We found space at the Arrowhead Marina and RV Park near Schenectady, NY. I wasn’t real thrilled with the customer service as we pulled in, however. We find in these here parts a lot of the RV parks boast an early check-in fee and late check-out fee. This one was no exception, and we knew ahead of time coming in. Some check-in times are much later than others, here it was 2:00. We have encountered parks that advertise that fee but then do not enforce it. So we motored in at noon, hoping this was one such park. No soap. The check-in employee steadfastly refused to let us check-in early without insisting on the half day’s fee for early check-in. I half expected that and took note of a large RV storage yard off the driveway which had plenty of empty space. I asked if we could leave the rig in the storage yard area while we Jeeped into town for lunch. She flat out denied my request and had no suggestions for nearby parking areas big enough for the beast. And she did it all with that “Hey, dumbass, what part of early check-in fee do you not understand?” look. So much for looking out for your customers. Even though this park was a nice park on the Mohawk River, I will never return just because of the attitude. Enough ranting.
We still fought the weather gods, it seems we have been rained on quite a bit since we entered Pennsylvania back in May. We managed to get a break long enough to venture into Albany where we did a walkabout around the Empire State Plaza area. The Capitol building was pretty impressive and not of the typical Capitol architectural styling (Greek, heavy on the columns, and usually a dome of some sort), but looked more “colonial”. The Egg was a unique structure, used as a venue for the performing arts. And there was a series of 4 look-alike buildings that are legislative offices (according to a local). We went up to the top observation deck for the Corning Tower and got a bird’s-eye-view of the plaza area as well as the surrounding countryside, including the Governor’s Mansion. At lunch time we meandered a few blocks to The Olde English Pub and had an outstanding lunch of fish and chips (Jeanne) and Beef Stout Pie (Moi). We no sooner paid the check when it opened up and downright POURED on us! We had to hole up in the doorway of the pub for 5 minutes while the storm passed.
One day Jeanne wanted to go to Waterford and check out the lock system along the Erie Canal waterways. They have an extensive 524 mile canal system which contains somewhere around 53 locks to assist boats along the waterways. We got to Waterford and found Lock E2. We just happened by at the right time, we got to see the lock in action as a boat approached. This particular lock transitions from one waterway at 48.75’ elevation to the lower waterway at 15.2’ elevation. After watching the boat continue on its way, we drove to a couple of other locks before heading back to camp.
We lucked out on our last night with the weather. The city of Albany puts on a summer concert series at Jennings Landing called “Alive at 5”. There is a nice, small amphitheater area on the river and this night The Outlaws happened to be the headliners. What an awesome show!!! The guitar shredding that went on with “Green Grass and High Tides” was amazing. These guys still got it!
So, moving day included a massive thunder/lightning torrential downpour upon our arrival at our new home, Autumn Moon Campground, just a mere 25 miles north of our last home. Being in upstate New York, we are always tempting fate by using Google Maps with the “avoid tolls” function enabled. New York has been our most challenging state as far as navigation goes; they have WAY too many low clearance bridges, we are running into WAY too many weight limited roads on the back roads, and steep grades are not well marked or forewarned. But we made it, unscathed. Autumn Moon Campground is a bit out in the sticks, terribly unlevel sites (wheels-off-the-ground unlevel), and only 30A service on the electricity. But, try finding an RV space on 4th of July week at the last minute…
We got up the next morning and decided to start with a breakfast date in town, Saratoga Springs. We found a little dumpy diner as we entered town called “Shirley’s” which had a jam packed parking lot. We took that hint and stopped. Breakfast turned out to be the most perfectly cooked eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and English muffins that I have EVER had. That is counting 58 years of stuffing my face with restaurant fare covering 43 of the contiguous 48 states. WOW! (Nutrisystem, here I come!).
With full belly and tired of all the off-the-grid stops we are encountering in this northeast part of the country, we set out on a quest to get some form of improved wifi system. It was becoming tiresome having to hit a Walmart or a Starbucks to download photos or do any updates on “the machines” because we were either getting no service or were slowed down to a snail’s pace. We are currently Verizon users, using a Verizon Jet Pack for our wifi needs. We got unhappy with Verizon when first they convinced us to give up (and not available to reinstate) a 40 gig, 4G speed monthly plan for an “unlimited” plan that throttles down to 3G speed after 10 gigs of use, then possibly slows further by putting us in a “priority” mode depending on the entire area’s usage, after reaching 22 gigs of use. (If that is all Greek to you, that’s OK, it is quite Albanian to me!). It translates to, after we switched to “unlimited”, we were less than satisfied (nice one, kept my 4-letter vocabulary in check!). And to top it off, FMCA had just announced an unbelievably awesome deal they were working on with Verizon for unlimited data for members of FMCA, and that one lasted a couple of seconds before Verizon pulled the plug on the deal. So Jeanne was on a mission to find a better data usage deal. She found AT&T offering an AT&T Homebase (to replace the Jet Pack) with 250 gigs at 4G speed for about $70 monthly (of course, 2 year contract to initialize, month-to-month thereafter). So, bing, bang, bong, we’re off and running to see if we achieved our goal. So far, we are happy with the change, I’ll try and fill you in on how it is working after a month or two…
We wanted to check out the Lake George area so the first chance the weather allowed we took the short drive to the Village of Lake George. It is a quaint little town, and I do mean little. The lake is a popular destination for summer boating fun. We took Woodrow Wilson on a walkabout in town and along it’s beach, then decided to do the drive around the lake. It was about an hour’s drive, the west side of the lake was scenic and led through several little town areas that were packed with vacationers. The east side was not real scenic, rarely in sight of water, either Lake George or the Erie Canal. But hey, no rain, whoopie!
When we got back to town we dropped Woody off at home and returned to Saratoga Springs for a walkabout and dinner. Congress Park was a large town park where we found one of the town’s namesake springs, Columbian Spring. The locals fill up jugs for home use at the springs that are scattered around town. While we were there a young man showed up carrying a large Red Tailed Boa which Jeanne had a burning desire to get her photo taken with so she could impress the grandchildren. The snake was a 50 lb. female which her owner feeds rats. It took some time for Jeanne to build the courage, but she did it!
The 4th of July we “celebrated” by going to town for groceries and supplies. Oh boy! But we just had to make time to go see the All American Celebration free concert. The performers were a local band called The Audiostars. They played a mix of genres and were OK according to Jeanne. I was not a fan, especially after the incomparable Outlaws experience. I was surprised that the masses appeared to behave themselves, not a lot of alcohol induced misbehavior. Definitely not what I am used to from years gone by back in California at the Guerneville 4th of July celebrations.
Saratoga Spa State Park was suggested as a must -see by our hosts at Autumn Moon. It is a state park built on site of a whole lot more natural springs that had been developed into a spa area with the springs, mineral baths, and a performing arts center. The springs and spa date back to the 1800’s. They now have 2 golf courses, an automobile museum, some pool facilities, and numerous picnic areas, among everything else. We took Woody on a walk of some of the park, finding the most popular spring called the State Seal Spring, and discovering the performing arts area closed to the public due to an upcoming event. We had a nice picnic lunch in the shade (again, no rain!!!), then called it a wrap.
With the weather looking good for at least a few days, tomorrow I think will be a “Give the Beast a Bath” day to wash a few layers of dirt off the bus. Then, we are headed for an exit to the state of New York, enroute to the state of Connecticut. Until next post…