Thursday: 7/15/2010

We departed Thursday morning from an unrelenting heat wave in Maryland. Cat Maudy is idled at the dock. No wind. Extreme heat. It was time to get outta Dodge (also known as the Port of Baltimore). The plan, was an extended weekend camping trip – in one of the most remote, areas of the Adirondacks. An area where people bring tents, and leave all toys behind. A place where there is no internet…a place where there are no showers…no mainstream grocery stores for miles. A place where only the most hearty of campers visit, year after year.

And then there is us. We rented a monster RV. There would be no electric hookup, no sewage hookup, no water where we are headed….but it didn’t matter. We are determined to enjoy some basic creature comforts in our big rental RV – including (a) an escape from bugs (b) a porta-potty built in (c) and a way to bring along Soxy on a camping adventure. Oh yeah, and the thought of NOT having to pitch a tent, and wonder if the bears would be sniffing the tent perimeter all night is another benefit.

We picked up the big RV rig in Harrisburg PA. It is 23 feet in length and looks huge parked next to our car. Soxy will love this. NOT. Soxy does not like it when her home is moving, and spent most of the 9 hour trip crying as loudly as she could. Eventually, she gave up making noise – and then wanted nothing to do with us. Soxy is not seeing the big picture here – and obviously doesn’t appreciate the benefits of RV’n over tenting. Or perhaps she is just mad that I forgot her litter box.

Paddy took to the RV helm, and guided the beast among the thick traffic along I-81 through Pennsylvania. It didn’t take long to notice that the RV drinks a LOT of gas. It is also obvious that there are no grocery stores along any of the exits on I-81. Soxy will just have to cross her legs until we can find her a litter box. In the meantime, we are growing broke feeding the RV at the pump.

Somewhere in the burbs of Binghamton NY, Paddy handed over the RV helm to me. Within minutes, google routed us along some tiny country road with no shoulder, filled with winding turns and steep hills. I had my hands full keeping the RV on the road. The beast is not easy to drive. As we drop down on a 7% grade, the RV transmission goes bizerk. I can’t slow her down, and I can’t get the transmission to stop revving. I am beginning to wonder if I am surrounded with bad juju on downhills. Finally the beast breaks out of its transmission funk…and I’m back to wondering if the next downhill will be as breathtaking.

We make it to Norwich NY. The home of Walmart. I race inside of the supercenter the size of 10 football fields…and ask 4 Wal-greeters for directions to the pet department. Poor Soxy has gone the entire day without a litter box, pissed as hell at the fact that her home keeps moving….and no longer on speaking terms with the big people navigating the RV ship. I found a litter box and litter in the biggest store I have ever set foot in….and raced out as quickly as possible hoping to never have to need this Walmart supercenter again. Soxy is back in business.

Paddy takes over the helm after my transmission trauma….and drives the RV beast through Utica and beyond. Beyond takes us to one more gas station for a fill up…before we can enter “Adirondack Park”. Once in Adirondack Park, good luck finding a gas station. The roads are narrow, but the scenery along the way is stunning. A few log cabins are grandfathered into Adirondack Park – before the State of New York decided that development was not such a good idea. Beyond that – you are surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, creeks, reservoirs, streams and lakes that are delightfully untouched by mankind. Except for acid rain…and other pollution that has no boundaries. Such details.

Our destination is Piseco Lake. My family had been camping in a small state run campground called Little Sand Point for nearly 50 years – and I am super excited to be making this voyage with Paddy. True to Adirondack form – Piseco Lake and it’s 3 campgrounds are nearly the same as it was 50 years ago. Two very notable changes this time. 1. Showers. The state of NY has constructed a building with flush toilets and 9 shower stalls. Wowie zow. This is livin’ large for the Adirondacks. The water stays on for about 30 seconds. After that you press a magic button…you’ll even get 30 more seconds of spray. Wash quickly, unless you want to spend your time pressing the darned button every 30 seconds. 2. Cell phones work. Never before could you use a cell phone in this section of the Adirondacks. Guessing that when the Park Ranger started using online reservations, he needed to be – online. Thus, not only does the cell phone work – but we *could* get internet too. I think we can do without internet for a few days.

Paddy navigated the big monster RV into a mainly TENT only campground – amidst many stares from the TENT campers. Yes – it’s a big monster RV and doesn’t belong here – but we’re parking her at campsite 23A – right on the water, and staying anyway. So deal with it – hard core tenters! We pull up to the water spigot to put some aqua into the RV tank. There is no hose connection at the campground spigot. Paddy does his best to jam the hose up the spigot, while I jam the other end into the RV – and I’m pretty sure those campers who were staring at us had plenty to talk about around the campfire. We looked like camping rookies with water spraying everywhere….and small droplets actually making it into the RV tank. After 30 minutes of getting soaked, we decided the gallon of water we actually got into the tank was good enuf.

The beauty of an RV – is that you can just PULL IN – and be done with setting up. By now, it was dark, and no need for us to get out of the RV. There are probably bugs out there. And don’t forget the bears. I made sure to lock the RV doors – just in case the bears knew how to work the door latch.