Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2013 Page 5 - July - September
1st/2nd July. Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, Tuxford, Canada
This should have been a really nice place - the location was really good. The only problem was that the way the park was laid out meant that you couldn't really get to the lakeside very easy. On the second day we drove to the opposite side of the park where there were some hikes and a boardwalk. Unfortunately the boardwalk had taken some serious damage either from a storm or maybe from the winter ice and was closed. Julie did get a "newie" though with the Baltimore Oriole. We also had fun with the baby crows who almost cried like real babies. One of them did give us a bit of a shock when it launched itself straight at us, missed Ron's head by less than an inch and smacked into the side of the RV. Undamaged it walked back to where it came from looking very embarrassed if that's possible for a crow.
Another one of those little hidden gems. Carpio is not exactly a city as we know them. It probably has a population of less than one hundred and yet it provides a park with electric connections for a few campers. Note that we are now back in the good old USA - and we lost another hour as our clocks changed yet again.
4th July. Turtle River State Park, North Dakota
Put on some miles today. Lovely park amongst the Cottonwoods with water and electric provided.
Just found the very last place in this park as everywhere is busy as it is a holiday weekend. Pleasant and green by the lake, serves our purpose for a night.
6th July. Norway Beach US Forestry Campground, Cass Lake, Minnesota.
Very Very Buggy!! And rained most of the afternoon.
Our first stop in Wisconsin, a County Park on the St. Croix River. It is actually much nicer than it sounds being by the dam but most of the dam is earth and has grown trees and shrubs over the years. It is also the northern point of the St. Croix Scenic Riverway which is designed for canoeists with water accessible campsites along the way. Overnight there is the sound of howling wolves as we find out there are a number of packs in the area.
8th - 10th July, Birchwood, Wisconsin
When we were at "The End of the Road" in Homer, Alaska, you may recall that we met a couple, Jhan and Colleen, and had a few drinks together in the local hostelry. Well we "sort of" said we would visit them on our way back through to Virginia. So, here we are. They also had other friends, Diane and Charlie, visiting. This has to be one of our better decisions. We had a great three days laughing, joking, relaxing, eating, drinking, sleeping, fishing, boating, kayaking, abusing Charlie, winning all the evening card games (most anyway). This is one of the things that some Americans do VERY well - open their home to relative strangers and become what we are sure will be long term friends. A really marvelous few days which we hope to be able to reciprocate in Cyprus at some time. Thanks Guys.
July 11th - 13th. Anvil Lake US Forestry Campground - Near Eagle River, Wisconsin
Just happened to see this place as we were driving by and gave it a shot. A very restful, easy place with some nearby hiking on the winter Cross Country Skiing trails. Unfortunately when we had planned a long hike we were beaten off by the bugs. They are here in their millions and as you walk along they just keep you company. Going for the head and eyes makes it very uncomfortable. Did about a mile and just had to turn round.
Our first Michigan State Park and very nice it was too. Even though it was quite busy there seemed to be an air of quiet about the place. Electric provided as seems to be the way with most of the Michigan Parks.
15th - 16th July. Hog Point, US Forestry Site. Naubinway, Michigan
Right on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes. And what a great place. Lots of birdlife for Julie including two new spots for her US List - Blackburnian Warbler and the Black Throated Green Warbler. And guess what - it was actually warm enough for us to go swimming in the lake. Quite shallow up here at the northernmost edge but the water was (just) warm enough so in we went. Very refreshing after a hot day. These last two places are are on what is called the Upper Peninsular of Michigan and tomorrow will see us cross over Mackinaw Bridge to the south part of the State. Oh yes by the way - almost no bugs.
17th July. P.H. Hoeft State Park, Michigan
We've crossed the famous bridge and are now in the lower peninsular of Michigan and on the shores of Lake Huron. Guess that one of Michigans claims to fame is that it touches four out of five of the Great Lakes. It did feel a little colder than Lake Michigan when we were swimming but still nice and refreshing.
18th July. Tawas Point State Park, Michigan
A little lower down the coast which we have discovered is the holiday destination of half of Michigan. We find one of the last three sites available on Thursday night but no vacancies at all on the Friday. This is absolutely NOT our type of place. It is heaving with about a thousand people chatting incessantly through the small hours - who gave them all permission to have fun?????? One of the nice things about this place was that it has a lighthouse and good hiking trail to the end of the Point - but - the bugs are out in force - some of the straight from the film Alien. Not nice at all.
19th/20th July. Bruin Lake Campground, Pinckney State Recreation Area, near Chelsea, Michigan
Our last stop in Michigan. Took a while to find the campground but it is sort of OK. At least we get in for the weekend. Again, tried to have a walk but the bugs got the best of us. Not as busy as the last place but still more of a holiday destination rather than a passing through campground. First night here also we had an almighty thunderstorm pass right overhear in the middle of the night. At least we didn't drag anchor!!! Ohio tomorrow.
Our first ever stop in Ohio. Last time we just drove straight through it. With the number of bugs around maybe we should have again!!. As we were looking for the site we drove past an entrance that was taped off - flooded. Not exactly panic but we immediately have to start looking for somewhere else. But - before the books are out we pass a second entrance which is the one for the campground and it is open. Not only that but we are the only happy campers in the whole place. Guess the people from Ohio can't stand a bit of rain!! One other seemingly insignificant occurrence was that Julie "celebrated" her ** th birthday while here. We had planned ahead and managed to squeeze a bottle of champagne into the fridge and Ron did the honors by barbequing a magnificent steak for each of us, plus baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Yummy. So was the food!!
23rd July. Tappon Lake, Deersville, Ohio
Our second stop in Ohio sees us at a very large site - over 600 campsites. Most of the 600 seem to be seasonal and are set up for the whole of the summer. We manage to find a spot at the back which is marked for day use. One of the issues here is that it has been so wet in the last few weeks that things are a bit muddy. We find the driest site we can and head for the highest point of it where we think we will be fairly level. Just one slight problem was that the back wheels sunk in about 5 inches and there we were - STUCK. This is obviously a common event here as within ten minutes the tractor was there to tow us out on to the dry solid bit. Luckily this place was so big they had there own tractor - anywhere else would have meant calling out AAA roadside assistance. Fun and Games!!!!!
On the banks of the Sheaver Fork River this is a nice quiet forestry site. Unusually it is out to a concession holder and there is electric - for a price of course. It is a nice peaceful place though and we enjoy a couple of days of cool weather in the West Virginia mountains.
26th/27th July. Revelle's Campground, Elkins.
A long day today takes us about 8 miles upstream on the same river but to a private site with a full hookup. It is time to get down to some serious work on the RV and prepare it for sale. We have an agreement with a company in Richmond to sell it on commission but there is cleaning and polishing to be done - and there is a lot of it to clean and polish. We actually came to this campground seven years ago - yes seven - when we had rented an RV to "check it out". Hasn't changed at all.
28th/29th July. Brandywine USFS Campground, Brandywine, West Virginia.
Again our second visit to a campground. On our first visit here seven years ago we saw our first ever Black Bear while we were out hiking. This time we did the same hike and guess what - yes we saw what might be our very last Black Bear almost in the same place on the hike. This time it was much closer to us - only about 30mtrs away. Both of us feeling a little unsettled as this will probably be our last campground as Harvey is going up for sale once we are settled back to Gladlee.
30th July/1st August. Stingray Point Boatyard, Deltaville, Virginia.
30th July/1st August. Stingray Point Boatyard, Deltaville, Virginia.
And so - here we are back in Deltaville. Since September last year we have done 14 US States, 3 Canadian Provinces, 1 Canadian Territory and just short on 13,500 miles. We have seen sights that will stay with us forever. We have met new friends, seen untold wildlife and had a stunning adventure. Harvey is being beautified for sale, Gladlee is going to be cleaned up for her next trip and we have a bit of time to see other friends. As we write this we are staying with Sue who Julie met in India just over a year ago. Later this month we will travel to New York to see Carrie, Mike, Lillian and James who will also be there from Singapore. After that we go on to the north of New York State to the St. Lawrence River to stay with Tari and Frank for a while. It doesn't stop - it just changes.
2nd - 6th August. Sue's Place, Annapolis, Maryland
Harvey has gone to Richmond to have a new windshield fitted as well as one or two small jobs including the annual inspection (MOT). We have taken the opportunity to visit Sue in Annapolis again and stay in a bit of luxury - air conditioning, hot tub, television (yes it's a luxury for some of us). Yet again great hospitality.
21st - 30th August. Round trip via Annapolis, Brookyln New York and Clayton on the St Lawrence
We've done some work so now we feel we are due a bit of a holiday!!! Yes we know - life is a holiday but this time we are not taking either Harvey or Gladlee. We start off with another day with Sue in Annapolis - it is a good halfway point to New York which is our next destination. We are going to visit Carrie, Mike and Lillian who live in Brooklyn. We deliberately did not take Harvey - who in their right mind would want to drive an RV through the New York Streets? The first evening Mike cooked a lovely BBQ dinner on their patio and there was lots of catching up to do with Carrie and Julie, and James Morley who happened to be in town from Singapore.
Their apartment is a stones throw from the East River so we take the East River Ferry across to Manhattan for a day of tourism. The ferry drops us right opposite Wall Street and we then walk down to Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan. Up through Broadway and around the new World Trade Centre Towers which have replaced the Twin Towers. Not quite finished yet but close enough. That followed by a walk on the Hudson River Embankment before heading back to the ferry and a couple of cold beers in the apartment. Way too many people in New York for our liking!!!!
The next bit of our trip is still in New York but this time it is upper New York State and the St. Lawrence River. Thankfully our good friends Tari and Frank have a house on the banks of the river. Our first night though is anything but the peaceful time we expected on the river. The tickets have already been bought and we are all (Frank, Tari, Doug, Kara and their four kids and of course us) off to the Monster Truck Show and Demolition Derby. Noisy, noisy, noisy but good fun. The second day is much better (sort of). A visit to the local winery for a Bluegrass Festival. For the uninitiated that is country music with a difference. Don't ask what the difference is - we don't know. We did manage to find time to do a tasting at the winery though and bought a couple of bottles of the local produce. Nice but different. The next few days see us taking rides out on their Pontoon boat around the 1000 islands. Apparently anything that has a tree more than 3 feet high can be classed as an island. Spent some of the time in the Canadian part of the islands as the border goes right through the middle. Had a very nice BBQ dinner out in a nice protected bay. Did the "Bridge Walk" which is a bit of a must. One of the few suspension bridges that can be walked across. Not for the feint hearted - it moves; especially when trucks come over it.
A six hundred mile trip back to Deltaville just had to be broken up with yet another visit to see Sue in Annapolis - it's getting a bit like home!!
30th August - 10th September
Once back in Deltaville we start to seriously make plans for what to do with the RV and the Boat but decisions suddenly get taken out of our hands. On the 1st September we get an offer for the RV from a guy we know in the Boatyard. On the 3rd September we get an offer for Gladlee from a guy who came to see her a couple of weeks ago. It is exactly what we wanted but is still like a double edged sword. We wanted to sell them both but it is a wrench to say the least - especially selling Gladlee. She has looked after Julie for nearly 25 years and Ron for the last 14 years. Now all we have to do is gather the money in and then find some poor souls to house us for the next nine months until our apartment in Cyprus becomes available again. Beware - it could be you!!!
As it happened the sale of the RV fell through but fortunately we found another buyer quickly and managed to finalise it before we had to leave on the 10th. Also the sale of the boat continued with Jeff but was left with him trying to get the finance necessary. So back to the UK... (after another night with Sue).
A few weeks in Wellingborough before 'house-sitting' for Rachel's parents in Pontefract for four months. A short trip to Mallorca to visit Hans and Gisela in the new year before embarking on the ship to Cyprus in March 2014.