(Editor’s note: Yes, we know, our blog is late again—so sue us.)
Last week we completed our travels through the Northeast—we have stayed in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Ten weeks into our nine-month (or more) road trip, it seems like a good time to relate some of the things we have learned so far. Here is a summary of the highlights:
- The Amish are everywhere. We were very surprised how many Amish people we ran across during our travels, not just in Pennsylvania. We saw them swimming in Cayuga Lake in New York (long dresses, bonnets, and all) and biking in Acadia National Park in Maine. Also, the Amish built a cabin for Patty’s sister Cynthia and husband Jim and kiln-dried the cherry wood flooring that is going to be installed in their kitchen. Ed researched this apparent Amish population boom and found that there are now Amish in 24 states and it is estimated that their population will double by 2024. Personally, if we have a choice between people in horse and buggies and people on jet skis, we’ll take the buggies.
- Most of the country is rural. Throughout the Northeast, the most urban portion of the U.S., we mostly traveled through rural countryside and small town after small town. Much of our travel through rural America was thanks to our Garmin but we really enjoyed being off the interstates and on two-lane roads through mountains and valleys. Our recommendations to anyone planning a trip in the Northeast—avoid I-95 at all costs and head for the back roads.
- For retirees, week days are the best. When we worked for a living, mostly Monday through Friday, we always looked forward to the weekends (i.e., TGIF). Except for those people who really enjoy their jobs (we know a few), most people feel the same. However, when you retire and especially if you spend a lot of your time in public places like parks, weekends are a time of more people in campgrounds, boaters on rivers and lakes, and hikers on trails. So we look forward to week days and not so much to weekends (Holiday weekends are the worst). To those of our friends and relatives who are still working, we look forward to when you can join us and enjoy the peacefulness of Monday through Friday without work.
- Most people are nice. Throughout our travels in the Northeast, people were very friendly and helpful. Maybe it’s because we are temporarily homeless and living in a trailer but friends, relatives and total strangers have been very nice to us. It’s enough to make Ed, the introvert, almost willing to spend more time in the presence of strangers. Actually, with all the visits with friend and relatives the last ten weeks, Ed will need several weeks in the mountains to recuperate.
As further evidence of the niceness of people, here’s a recent event from our travels. We were driving from the home of our friends, Donna and Dave Cason, to New Jersey when we realized that we did not have the keys to the Airstream. Patty thought she may have left them on the bike rack on the back of the Airstream so she called the Casons, but they could not find them in their driveway. The next day we were trying to figure out how to have replacement keys made when we received an e-mail from Donna. She had been looking on Craigslist and happened to see a post from a man who indicated he had been following an Airstream on the highway the previous day. As the Airstream crossed a bridge, he saw something fall off the back and stopped his car and picked up our keys. Donna retrieved the keys from the Good Samaritan and put them in the mail to our daughter’s home in Richmond, where we are visiting this week. We did not get his name but he reinforced our belief that people are fundamentally nice.
We did stay in one more Northeastern state last week at Seven Points Campground in Pennsylvania. The campground is on Raystown Lake, a 28-mile long reservoir that resulted from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer flood control dam project. We were told that the lake is full of cigar boats on weekends, sort of Miami Vice meets the Amish country. Fortunately we were there during the week (see third bullet above) so the lake was very nice and we enjoyed some early morning kayaking.
Patty in the early morning mist on Raystown Lake
The stillness of the water in the morning results in beautiful reflections of the surrounding scenery.
Patty in front of our lakefront campsite
By the way, we don’t want to appear anti-children but they are now back in school—hooray!