First Time Paddling on the Connecticut River

Hello everyone…it’s been a busy week, but for those who are just interested in the paddling, scroll down and it’s one of the last things we did 🙂  As of this week we are living in the RV all of the time. No, unfortunately the house hasn’t sold, but we’d much rather be here than at the house, and since we paid for a seasonal site, this is where we are staying.  I traveled on Wednesday this week to Philadelphia but other than that worked from home base on Thursday and Friday.  Thursday was OK, but there were many, many large banging sounds from nuts falling on the camper. It’s startling,  really, and so loud.  Lee explained Thursday night that a squirrel is climbing a tree high above our camper and eating nuts there so a bunch of shells are banging the top of the camper from very high heights.  I asked if we could “wing it” with a pellet gun or something and Lee looked horrified.  Seriously, I love animals but it was distracting and that squirrel can eat somewhere else!   I also cooked during the week, which is a huge benefit of working from the camper.  I am not a huge fan of pork, but Lee loves it, so I made some pork with a maple syrup and balsamic vinegar glaze on the campfire and some rice.  It was very easy and Lee gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up.  (To be fair, it was really two thumbs up one at a time, in order that I could eat uninterrupted. – Lee) The recipes for this week are all listed below.     The best part of Thursday was 9pm when we got a phone call from Kay.  I was so sure the call would come on Wednesday night when I was flying home, or otherwise unable to answer the phone, but thank heavens we were both together and in our camper.  Kay cried for a minute or two but then pulled herself together and said although the first week was rough she had “gotten her shit together” and they made her an element leader.  She seemed a bit bewildered that they would have chosen her for that but felt honored by it.  I can already hear the difference in her voice.  Say what you want about the process but it is life changing for everyone who has gone through it.    We both breathed a big sigh of relief that she was OK and I immediately booked our tickets and hotel for her graduation in October.

Friday there were much fewer “nut bombs” hitting the camper.  Maybe he heard my  evil thoughts and decided to move on, but Jill, our resident chipmunk was out in force and seemed happy to see me.  I tend to feed her throughout the day and she was super cute climbing in and out of our wood pile.  We knew the quiet was coming to an end though because it was Labor Day weekend.  I have to say our neighbors behind us  have been MUCH better.  Sometimes they visit and I barely know they are here.  Unfortunately, the site across from us is now occupied and their dog is a barker.  I understand how difficult it is to stop a dog from barking, but it does bug me when the dog barks and they make no attempt to correct it.  Seeing how much time our friends Jo and Ben spend correcting their dog’s behavior I think it’s really laziness to let a dog behave like that. Another issue that we dealt with is that while we’re here, someone has been parking in our sticks and bricks driveway.  Yes, you read that right, and the nerve it takes to just park in someone’s driveway astounds me.  Lee has been coming home sometimes in the morning, and for lunch every day, and has seen the car numerous times.  Needless to say at first it freaked him out but then he finally got annoyed enough to call the police.  At first they didn’t want to do anything, but he was adamant and they agreed to run the plate and contact the person parking there and tell them to stop.    Despite the barking dog , overall, Friday night was good and not nearly as noisy as I expected.  I was pretty tired from a long work week so we ate some leftovers and went to bed.

Saturday we decided to get up and hit the sales.  Last year we stocked up on several “seasonal” items such as bug spray, tiki fuel, and other camping stuff and saved a ton of money and I was excited to go again.  Plus we have run out of kindling and were looking for a new bag of it.  We drove north and stopped at several little feed stores, hardware stores,  lumber yards, etc.  Didn’t have a lot of luck finding anything but the day was beautiful and we had a good time.  Finally we made it to Mr G’s Liquidation Center and hit the mother load.   When the kids were small and we were broke we went there semi-regularly to stock up on canned goods and unusual items.  They have what they have, but prices are 30% -60% off what you find elsewhere.  Plus it’s like a treasure hunt and super fun.  We stopped going once the kids got older and we started to make a little more money, but now that we are trying to live on a budget thought it would be a great time to revise the tradition.   It was awesome!!  First of all, I felt great about what I got for the $150 I spent versus always feeling slightly ripped off when I go to a regular grocery store. In addition, they have items that are difficult to get here in the northeast anywhere else.  I bought two Plochman’s mustard (my absolutely favorite) and numerous cans of Pennsylvania Dutch mushrooms which I love and haven’t seen for years up here.  After all that shopping I was tired, so we headed back to the camper to meet the cable guy.  One of the necessities for spending the next couple of months in the camper was getting our cable box out here.  It was more complicated than I would have thought, so they sent out a cable guy and he and Lee tinkered until they got it to work.  If we were in a new place with things to explore TV would not be such a big deal, but since we’ve seen most everything in this area TV will continue to be a staple of our entertainment ..at least in the short-term.   After the cable guy left Lee took the trash down and ran into our sticks and bricks neighbor, his dad, and the former owner of our house.  Turns out the new S&B neighbors two doors down have been parking in our drive way and our S&B neighbor across the street did tell him we had not moved, but he continued to park there.  Well now we have a name with the car and I will be addressing it if it happens again.  Also it was nice for Lee to talk to Steve, the former owner of the house.  They raised three kids in the house and then moved when the last one graduated, and now we are doing the same.  Steve felt it was priced right and knows there is nothing wrong with the house, it’s just a lousy market right now.   We know that as well, but it was nice to get some validation.   They were all staying in the group site at the front of the campground, and I thought it was nice that they  were still friends and got together.

Although the campground had a pot luck event on Saturday we stayed at our site.  It’s time to sign up for next year and they had a band, potluck, and fireworks.  I have to say I have been very disappointed with the lack of events this summer and Lee and I have never really connected with the community (such as it is).  Although I like the couple who run the campground, I thought it was a little transparent that they scheduled an event just when it was time to sign up again.  Lee has asked me about it, but I said no.  My main problem is we cannot easily get our camper in and out of the site it’s in…which is not their problem, but also I feel their security is very lax which is.  With everyone up at the party we were looking forward to some quiet time, but the people across from us had gone up and left their dog in the camper.  That dog barked constantly for over four hours.  We had dinner, baked potatoes with chili and cheese  (which Lee loved; recipe is below), and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and asked him to go talk to the owners.  As soon as he walked up to them they looked upset and said “Barking Dog?”  On the one hand it’s nice to not be the only complainer, on the other hand if they knew it was an issue why didn’t they take care of it sooner?? Jill told Bill to go find them down listening to the music and make them take care of it.  Again, I understand how tough it is camping with dogs, but either buy that dog a bark collar or don’t go off to party and leave it alone.  Eventually, they came back and the dog barking stopped and we settled in to watch a movie.  Don’t get me wrong, we expect some noise on weekends, especially holiday weekends, but there is some camper courtesy that needs to be shown.

Sunday was a lazy day…well lazy for me, but Lee was bound and determined to fix a sound problem with the TV.  It involved two trips to Radio Shack and some grumbling, but he eventually hooked the TV up through the camper stereo. In the process he discovered that the radio was never hooked up to the antenna and he was pissed.  Overall our Open Range experience has been a good one, but when he runs across a situation where the builders cut a corner he gets mad.  I recommended he call the manufacturer and complain and we will see, but now we know why we can only get one radio station at the campground.  (Seriously, this is not at all cool. They just didn’t run a line from the antenna to the stereo, and now, to correct, a line has to be run through a finished, insulated camper. That should have been done when it was constructed. I really like listening to the radio, and if I’m not going to be able to, then I should have paid a few hundred less for the camper.- Lee) For dinner tonight we had some chicken on the campfire…just so-so, the recipe didn’t make the cut, but I also made (for the first time) Potato-Pepperoni Hash.  I thought I would try it because I liked all the individual ingredients (those who cook know that doesn’t always work out) but it was fantastic.  Definitely adding it to my new favorites and the recipe is listed below.  (She’s not kidding, she loved it. She ate all of it. Normally she leaves some food on her plate, and I get a  little bonus extra dinner, but this time she scarfed it all up, and now I feel faint from lack of nourishment. – Lee) Super super muggy at night so we turned on the air.  I have to say the AC in the camper is amazing even thought we are only on 30amp.  VERY pleased.  Oh one other thing about Sunday; I have read in blogs (and our friend Greg confirmed) that when the weekend campers leave you can scavenge their wood.  Been wanting to try this and finally the tent site near ours left a huge pile.  Lee and I went and got it and although I felt great about the free wood, felt vaguely guilty as well as if I was doing something wrong.  I know it makes no sense as the owners of the campground would just pick it up and resell it, but like I said felt weird.  That being said we go through a lot of wood and I don’t think we can pass the leftovers up.  (I really can’t make up my mind about this. On the one hand, if someone leaves wood behind, obviously they are doing that because they don’t want to take it with them, and they’re leaving it for “the next guy”. On the other hand, we’re not “the next guy”. On the other hand, the campground is just going to scoop that wood up and then resell it, so it’s not like the “next guy” is even going to get it anyway. So, overall, I feel like it’s OK to take it, but I’m afraid someone will say something. It just feels weird, and not just because it sounds like I have three hands. – Lee) 

Monday I slept in late (9am is not late. That’s half the day gone, and practically time for second breakfast. – Lee) and we scurried out the door to go paddling.  We went to North Star Canoe Rental in Cornish, NH and the guys there were really terrific.  It only costs $15 per boat to drive you 4 miles up the river and the guys were very nice and personable.  (To be clear, that price doesn’t include a canoe or kayak rental, that’s just what they charge you if you have your own boat. I have no idea what they would charge to rent one, but I bet it’s on their website. I also don’t know how much they would charge you to take someone else 4 miles up the river and just leave them there without a boat, but I bet that’s not on the website. – Lee) We weren’t sure how to handle the inflatable, but decided we would leave it in the bag and then blow it up onsite.  (Inflate, not detonate. I just like to be clear. – Lee)

North Star Canoe based out of a barn :)

North Star Canoe based out of a barn 🙂

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The two young men were fascinated with the Sea Eagle and asked Lee tons of questions as he was setting it up.  (Sadly, one of those questions was not “Hey dude, would you like to sit in the shade while I pump up your wicked rad inflatable for you?” – Lee) Our Sea Eagle 385  never fails to get attention, but I was surprised that two people who ran a canoe livery had never seen one.  Once we got it set up we started to put it into the water.  Lee wore his tennis shoes, not sure what he was thinking there, and took them off then we got into the boat.  (I was thinking there would be a dock. Also, shut up. – Lee) The river level was a little low starting off and we had to get out and pull the boat.  This is where the bare feet were NOT helpful as the rocks were very sharp.  I did have shoes though, and found a great new rock for my rock collection 🙂

The Canoe puller we put the Sea Eagle in the back of the bus

The Canoe puller we put the Sea Eagle in the back of the bus

Beautiful view from the livery

Beautiful view from the livery

The paddling was beautiful and there were only a few people on the river.  We got to see the Cornish Wooden bridge  longest covered wooden bridge that carries automobiles and that was neat but it really was hot.  Not muggy, just sun burning hot, and Lee doesn’t do so well in the heat.  (It wasn’t “hot”, it was “Jesus H Christ, we must be a mile from the sun” hot. It was end of days hot. -Lee)  I got out once and got completely wet…the water was so clear, but Lee was happiest in the shade or when the sun went behind a cloud.  (That’s pretty generous revisionist history usage of “happiest”. It would be more accurate to say that in the shade I was somewhat less likely to cheerfully beat someone to death with my paddle so I could skin them and use them as an umbrella. I do not like the heat. – Lee)

Cornish Wooden Brideg

Cornish Wooden Brideg

Longest single covered span wooden bridge that carries automobile traffic

Longest single covered span wooden bridge that carries automobile traffic

 

The views were amazing though.  The water was so still in places I got some great shots with reflections.  Pretty happy with how they turned out.

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Connecticut River

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Connecticut River

 

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Connecticut River

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Connecticut River

 

After paddling, we stopped at a corn stand and bought a dozen ears directly from the farm.  I wanted to try freezing fresh corn and thought at that price, I couldn’t lose.  I bought a dozen ears for $5 and when we got home I went to Pickyourown.org to get directions on how to freeze them.  Basically you boil the corn for 9 minutes then put in ice water for 9 minutes.  Afterwards you gently cut down the cob about 2/3 into the kernel, then put into a freezer bag removing as much air as possible then freeze.  It was fun but a lot of work.  I’ll let you know if the taste was worth the work.

It’s been a great week…going to Atlanta again next week, so Lee will get some quiet time alone at the camper.  I can tell he’s devastated :). (I am. I don’t know how I will get through the week. Probably rib-eyes, bourbon, and pie. – Lee)

 

Lessons Learned

  • Always wear water shoes when going kayaking (Did you not hear me when I said shut up?)

Recipes

 Grilled Rice Packet

  • 2  (10 oz) packages of Green Giant Frozen Rice
  1. Remove contents from package and place on large piece of heavy-duty Reynolds wrap
  2. Seal edges using double-fold seals
  3. Place packet on grill for 30 minutes; turn over once at the 15 minute mark
  4. To serve open packet and stir gently

 

Grilled Rice Packet

Grilled Rice Packet

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Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

Chili-Cheese Baked Potatoes

  • Chili; whichever kind you prefer (I use  one McCormick Chili packets with 1# hamburger, and 1 can each of Light kidney beans and dark kidney beans)
  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • 2 scallions chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Pierce potatoes with a knife once and place into oven unwrapped
  3. Cook potatoes for 1 hour
  4. Remove potatoes and open
  5. Add butter, sour cream, and chili to taste
  6. Sprinkler with cheddar cheese and pop into the microwave for 2 minutes until cheese melts
  7. Add scallions to top of potatoes and serve
Chili-Cheese Baked Potatoes

Chili-Cheese Baked Potatoes

Potato-Pepperoni Hash

  • 3 -4 medium sized Idaho potatoes (diced)
  • 3 oz  pepperoni (diced)
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced) or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 TBL vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Also, make some other food for yourself, because you won’t get to eat the potatoes. Tracy will scarf them all down.
  1. Simmer diced potatoes in salted water until tender; about 12 minutes
  2. Drain and pat dry
  3. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet
  4. Add potatoes and cook, stirring, until crisp; about 8 minutes (add salt and pepper to taste while cooking)
  5. Add pepperoni and sprinkle lightly with garlic; cook 1-2 minutes mixing well
  6. Remove from heat and stir in scallions
  7. Take whatever you made for yourself out of the microwave.
Potato - Pepperoni Hash

Potato – Pepperoni Hash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

2 thoughts on “First Time Paddling on the Connecticut River

  1. OMG, poor Lee. No water shoes, too much heat and no skin to use as an umbrella 😉 Paddle trip looked great fun! Maybe when we get there in Oct we can take a fall color paddle? I can’t believe someone (a neighbor) would actually park in your driveway! Our place hasn’t sold either 😦 Potato recipe sounds good!

  2. Appreciating the commitment you put into your website and detailed information you provide.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same out of date rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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