The Griswald Tour
This segment began with Connecticut. I found this small Northeast state much like the rest. Winding, tangled roads, old gnarled hardwoods, stone walls stacked up along property lines, old colonial style houses mixed with the ‘new.’ Kurt stopped in one town because of the giant frog statues languishing on the bridge’s posts. The frogs commemorated the Great Windham Frog Fight of 1754, in which the colonial townspeople thought they were being attacked during the night. They were merely hearing the noise of frogs fighting to the death for the last pond water during a drought year.
New York State:
Somewhere in the Catskills while it was still light out we found the location we wanted to camp and between us and rest a locked gait. We could see the field that promised quiet rest… but no. It was getting complicated to camp there, between needing cell service to make the call for the gait number, then the number being a recording to redirect to a website. Kurt found a different location thirty miles away.
Then our night became more interesting. The road we wanted, as we would find out, was gone, completely. Kurt would have to turn the camper around in wet, muddy conditions with a shear drop down to a river hidden in the dark on one side of the road and mountain slope on the other. Meanwhile I flailed about in the rain with a dim flashlight behind our trailer hoping to illuminate something of the trees, landscape and the precipice. (I’ve been told emphatically and often I’m not good at this job).
Two people materialized out of the dark woods and took over. They had, what I imagine, to be iconic fast talking NYC accents. Very quickly the man and the woman started working together waving their flashlights and communicating in a professional manner. I had to ask if they worked at an airport or something. NYC transportation authority, busses, articulated busses.
We learned from them that the road washed out many years ago in a hurricane. They assured us that we’d be fine camping there in a non-site, no one came around to check. (Weren’t New Yorkers supposed to be something other than nice according to popular culture?)
We drove through some of it.
We set up near the town of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Free dispersed camping in a National Forest. A quick rest before moving on. The town, just northwest of New York City, still felt small and rural with a thriving downtown strip. Although, I could’ve done without the one-way main streets, Stroudsburg takes it to next level one-way how-do-I-get-over-there?
I found a new favorite camera shop: Stroudsburg Foto Shop. I traded in my old D7200 for some equipment upgrades, while getting some great professional photographer stories and tips.
After Stroudsburg we drove down through Delaware and into Maryland. Our first stay was at the EA Vaughn Wildlife Management Area, which probably would have been nice, but it was hunting season. We listened to the grumbling hum of generators and human murmurs into the night.
Kurt and I left for Janes Island State Park and found ourselves with a peculiar camping neighbor. A middle-age woman who mysteriously appeared most often, when I was not in view. She locked her keys in her car and needed to use my husband’s phone. She was divorced from Florida/Ohio and taught Spanish. Has an Etsy shop set up and was writing about travel.
After a few days of that we investigated visiting Assateague National Seashore again. There were parks we couldn’t camp or visit with our dog, and in the end we found that we could at at the north end National Seashore area.
Our luck in weather held out in my opinion. A nor’easter hit the northeast, but we never received much more than a little rain and wind during our visit.
The Griswald Tour
We left the coastal area. I had no idea where Kurt was going to take us next, the next I notice we are on an expressway heading directly for Washington DC. Kurt got off and drove in through the east side with no planning, per his MO. While I grew increasingly distressed that the neighborhoods looked less than ideal for wanderers to wander into. (“Kurt!, DC has one of the highest crime rates in the country! You can’t just drive into it without a plan.”)
It was fine though.
Soon enough the chainlink fences capped with barbed/razor wire gave way to well maintained neo-classical public architecture. Then I got to see all the fabulous food trucks (I was starving). The White House (blink, gone), the capital building (that would’ve been cool to see more of). Oh ooh ooh a museum with Modern Art…. can’t stop. No. Nope, can’t stop for that. Nor that… No parking for us.
Straight up a tease.
Writing about it makes me mad.
(Kurt is laughing at me, he named it the Griswald Tour)
I remember this feeling. It was the same one I had watching Monument Valley and then Santa Fe fly by my passenger window while we rushed home during the initial shutdown of the pandemic. Ah yes, here are all the great things, and no you cannot▪️
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