Category Archives: Pennsylvania

20221007 – A travel day on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

FRIDAY 07 October

Today was another repositioning day.  After five (5) nights at the Hersheypark Camping Resort it was time to move on.  Marilyn had been staying at Ron and Mary’s house, but it was time for her to return home as well.  Linda and I each had a cup coffee as soon as we got up.  We had toast and jam for breakfast and split our last banana.

Each section of Hersheypark Camping Resort had a name.  Our section was Carrousel Circle.  It did not have a Carrousel, and was not in the shape of circle.

Because we spent all of our time here visiting with family, we never walked or drove the campground.  We like to stretch our legs before driving for hours, so we went on a short walk around the front part of the resort and I took a few photos.  Back at the rig, we were working on our final departure preparations.  Linda turned on the fresh water pump and … nothing.  Bummer.  I could hear a faint hum when the switch was on, and the hum went away when the switch was off, so it appeared that the unit was getting power.  I suspected that the diaphragm had failed, as this is a common failure on RV water pumps, but I was not going to take the time right then to diagnose the issue, and I had not repair parts with us anyway.  Linda made a note to add this to the list of warranty/repair items for the dealer when we get back.  (The trailer goes back to the dealer on October 17, an appointment we made back in May.)

Our destination today was the Fox Den Acres Campground in/near New Stanton, Pennsylvania.  The distance was 183 miles, but it was almost entirely on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, so the estimated driving time was ~3 hours.  We knew it would take longer, and figured on 3-1/2 hours.  Check-in time was 1 PM, so we targeted a 10 AM departure.

Seen in this photo is part of what makes this a resort; two swimming pools.  Both have already been drained for the coming winter weather.  There was also a lot of mature landscaping (trees), a playground, a recreation room, and a free shuttle service to the Hersheypark complex itself.

We were ready to go on time, but had to exit our site differently than we intended.  I have mentioned previously that the interior roads (at least in the Carrousel Circle section) at Hersheypark Camping Resort are narrow and the sites are short.  As a result, tow vehicles (for trailers) and towed vehicles (behind motorhomes), end up parked across the front or rear of the sites rather than inline with the main unit.  This also means that when reattaching vehicles, they are out in the street blocking traffic from getting through.  The roads are also one-way.

The camper to our left had his truck parked with the rear end protruding into the front of our site such that I could not pull out forward and get around him.  That was not a problem, however, as the sites behind us had been vacated, and I could back straight out of our site into the site behind us and then go forward to the left to exit.  As we were getting the rig ready to go, the neighbor let me know that he was leaving to go to the AACA meet, and would not be in our way.  Great!  I could just pull out after all.  But right after he left, another camper a few sites down to our left (naturally) positioned his pickup truck in front of his trailer and proceeded to hook up.  We were ready to go, so I followed ‘plan B’ and backed out of our site at 10:15 AM.  By the time we got to the stop light, at the exit from the park, and turned right onto PA-39, it was 10:30 AM.

Our rig in site #200 in the Carrousel Circle part of Hersheypark Camping Resort (W3W=””).  This section had three rows of RV sites, all pull-through with full hookups (including cable TV) and 50A power.  The roads were asphalt and the sites were gravel and reasonably level.  It was the only section of the part with these specific features.  Other sections had back-in sites with grass, or tent sites, some sites with W/E, and some with no hookups.  The resort also had sections that were just cabins.  But our site more than met our needs, as we basically slept there at night and had breakfast there in the morning before leaving for the day and evening.

PA-39 only went a short distance in that direction (S/E) and we were very quickly on US-322 West.  This highway was posted at 50 to 55 mph, but a disabled motorhome at one of the stoplights had a lane blocked and traffic backed up for quite some distance.  I think it took at least 15 minutes to get past the restriction, but it seemed a lot longer.  I felt sorry for the motorhome owners, but a police car was positioned behind them with the emergency lights flashing, so they were safe while they waited for the tow truck.  Still, we knew the feeling of being broken down

From US-322, we took I-283 South to I-76 West, southeast of Harrisburg.  I-76 is the Pennsylvania Turnpike (toll road).  It no longer has toll booths and operates on the EZ-Pass electronic tolling system or Toll-by-Mail.  We have an active EZ-Pass transponder, so we were able to roll right along; 161 of our 183 miles were on the Turnpike.

The Turnpike was in much better condition that we remember from years ago.  It was posted 70 mph in most places, and the road surface made that a realistic speed.  I set the cruise control at 64 or 65 mph unless the maximum speed was posted lower.  That was just fast enough to allow the transmission to shift up into 9th gear and drop the engine rpm back to around 1,700 rpm.  The weather was nice initially, and it was an easy, beautiful drive through the mountains.

Between Harrisburg, where we got on I-76, and New Stanton, where we got off, there were four tunnels:  Blue Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain, and Alleghany Mountain.  Atlantic Canada doesn’t bother with tunnels, they just run their roads straight up and down the sides of steep terrain.  U.S. Interstate highways, on the other hand, generally limit the grade to 6%, up and down.  After spending most of the summer in Atlantic Canada, the F-150 pulled the Airstream up and down the modest grades of I-76 with ease.  We had researched tunnel restrictions, and paid attention to the signs while driving, and concluded that we did not need to shut off our propane refrigerator to go through the tunnels.  We made it through all four tunnels without incidence.  (Obviously if we had had a problem we would have been on the evening news.)

We stopped at the Sidling Hill Service Plaza but all of the truck/RV parking was back-in, so we didn’t stop.  We finally stopped at the North Midway Service Plaza, which had pull-through Truck and RV parking, to use the restrooms and stretch our legs.  (Remember, our fresh water pump decided to fail this morning.)  Those two stops, combined, added about 20 minutes to our arrival time at Fox Den Acres Campground.

I-70 comes in from the south and joins I-76 in Breezewood.  The Turnpike carries both names until they separate in New Stanton, I-70 heading west towards Columbus, Ohio while I-76 heads NNW towards Pittsburg.  Somewhere after this merger, we finally caught up to rain, which varied from light to heavy enough that I had to put the windshield wipers on the slower continuous speed.  At New Stanton, getting from I-76 to Fox Den Acres Campground took us through one of the most interesting (and convoluted) set of highway interchanges I had even driven.


Our truck-trailer combination is 49 feet long.  Our site at Fox Den Acres Campground was long enough to hold a second RV of the same length.  I selected this angle for the photo to show the all colors on the hill behind the site.

We arrived at Fox Den Acres Campground at 2 PM.  The office was closed, but our site information was on a posted list and campground maps were available.  We were assigned site 110 in the pull-thru section (W3W = ”lifesaving.mixture.circulation”), which was mostly empty.  The pull-through sites appeared to be about 100 feet long.  Our best guess is that each site used to be two back-in sites, as there are still double water spigots, double sewer connections, and double cable TV hookups but only one electrical box, all with 50/30/20A power.

Even though we were only here for one night, we did a complete camp set up.  We had left the rain behind by the time we arrived, so we did not have to make camp in the rain.  I presumed the campground was on a well for fresh water, so this included the water filter and softener, the sewer hose, and the grey hose that we use for the black tank rinse connection.  I filled the black tank to 80% of its capacity, dumped it, and then filled it to 50%.  We have been getting false readings of 35% full after I dump the black tank, indicating a buildup that confuses the sensor, so tomorrow morning I want to get it full, dump it, refill it, and dump it again before we pull out.

When camp was made, Linda located a Walmart Supercenter in Greensburg, about 5 miles away.  We have overnight lows in the 30s (F) starting tonight, and needed some basic gloves for working outside when we break camp.  It was 3 PM when we left, and traffic was crazy heavy, on the narrow, twisty back road we decided to take.  We stopped at a Sheetz filling station in south Greensburg on the way back to camp and re-fueled the F-150.

Dinner was leftovers from last night’s meal (vegan Italian sausages with sauteed onion and red bell pepper, and broccoli) plus Wegman’s Baby Gold Potatoes (microwaved).  After dinner, I e-mailed Woodland Airstream with three additional repair items, including the water pump, and then worked on this blog post after dinner while we finished the open pack of Golden (Lemon) Oreos for dessert.  We had popcorn later while watching the newest episode of The Great British Baking Show.

202210_03-06 – A family visit and miscellaneous stuff, Hershey, Pennsylvania

MONDAY 03 October

(There are 8 photos in this post, distributed throughout the text with captions.  Seven of them were taken with a Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone.  I don’t know what phone was used for the barn photo.)

Juniper-the-Cat is not really fond of travel days, although she has gotten to be a much better traveler over the course of our trip.  She doesn’t like the motion of the truck, especially on bumpy roads (who does?), and she does not like being confined in a carrier, even though we use the one we got from Paul and Nancy, which is about 4 times the volume of the small one we use to move her between the truck and trailer, and allows her to sit or stand as well as lie down and easily change positions.  I think it’s more a question of being resigned to her fate, but she no longer complains very much like she did early on.

Or perhaps it’s because Linda started keeping her informed about our travel and camping situation.  She tells Juniper the day before we move the trailer that “tomorrow is a travel day,” and when we get where we are going, she tells her how many “sleeps” we have before we have to move the trailer again.  Sleeping is very important to Juniper, at least I presume it is because that is what she spends most of her time doing.  Juniper is a very smart cat, of course, so I’m sure all of this makes perfectly good sense to her and relieves the anxiety of the unknown.

Our main reason for being in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area was to visit with Linda’s brother, Ron, and her sister, Sr. Marilyn.  We had planned to visit with Ron’s wife, Mary, too but she had to travel back to Connecticut to help nurse her oldest brother following a kidney transplant.  Mary is actually a nurse, with a Ph.D. so highly qualified to provide the needed care and assistance.  We were sorry to miss her on this visit, but understood the necessity of her being away.

We are in the Carrousel Circle section of the Hersheypark Camping Resort.  All 86 sites in this section are pull through 50A FHU with cable TV.  The entire RV park lies along a roughly NE to SW line, and our site is oriented with the front of the trailer pointing ~EES, such that this time of year we get the morning sun coming almost straight in the front/bedroom window, which is nice, actually.  The entrance is off of Hersheypark Drive / PA-39, which runs N-S at this point (even through it is an E-W highway).  Swatara Creek runs along the N/NW edge of the park and a Freight Line (train track) runs along the SE edge of the park and is marked as “Operational 24/7” on the park map.  It’s a much bigger park than just the section we are in, but due to rain, and wanting to spend time with Linda’s siblings, we never managed to walk or drive the rest of the park.

We left around 10 AM to drive to Ron and Mary’s house.  We brought the Instant Pot and a couple of bags of food items, to be used later to prepare dinner.  Today was mostly a day to just sit and visit and catch up on the big and little aspects of our lives since last we saw each other in person.  But one of the reasons Marilyn was here, was so the three siblings could go through the many boxes of possessions Ron brought back to the house when their mother moved into assisted living almost 20 years ago.

The boxes were all stored in a crawl space off of Ron’s woodworking shop in the basement, so step 1 was to get them out of there.  Ron worked in the crawl space, moving boxes to the opening.  I stood on a workbench at the opening and moved them down to the extension table on his table saw.  Linda and Marilyn then moved them to the floor.  All told, I think there were about 3 dozen boxes.  Fortunately, most of them were labeled.

At 3 PM I drove back to the Hersheypark Camping Resort (HpCR)  to give Juniper her afternoon kibble and refresh her water.  I tend to take PA-422 back and forth as it is the most direct route between the resort and Ron’s house.  PA-422 goes through Hershey and Palmyra and is posted 35 mph except in those two areas, where the speed limit is 25 mph.  From mid-morning to late afternoon, it is chocked with bumper-to-bumper traffic that often does not even move at the posted limits.  I took a slightly different route back using Hersheypark Drive and PA-39 east, which took me past the Hersheypark complex with the Giant Center where the Antique Automobile Club of America’s (AACA) Hershey Meet (antique car show and meeting) would take place starting tomorrow and running through Saturday.  It’s a very large gathering, and there were vintage vehicles driving around on the streets in town.  We had even seen them heading south towards Hershey on US-15 yesterday.

For dinner, Marilyn made a salad and Linda made Pozole.  Mary called sometime after dinner and we had a group chat with her.


TUESDAY 04 October

We each had a cup of coffee this morning, but did not have breakfast in the rig.  We left around 9 AM to drive to Ron’s house, but stopped at the Panera near the RV Resort and got some Hazelnut coffee (our favorite).  Linda got an everything bagel (her favorite) and I got cranberry orange muffins (my favorite).  There was a WEISS supermarket in the same shopping plaza, so we popped in there for a few things for lunch, snacks, dinner, and dessert.  At Ron and Mary’s house, there was no room in the freezer for the Marie Callender’s Crumb Top Apple Pie (which happens to be vegan), so Ron baked it right away.

The three siblings spent most of the day going through the boxes of their mother’s things and sorting them into disposition categories:  trash, donate, sell, and keep.  Linda was tasked with seeing if our daughter would be willing to handle selling things on Ebay.

This photo of the bus barn was from our lawn care guy (Keith).  He said it had not rained during the preceding week.  The east side of the roof was mostly shingled and there were two guys up there working.  I don’t know if the west side of the roof had been done yet, but I was glad to see this finally being worked on, especially after an absence of rain.

I kept my nose out of their business, worked puzzles on my iPad, and checked on propane restrictions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which will be the major portion of our next re-positioning.  I drove back to the RV Park around 2:30 to check on Juniper-the-Cat.  On the way I stopped at Fine Wine & Good Spirits (state wine & liquor store), in the same shopping plaza we had visited this morning, to buy some Black Tower Rivaner wine.  I had checked online, so I knew they had it in stock, but it turned out they only had one bottle, and it was the larger size.  I really like this wine, however, so I bought it.  If nothing else, it will serve as a reminder when we get home that I need to find a way to get locally, or have it shipped from somewhere if that is possible.  I then stopped at the Sheetz filling station on the other side of PA-39 to fill the F-150.  I hung around the trailer for a while to spend some time with Juniper and work at my laptop computer.  While I was there, I got a text message from our lawn care guy (Keith) with a photo of the barn.

When I returned to the house, the crew had knocked off for the day and were watching a movie, Margin Call, so I got to see the second half.  One of the more interesting things they had found while I was away was something than none of us had ever seen or even heard of before; fractional currency.  From Wikipedia:

Fractional currency, also referred to as shinplasters, was introduced by the United States federal government following the outbreak of the Civil War. These low-denomination banknotes of the United States dollar were in use between 21 August 1862 and 15 February 1876, and issued in denominations of 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cents across five issuing periods.

The obverse (front) side of the three fractional currency notes sealed in a plastic sleeve, with the obverse side of a modern US Dollar bill for size comparison.

The reverse sides of the same three fractional currency bills, with the reverse side a modern US Dollar bill for size comparison.

For dinner, Marilyn again made a salad and Linda made vegan Cioppino (fish stew) in the Instant Pot.  We had the Marie Callender’s apple pie (with Cool Whip) for dessert.  Yum.  After dinner we played Bananagram.  It’s a word game, so it was not my forte.  Mary called while we were playing.  We stopped to have another group chat with her, so I got a temporary reprieve.

Back at camp, we caught the last half of FBI International and the full episode of FBI Most Wanted.  Linda headed off to bed right after that.  I stayed up and put the finishing touches on the blog post for Saturday and Sunday and published it.  I also copied the most recent photos from my phone to my computer and selected/processed some for this post.


WEDNESDAY 05 October

Breakfast was egg and cheese sandwiches using bagel thins.  Because they are bagels (hole in the middle), it’s important to have the cheese side up.  We learned this lesson the first time we used them for a heated sandwich.

Since we would be at Ron ad Mary’s house again for most of the day, and they have a clothes washer and dryer, today was laundry day for us.  Since I wasn’t involved in the selecting and sorting of their mom’s possessions, I took on the laundry duty.  I do the laundry at home, but the task seems to have fallen to Linda on this trip.  On previous trips south during snowbird season, I usually did the laundry.  I think the difference this time was that we were initially using the machines in Paul and Nancy’s American Eagle motorhome, so Linda would take it there and then hang out with Nancy and work on meal planning and/or preparation.  It is also often the case that RV park/campground laundry rooms are being used by women.  Not exclusively, of course, as there are solo male RVers, but that has never deterred me in the past.

We visited Hershey’s Chocolate World store to pick up the last of our souvenirs and gifts before we return home on Monday.  We were there on Thursday the 6th, but I have positioned the photo here.

We left around 10 AM and went by way of PA-39 west and Hersheypark Drive.  This route took us past the Hersheypark complex where the AACA Meet was taking place, and I wanted Linda to see it.  The meet started yesterday and runs through Friday, and is a really big event.  The complex includes the Giant Center, Hershey Arena, and Hersheypark Stadium, as well as the Amusement Park and Hershey’s Chocolate World attraction and store.  The extensive parking lot was packed, and the grass area on the other side of Hersheypark Drive was in full use for additional parking and dry camping.  This venue is also used for the Hershey RV Show is held every September, which vies with the Tampa RV Supershow (in January) for being the largest RV show event in the country.

When we arrived at Ron and Mary’s house, Ron, Marilyn, and Linda resumed working on their mom’s possessions.  They had unboxed everything yesterday and Linda was using Google Lens on her Pixel 6 smartphone to identify objects and research what value they might have.  Ron went out for a while at 11 AM to deliver food boxes, something he and Mary have done for a while.  As I mentioned earlier, I started doing the laundry, and worked multi-Sudoku and Pic-a-Pix puzzles on my iPad, to pass the time.  Linda and I both made use of the guest bathroom to take nice, long, hot showers.

By early afternoon, the siblings trio had finished what they wanted to get done and come back upstairs from the basement.  Linda had chatted with our daughter (Meghan) to see if she would be interested in trying to sell any items of value on Ebay.  She was, so we will have to return to Ron and Mary’s at some point in the future with just our F-150 so we have room to transport everything.

This photo of Ron and Mar’s house was also from Thursday the 6th, the only day of really nice weather we had during our 5 nights and 4 full days in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area.

We had leftovers for lunch and then Marilyn prepared a batch of brownies in a 9”x9” glass baking dish and put it in the oven to bake.  We then settled in to play a few rounds (10) of Mexican Train using and set of “double-nine” dominos.  A standard set of dominos only goes up to a double-six, while Mexican Train is often played with a set of “double-15” tiles.  Ron’s son, Brian, had called while Ron was out and Ron called him back.

At Mary’s (long distance) recommendation (last night), we went out to Sawasdee Thai restaurant in Hershey for dinner.  Linda had also found it using the Happy Cow app and it had 4-1/2 stars on Trip Advisor.  With the AACA Meet in town, we were a bit concerned that all the restaurants in the area might be slammed at dinner time, so Ron had called and made a reservation for the four of us at 6 PM.  It turned out to be unnecessary, but it was nice to see our booth waiting for us with a “Reserved” sign on it.  The restaurant was on the small side, seating perhaps 40 people when full, but there were about half that many in the time we were there.  It had a clean, contemporary décor with small touches of Thai culture, and I found it a pleasant place to eat.

One woman was handling all of the tables.  She was busy, but very good.  Linda ordered (vegan) Drunken Noodles, a stir-fried dish made with wide rice noodles, tofu, dark soy sauce, bell pepper, egg, onion, carrot, broccoli, and Thai basil.  I ordered (vegan) Thai Smoked Chili and Cashew , also a stir-fried dish with Thai smoked chili, tofu, carrot, pineapple, cashew, onion, and bell pepper with dark brown sauce.  Marilyn ordered Pad Thai with pork (a classic), and Ron ordered Pineapple Fried Rice with shrimp (also a great choice).  Linda and I shared our dishes, while Marilyn and Ron shared their dishes.  It was agreed by all that the food was very good.

On Thursday afternoon (the 6th) we were hiking (walking) along the north side of Quittapahilla Creek in the Quittie Creek Nature Park (Annville, Pennsylvania) when I saw this fisherman in the water.

We had dessert back at the house.  Linda and I had the last of the apple pie from yesterday, while Ron and Marilyn had some of the brownie that she had made earlier in the day.  We had just finished dessert when Mary called for her evening chat.  Ron put the call on speaker so we could all be part of the conversation and we all talked for quite a while.  When that was concluded, Linda and I took our clean laundry and our iPads and returned to our trailer.  I took PA-422 most of the way, as it was basically deserted at 9 PM.

As soon as we got back to the trailer, we put all of our clean clothes away and then slipped into our evening “comfy” clothes to relax for a bit before going to bed.  I worked on this post for a while, adding the bits and pieces from today and filling in details from the previous two days.


THURSDAY 06 October

The weather forecast for today was for partly cloudy skies, no rain, and a high temperature in the low 70s (F).  Linda had originally planned to get out our propane grill and cook / serve the main meal of the day for the four of us at our trailer at the Hersheypark Camping Resort.  She changed her mind yesterday, realizing that it would be more convenient and comfortable to prepare, serve, and consume the meal at Ron and Mary’s house.  We wanted Ron to see the trailer, however (Marilyn had seen it before) so we devised a plan.

We drove back to Ron and Mary’s house around 10 AM and stopped at Duck Donuts on the way.  I didn’t know anything about before going in, other than the fact that it was o PA-422 in Hershey and looked like an interesting place.  And it was.  They only made/sold cake style donuts, and they were all made to order.  They had a machine that featured a depositor and frying tray and you could watch your donut(s) being made.  They were not filled with anything (cake donuts never are) but they had a wide variety of topping combination.  I got a maple cinnamon sugar donut.  It was still very warm when they put it in a box for me, and I took it with us to Ron and Mary’s house.

For our hike through Quittie Creek Nature Park on Thursday, Ron lent Linda a set of hiking poles and showed her how to adjust them correctly.  She got used to them walking on the flat trail that ran along the north edge of Quittapahilla Creek.  We then headed into the woods on a trail that had elevation change, and she got to put them to the test.  I think someone will be getting a nice (serious) pair of hiking poles for Christmas, if not sooner.

At the house, we moved our Hersheypark Camping Resort hang tag from our truck to Ron’s minivan.  Ron then drove the four of us to Hershey’s Chocolate World so Linda and I could shop for some souvenirs / gifts.  From there, we went to the RV Resort so Ron could see the campground and our trailer.  We left our Chocolate World purchases at the trailer and headed back to the house to have lunch, which consisted of various leftovers.

After lunch, we headed to Quittie Creek Nature Park in Annville for some easy hiking (walking).  Ron lent Linda a pair a good/adjustable hiking poles and showed her how to set them to the correct length.  We then headed east from the parking lot on the flat trail along the north edge of Quittapahilla Creek.  When we got to where the trail crossed South Spruce Street, we started back and then picked up a branch trail through the woods, which eventually rejoined the Creekside trail.  Back at the parking lot, we all walked out onto the wooden bridge over the creek for the view, and I got a nice photo looking upstream from there.

Before heading back to the house, Ron stopped for gas and then drove to the nearby WEIS supermarket.  Linda and I picked up some plant-based Italian sausages, an onion, and a red bell pepper for our main meal, and a Marie Callender’s Crumb Top Cherry Pie (vegan) and Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” non-dairy “ice cream” for dessert.  Ron already had chicken and pork chops at home, but he and Marilyn picked up some broccoli and bread for the meal.

The view of Quittapahilla Creek looking upstream from the bridge near the parking lot of Quittie Creek Nature Park.

Back at the house, Linda started the oven, set it to 400 (F), and got the cherry pie out of its plastic wrapper.  When the oven was up to temperature, she put the pie in and set a timer on her Fitbit.  We then sat outside on the patio under the pergola in the back yard and enjoyed the lovely weather as we had a nice chat.  Around 5:30 PM, Ron lit the grill and started preparing the chicken and pork chops.  Marilyn made a salad and Linda sauteed the onions and red bell pepper to go with our Italian sausages.  Ron sliced and buttered (vegan) the bread and put it in the oven, and then handled the grilling of the various meats / substitutes.  When Linda’s timer went off, I pulled the pie out, added the crumb topping, and put it back in for 15 minutes.

Somewhere in the midst of all that dinner preparation, Linda got a call from our son.  He was on the way back to their house, having just collected his two daughters from their respective schools, and they wanted to chat with us.  Sadie, who will be 4 next Thursday, knew when her birthday was, and how old she was going to be, but both girls also knew that we would (finally) be back home in just 4 more days.

Our last supper (for now) with Ron and Mary was really nice.  It had been both a productive and fun week for all us, but especially for them.  It had been quite a while since they were all together, and they really enjoy each other’s company.  We helped clear the dishes and then gathered up our stuff, which included Linda’s Instant Pot and other cooking related things she had brought over earlier in the week.  Hugs and goodbyes for now, and we were out the door, in the truck, and on our way back to camp.

20221001&02 – A camp day and a travel day – goodbye NY, hello PA

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.

This photo is from last night’s sunset.  The windows in our Airstream Flying Cloud travel trailer are tinted, so I rarely get a photograph of it that shows the interior from the outside.  The dinette is in the rear, and Linda usually sits on this side by the door.  She’s working on something on her iPad.  We usually pull the shades/covers over the windows once it starts to get dark, but had not done that yet.

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.

Our last sunset in New York State, as seen from our site at Canandaigua-Rochester KOA Holiday in Farmington, and partially reflected in the front window cover of our trailer.

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.

The core of our last sunset in New York was pretty intense.


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.

The sign identifying the Pennsylvania Welcome Center on US-15 S just after entering the state from New York.

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 Pennsylvania Welcome Center on US-15 S as seen from the parking lot.  It was a very nice building with lots of services and a scenic view.

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=”“) 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 Pennsylvania Welcome Center on US-15 S as seen from the rear deck.

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.