The sound was overwhelming. We stepped out of the truck at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, having travelled only 3 hours north from Richmond, but we had entered a different world. It was hard to make yourself heard over the song of thousands of cicadas that were filling the trees around us. Over the course of our stay in Reston (and southern PA), we were never without the reminders of their presence – the sound, swatting away the live ones and stepping over the dead ones. But it was a treat to be around for a 2nd time as they emerged. (Our first experience was 2004, when we lived here.) Where will we be when they return in 2038? Who knows?
Wanting to spend some time with Dave’s mom and sister, we pulled into French Creek State Park, located in the middle of a triangle formed by Lancaster, Allentown and Philadelphia. Having booked the spot only the week before, the options were limited, but we thought we had chosen well based on a video of the campground loop we watched before committing to our site. As we pulled into the loop, we were already a little nervous. This road looked much narrower. The sites, most of which were full, had cars parked right up to the edge of the road. If we had this little maneuvering room, how would we managed to get the fifth wheel backed into our site.
Given pent-up demand for campsites and the soaring temperatures, we have been taking care to ensure we have reservations for weekends, so that we won’t be sweltering in a parking lot somewhere. That was how we arrived at Gifford Pinchot State Park, situated between York and Harrisburg in south central PA. Arriving early afternoon on a Friday, we had little trouble backing into our spot, which was a relief after our experience at French Creek.
With the weekend behind us, we moved north to our final stop before entering New York. Just south of the NY state line were 2 recreation areas around lakes managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. We had chosen the southernmost of the 2 – Ives Run Recreation Area. As we drove the last few miles through heavy rain, we were glad it had passed by the time we needed to park. Even though we arrived midweek, the large campground at Ives Run was full. We were pleasantly surprised that our campsite had full hook-ups, so we took advantage of the opportunity to sanitize our water tanks while there. And the storm had washed away the heat of the last week, which made our stay pleasantly cool and less humid. After a couple of nights, we were ready to head to NY.
Our trip from Richmond to Reston was short, but eventful. First our tire pressure sensors on the truck’s tires stopped reporting in. First the driver’s rear tire. Then the passenger’s front tire. After a brief stop to check on them, they started reporting again – and then stopped again. We had driven 20,000 miles with no problems, so this was concerning. We managed (to our surprise) to make an appointment the next day to have it checked out. But the tire problems were just beginning. The trailer tires started having issues. At times, all 4 would drop out. They would come back and then individual tires would stop reporting in. It seemed like a conspiracy.
At our appointment at Brown’s Ram dealer the next day, the problem with the truck tires was identified as 2 faulty sensors. The replacements were installed the next day. That went much more smoothly than we had hoped, and they washed the truck for us as well.
The trailer tires were a bit more confusing. We assumed the batteries were weak, so we replaced all the of the sensor batteries. However, our next time out, we started having problems again, replacing the battery in the problem tire twice along the way. Dave was coming to the conclusion, confirmed by a conversation with someone from TST that our problems were related to the backup camera, compounded possibly by the age of our battery supplies. It was suggested that a repeater to bridge the distance between the truck and the tires would solve the problem, as well as some newer batteries. More to come on this one.
However in Harrisburg, we found ourselves driving our 12’ tall RV under bridges that were uncomfortably low: 12’6” and 13’. Later, Cathy learned that she had been using the default RV specifications instead of the custom parameters Dave had input when he set up the app. Oops. However, even with the right profile being used, CoPilot chose this treacherous route. So Dave decided we needed to tell CoPilot that we were 13’ tall to prevent it doing this again. I hope it’s listening.
It was a rewarding couple of weeks for the Pocahontas’ Group Cabin Stabilization project. While attending monthly Friends of Pocahontas meeting on Zoom, we were thrilled to have the team presented with the Virginia State Parks Volunteer Group of the Year for 2020 by Dorie Stolley, Director of Community Engagement and Volunteerism, and Andrea Hasenfus, Virginia State Park’s Camp Host Program Manager.
A week earlier, while cooling our heels waiting on our truck to be serviced, we had wandered through the nearby Wegman’s and grabbed a bite to eat. Coincidentally, Dave checked his email and discovered that Wegman’s had granted the project $1,000 in response to his application. That made our meal all the more enjoyable.