Monday, October 22, 2012

New England Trip, Part 1: Heading North

Wednesday October 3
We got loaded, hitched, and settled in the car.  Not in a hurry.  We left some time before lunch but I can't remember when exactly.  We talked about our trip- to include time at the coast in Maine.  Six year old Sabrina questioned the wisdom of leaving the swimsuits at home.  I told her that if it was warm enough to go swimming then she could swim in her shorts.  (I did pack one pair of shorts each...for the same ridiculous reason I pack one warm article of clothing for camping trips in Georgia in July.)

About an hour from our destination we stopped to stretch our legs at Target.  Sabrina spied a park with a large playground and suggested: "Mommy, you could park over there and we could play on that nice playground while you take a nap and Daddy works."  (Does this girl know me or what?!)  I didn't need a nap though, 350 miles on the highway is starting to feel like a really doable day.

We pulled into the Stony Fork Campground, Wytheville, VA late in the afternoon.  Before dark.  Before dinnertime.  The leaves are beautiful and I am surprised to start seeing the color already.  (Truthfully, I only thought about seeing color on the trip home!)  Of course the leaves are beautiful on the way up- this is a leaf-peeping trip, after-all!

The air is crisp.  There is a lovely creek that runs through the campground.  Sabrina tries to call my bluff about swimming "in her shorts."  She begs to wade in the creek.  I let her.  After five minutes with her toes in the water she admits "my toes are turning blue" but she and her brother and sister still play for another 30 minutes in the creek. Our stay here is just one night.  We could have easily stayed a week here, or two.

Thursday October 4th:
In the car again, I decided that Georgia has rolling foothills, not mountains.  It is pretty clear why West Virginia is the Mountain State.  Fortunately, West Virginia builds bridges across many of the gorges to make getting across the state possible. One of these bridges is the New River Gorge bridge.  Now the fifth tallest bridge in the world, it held the title of tallest vehicular bridge in the world for almost 30 years, until 2004.

What do I appreciate most about the bridge?  The fact that you can't tell how high you are while traveling across it!  Well, that and the nice little visitor's center where you can get a great view/take a picture of the bridge.

A little down the road, I did stop the trailer for a nap. No playground at that rest stop though, shucks.

Between the nap and the stop at New River Gorge, it was becoming clear we would arrive at Penn Wood Airstream Park (in western Pennsylvania) after dark.  At five, we phoned ahead to say we still planned to arrive that evening.  We arrived at 7:15pm but it was already extremely dark.  (Yikes!  I loathe parking in the dark!)   We pulled in next to the stop sign and read a sign there, "Ring Bell for Parker."  Oh my stars!  Nope.  Don't really want to ring the bell in the dark, either.  We stopped some poor soul milling about and asked where we should park.  He pointed in the direction of the host's trailer.  Brian knocked on the door.  Host in bathrobe.  Oops!  He told us where to park.  More parking misery ensues: we're assigned a space on the corner.  We've never parked in a rally field before.  Which set of trailers do we park parallel with?  We finally got the thing parked and went to bed.

Friday, October 5th:
It was officially time for the Penn Wood Airstream Park fall forum not-a-rally (say that three times fast.)  We sat around in camp chairs in the middle of the rally field all day.  We swapped camp stories, travel stories, and everything in between.  We decided to do a potluck Friday night, too.

I am surprised to find I got sunburned while sitting in the rally field.

Saturday October 6th:


Went to the Clarion, PA Autumn Leaf Festival Parade. The parade was never-ending.  The people watching was superb.

After an hour or so of parade-watching we started walking.  We saw a sign for a model train exhibit. 

Of course we had to check it out. 

The parade was still going after we finished at the train exhibit.

The theme this year had something to do with quilts. There were lots of grandma-types on cars with quilts. Then again, this is our first trip to Pennsylvania.  Maybe all of their parades have quilts and grandmas.

These kids did it right!  Nobody's grandma had to freeze while riding on this float!

From way down the street it looked like an air-boat was in the parade.  When it got closer, we realized it was a gigantic sewing machine with moving parts.

  (Perhaps we've been spending too much time in the swamp.)

When the parade was over the streets cleared and the clean-up started. 

Walking back to our car, with all of Clarion, half of which were in the parade.

Back at Penn Wood, I snapped a few pictures before the Saturday night pot-luck.

We looked in some trailers.  
Some people looked in ours.  
We made new friends.

Requisite Penn Wood-with-kids photo:

Potluck time!
 Sitting around and talking is always a good time. We don't get to hear many (ANY) border crossing stories in Georgia!  Another thing that entertained us immensely:  Both Canadian couples we met had the same reaction when we told them we were going to Acadia National Park next, "It's going to be COLD there!"


  1. Hi there

    Thanks for sharing the journey. I am currently planning on purchasing an old Airstream sometime next year, then renovating it.

    Like yourself, my wife and I have three young children. Would you share the sleeping arrangements in your Airstream? Did you give the "bedroom" to the kids with yourself converting the sofa to a bed? We're currently trying to figure out the best layout.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Andreas,
      Our Airstream has two single beds in the "bedroom." We added a bunk bed (in place of a cabinet) to accommodate the third child. My husband and I use the front sofa that converts into a bed. You will find better pictures of the interior in this post:


  2. Thank you so much for sharing that info. Looks like bunk are the way to go.

  3. Woo Hoo-first step in the trip report!! That first campspot looks really nice. The bridge would have freaked me out big time. The older I get, the less I like heights!

  4. I know both of those Canadian couples. LOL! And I'll bet you at least rubbed shoulders with a couple more of my friends when at Penn Wood.

    Nice to know that Stony Fork is pleasant. I've thought about overnighting there a couple of times in my travels but never followed through.