aside

There’s a stark contrast in the aesthetics of eastern and central Pennsylvania. Central Pennsylvania is gorgeous. Eastern Pennsylvania is…. not.

We traversed PA via 87 to 84 to 80 and it is horrendous. Each state I’ve driven through I’ve thought to myself…

I’m going to write a post and award this state the F-U and Your Friggin Roads Award

But Pennsylvania takes the cake… hands down.

As we’re bouncing down the road we come to an enormous (single) sign (I wish I’d taken a picture) that was worded so poorly that I wasn’t able to tell if I must immediately get off on this exit if I was wider than 8′ 6″ or if I absolutely must not take that exit under any circumstances if I’m wider than 8′ 6″.

I think we’re 8′ on the nose. Becky has agreed to remind me to measure.

In retrospect I think it was the former.

What followed was what seemed like hours of 50 MPH white-knuckle horror that may as well have been 100.

The road was so narrow with Jersey barriers of an unusual height that I dared not even check my mirrors to see how close I was. To top this off it was wildly uneven and traffic was ridiculously fast. We were tossed about, up and down for honestly what seemed like days. I thought it would never end.

Pennsylvania has decided that instead of fixing some portion of the road and then moving on to the next, they’d rather lay waste to painfully long stretches and they’ve devised a system of periodic “Emergency Pull-Offs” where presumably you should go to have your heart attack.

Its no wonder that they’re fracking the shit out of Pennsylvania they obviously hate themselves. Why else do these things?

Anyway…

Getting through New York with a trailer and propane is nightmare.

We stayed in Copake, visited Great Barrington, and hiked to Bash Bish Falls and that was all great.

Leaving, not so much.

You can’t take any of the Parkways including the Taconic.

If we were any good at reading maps anymore (I have made it around the country several times with no GPS or smart phone, I can’t remember how) we might have made it sooner but try as we may Google insists that we take illegal roads and so we’re forced to select “Avoid Highways” to get past this.

All of this probably wouldn’t have been as difficult to deal with except that as we’re making our way across RTE 199 towards the bridge over the Hudson suddenly there’s a crunching noise. The entire 58′ of us is sort of shifting back and forth and the brakes feel like the anti-lock system is kicking in, crunching and sputtering, except there’s absolutely no reason for it… that I can tell.

I slowed down, started again and we got more of the same.

I pulled over on a much busier road than I would have liked with too small a shoulder and I inspected everything. None of the lug nuts were loose. The wheels weren’t loose. Nothing was inordinately hot (brakes, wheels, tires).

Before I left my father asked me if there were any tools I was missing. The only answer to that is "we'll find out". So far I need a 24mm socket.

Before I left my father asked me if there were any tools I was missing. The only answer to that is “we’ll find out”. So far I need a 24mm socket.

I called the Ford dealership that was 6 mies away, unsure that we’d even make it there. I was told they wouldn’t even look at what the problem was until Tuesday.

I decided that we’d start again and head towards another dealer and if a wheel fell off or if we we burst into flames we’re pretty well insured and I’ve got AAA. We’d rent a hotel while we sorted it out and we’d be fine.

Long story short after about an hour and a half diversion everything seemed to me to be operating normally and we pushed on.

I mentioned in my last post that we’ve become quite proficient at the setup even after just 2 rounds. The same cannot be said for the packing up.

We expected today’s drive to take about 6.5 hours and we’d land in Seven Points around 5PM. The computer said 5.5 hours but that’s obviously BS with the operation I’m running.

Add in avoiding highways for an hour and a half, an impromptu vehicle inspection, 3 bathroom breaks and we rolled into Seven Points Campground at about… 8:30PM or 9-ish hours later.

The problem is that the kids are no help. In fact quite the opposite.

After Becky got everyone together, got food and water and other accoutrements for the road and I spent the morning dealing with breaking the site down and packing up, flushing etc., of the Airstream I returned to the van ready to hitch up to find that Madeleine had taken all of Vince’s clothes off, including his shoes, with the exception of his underwear, and she had thrown it around, tied it to things, and was wearing some of it.

She climbed over the back seat when I arrived and started stomping all over our possessions with a maniacal laugh in some misguided attempt to recover the shoe and then I did one of these…

Which I’m not proud of and she did in fact catch a flip-flop in the face. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt her and it was after all a 5-year old’s flip flop not an Iraqi size 10. I believe she got the point… I’m not sure she cares.

We’re getting better at this I swear

There are a lot of things that went absolutely swimmingly and the kids handled the ride WAY better than we could have expected, even Enzo (20 months).

That’s all I can muster for now. I’m sure we’re going to do a real “How To” post and a tour of the vehicles, cooking apparatus, the mobile working setup (yes I’m working) etc. etc.

 

Comments

  1. Hi Guys, Sounds like a true adventure so far! PA can be hell for sure. You still have your sense of humor. Safe travels my friends.

    • Thanks Kate! We love Seven Points and the Allegrippis trail system is fantastic. These might be the best built and most well thought out trails I’ve ever ridden. I got each of the kids out on the trail-a-bike today (on real trails) plus got my own ride in with Ted. I highly recommend this place if you can stomach the drive. I’ve already started talking with Becky about extending our stay.

  2. Breathe Brecht

  3. HA!! Oh man, that’s funny! What an adventure and amazing memories for all!!

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