Day 159 - Manny From Heaven

Trip Start May 19, 2008
1
161
172
Trip End Nov 08, 2008


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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart, Kingston, New York

Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, October 24, 2008

What a cold night it was last night! So much so that we had ice on the windows this morning – on the inside!! It was still very cold and also very foggy when we got up around 7.30am, and an hour later when Neil started to get the bus ready for us to move on, the ice was still on the inside of the windows! And so, donning hats and gloves, we set off towards the Catskill Mountains and the KOA we had phoned a few days ago. Electric for the heater would be most welcome!

We headed north on Route 9, crossing the Hudson River via the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge. By now the fog had lifted and the sun had come out but it was still bitterly cold. The KOA is situated just on the edge of Catskill Park, about 10 miles away from Woodstock. On the way there, we debated whether it was the Woodstock. (Neil didn’t reckon it was, but Mel was pretty certain it was and had to find it on Wikipedia later in the day to prove it!)

We arrived at the campsite around midday to be met by a rather terse woman. Once in reception she informed us that the rate was actually about $5 more than we had been quoted earlier in the week. We showed her the size of the van and explained that we used very little electric and didn’t need cable TV, but as far as she was concerned, the rate was the rate and that was that! And so, completely fed up with being ripped off, we decided that we would leave her almost empty campsite and go elsewhere. We tried another site fairly nearby and they were even worse. They wanted $45 per night!!

Our next challenge was to find a working phone so that we could phone the DMV and find out where on earth our paperwork was. Once we knew the state of play with them we could formulate plan B. You just would not believe how difficult it is to find a phone. We tried in the town of Saugerties but to no avail. So we headed back down the 9W constantly scanning the pavements and strip malls but no sign of any phones. We eventually found one at a fuel station, which Mel went to use while Neil filled up, but that didn’t work! The young lad at the fuel station asked the usual “How are you doing?” and completely hacked off at this point, we replied “crap, don’t ask”, much to his amusement. We guess everyone usually replies “good, thanks”, robot-like, with no thought to how bad a day they were really having! When we explained our frustration at not being able to find a phone, let alone a working one, he kindly handed his mobile to us and told us to call whoever we needed to. After a surprisingly quick call to the DMV we offered to pay Manny for the use of his phone but he wouldn’t hear of it. It was nice to have our faith in humankind restored, if only temporarily. And temporarily it was as we were soon lured into McDonalds by a poster offering wi-fi. As we needed to get online to check out more camping options we decided to have lunch there and take advantage of the wi-fi. It was only after we had confirmed with the staff that it was working and had ordered lunch that we discovered that at this particular McD’s they charged for the privilege. We’re just astounded that in the current economic climate, rather than offer incentives to promote trade, so many people are content to just rip off others for as much as possible today, with no thought given to repeat business or whatever. Incredible…..

And so back to feeling dejected we continued on to the town of Kingston, a fairly large place with lots of large stores including a Wal-Mart. It didn’t have a large car park though and the layout didn’t lend itself to parking up for the night inconspicuously so we carried on to find the library. Once there we checked out more Wal-Mart locations and also New Jersey State Parks. We found a state forest with camping still open in north-western New Jersey near the state line with Pennsylvania; it doesn’t have electric but at least it has showers so that’s something. Sadly today’s huge run-around had taken up most of the day and as it was now almost 4pm it was too late to set off for there today, so we headed back to Wal-Mart for another look. We managed to find a spot that was ok. It wasn’t brilliant in that it was under great big floodlights but at least it was tucked away around the corner form the main entrance, and as we didn’t have many other attractive options for tonight, we decided that it would do for one night.

After a visit to the store to buy food for our dinner we returned to the bus with a huge, stodgy chocolate fudge cake to console ourselves with. We also cracked one of the bottles of wine that John had given us to drown our sorrows with. Nice! Cheers John!

Miles travelled: 66

Total miles travelled: 15171

Days on road: 139

States visited: 32

National Parks visited: 21
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