SATURDAY 01 October
We had originally planned to visit Letchworth State Park today, but the forecast was for cloudy conditions and we were both feeling like we could use a ‘down’ day in camp. We had made good use of our time for the last three days, visiting museums and wineries, and I had not been able to keep up with the blog posts. It was not that I didn’t work on them, I did, it was just that I took a lot of photos, and we saw some amazing things, and it was taking me more time than usual to process all of that into blog posts.
Linda had scanned for TV channels when we first arrived on Tuesday and found quite a few, most importantly, CBS and PBS. Besides watching some TV shows in the evening this past week, she was able to watch the University of Michigan at the University of Iowa football game today.
By the afternoon, the clouds had cleared out and we had blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50s (F), so a visit to Letchworth State Park might have worked out after all. But no regrets for not going. We did leave the RV park for a while mid-afternoon to make one last run to Wegman’s supermarket in Canandaigua and fuel up the truck for our travel day tomorrow.
By the time we got back to camp, there were five (5) Airstream travel trailers in the RV park, including ours. Two had been here since before we arrived and several others had already come and gone. Even though a lot of rigs had come in yesterday and today, it was still an unusually high number of Airstream units (not in a caravan), and had been that way all week.
One new arrival was just two sites down from us, and we were able to make the acquaintance of Paul and Amy from London, Ontario. (Airstream owners tend to be especially friendly towards other owners, and have a tradition of flashing headlights as sign of recognition when passing in opposite directions on the road.) They had recently purchased a 2012 Flying Cloud 27 Front Bed unit, and this was their first big outing. They were headed to Liberty RV Park in New Jersey (the Statue of Liberty is visible from there) and planned to visit Manhattan. They were clearly excited to be on the road we enjoyed interacting with that excitement.
The unit looked brand knew, something that Airstreams are capable of maintaining for a long time with appropriate care. Amy had done something interesting with interior window covers and we were invited in to have a look. Paul and I had a quick conversation about RV electrical utilities, “surge” protectors, and turning the powerpole circuit breaker off when connecting and disconnecting. I wish we had been able spend more time getting to know them, and to make the acquaintance of all the Airstream owners who passed through the park, but we were busy/gone, and/or they were busy/gone, and/or it was chilly outside as the sun got lower in the western sky and we just were not outside very much under those conditions.
Before dinner, and before it got dark, I checked the level of the propane tank we had been using for a quite a while now. It was close to empty, so I manually switched to the other tank and removed the empty one to have it filled. I carried it over to the RV parks filling station and they returned it on one of their golf carts. The guy called in the amount to the office, 6.1 gallons. At 4.2 lbs/gal that was 25.6 pounds. It was only the second time we had bought propane since we left in mid-June. The last time was only 8 pounds, so we had only used ~34 pounds of propane in 109 nights of camping. We had 8 nights and 9 days left in our grand tour, and will arrive home with plenty of propane to spare.
I went to the office to pay for the propane. While I was there I bought a couple of sewer hose accessories that I needed. One of them was a replacement for something I already had that was broken, and I put it in the trash.
In a repeat of last night, the sun and clouds put on another dazzling display of color at sunset so I tried to grab a few photos.
SUNDAY 02 October
Today was a major repositioning day for us as we moved the rig from the Canandaigua-Rochester KOA Holiday in Farmington, New York to the Hersheypark Camping Resort (HpCR) in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. It was a longer day than we usually plan, ~250 miles and a little over five (5) hours driving time. This was our 6th State of the trip (including Michigan). We targeted a 10 AM departure as the check-in time at the HpCR was 3 PM.
Paul and Amy (from the 2012 Airstream Flying Cloud) were also leaving this morning, but before pulling out we exchanged e-mail addresses with them. I chatted briefly with Paul about Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. They had heard of HH but not BW, even though it is now part of HH. They live relatively close to us, so perhaps we will see them at our BW host site someday.
Our route in New York started with us headed west on Canandaigua Farmington Townline Road and then jiggy-jogging our way south to NY-21 South, which we followed through Naples (a lovely town) to Cohocton. From there we took NY-371 S to I-390 E to I-86 E (through Bath and Savona) to I-99 S / US-15 S. The drive through New York was both beautiful and dramatic, along deep valley floors bordered by long, high ridges. We had fair weather the whole way, which was a plus, and saw increasing signs of fall colors in the trees. We were still a bit early for full fall colors, but the weather was decidedly chilly. Had we stay at the KOA this evening, the low was forecast to be 34 (F).
The I-99 designation ended at the PA border, but the road continued as US-15 S. It was still a good 4-lane, divided, limited access freeway. We speculated as to why Pennsylvania had not sought to make this I-99. Linda wondered if it might have grades that were too steep to meet Interstate Highway design parameters, but we did not look for an answer to that question.
A few miles into Pennsylvania, we stopped at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center around noon to use the restrooms and stretch our legs. Besides information, it was a truck weigh scale, a scenic overlook, had food and beverages available, and was just a really nice building with a great view of a lake, dam, river, and valley to the west. Because of the length of the trip, we snacked on pretzels and veggie sticks, something we rarely do while traveling.
Most of our trip in PA was on US-15 S, until we got near Harrisburg, as it was the most direct route between our starting and ending points. It was a good road and another wonderful drive through deep valleys, occasionally climbing up and around small mountains. Eventually the limited access aspect of the road disappeared and then the divided aspect as well, but it continued to be a good road with moderate traffic on a Sunday.
Somewhere along US-15 in Pennsylvania we finally caught up to the rain and it was with us, in varying strength, for the rest of the trip. Starting in Williamsport, US-15 roughly followed a river that eventually joined up with the Susquehanna River in Northumberland, affording us views of the Susquehanna River Valley and the river itself.
The only place we encountered stop and go traffic (mostly stop, it seemed) was going through the long, commercial stretch of US-15 S in Selinsgrove, home to the Susquehanna Valley Mall. As we approached the greater Harrisburg area (from the north), we eventually left US-15 for US-22 to I-81 N to I-83 S to US-322 E to PA-39 N and, finally, to Sweet St. (no kidding), which was the entrance to the Hersheypark Camping Resort.
We arrived at the HpCR and queued up behind several rigs at 15:21. It took about 10 minutes for Linda to get us registered as there were three check-ins ahead of us. The rig in front of us pulled out, and I pulled up, just as she returned to our truck. We were assigned site #200 (W3W=”suave.cleared.actor“) in the large section of 50A FHU pull-through sites that bordered the entrance road. The campground is just off PA-39, but was very quiet.
The campground was already busy and expected to be busier, as we had (unknowingly) booked our five nights here to coincide with the annual Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Antique Car Show—the largest show of its kind in the U.S.—at the nearby Hersheypark Arena and Giant Center complex. This is the same venue used for the massive Hershey RV Show each September.
The interior roads at HpCR were a gravel embedded asphalt while the sites were a hard-packed gravel. Both were a bit narrower and more closely spaced than we expected, and this section of the Resort was heavily treed. That might have been a challenge, but the sites were angled, which made it relatively easy to get the rig into the site and get the truck aligned with the trailer. The sites were also short, so once the truck was unhooked we had to park it at an angle across the front of the site/trailer to get it off the road.
From what we could see, it was a nice enough RV park, just not what we had expected given the price and that it is owned/operated by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. I think we had envisioned something a bit more like Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness. But it was fine for our needs, and was in a prime location.
We had to make camp in a light/spotty drizzle, but were glad it was not a heavy/steady rain. We had the trailer leveled and the truck unhitched, water and electrical power connected, and the trailer ready to use, inside and out, by 16:01, just 40 minutes from when we arrived. Because the Resort is on municipal water, I did not hook up the fresh water filter and softener. If I had done that, the complete set up process would have taken an hour. The utilities were all conveniently located close together, and the 50A RV electrical socket was in good condition (often not the case) allowing for a tight connection. The box also featured cutouts on the bottom edge for the shorepower cord, allowing the cord to hang straight down and the lid to be (mostly) closed. That was a nice feature that I rarely see. (Even our RV electrical boxes at home lack this feature).
Once we were settled in, Linda called her brother (Ron) to him know we were here. After a long travel day, and with persistent rain, we were content to just relax at home for the evening. We had left-over vegetable soup and hot dogs for dinner and watched a couple of PBS programs later. After the TV programs, I finished the blog post for September 30, as well as a special post with some miscellaneous photos that Linda took over the last week or so, but not make it into blog posts at the time.
HpCR lies between a small tributary to the Susquehanna River and an active rail line. The trains came through every now and then, but rarely sounded their horns. Mostly we heard and felt the deep rumble of the locomotives and a faint clickity-clack of the wheels. I was unaware of them once I went to bed and fell asleep.