Relaxing Day

Saturday May 21st 2016

Today was a do nothing kind of day. I stayed at my RV home all day. The day started with bright sunshine and ended cloudy and threatening. The temperature maxed out in the mid 70s.

The campground was full of activity. Little kids were riding bikes and running down the roads with parents trailing well behind. Teenagers were grouping up and wandering the roads in deep conversation. The adults were drinking their adult beverages and enjoying conversation with their neighbors. Just your basic weekend camper relaxation activities.

d1

Kid’s train returning to the barn. It was full of kids most of the day.

I didn’t get going very quickly this morning. The TV in the bedroom got a bit more use than usual before I got up to make the coffee and have breakfast. I took a couple of walks around the campground and did some reading intermixed with a few chores around the rig. Today was the first day in more than a month that I’ve been able to open the windows to air out the rig. It just hasn’t been warm enough while I’ve been home.

The motorhome is all button up again tonight as the temperature is dropping again. I was thinking about having a campfire, but lost interest sometime during the day. I have a box of scarp lumber from the house that I want to burn. I’ll try to burn in tomorrow or Monday. If not, I’ll just drag it on to my next stop.

Weekend Camping

Friday May 20th 2016

The weekend has arrived here. The campground has come to life with typical weekend camper atmosphere. This is the first real weekend camper experience I’ve had since last fall. I’ve been in parks with other types of campers like snowbirds, travelers or seasonal campers on the weekends since then. The sounds of kids at play and parents yelling has a specific sound of its own.

c1

Campground filling up for the weekend.

Many of the weekend campers had already arrived before I got back. Others have been coming in since. The first time visitors get escorted to their sites so the campground staff has been busy. It doesn’t look like the campground will be full.

Traffic on the roads this afternoon was heavy as befits a Friday. Even with the volume of traffic it still managed to move at speeds from 0 to 80 all the way from New Hampshire to the campground. The zero mph areas were the stopped traffic at he major intersections. The 80 mph was the speed in the left passing lane between the areas of backup.

The 80 mph speed is surprising. If you’re in the passing lane just keeping up with traffic you find your self doing 80 or more in a 65 mph zone. What I find interesting is that in southern states like Florida with 70 mph speed limits, the average speed in the passing lane seems to be more like 75 mph. Is there stronger enforcement or are people in less of a rush?

My plans for tomorrow are to enjoy some down time at the campground.

Campground Amenities

Thursday May 19th 2016

It was a nice sunny New England Spring day for most of the day. I headed south from New Hampshire when it started to cloud over for the forecast rain showers. So far I’ve stayed ahead of the showers. It hasn’t rained here but the evening TV weather reported strong showers where I came from.

Walking around the campground this evening it occurred to me that the kids and dogs have it pretty good. There is a big play area for the kids complete with swings, climbing ladders and slides. Off to the side is an inflated bounce pad; sort of a trampoline on steroids. Even mid week when most of the area kids are still in school it was getting used by a few of the traveling kids.

b1

Campground Play yard across the street from my site

The dogs get there own fenced in play area. It has hurdles, tunnels and other enrichment items. Unfortunately, I don’t think it gets a lot of use. There are lots of dogs getting walked around the campground, but I haven’t seen any at play in the dog run area.

b2

Fenced in Dog Run with obstacle course

The play areas are a couple of the amenities that makes this a resort campground. They aren’t things that I want, but I have to pay for them in the nightly rate. Some of the resort amenities I take advantage of are the cable TV and the Wifi internet access. Neither of these are of great quality, but they provide a service.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another good day. I plan to get an early start.

Thoughts on Traffic

Wednesday May 18th 2016

It was another nice spring day. The sun was out and the wind was down. I had planned to get an early start heading north this morning but didn’t get on the road until after 8am. Somehow I got interested in the stories on Good Morning America while waiting for the coffee to brew.

My commute to New Hampshire is a little shorter from Middleborough. Unfortunately, Middleborough is also about where the heavy traffic starts. It is just south of the route 24 corridor into Metro Boston on Interstate 495. The traffic from route 24 north on I495 is very heavy. In the morning it slows down at every significant intersection. Particularly bad are the intersections with Interstate 95 and the Mass Turnpike I90. Overall from this location I am about 20 minutes closer.

It’s not just the Interstates that have more traffic. The local roads in this area have heavy traffic as well. Yesterday afternoon I went in search of a store to buy groceries. I has in a continuous line of traffic on every road I was on. The back up at each of the many traffic lights was 10 or more cars long. I finally found a new Walmart in Raynham Ma about 5 miles or so away, but probably 20 minutes.

One of the advantages of this campgrounds location is its proximity to Boston. Travelers that wish to visit Boston can take the commuter rail from nearby or drive in on route 24 to Interstate 93. Several of the current residents of the park are clearly travelers with this in mind. There are a couple of rental RVs on sites near me.

When I got back to the campground this evening not much had changed. I didn’t have any new neighbors and no one nearby had departed. The only significant change is that the dumpster across the street had been emptied. A positive think for sure.

If you’ve made it this far reading my random thoughts on the traffic in the area, thank you. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures or more interesting topic to discuss. This is a fare reflection on my day, but I’ll try to do better with the blog tomorrow.

Short travel day

Tuesday May 17th 2016

Today was a short travel day. I went a whole 25 miles inland to my camp for the next week at the Middleboro KOA. The wind was not as bad today as the last couple of days and the sun was shining so the trip was uneventful.

I took my time this morning picking up and packing stuff away. I left my site at about 11am for the dump station to empty the holding tanks. I didn’t have a sewer connection for the last 3 weeks so I had a lot to dump. Even though I have a sewer connection at my new site it is better to travel with empty tanks.

a1

Site 122 at the Middleborough KOA.

My new site at the KOA is tight between two other units already in place. The site placement was designed before RVs had slide out rooms. They were tight in those days but today they’re very tight. I’m getting better at backing up the motorhome using the mirrors and the backup camera. I will always get out and look around several times while backing in. I don’t want any low branches or hidden object to surprise me.

This campground has updated many of the sites since the last time I was here. The additional sewer sites are occupied by long term or seasonal RVs. The campground used to be primarily travelers and weekenders. KOA campgrounds are not cheap. They need to pay the franchise fees on all of their sales. The value of KOA campgrounds to me is the consistent level of service. You can expect and get a certain level of service.

Last day at the canal

Monday May 16th 2016

It was a cool windy day today. Driving was a challenge with the cross winds. I’m glad I didn’t have to move the motorhome today. That task is for tomorrow. The weather was a little better at the canal than inland. The sun was out all day at the canal, so it got a little warmer.

Tomorrow I’ll pack up and move my RV home about 25 to 30 miles inland to the Middleborough KOA. I need to move so I can dump my holding tanks. This site I’ve been on for the last 3 weeks does not have a sewer connection so I’ve been using my internal tanks. I will use the dumping station here at the campground then move on to my next stop. The other advantage is that the KOA has a laundry facility. If I stayed here I’d need to go to the laundromat in town.

While I’ve been here several things have changed. The campground looks a little more alive than it did when I arrived. Most of the seasonal residents have arrived and decorated their sites. Things like wood decks, Adirondack chairs, potted plains and bird feeders have been added to the sites. They racked the leaves and pine needles up and added mulch to control the dust and weeds. Some of these folks have dedicated more energy to their sites than they probably do to their full time homes.

a3

Tree on side of canal with a new growth of leaves.

The other major change is to that spring is here. The trees and bushes did not have any leaves on when I arrived. My view to the canal was not obstructed. Now all of the trees and bushes have at least started to sprout leaves. Some are in full summer form. The canal view is now shrouded by leaves.

I probably won’t be back to this campground for a few years, but I plan to bring my bicycle back to the canal for another ride or two before the summer ends.

All quiet on the canal

Sunday May 15th 2016

A cold front went through the area overnight. It didn’t rain much, but it lowered the temperature big time. It was in the 40s when I got up this morning and never made it into the 60s during the day.

I got an early start to try and get ahead of the traffic heading inland. For the most part I succeeded. My day slowed down when I stopped at MacDonalds for breakfast. This morning it was anything but fast food. The restaurant I stopped at seem to be short staffed with trainee staff to boot. It took two tries to get my simple order of a Big Breakfast with a large coffee entered correctly. The first time whatever she entered came out to $2 more than I knew it should total. Once that was corrected I joined the other 6 customers waiting for their order. It took more than 15 minutes for my order. Some of the others ahead of me were still waiting when I was served and the drive thru was also backed up.

The trip back to the cape this afternoon was not a problem for me. People going home from the cape were not so lucky. There was very heavy traffic heading inland from the cape. The Massachusetts State Police were out in force to oversee the traffic. It seemed like every 5 miles or so a State Police SUV was watching the traffic or had someone pulled over.

During my winter travels I have observed a lot of police officers on the road in sedans, unmarked cars including trucks and a few SUVs. The state of Massachusetts seems to have converted most of its fleet of police cars to SUVs. Of all the state police vehicles I saw today only one was a sedan. I think it makes sense to use SUVs for police cars. They have more ground clearance and probably have four wheel drive.

a2

Corp of Engineers Cape Cod Canal Patrol boat. The only boat I saw in the Canal this evening.

Back at the campground the weekend residents have all departed. It is quiet again. During my hour long walk on the canal service road, I only saw a few people. The boat traffic was even more scarce. I only saw the canal patrol boat go by during my walk. The radio scanner set to the marine frequencies has been equally quiet.

Bicycle Ride to the East end

Saturday May 14th 2016

The weather was close to perfect today. The temperature got up to about 75 and the wind was not an issue for most of the day. Toward evening the clouds came in fast and the wind picked up significantly.

I took advantage of the good weather to get in a longer bicycle ride. I road to the east end of the canal. While it is officially called the end, most people think of the canal entrance at Cape Cod bay as the northern end of the canal. The canal really goes from west south west to east north east on the compass.

l1

Slow moving cruiser in the canal. It was fighting the current hard.

My ride covered about 12 miles total. A couple of miles short of the 14 mile round trip on the inland side of the canal do to my starting point near the Bourne bridge. I made good time on the first part of the outbound trip. A slow moving cruiser in the canal only caught up with me when I stopped at the Herring Run in Bournedale to see the fish climbing the fish ladder. The run is just getting started so the number of fish while significant, was not huge.

l2

Fuel barge passing the power plant in the canal.

From the Herring Run to the end of the canal my ride was slowed by congestion. Dog walkers that allow there properly leashed pups to wander from side to side seeking the best grass for smelling are a menace, but not as bad as little kids on bicycles. One woman on a bicycle passed by me at a reasonable pace as I was riding slowly watching the water. She had to slam on her brakes about a hundred feet in front of me to avoid running into a 5 or 6 year old and his sibling that decided they needed to ride in circles around their walking parents. The parents weren’t paying any attention to the kids or the traffic around them. Luckily everyone was OK, but it wasn’t a really safe place today.

Travel got even harder on the final leg of the service road from the Sagamore bridge to the end of the canal. A charity walk for Cystic Fibrosis was being held. Hoards of people wearing blue tee shirts were walking in groups of 2 to 40 or so. Many of them had no idea that they needed to share the road with other people and bicycle riders. Winding my way around and through these groups was a slow process. I’m sure that many of them had no idea why a yellow line down the middle along with directional arrows are painted on the road.

Several of the charity walkers brought new puppies along on the walk. Cute little things but their ability to walk on a leash in a crowd hasn’t developed yet. I saw more than one person get turned around by the leash around and between their legs. I can appreciate the desire to participate in the charity walk, but why inflict being charitable on the dogs.

l3

Sailboat and open cockpit boat entering East end of Canal

l4

Sailboat with sail deployed

l5

Sailboat showing the colors.

l6

Yet another sailboat.

The volume of boats in the canal increased significantly do to the fair weather weekend day. I saw several sailboats, a couple of commercial fishing boats, and many fast moving open cockpit boats that need to find a boat ramp by the end of the day. As for bigger commercial traffic, I only saw one fuel barge being pushed by a tugboat.

l7

Commercial fishing boat

l8

Commercial fishing trawler

On my evening walk, I encountered another charity using the canal service road. This time it was a running event to raise money for Lyme disease research and treatment. The race had already finished at the dinning tent in the campground. The runners and their supporters were enjoying a cookout.

Tomorrow is forecast to be cooler. I’ll use the day to go inland and work at the house.

Friday the Thirteenth

Friday May 13th 2016

Nothing bad has happened today. I haven’t seen any black cats or walked under any ladders so all the superstitions are safe until the next Friday the 13th.

It was a warm day today, in the 70s inland and like yesterday about 10 degrees cooler here at the Cape Cod canal. The sun never really came out. By mid afternoon the clouds were dropping lower. For a few minutes around 4PM the canal was completely fogged in. I couldn’t see the bank on the far side. The fog lasted less than a half hour before it lifted. About 6:30 the rain arrived. It’s not raining hard, but it is steady.

As I mentioned yesterday most of the seasonals have arrived for the weekend. The odd thing is there aren’t as many regular weekend campers as there have been the last couple of weekends. The forecast isn’t that bad so I don’t know what drives the volume of campers. I thought that the numbers would increase each weekend as summer approaches.

k1

Rusty fishing boat.

The late afternoon entertainment was a road race on the canal service road. A relay road race from Hull Ma to Provincetown Ma went along the service road then turned inland toward route 6 through the campground. I looked up the web site for the race and it is called the Reebok Ragnar Cape Cod Relay. The teams run over 200 miles. I don’t know where the current segment started or ends, but some of the runners needed to switch off soon.

k2

Sailboat with its crew in full rain gear.

There was very little activity in the canal this afternoon. I saw one fishing boat and one sailboat. The wildlife was also scarce. Most of the usual complement of birds were elsewhere and I haven’t seen any indication of the seals people saw yesterday.

Spring has arrived for real

Thursday May 12th 2016

It was a beautiful day today. It got up to around 80 inland and about 10 degrees cooler here at the Cape Cod Canal.

I had to verify that this was indeed only Thursday. When I got back to the campground this evening the place was really hopping. Many of the seasonal residents had arrived for the weekend a day early. It’s probably the good weather that’s dragging them in early.

j1

Keeping watch over the canal from a lamp post

I think spring has finally arrived in New England. The trees and bushes are now budded out and greening up to the level I experienced in Virginia a month ago. I’m surprised it has taken this long to get up here. It seems like it has been colder than normal since I got back here. So maybe the late spring is my fault. The test will be if the weather improves when I leave the area later in the year. There is no way I have that kind of power.

There were a lot of people out when I took my evening walk on the canal service road. The chatter was about seals, sharks and whales. Earlier in the afternoon some people had seen a harbor seal. People were speculating that sharks or whales were chasing it. While I suppose it’s possible, I think it is more likely that the seal is after herring. The annual herring run to the spawning grounds should be going on about now. Seals are not regular visitors to the canal, but I have seen them in the past.  I’ll have to keep my eyes out for seals or other larger sea life.