Today, January 9 has proven to be a long day. Because the forecasts indicated that another major snowstorm was moving into the east, we worked till 2 am to ensure that a minimum of things would be left for the morning of departure. Don found that putting the last few items into the cargo bay, with a wind out of the north and the thermometer edging down to -20 C, was no fun. In the end, some items found temporary homes and will be rearranged when we find a warm place to pause.
A midnight check of the US weather report confirmed our decision to leave quickly and that we probably had a one day window to get through the snow-belt in northern New York state. The approaching storm front could make travel difficult for much of the next week.
This morning the sun was shining but the roads were glazed and in some places still snow covered until we approached Kingston. Thanks Ken, we did remember your earlier warning about the low overpass on county road 32 to Gananoque!
After crossing the border, we headed down Interstate 81 and on the edge of Watertown we stopped at a rest stop for our first lunch on the road. The last minute preparation of homemade soup and some baking really hit the spot and was a great way to clear items from the fridge and cupboards. South of Syracuse Don decided that the exertions of the night before were starting to catch up with him. Yes Lisa, he did relinquish the wheel and let Diane take over! Refueling and supper were at a Flying J between Binghamton and Scranton. Although a number of other rigs were settling in here for the night, the weather was still clear but there were warnings of snow and freezing rain starting by midnight. We decided to push on in the hopes of getting ahead of the bad weather. Driving through the mountains south of Scranton, the trees along the highway were bent over touching the side of the road, coated with ice from freezing rain during the storm on Wednesday. It brought back memories of the ice storm in 1998! Road signs glistened in the headlights and were so coated with ice that they were hard to read. While passing through Wilkes-Barre PA we experienced light snow showers but no problems. By 10:30 we were in Harrisburg PA and thanks to the GPS found a new Walmart superstore just off I-83 with a security guard that told us we could stay all weekend if we wanted! We joined the transports lined up along the back of the parking lot and breathed a sigh of relief although the radio reports suggested that we could wake up to 3-5 inches of snow in the morning!
On the trip down, the coach was never uncomfortable but was cooler than we expected. We put it down to the cold temperatures and the frozen step cover at the door. When we stopped, we discovered that the kitchen window was partly open - and had been for the whole trip. We had opened it to reduce the air pressure when we closed the slides and forgotten to re-close it! Live and learn. The newbies won't do that again!
After weeks of unexpected delays, on Wednesday, January 7 we were finally free to leave Almonte. Wouldn't you know it, that was the day the weather turned cold and there was a significant snowfall! Thursday, the 8th we watched snowplows clear the streets and listened to weather forecasts as we prepared the house for departure and packed the last items into the motor coach - affectionately called 'the Beast' at this point. For those of you who followed our 2008 adventures, this year we have 'upgraded' from the Murano and hotels and will be traveling in a 2007 Monaco Diplomat Motor home. No doubt this change will bring a whole new host of adventures with it.