"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
– Helen Keller
Sometimes, it's just tough to hold on to a positive outlook, isn't it? Well, Steve and I had one of those weeks. It was terrible, and expensive.
First of all, Steve's computer screen went kaput. It was stuck between the chair and the couch and when we pulled in the slides, the screen got cracked. He attempted to buy one from someone on craigslist but that fell through so he ordered a new screen from Amazon but the one they sent wasn't compatible with his netbook so it got sent back. We ended up buying a new computer. Ok, mishap #1.
As I said last week, we began the week in New Jersey at 100+ degree temps (which I know most of you suffered through as well). I have been working on a final paper for this semester, so I spent most of the week working on that. But one day we were able to get out to Atlantic City and had a really fun time. We had lunch at Johnny Rocket's right on the baordwalk then hit the casino. We lost money (about $50) but we enjoyed our time there. It's really a cool place and the beach is very nice. I could see my family spending the weekend there for sure. I have to tell you, though, the Trump Plaza was such a disappointment. It looks like it was built in the 70's and that it hasn't seen a paintbrush or a facelift since that time. It sort of brings down the rest of the boardwalk, which is not what I expected at all. Donald..."You're fired!!"
We also attempted to go into Philadelphia for a day and discover some of our country's historical roots. That was a disaster. First of all, it cost $15 just to cross the stinkin bridge from Camden, NJ into Philly. Then, once we got into the city, we realized that the BAT (Big A_ _ Truck) was not meant to be in an old city like Philly because we could barely move around on the streets. We had a really hard time finding parking because all of the parking garages had clearances of 6' 6", which is definitely not enough for the BAT. After driving around for about 30 minutes, we finally found a parking lot but quickly realized that pulling into that lot was a mistake. We almost couldn't get out, I mean we had less than one inch of clearance (no joke) to make the turn to the exit. That drive through cost us $5. Traffic downtown is so bad. I mean horribly bad. We sat through several lights without moving so much as one car length. We decided to bag it and went back home. I am so disappointed because I am a big fan of history, but it just wasn't meant to be.
The next day we packed up and began our trek to Connecticut. The night before, it had rained cats and dogs (what is the origin of that anyway?) and the ground was very soft. That means the front of the trailer was lower than it had been when we arrived a few days earlier. So, when we pulled out of our campsite and went a little uphill, the truck bed hit the bottom of the front of the trailer (the part that hangs over the truck bed) and bent the frame rail that holds the cover of the truck bed down. It also dinged the trim of the trailer and scratched up the paint a little. UGH. That's #2.
It gets worse. We left Jersey with about $100 cash and joked about how we hoped it would enough for the tolls. Little did we know. We're on 95 headed to Connecticut and get to New York, the turnpike cost us $35.80 . Then, just to cross the George Washington Bridge was $52. Can you imagine? We did have a nice view of the New York skyline and saw the Empire State Building and the 1776 building under construction, so that was cool. But holy cow!
Now comes the bad part. What should have taken us 4 hours to do, ended up taking 7 hours and 30 minutes. The traffic through the Bronx was literally a parking lot and stayed that way all the way through Connecticut. I have no idea what was going on but there was never any accident or road construction to account for that kind of tie up on the highway. It was extremely brutal. We left our New Jersey campground at 9:30 and 220 miles later (at 5:00 p.m.) we arrived in Clinton, CT. I cannot even begin to tell you how exhausting that trip was for me, let alone Steve who had to do all the driving. Did I mention that it was raining for most of the 7 1/2 hours? We were sick of being in the Bat and of each other by the time we arrived and just wanted to get ourselves set up and relax. After drying off of course.
As we were traveling through the campground to get to our site, we got a little too close to a tree branch we didn't notice and the top of the trailer along the driver's side got all scratched up and the vinyl on the roof has a rip about 4-foot long. Holy Crap! There's incident #3. Here we thought people were looking at us pull into our site because our trailer is so unusual, but in reality, they were watching the two goofballs from Ohio hit the tree. Oh well. Thankfully, Steve can fix anything. He's already fixed the truck rail and the trim on the front of the trailer is no big deal. He also has what he needs to repair the roof and the scratches on the trailer can be buffed out.
See, even people like us who are on perpetual vacation, have troubles in life. I guess all we can do is just acknowledge the tough times, learn as much as we can from them, and move on. Stay positive! Life is still really really good.
Anyway, Clinton, Connecticut is quite beautiful and very charming. It's very old and combines new architecture with buildings that are two hundred years old. And, apparently, it seems to be the Volvo capital of the world. We sat outside this little cafe to eat lunch and in the span of about 15 minutes, we saw 23 Volvos. Considering that this is not a large metropolitan city, that was really quite remarkable. Along with Volvos, this town is also the Blue fish capital of the world and had a festival this last weekend that celebrated that fact. Neither Steve nor I know what a Blue fish is. Oh well.
We plan to visit the town of Mystic for some pizza (have you seen that movie - - Mystic Pizza?). We will also be visiting some state parks and plan to travel to the coast where the richy riches live to see all the beautiful mansions. The campground we are staying in is absolutely cool. It's called Riverdale Campground (wasn't Riverdale the name of Archie and Jughead's high school?). It reminds me of my youth when my family would go to Camp Dearborn. There are literally hundreds of campers here and most of them look like people who spend the summers at the camp. There is stuff going on every day like Bingo on Friday and they had a dance for the kids last night. It is really nice to see all the young families together and having a great time. That really warms my heard and makes me miss my grandkids something fierce.
Alright, we close what has been the worst week of our journey so far. Good riddance! This coming week is going to be great. The weather is going to be in the lower 80's which after nearly a month of 100 degree temps will seem almost chilly. I finish my semester on Friday and then it's FREEDOM for a while!
BTW... Don't forget to keep up with Terry, Jill and Rooney on their Appalachian Trail adventure at: http://www.atraillife.com/blog.html
Talk to ya next week peeps. Take care . . .
P.S. I did have a bit of good news this week. My sister Julie gave me a wall decal for our last trailer that was a Bible quote, Philippians 4:4 - "Rejoice in the Lord Always". Well, that decal went with the old trailer when we traded it in on Big Red. I have been looking to replace that for our new trailer for months and, this week at Walmart, I found another one. YAHOO!!! I am so excited. This is how Steve and I feel about God and it is very fitting that it grace our fine new home.