Monday, September 5, 2016

Final Trip of 2016

Sad but it is our final trip of 2016. We are hanging out at home for the winter this year instead of travelling south.

This is just a short trip up to Maine for another friends wedding. The family has a compound on an island in Maine. Basically they have 4 or 5 houses owned by various members of the family right on the water.
The wedding is taking place right on the property and all the guests are staying in the various houses.  We brought our house with us and pulled up next to a barn where we could get some electricity.

Here is one of the docks on the properties. Having a family compound is pretty cool.

The groom's Dad took us on a boat tour around the island, not sure but Will was looking something up and telling us about it as we toured around.
On the day of the wedding we were split into teams and took part in a whole bunch of events. Everything including Dan and Diane Trivia, Competitive Jigsaw Puzzling, Pictionary, Three-legged race and of course the Tug of War!

It was a lot of fun.
Here goes the happy couple on the way to the Apple Orchard for the Ceremony.

Here is the happy couple dancing!

It was a fun weekend.  We took a nice walk around the island to keep Tucker entertained. Although he also liked to hangout by the main Tent and got a lot of attention from all the wedding guests.

But being the final trip for the season is always sad. Where we are currently storing the Trailer there is no easy access to the trailer, so we won't see it for a long time.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Camel's Hump Hike.

You can't head to VT and not squeeze in a hike.  We did a little research and picked Camel's Hump it is a VT 4000 footer.

It also had the remnants of a 1944 plane crash. It isn't often you get to see something like this.

The wreckage is a bit off the trail and we almost missed it. Most of it has been removed but this large section of wing still remains. There is probably more in the woods if you know where to look.
The plane was a World War II, a B-27J Bomber plane that crashed during a training mission.
The hike itself was over 6 miles round trip and had a lot of elevation gain. And also a lot of big boulders.

It didn't disappoint and had a lot of amazing views.

Large boulders on the final ascent.
View from the top. All in all a great hike.

Someday I think we need to spend a few weeks in VT hiking, I haven't hiked their much.

I'd like to do the entire Long Trail which is about 210 miles and crosses the state from north to south.

VT's mini Appalachian Trail.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

VT Wedding

The wedding was really just a BBQ to celebrate the marriage, it was really a lot of fun. It was in a pavilion at the top of the hill in the State Park. At the top was a viewing tower where you could get a 360 degree view of Vermont.

One of the grooms is a mycologist so there was a cake decorated with a mushroom!

Any many other delicious things to eat and fun people to hangout with.

We didn't know too many of the people but everyone was very friendly and easy to talk to.


There was also a lot of good beer and since most people us included are camping right there plenty of it could be enjoyed.

We got a good tip on two murder mystery shows we've never seen Bletchly Circle and Rosemary and Thyme both British shows. Bletchly Circle was pretty good if not a bit too dark!  Rosemary and Thyme was a little goofy and much much lighter.

This was pretty much the only traditional wedding activity at the party. Who can argue with traditions involving cake!

Vermont Wedding Trip Part 1

Aaaaah this beer tasted so good! Why?

Because we heading to VT with a FULLY Functional Trailer!

We stopped here at Worthy Burger in South Royalton VT for a walk, beer and lunch! They make delicious beer and burgers I highly recommend it if you are in VT.

 And it is good that we have a fully working set of tanks because Allis State Park where our friends are getting married and we are camping has no hookups at all.  It is a very pretty park and the sites are huge. They are also very free form so you just pull up wherever you want in the general area of your site.
While we got setup Tucker announced that he like the place by rolling all over the grass.

Walking around the camp we were parked next to a cool VW Camper that the owners had only recently purchased. It was great but they clearly weren't experienced RV'ers.

On the other side of us a few sites down a nice old couple was camped out and we got talking and many years ago they were actually responsible for developing the camping at this park.

They did a great job laying out the sites it sounded like a labor of love on their part.

The wedding was in the evening so we did some touring around. First stop was Fat Toad Farm which produces Goat Milk Caramel. (It is Christopher Kimbal's favorite and you can get it in Whole Foods). We were greeted by a pack of friendly dogs. Sadly they don't raise goats anymore they just buy goat milk from nearby farms.  Still we sample the Caramel and bought a few jars.

We also stopped to take a walk around Randolph VT the nearest little town to our State Park.

Best place we stopped was the Filling Station, the have a lot of beers on tap and will fill a 32 oz can and seal it up with the brew of your choice.  We've never seen the canning machine in action and this one is pretty cool. It was kind of antique-ish.

I've heard from the general beer community that Growlers are dead and these cans seem like a much lighter and better alternative. And they are easier to recycle.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sensor Repair

During our travels we spend a lot of time at RV parks where we don't have a water hookup. Many state and federal parks just don't have the fancy hookups of expensive private parks. Not to mention our stops at Walmarts and other free camping opportunities such as federal lands.

So knowing how much water we have left is usually pretty important.

Once again I pulled out the Dremel and a cutting wheel and went ahead and put another hole in my trailer.

This part of the trailer is thick plastic which cuts like butter, however behind the plastic are 2 very expensive to replace water tanks.

Luckily during the final tank repair I crawled under the trailer with the tech and we mapped out the exact location to cut to avoid the tanks and gain access to the sensor.

 Here is a good look at the hole I had to cut. Although it looks like light is coming in from the bottom that is just a flat LED light I used to see what I was doing. It is sitting inside the tank cover.

The existing sensor was clearly broken, I imagine the first tank repair broke off the outside of the sensor.
 The new sensor was pretty easy to install, I used some teflon tape and just screwed it in. I then plugged in the phone jack style connector and replaced the rubber water shield over the wire and plug.

I didn't get any pictures of that.
I don't think the newer Airstreams use a sensor that requires a hole in the tank. Sounds like a good idea to me.

After getting the tank sensor installed I had to run through the calibration process which is a lot more involved than it should be.

I am happy to say the new sensor seems to be working fine. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bumbling repairs.

Well it has been a long summer and we basically barely used the trailer at all. Turns out getting things fixed took a lot longer than expected.  I am writing this far far after the fact so I've calmed down which is good because getting the fresh water tank repaired turned out to be THE WORST customer service experience I've ever had.

As an avid DIY'er I first entertained the idea of dropping the tank cover and checking out the leak for myself. Wisely I decided I had no good/safe way to raise my trailer high enough to work on and decided to bite the bullet and pay to have it fixed.

On the way home from the Winter trip it was impossible to get an appointment at the factory so I found the nearest Airstream place at home which was far away and tiny. They also couldn't even look at the trailer inside of 3 or 4 months as they only have 2 repair guys and a long line.  Sadly this left me with C*mping World.

Long long long story short they repaired the tank, I drove it home, on the first fill it leaked, I drove it back and they fixed it again and I drove home and my tank sensor was now broken.  This repair took over 3 months and 3 trips back and forth to the repair shop which is about 100 miles from home.  It included many highlights including being left in the waiting room not being told my trailer for several hours only accidentally being noticed by the manager as he was closing up shop for the night. Oh it's been done for hours!  All this and the tank sensor had to be mailed to me and I had to install it myself or take another 200 mile round trip.  This repair was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. It involved a lot of yelling and arguing and most of incompetence.

Did I also mention when I finally walked out to the trailer to hitch up and go home there was a big puddle under it?  Given all that I'd been through already I couldn't help but think this puddle came from my tank which was probably still broken.

A tech swore to me that the puddle was there before they parked the trailer. That being said I will say the tech that worked on my trailer today did seem very competent.

So much incompetence that in the end I didn't even pay a dime.  I had been so furious that I threatened to reverse the charge if they didn't refund me the money until the repair was completed the second time.  That threat turned out was pretty empty as my card company wasn't really willing to do anything. But it eventually worked so I hadn't paid for the repair. And when he found me on that final re-repair day as he walked out of the building to go home he didn't mention re-running my card so I didn't either....  Still I'd rather have paid the money and had it fixed in one trip any day.

Basically because of all this we barely used the trailer all summer. I had planned to do a few more short trips but it spent so much time in the shop the uncertainty made it impossible.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Travelling Pig

Tucker loves chilling around camp! Specially when the cooking is going on.

As you can see below someone brought their pet pig to camp!  He was a pretty happy pig and didn't seem to mind the many many visitors who stopped in to say hello.

I think he desperately need some mud to roll around in but the weather never helped him out.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Beltzville State Park, Lehighton PA

Tucker always needs his walks so we checked out Beltzville State Park which is right around the corner from Camp.

The walk we took was fairly long I think about 5 miles some of which went around a corn field.
There was a lot of morning dew and my feet soon became soaking wet, not problem in the warm weather.

This hike also sported a lot of raspberries and blackberries which were very tasty.

We only ate them along the way as they aren't as good to bake with as blueberries and we didn't have any containers to fill anyway.
The hike also had waterfalls and a lake to offer and eventually wound it's way up onto a little ridge covered with wildflowers and butterflies!

There must have been 4 or 5 kinds of a butterflies although I don't know any of their names except for the Monarch.
 A groovy black and blue one was fluttering about but all my pictures of it came out blurry. I never have my big camera around when I need it.

No trip to PA would be complete without a walk through Country Junction the self-proclaimed "largest" general store in America.

There is nothing you can't find here. From food to Bigfoot!
 Um and theses!
This is not the famous Cecil, just a regular non-famous stuffed lion.  Although I think it was the most expensive item at the store it was looking a little sad and dusty.

Pretty good week touring around eastern PA. Some of our friends arrive at camp today so that will be fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Steelstacks, Bethlehem, PA

PA was the land of Coal and Steel wayback in the day. We have previously visited a coal mine here so this time we explored Steel.

This area of Bethlehem was a big set of steel stacks where steel was produced. It is right on the river (Next to a newer Casino which we didn't visit) and has be re-vitalized as a park and an outdoor concert venue.
The Stacks themselves are huge and almost an unimaginable scale. A railway serviced the stacks bringing materials in and out of the furnaces. Like NYC's Highline park they build a walkway on the elevated train tracks.

It was really really hot that day and the sun was brutal. But we persevered and learned all about what a horribly uncomfortable place it was to work, yet for some reason people still want to bring these jobs back to the US.

Opps not going to get into that here.
Steel was produced here until about 1995 and was used to build everything from cars and warships to skyscrapers.

Read more about Bethlehem Steel on Wikipedia
The next day week took a nice hike out to a Boulder Field.  It is a really odd place where you hike through the woods for a few miles and come to a large field of boulders completely out of the blue.  Surrounded by nothing but forest.

It was created by glaciers repeated freezing and thawing leaving the boulders behind.
Even Tucker found it hard to walk on the boulders and again it was crazy hot. We found a shady spot to eat some lunch and relax.

It is part of Hickory Run State Park which is pretty big and has a bunch of different hikes to be explored.

Amazingly on this hike I some how dropped a wad of cash on the way in. And although we saw 5 or 6 other groups of people hiking I somehow stumbled on the wad on the way out excited I found money... then realized I found my own money!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Martin Guitar Factory, Nazareth, PA

While we are in PA camping for 10 days we have two different groups of friends coming camping on the weekends but the weekdays are pretty quiet so we did some touring around.

The Martin Guitar Factory tour was great, although we don't play guitar we do love factory tours! Sadly there seem to be less and less of them.
Martin Guitars are famous and the factory has a nice museum full of famous peoples guitars and stuff. If you pay money an actual person from the Martin family will give you a tour.

They do make inexpensive instruments I think they have one model under $500 but those are made in Mexico. Everything here is much more expensive.

There is a lot of hard hand work and artistry that goes into one of their guitars and you get to see it all in progress on the tour.
There is also some pretty high-tech equipment in use like numerous laser cutter and engravers.
Clamps, Clamps and more clamps! The workers seem pretty happy, this part of PA isn't exactly a hot-bed of good jobs. I imagine this factory is the best place to work for a hundred miles.

 Guitars are custom made in many different sizes, styles and materials.(Everything in this factory is made of wood, the Mexican factory does produce one partially composite model)
At the end of the tour they have a room with some guitars that one can play.

Totally one of the best factory tours (Although Boeing will always be the top.) we've gone on.

The factory is in a cool old building and we ate lunch right outside at some picnic tables.