Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lake Champlain, Isle LaMotte and the Green Mountains of VT

Back again after a long weekend over to the Burlington, Vermont area. Original plan was to go to the Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge, VT but the best laid plans, etc. etc. The web site looked great http://www.vermonthistory.org/expo/ with lots of interesting activities. We left Maine in the rain of course. It has rained more or less constantly ever since we bought the Truck Camper. Blame us! Cut through Western Maine and New Hampshire via Route 25 managing not to stop at several well visited quilt and knit stores.

Rain broke so we lunched in the camper at a large VT rest and tourism bureau area on I-93. Picked up a Ben and Jerry's brochure about factory tours and thought that would make a nice dessert. http://www.benjerry.com/our_company/about_us/tours/. Found out why the roads were so quiet in VT. They were all at B&J's waiting to take the tour!! Line for ice cream was about a half hour long and since we can buy it anywhere, moved on. Met up with another truck camper in the parking lot and they told us of a good campground in Burlington which is one of our favorite cities. Headed north and after driving some incredibly scenic side roads, ended up north of Burlington on Grand Isle, Vermont at the Champlain Adult Campground. http://www.champlainresort.com/. This campground was pristine and we got a camp space right on the water beside a rock beach. View was down Lake Champlain and over to the ferry landing in New York. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the canvas chairs just enjoying the water, birds, passing ferry boats and listening to the other passing campers talk mostly Canadian French. Lot of them come to stay the whole summer. I would highly recommend this campground to those adults wanting a quiet CG.

Next morning we headed up to Chazy Reef on Isle LaMotte north of the campground. This is a huge exposed area of ancient reef in which you can see portions of old coral, fossilized sea animals and shells. http://www.vtlife.com/vtlife/current_issue/su06-inns.htm. The drive to the reef was an adventure in itself as the roads are narrow, right by the water and curvy. Our Ford F-350 and Lance Camper did well in places a larger rig would never have fit.

Next headed south down Route 7 to Middlebury, VT one of those small towns which has not "gone modern". Wandered the farmer's market for goat cheeses, cranberry bread and some cranberry preserves for Doris, Joe's mom. Spent so much time wandering around we decided better head to Tunbridge, the purpose for the trip. This portion of the trip put the F-350 to the test going over Route 125 from Middlebury to Tunbridge through the Green Mountain National Forest. Extremely beautiful through tight, twisting, mountain roads with brooks cascading down the side of the road. We stopped at many old covered bridges and also just to better see some of the mountain views. By the time we finally got to Tunbridge it was too late in the day to take in all the fair so decided to not even start. Took 110 which was an even smaller road over to a campground in Warren, NH which is not to be recommended. Slept fast, left early and headed home. Reminder to self - put ear plugs in camper.

In all we packed too many activities into a short trip and came back tired but full of good memories of the mountains and especially Lake Champlain. Many tasks before the next trip which will probably be up to Boothbay Harbor - if we don't sneak in another short trip back to Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Zoo, Mansions, Rain and Pizza

We've now put 6,500 miles on the Truck Camper since we picked it up April 8th. No moss growing under these tires! It is amazing how much rain there has been over these two months and how much of it we have walked through. This past trip was no different but at least it is warming up a bit.

Went to Providence, RI to go to the Roger Williams Zoo http://www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org/. We both enjoy zoos and learning about some of the conservation efforts going on. Rainy, windy and quite noisy as it seems the 2nd graders were having a field day. Hundreds of eighth graders were loud enough that some of the animals were staying in the far reaches of their enclosures. We also walked around the Roger Williams Park http://www.nps.gov/rowi/ and read up on one of the men who helped found our country on a basis of religious freedom.

Headed on over to Newport, RI with the idea of walking the trails along the ocean side of the mansions. http://www.cliffwalk.com/, Parked at the visitor center and then walked into old town Newport. Not a lot of "old" left with mostly souvenir shops and the usual franchises. Futile effort to find a place to park the RV up near the cliff walk trail so ended up just driving the Ten Mile loop around the road side of the mansions and up to Fort Adams http://www.oceandrivenewport.com/. Many of the mansions seem to be in the midst of total remodel and those that weren't show an obvious need of repair. Just how many people can afford to own a mansion and keep it in tip top shape? Not many and those that can appear to have their homes open to tours. Bet our Lance is about the size of half a coat closet on some of those mansions. From Fort Adams you can look back at Newport and see many of the mansions from the ocean side.

We were so close to Mystic, CT just decided to go over a day early to camp. Good thing we did as the heavens opened and glad we were already set up or we would have needed a boat to move around the camper. Saturday and Sunday were spent exploring the small town of Mystic, just looking at and passing up yarn in a way overpriced yarn shop, and having a great time with other truck camper folk we met there. Mystic Pizza was as good this trip as the last. Also went over to Stonington Harbor, CT and walked the streets that truly still look like an old whaling town. Perfectly preserved town that made you feel like you should have on 1800 style clothing. That alone made the trip worthwhile.

Learned a lot about our rig and the tips were invaluable and appreciated. We'll meet up with some of these TCer again over the summer and hopefully give help back with GPS set ups. A special thanks goes to Mike T who replaced a suddenly discovered missing bolt on one air bag as we were ready to drive back to Maine. Dropping an air bag would not have been fun on I-95.
The Lance continues to perform perfectly, diesel mileage slowly rising, packing the rig easier each time. No idea where we're going next but hopefully it will be soon.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

North to New Brunswick

Joe and I went up to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada this past week. We drove Route 1 up the Maine coast and stopped at lots of very scenic sights including a couple of state parks. We enjoyed spotting a couple of eagles, many hawks, beaver and what we think was a coyote. It turned cold and rainy (again) instead of the partially sunny, warm weather it was supposed to be. We now take four seasons of clothing and bad weather gear with us at all times. We look sort of odd in our hiking boots, slickers and rain hats when what few tourists that are here are running around in flip flops and shorts. Bet we are more comfortable?

Stopped for the night at Herring Cove Provincial Park on Campobello Island which has about 75 camping sites.http://www.campobello.com/herring.html. The ranger said to pick any site we wanted as there were only 2 other campers there! Cold, rain with thunderstorms but the Lance camper was warm and dry and tucked into the edge of the woods so we weren't a lightning target out in the middle of a field. Next morning went to the Roosevelt Campobello International Park http://www.fdr.net/ and were the only tourists there when we arrived. We got a private tour of the Roosevelt cottage and grounds which were fascinating. So odd to walk in the footsteps of historical figures, to know you are standing in the same places as the people in photos on the wall stood. After the grounds, we took a 2 mile slog through wet woods and a stone beach to a good vantage point to see the tides turn. Quite awesome to see the water boiling as it switches for what will eventually be a 24 foot drop/rise. US Customs inspected the camper when we left NB but I think they were just more interested in seeing the truck camper than in actually looking for anything. They never even opened the truck cab.

We then headed up to St. Andrews, New Brunswick after stopping at Cobbscook State Park near Lubec, Maine. Too early to stop for the day but if you get a chance, the water front campsites are $14 a night and every picture perfect image you have ever imagined in Maine. Crossed the border again at Calais with no customs inspection. Pulled into the Kiwanis Campground in St. Andrews and sat by the Bay watching the tide turn once again. Lots of campers there from all over Canada and we learned of many more places we would like to visit. This time of year most people in campgrounds are retired couples so there is a lot in common.

Walked through Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews for two hours the next morning in the rain and it was worth every step. RVing is turning us into waterlogged, wrinkled old prunes but we sure are having fun. http://www.kingsbraegarden.com/. Took Route 9 known as the Airline from Calais to Bangor and then Route 95 to home. There are times you feel like there is no one else left in the world as you see no houses, no traffic and keep looking at the sides of the road for a moose to step out. We are lucky to live up this way.