Before I jump into Connecticut, we had to get there, and unfortunately once again we had truck issues on the drive. The first day wasn’t terrible, but the second day we were back to little to no power when we went up hills. This led us to believe that we might have some sort of pinhole leak in the new radiator and the smell of burning coolant supported that. Thankfully engine temperatures did not require pulling over, but babying the engine did add time to the drive. The good news is the insurance company was extremely apologetic and agreed we could take the truck to a Ford dealer in Connecticut. We also learned that eventually we would be getting our $1,000 deductible back from the other insurance company which was welcome news as well. The hardest part of the drive though was Jack getting used to his new seat in the truck. He likes being up high and was not happy when he wasn’t eye level with us so we piled his two dog beds together and made a temporary solution. I told Jack that the grandbabies came first but he was unimpressed by my argument.
Those of you who have read the blog for awhile know that we have criteria for when we get a state sticker. For us we not only have to spend the night in our RV in the state, but also do something unique to the area. As we are finishing our seventh year we are down to just a few states, but those have been super tricky to get. You would think it would be easy, as most of the remaining states we have driven through, but the coordination has been tough. Since my youngest daughter Kay is going to college in Connecticut I thought that one would be easy, but finding a place to stay was challenging.
We have spent lots of time with her sisters over the last two years, but because of her school COVID restrictions have not been able to visit. When Lee started looking for a place in Connecticut near her there weren’t a ton of choices and the later we got into October the worse it was. Finally I called a place that closed October 15th and explained our situation and asked if they could extend for us. It turns out that the campground has 8 full hookup spots that they leave open longer and the owner thought she might have a spot. Ultimately she took pity on us and squeezed us in and I was happy to pay $1000 in cash for the month. The spot itself is really huge and best of all there is a giant field that Jack can run in. The only downside is we are under walnut trees and the the loud crack of walnuts hitting our RVs is a little distressing at times. Still I was thrilled we found a place only 20 minute drive from our daughter and it is really beautiful.
Kay is going to Wesleyan College which is in Middletown, CT and I was surprised by how familiar the surrounding area was. When I used to travel for work, before we hit the road, I spent a ton of time in Berlin, CT which is right next door to Middletown. I was thrilled when I learned that a couple of my favorite restaurants were pretty close by and had a blast taking Lee to the Cromwell Diner and Puerto Vallarta Mexican restaurant. When you visit a place enough for work you get a favorite hotel and favorite restaurants and there was nothing better after a long day of working than pot roast at the Cromwell diner. It had been 8 years since I had been to the restaurant but it has the same owners and the pot roast tasted exactly the same!!
As we were roaming around I was hit with a wave of nostalgia and it was great showing Lee all of the places I knew in the area. I was particularly excited when we drove by Stew Leonards grocery store and Lee and I had to stop. One of the interesting things about traveling is all the different grocery stores we visit but NONE and I mean none is as unique as Stew Leonards. My best explanation is Kroger meets Chuckie Cheese meets IKEA. The grocery store has a path (like IKEA) and each section had cool animatronic characters and design. There are tons of employees, lots of in house made product, and videos that show how things are made. I would have loved to have taken my kids here when they were small and even though the prices are on the high side the entertainment value more than makes up for it. If you are ever in the area, please take the time to stop in. It earned our state sticker for us and is definitely a unique place.
We also were excited to find several disc golf courses in the area and Lee took Jack to one that was dog friendly. They had an absolute blast that day and as we all know a happy Jack makes for a happy family. Have I mentioned lately that it really is all about Jack? Yes I have become one of those people.
The best news is we are only 30 minutes from the beach and it allows dogs after September 1st. I missed the crashing waves, as the water is actually the Long Island Sound, but we did enjoy a beautiful walkway that meandered through the dunes. Going to places like this off season is the best because it was clear from the parking lot the state park would be packed in season. It was another nice way to see the area and a first for both of us because we had never seen the Long Island Sound.
All in all it was a great way to get our state sticker and next up we are touring the Wesleyan campus with Kay. It’s an absolutely gorgeous campus with a variety of architecture and definitely deserves its own post.
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