Ithaca Really IS Gorges. Bonus: Something Died In the Closet

Ithaca is a show pony of a place – everything is spectacular. From brilliant fall foliage to Lake Cayuga to waterfalls eeeverywhere, our sadness of leaving Burlington was short lived.

We knew the forecast consisted of a fair bit of rain for our week here, so after settling in at Pinecreek Campground about 15 minutes out of town in Newfield, we knew we had to pack it in before the rain came.

Pinecreek Campground is great – it has a great mix of tree coverage and open space – we had a beautiful open field across from our site.

When we first pulled in, we had, to be honest, one of the least desirable sites they had. It was close to the office on an end (we had let them know that we would need WiFi), which meant we would be closest to where all vehicles come and go and there were no trees – so no privacy or natural separation from neighbors.

Fortunately Sue was super nice and understanding about it since we were posting up for a week and moved us to a nicer site around the corner with a bit more breathing room.

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Ben Franklin needs room to breathe, yo.

On Saturday we hiked Buttermilk Falls – it is a feast for the eyes and a balm for any city-weary citizen. It was like hiking through a small section of Rivendell. Just breathtaking.

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Bilbo, is that you?

Afterward we went downtown and wandered about – we snagged lunch at Viva Taqueria, then ate ice cream at 15 Below – they make the ice cream right in front of you – spread it on a large, freezing plate, then roll it into mini ice cream strips with toppings. MOAR PLZ.

After that we went to Stewart Park to see Cayuga Lake, then hit Cornell Botanic Gardens.

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Stewart Park on Cayuga Lake.

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Cornell Botanic Gardens

Sunday we went to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, which is probably one of the best farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to. We snagged cherry tomatoes, strawberry rhubarb jam, and some garlic scape pesto before meeting our friends Jay and Melissa and their kids, Riley and Maple, for another glorious hike – this time at Robert H Treman Park. Afterward we all went to dinner at Ithaca Brewing Company and feasted on tasty brews and hens that were raised on site.

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Hiking with Team Hubisz!

Okay so I know you must be really antsy to hear about what died in our closet if you’ve made it this far. Truth be told, we don’t know yet.

I have a pretty highly tuned snooter and can smell things long before Travis does. I’ve been noticing a rather off odor in the closet area of our bedroom – sort of like garbage or something vaguely rotting.

After noticing that part of the interior of the closet was coming apart (thanks to that water damage) I also realized the smell was coming from there, too. At first it seemed to be coming from the top corner. But then it would go away. So I set to figure it out and took out some clothes and shoes. My biking shoes smelled awful – like the ass end of a garbage truck. I put them outside, not sure if our ride through Stowe had left my shoes inexplicably stinky.

The shoes aired out but the smell in the closet didn’t go away. I have since discovered that it’s emanating from the lower back wall of my side of the closet, which is slightly sloped. When I put my nose up to it, it was like a stinky lightbulb went on. I sprayed it with bleach and water, and it went away – only to come back again the next day.

So now we’re at a crossroads. The wall piece runs the entire length of the closet so taking it out isn’t a small project. We could cut a hole into the wall but that would leave, naturally, a gaping hole in the wall. We could wait a week or so and hope that whatever is back there just gets its decomposition over with as quickly as possible.

We’re wondering if something crawled in there while it was being repaired back in West Virginia – as it’s suddenly just starting to smell now. :/

Please tell me someone out there has had to deal with something dead inside their RV closet wall and can give us some advice?!

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Burlington to Ithaca!

Last we left you we were en route to Burlington, Vermont – and we’re stoked that we went. After being in super small, rural towns we were excited to be close to a more mid-sized small city.

We parked Benjamin Franklin (this is what we’ve named our 5th wheel by way) at North Beach Park – and so happy we did. It’s behind the high school (kind of random) but steps away from a beautiful sandy beach on the shoreline of Lake Champlain. The site definitely has more of a state park feel – the spots were a bit more packed in and due to its location there was a lot of local foot traffic due to its proximity to the beach and the recreational trail that runs along the waterfront.

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Benjamin Franklin at North Beach Park

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North Beach – a 45 second walk from our site!

Burlington was a lot like Boulder – I’d always heard that Burlington’s Church Street was a lot like Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.

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Church Street – very much like Pearl Street in Boulder, CO!

They’re essentially fraternal twins – same vibe (college town, pedestrian mall, very outdoorsy culture), similar eating scene (plenty of fun bars and eateries with farm-to-table fare and craft beer up the yin yang), and shops (everything from chains like Urban Outfitters and lululemon to metaphysical book stores and Tibetan shops).

 

We were a 15-minute bike ride from downtown – and definitely took advantage by biking around whenever we could. Burlington is basically on a hill, though – there are some steep streets that make for a great leg workout.

Between the two of us we spent work days at places like Dobra Tea (finally, a place with Bi Luo Chun!), the Skinny Pancake (ALL the crepes and Heady Topper cans on deck), Scout & Co. (spacious, with waffles – we’re kicking ourselves for not getting the Wafflegato), and Uncommon Grounds Coffee & Tea (lovely coffee shop with foodstuffs – beware though, there are ZERO power outlets here – I mean I get it, don’t linger but some of us have janky laptops whose batteries don’t last as long as our lattes).

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Heady Topper at the Skinny Pancake. Heaven!

I spent my afternoons back at camp, working from the beach with a hotspot or inside the rig and was also pretty yoked to make a grocery run to Trader Joe’s – something that is definitely a luxury now that we’ve left the city.

I had also had enough of dealing with my long hair – so I decided to chop it off. I’m not sure why it was more annoying to deal with in an RV than anywhere else I’ve lived but nevertheless, I was over it.

Armed with Pinterest photos, I booked a last minute appointment at Sequoia Salon with Leah Liberty. I warned her that I’m the laziest human on the planet when it comes to my hair, but that I was maybe sort of interested in an inverted bob, as long as it was low maintenance. Armed with all the reassurances I needed, I gave her the green light to chop and I couldn’t be more happy with what she did. ✂️

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I should have taken a before photo. Trust me, this is 3,000% better.

We ate dinner at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Leah’s recommendation. Travis at the chicken! For those of you who don’t know, Travis has been a staunch vegetarian for more than five years now – unless he knows that the meat on a menu is sustainably and responsibly produced, he won’t eat it – so it’s always very exciting when we find places that fit that particular bill.

We wanted to stay in Burlington over the weekend – we were booked through Friday – to ride our bikes up the recreation path to Grand Isle over what looks like a bonkers bike path over the lake to a ferry in the middle. Sadly, the weekend was booked solid so we had no choice but to leave.

And so on to Ithaca we go!

 

Vermont: YASS PLEASE.

We spent all of last week at Bel-View Campround in Barton, Vermont. It. Was. Amazeballs.

We were greeted by another guest who we later learned does marketing for Cabot Creamery, who directed us to our site, spot #33. It was, as he said, the best site they have. Our back window had an open view of the sprawling green grass hill and the corner of Crystal Lake below. Observe:

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The view out our back window at Bel-View.

The day we arrived it was about 87 degrees out, so I went straight for the lake for a dip – the swimming area was long, shallow, and crystal clear – hence the name. This is my heaven.

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Quick dip in Crystal Lake.

A couple days later temps dipped into more appropriate fall territory – into the high ’30s at night. Fortunately our furnace kicks ass and kept us warm. During the week we ate at Parker Pie Company (delicious pizza – the place *everyone* tells you to go), visited Hill Farmstead Brewery (some of the best beer in the world, according to many), hiked Mount Pisgah, checked out Willoughby Lake, drove to Canada, and spent a half-day biking in Stowe.

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Willoughby Lake.

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Hill Farmstead Brewery.

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Hill Farmstead Brewery.

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On top of Mount Pisgah, kid!

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The other end of Willoughby Lake.

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The start of the Stowe Recreation Path, Stowe, VT

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Somewhere in Vermont between Barton and Stowe.

We’re currently in Burlington, Vermont – more on that soon!

Megunticook, Common Ground Country Fair, and on to Vermont

This past week we stayed at Megunticook Campground in Rockport, Maine. Pros? Lots of trees, great facilities for laundry and (free) hot showers, a beautiful lookout spot on the hillside out to the sea. The cons? Sites were pretty close together, the entire campground itself was pretty close to Route 1, the main two-lane artery up the coast in this area, nearby trails and accessible beaches weren’t as abundant as I had hoped – going anywhere on foot meant walking on the side of the highway.

We did hike the beautiful Beech Hill Preserve trail – it was a foggy morning but we didn’t want to skip a chance for a nice hike. It was a bummer to miss the view from the top, but the stone lodge at the top was a neat-o reward in and of itself.

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Nearby Camden was a fun spot to spend a work day – various coffee shops like the Owl & Turtle Bookshop and the Bagel Cafe had wifi and snacks/coffee. When the Bagel Cafe closed at 2pm (also apparently you only get 1 free hour of WiFi there – I arrived at 1 so this was well timed), I went to the public library to finish out the work day and so glad I did – though almost terrifyingly silent (ahhhh), the brick building’s ship paintings, chandeliers, and lounge chairs gave it a decidedly WASPy, luxurious ambience.

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This last Saturday we went to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. It’s billed as a celebration of rural living by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the organization that produces the event. A local described it to me as “a huge hippie fair.” Our friend Gabriel Willow, who grew up in Maine, has always raved about it as well. It draws about 60,000 visitors over three days and consists of workshops, speakers, a farmer’s market, food stalls, arts & crafts vendors, livestock demonstrations, and more.

I certainly got a kick out of perusing the lineup of workshop options throughout the day: Direction Felling with a Chainsaw, Sustainable Beekeeping, Humanure: It’s a Resource!, Compost Parade (I lol’d at the downright political chants that compost paraders expelled: “What do we want? COMPOST. When do we want it? RIGHT NOW.”), Foraging and Working with Medicinal Mushrooms, Log Scooting Contest, Goats as Therapy Animals…

Not only did it make me realize how little I know about homesteading and agriculture, but also grateful to be able to experience even a small fraction of what it means to live more self sufficiently.

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Morning coffee by the sea.

We made the hour-long trek early (left at 7:30am) and parked at a nearby Park and Pedal lot and biked the remaining 1.5 miles to the gates. I’m not sure how, exactly, but we spend 6 hours at the fair! I went to a knot-tying class, meandered through every single tent watching demos (wool felting, wood lathe, basket weaving) and eyeballing all the craft vendors, and inspected allllll the food stalls. Organic lamb & beef gyro: check. Homemade apple pie: check. I watched kids sledding down a dusty hill using pieces of cardboard (genius), saw folk singing circles, Balkan dancing, albino Angora rabbits, Alpacas, a sheepdog herding demo, a Native American pow wow, and all the honey and tantalizing produce you can imagine.

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Bowline knot!

By 3 pm we were pretty well knackered – but there was one thing I had come for that was nowhere to be found at the fair, much to my dismay: Amish Donuts. We hit the nearby Amish market to grab some on the way home, and all was well in the world – even moreso after we got back home and I was able to take a much-needed nap.

Sunday was a beach day – we went north to Lincolnville to pop a squat on their tiny, but public, beach area – sandwiched between lobster shacks and the Islesboro Ferry, it wasn’t exactly expansive but was worthwhile for a close, low-key beach visit and lunch stop.

I have to admit it’s torture being this close to Acadia National Park and not going. I’m kicking myself but also happy to be heading on to Vermont – our week there will the last that we’ve planned out in advance.

If anyone has tips or resources for finding great RV sites as you go, let me know! I just downloaded Campendium and it seems to be exactly the type of resource I’ve been looking for

 

 

 

 

Ebenezer’s Pub, More Water Damage, Outdoor Fun, and Portsmouth, NH

We’ve been on the road about two weeks and we keep talking about how it feels like two months…so much has happened in such a short time span.

Ebenezer’s Pub!

Over the weekend we took a pilgrimage to a beer bar that’s been on my bucket list for years now – Ebenezer’s Pub in Lovell, Maine. It’s generally agreed upon that it’s one of the best beer bars in the country – if not the world (depends on who you ask, of course). It’s also in a relatively remote location unless you happen to be in the area. It was close to two hours from our site but it was the closest we’ll probably ever be, so the trip was made.

What an epic spot! The bar and restaurant is basically part of a large house with a large covered/screen-in patio located on the third hole of the Lake Kezar Country Club’s golf course. Green grass and trees for days. Picturesque AF.

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There’s beer in them there hills.

The beer menu was off the chain – bartender Liz asked what we liked – then handed us a special menu on deck with five unconditioned cask lambics from Hanssens. CHECK. We tried all five. We also were lucky enough to try a Bokkereyder/Fantôme lambic blend called Noble Ghost. It’s probably the most I’ve ever spent on a bottle of beer, but also probably my only opportunity to try this stuff, perhaps ever.

After we’d asked about it, owner Chris came up to talk to us about it and was super helpful and excited that anyone was even asking about it. I hadn’t quite realized what a BFD (that’s Big Fucking Deal, a classic Dad acronym) this brewer was – I used to work in the craft beer industry but don’t follow nearly as close as I used to. Big thanks to my good friend Tony, or RandumInk for any beer nerds who want to follow an extremely down-to-earth craft beer aficionado, for tipping us off.

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Le Swoon.

Suffice it to say, I highly recommend a visit to this place if you want a super chill, low-key spot to enjoy a variety of hard-to-find brews.

More Water Damage

We had another solid day or so of rain, and while nothing leaked this time (yay), we noticed an area that was already sorta wrinkled and warped inside might have been getting worse – plus the wallpaper all around it was bubbling up, which was a new development. Our concern was immediate – especially since the humidity has been sky high (we’re talking 96%, air so thick you can see it through a flashlight beam). There’s definitely an area of the roof, though sealed overtop, that has rotted away in the same area as the water damage we were seeing.

We noodled how to deal with it given that we have to deal with being displaced, with a pet, any time we want to get the rig looked at. Many RV repair places are closed on weekends. Fortunately, Anita at the front desk gave us a number for a guy named Tim, who makes house calls so to speak, and has been working on RVs for 20 years. Tim answered the phone, and showed up a short 3 hours later to take a look. Tim for the win! He confirmed there was indeed water damage, then hiked up to the roof to take a closer look. After looking at the shower skylight – which was newly replaced with our initial big inspection – Tim seemed to think the caulking (and therefore the seal) wasn’t sufficient. Long story short, we patched it up in less than two hours and a made a new friend while we were at it.

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Team Effort – adding EternaBond tape, which we had on hand, to the skylight. Not the most aesthetic choice but to be honest, we don’t give a shit as long as it works.

We’ll see what happens – there is definitely more rain in the forecast.

Outdoor Fun & Portsmouth, NH

Despite the anxiety around more water issues, we managed to hit up a nearby farmer’s market in York and snagged fresh veggies and a legit loaf of sourdough bread as well as check out the nearby Art in the Park. I snagged a luminescent pair of dichroic glass stud earrings by Malabar Glass and an etching print by Leo P. Donahue. In the later half of the day, after our consult with Tim, we set out for Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge – a salt marsh with a one-mile self guided walking loop that follows the forested upland edge and peeks out to beautiful, flat marshland.

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We also met up with our friends Taylor and Brian for brunch in Portsmouth on Sunday – Travis and I got engaged in nearby Kittery while they got engaged on the pier in Portsmouth so being there was full of good juju for all of us. While plans for the Friendly Toast failed (too crowded, too hangry), we fared just as well at the nearby Portsmouth Brewery.

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Back at Beaver Dam, I took a kayak out on the pond for one last paddle. That late-day sunshine is like soul food for me – when things are golden, magical, and look like paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, or Maxfield Parrish. It was quiet and the water was still – I was the only one out on the water, just the swish swish of my paddle and the plop of a basking painted box turtle here and there.

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The desktop background of my brain.

And with that, we’re done at Beaver Dam. This campground is truly a gem – I genuinly believe most others will pale in comparison. Next stop: Megunticook Campground in Rockport, Maine!

 

Maine = Magic. Bonus: Turtle Rescue.

GUYS. Maine is amazing.

Also we’ve realized something important: all things off season are the best. We are starting to think that we don’t want to actively travel or deal with RV parks during any holidays (which are best spent with family anyway). We had been toying with the idea of going to Key West over Christmas, but after seeing the prices and knowing that it’ll be crowded AF, we’re having second thoughts. Anyone ever done the Key West thing over the holidays? Is it bananas?

Anyhoo, we’re currently holed up at Beaver Dam Campground in Berwick, Maine, about 30 minutes from York. Our campsite is right on the lakefront (ahhh), between another (empty) couple of sites and a mini-sand beach with its own dock. Said dock has a couple Adirondack chairs on it for sitting in the sun. There are canoes, kayaks, an AquaCycle, and paddle boats to rent, as well as a little mini golf course, pool (closed for the season), sluice (for “mining” gems out of pre-packaged bags of sand for sale in the office/shop), and picnic tables everywhere. To be honest, I’m nervous to go anywhere else after this, it’s that great.

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Yas.

I think the only downside so far is the mysterious rash that developed under my arm on one side – everyone in my family reading this right now is laughing, because I am the queen of sensitive skin problems. I *always* get the rashes (heat rash, eczema, whatever), jellyfish stings, mosquito bites, fly bites, you name it. No idea what this one is. I did go in the lake so swimmer’s itch came to mind but I didn’t submerge this particular part of my body. Chiggers? Who knows, just pass the steroid cream that I keep on hand at all times and add it to my rash roster. 🙄

We’ve taken the canoe and AquaCycle out for a spin – during our canoe the other day we saw a beaver swimming around the narrow end of the lake – we’ve also seen herons, chipmunks, and squirrels.

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6:30 am in a canoe.

Yesterday we found a baby snapping turtle along the water next to our campsite that had been punctured on the back of its shell and blood was coming out of the wounds. My animal empath heart went pitter patter pretty hard – but I wasn’t sure what to do. Fortunately, because we’re in Maine and Maine is awesome, the Center for Wildlife was a mere 30 minutes away.

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Oweeee! This guy was about the size of the palm of my hand.

I called them 15 minutes before close but they told me to come anyway, they’d be able to take little buddy since there would be staff there. So Tiny Turtle went into a bowl with me and into the truck toward York. The Center for Wildlife is a non profit that gets no state funding and was a pretty incredible facility – after dropping off my patient, they gave me a reference number so that I could call in the following day to check up (which I did, they cleaned and packed the wounds and started a course of antibiotics).

They also took an address on the intake form for where I found it so it can be returned to the same location. After donating $20 and recollecting my now-stinky, turtleless bowl, I did a quick spin through their outdoor rehabilitation area. They mostly have birds of prey, as well as a too-comfortable-around-humans porcupine named Henry, and a neurologically damaged squirrel named Skeeter.

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This is Perry, a Peregrine Falcon.

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A Red-Tailed Hawk.

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A Barred Owl

Most of the animals here had sustained injuries from cars – broken wings, brain damage – Perry, the Peregrine Falcon, had taken his first flight as a baby into an electrical transformer. :/ In any case, it was pretty uplifting to see a facility rescuing and taking care of animals – releasing the ones they can and safeguarding the ones they can’t. Warm fuzzies.

One of the biggest lifestyle changes we’ve had since leaving NYC is eating out. In New York, eating out was part of the fun of exploring the city – and we’re both fortunate enough to have had enough leftover spending money after rent to be able to take advantage of that regularly. Calexico‘s burritos were a regular part of our eating lineup, and more often than not our social outings with one another or friends usually involved eating something somewhere.

Since leaving that has changed drastically! We have made lots of quick-bite stops at places like Dunkin’ Donuts while on the road, but we’ve started eating in a lot more – cooking meals in our mini RV kitchen, planning meals and grocery runs ahead of time. I wouldn’t say we’re completely used to it yet – meal planning gets exhausting pretty quickly, at least for me. All that is just to say that after a couple of months of not eating out that often, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner.

Last night we went Thistle Pig in South Berwick where I ate grass-fed steak that was to. Die. Fa. Kid. Their website says that all the beef comes from nearby farms, which was the reason I was willing to eat it (doing my best not to support any kind of factory farming). I was also ecstatic to see Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine cans on the beer menu, then immediately disappointed – they’d just sold out. BUT I was delighted by my second choice, Austin Street Brewery’s Patina Pale Ale – definitely recommend it. Clean, crisp, and a great balance between citrus and hop. Also: the crispy Brussels sprouts were also outstanding.

More adventures to come!

 

 

First Work Week: Check! Plus: Dumping Tanks and What I’m Reading

On Labor Day we left Pohick Bay Regional Park for an overnight in Hickory Run Campground in White Haven, PA – we are trying to break our driving days up into shorter bursts so we’re not driving all day. When we factor in packing up, gas and pit stops, and setting up at our destination, we really don’t want to be driving for more than 5 hours at a time.

It sucked to stay somewhere for just one night – we really only had time to get set up and feed ourselves – I managed a quick walk in the nearby trees – Travis did a gas and grocery run because he’s Husband of the Year. We didn’t have time to explore the State Park at all – and there was so much (from what we could tell) to explore – plus it didn’t rain that day! I see now why quick overnight stops are just easier in a Walmart parking lot.

Since we didn’t have time to do any exploring before it got dark, we did the next best thing and took advantage of the sewer connection on our site to practice dumping our tanks. We didn’t want our first dump to be in some conga line exiting a park with a bunch of people waiting behind us.

Turns out it’s pretty straightforward, and the Valterra Dominator Sewer Hose we bought, thanks to a YouTuber rec (pretty sure it was LoLoHo but at this point I can’t remember), worked like a charm. Our rig came with a stinky slinky – we got a bunch of bonus equipment/stuff with the RV since we bought it from a guy on Craigslist. We actually already had sewer hoses too, but something about using someone else’s sewer hoses didn’t sit right with me. Plus we had no way to know if they might have any leaks. Better safe than 💩.

Our tanks weren’t actually full – so I took a “long” hot shower without turning the shower head on and off to add to the grey water tank (thanks to my stepdad Cory and mom for those family sailing trips – homegirl knows how to take a short ass boat-style shower to conserve water!). Our manual advised having the black tank 3/4 full, so we held the toilet open to add a bunch of water to it. Our kitchen has a separate galley tank, too so we added more water to that as well.

Then we just hooked the hose up to the trailer, screwed the hose to the sewer connection, and released the black tank first, then the grey water, then the galley. For good measure we added more water to the galley and then flushed it a second time.

Our black tank definitely has a screwy sensor – I guess it’s pretty common for TP to get stuck to them and show an artificially full tank – ours was reading 1/3 full right after we dumped it. Up to this point we’d been driving around with tissue digester chemicals and water meant to solve that very problem – and it did, until we emptied it. So really the challenge for us will be to know when that tank is good and truly full – but hey, at least it’s stuck at 1/3 and not Full, right?! Glass is 2/3 full, my friends.

Okay enough about our tank dumping. We launched in the morning and made it to Hidden Valley Campground in Lanesborough, MA in the Berkshires – we’re about 5 miles from Mount Greylock State Reservation and 8 miles from Pittsfield. It’s green and full of trees and all the holiday campers are gone.

This site has close to 96 campsites for tents and RVs. A handful of sites are occupied by people who stay the entire season; some look as if people are living there but we haven’t seen a soul in most of the sites. Might be because of the rain. In any case, I’ve loved walking around and seeing how other people have their set ups – some have really amazing outdoor lights, others have astroturf-covered patios. There’s a sweet rec hall with air hockey and fooseball tables, as well as laundry and shower/bathroom facilities. There’s a playground and a pool (too chilly for that, sadly), as well as a fishing pond.

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Speaking of rain, it held off until we were all set up and passed out – it started overnight and we woke up to ZERO leaks inside. Sweet relief, thy name is silicone sealant.We also solved the heretofore unmentioned problem of water pooling in the cover of our largest slide out: plastic play balls from Dollar General. Thanks, internet! Now here’s hoping we remember to remove them before we bring the slide out in…

WiFi here is non-existent outside of the park’s office, but the owner was nice enough to give us his Verizon JetPack while we were here since there aren’t too many campers here right now and he has WiFi in the office. Thank you, Gordon!

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The Fishing Pond.

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This was our first real work week in the rig – we’ve posted up at our dinette and basically do what we normally do, just inside our RV. We’ve been taking Monkey outside to explore, gone running down (and up) the tree-lined roads, hit up Old Forge Restaurant for dinner, built a fire, done laundry, gone for walks ’round the campground – you know, boring shit, but I’m absolutely loving it.

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Set Exploration Dial to MAX.

I have to admit, though, I’m having some HBO and Netflix withdrawal, but surely that’s 1) due to all the rain we’ve had so far and 2) for the better – I plan on reading a LOT more books this year. I just finished Sherman Alexie‘s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I love YA but don’t read a lot of it because I don’t know what’s good anymore (I used to devour Christopher Pike books like they were Cheddar Cheese Ruffles).

I forget how I heard about this one but it’s a fantastic read – the main character loves to draw – the book’s illustrations are by Ellen Forney. The book is semi-autobiographical and tells the story of 14-year old Arnold Spirit, who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation and bucks tradition by wanting to go to the “white” school 22 miles away. After reading this one I’m definitely planning on reading Alexie’s memoir. But first, I’m reading J.D. Vance’s memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. I guess I’m on a memoir kick!

Anyone have any good book recommendations?