MONDAY 19 September
I was tired and went to bed around 10:30 PM last night; early for me. I was awake by 4 AM this morning, of course, but managed to stay in bed until closer to 7 AM. I put away the dishes and cutlery from last night, and put the kettle on to boil (filled and pushed the START button). I think I also fed the cat, as that is usually part of my first-thing-in-the-morning routine.
Today was a travel day, and we had our sights set on a 10 AM departure. If I was going to have coffee and something to eat, I had to do it right away. I one of the scones that we got yesterday at the Village Vegan in Conway, New Hampshire. I was part way through my cup of coffee when Linda got up. She made her cup of coffee and ate her scone right away as well, and then we each had a cinnamon twist pasty. All vegan, and very tasty.
I took a break from working on the blog last night, so after breakfast I picked up from where I left off. I was inserting all of the photo references into the text for our Mt. Washington Cog Railway trip yesterday, including writing the captions, and realized I had not yet finished writing the post. I had set it aside yesterday to start the post for our drive to Conway, New Hampshire and had not returned to it. As the clock on the microwave convection oven counted up the minutes towards 10:00 AM, it was obvious I was not going to get the post finished and published before we left. We really wanted to be on the road by 10 AM, so at 8:30 AM we started our final departure preparations. Priorities, even (especially?) when camping.
While I was moving our technology from the trailer to the truck I had a chance to chat briefly with or neighbors on either side, both of whom had pulled in yesterday early evening, one behind the other. That turned out to be coincidence, as they were unrelated and unacquainted prior to arriving here. The older couple on our passenger side was from Ontario, and were also leaving today for Vermont; Waterbury, specifically. The younger couple on our driver side was from the Cleveland, Ohio area, and were staying through tomorrow night.
Our destination today was Gold Brook Campground in Moscow, Vermont (south of Stowe and north of Waterbury). The reason we were so focused on a 10 AM departure was: a) Check-in time was 1 PM; b) We estimated it to be a 3-hour drive, and; c) A massive rain system was forecast to move through that area during the day, but it looked like we might have a window from 1 to 2 PM to set up camp with little or no rain.
We looked at, and considered, various routing options, but opted in the end to just take US-2 all the way, except for a detour around St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and the last 7.6 miles on VT-100. Our current campground was literally on US-2, so it was a matter of exiting the campground, turning right, and staying on the designated route.
Rain was forecast for last night, and through this morning, with high percentage chances but, as has often happened on this trip, it did not pan out exactly that way. It rained, but not between 8:30 and 10 AM this morning; we’ve been lucky that way. We were hitched up and ready to go by 9:45 AM. Linda took the trash to the dumpster by the office and returned our gate card in exchange for our $20 deposit. While she was in the office, Megan and Scott gave her a list of places we should be sure to visit in/around Stowe and Waterbury, as they used to live in that area. We both made use of the campground restroom, and were finally pulled out of the campground onto US-2 at 10:04 AM.
The weather was heavily overcast, with low clouds obscuring the tops of all the mountains, including many of the lower ones. US-2 was still a wonderful drive, however; up and down, left and right, alongside rivers, and through small towns and villages. We were even high enough in elevation at a few points to drive through the clouds. The rain was moving in from northwest and we eventually drove into it. It was heavy enough at times that visibility was low and water was ponding on the roads. No problem, though; lights on, wipers on, slow down a bit. The truck-trailer combination handled flawlessly, for which the Propride 3P WD Hitch got a lot of the credit.
Our only deviation from US-2 was getting around St. Johnsbury, Vermont. We had seen on the map that the route through town involved a number of sharp turns in a downtown area; not ideal for a 50’ long articulated vehicle. I commented that, if I saw a sign for a truck route around St. Johnsbury, I was going to take it. And sure enough, there it was as we came into the edge of town. (Once again, the concept of “when are we a truck and when are we not a truck,” which was especially important with the converted bus, but still applies to any RV. At issue are weight, height, width, and turns. If a tractor-trailer, can make it, so can we.) The US-2 West Truck Route took us a short way south to I-93 north, which ended a few miles later at I-91, where we continued north and finally exited back on to US-2 West.
As we got to the west side of Montpellier, we almost had a navigation error. I saw a sign at the last minute for US-2 West and made the right turn (from the through lane), but then wasn’t sure I should have done that. Just after the turn ,there was an area on the left where it looked like I could turn around, so I pulled in. It turned out to be Montpellier High School. Linda figured out fairly quickly that I had, in fact, turned when/where I needed to. I looped around in front of the school and back to the road, made a left to continue our direction of travel, crossed over the river, and then almost immediately turned left again to stay on US-2 West. The “detour” cost us a minute or two of travel time; no big deal.
By the time we reached Waterbury, the rain had basically quit. We turned north on Waterbury Road (VT-100) for the final 7.6 miles to our campground, just shy of the small town of Moscow. Along the way we passed the entrance to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory and the Lake Champlain Chocolate outlet store (not the factory, which is near Burlington). Shortly after that we passed a ‘Welcome to Stowe’ sign and then saw the sign for our campground, pulled in, and followed the signs to the office.
While Linda went to the office to register, I went in the trailer to turn on the LevelMatePro+ and sync the app on my phone. The office was locked, with a note on the door directing arriving guests to a mailbox for their information packet. Our stay here was fully pre-paid, so this approach worked just fine for us.
The interior roads were gravel, but in decent shape, and the sites were all grass, with a bit of gravel in evidence. We had been assigned site #66 (W3W=”encircling.gadgets.submerged”), a 50A, full-hookup, back-in. The campground was mostly empty, with maybe 12 sites in use out of 79, so we had open sites on both sides of us. The utilities were set up side-by-side, which is generally not a good arrangement, but we noticed that all of the RVs were spaced out. Closer examination revealed that all of the trailers had been assigned even numbered sites, which allowed them to back in and have the hookups on the correct side, whereas the motorhomes had been assigned odd numbered sites, which allowed them to pull in and have the hookups on the correct side. I thought that was both clever and thoughtful, but something they would be unable to maintain at full occupancy.
It was a rainy Monday, of course, but it still seemed strange that the place was mostly empty as it was a nice enough campground, with good utilities, and was located about half-way between Waterbury and Stowe. We noticed more trees changing color on the drive here today, but were probably still a week or two from the kind of fall colors that draw millions of visitors to the Northeast U.S., and perhaps 3 to 4 weeks from peak color.
Knowing that heavy rain was on the way, possibly as early as 2 PM, we were anxious to get set up. It always takes me a few tries (if I’m lucky) to get the trailer backed into a site the way I want it AND with the truck lined up with the trailer. We did pretty well this time and lucked out, once again, in finding a place for the trailer tires that was level side-to-side. We were only off level by 6.5”, front-to-rear, well within the range our equipment could handle.
I got the shorepower cord out of the trailer while Linda moved Juniper-the-cat into the trailer. We then got the trailer tires chocked, the truck unhitched, leveled the trailer front-to-back, and put the stabilizer jacks down. After we moved all of technology from the truck to the trailer, Linda set about getting the inside ready to use while I hooked up the shorepower and got the fresh water components connected. I was going to hook up the sewer hose as well but, as I was finishing the fresh water setup, there was a loud rumble of thunder and it started to drizzle. It started to rain harder just as I closed the trailer door behind me. It was 1:45 PM, so we had completed most of our arrival preparations in just 45 minutes from when we pulled in off of VT-100. By 2:06 PM it was raining hard, so we had done very well taking advantage of the break in the rain.
While setting up the interior, Linda found a small steel ball on the floor. It was a ball bearing, which I figured had to come from a drawer slide. There are only six drawers in the trailer, so I will have to try and figure out which one this might have come from. (The drawer under the dinette seat by the entry door was open when I went in to turn on the LevelMatePro+, so that would be my starting point.)
The other new issue I noticed this morning was water dripping from the exhaust fan in the shower. The inside of the housing was wet, suggesting the water was not getting in around the outside of it. I checked it while it was raining, and it didn’t seem to matter if the vent was open or closed, so I wasn’t sure what had happened. We didn’t bring a ladder with us that was long enough for me to get up high enough to examine the vent cover from the outside. I had to replace the vent cover on the bathroom exhaust fan before our trip as the foam seal around the inside of it was crushed, so perhaps this was a similar issue. The vent covers are held on by two screws, so perhaps one of them had come loose. But at the moment, there was no way to know for sure. Fortunately (?), it was the vent fan in the shower, and not the one in the bathroom.
We had Amy’s Alphabet Vegetable Soup for lunch, along with crackers (with butter and peanut butter) and red grapes. After lunch, I set up our Verizon Jetpack Mi-Fi and my computer, and got back to work on the blog posts, including this one. Around 4:00 PM we checked the weather. It wasn’t raining at the moment but more was on the way. I fed the cat and then set up the sewer hose. I was just finishing that task around 4:25 PM when it started raining lightly.
When I came back in, Linda showed me the radar. We were right at the eastern edge of A Big Yellow Blob, which was moving east towards us. Missed it by ‘that’ much, again. Rain was in the forecast for all four nights we will be here, but wouldn’t spoil our fun, as we were not planning on hiking here. Instead, we planned to do more “touristy” things, like go to: Ben & Jerry’s (they make vegan ice cream); Lake Champlain Chocolate (no explanation needed); the Vermont Teddy Bear Store; the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and Donut Shop that Megan and Scott recommended (which we also passed coming up VT-100), and; other such “points of interest.”
When we were in Essex Junction, Vermont in the summer of 2016 for the Escapade Rally, we went to a vegan restaurant in Burlington. Linda did a search and thought she found it. We are not that far from Burlington, so we might go there for lunch or dinner one day. (I was looking at the map for this area, and we are actually not that far from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.) She also scanned for TV signals (not that I’ve missed TV that much) and found quite a few. Being Monday, the important channel was CBS, and we ended up watching the first episodes of the new season for several of our favorite shows. I worked during the TV programs, and managed to get the blog posts for the last two days uploaded, assembled, and published.