Friday, June 8
We pulled out of the driveway Friday morning, after a 2 day pit-stop at home – repacking for a 3-week vacation. The first part of this trip was planned and outlined by Alan-- destination New Hampshire; later, we would continue on our own. Along for the caravan: Alan, Carie, and Bev (Carie’s mom from Oregon), John and Suzie with Penny and Rupert, and Tom and Ella with Charlie Button and Jasper – 7 people, 4 dogs, 3 Airstreams!
Driving across Route 30 we merged onto I-71; when I texted Carie they were just 6 miles behind us on I-71, and we joined up at the next roadside rest for the ride to Bald Eagle State Park in the heart of Pennsylvania.
Arriving at 4:00 we enjoyed the clean, grassy campsites and ideal temperatures from the lawn chairs until time to fix supper – hamburgers. As we were done eating, John and Suzie pulled in to complete our caravan group. They ate, walked the pups, and then joined us at a campfire --- just as I was heading in for the night! Plans were made for a 7:00 take-off in the morning and our first day of 3X3 caravanning.
Saturday, June 9
Tom and Alan started the day with a review of the route we would follow all the way to Salisbury State Park, MA on the Atlantic Ocean! As we pulled out and continued East on I-80, Alan was in the lead, we were tucked in the middle, and John completed the parade. The EPS estimated an 8 hour trip, plus additional time for rest stops, dog walks, gas-ups, and eats! The first rest stop was an opportunity for our first picture line-up of all three rigs . . . and the boys wanted to make sure the “rear-ends” were correctly identified. Alan got a picture of the pups and parents, and Carie clicked one as we followed their rig out of the rest area.
By 5:00 we landed at Salisbury State Preserve in Massachusetts where we had reservations to enjoy two nights very close to the Atlantic Ocean. Our campground was actually on the Merrimack River, with a nice beach. The beach led down the road to the ocean, within walking distance of our campsites. During the evening we walked the campground and the beach with the dogs and delayed a steak supper until 8:00. Awful, biting, little no-see’em bugs chased us inside at 9:00. They were so small that we were warned they could get through the screens, causing us to close up the windows and put the AC on!
Sunday, June 10,
Bright sunshine came flooding into the Silvermine at 6:00 a.m. Tom headed out for a first morning walk . . . I pulled the covers over my head for another hour. Later in the morning we took another walk on the river beach and the pups got introduced to breaking waves . . . . run . . . run . . . run!
By 9:00 we jumped in the car and drove to check out the little town of Salisbury. The main downtown was a small square backed right up to the ocean with a carnival-type atmosphere: a musical calliope, lots of eat-shops, and a few novelty stores. We walked the boardwalk and ventured down on the beach to the Atlantic Ocean (not knowing dogs weren’t allowed on the beach!)
By 10:30 we were back at the campsite. Carie and Bev had headed off in the truck to check out the beach themselves, so we put Alan in the truck with us for a run into BROWN’S seafood for lunch. There was a big variety . . . served steamed or fried. Ella – Lobster Roll; Tom – Shrimp plate; Alan – seafood plate and a basket of clam steamers!
At this point I need to explain our sibling visitors: Suzie's brother, Rod, was visiting with his friendly Lab, Halie. They actually came yesterday and spent the night in the Airstream. Alan’s brother Steve, and family, showed up for a quick afternoon visit. Here is Alan with his family!
The dog delegation set out for a walk to the Ocean beach – just a mile from our campground –5 dogs, 5 people. We made it to the beach, didn’t see the sign saying no dogs, and walked all the way down to the surf, when we realized our blunder. We crossed over to the River beach, where dogs were welcomed, and walked that shore all the way back to our campsites.
That set up a nice lazy afternoon at camp, with chats, naps, books, short walks, and one shopping expedition! Alan’s crew was off visiting his mother who lived an hour away for the evening. The rest of us scored Lena’s Restaurant for dinner – another great choice for seafood. Tom and I had the breaded/fried/lobster and onion rings. Even cooked in the hot oil the lobster was flavorful and tender!
Stuffed and satisfied, Tom and I picked up the campsite to prepare for leaving in the morning, took showers, walked the dogs for a last time, and retired to the Silvermine.
Monday, June 11
There was no particular hurry in the morning, and our target was only 2 hours away. Taking advantage of the leisure-time Alan worked on his sticking door latch, Suzie and I walked the dogs, and Tom and John headed in for diesel fuel and a grocery shop . . . including live lobster. More about that later!
Dumping the trailer isn’t fun unless you have all your friends with you. . . . here is a picture of the party at the dump station!
At 11:30 we pulled out of Salisbury Campground, headed for the Kancamangus Highway and Jigger Johnson National Forest. After a lunch stop, while driving thru the scenic New Hampshire byways, we formed a group consensus that Suzie should seek a medical opinion before driving deeper into the wilds! At the dump station something had slipped into her sandal and cut her foot – a very strange-looking slice surrounded by punctures. Within a few miles, while texting about the problem, we passed a walk-in medical clinic (in the middle of nowhere) and pulled over for a consult. We walked the dogs and shopped the candy store/gift shop while she had her foot attended to. An hour later we were on the road again, just an hour short of our destination, with a foot that should heal nicely!
That last hour of driving was New Hampshire backwoods at it’s best: winding roads, dark green forests, mountain lakes, fast-moving streams, log cabin structures, trading posts, and a man carving a tree stumps with a chainsaw!
We were surprised to find Jigger Johnson Campground mostly vacant! Suzi got a great shot as we pulled into the campground. Deeply wooded and colossal campsites . . . it was hard to find three campsites where we could actually see each other! We settled with the anticipation of those live lobster that had traveled the last 100 miles with us!
John had bought a new back-woods cooking station with power burner and griddle top; it was out of the box and set up in no time flat! Out came the corn-on-the-cob, roasted red potatoes, fresh lemons and a couple pounds of butter to accompany the lobster. John had a large pot of boiling water that held all 7 lobster, and a smaller one that held 7 ears of corn! Before escorting the lobster to the swimming pool, John hypnotized one and forced him into a handstand! Here’s a few pictures of the great lobster event!
Mosquitoes were out when we arrived, disappeared for a couple hours, and were back out with a vengeance after dinner. I made a quick exit to the Silvermine and tried to eliminate the ones inside, and then settled down to read!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown