Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Our home on wheels being taken into the service area at Alpin Haus in Amsterdam NY. It's kinda like seeing your first born going to kindergarten. You know it has to be done but you hate to leave them alone! Posted by Picasa
What's left of Hurricane Katrina over eastern New York state.  Posted by Picasa

8:35 PM EDT Wednesday August 31, 2005

Report on the repair of our Pace:

We have good news … and bad news. Which do you want first? Okay, here’s the bad news: After three hours, the work was finished (LOF; replaced and relocated a resister = $268.47) and the bill was paid. So, by 11 AM we were ready to head back to the RV Park very pleased with the work done by Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, NY. Phil turned the key on the coach, put it into drive, removed his foot from the brake and the fan quit working! Totally exasperated, we parked both rigs again and Phil went in to tell them they hadn’t fixed it after all. They came out, drove the coach back to the service bays and we went to lunch.

More bad news: According to all the people we’ve talked to about our Datron TV satellite dish, it is so old and obsolete, we won’t be able to find anyone to work on it. So, we decided to see if we could have a dome style satellite dish installed while we were in the shop. “Yes” was the answer until they looked at our roof and the “footprint” where the old satellite dish is located … no way a dome will fit in the same space and all other roof space is pretty well used up. “Maybe if we move some things around … like relocate a solar panel or something?“ Needless to say, that received an emphatic “no” vote from both of us so we decided to draw back and regroup on the dome idea. End result, still no TV as we continue to pay “Dish TV” each month for nothing.

Possible solutions: Since they are fairly inexpensive, we may buy a portable satellite dish or another option could be what is called “bird on a wire” through datastorm. More research is needed on that one as well as an installer. Our expert installer, Bill Adams is 2000 miles away so I’m probably going to ask him if he’ll recommend someone that we might stumble across in our travels here in the east.

The “good news”: On the second try, Alpin Haus technicians found two burnt wire connections. Somehow, they were still working … off and on that is … but after their replacement our fan motor is blowing on demand, stronger than ever! Hurray! How they missed these on the first time around is a mystery. But, no extra charges … so we heartily recommend this repair facility. Not only did they work quickly but also they corrected their mistake without grumbling or an additional bill. It was also very nice to have a Camping World store right next door where we did a little shopping (of course). Full time Rvers simply can’t get by a Camping World without spending some money!

Alpin Haus
1863 State Hwy 5-S
Amsterdam, NY 12010

PS: We’re receiving the residual affects of Hurricane Kristina’s strong winds and rain as she spreads herself out in her final hurrah across the northeast. Nothing serious, just wet, foggy and windy. Hopefully, since tomorrow is a travel day, it will all be gone and we will have some sunny skies.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

9:25 PM EDT Sunday August 28, 2005

Well, well … we’ve been sort of laid back around here the past couple days. Lots of fishing going on at the upper pond here at Frosty (this name kinda makes me nervous) Acres RV near Schenectady NY. No license required … catch and release only and Phil, Les and Don have been doing just that morning and night since we arrived.

After fishing this morning, Phil and I went off exploring. We drove south on state route 5 until we literally ran into the NY state capital, Albany (about 25 miles) and drove all around the city taking some pictures. We only make that sight-seeing trek on a Sunday when there’s light traffic so we can drive slowly and make wrong turns without getting run into by irate city drivers. We learned that little trick in Sacramento CA and it has served us well across the country in state capitals.

Tomorrow afternoon we will be driving the motorhome into Amsterdam NY (about 20 miles) to Alpin Haus/Camping World RV Service Center where we will spend the night in their parking so we’ll be there on time for our early morning appointment on Tuesday. Hopefully, they will be able to find our loose connection or bad ground for the heater/AC fan motor. Also, since it’s being worked on, they will give our “Pace” her scheduled oil change. After all is said and done, I hope I can give this repair shop a rave review like I have been able to the other two times we’ve had the coach in for service.

If all goes well, we will return to our campsite at Frosty Acres Tuesday night and stay through Wednesday night. Our group will be leaving for Port Henry NY on Thursday morning. Even though it’s still very warm, we had a somewhat windy, rainstorm last night that reminded us all that fall is fast approaching.
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1979, this is the state capital building in Albany NY. Completed in 1899 after 25 years of construction at a cost of 25 million dollars, it was both ridiculed and admired for it's design. Since it's completion it has been used by a succession of governors, many who went on to become President of the United States including, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt and others who ran for the presidency and lost like Thomas Dewey as well as Nelson Rockefeller who was three times unsuccesful in his bid for the presidential nomination of the democratic party. Today, the Capital building is being restored to it's original appearance a century ago while improvements are being added ensuring the needs of the New York State government will be met in the years ahead. Posted by Picasa
Impressive state building filling up an entire block in downtown Albany, NY. Phil thinks he saw a sign that read, "Department of Education." Incredible architecture. Posted by Picasa
Although not the famous RCA pup, this white terrier is quite impressive as a roof ornament atop an empty building in downtown Albany NY. No clue why he's there and we didn't think to ask at the visitor's center. Does anyone know the story? Posted by Picasa
Oldest house still standing in Albany. Built by a brick mason named Quackenbush in 1609. The young lady at the Visitor's Center said the story goes that he saved the best bricks for his own house and that's why it's still standing while all the others built around the same time are long gone. Obviously retrofitted on the inside, it's now a French restaurant in Quackenbush Square.  Posted by Picasa
Why didn't I think of this?  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 25, 2005

11:45 AM Thursday August 25, 2005

This is our last day in Wurtsboro NY and as soon as Les and Phil get back to corroborate this [they have and we are] we’ll be leaving for Schenectady NY tomorrow morning. They have gone off in the car to find telephone service (we must be in a hole … no Verizon in this location) to make our next reservations. We had a group meeting and decided to continue north and east rather than our planned westward aside to Lake Ontario because we all decided we’d leave that “Great Lake” and a trip to Niagara for another time and get on with our trek to Maine. So … they are canceling those reservations and making new ones.

As you might remember, we were supposed to be in Milford PA these past four days but upon arrival we discovered the park was completely unsuitable for RVs. Here and there among privately owned lots with every sort of RV permanently installed there was a space for members of Coast to Coast. These sites have had absolutely no maintenance and are impossible to put a big rig in or out. We complained to no avail. We drove all around the park trying to find any C to C spaces that might work … nothing! The woman at the gate (a Lt. Critchfield as I recall) was completely unsympathetic to our needs and more or less said “that’s not my problem” when we asked for help. One of her remarks was especially sarcastic, “What do you expect for $8.00 a night?” We left.

Les called Coast to Coast, told them what had happened and explained our dilemma. They promptly found us another park (Catskill Mountain Ranch and Camping Club) about 25 miles farther into the state of New York near Wurtsboro where we have been happily hooked up (except for no phone service) for the past four days.

Advice to fellow travelers and faithful readers (my opinion only): Avoid the Coast-to-Coast RV park named LAKE ADVENTURE COMMUNITY in Milford, PA. Park in Wal*Mart or even a rest stop if you must … but save yourself some grief and possible damage to your rig by deleting this park from your Coast to Coast book!
The three of us ... together again!  Posted by Picasa
Perfect Pennsylvania weather, best friends and no bugs! Does life get any sweeter?  Posted by Picasa
Lunch picnic at a rest stop along I-81 in PA just south of Wilkes-Barre.  Posted by Picasa
Wurtsboro NY: Les and Don being silly and entertaining the "tribe" (as well as the neighbors who probably thought they had lost their minds).  Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 22, 2005

5:49 AM EDT Monday August 22, 2005

Travel day today, leaving at 8 AM. After a welcome 10 day stop we'll be driving approximately 240 miles to an RV park about 12 miles north of Milford PA near the New York state line. We will rejoin our traveling companions, Gloria and Les at this park. They have been going nonstop in the area around Hershey seeing the sights while we've been doing the same in and around Gettysburg so we're looking forward to hearing all about it.
Our destination park is a member park (Coast to Coast-$8 per night) and our book (and their website) gives little information about the layout of the spaces so we're hoping they have one site with a clear shot at the southern sky so we will have Internet. If it doesn't, we may not be connected again unless we search out another park in the area (and pay full price) or until the next stop in Parrish, NY.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

5:16 PM EDT Sunday August 21, 2005

Well, dear readers ... the "spammers" have found our blog and the "comments" we are receiving are getting more bizarre all the time so, I'm removing them from the blog. You may continue to leave your comments (they will come to us via e-mail) but they will no longer be available for others to read which is a shame ... some of them have been great. Actually we've been pretty lucky ... it took them a year to find us!

12:40 PM Sunday August 21, 2005


Here are some photos that will move you along our travels through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. More later …
Postcards showing one entrance and the ferris wheel at Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America in Bloomington MN. Posted by Picasa
Camp Snoopy Amusement Park inside the enormous Mall of America (560 stores) in Bloomington MN.  Posted by Picasa
The new and the old ... side by side ... in Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin. Posted by Picasa
Circus World Museum in Baraboo IL. Waiting for the show under the big top (it was great!). How did those two clowns get into our group? Posted by Picasa
Gloria getting her clown face painted on for our play day at Circus World Museum in Baraboo IL.  Posted by Picasa
Don and Ardella arriving at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, IL. Don traveled with the circus when he was growing up so this was a "trip down memory lane" stop for him!  Posted by Picasa
Lester in full clown face at Circus World Museum in Baraboo IL.  Posted by Picasa
Joy riding an elephant (one more "to do before I die" scratched off the list).  Posted by Picasa
Phil riding the Unicycle at Baraboo IL, Circus World Museum. (And if you believe that ... let me tell you about the waterfront property I have for sale in Arizona!)  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

11:14 PM EDT Wednesday August 17, 2005

Washington D. C. Tour - August 16, 2005

“It’s the ONLY way to see any big city!” This statement was declared over and over again as our Dayton Tour to Washington D.C. progressed throughout the day. Comfortable and carefree, we leaned back in our seats and watched the landscape go by in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. without a thought for the traffic as our driver, Tom maneuvered the bus effortlessly and our tour guide, Susan, narrated nearly every mile of the 70 plus miles. So much more interesting than driving yourself and my beloved partner, Phil, who was less than excited about going in the first place, has (at last) become a believer.

We paid $65 per person. At first that seemed a bit expensive but when we thought about it and realized the price included our plush round-trip transportation and any admissions as well as our bountiful buffet dinner and tip in Thurmont, Maryland on the way home it was a bargain! Once we arrived, our morning started with over an hour in Arlington National Cemetery (where JFK and Jackie are buried with two of their babies beside the Eternal Flame) riding a tram with a guide pointing out all the famous people interred along the way and we watched the ceremonial “changing of the guard” at the Tomb of the Unknowns (Formerly The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). Back on the bus we drove by and got a good look at the outside of General Robert E. Lee’s former home on the hill that he never returned to after the war. We visited the Iwo-Jima, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean War and World War II Memorials and spent 2 ½ hours in the Smithsonian Institution of our choice (most of us on the tour chose The Museum of American History) where we also had a great lunch in the bright and clean cafeteria on the lowest level.

Later, sitting up so high on the bus, our huge windows gave us perfect views in the afternoon as we drove by the White House, the recently renovated Washington Monument, our nation’s Capital, Ford’s Theater and the house across the street where Lincoln died (both perfectly restored), the Supreme Court and Library of Congress buildings, the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial and the magnificent Washington National Cathedral. Like most cities with a real winter, the construction mess is everywhere as contractors work in the muggy heat to complete their various projects before fall but with Tom driving (and no need to worry about a place to park) we managed to overlook these inconveniences including the heightened security (post 9-11) that was evident everywhere.

On our way home we stopped for a wonderful dinner and tried hard not to fall asleep as we snuggled into our seats for the ride back to Pennsylvania and each group was returned safe and sound to their motel or campground where we’d been picked up in the wee hours that morning. The four of us were their last stop and we arrived home at 6:30 PM, tired but filled with wonderful new memories!
Our luxurious coach to Washington D.C. and back. If only our motorhomes rode this well!  Posted by Picasa
Sign at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. Posted by Picasa
Phil, Don and Ardella on the tram in Arlington National Cemetery. Posted by Picasa
The Eternal Flame where President John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and two of their babies are buried. Posted by Picasa
The World War II Memorial. Posted by Picasa