Monday, August 17, 2009

The Shakedown Cruise – Day 3 & 4

After some initial wandering (thanks, MapQuest), we headed out on Day 3 and soon were heading north on Route 3 toward Tupper Lake. It was a pretty Saturday in the Adirondacks and every trailhead and put-in spot was crowded with vehicles.

We passed a spectacular sight – an international rugby tournament – in Saranac Lake with many games going at once and the fields a riot of colorful uniforms. We made the turn toward Plattsburgh and soon the road became lightly traveled with few settlements as we cruised northeast.

We were heading toward Maccomb Reservation State Park which was described as “wilderness-like” on the web but turned out to be anything but that. The gps and map seemed to be at odds where to turn but I made one correct turn but promptly turned too early and the rig was headed down a back road – and I needed to turn around. No easy thing.

I found a driveway and with Mary’s help, was attempting to back up and turn but after several tries was getting nowhere. Suddenly, a guy came across from his yard and offered his help. I jumped out, he hopped in and patted the dog, and in one smooth maneuver, had things lined up and ready to go. Thanking him, I noticed a big travel trailer in his yard – he’s obviously had more experience than I have.

We found the campground, checked in, and went to our reserved site – one of the few with power. Scoping it out, I realized that it was next to a big playground swarming with kids. Bad move. Again, I had to figure out how to back the rig in without hitting trees, bikes, kids, etc. Fortunately, one more Good Samaritan came from across the way and offered the guide me (he said he’d hauled drag racers for years and had backed up a lot of trailers.). After some colorful and direct advice and backing and forthing, we got it situated and ready to set up.The site was level but the noise level was high – lots of pre-teen girls and boys doing their summer flirtation rituals complete with screams and giggles. The noise did quiet down after dark and rain the next day keep things quiet.

This campground was a disappointment. Not particularly well designed, it had a seedy feel to it – grubby restrooms, balky showers, and a weedy swimming area on a man-made lake. We’d signed up for a couple of days and decided just to relax, read, and get to now the Airstream’s systems a little better.

One nice thing about upstate New York is that there’s pretty good coverage for the iPhones. While not finding wifi (we didn’t look too hard), we could check email and do limited web surfing at all the campsites.

We used our new departure checklist and the trip home was easy, heading north on I-87 and then taking pretty Route 2 down through the Lake Champlain islands. We explored Grand Isle State Park as a possible future camping spot and then stopped in South Hero and grabbed some wonderful, if not healthy, lunch items. (I won’t tip our hand but they involved catsup)

Driving ahead a bit, we found a beautiful shaded parking area along the lake and enjoyed lunch with breezes flowing through the Airstream and the Vizsla sleeping in the truck. It was another reminder of the flexibility of hauling along your own eating space.The last test of the trip was to make the sharp turn and steep climb up our driveway. Well, the bumper dug a rut in the dirt road but we made it up fine and after buttoning things up, were home safely with a very successful shakedown cruise.Postscript: Three days later, I was in the Emergency Room facing an operation for a perforated appendix. As they say, timing is everything!

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