Category Archives: Connecticut

New England RV Trip 2015

We left for our tour of New England with no travel itinerary. We chose to follow our whims as we went. I highly recommend this approach to RV travel “off season”. Up to Columbus day, we had no trouble finding open campgrounds with available campsites. In fact the campgrounds were practically empty, with some notable exceptions: Normandy Farms Foxboro discounts Columbus day and was booked the weekend we left, the Keene Pumpkin Festival moved to Laconia and campgrounds fill for the festival. On a day we relocated, we would look for campgrounds in the area we expected to stay and called ahead. We had no problem finding a number of possible campsites. All this changed after Columbus day. In New England, Columbus Day marks the end of “the season”. Though some campgrounds close Sept 15th, most close after October 15th and practically all are closed by November 1. We had some trouble finding campsites after November 1. Things close earlier in Maine where we boondocked two days in mid-October.

By having no plans, we could stay as long or as short as we liked. We enjoyed visiting family and friends where we stayed a few days. We used Foxboro Ma as base camp for exploring Boston, Concord, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge in a rentall car and Mountain View Campground in Morrisville Vt to explore Stowe. We were not sure how we would do on an extended RV trip. Before we left, friends would ask, “How long will you be gone?” I’d answer, “six to eight weeks” to which Ellen would retort, “we’ll see, four weeks maybe six”. We both agreed as we buzzed home driving 500+ days that we could have been on the road another month. There were so many places we skipped with “limited time”. If we had it to do over, we would have left mid-August. It is great having tourist destinations almost to yourself, as we did on Cape Cod or in Maine. The down side? Practically no shops are open. Those that are open display a huge 10 foot flag stating “OPEN” in huge letters. So much of the charm of small towns on the cape are the people and the seasonal food. Both become scarce off season.

We skipped visiting Yellow Springs and Write Patterson in Ohio, spending more time on The Cape, exploring Moosehead Lake and northern Maine, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Gloucester, and Salem. We drove past a great number of those brown signs marking points of interest. We simply did not have the time to do “everything”. There were a number of museums we drove past.

We also had three system failures on our trip: 1. hot water running cold with the water heater working fine, 2. central locking crapped out, 3. the refrigerator refused to run on 12 volts. We also had the engine start hard and run very rough with the inverter on. Restarting with the inverter off solved that “problem”. The hot water issue was caused when a campground ran high pressure air thorugh their lines to clear them ahead of a freeze. We were attached. The pressure forced the check valve into the sleeve effectively blocking hot water flow. The check valve is $9 part at camping world. Central Locking and the Fridge are yet to be fixed.

We had a phenominal trip, made more memorable by our daily log. We revisit the blog to relive our trip.

Here is our timeline. I’d say “itinerary”, but that suggests pre-planning, something we assiduously avoided. We had a want list including Stowe, the White Mountains, Cog Railway, Franconia Notch, Smuggler’s Notch, Conway, Hampton and Rye Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Arlington and surrounds, the North Shore, Zip Lines, a moose tour, New York City, Long Island, Mystic Ri, Groton, Crowly RV, the Inner Harbor Baltimore, Washington DC; some we skipped, others we did.


9/16/2015 Truckee Ca Coachland RV 10873
9/17/2015 Austin, Nv Pony Express RV Park 11083
9/18/2015 Salina, Ut Butch Cassidy RV Park 11452 Cindy recommended Pony Espresso Deli Eureka Nv
9/19/2015 Parachute, Co Battlement Mesa RV Park 11718 Duayne @ Ace; Jenny @ campground; Green River State Park
9/20/2015 Woodland, Co Diamond Campground 11955 Vail; Breckenridge; past Cripple Creek; John and Rona
9/21/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958 Visit with Rich, Alea,
9/22/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958
9/23/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958
9/24/2015 Oakley, Ks High Plains RV Campground 12218 Capt’n Jack’s Pub, Kobe Beef, Crab Cakes, great showers
9/25/2015 Danville, Mo Lazy Day Campground 12743 Lazy Day great campground. Skipped Chrystler Museum, Oz museum, Totoz Taco, Dinosaur Museum
9/26/2015 Mansfield, Oh Walmart Boondock 13298 Skipped Yellow Springs, Dayton Museum, Cincinnati
9/27/2015 Grand Island, Ny Cinderella Motel and Campsite 13598 Niagara Falls
9/28/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson 13688 Empire Brewing
9/29/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
9/30/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
10/1/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
10/2/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica 13966
10/3/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/4/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/5/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/6/2015 Fort Ann, Ny Moose Hillock Camping Resort 14114 Near Lake George, Adirondack outlet mall most extensive for miles
10/7/2015 Ticonderoga, Ny Brookwood RV Resort 14172 Lake George
10/8/2015 Lake Placid, Ny Cascade Acres Campground 14246 Fort Ticonderoga in the afternoon, Ellen:”There is literally no other RV @camp tonight”
10/9/2015 Winooski Vt North Beach Campground 14342 Mirror lake & Lake Placid in the morning, Ferry to Burlington VT, North Beach is right on the lake.
10/10/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground 14395 Near Stowe Vermont
10/11/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground
10/12/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground
10/13/2015 St Johnsbury, Vt Moose River Campground closed the campground
10/14/2015 Littleton, Nh Crazy Horse Campground 14708 closed the campground, search for Cherry Lake a bust.
10/15/2015 Lincoln, Nh Country Bumpkin Campground White mountains, cog railway, smuggler’s notch, the Flume
10/16/2015 Lincoln, Nh Country Bumpkin Campground Closed the campground
10/17/2015 Woodbury, Nh KOA Woodbury Nh Closed the campground, expensive but very nice campground, drove the Kancamangas Highway
10/18/2015 North Conway, Nh Eastern Slope Campground 14918 No hot water in the AM (they blew out their lines)
10/19/2015 Portland Me Elks Lodge, electric hookup ate at Bea’s Café recommended by gal at camping world, purchased check valve
10/20/2015 Portland Me Walmart Boondock drove Old Orchard Beach & north along the coast. Gave up install of check valve
10/21/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground 15220 Beast serviced @ Prime Motors Portland Me, Indoor heated pool, Full resort style glamping
10/22/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground
10/23/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground 15310 James ordered an electronic switch to fix our hot water problem, Part & Jim never arrived, left late afternoon
10/24/2015 Shelburne Falls, Ma Country Aire Bridge of Flowers, pedestrian bridge Brookline, NH; West End Café; The Best Pizza in New England
10/25/2015 Shelburne Falls, Ma Country Aire
10/26/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean Parked The Beast and stayed with Ed and Jean for five days!
10/27/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/28/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/29/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/30/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/31/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
11/1/2015 Bourne, Ma Scusset Beach State Park Campground Closed the Campground, Marconi Station & White Cedar Swamp
11/2/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/3/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort Enterprise Rental and trips to Boston, Concord, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge
11/4/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/5/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort Brad’s RV Service fixed our hot water problem
11/6/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/7/2015 North Stonington, Ct Mystic KOA Campground Mysic Ct, Mystic Old Town, Mystic Seaport
11/8/2015 North Stonington, Ct Mystic KOA Campground steamers on the half shell (errr)
11/9/2015 Clarksboro, Nj Timberline Campground Ferry Monmouth-NYC financial district, world trade center, central locking fail
11/10/2015 Dumfries, Va Prince William Forest RV Campground 16487 Fort Mercer & Valley Forge
11/11/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan 17016 Savannah, fishing, oyster toad fish,
11/12/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan
11/13/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan
11/14/2015 Moton, Ms Roosevelt State Park 17609 surprisingly, we stumbled upon Roosevelt State Park, on of our favorites from our first X-country trip!
11/15/2015 Vidalia, La River View RV Park & Resort 17795 Natchez Trace, Nathez, camping on the Mississippi
11/16/2015 Abilene, Tx Buck Creek RV Park 18353 Tornado watch, high wind, rain, hail, stopped at Buck Eez bbq brisket was forgetable
11/17/2015 Alberquerque, Nm High Desert RV Park 18873 Billy the Kid’s grave, heavy X-winds, Trouble with fridge not running on 12 volts.
11/18/2015 Kingman, Az Sunrise RV Park 19357 warming as we drove through Arizona, T-shirt weather @ petrified forest & painted desert
11/19/2015 home 19999 Total of 9,126 miles driven 66 days on the road.

Mystic, Connecticut


Not Just Any Psychic.

Mystic Connecticut 11.08.2015


Almost out of Town


Main Street from the Bridge

We left early for Mystic this morning.  The romantic coming of age film “Mystic Pizza” was set in Mystic, though it was filmed in neighboring towns.  The pizza restaurant was filmed in a converted house, not at Mystic Pizza!


Mystic Pizza

Mystic Pizza, the movie

Heading into town, at a “T” we could go to the Seaport or to Old Town, We chose Old Town and turned north.  We breezed past a general store and had gone in and out of Old Town in a minute!  Old Town is very quaint, but very very small.  With another U-turn, we headed back toward the Seaport a bit disappointed in Old Town.

We passed Mystic Seaport Museum on the right and a huge parking lot on the left and continued south on Greenmanville Ave to Main Street.  Driving down Main Street into town, the famous draw bridge over the Mystic River is unmistakable.  Mystic is a typical New England Coastal Town.  It is beautiful.


Not Mystic Pizza

Crossing the bridge, we drove up Main Street past a Ice Cream shop on the right, up the hill toward the old church and past Mystic Pizza also on the right.  Even this late in the year Mystic is a busy town.  I cannot imagine how hoards of tourists transform the town during the summer.  There were no parking signs everywhere.  We drove out of town and U-turned again to return.  The best way to get the feel for a town is to drive through slowly.  We were looking for interesting places to visit and a level place to park, I drove down a narrow street along the Mystic River to a dead end and U-turned in a business’ gravel lot.  A workman watched my three point turn in with an amused look.  We found pay-parking a bit further down the road at $1.50 per half hour.  That could add up.  Parking fronted on Main Street and the shops.  I deployed our HD antenna, it locked onto the satellites, and we started recording the JETS game.  Rather than watching the game, hit record.  We shut down all the electronics except the PVR and refrigerator and off we went.


The Company of Craftsmen

We first walked into The Company of Craftsmen, a typical high-end tourist shop that sells pottery, original art, photos printed on aluminum, and jewelry.  This was not your typical bric-a-brack  The shop was empty but for us, the shopkeeper, and a middle aged couple.  The fellow is a local and knew the shopkeeper; his wife didn’t say anything as she casually explored the art.  The guy and the shopkeeper were in a conversation about the local fishery.  Shopkeep said there were orcas spotted just off the coast here.  That is unusual, he had never seen them this far south in his lifetime.  I said perhaps conservation had let to a resurgence of fish that the orca are following south.

The Fishing Industry, “they went somewhere else”

While the woman continued looking around, her man turned to say, “conservation?  No.  The fishing was great for years until run-off and pesticides did the fish in. They all went somewhere else.”  I agreed that fertilizer and pesticide runoff contribute to the industry problems, but that conservation is necessary too.  This fellow was a fisherman and conservation was not in his vocabulary.  I said that fishing to extinction would do nobody any good.  He grudgingly agreed, but suggested that big money and state politicians bury the run-off issues and that that is the real issue.  He thought new insecticides were the major cause of a recent fall off in fish.  “They just went somewhere else.”  Or were they fished out locally?  I’d never considered that fishermen would think “went somewhere else” rather than “we over-fished.”  Weird!

After the couple left, the shopkeeper said, “the problem is very complex.  Factory fishing and illegal fishing are a big problem.  Conservation is necessary too.  A good friend of his is a Green Peace Captain who has spent time in jail in Russia. Now that is a nasty prospect.

The shop had quite a few very well done photos printed on aluminum, unique pottery, and woodwork. We saw quite a few items we liked, though we did not purchase any art in his shop.  It was a different story in the spice shop:  habanero salt, lapsang souchong tea, herb dip spice,  and pumpkin cinnamon tea. Lapsang souchong had long been considered a second rate tea and has fallen out of favor in most tea shops.


We walked up Main Street to Mystic Pizza and had  a slice at the bar.  On our way in, Ellen asked if Mystic Pizza was filmed here.  “No”, the hostess said,”this used to be just the bar.  We’ve expanded, but the movie was shot in a local pub.”  No surprise there, the local pubs have more character than Mystic Pizza.


At the bar, the guy to my right was savoring a slice of pepperoni pizza that looked great.  I had one too and a local IPA.  Their pizza was good, the crust was a bit oily but we didn’t care.  The fellow beside me worked on submarine computer systems at Groton harbor.   We talked football some: Patriots and Jets, not much about submarines.  Leaving, Ellen had the sense to ask for parking validation and left with a validation card. Cool.


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Mystic Drawbridge

Mssive Counter Weights


Reforest the Tropics!


Walking the Mystic River East Side




Next we headed back over the drawbridge to walk along the east side of the Mystic River.  The drawbridge with its counter-weight design, is one of only three left in the country.  There was no traffic on the river; the bridge stayed down.

As for walking along the east side of the Mystic River, No Doing!  The walkway along the river is gated after about a hundred yards.  so we walked local roads that fronted on the river.  It was a gorgeous day, cool but not cold and even warm in the sun.  We found a pier with gaff and square rigged  ships moored alongside.  One was for sale.


Formidable is For Sale!


Are the canon included?

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The Maritime Museum in the Distance

Further along a SUP couple paddled by and turned into the boat ramp.  Ahead was a boat-works museum that was closed off from this side.


On the fence was a map of the museum showing the entrance just up the road.  This was the museum we passed driving into the Seaport.  Great. I had walked ahead as Ellen took photos as she walked.  I went on to the museum, bought a ticket for both of us and arranged for her to get her ticket when she arrived, “Can you give this ticket to my wife, Ellen, she’ll be arriving shortly.  She’s dressed in a bright blue jacket.  She’s short with light blond hair”  I then called Ellen and told her about the arrangements as I saw her walking into the Museum.


On the Old Seaport Waterfront

The Maritime Museum is located on the old whaling town of Mystic.  I think the buildings are re-creations of the original buildings.  The museum also has a number of whalers and historical schooners moored riverside.  :I overhead a fellow explaining that three of the whalers are not here now.  They were moored over there (gesturing), but now there are only two of them.  Two boats were under reconstruction and were closed to the public.  One was just a skeleton housed indoors to protect it from the elements.  A walkway led above decks, then wound down below and out topside once again.  It was fascinating to see the beams, the keel, and the planking that were this ship.  Two of the whalers were open to the public, you could just walk aboard.  Plaques recorded the history of these ships and the whaling process itself.  Today whales are endangered.  Back then, whales were plentiful.  What amazes me is the bravery of the crews of the whaling boats.  These were small dory-like boats with five or six men at the oars, a coxswain, and a mate at the harpoon.  Once the whale was impaled, the New England Sleigh Ride commenced.  Whaling is what made coastal New England.


The “Boston Sleigh Ride”

We absorbed the museum as we walked its extensive grounds.  I had wanted to go to Groton to visit the Nautilus Museum in Groton, but I am much happier walking around any sailboat.  Tall ships are special, even if they were whalers.  There were a number of antiques hidden in the houses dotting the Seaport.   One was a clock works, another a hoop manufacturer for tall ships, another housed an old horse drawn fire pump.  The pump was hand driven; firemen were big burly fellows much like they are today.  The second floor of one housew the entire captain’s and mate’s quarters taken from a large merchant sailing ship.  It was impressive for its woodwork, though the beds were quite small.  People were much shorter back then.


The Old Seaport Bank, 1833


In the Fire Department (note the hand pump)

Walking back to The Beast, I wondered how much the PVR had drawn down the batteries.  We have not calibrated battery wear based on what’s running and for how long.  For us, it is still very much a crap shoot.  I thought there was a good chance that after three and a half hours, the batteries could be drained.  We passed a shop with free fudge samples.  The sample was “ok”, but not worth buying.  We stopped in another bakery and the cookies were too much to resist.  Then we happened by the Mystic Oyster Company, a restaurant.  Not having had my fill of steamers, we stopped in and asked if they have steamed clams. “No, but we have littlel neck clams”  Not the long neck oval clams, but the small round ones.  We asked about steaming them and left with the impression they would steam clams for us.

So do we order a pizza or go for steamed clams for dinner?  First we checked on The Beast.  The doors unlocked, stairs extended, and the PVR was still recording.  The battery voltage was 12.1 which was good.  With the football game three quarters over and our battery showing minimal wear, we felt good leaving things as they were for another hour or so.  We headed back to have some “steamers”.


An Old Oyster Boat

At the Mystic Oyster House, we were told that the little neck clams were served cold.  Could they be steamed? No.  We ordered the clams served in the half shell.  An IPA for me and a banana  strawberry cocktail for Ellen.  We both ordered a beet salad with scallops (Ellen) and swordfish (Ron) that was very good.  The Oyster House could not validate parking.   We ate slowly watching the lighting change over the Mystic River as the sun set.  We had a window side table.

On the River, Crab Pots!


Across the River

Back at The Beast, the batteries were still good.  I must have put the parking validation card in upside down, it did not work.  I paid with a credit card before the attendant asked, “Can I help you”.  I showed her the validation card and she said, “that will work”  Too late, I had paid already.

Back at Mystic KOA, we did not have a gate card.  We did not need one the first day.  Renewing the second day we did not know we needed one and the fellow at the desk assumed we already had one.  We arrived at the KOA gate with no way to get in!  I took my phone over to the office door, found an after hours phone number, and called.  It range, some one answered and my phone went dead.  Ellen then started calling to me about something.  I had been in range for The Beast to take over the phone call.  Ellen was talking with the after hours fellow when I hung up thinking the call had failed.  Isn’t technology grand?  I called back and was told that there are after hours packets in the laundry room, just take the one furthest in back.


Playing with Shadows

We pulled into site B6 which was not very level.  The campsite is almost a ghost town.  There might be five other RVs here.  We just pulled into A6 which was closer to level and hooked up.  The evening is cool, but it will not go below freezing tonight.  The fellow at the desk this morning said they would not turn the water off unless it was going to freeze.  We should be OK tomorrow morning, but I will disconnect our water before hitting the sack tonight just to be safe.

We’re watching the JETS game we recorded earlier today and we have local cable channels.   With luck we’ll watch Madam Secretary and The Good Wife a bit later.

We enjoyed our outing today.  We had some exercise and had a great time too.


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The Cangarda, restored in California, has seven steam engines!


Square Rigged Whaling Ships at the Maritime Museum, Mystic Ct.



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The Joseph Conrad


  IMG_7713    IMG_7712    Under Restoration


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The Charles Morgan



“What a long, strange trip it’s been…” nod to Grateful Dead

“Once there was a way to get back homeward”

We are headed home in a roundabout way.  We are a stone’s throw from Mystic Connecticut.  Remember Mystic Pizza???  The Movie??  We’ll have pizza at Mystic Pizza tomorrow and visit both Mystic and Westerly.  Ellen is excited to be visiting Mystic we will probably stay a day here.

This morning, our neighbors at Normandy Campground left and new neighbors arrived.  As I was packing in our hoses, a voice asked, “Where in California are you from”.  The voice belonged to our new neighbors who are from South Lake Tahoe.  They had left California on Sept. 17th, the same day we had left and traveled Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  Pretty much the same as us.  I mentioned closing out campgrounds throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.  They too had the same experience.  They are on the road until mid January going down the coast to Florida to visit grandchildren.  It would have been fun chatting with them about details of our trips, but we had to be movin’ on.  Our lobster and steamed clams were waiting for us at the kitchen and we had to go.  Then we were heading south.

We were late to pick up our order. The steamers were good, but getting cold.  I had spent too much time talking .  The lobsters were delicious.  We ate at the outdoor pavilion and garnered some attention with our choice of food.  One family ordered lobster, but the kitchen had run out.  We saw a couple leave with the last lobsters as we ate ours.

As we left, Ellen called both Liz and Vanessa to see if there were plans to visit.   As much as we wanted to get together a second time, it was not going to work out. With a new baby, both parents are working lots of hours. Grandparents are helping out babysitting  3 month old  Jerell now that Vanessa is back to work. We drove on heading to Jamestown.



The Jamestown Fire Department is Volunteer

We dropped by Jamestown to purchase an EZ-pass and to visit the town.  They’re available on line or in Rhode Island at Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge authority.  The authority closes at 2 pm and we had to rush to arrive before they closed.  We arrived twelve minutes before closing time.  The crew at the authority were very helpful and guided us through the process.  While we were there a fellow arrived a minute before the doors locked.  They lock automatically at 2 and the computer system goes off line.  After initially saying he arrived late and with some pleading, this fellow got his EZ Pass as well.  As a Rhode Island resident he tried to get one at AAA, but arrived late.  They closed at 1 pm and he hurried here.  The EZ Pass will be active in Rhode Island tomorrow and in the remaining states that use the system on Monday.  That’s  ok with us.

We went on to Jamestown.  We walked the town.  I tried to find a music shop to buy a guitar pick or two  The hardware store recommended the pharmacy and the pharmacy recommended the hardware store.


an Inn in Jamestown

No guitar picks are to be had in Jamestown.  No espresso coffee at the coffee shop we stopped by either, though we do have a cheese danish and an apple turnover for later.

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There were a number of mansions for sale in Jamestown.  One sitting right on the coast was “affordable”, but only 3 br 2 ba and an acre.


Not a Mansion and Not for Sale

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We drove on to Narragansett Beach, this is where I taught myself to surf.  The swell was still running on the beach and they were still hard to catch.  We watched a group of surfers taking runs at the swells.  Most had trouble dropping in.


Surfing Narragansett Beach

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Jamestown is small and idyllic, but for me, I’d rather be at Narragansett bay.  There were a few homes (mansions really)  that I liked to drive by after thrashing myself “surfing”.  I could not find them!  There were plenty of very impressive homes along the waterfront, but there was one in particular that “was mine”.   I’m a bit sad that I could not find it.  Perhaps next time were in Rhode Island I’ll look a bit harder.

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We tool Rt 1 toward Mystic and not 95.  It is slower, but more revealing.  You get a feel for the towns as you pass through them rather than skirting by and never knowing they’re there.


At Narragansett Beach, Rhode Island


Alongside the Beach

We are camping in Mystic KOA, near Mystic Connecticut home of Mystic Pizza:

Mystic Pizza, the Pizza     Mystic Pizza, the Movie    Mystic KOA    nearby Westerly Connecticut

The campground is shutting off the water tomorrow morning.  I’ll be sure we’re disconnected.  I’d hate to have them run high pressure through their lines and blow our check valve out again!  Once was enough for us.