Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two wipers wiping

We are parked on the street in front of my uncle's house in New City, New York (generic map). Tonight will be our second night in this spot; we've been so busy visiting since we arrived here yesterday afternoon that I've hardly had time to check email, let alone blog.

After leaving Pittsfield Sunday morning, we made our way north on MA-8, following the Hoosic River, swollen from all the rain the previous night. As we made our way through Adams and into North Adams we could see the top of Mount Greylock off to our left and the War Memorial Tower at its summit. I would have liked to stop there, as I have many memories from hiking to the summit annually, but the road is restricted to RVs under 13' long. A couple of the years I summited Greylock the tower was in pieces, dismantled block by block for cleaning and restoration.

In North Adams we turned west on MA-2, still following the progressively more turbulent Hoosic downstream to Williamstown, the very place where NOAA had issued flood warnings for the river the night before. We saw no evidence that the river had overtopped its banks, although some low-lying areas had plenty of standing water.

We lopped off the southwest corner of Vermont on US-7 and VT-346, both continuing along the Hoosic valley into New York and Hoosick Falls where we picked up NY-22. Shortly afterwards our route plans disintegrated, as first NY-372 west from Cambridge, and then CR-61 west into Battenville both turned out to have 11' clearances. NY-372 was at least posted back in Cambridge, even though the obstacle was some nine miles west, in Greenwich. No such luck with CR-61, which crosses a ridge with ~10% grades on both sides. We made it to within sight of NY-29 in Battenville only to have to turn back, climb back over the ridge, and go all the way around to the junction of 22 and 29 in Salem.

We finally found our way to Argyle without knocking anything off the top of Odyssey, arriving at my cousin's place in the early afternoon, just in time for the start of festivities for the annual pumpkin party. We had a great time with my "nephew" (actually first cousin once removed) Joseph and his cousins and friends, taking a hay ride to find pumpkins, carving them, and generally eating too much food. After the guests left and Joseph went to bed, we had a nice evening catching up, followed by a quiet night in their driveway. A tree in their yard blocks our shot to the satellite, so we were off line for the duration of our stay.

Monday was clear, dry, and sunny, so I tackled getting the wiper motor installed while Louise ran back and forth to the house doing laundry; somewhere in all this their dog Simon managed to eat all the leftover cupcakes from the party while Lori was out picking Joseph up from school. I felt a little bad, because the "cupcake incident" happened on our watch, but at least the initial test of the wipers was promising, and I got to call Simon "Cupcake" for the rest of our stay. He had the good sense to look sheepish about it, at least.

The five of us went out for a nice Italian dinner Monday evening, and we said our goodbyes -- we are late risers, and knew we would miss them in the morning as they raced off to work and school. Tuesday morning we got a relatively early start, as often happens when we have no Internet connection, and we made our way to US-4 for the trip south.

With plenty of time on our hands, we opted for the scenic route, taking US-4 south to Albany, where we picked up US-9W. This scenic route follows the west bank of the Hudson through many historic towns and places, including West Point. We did make a brief romp through the Catskills on NY-23A and NY-32 between Catskill and Saugerties, as there is another low clearance on 9W somewhere around Cementon. Other than the one detour, 9W brought us all the way here.

It started raining on us somewhere around Albany, and kept up pretty steadily the rest of the way. The cobbled-together wiper motor performed flawlessly, having run it for a good two hours or so at both jog and steady settings. It's possible that this "temporary" repair might hold us for many more months or even years; the new gearbox housing is certainly beefier than the previous one -- I even had to drill out the mounting holes to the next size, because this one has larger bolts.

My folks drove up here today from Brick, NJ for a visit over dinner; tomorrow we'll all go out for a nice breakfast, then we'll head out in search of warmer climes. I do have a call in to U.S. Coach in Vineland, NJ to see if they can service our brakes, but I have my doubts about whether they can get the parts in any reasonable sort of time frame. We'll see in the morning; if they tell us they can have the parts by Monday, we may hang around this area for a few days, otherwise we will keep moving and try to find someone in the Carolinas or Florida to handle it.


  1. RV's under 13' long? Like Honda CRX-based RV's?

    Sorry, silly first post. Avid lurker. Carry on.

    - Chris

  2. Hey,

    It trip sounds beautiful, and Sean what a great writer.
    Its a shame there are so many low places, and not marked well.
    Congrats on the wiper too.
    Safe travels,

  3. @Chris: Welcome to the blog. Your first post is not all that silly; I had similar thoughts, but that is exactly the limit listed on this page from the official park web site (scroll down to "Vehicle Restrictions"). There you will see that tour buses are also prohibited (so we can't sneak in masquerading as one), although school buses are allowed.

    I assume this limit would permit certain teardrop-type trailers, some pop-ups, and maybe even a Westphalia Vanagon. Actually, I think you'd get away with any class-B that did not exceed its original van footprint, since presumably passenger vans are permitted.


  4. Congrats on the wiper motor.....I am an avid & well practiced "jury rigger" and when there's a will there's a way! Those darn plastic gears are always a weak / fail point. The thing will likely run forever! (knock on wood) Enjoy the
    east and "keep Odysseys' head down" in the trees / low clearance stuff...


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