Here is a tip for other RVers out there: If you have a Samsung microwave circa 2003 PLEASE look at their website for a list of recalls!! Apparently that gremlin turned out to be a bad keypad, and some were turning themselves on by themselves. (ours was just stuck on saying "2" but who knows?" we leave it unplugged when not in use to be safe.) Samsung is graciously sending us a check for $250.00 if we kill the nukerator. Not bad for 12 phone calls, 5 non-english speaking customer service reps, and about 42 minutes hold time total.
On to the second trip! We stayed close to home and went to a nice little State Park.
French Creek State Park has about 35 miles of hiking trails, and hiking happens to be our favorite pastime while camping. We just put new heavier duty tires and shocks on, so it was like a test drive too. Perfect. Other than being down by one camper, we were looking forward to this little jaunt.
Michaux State Forest
I had been doing some research (heh...in all my spare time- is that why these trips feel so hurried and thrown together last minute?) and discovered that some of Pennsylvania's state forests allow for "dispersed camping". Our original plans for this trip were to head to the Poconos and check out the waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park, or Promised Land State Park.
But then THIS happened:
We are in HIGH camping season here still apparently, and securing a decent spot last minute was proving to be a bit of a challenge. Until I found out about aforementioned dispersed camping that is. I called the forest ranger on Wednesday, got a camping permit for the weekend and we were good to go! .The kids even had a 1/2 day on Friday so we would be getting there in the daylight! TWO nights, NO campground!!!!
Sadly however...those pesky gremlins decided to make another appearance.
But, as usual, Jason kept at the mystery. Friday night he found a hidden wire, cut and just hanging loose to create havoc, and another gremlin was extinguished- bright light! bright light!.
So we decided it would be better to leave Saturday morning. Neither of us like to arrive at a new camping spot during the dark since the time we almost ended up in a lake at midnight. Another camping horror story for later....
The ride to Michaux was just beautiful! We were treated to scenes from wine country, and it was breathtaking. I could hardly keep up with picture taking. Every time we went around a turn or over a hill, more beauty laid itself out before us.
We stopped by the ranger's office to pick up our permit, and headed through the forest to find our spot.
Except we weren't thrilled when we pulled in. The campsite was a large field past a lot where ATVers can stage their equipment to hit the riding trails.This was the final weekend they were allowed to ride for the season. Five other parties were also camping on Piney Mountain Ridge for the night (two of which had dogs that instantly started barking at our intrusion). Jason and I looked at each other in disgust. Ummm..not what we were looking for. Ugh. We struggled with what to do. Leave? It was getting dark and we were tired. Try to find another campground nearby? Hahahaha- NO signal on the phones.
We decided to suck it up and stay.
First order of business, we needed to gather firewood from around the site. Campers may not bring wood from other areas because of the destruction caused by invasive insects. We take the rules very seriously, so Jason and the kids went hunting for downed and dead wood to burn. The neighbor to our one side graciously offered the wood he had ready, but would not need. (I love RV people, they're just like that) His dog even quit barking at us (whew!)
We set up camp, and the kids roasted weenies on the fire. Riley was excited to use the long forks I bought for him because all I heard about for the two days before camping was "can we roast weenies on the fire?" Settling in a little (the neighbors to the other side turned out to be a LOT quieter that we thought they would be) we finally started to relax and enjoy!
We all agreed however:we would absolutely come back here. Even with the ATV crowd we had a great time! Lucy did great for her first trip and slept almost the whole way home.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Good: Lucy's first trip! Boondocking success, fantastic weather, great hiking
The Bad: Stinkbug Sunday
The Ugly: Lunatic cop killing snipers forcing us to change plans!