Posted by: sunnyharvy | November 8, 2017

Announcing My New Blog

I have used up all the space allotted by WordPress for this free blog. Since that includes some 300+ posts made over the past 6 years, I can’t complain! To continue following our adventures, come on over to Travels with HaRVy 2.

See you there!

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Posted by: sunnyharvy | October 24, 2017

Cape Cod Escape

Our home is a relatively short drive from Cape Cod, one of America’s premier vacation destinations, but summer traffic spoils the experience. We had been looking for a weather window to visit since Labor Day. When 5 warm, sunny days appeared in the forecast last week, we hurriedly packed up haRVy and took off! Our effort was handsomely rewarded.

Cape Cod is a truly remarkable natural landscape with an ocean on one side, a huge bay on the other, and massive saltwater marshes and freshwater lakes in-between. In all our travels we have never experienced this unique combination anywhere else. However, to find the true Cape gems, one must get off the highway and head down multiple dead-end roads. Most visitors don’t have the time or patience to do so. For us this is a favorite activity!

After provisioning at Trader Joe’s we headed directly to the Salt Pond Visitor Center at the Cape Cod National Seashore to ride the brief but delightful Nauset Marsh Bike Trail.

Expansive Coast Guard Beach is the destination of our first bike ride.

Definitely NO summer crowds here.

Gotta love the sand dunes and beach grass on the Cape.

Nauset Marsh from the Coast Guard headquarters. Atlantic Ocean is in far distance.

Few campgrounds stay open after Labor Day, so we were happy to have a Boondockers Welcome host to stay with in Eastham. Steve and Cathy generously allowed us to stay at this convenient location for three nights.

Once our host informed us that the Cape Cod Rail Trail was just a few blocks away, we planned our next day’s activities. First up was a bike ride to the historic area of Fort Hill where we planned to take a couple short hikes through a Maple Swamp and along the bluffs above Nauset Marsh. Later that afternoon we rode the rail trail south to have ice cream at Sparrows in Orleans.

Captain Edward Penniman House with unique archway at Fort Hill.

Hiking trail at Fort Hill.

View from Skiff Hill of Nauset Marsh. Coast Guard headquarters where yesterday’s photo of the marsh was taken can be seen in upper left corner.

Obviously not many visitors heed this sign.

Windy conditions kept us off our bikes the next day, but the exploration continued. We drove a few miles north to Wellfleet where we enjoyed lunch at the harbor while watching the boats come and go. One of our favorite places on the Cape is the Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, so we stopped there to view the exhibits and for a brief hike through the woods where we were protected from the wind.

Heading slowly back towards Eastham we stopped to view First Encounter Beach, reportedly the location of the first encounter between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, and Rock Harbor where a few commercial fishing boats still ply the waters.

Skaket Beach, just in time for sunset, as planned.

The bay is very shallow so at low tide you can venture way out on foot.

The next morning we headed further west along Route 6A, the road that is generally considered Cape Cod’s most historic and scenic highway. This portion has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Old King’s Highway Historic District. This area exemplifies the Cape that most tourists hope to visit, but often miss. Traffic was light so we were able to leisurely enjoy the sites in Sesuit Harbor, Dennis, Brewster, and Yarmouth as well as lunch at Barnstable Harbor before reaching our destination at the Beach Boardwalk in Sandwich.

Destroyed in 1991 by Hurricane Bob, the 1,350-foot boardwalk in Sandwich—the oldest town on Cape Cod—was rebuilt with support from locals, whose names and messages are inscribed on the planks leading to a broad sandy beach on Cape Cod Bay. This is no commercial strip. Instead of Ferris wheels and cotton candy, visitors are treated to postcard-worthy views of dunes, marshes, and a creek. (from Travel Magazine’s Top 10 Beach Boardwalk article)

We did not find any “No Overnight Parking” signs, so we settled in at this extremely scenic location.

Sunrise on my morning walk.

For our final full day on the Cape we decided to bike the Shining Sea Bikeway before visiting with our friends Candy and Rae at their home in East Falmouth. It was great to see them again and nice of them to let us camp out in their driveway. Our timing was perfect as high winds and rain are in this week’s forecast. Glad we were able to take advantage of the wonderful weather.

Can’t get much more “Cape Cod-ish” than an Autumn cranberry harvest. This was taking place right next to the bike path at the Bourne Farm in Falmouth.

 

 

Posted by: sunnyharvy | September 18, 2017

Upstate New York and Our Beloved ADKs

From Bill’s house in Rochester, NY we headed directly north to the shore of Lake Ontario, an area we had not yet explored. He suggested a few stops along the way, which we checked out. What we did not know is that the Great Lakes are actually flooding their banks in many places due to abundant rains this year. Can you say Climate Crisis?


We had a snack at Sodus Point. Many of the homes here were surrounded by walls of sandbags.

We ate lunch and took a brief but strenuous hike at Chimney Bluffs State Park.

Not much of a beach left at Selkirk Shores State Park, where we camped overnight, due to the high water level.

We might have paddled this picturesque marsh had we planned to stay longer.

Another Westy owner, suggested we could boondock at the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, which we did.

The setting sun cast a nice glow upon the lighthouse.

The old foghorns.

This turned out to be one of our all-time favorite boondocking spots. We were about 6 feet from the waters edge with the sunset in clear view. Once visiting hours were over at the lighthouse we had the whole panorama to ourselves.

Next we drove eastward along the shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway to the charming town of Clayton, NY in the Thousands Islands district. We have explored this area before, but it was nice to see the familiar territory again.

Our ultimate destination lie at higher altitudes in the Adirondacks. We followed some winding back roads into the mountains and on to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. This was our third or fourth visit to the center, but we still found it fascinating. I especially wanted to stop again to see two new outdoor attractions.

The Wild Walk – it’s not just for kids!

View from the eagle nest platform.

The Wild Walk is wild, the movies fascinating, inside exhibits enlightening, and watching the otters frolic is fun, but our favorite activity at the center is iForest, which we went through twice. Actually could have spent hours there. It is that enchanting. This installation is impossible to explain in a few words and really must be experienced to appreciate, but you can read about it and watch a video here.

A friend’s sister allowed us to stay overnight in her driveway. The property, right on a secluded point on Tupper Lake is spectacular. View above is from our campsite, below is their dock behind the house. I wasn’t quite ready to accept that it was time for Fall foliage, but it made for very pretty accents to all the green.

Nearby Bog River Falls passes under this picturesque stone bridge.

Camped on Square Lake at the Fish Creek Ponds Campground for two nights so we would have time to kayak.

Paddling beautiful Fish Creek.

One of our favorite signs – the other is “Overnight Parking Allowed.”

Picnic lunch stop on Copperas Pond. This is actually a designated wilderness campsite, but we prefer the luxury of haRVy.

Heading back to Square Lake on Fish Creek.

Our last ADK night was spent alongside Lake Harris near Newcomb.

Typically foggy Adirondack morning.

Established boardwalk and hiking trail near Newcomb Visitor Center.

Sucker Brook as viewed from trail.

Our second hike was on an obviously much less traveled Hewitt Eddy Trail near Minerva.

It got a bit challenging at times. Can you find the way through this mess?

This guys seems to be waiting patiently, which you will now have to do, since I have no idea when my next post will be. We have no definite travel plans at the moment, but I am sure our feet will get itchy before too long. Stay tuned.

 

 

Posted by: sunnyharvy | September 17, 2017

Westyfest X

We don’t often take short trips aboard haRVy for two reasons. It takes quite a lot of time and effort to load everything that we need and once we’re “out there” it is always difficult to return home. This trip was exemplary. We planned to be out for a week to ten days and we had to force ourselves to head back after two weeks. Life on the road in a small campervan seems to suit us well.

Our extensive travels over the past several years prevented us from attending Westyfests #5-9. Because Al had haRVy partially dismantled for various modification and maintenance projects (his favorite hobby), I wasn’t sure we would make #10 either. In the end, he pulled it all together just in time to join other owners of vehicles like haRVy on Cayuga Lake in Union Springs, New York.

Thanks to one of our favorite organizations, Harvest Hosts, we spent our first night camped for free at Bowman’s Orchard in Rexford near Schenectady, New York.

Bowmans0757c

We arrived just in time to try out the owner’s tasty homemade ice cream. The next morning I stocked up on delicious fresh produce grown on site. My latest discovery is the deliciously sweet and tart Zestar apple (not shown in photo above, sorry).

Our first evening at fellow Westy owner Bill’s property on Cayuga Lake featured this lovely sunset.

Nobody organized a group photo this year, but here are few of haRVy’s cousins.

Some Westy owners are more active than others.

But we all like to converse about how much we love our Westys.

We all love to eat too, of course. The pot luck dinners were scrumptious.

More conversations and fun. Thank you all for coming and especially Bill for hosting.

Another Westy owner named Bill invited us to drive a bit further west to stay at his place in Rochester. His enthusiasm was contagious so, after checking the Road Atlas for interesting routes, we headed over to spend two nights in his driveway. He was a great host, offering exactly what van dwellers need most (laundry and shower facilities) plus warm hospitality that included a delicious pasta dinner.

Our primary outing in Rochester was to the George Eastman Museum.

This institution is often called the Kodak museum even though the Kodak company has nothing to do with the non-profit organization that runs it today. Since both Al and I have a deep interest in photography, we enjoyed hours perusing the various exhibits. If we lived closer I would definitely take advantage of some of their workshops and classes.

My first camera was one of the 75 million sold!

George Eastman’s home, which is part of the museum, has been lovingly restored and maintained.

This trip continues in my next post, which I hope to publish soon. Why does life feel more complicated and busy at home than it does on the road?

Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 21, 2017

This Journey Concludes

After exiting Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park we headed to nearby Hume, Virginia where Harvest Host Desert Rose Ranch and Winery provided our picturesque overnight accommodation. The wine was good too!

Historic Mount Bleak House at Sky Meadows State Park in Paris, VA.

Absolutely love Dogwood blossoms!

Often towards the end of our journeys there comes a point when I am ready to be done with it. I have no interest in seeking out interesting new destinations or diversions, I just want to get home. This time that occurred right after we visited Al’s niece Jodi, her husband Rick, and daughter Miranda in Mt. Airy, MD.

We began our drive through Pennsylvania on scenic back roads as usual, but after a few hours we both decided it was time to make tracks on Interstate highways through the rest of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Lunch break next to this bridge over the Susquehanna River in Columbia, Pennsylvania.

Home Sweet Home somewhere on a Pennsylvania back road.

 And so ends my narrative of an enjoyable six month exploration of the Southeastern United States.

Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 21, 2017

Seeking Spring in Shenandoah

A few years ago we missed traveling through Shenandoah National Park due to the government shutdown. Since we did not want to drive up the eastern seaboard again, we headed across the State of Virginia to enter the park at Swift Run Gap. Our visit was during the busy Easter weekend so we made sure to arrive fairly early in the morning to snag a site at the Lewis Mountain Campground.

Lewis Mountain is the smallest campground in the park with just 31 sites. It was mostly populated by tent campers during our visit, so the atmosphere was quite laid back. A group of camping musicians provided a delightful impromptu concert before a wild thunderstorm struck the area.

We learned that this area was originally established “for colored visitors.”If you want to know more about segregation in the park click here.

Skyline Drive runs the entire 105-mile length of the park.

The vast Shenandoah Valley with a bit of rain falling in the distance.

Click on the panoramic photos to see larger images.

You can see that we were not there at the most picturesque time of year, but there were some refreshing hints of Spring present. I especially enjoyed the brilliant Eastern Redbud trees.

Other evidence of Spring required closer observation.

One of our hikes took us to Dark Hallow Falls. Not terribly exciting, but it felt good to get on a trail again.

Lunch on our convertible table with a spectacular view.

Not much clearance above haRVy’s 12-foot height on this tunnel!

But we made it through without a problem.

Onward!

 

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