Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

DAY 5- 09/19/2012- Adirondacks


Pancakes with Maple syrup were in order.  The sky is clear blue with piercing morning light.  Today will be fun.  90 miles of 40mph beauty led us to more surprises.  We picnicked at a river and upon looking upstream found a great smooth place to paddle.  Jane and I are water-weannies and just like to be on placid water for an hour to see the sites and look for birds or whatever.   A short, narrow portage led us to West Canada Creek at a confluence that had been used to run logs over the years.

Beautiful West Canada Creek




Later Jane mentioned Gore Mt. was near, so I turned into the access road.   I convinced Jane to take a little walk up the Mountain.  We went about a third or halfway straight up the gondola then walked down some nice green trails back to our heavy little home.

– David


DAY 4 – 09/18/2012 – It’s raining – let’s just get some driving done

Dry in the camper, we decided there wasn’t much else to do.  We can make it to the Adirondacks today.  On wet roads especially, I began to notice the front of the truck is a “little light”.  The weight of our tramper settles down onto the back, known as tongue weight and this raises the front end.  Dramatic cornering or braking will be avoided.

We drove 250 miles today.  We sat in a McDonalds, of all places, trying to use WiFi.  Frustration.  Next, we drove to Buttermilk Falls and made our lunch, walked around and felt ready to DRIVE.

Evening and hunger sent us off on a side road where we blocked our light from going out our windows. (Stealth Camping)  The nearest driveway had a sign warning trespassers of 24 hr video surveillance.  Weird.  Good thing we weren’t poaching.  Jane and I assembled a lovely pizza with fresh tomatoes and peppers from a roadside stand and feasted  once again.

Yum! another feast

DAY 3 – 09/17/2012, Trout Run-to-Colton State Park, PA

We awoke on a hideous gravel construction apron at the top of a mountain near the Trout Run exit from highway 15.  We hope to pay for parking/camping infrequently and will be “marking a stick” for every time we are asked to leave.  This was not such a morning.  We woke in sight of several houses, so we left even before making coffee!  First order of business:  stop at a gas station market and buy a coffee…oops, those breakfast sandwiches sure look good.  In fact they were.  My sausage,egg, and cheese muffin looked like one I might have made, but tasted even better!

Not much highway later, we joined the great, slow movie of the secondary roads.  Yeah, it feels like we’re watching a slow, but pleasant movie (with not much plot) as we imagine the dormant farms, current farms, sagging roofs, and ambling fields of the countryside.  I start to speculate that there is a greater number of Americans who live this way than we in the city…?

Oh yeah, where did we drive to?  We had been told to go to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania (one of our strategies each day is to ask someone “where should we go next?”)  and Colton State Park.  In the canyon, we biked on a delightful and near empty rail-trail.   We saw hawks, sparkly river, wildflowers and Jane smiling (despite still wondering about the Pathology report ).

At the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Looks like we Photoshopped him in to this one!

Evening brought the daily question;  “where are we gonna park?”  We asked a ranger who suggested Colton also.   Said there was no one there (literally, she checked the computer).  Sounded good, drove a forbidden backtracked 10 miles, but found a wonderfully empty park, drove through once (the requisite technique for camper-people) and picked site 3.  We needed a “legal” place to build a small fire for our celebratory cookout!  Jane, the AWESOME FIRE BUILDER, got things ready with our lightweight little grill.   Our warm, Baltimore friends Jean and Tom had given us each a thick, juicy steak for our trip.

Yum! Again.

WOW…grilled with a pepper from our garden we feasted like the omnivores we are.  The Steaks were tremendous tasting!  (sorry, Vegans, vegetarians, and equal opportunity eaters)  Ended up saving the Champagne for another eve…

My night was punctuated by an elusive (read, not very loud) owl whose calls I heard, but couldn’t anticipate enough to help Jane hear them.  Darkness cascaded and was darker than she had ever seen.  I have been in a cave, so it was a little lighter.

– David

It got dark as we were setting up at Colton State Park. The next morning, we were surrounded by green, green, green. It was lightly raining, intensifying the lush green. As we travel this Fall, we likely will see less and less green (well, until we get way down south). It was so nice to really revel in it with no other humans around.

Sometimes I feel like a rat who escaped the experiment where they cram them together and increase the population until the rats start to go mad. I do love people, but the press of so many people surrounding us back home was starting to really get to me. You can’t go anywhere it seems, without traffic and lines and crowds back home. The simple, quiet, beautiful woods was soothing and peaceful.

– Jane

DAY 2 – 09/16/2012 Weiser State Forest near Lykens, PA

We giggled uncontrollably and we cried a bit in amazement that we were really, truly on our way! We were just plain awed that we had actually made this trip happen. So many dreams; so much planning.

With a few exceptions our driving goals are modest. 100 miles or so per day. Even more importantly, we’ll take the local route. The back roads. The 2 lane highways of old that connect one charming small town to another with parkland and farmland close up to us as we drive.

Two new friends at Lykens taking a look at David’s work on the 4Runner

Day 2 found us awakening in our little silver home, again incredulous that we were on our Tramper Voyage.

We had been to this place before. It was the site of many years of really fun mountain bike weekends called the Mountain Bike Bash put on by the folks of Rattling Creek Singletrackers bike group. www.rcst1.blogspot.com

So, our first night out was in a beautiful familiar place that we already knew we loved. We missed Rick and Jill, the organizers of the weekend, but we saw Keith and Bill (otherwise known as Trainwreck. Don’t ask – we’re not sure why he has the nickname. He seems pretty well together to us!)


Lykens singletrack. Lots ‘o rocks. Lots ‘o bumbling to get over rocks!

I was still gimpy from my biopsy so David and Trainwreck took a ride on the single track followed by a treat called Trainwreck’s Upside Down Reverse Cantana


Made outside with a teeny battery-operated whipper, a teeny grater (for the chocolate on top) and a teeny press to raise the pressure to 100psi for the espresso! Starts out with the cream on the bottom, then it diffuses together.

Coffee drink prep

– Jane

People, people…

In the driveway I began to see what I had done.  The next few people were consulted.  After MD State Inspection, I knew I had repairs to make.  Towing it to Al’s house we surveyed the rust, planned repairs, rolled out with patches in mind.  Rolled back under and out came the need to “just make a new frame”.  Then back to patches and thinking some more.  Then tow it to another old friend and previous boss.  John is a self-taught machinist, welder, business man and heck of a hard worker.  He too began to agree; “just make a new frame”,  steel is cheap.  Perhaps the biggest concern was having 20 feet of welding happening underneath the camper, inches from 50-year-old particle board.

Home it was towed again.  Planning, estimating, and a few second thoughts.  Al to the rescue!  I “Borrowed” a paved section of his driveway to cut bolts,  separate and raise the body off of the frame.  Knowing that if the body collapsed from its own weight, I would be cutting it all up as scrap.  It would either work or fail.  Al’s place was a long static pad for rest while I sorted out the old frame and its new plan.  His visiting dad feared mine was another friend’s project that would die in its tracks.