Sunday, March 5, 2017

Upstate New York and Vermont

Upstate New York along the Canadian border is something between the beauty of Minnesota and the subculture of Deliverance.  I'm sure you wonder where we get our impressions of places when we travel so quickly through some of these areas.  So let me introduce you to some of the characters we met in upstate New York.  First, there's Marge, a cross between Flo saying "kiss my grits" on Mel/s Diner and Edith, Archie Bunker's wife.  Marge is a waitress at a coffee shop where we sought desert and coffee.  She'd been dealing with all the tourists of the season, has opinions about everything, but has never heard of bread pudding.  Most of her opinions align with 20th century thinking, or earlier.

Next there's Buddy.  He's a hard working American beer drinker who lost his good paying job to foreigners and now tries to make a little extra down at the casinos.  I met him after we visited the Eisenhower Lock to watch sailboats go through.

We stopped at International RV park.  Kathy filled water while I visited with the locals about a bridge that had been built in 1899 and used until 1970.

Finally, there's the RV park manager who brags about his comprehensive maps of the area and gun collection.  We were in Adirondack park trying to find BLM camping. He talked us out of dry camping in the area after sightings of the escaped convict in the area. One escaped prisoner had been shot two miles away from where we planned to camp and the locals were gun toting rednecks.

Back north to the Walmart in Malone, we ended up parking out front near the Tractor Supply and the noisy highway.  We were getting a good night's sleep except for frogs then we were awoken by a vomiting dog.

The next day, we happily crossed Lake Champlain into Vermont.  Vermont, home of the earth-loving green people and many famous lesbians, should welcome the two of us and our rig.  Beth Robinson served as co-counsel in the case of Baker v. State, the landmark 1999 decision that led to Vermont becoming the first state to enact civil unions. We hoped that the home of gay marriage, Vermont, would offer a diverse cultural experience. We found little beyond hunting and fishing.  That being said, our first campground was lakeside and would have been perfect if it weren't next to a large fifth wheel with two tents and fifteen kids outside.

Our next stop was Brighton State Park.  $30.00 with no services was shocking but even more shocking was their idea of a level site for a 35' rig.  The angle of the driveway and the ditch caused by rain runoff was terrible.  We got stuck while turning into the spot. Without freaking out, I created a ramp with our levelers in order to get in/ We got it in and we stayed in! After a quick swim in the cool pond and a campfire, we chatted with our neighbor, Denise.  She is a youth minister who camps at Brighton nearly every summer.

This next morning, we decided to visit the only national wildlife refuge in Vermont.  We drove 7.5 mile toward Missisquoi NWR. After briefly getting lost, we finally found it and got our stamp/

Back at camp, we asked for fill to fill the ditch.  The camp host brought two five gallon buckets and was not too enthused about it. Kathy moved the rig back and forth about 8 times as I moved out leveling blocks to build mini-bridges over the ditch and watched tree limbs. We finally got the hell out without a scratch. While saying goodbye to Denise, she told us dogs were not allowed in NH state parks.  The northeast was continuing to show its unfriendliness toward RV'ers.  Luckily, Denise was wrong.