My post-hike spaghetti dinner last night was delicious. And I felt pretty good after the 15-mile Mt. Marcy hike. In fact, this morning, I was doing better than expected. My daily exercise regimen and the hiking seem to be paying off.
This morning, I needed to figure out where we were going. I knew it was going to be somewhere in Vermont, but we hadn't yet selected a spot.
I had originally chosen the Winhall Brook Corps of Engineers Campground near Londonderry. They didn't have any sites with hook-ups available, but they had openings and could fit our rig. In hindsight, I should have gone with that choice.
But, I wanted to go to a Vermont State Park. If you are camping within the next two weeks, you have to call the parks directly to check availability. I called five parks and had to leave messages at four of them. The fifth didn't have any openings for this weekend for a rig our size.
Because we extended our stay in the Adirondacks, I knew we were going to struggle with a spot for this weekend. Had we stuck with our original plan, we would have had a good four nights of availability Sunday through Wednesday in several parks. We were just about to decide on a New York campground right on the border, when a nice lady from New Discovery State Park called me back.
She said she thought they had a spot for us and to just come on. I asked her to verify and call me back, but she was sure she could get us in. I was a bit excited because the park was in a great area for all sorts of nature activities. In fact, the park is located inside a state forest and there are six state parks within a 10 mile drive.
Linda was already packing up, and I was just getting ready to get moving. We had received a call from my Dad's medicine dispensing machine that he hadn't taken his medicine. I texted his caregiver to see if they were at a doctor's appointment or something. Then we got another call from the medicine machine saying he had missed his dosage. Then I got a call from his neighbor. My Dad was in the hospital again.
He had fallen last night, and didn't have the strength to get back up. He struggled and was too proud to hit is LifeLine button, but finally did after crawling around for a couple of hours. EMS came and took him to the hospital. His neighbor found out this morning and called the visiting nurse who informed the caregiver, but nobody had told me until almost 11:00 and we had to check out at noon.
I found out they were doing tests on him. He was weak, but okay. I told him I would check in later after we moved.
We scrambled to get things packed up, and then noticed water coming from the underbelly of our rig. We didn't have time to do a lot of investigating, but it looked like a problem we've had twice before. Somehow we get cracks in the top of our gray water tank, and it leaks when the tank gets full. If that's the case, we've lived with it before and we can get it fixed when we get a chance. Crossing our fingers that's what the problem is.
We pulled out of our site just before noon and took Hwy 86 to Hwy 9N which took us through Ausable Forks and then to I-87. Rather than going all the way around Lake Champlain, we decided to take the ferry from Plattsville, NY to Grand Isle, VT. I called to make sure they could take a rig our size and verified the price of $35.50. It's only a fifteen minute ferry ride, but it would save us quite a bit of mileage and driving time.
They charge by length and I pulled up to the ticket booth. They have a big ruler so they can see your total length and charge accordingly.
They had me pull up in Lane 1 and Linda went in a different lane.
It was just a few minutes before a ferry arrived, unloaded, and was ready for us. I pulled straight in and was the first one in the middle lane. I was careful to make sure my extended mirrors didn't hit anything.
Linda ended up in the lane next to me and I could see her in my passenger mirror. She buzzed me through the walkie-talkie and suggested I set my emergency brake as there was nothing between me and the water other than some small cables.
I called the hospital but didn't learn anything new, and then had my lunch while taking a few photos as we crossed.
Soon we were docking.
Well that was easy. A bit pricey, but pretty stress-free.
Just off the ferry, the lady from the state park called back and confirmed they had a site for us - "Good thing, 'cause we're on our way".
The ferry access road led us to U.S. Hwy 2 and we took that to I- 89. I-89 went south and then turned southeast at Burlington. We took it all the way to Montpelier, and I have to say that it was one of the prettiest interstate drives we've ever had in the eastern U.S.
We got back on U.S. 2 and drove for several miles before turning on Hwy 232 which leads through the Groton State Forest. At that point I was thinking we are really in the middle of nowhere and Linda was telling me the cell service was really bad. My heart sank - I forgot to check for cell service, and we had to have it with my Dad in the hospital. Vermont has a lot of area with no cell coverage, and I should have looked at the coverage map before making the trip.
Four miles in on the windy road, we pulled into New Discovery State Park. It was too late for Plan B, and I was optimistic that our modem might pick up a Verizon signal. I paid for three nights ($20/night), but they told me I could get two nights refunded if we had to leave.
I squeezed into the dump station where we could take on water - there are no hook-ups in Vermont State Parks. It was quite unlevel and I didn't really know how much water to put in or how much we had as I was filling. Also, it wasn't a regular hose that I could attach. It was an angled metal piece on the end of the hose and I had to lodge it into our gravity fill. Of course it popped out and sprayed me and the rig. I was already a bit stressed and that didn't help.
Linda took a look at the site. It was plenty big enough (as were several other sites in the campground). But there was zero cell service, we wouldn't get much solar, and satellite was iffy at best and would require a long cable.
We had to back up a hill to get on the site pad (Site 22). It was interesting unhitching with the truck far below the level of the trailer.
We've been in places before where we had no services, and I had to drive a few miles for a cell signal to make calls and update the Journal. But with my Dad's situation, I was freaking out a bit and needed to be reachable 24-7.
I pulled out our cell phone boosters and gave them a shot. A little improvement, but not good enough.
I hopped in the Jeep and drove eight miles to get a 4G signal and it was in about a half-mile window. I finally got a call to go through to the hospital. Nothing new - waiting on test results. I decided we were going to have to move, and I told my Dad I'd check on him in the morning.
I returned a few emails and looked up directions for a move tomorrow. I had called an RV park that was about 45 miles away and they had a couple of sites available for the weekend.
The fastest way required us driving through the rest of the state forest, so I drove the route with the Jeep. It was curvy and rough, but we've been on worse. At the end of the road was U.S. Hwy 302 which leads to I-91.
Driving back past the roads leading to other state parks, I lamented having to move, but it was the best thing to do.
At the rig, ....
we had no internet or TV, and we didn't feel like doing much. After big plates of leftover spaghetti, we climbed into bed to read ourselves to sleep.
Tomorrow, we'll move on. Perhaps we can get back to this area in the future, but I'm just glad this day is over.