Friday, July 06, 2007

Ricketts Glen

A short "housekeeping" item before I go on -- there will occasionally be lapses in the blog (as there have been while I have been in Ricketts
Glen, PA). This is because I did not had any way to connect to the Internet there. My connection is a Verizon USB device, which works very well
as long as I am in a Verizon service area. When I am not (and no one in the neighborhood helpfully sets up an unsecured wireless router),
I have no way to post or get email.

If you get tired of checking for updates, you can always sign up for the Atom feed (see the end of the page). That way, you'll know when I've
updated the Blog. I have done this for a couple blogs I follow, and the updates are posted on my iGoogle portal page.

Ricketts Glen is in the north-eastern part of Pennsylvania, just west of Wilkes-Barre. It has an upper end, and a lower end,
and the part in the middle is waterfall after waterfall. The campground is at the top end. My first "uh oh" feeling was when I was
on the road up to the park and discovered that the grade was 18%. My truck did a fine job! It was hard to pull, and we didn't go fast,
but we made it, and the temperature gauges never got anywhere near red. When you register with the Park Rangers, they give you a map
of the campground. The map helpfully tells you that you might want to enter from the north, not the south as I did, if you are pulling
a heavy rig because the southern route is steep. Really! That would really have been more helpful if I knew it before I got there!

My next "uh oh" moment was when I pulled into the campground. This is a very lovely campground, and the sites are roomy and large-- if you have a tent.
They are roomy enough for a small RV if you have experience backing into tight spaces. My RV is small, but so is my backing experience. However -- I did it!
Now it wasn't a smooth graceful turn in, but it wasn't so bad that the neighbors pulled up lawn chairs to watch (my fear is a repeat of Robin Williams' "first
dump" in the movie RV). (Get that scatological idea out of your head--this was a dump of his holding tanks.) It took me maybe three tries to back in, and several
"getting out to see where I am" expeditions.

We have had several violent thunderstorms while I've been here. The type I always dreaded in a tent. But my RV came through without a glitch. Because of the
storms, I only got to hike the waterfall trails twice, and I didn't get to see them all.

When I came down to go into town for groceries, gas, and whatnots, I could choose between Benton and Lopez. Benton is to the south, back down the
18% grade, and Lopez (home of
the Lopez Winery) is north. I checked them both out. I think I managed to capture the essence of both towns in the photo below:

(If you can't clearly see the images, Lopez has the town named spelled out in ordnance. Why? And I don't even want to know about the hula bears! As always, click for a larger image)

I left Ricketts Glen this morning, but didn't go far. I am outside Wilkes-Barre in a little town called Hobbie. I had to, again, back into the
campsite, this time threading the RV between a tree on one side; a rock, a pole, AND a picnic table on the other; and a stream to fall into behind
the site. Plus no way to pull completely forward without taking out a neighbor's pop-up.

It took many failed attempts, but I finally got it in more or less. I am further to the right of the site than I was aiming for so I can't put my awning all the way out because of the pole. But I can get the truck on the left side of the RV, so it almost looks like I planned it this way. Unless, of course, you were one of the people chuckling at the newbie from the comfort of their RV living room who KNOW the truth.

This is a lovely place, with very tame ducks that came by as soon as I got out of the truck to see if I had any goodies for them. There are two lakes
with swans, and I saw some Ebony Jewelwings flutter by on the stream. The water level is fairly low, so I won't be able to open my window and hear
the creek. I might hear the ducks, though. Would waking to the sounds of ducks be better described as "quacking up"?

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