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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It was a difficult and embarrassing trip north

     I guess I should have suspected that when we got a very late start the first day due to a broken slide-out that the trip north would be ill-starred. Day 2 was fine with an enjoyable lunch with the Wegners and the Looses. 

     Day 3 started pleasantly enough. We got an email that morning from Jackie Fare to the effect, "I see that you are going to be passing through Newburgh. You have to stop and meet us for lunch." It would make lunch a bit late, but we happily agreed. 
     First we needed a fill up. I remembered that there was a service station next to the Lickdale, PA campground, and I planned to fill up there as we left. Unfortunately, even though I drove through the small facility, I did not see a diesel pump. Oh well, I'll stop at the next station along our route on I-81. A half dozen exits later we had still seen no gas stations. It was very hilly country which endangered my remaining fuel. Finally, when prompted by a low fuel warning, I decided to get off at an exit that promised to have a village big enough to support a gas station. We drove south for five very hilly, twisty miles with no luck. We asked and got turned around. As we returned almost back to I-81, we came across an accident scene where three heavy duty wreckers were trying to put an 18-wheeler back on its feet. We stopped so Durelle could open the door and ask the policeman where to find diesel. He said, "Seven miles north." So we continued anxiously seven miles north. Sure enough, there was an easily accessible diesel pump, and I took 114.9 gallons...a new personal best!
     Safely back on the road, we headed for the "Orange County Choppers Cafe" in Newburgh. Away from the restaurant a short distance there was a cul-de-sac where I was able to circle and park next to the curb. After lunch John guided me as I made a sharp left turn to clear a shiny, black BMW that was parked in front of me. I cleared the car, waved good-bye, and headed out. Then came the sickening sound as the right rear of the bus scraped the left front corner of the BMW. We waited for the owner to arrive from the next door construction site. He was a twenty-something HVAC installer with his first nice car. "Distraught" does not begin to describe his state. After we had spoken with each others' insurance companies, he calmed down and returned to being a personable young man. The fault was totally mine. The car was unoccupied, and John was on the other side of the bus, his job done.
     By this time it was too late to make it to Sturbridge as planned so we accepted the Fare's hospitality to stay at their place in New Windsor. While there, John got out his can of rubbing compound and removed almost all sign of the scrape. We parked in their driveway and, after a plate of bacon and eggs, headed for Maine. Sturbridge was too short a day, so we elected to go to the Famcamp at Hanscom AFB. The Famcamp is off the north end of the base and outside the gate. Although we should have known better, we were suckered in by the signage on I-95N that led us to the south gate of the base. That just meant that we would have to drive through the base. After showing an ID and explaining our situation, we entered the small base. The problem came at the north guard house. Like all bases today the roadway was blocked by security devices.  They have a sharp, left-right-left chicane that can only be negotiated at very slow speeds. The passageway is defined by four foot tall yellow steel bollards. I was exiting the last turn when my lower right front corner hit one of the bollards. Of course it took the Air Policeman an hour to complete all the paperwork. He said, "Don't feel bad. We get five to ten of these a week!" I suggested that perhaps a re-look at the procedure might be in order. My mistake was that I should have nudged that big Bradley air horn and waited for them to pull some of the bollards. Two incidents in 24 hours and my insurance company, USAA, might be having second thoughts about their 56 year customer.
     When we arrived at the Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort at around four, there were many old friends that welcomed us and helped us get set up for the summer. There is more to do than for just a one night stand. At our first Maine Happy Hour of the season we finally relaxed. The campground was full, so our view was not as expansive as usual, but the sea breeze and cool air was more than enough.
     It took us five days instead of four to get here, and my poor driving dinged the bus TWICE. But we are here and happy to be in such a nice spot with such helpful friends.
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