Time to head North! Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York…then HOME!

Apparently in some Virginia counties they have to remind folks that you can’t get to the Southbound lanes, from the Northbound on the freeway/interstate onramp…no left turns folks, just merge…. oh my! Then the intimidator passed us, broke down pulling over in front of us with smoke rolling off his back tires, but soon passed us again…? Really? Nothing says “twat” quicker than that! ha! Ah, the freeways of America! On our way to the Natural Bridge KOA for a few days, trying to juggle getting back to Perth on a Monday!

β™«β™ͺβ™« I love you for your pink Cadillac
Crushed velvet seats
Riding in the back
Cruising down the street
Waving to the girls
Feeling out of sight
Spending all my money
On a Saturday night
Honey I just wonder what you do there in back
Of your pink Cadillac β™ͺβ™«β™ͺ 

I couldn’t resist!

I loved these ornate old PO boxes, something magical in the craftsmanship of the past and the vertical numerical numbers!

We didn’t eat at the diner here, reviews didn’t look the best! We made a quick trip into the tiny Post Office at Natural Bridge…I had to pick up a package (horse dewormers! Ha!) at the tiny post office that is under the visitor center for Natural Bridge State Park offices. Like Perth you don’t get the packages delivered if they are over a certain size! It was open 8:30 to noon only the girl at the KOA warned me, a single postman. He said he used to work in Northern California and did more mail there in day than a month here, he loves it here;) When I called to see if it had arrived per the tracking he knew exactly what box I was talking about…small villages are wonderful. I loved these ornate old PO boxes, something magical in the craftsmanship of the past and the vertical numerical numbers! We stopped at the grocery store in Lexington and then Mike had read about a fried chicken place we could try on our way back. I should have taken pictures. I could hear banjos playing…;) customer service was not their strong suit, the girl at the front grunted my take out order to the cook in the back and I did feel a bit worried, especially when the pickups started arriving with very large tires and oversized upright exhaust pipes. I was scared to look to see if they had those plastic testicles hanging from their trailer hitches as well! Ha! It was food, nothing to write home about. It still felt like Spring here at least!

We had a great spot at the KOA, one of the few open as we head North, close to the pond and a small forest on a hill behind. A traveling Mewberries approved park! Except for the cackling geese, ducks and chickens and those crazy looking goats…we didn’t go near them! Ha!

There was the resident Red Bellied woodpeckers who were not cooperative this trip! White Throated and Song Sparrows. These birds forage on the ground, in shrubs or in very shallow water. They mainly eat insects and seeds. I saw my first Carolina Wren. I heard him before I could see him! They are generally inconspicuous, avoiding the open for extended periods of time. When out in the open, they investigate their surroundings and are rarely stationary. Only males sing to advertise territory.

There were familiar calls, the Cardinals belting out their availability, and the chickadees. The Carolina Chickadees and the black-capped chickadees most likely diverged about 2.5 million years ago, the birds still hybridize in the areas where their ranges overlap. The calls and song between the Carolina chickadee and the black-capped chickadee differ subtly to an experienced ear: the Carolina chickadee’s chick-a-dee call is faster and higher pitched than that of the black-capped chickadee, and the Carolina chickadee has a four note fee-bee-fee-bay song, whereas the black-capped omits the high notes. Identification is very difficult even with an excellent view…in case you wanted to know! Ha! The Dark eyed Junco’s were familiar faces and a beautiful yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata) was having a drink at a muddy pond. The eastern myrtle warbler is the subspecies. The genus name Setophaga is from ancient Greek ses, “moth”, and phagos, “eating”, and the specific coronata means “crowned”…so a crowned moth eating bird;) Ha!

I have to admit to not being a KOA fan but this spot is lovely. Far enough away from the road to be quiet, a rarity, and then all the birds and animals are a bonus, if you have to be at a campground, it was laundry time, this is a nice one! We had a few cloudy days but it was nice to see the sun come out the day we left headed for Chambersburg, PA. The Twin Bridges campground was not officially open but they take overnighters on their way North in the early Spring, and South in the Fall. They had power she said, not sure if the water would be on.

β™«β™ͺβ™« Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah Valley…β™ͺβ™«β™ͺ…Mike was begging no more spontaneous John Denver singing on the way up the I-81…ha! It was nice to see farms and old barns and stone houses again. We are pretty familiar with this RV park as well, so few are open this time of year. They are delightful to deal with. We pulled in, the water was on! There were a few others there as well. We decided to stay two nights, Mike’s birthday and all, a day of rest was in order!

It is a cool little town. We knew right where to go shopping, remember their weird liquor laws, can’t buy more than a few bottles of wine at a time…horrors! But actually you can buy the limit, go out to your car, come back in and the limit starts again! We had an extremely disappointing chicken shawarma and Mikey’s donuts was closed so I did bake a cake! We had a chuckle as we drove by “Stoner’s Restaurant Family Dining” β™«β™ͺβ™« Everybody must get stoned…β™ͺβ™«β™ͺ ha! Not in the biblical sense please;) a giggle at the Pompy’s Best view barber shop…for those not in the know, pompys is slang in Mexico for, as Forest Gump would say…”Buttocks!” as we waited for the shawarma and then the usual weird biblical things written on cars and signs…”Keep Looking UP! Christ is coming soon!” What if he rises from the ground? Won’t that just shock them all!

The campground is out in an open field but this is farmland. Surrounded by hedgerows and fields. The birds were familiar faces, it felt almost home. I wandered around the empty campground, some trailers were there but not open yet, seasonal spots.

The huge beech (?) trees here are enormous and so beautiful. There are dozens. New bridges being built, sometime this Winter, after we were here in the Fall one was washed away, the remaining green one in the background is bent in the direction of the water…that was a high water mark! A flock of mixed ducks overran me, it must have been feeding time, when they realized I had nothing to offer but kind words they waddled off!

Silly ducks!

Next jump was to Northern Pennsylvania at another RV park that offers spots year round. They have heated water taps and lots of permanents here. Shady Rest Campground in Union Dale, PA. Always friendly and smiling as well. Really nice folks. These spots are hard to find. Our years of going back and forth to Baja gave us time to find these gems!

It was even starting to look like home, rock and bare trees. It was as if we were going back in time with Spring getting further away as we went North! We had a some bad weather forecast so opted for another day at Shady Rest, possible snow and back to serious cold, none of this just freezing temperatures! Not fun to drive in…we were so close…yet so far away…sigh! It’s a beautiful but somewhat sad area. There is an old mill, a church, a house built over the river nearby, stone walls beautiful stacked from decades and decades ago but an air of decay and loss here.

I walked along the road and found a spot to go down to a small river, running water is magical. The first crocuses were blooming but I was appalled at the amount of garbage, glass, cans, water bottles, all thrown out beside the road and down the banks of the stream. Is it education? Is there a cure for that kind of ignorance? Or is it just that people don’t care if their lives are so bleak or is it the tourists from the nearby ski resort? Who knows, it was sad.

Groot and Gamora thought the forest was perfect! Below zero! No problem for the fur kids!

Last stop was in Mexico…hahahaha! Mexico, New York, actually…J & J campground. I’d called Jeff, the owner, “Yeah, we’ll find you a spot” were his only words last week…When I walked into the office his wife didn’t look too happy. She was still in her pyjamas, “Cleaning” she said, with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth as she spoke. She was irritated with Jeff, apparently he hadn’t told her we were arriving today and she was too old to be holding down two jobs and cleaning the bathrooms…I agreed she should be upset with Jeff…bad husband! Bad! “We’ll park you in the laneway” she proclaimed, there is a 50 amp plug right there, people can drive around you…even with the slides out? I ventured? “Yeah” she said…OK, not much choice! We parked as far over as we could without getting off the road, it was soft, put the jacks down and unhitched, it wasn’t very even. We decided to go diesel up before anything else so we would be ready to leave “tout suite!” in the morning! When we got back from the diesel run and a bottle of wine for the nerves the trailer didn’t look level. I checked, it was down 3Β°..0_0. The front jacks had been slipping a tiny amount after the initial leveling, but only 2/10 or 3/10’s of a degree…this 3Β° was not good. We hooked back up.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, not the jack again!!

The idea of being stuck in Jeff and Jackie’s road was not appealing. Better safe than sorry, then we would be EXTRA ready to leave! sigh…”C’mon Myrtle, you have to make it home!”I said patting the trailer!

We were on the road by nine, no cat walks, hitting the highway! First time I’ve been happy leaving Mexico! Customs was a breeze after the bridges, there were maybe three RV’s in the big “RV” lane and four cars in the lane beside that. The Customs officer looked at our passports, asked Mike our license plate number and anything to declare, I piped up with all the numbers (I have filled it out on way too many park reservation sites!) a bottle of tequila and one of wine, he then handed us back our passports and we were good to go! Welcome to Canada. It felt a bit surreal to be back to kilometers and the familiar landscape winding our way back to Perth, through Athens and Rideau Ferry (the bridge still isn’t finished! Ha!) and then through Perth and up onto Highway 7 to the RV Place. It was 10:30 a.m. They said they could winterize the trailer and store it while we checked out the cottage laneway.

Blair was at the shop, we explained what was happening with the jacks and they said they’d have a look as we went to the house. Down the lane, cats were getting excited, they knew where they were! It was a beautiful sunny day! No way in hell the trailer was going to come in here yet. Snowbanks lining the road and very, very soft shoulders! We got the power on, Mike started the furnace and then the fireplace, he’d left it set up and ready to roll! Kitty litter in, cat food, my computer and once we were warming up we plugged the water heater cord to the well in and went back for the contents of the fridge and pantry and our clothes, leaving the cats to re-acquaint themselves with the Long Lake house! When we got back to the trailer, she was on her nose, jacks completely in…I put the slides all the way out, we leveled it again, and it seemed to hold while we gathered the rest of the essentials. Weird that it held this time. Back home, the cats were running around like lunatics, exploring every crook and cranny again. We turned the water on…yeah! All systems a GO! Purged all the air from the pipes then flipped the breaker on the hot water heater …that bath tub was calling my name. Blair said they’d put the trailer inside the shop for the night and we said we’d be back for another load or two in the late morning…we were home:) Nothing compares to that sweet feel. Still somewhat surreal, but home! The rising moon saluted us on the still frozen lake…chez nous, home.

Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill

Requiem-Robert Louis Stevenson – 1850-1894

On a footnote here-I finished this up last night but sat reflecting on the differences of these two countries, Canada and the United States of America, not to be confused with the United States of Mexico:) There is such a volatile feeling for me there, maybe most Americans untouched by the violence have gotten used to it, or ignore it as a form of protection. The random violence. I heard a joke once that Canada was the apartment right above the crack house…maybe. With the elimination of many rights for women to choose what they want to do with their bodies and the ever increasing violence, some random, some not, how can you ever explain to a parent their six year old, a child, was taken down by an AR15 automatic rifle for no particular reason except someone hated that school and what was done to them there, or their spouse working at a bank, minding their own business…How?

How can anyone fire anyone in the US? Do you worry about repercussions from that not so stable employee you had to let go? Just how unstable is the system you wonder with no health care for so many, unaffordable, unattainable. This is certainly not the America many yearned to go live in when I was a child. Even then the cracks were starting to show, I always said I was born in Canada. America was already making enemies long before I was born. While Canada is by no means perfect it does have a hospital I can go to without worrying about losing everything I own to their billing department. I don’t worry about going grocery shopping, or looking for unhinged people in parking lots (other than my friends;) ha!) I do in the US. It’s my spidey sense scan that looks all around me before I exit the truck and the desire to get in and out of a store as efficiently as I can while noting the exits…Would I go to a Walmart? Never…schools are certainly right out as well! I am not a fearful person, I don’t say “Be safe!” as all our American acquaintances do, I say “Bon voyage”…is that fear built in after decades of violence for them? It’s not new…just the guns are firing more bullets now. It made me sad, and thankful at the same time that I live in Canada. Very very thankful. I know many of my American friends live in wonderful caring communities and I am happy for them but what will the next few decades bring? Sadly if the crack house burns down, the apartment above it is bound to burn as well….

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