Baseball Fever

Heading toward New York, we steamed across southern New Hampshire and Vermont across some of the most beautiful roads we have yet traveled.  Although the prime colors were probably a week past, the lush rolling scenery was a real treat.  Picture puzzle perfect.

There wasn’t anyplace to camp really close to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  We wound up at some crappy little campsite, conveniently located 150 yards from the Interstate and 50 yards from a busy state highway.  Noisy?  You bet!20131014_151702 But, for one night, we can make do with anything.  We rolled out by 8:30 the next morning.  But, I’m tired of putting $.25 in a slot for a shower.  This one was bad….

We didn’t know what to expect at Cooperstown.  Neither of us had done any research about the area or the Hall itself, so we were unprepared for this amazingly beautiful little town.  In my mind, I was expecting a modern museum, and what we got was a museum in a New England town hall.  Charming.

If you’re a baseball fan, this is Mecca.  History, artifacts, stories of the great players and plays.j We started with a multi-media presentation, which was unimpressive.  Sitting in a fake baseball stadium auditorium with a bunch of Seniors singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame – you can picture this, right?  Lame. Let me outta here!   John and I split up to explore on our own terms.

Really liked this early beer ad.  20131015_095244

I was particulary interested in the history and evolution of the Negro Leagues and the area of women in baseball.20131015_10404920131015_10511420131015_10534020131015_095153

Every single scrap of Detroit Tiger memorabilia was closely examined.  20131015_111037There’s practically an entire wing devoted to Babe Ruth.  Pretty impressive. 20131015_113243There was a running video of some of the great plays of 2013, and I could have watched that forever.  Baseball players can be amazing athletes.

The Gallery area of the Hall contains plaques of the Hall of Fame players, each with a summary of their achievements. 20131015_113202On and on…..

20131015_114326Leaving the Hall, we collected Jezzy from the Fireball, which was parked out on the street attracting admiring glances.  Decided to wander around town for a bit – there’s more baseball-related stuff there than you can imagine.  Lots of shops selling memorabilia, baseball cards, bats, and whatnot.  Cooperstown is also the home of James Fenimore Cooper, and there’s a large park area with a statue of him.

By this time, I was running out of steam, and my camera battery was shot.  No photos to share.  We motored on to Robert Treman State Park near Ithaca for our next couple of nights.  Photos from a newly re-charged camera (and body) to follow….

Different Strokes

That was the apparent theme of our camping weekend with two other T@DA families.  It would be hard to imagine more different approaches to camping than the three of us.  We had hoped to have a fourth T@DA join us, but family issues prevented them from coming until a surprise appearance (sans T@DA) on Sunday morning.

Ellalou and Ray are the most recent owners, having purchased their unique turquoise and silver T@DA this past summer.20131013_105025 Theirs is a more spartan model, having no built-in microwave, hot water heater, shower or screen door, although it shares the same floor plan as the rest.  Their camping style seems to match – they have (not yet, at least) not crammed every little corner and cubby hole with stuff.  They do have a crockpot and a small portable microwave aboard, but no other big items that I remember.  The turquoise is eye-catching, and everyone in the campground who passed by our little T@DA compound (“Holy cow! It’s an impoundment,” I overheard one passerby say) took a photo of it.  They are still adding and changing stuff – trying to figure out the best configuration for them, and how to best utilize their space.  It’s also a bit easier for them to keep the amount of ‘stuff’ they carry to a minimum because they both work, and haven’t spent more than a week at a time on the road. (yet)

At the other end of the spectrum are Sandi and John.  Entering their white and silver T@DA, it was amazing for me to realize that they had the same basic camper as ours – it was that different.  Their T@DA has decor – curtains, a Halloween chandelier, fishing photos, and pennants galore.  It was warm & homey – Sandi said that she wanted her T@DA to look like the cottages she remembered as a kid.  Well done!20131013_15484920131013_154903

They keep their table permanently folded down into a couch or lounging area.  Sandi has enough tableware to stage a class reunion!  They also travel with two crockpots, electric coffeemaker, electric frying pan, and a huge electric cooler, as well as a campstove and grill.  It’s all very well organized, but it’s a lot of stuff.  In addition, their awning was festooned with lights.20131012_103202  Naturally, we made their campsite our dining and campfire headquarters.  Sandi and John are natural hosts.

John and I are somewhere in the middle. 20131013_102244 We’ve probably made the most modifications, storage-wise to suit our needs.  Since we plan to camp for months at a time, utility is our primary concern.  We also have no electric appliances – we make coffee (lots of it) in a pour-over Melitta carafe, and have removed our microwave.  We cook and grill everything outside, and I’d have no idea how to crockpot a dinner.  Have to admit that the Fireball looked pretty institutional compared to both other units.  It suits us.

We were sad that Cathie and Jay were unable to bring their navy/white T@DA for our ‘inspection’.  They purchased theirs about the same time as we did, and from our conversation, it sounds as though our camping styles might be somewhat similar – camping in National Parks and public facilities often.  They have also purchased solar panels which they are trying out, and it was great to have someone to compare notes with.

While everyone else went ‘junking’, or antiquing, we took a hike on Saturday.  Short, steep, and scenic.  Lunch at the summit.  All good.  Sunday, John and I cycled out to Everett Dam State Park, and the region beyond. 20131013_13202720131013_134631 It was nearly a perfect ride – a bit of civilized riding on paved road, about eight miles of hard-packed gravel road, then some serious up & down hills on pavement.  Interesting sights, and some well-needed exercise.20131013_12524220131013_13421120131013_164441

We parted company with Ellalou and Ray, and Cathie and Jay – all from Vermont, on Sunday.  We left Monday morning, as did Sandi and John – they’re headed home to the Boston area.  It was great to meet fellow travelers.

We’re camped in a small, near-the-expressway campground west of Albany tonight.  It’s as close as we could get to Cooperstown – tomorrow we’re headed in to spend the day at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Depending on the weather, we’ve got between four and six nights before we roll back into Grand Rapids.  The weather forecast isn’t great for the next few days, so we may just hunker down and drive home if we can’t figure out a good reason to hang out in New York and Ohio for a few additional days.

Not ready for the reality of fall yardwork and the approach of seriously cold Michigan weather.

Dolly and the Imp

Dolly Copp Campground in the White Mountain National Forest is amazing.  We have an enormous campsite – even if anyone were camped on either side, we wouldn’t see them.20130929_085848

Fact is, the campground is nearly empty – not 10% of the sites are occupied, and it’s perfect weather.  Lucky for us!  Perhaps the fact that there are flush toilets, but no showers or hot water in the campground deters others.  Their loss.

We decided to hike the Imp – a rocky protrusion half-way up a mountain.

view from the top

view from the top

Unfortunately, we didn’t quite understand where the trailhead was, so we had already gone about 2 miles before we started our climb. 20130929_153325 It was difficult – mostly rocky surface with many water crossings.  Jezzy was a champ, but she did balk a few times (that girl does NOT like to get her feet wet!).  We struggled to the top, 4.1 miles from the bottom.  Sandwiches appeared in our pack, and we recuperated, while worrying over the daylight left vs the distance we had to descend (2.2 miles)  Neither Jezzy nor I was too happy with this little ladder in the descent. 20130929_161235 All in all, it was a fantastic day, but we did hike 10 miles.  About four miles uphill, two miles downhill, and four flat miles.  We were so happy to get back to camp!  Totally worth all the effort though, even the spill I took on a very slippery rock.  John always says to me, “you’ve got to trust your boots.”  I did, and they let me down.  My arm is nicely banged up, but it’s a pretty small price to pay for such a vista.

Monday was our last day in New Hampshire.  We decided to do a 15 mile gravel road bike ride to a trailhead where we could hike to three waterfalls.  A good choice – great ride, and wonderful two-mile hike.20130930_143726

Now we’re in Maine – camping reservations in Acadia, but it’s closed.  20131001_142600We can stay in our campsite for two days while we make other plans, but the Park is not accessible to us at all. 20131001_142629 We’re pretty bummed out.  Think we’re going to hang around Bar Harbor for a day, then move north toward Canada for the next several days.  Hopefully, Congress will remove their collective heads from their butts and resolve their budget impasse, but we’re not hopeful that Acadia will be open while we’re still here.

So, all in all.  Not too much to say.  Everything is beautiful here.  Enjoy the photos.20130930_155838_HDR


We passed this grand old hotel on the way to Dolly Copp.  It was enormous.


Rolling and a Change in Plans

The Fireball is loaded and ready to roll.  Many of the details of our trip to Maine are already laid out.  Campsites reserved?  Check!  Food supplies?  Check (oh yeah, we eat well on the road…)!  Maps?  Check!  Phones, tablets, laptops?  Check!

Our plan was to cut across Canada to Buffalo, spending one night somewhere along the way (International Fireball!), then explore New York’s Finger Lakes area, the Adirondacks, New Hampshire, and on into Maine.  That should take us through the first ten days or so of October.  Then back through Vermont, meeting up with some other folks with T@Bs and T@DAs for a few days before heading home.  We’ve read about the lobster glut in Maine right now, and are determined not to let low prices deter us from stuffing ourselves.  Can’t wait!

The plan change?  Last night John was reviewing the rules for entry into Canada.  We’re a bit over our alcohol allotment, but not worried about that.  Not taking firewood along this trip.  We’ve got Jezzy’s vaccination certificates.  The hangup?  You can’t take DOG FOOD into Canada!  What???  Seriously??

Our best friend

That’s a deal breaker for us.  Jezzy eats regular dog food, but a type that can’t be bought in grocery stores.  We’re not switching.  So…..Ohio, here we come!  Got our eye on a township campground in North Kingsville, OH or a COE campground in Pennsylvania for our first overnight.  Prefer the PA campground, but we can’t seem to confirm that it’s actually open.

Back to last-minute packing….we roll in less than two hours.