We’re all set up in a nice rural (semi; this is New York state after all) campground not far from Schenectady NY in a little town called Howe’s Cave, or Old Central Bridge, or Carlisle, depending on whether you ask Google Maps, or the campground’s website, or the GPS in my MIL’s car. The site is grass; the campground is close to the freeway so there’s some road noise, but much less than we had at Harrisburg East campground last week.
We had a nice week in Harrisburg attending the Hershey RV show. J had to go in to near-Philly on Monday and Tuesday, but the rest of the week he was able to work from home. It was really nice having him back during the day; it’s been a long time since that was possible. We went to the RV show Wednesday afternoon and had a lot of fun looking at rigs and fantasizing about buying RVs for our various family members if we ever won the lottery. We got to talk to a number of dealers and manufacturers; it was a record setting day attendance-wise, and most everyone we talked to said that they’d done well on the sales front too. We saw more deals being brokered than I remember from prior years. J thinks that this is due in part to dealers going under; with fewer local dealers, it seems like there’s a lot of pent up demand at the show to actually buy. And certainly if I was going to the show to buy I’d want to do it on Wednesday or Thursday, before the crowds ramped up on the weekend.
As usual, we were there until the show closed, after which we went into Hershey for a late dinner. I was surprised to find the Hershey Pantry restaurant still serving dinner that late, we had a nice meal and finished up with a take-out box of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing (me) and banana cream pie (J). They have the best pies and cakes there! Mom and I used to go there for lunch on the slightest excuse, and I was glad to find it barely changed at all, aside from the extended hours.
On Thursday I drove back to near-Philly to take Mercedes to the vet; she usually doesn’t eat well the first day or so in the trailer, but this time she was turning her nose up at food for several days. Cats can get very sick (fatty liver something-or-other) if they go without eating. We’d used a plastic bag with a corner cut off to get some food into her after a day or so, but she still wasn’t eating much if at all. Thankfully a full battery of tests and a vet exam turned up only a healthy cat, and the vet and I decided it was just stress (or devilment, intended to make me nuts, not sure which.) When we got back to the trailer she did condescend to eat a few treats and a little wet cat food, so we didn’t have to resort to the plastic bag again. I wondered if the road noise (which was really pretty bad) was stressing her out so we closed all the windows and that seemed to help a lot. She’s doing better every day as the trip goes on; I am sure by next week she’ll be back to normal.
My MIL came out on Friday, and after a late lunch we went back to the show to see if they had stabilizer bars for our fiver (her Christmas in advance gift to us) and to look at motorhomes for her – fantasy shopping again, but it’s fun to look! (I make sure to tell the salespeople we’re just lookie-loos, so they don’t waste time with us – some stay and talk anyway.) The stabilizer bars were a no go; the show’s about half the size it was so the vendors are way down and no one was selling them. She did find the perfect motorhome, though, so the visit wasn’t a total waste of time. J
Saturday we were at Hershey Pantry again, this time for breakfast and to meet up with a couple of J’s coworkers, one of whom was interested in considering RVing after hearing J talk about his trips. (They picked the restaurant, but I wasn’t sorry to get in a couple of meals there.) After breakfast we went and did the show one last time with them. We showed the guy who was there to look at RVs a few different styles of rigs, but after a while he just said he’d really prefer a class A, so we looked at those for the rest of the day. It was fun, popping in and out of a bunch of rigs. I am not sure that they had as good a time as we did, but we had a good time! We found a new model Winnabago that we all really liked; they were pretty innovative with the floorplan and it was a good use of space for a 34 ft rig at a good price. Class A’s are still much more expensive than fivers of equivalent size, though, and we didn’t see anything that we liked even as well as our rig.
After we wore those guys out and they’d left to go home, we nipped in to the indoor vendors and signed up for some time in the Florida Keys. Campgrounds are very, very expensive in the Keys; I’ve always wanted to go but prices in the $70 to $120 per night range were a real disincentive. There was a campground at the show pitching a buy 3 nights get 5 deal; the catch was you had to give them your deposit at the show. We got the offer on Friday and went back to the trailer to think it over and decided to go for it. When we went back to talk to them and ask what sort of deal they’d do on a weeklong stay they offered us the same deal doubled: pay for 6 nights stay for 10. Sounded good to us so we went ahead and made the booking for the beginning of the new year. In 2010, if all goes well, we’ll be in the Keys. From there the plan is to mosey up the gulf coast in January and February and see my uncles Dave (unless one of them wants to bring their camper down to the Keys.. hint, hint.)
This morning we got up at a reasonable hour and moved through the morning chores with alacrity; we were on the road to NY by 10:30. I drove the first stint until just before lunch. My MIL drove her van; she elected to follow us. A mistake, IMO, our speed is highly variable with hills and such so there’s no way to set the cruise control and just drive. By the time we stopped for diesel in the afternoon she was tired and frustrated, so J took over the towing and I drove the van the rest of the trip. I passed J and set the cruise control and just drove, and with rest stops we got into the campground less than ten minutes apart. We talked about it this evening; I think she should just drive her way; we’ll call each other and see if we can hook up for meals, but if not, no sweat. We’re pretty sure that between her more frequent stops and our slower pace we won’t be far apart when we stop for the night, and it should be easier for everyone doing it that way.