Monday, September 6, 2010

From Then to Now-July Through Labor Day Weekend

May through June was a blur. Before we knew it Independence Day was upon us. The summer was continuing to be hot and dry. We continued to stay close to home, but the urge to travel was nagging at us so we decided to do some camping during the week. It is almost impossible to get to a campground any where within 3-4 hours of here. Too many people, not enough campgrounds and now, the economy. Weekends are booked up months in advance. During the week, however, most campgrounds have room to spare.

We have been tent camping for many years and have all the equipment stored so we can just pack up and go. We also camp in our truck (see Oct 2008 posts), but with the Doodles that has become impracticable. Not enough room. Tent camping is becoming a bit hard for us, too. The tent, although it is quite large, does not have the room we need for the four of us, especially if the weather is bad. Finally, our bones are not as they used to be. How were we going to do this?

We decided to invest in a used pop up camper. We started looking and found the best place to shop was at The campers on Ebay were priced too high. Craigslist had a good selection, they were reasonably priced and it was much easier to locate and speak with the seller. The one problem we did not expect was these used pop up campers have become a premium in the used camper market lately. The economy again. A camper would be posted and within minutes the seller was getting calls. Most were sold the day of posting. After trying and trying we finally located one in Pennsylvania. When we called the seller said someone else was on their way to pick it up. Missed again, but we did catch a break. The prospective buyer backed out and the seller called us back that evening.

We drove up the next morning and brought it back to Maryland. Great! It was perfect. A 1994 Coleman Destiny. This is the smallest model in the pop up series. It can sleep 6, but not comfortably. It can sleep 4 very well. Just right for the four of us. It took several days to re-arrange things, stock it it the way we wanted and to make some very minor repairs, but for the price, it was more than we anticipated. Now a test trip.

Locust Lake State Park lies in the Pennsylvania mountains just off Interstate-81.  This was the destination for our shake down cruise.  We were confident the two of us would be comfortable, but not so sure about the O' Doodle boys.  Guinness has a lot of experience tent camping, but not Rosco.  This would be different than in the RV where all the night time noises are subdued.  It was going to be interesting.

We arrived mid-afternoon, set up and immediately got settled in.  The trip was easy.  We explored the area and we all had a great time in the mountain forest and fresh air.  The temperatures were much cooler than in the Baltimore area and we all felt great.  Rosco and Guinness were having a fantastic time.  Rosco found he could follow a chipmunk, with his eyes, and he became fixated on that task for the rest of our stay.  He loved it.  Guinness had his ball and that is all he ever needs to be satisfied.

Of course, though, the Berrys are camping and what does that mean?  Rain.  We are rain campers.  Just about every time we go, it rains at some time during the trip.  Most often, all the time.  We have gotten accustomed to it and we deal with it very well.  The boys, however, are a different story.  In the RV there is a lot of room and plenty of things to do on a rainy day.  In a small tent camper there isn't.

It started to rain just after we all settled down for the evening, about 9:30 PM.  It was a drizzle at first, but graduated to a tremendous downpour for the rest of the night.  The boys settled right down, thank goodness, and immediately went off to sleep.  They were exhausted and seemed very comfortable and the sound of the rain helped.  We were up several times looking for leaks, but all was OK.  Not bad for a 16 year old canvas trailer.  The rain tapered off just before dawn, but it continued to drizzle for a while and the morning started off very foggy. The next two days were a repeat of the first.  We were thankful the days were dry.

The O'Doodle boys camping

Time for nite-nite

I see you Mr. Chipmunk

Fresh mountain air makes me sleepy

The campground had 282 campsites and most were occupied during this particular week.  We guess it was because it was only a week after the July 4th holiday and a lot of people were still on vacation.  These campsites were very close to one another and that was our concern for the boys, especially at night.  We did not want them to be barking all night at the noises in the park.  We took care of that with our anti-bark collars.  OK.  Before you all get upset, these collars are NOT shock collars.  These spray a fine mist of Citronella if the dog barks.  A gentle "woof" will not set it off.  They, obviously, do not care for the scent so they remain quiet when they have them on.  The collars went on each night and they acted like angels.  Anyone interested can check them out at the company's website (Click here) and order them at (Click here).  We highly recommend them.

When we returned to Maryland we made a few adjustments to the trailer and then covered it until our next planned trip scheduled for the last weekend in July.  During the following two weeks we stayed very close to home and, again, tried to deal with the mid-to-upper 90 degree weather.  Again, it was cooler in Savannah than here in Maryland.

Lori and Dock are great friends and are full-time RVers.  We spend winters close to them in Savannah and summers close to them here in Maryland. During the winter, they are the Ft. Stewart campground hosts and during the summer they kick back in the Pennsylvania mountains just north of Gettysburg and close to family.  If you will remember (see our Dec. 19, 2009 post), their dog Spinner and Guinness are great friends.  We had not seen them since they left Savannah in April, but this trip we would make up for that.

We wanted to try out another state park so we departed a day early to stay the night at Caledonia State Park in Pennsylvania before heading to Lori and Dock's campground.  The state park campground was OK, but not great.  Most Pennsylvania state park campgrounds do not have many amenities like water or electricity.  Their bath houses are OK, but most are worn and need repair.  This one did have electricity, but water had to be hauled in from several locations throughout the campground.  And that is OK if you are expecting it and prepared for it.  We were.  It was quiet for there were very few people camping on this Thursday. A lot of state parks in this country are extremely over regulated.  Usually pets and alcohol are always listed as a no-no and the rangers patrol for violators.  They do not look for the drugs, just the wine coolers and kitties or puppies.  Our tax dollars at work.

Arriving mid-morning, Lori met us and showed us our campsite for the weekend.  Neat.  It was under beautiful trees and beside a mountain creek. Good sleeping for all.  The weekend flew by.  Lots of good food, good drink, great weather and great company.  Guinness, Rosco and Spinner ran free and had a great time.  When we started home Sunday morning, they were exhausted and slept all the way back.  Now comes the rest of summer.

August started off like July had been, hot, humid and little rain.  We did nothing of particular interest.  Our time was taken up by vet and doctor appointments, house and yard repairs, keeping the boys exercised and occupied and more house repairs.  Do you see B-O-R-I-N-G here?  Very.  We did attend a Bull Roast with friends one Saturday evening and had great time, but that was it for the month.

Well here we are, Labor Day 2010.  The past week and a half has been rather difficult.  Joyce, Guinness and Rosco are fairing well, but I suffered a rather sever knee injury around Aug 26th and have been nursing it ever since.  This has put us behind schedule in our house repairs, but we are almost there.  What comes next?

Not sure.  A couple of small things planned.  Maybe.  Stay tuned and see.


Jean said...

Ouch for the knee -- so sorry to hear it.

Sounds like a good summer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the knee...Hope it's better soon....So glad to read you all enjoyed yourselves when you were here....the "boys" all had a grand time in the creek....hope to see ya' soon....

Lori, Dock, and Spinner...