Thursday, July 18, 2019

Gertrude Goes to Massachusetts

I've decided to deviate from my original plan of just going in order of the parks we've visited and jump to more present day adventures. 

First time visiting: June-July 2019
Length of stay: 3 weeks
Name of park: Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground (Thousand Trails Park)
Location: Rochester, MA

We've recently come from three weeks in Eastern Massachusetts. We haven't stayed this long in one Thousand Trails park since our journeys began, but due to some other events happening we decided to this time. 

When we first headed there, out GPS took us through Vermont into a route that Kyle wished we'd not chosen. There were a lot of climbs and Gertrude was yelling at us on more than one occasion as she charged up the hills/mountains. He would give me a look (at more than one point) as we passed the entrance or sign for a ski lodge in the area. Eventually we arrived at the campground. They are surrounded by multiple cranberry bogs in the area (something we had never seen in real life before). There had been quite a bit of rain in the area over the previous few days so there was quite a bit of puddling throughout he campground. We were directed to a FHU site that would accommodate Gertrude and told if we weren't satisfied we were free to move  to a different site the next day. We decided the site suited us quite well and that is where we stayed put for the duration of our time there. It is pretty much a sandy campground overall, with some nice tree coverage. The roads aren't too difficult to navigate. The area we were in was mostly pull-through sites and from what I recall was fairly level. We were at the end of a row and the drainage seemed to be great for our site! Others weren't so lucky in other areas of our same section. We were fairly close to the main activity center, pool, laundry, on-site store, and an on-site snack shack (Admiral Snack Bar). There was a small pond on the other end of the park that I was informed is fed by the cranberry bogs in the area mostly. It wasn't suitable for swimming at all, but was alright for kayaking and I'm told is nice for fishing.

The first night we decided to try out a little snack shack we'd heard about just up the road from the campground called The Robins Nest. We shared a seafood platter that had a cod filet, shrimp, scallops, and clams (all lightly fried) on a bed of french fries served with a small helping of coleslaw, tarter sauce, and cocktail sauce. It was plenty of food for the both of us and VERY reasonably priced! They also had 84 flavors of frozen treats to choose from, but we didn't try that out THAT night. So if you are in the area, I HIGHLY recommend stopping by!

We settled back in and started our lengthy stay. We figured since we were going to be there for longer, we'd set up the hammock and make ourselves truly at home. We posted on FB that we'd be here and another member in the campground stopped by and invited me to join a FB group for connecting with friends in the Thousand Trails campgrounds. She and he husband were going to be playing cards later in the week and invited us to join them. Kyle was headed off to a Homebrew Convention in Rhode Island with his brother the latter part of the week, but I was all in for games! 

While he was away learning all about brews and such with his brother, I was meeting new friends and taking the kayak out on the small pond in the area. We met another couple the evening he returned and I ended up going out during the week and kayaking with them at a nearby beach. We also got to babysit their sweet pup while they went out adventuring since Kyle was going to be home working anyway. We ended up playing games with them on a couple of different nights also and adding to our growing list of traveling friends!

We were there for the 4th of July and ended up booking a whale watching trip with fireworks in the harbor upon the return in Provincetown (P-town), MA. That next weekend we found a close by town with a ~4 mile bike path to ride (Phoenix Bike Trail in Fairhaven, MA). It wasn't a particularly easy path, but not TOO bad, and I managed to finish the whole trip (little did I know what I was in for in another couple of weeks...ha!). That day I ended up riding for 10 miles total. We finished up that weekend by just going to drive around Newport, RI and to a casino in Connecticut our friends had recommended. 

The next week we had more friends arriving that we'd met in previous campgrounds that we were looking forward to connecting with again. We got together with both of the other couples and taught them to play Hand & Foot. After one night of playing we ended up coming to the rescue of a mother and son who had accidentally been locked out of their camper. With some quick thinking we managed to help them get back in without her husband having to drive ~2 hours to bring the spare key from home. We also got another opportunity to do some dog sitting for some friends while they ventured off during the week. This kind of helps to cure our craving for a furry companion of our own and we just liked having a pup around to play with and tend to for the day. 

The last weekend we were there we decided to make the trek out to Martha's Vineyard and take our bikes onto the ferry. We got there in the morning and saw two other cars being turned away from the parking lot. To our surprise the gentleman told us if we were taking bikes, to go on in! We could either take the bike path to the ferry (~4 miles) or get on a bike bus (bike rack on the front of the bus) to get to the ferry. We decided to mount up and ride down there. After all, I'd done 10 miles the weekend before, this would be a snap! It was a wonderful path that was very well shielded from traffic and not too busy. We got to the ferry, bought our tickets, and boarded the ferry to the island. We got there and scouted out a popular path that took us along a beach area. There was some areas that were heavily trafficked with cares, but mostly nice bike paths of the main roadway. I was given a few opportunities to turn back and wait in a populated area for Kyle to finish biking and return to me, but I pressed on. I took quite a few "rests" and walked the bike up several hills that I encountered, but I never fully gave up! And by the end of the day, we'd biked 24.71 MILES over 2.5 hours total time riding!! The next day was moving day and so we came home, went for a dip in the pool, I did some laundry, and we called it a night. We weren't just overly impressed with Martha's Vineyard overall, really. We can say we've been, but mostly it provided an interesting place to bike around. (Truthfully, we felt we could have found a similar experience in another town without having to pay $25/person to take us and our bikes on a ferry to an island.)

Overall I really enjoyed this campground. It was close to several areas to explore. We would definitely stay here again, if we were to be in the area again. It was quite a drive to get out to Cape Cod proper, but that is mostly due to congestion on the bridge going to the Cape. Even that though, was doable overall. We had our fair share of seafood and even stopped at The Robins Nest on more than one occasion for ice cream or an easy meal. 

Below are several pictures from our stay and our adventures...

Kyle, Steve, Jimmy, Christine, Dorsey, & Darla playing Hand & Foot 

We DID it! Fairhaven bike trip!

Gertrude at Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground

The entrance to the campground

Jackson, our 2nd houseguest that we dogsat

Kayaking on Leonard's Pond at the campground

Over halfway through the Martha's Vineyard bike ride

Kayaking at Onset Beach in Wareham, MA

Waiting in line to board our whale watching adventure

Thar she blows!! A mother and son humpback whale feeding in the harbor

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Gertrude Goes to Colorado River Thousand Trails

First visit: October 2018
Length of stay: 2 weeks
Location: Columbus, TX

We continued on our trek about the state and made our way just down I-10 a bit to Columbus, TX and Colorado River Thousand Trails. This park is located not far from I-10 and just outside of the town of Columbus. This is a pretty small little town located on the Colorado River.

There is a (small) Walmart and two grocery stores in town that are fairly well sized. There is a nice family restaurant (Schobel's) in town that has a weekend and lunch buffet. On the recommendation of a woman at the park we went to a Mexican food restaurant (Los Cabos) in town that was DELICIOUS! This campground was about an hour from where our son lives, so we were able to spend some time visiting with him while we were here also. The post office in town was very handy for various shipping needs that we had while there.

The campground overall was the smallest we had been to in our travels throughout the Thousand Trails parks in Texas. They have a nice pool and INDOOR spa/hot tub. It was a little chilly out for enjoying the pool, but we did visit the spa SEVERAL evenings! Every time we went we were the only ones in there. All their facilities were very clean and well kept. They had various activities throughout the time we were there, including mid-week hot dog dinners, movie nights, game nights, performers, and more. The laundry facilities were small, but workable. We had really good cell service with both AT&T and Verizon throughout our entire stay in the park. We enjoyed playing the 18-hold putt putt golf course, even though it seemed to have a lot of leaves and such on much of the course. There is some wildlife around the park, most deer, but not anything like we had seen at Lake Medina. These deer were not fed by the park and were far more "wild" and skiddish.

Our site by the river was mostly level, on grass (no gravel), and located under a large Pecan-bearing shade tree and FHU. Sometimes we would hear pecans being knocked out of the trees (likely by wind or squirrels) and falling onto Gertrude's roof. At first we got a bit startled by this, but we soon figured out what it was and it settled into the background of noises of living in an RV. *grin* There was plenty of room for both Gertrude and the car on the sites. The sites had plenty of room between them, so you didn't feel as though you were right on top of your neighbors. Once when we were there, Texas had been experiencing a lot of rain and the river had been rising. The ladies in the office were wonderful about updating everyone on the river levels and if anyone needed to be alerted as to moving to higher ground. At the end of that stay, we DID end up moving to a higher site, just to be on the safe side (which we ended up not having to worry about anything had we stayed where we started). We were more concerned with needing to move in the middle of the night and in haste and wanted to avoid that if we could. 

There were a few nature trails throughout and around the park that Kyle really enjoyed exploring when he had a break in the morning from work to get out and stretch. All the other people camped or staying here were very friendly and willing to chat while out and about. 

While we stayed here we decided to take a drive to Port Lavaca and the Texas coastline, which was about an hour and a half away from us by car. We would likely visit this park again, as it was conveniently located to family and was just a nice country park, in our opinion. Now that I have a kayak, I'd be interested in paddling out on the river. There is a boat launching area accessible from the campground.  Everyone we interacted with while there couldn't have been nicer or more helpful! 

Below are a few pictures from some of our stays at this park. Happy adventuring friends! Hope to see you on the road!