Friday, June 10, 2016

Delaware

We managed to squeeze in a couple of visits to the Elks Lodge, a drive along the shore of Lake Erie, a tour of some of the covered bridges nearby and side trips to Ashtabula and Conneaut in our spare time.

Pennsylvania was a blur as we broke our guiding principles and got on the INTERSTATES! AARRGH!!

Well we had a reason.

The Mid Atlantic area (Delaware, Pennsylvania. Maryland, Virginia) was our stomping ground for 25 years before we moved to San Diego back in 2006 and we have lots of good friends to catch up with.

That being said most of them are still working for a living and we have to fit in with their busy schedules.

A quick night in State College PA at the Walmart split the 400+  mile hop from Ohio into 2 manageable chunks. We found on our RV Parky app that the Delaware Park Casino near Wilmington DE has free dry camping in the parking lot and we headed there, calling our friends Lance and Jenifer along the way.

Lance has been a friend since I first discovered that the hate I had for BMW motorcycles was totally misplaced! Turns out it wasn’t the motorcycles I disliked, it was a sector of the owners of those motorcycles! There is a group called the “Airheads” who love and maintain vintage BMW’s and they are a totally different breed than the owners of modern BMW’s who sometimes have an attitude.

My first Airhead Club meeting had me sitting next to a really nice guy with a sense of humor that matched mine, before we knew it we were fast friends so naturally we had to hook up when we passed by.

Newcastle Delaware Courthouse

Lance and Jenifer like motorcycles, good beer, pubs with character and travel. They quickly dragged us screaming (Yeah Right) to old Newcastle DE which we never in our wildest dreams imagined existed in this area. Delaware to me has always been a blur on I95 while going to jobs in New Jersey. It’s the beginning of toll roads, traffic and the site of endless chemical plants (Think Du Pont) and oil refineries.

The man himself William Penn

Immanuel Episcopal Church

Our surprise was total when we found winding country roads, pretty farms and historical buildings going back to the beginnings of modern USA (Delaware was after all the FIRST state). A walk around the cemetery at the Immanuel Episcopal Church with so many of it’s old headstones engraved with “Born in England” “From Yorkshire England” etc., brought us closer to the early residents of the area.

Lovely well cared for Newcastle historic district.

Lance had arranged dinner at “The Whip”. A neat English Pub out in the country run by – An Englishman – of course. I’m not sure it wasn’t the food and beer that had Dave and Lisa join us for dinner rather than the thrill of meting us again, but they too are good friends for the Airheads BMW club so that might have influenced them a little too. (I like to think so anyway). A supremely pleasant evening was had, followed by another the next night at an Irish bar they like.

Just the first of several taverns we visited. This one possibly the oldest in Delaware.

Lance and Barbara at "The Whip"

The terrible twins 

I guess Dave was operating the camera.
L to R Lance, Barbara, Me, Jennifer, Lisa
Confusion reigned but at least Dave got in this one!

Almost in self-defense from over indulgence, we took the opportunity to go shopping for tires for the Fiesta while everyone was busy during the day on Sunday. After all there is NO SALES TAX in Delaware and we took advantage of it.


Monday came all too soon and the plan was now to fit in with Charlie and Debbie’s schedule just 20 miles up the road for dinner with them and friends from the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle/ Classic Goldwing motorcycle group. Charlie runs a motorcycle accessory business DC Cycle (dccycleparts@verizon.com) from an Industrial Park and we planned to park the rig in the parking lot and camp there for a couple of nights before heading south for Maryland. Then Debbie said “Why not just park it and stay in our spare bedroom?” and we were living in a house for the first time since last July!!





Bob, Renee, Tom and Dawn came round and we sat catching up on what we’ve been missing for the last 10 years, eating Charlie’s great grilled offerings and sipping beer and wine. Time flew, the past 10 years slipped away and it felt like we’d never been away.




Better still, Bob and Renee are “Most of the timers” in that they are retired and spend a lot of time travelling with their 5th wheel trailer, and we found that we’re both planning on being in the Florida Keys in November so we might get to camp together for a week or so.




With all this pleasantness came the hard reminder of how much traffic there is in this part of the country, how impatient the drivers can get and how tight some of the smaller roads are. Even though we planned on driving a total of 40 miles on Monday to dump tanks, fill up the rig and get to Charlie’s, we ended up driving 70+ and running around manically when the dump station at a state park was closed, the gas station we had scouted out for access in the rig was jammed with cars and delivery vans and I95 as like madhouse full of suicidal drivers. But all’s well that ends well apparently, once we found a big cheap gas station in the countryside and a new Cabella’s outdoor store that offers free dump station use with an in-store purchase.

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