Day 93. Wed. 31st July. From Foster Rhode Island to New Paltz, Connecticut.

What a difference a day makes! It’s now green, wooded and very hilly. We are on the edge of the Catskill Mountains camped at Samuel Pryor Shawangunk Gateways (Gunks) Campground in the Mohonk Preserve. Back in bear country. We received a stern warning from the campsite manager, not to leave any food or toiletries outside of the vehicle. This campsite is part of a group of sites associated with an alpine/mountaineering society. Very well maintained and run. The manager kindly gave us the member’s rate of $24, instead of the visitor’s rate of $38.

After leaving Foster this morning we proceeded in a westerly direction on smaller roads, but still busy compared to Canada. A lot more preferable to motorways though. A few miles out of Hartford, we were on a six lane highway, for a bit, with traffic whizzing past us in all lanes. Thank God for the Sat-Nav to tell us which lane. As well as being Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, was the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Abraham Lincoln was said to have remarked that ‘this was the little lady who sparked the big war’.

We passed impressive skyscrapers glinting in the sun but did not venture downtown. Next we were in a completely different area. Very poor and run down. Sadly all black residents. It had a very raw, edgy feel. In no time, another complete change. Beautiful, enormous mansions surrounded by elegant gardens.

We had set the Sat-Nav to take us to Poughkeepsie, the shortest route. At times we override her as she wants to take us down little alleyways and on unpaved roads. This afternoon we let her have her head. At first we were on some tiny lanes, as the countryside became very hilly and wooded. The next minute we plunged deeper into the forest on a dirt road. Both Dennis and the Land Rover were in their element. The speed limited said 25mph, but that was totally ignored as we carried on a roller coaster ride. Interesting, and difficult to believe, that hours only ago we were on the coast stuck in traffic jams.

Passing through Millwood we came across the most extraordinary building. Uninhabited, dilapidated, in total decay. An absolutely vast mansion built of local stone and timber on one side, attached to a building that could have been a mill or a factory of some sort, in a completely different architectural style, made of concrete. We would love to know its history. We have a photo but can’t display it at this time. 

A couple of times during the day we passed “TRUMP” support signs on people’s garden fences. I would have liked to have stopped and removed them. Dennis wouldn’t let me 🙂

We hadn’t set eyes on a campsite sign all day and it was late in the afternoon when we reached Poughkeepsie. We looked for somewhere we could get some internet to search for a site. Burger King car park obliged with some slow wifi. In Canada we knew we would get reasonable wifi at Canadian Tire and McDonalds, but in the US it has not proved so easy. You can get connected but the wifi is too slow to be able to do much. We managed to find a site with some information on camping in the Poughkeepsie region, but no addresses. I picked a site and it gave directions. It was located in New Paltz, about 10 miles away.

We were in rush hour traffic. On the way to New Paltz we crossed the Hudson River which flows through New York city. We are now in New York State. As we approached the centre of New Paltz Google advised we had reached the campsite! Hmm … so much for the directions. It was just taking us to the town centre the camping was located in. We stopped to ask if there was any camping there? Dennis went into a store and I asked two ladies who were gossiping in the car park. They said they lived locally but did not know of any camping. Dennis had better luck, he was advised there was ‘supposed’ to be camping about 4 miles further long the road. Not coming across any, we stopped at a farm shop/orchard and thought perhaps they might let us camp in their grounds, but they said there was a site just a bit further on. That is where we are now located.

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