Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slaves to the weather

We are at the Elks lodge in Hyannis, Massachusetts (map), on Cape Cod. It is supposed to get up to 60° today, and the sun is shining; it should be a great day to visit the cape.

Sunday I wrote that we'd be pinned down in Concord by rain all day. I was wrong -- we were pinned down by rain only part of the day; the rest of the day, we were pinned down by snow. The rain turned into hail and then wet snow early in the afternoon, and by mid-afternoon it was fluffy dry snow that was sticking on the ground. Other than walking the dog and grilling dinner, we never left the bus, and we were thankful for the 20-amp power outlet, which was enough to keep the batteries topped up, plus run the electric heaters all day. We did need to run the Webasto for a couple of hours in the coldest part of the day.

When we awoke yesterday, the weather was clear and the snow was gone. The view out the window was a fall scene of colorful leaves on the ground -- you couldn't even tell it had snowed. We got a relatively early start, skirting around Boston on the Interstate and getting back to the coast in Quincy. From there we took MA-3A, the most coastal route, all the way to the cape. 3A afforded the occasional view of the water, passing quaint harbors full of recreational and fishing boats. 3A also runs through Plymouth, which was not unexpectedly a tourist trap of a town. We opted not to run the gauntlet to see the rock, which I've done before anyway.

There are only two roads onto Cape Cod. Nature did not intend it, but the cape is really an island, separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal. We crossed the canal on the more northerly Sagamore bridge, then turned onto 6A to follow the north shore. That took us right past the canal visitor center operated by the Corps of Engineers, and we stopped in. The exhibits were mildly interesting; much more so was watching the incredible current in the canal race past us. With tidal bays on either side, the current in the canal changes direction twice a day and is a factor of the tide difference between the bays; tracking and reporting the currents is one of the Corps' full time jobs here.

We decided to spend two nights on the cape, taking the scooters out to explore. While there are a number of over-priced commercial parks further out, many of which are already closed for the season, the most easterly reasonable alternative still open on the cape is Nickerson State Park, another 15 miles east of here. That location is also much closer to our friends, with whom we've arranged to have dinner tonight.

The state park wants $17 per night for a spot with no hookups, and so we decided to spend our first night here in Hyannis, where the Elks lodge is free and has a 15-amp outlet. There was already a rig here when we arrived, though, so we are sharing the single circuit; I have our draw dialed down to 5 amps, which is enough to run the lights, pumps, fridge, and air compressor indefinitely, but we've had to run the Webasto as needed for heat. As a bonus, there is an Olive Garden literally right next door, where we had a nice dinner.

Today we will get an early start, head over to Nickerson, get settled in, and take the scooters out for the tour of the cape. From there it is about a 35 mile ride to Provincetown at the tip, and I expect the round trip will take us all the way to dinner time, when our friends will come over and pick us up at the park.


  1. After seeing the highlights of the Patriots/Titans game this past Sunday with all the snow I wondered if it hit you, also, and now I know.

  2. I have very much enjoyed your journey. I especially enjoy your accounts of life on the road at the upper end of the rv scale.

    My current rv is a bit lower on that scale.


    I have slept in this rig about half of each week for the past year. I use it to reduce my commute.I work nights and sleep here in the day, avoiding a dangerous sleepy commute. I hope to take this or a somewhat improved version on the road in the near future.


  3. @Mike: Wow, you're really doing the minimalist thing! That is a simple and elegant solution. My hat's off to you that you've chosen to safely sleep instead of drive. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you on the road.


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