seem warm enough to be a problem, so maybe we’ll do battle on this one.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fair Haven St Pk, NY

Mortimer R V Turtle headed South on Tuesday, determined to make some progress towards home at the end of his third week of the shake-down cruise. About 130 miles again, with 90 of those on I-89.

I used to have an abiding aversion to anything NewYork, ever since my earliest days as a Cleveland Indians fan. The drive north a couple of weeks ago through the City, and over the George Washington Bridge [$16!], even aggravated this hostility. Now, this stint in the state parks of the Empire State seems to be adjusting that attitude. Now, I marvel at how smooth and efficient their interstates are, even though showing sings of wear and tear. Similar Ohio roads would be shaking our fillings out. How clean and pleasant their camping areas are, at prices less than half the going commercial rates. Lynne is even amazed at how frequent the parking areas and rest stops are encountered along the highways and freeways.

Today we stopped at Fair Haven State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. This was originally a Civilian Conservation Corps project. Rainy weather is threatening, and making it difficult to get out exploring and photographing. That coupled with another evening without non-roaming phone and Internet make for some added detail in this commentary. By 6PM the day cleared, and we went for a two hour walk through the forest, past the beach and out to the end of the breakwater with lots of pictures.

When we pulled into the campground, we were greeted by a mother and two baby deer munching on the flora. We stopped to watch, they looked back, and strolled off into the woods across the road. Too surprised to get a picture, but it would have been a great one otherwise. Then we were walking along some tent sites, and noticed a squirrel trying to pick the lock of an unoccupied tent – quite amusing, except for the fact that upon closer inspection, we noticed that one or two more squirrels were already inside the screening and bouncing off the tent walls. Must have been some mighty happy squirrels, and less happy campers.

On today’s drive, we stopped for brunch at McDonalds, and asked if they had WiFi. Well, they didn’t but Burger King right across the street did, if it has recently been repaired since it went down six months ago. We gave it a try, and were pleasantly surprised to find it working, fast and free. So we got our email, put in some stock orders, and uploaded the most recent pictures and commentary.

Lynne has also taken to making comments about the shower facilities and other less important amenities at each campground, on our trip log. So if you ever have questions about where the good ones are, we will have you covered.

One of the most amazing things about Morty is his LP gas tank. We filled it from about ¼ full at our first gas stop on June 10. The LP gas runs the refrigerator and water heater 24/7 with the exception of when he is in storage mode, and the furnace, which has not been used yet. We’ve been checking the gas level every couple of days, and it seemed to go from full to about 5/8 in just a few days. But then it stopped moving, and is still at 5/8 full now three weeks later. I hope we don’t get a rude surprise some day, when the refrigerator shuts down without warning. Otherwise, we are very happy with the efficiency of the LP gas appliances on board.