Archive for July, 2009

Campers

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

 

We have seen all kinds of campers, some with small mountaineering tents, some with motorcycle tent trailers, vans, pickup campers, 5th wheels, and huge motor homes with toads,

We are prejudiced toward the Sprinter and Sprinter based vans, because of the compactness and fuel mileage, but two others really caught our eyes.

 

One is the Westvalia poptops based on the Volkswagen camper. They are far more common on the West Coast than in New England. They are on the small side for us, but they are cool.

 

The other is the Airstream Trailers. We were parked next to a new small one in Chaco, very nice. Tonight we are next to about a 30 footer - an “Airstream Classic”. Would love to see the inside of it - but the people aren’t here. We will have to look for an Airstream gathering and check out some of the classics.

Airstream

Airstream

 

WiFi

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

We have camped at a lot of places where they don’t have any sort of hookups - sometime just an outhouse and perhaps a water source. We have also camped at places where they have hookups – usually we choose just the electric. Usually those places have water, flush toilets, a shower – (a lot of times the shower is extra – but that is ok).

The most frustrating thing we have found are the places that advertise wifi - and then don’t even come close to having adequate service. Have been in places that have it if you sit in the laundry room - or in certain sites - but not others. Or - “it usually works good” (but not right now) – or “gee – a lot of people must be using it” (duh – with 200 sites – you might expect that several people might be using it).

We had reasonable wifi service in Chicken, Alaska - they have to generate their own electricity there, but have a big satellite dish.

We have also had people with the arrogant attitude (many times some the ones in the big national parks without wifi) that people can get away from it for a few days – and commune with nature. That is fine for a day or two - but after being on the road for a few months, you want to have communication, and do some business – or even blog. I have heard some of them say that if you want to get online – just drive out of the park and use one of the services that are in the little towns outside the park borders. It is really great when you see these 5 mpg rigs driving out and back and sitting in the parking lots of the businesses there. I wonder if any of these “commune with nature” people have ever wondered if their policies end up with more pollution and more global warming. Gee – then they complain when the glaciers disappear. The Grand Canyon had a at least one cafeteria that you could walk to that had great service – so it is certainly possible.

 

Having a internet connection over a cell phone network is a good thing if your network covers where you are going, and having your own satellite connection is a good thing if you really need a connection for business - or just to avoid the parks than have no idea of how important wifi is to some people.

Walter Cronkite

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

One of the good (and bad) parts about camping is the lack of news - radio stations don’t come in well in some of the places we have gone - and some of the national parks have chosen to stay in the early part of the last century by not offering internet.

 

I finally heard that Walter Cronkite died. I have watched him for many years on TV – tuning into him when JFK got shot – and thru wars and peace. I talked to him twice on sailing occasions. The first time was at the re-dedication of When and If - General Patton’s old schooner. We were on Martha’s Vineyard for the occasion and a bunch of us were standing around talking and he came over and joined us. After a while he excused himself and went up to do the dedication. His voice changed a little to his TV voice. He started off by saying that “Since I am the only one that was properly dressed for the occasion they asked me to say a few words” He then went on to say a lot about his friend General Patton, about how sad it was that he didn’t live long enough to sail the schooner very much. Walter said that “He would be happy looking down – or maybe up - to see the festivities.”

 

The other time was in Mystic Seaport. It is a long way up from the ocean to the seaport. My friend Mark was bringing his 50 ft. Alden schooner up to the Seaport when his engine died. Word got out to try to help him into the dock. We were standing there when Walter quietly joined us to help. Mark got pretty close under sail – he was running downwind. When he got close to the dock, he dropped the anchor and jibed so he was pointing back toward the ocean. He then pushed out the main on one side and the foresail on the other and backed down to the dock. We caught the lines and secured her. Walter said “nice” and walked away.

Campground Dogs and Effie

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Having Effie along is a lot of fun, a lot of people want to talk about her and pet her. There aren’t a lot of Newfoundland dogs that we have seen along the way – about 4 so far. Many people don’t know much about the breed – or even what breed she is. They kid about her being a bear. She is always great with the kids.

Sometimes she gets one of these new smells and gives me a “what is #@$& is that??” look. There are not a lot of elk, caribou, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, buffalo or bear where we live.

 

Leashes are required at all campgrounds. A lot of campers have little dogs along with them - even though a lot of them have more space than we do. Some of the little dogs are OK, but many bark a lot when they see her. I guess they are scared or have a Napoleon complex. She generally ignores them and doesn’t bark back or even pay attention to them. She will recognize other Newfies, and sometimes she seems to think little black dogs are puppies, One of the little dogs was making of a lot of noise at Effie and his owner said to him “You don’t want any part of that”.

 

Saw a funny thing when I pulled in a roadhouse to get some coffee one morning, there was a great looking big husky type sled dog just walking around. There was a medium sized mixed breed in a car that was barking his brains out at the sled dog. Not sure what he was saying - Probably either “let me out so I can get at that dog” but may have been saying “don’t let that dog in the car – he could eat me”. Anyway, the husky never barked, gave him a disdainful look, pissed on the car and walked away.