Thursday, October 13, 2011

Leaf-peeping in New England

Oct. 11-Oct. 13, A quick trip through New Hampshire and Vermont
The view from our motorhome window on New Hampshire Hwy 302

Following some tips from fellow campers in Camden, we planned a route which would take us up through New Hampshire and down through Vermont to Pennsylvania.  The New Hampshire scenery through the White Mountains on Hwy 302 was lovely--especially the Crawford Notch area and Mt. Washington scenic vista--and the colors were the best we had seen so far.  We spent the night in a campground that sounded like it would be a picturesque stop in North Conway, NH. We were a little suprised how close the campground was to a busy street full of Wal-Marts, etc. as it was called the Saco River Campground. The best surprise in the campground was hearing the sound of an old time steam train at dusk. It turns out that North Conway is well known for its steam locomotion train which tourists can ride thourough various routes through the White Mountains. The campground was a decent place but we were not inspired to stay any longer than one night as we both felt ready to move on. 
Our motorhome in a sea of cars
near the Crawford Notch rest area
Our travels through Vermont turned out to be one of our misadventures as we had forgotten about the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.  We had heard that Route 100 through the Green Mountains would offer the best scenery in Vermont but it turned out to be the main path of the hurricane's destruction as theflood waters cascaded down the mountains through central Vermont causing extensive road damage with several bridges washed out and large gullies carved into the roadside.  I had called the state of Vermont highway department to see if Route 100 was a good idea for a large motorhome, not even thinking about the flood damage, and he said would double check and call me back. He did and said the roads would be fine.  They were not fine. Even if the flood damage had not been there, we would not have been comfortable with the narrowness of the road and windy turns through the mountains.  Poor Vic managed to negotiate miles of construction zones and one lane detours. It was a good thing we had stopped at Ben and Jerry’s factory before we got onto Route 100 as the reward of our own pints of Cherry Garcia and Heath Crunch ice cream helped ease the transition back to relax mode after this horrendous stretch of our trip. 
To make matters a bit worse, I decided we could make it as far as Rutland, Vt. but when we arrived at dusk, we learned there were no campgrounds in the area.  This was the first night we actually considered staying in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but after making a quick phone call to what looked like a viable option, we discovered a place about 30 miles away--breaking our rule for arriving at a campground in the dark.  The campground, Iroqouis Land Family Camping in North Clarendon, turned out to be a big open field on a farm, but they did have 30 amp electric hook-ups and water.  We actually liked the pastoral setting.  There was a full moon hanging above rolling hills and the stars were incredibly bright making the place seem a little more magical at night than what it looked like the next morning. (The Ben and Jerry's also helped.)  Again, we both agreed the next morning to keep moving on toward Gettysburg rather than exploring the southern regions of Vermont.  
A barn in brilliant fall color somewhere along Rte.100

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