Daily Archives: November 24, 2012

It’s Not All Good

We try to write in a positive, upbeat or optimistic style. Why accentuate the negative when so much good stuff is happening?

However, that may lead readers to believe that the Tramper Voyage is one big ball of constant sunshine. That nothing bad, or even sort-of bad, ever happens. Not true!

To illustrate this point, I will indulge in a completely negative post. Here is a sampling of some of the not-so-great things along the way:

1. Day One, we forgot to pack some important stuff. debbie-downerThe generator, our passports, our bike helmets and the contents therein – gloves, glasses, etc. Also, Jane packed not one pair of reading glasses. (As a bonus, the passports were expired. Fortunately, we found a Postal Service employee who helped us through the renewal-on-the-fly process).

2. We’ve lost a couple of things, mostly laundry. A pair of lavender plaid pajama pants, a 65-year-old hand towel that was my grandmother’s, one grey sock.

3. On a hike in New York, we discovered to our horror, that a half dozen ticks were crawling on us or attached to each of us.

4. On the Kingdom Trails in Vermont, we became hopelessly lost and circled back to the same place 3 times. It also began to hail during the farthest point of the ride.

5. Jane fell on the rocks hiking back down from Sterling Pond in Vermont. Got a nasty scrape on my right forearm. I have a lovely jagged purple line from wrist to elbow.

6. Blog readers already know about this one: We blew a head gasket and were stranded in Rosendale, NY for 2 weeks. Not to mention the enormous repair bill.

7. Jane locked herself out of the trailer (and the truck) while David was out on a bike ride. Usually, we are never apart. Just this one time, David took an extra lap. I managed to pry open a storage door and found a screwdriver but the screws on the trailer entrance door are all burglar proof with nuts or washers on the inside. I waited for David to return and we pulled out one of the screens. This only worked because the windows were open and also because the keys were on a table immediately below the window we pried the screen off of.

8. We’ve been using a friend’s Hiking Trail GPS. We totally missed tracking a couple rides or hikes because we forgot to enter an endpoint to the trail or we only entered one waypoint for the entire day. This is no big thing, though, because mostly we don’t track much.

9. Drove away without the trailer lights hooked up. Fortunately, a friend was following us and gave us a call to let us know that we had no brake lights.

10. David broke a key off in the latch on an outside storage bin and had to be replaced with parts from camping World in NC.

11. Several (poorly made) door latches in side the trailer broke. David promptly fixed them by drilling a screw in to secure them.

12. The 4Runner bumper pinched the right trailer turn signal wire against the hitch and blew a fuse. Again, promptly fixed.

13. David’s butt doesn’t like too much driving.   ‘Nuff said.

14. We have spent the night in a couple of truly ugly campgrounds. Mostly these are private, not in a state or national park. In North Carolina, we pulled into a camp with 6 sites. It was basically a small gravel parking lot in a level space created by scraping a hill out of the way. The only green was the small septic drain field, also used as a dog walk (poop) area.

15. The biggest problem of all: traffic and other drivers! On the New Hampshire/ Massachusetts border a pickup abruptly pulled out halfway across our lane. He was coming out of a bar parking lot and seemed to have no awareness of us as we swerved and screeched. With David at the wheel, already talking about the safety margin driving slower than the speed limit on a mountain downhill, we came out of it without a scratch but our hearts were racing when we were safely on our way again.

So, that’s about it for the negative things. All in all it’s been quite a lovely and trouble free trip.

– Jane

DAY 70, 11/23/2012 John’s Deer

We were lucky enough last night to stumble into a great spot in Oconee National Forest.  The first dirt road we walked into had a group of trailers and hunters who looked settled for Thanksgiving weekend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, the reason we walk in first is to secure the requisite privacy but also to ensure that I can turn the Tramper-Truck combo around with reasonable ease.

Right about when we had leveled the trailer and were ready to start our fire, a visitor from a nearby campsite drove up.  He was very gracious and quick to allay our fears that we had parked on private property not National Forest.  He was here to hunt and wondered in which direction we’d be hunting!

John gave us a few nice logs from the bed of his pickup for our fire.  We shared a delightful couple hours, looked at pictures of his 4 year old son Wesley, videos of his ski boat planing out at 60 mph, and a competition mud truck he had built.  Just plain fun guy-talking.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Later, in the lovely quiet of a forest dark, we heard rustling ever nearer and nearer the fire. After several hours of this and noting the rustling had been downhill to the left, but later heard way off right, I had to investigate.  First I used the super-bright flashlight, but it revealed no pair of eyes to give away location.  Before the fire died down I grabbed a stick (har har) and walked a bit closer to figure this little rustling thing out.  Well, I think it noticed I was getting closer and it scampered right across the dirt road below the gate.  I had surprised an opossum, so I let him or her continue on their nocturnal way.

In the morning as we were driving out the little dirt road, we stopped at John’s campsite.  He was dressing a dear from his successful dawn hunt.  I am no stranger to anatomy and visited for a bit before we continued.  I know you can’t sell deer meat, but sure had to work hard not to offer to buy some.  Venison sure would have been delicious!

David helped. Jane stayed in the car.

David helped. Jane stayed in the car.

– David