Friday, May 30, 2014

Catskill, NY - Gifford Woods, VT

We got our gear together, left NYC and headed towards North-West into the Catskill Park. There was a camp ground marked in the map. In case it would be closed, it might be tolerated to stay there for one or two nights before the season opens. We arrived at Kenneth L. Wilson campground (which is listed in the OSM maps but not in Garmin maps!) and it was closed. There were a few cars parked at the parking lot and the gate towards the actual campground was closed.

Two ladies came by and I asked them for advice on where to stay. One of them – Catherine – was very kind and told us two places, one of them was what she called “The Secret Spot”. The weather forecast did not look promising for camping, thunderstorms and rain... What the heck, when did the weather guys ever got their forecasts right- right? So we went to this spot and it was absolutely beautiful there. We pitched the tent on the meadow and the river was just some tens of meters away to provide us with water. Excellent place! Thank you very much Catherine!
Catherine's secret spot in Catskill Park.
Smoothie time with wild herbs/veggies :)
A man got to have a nap once in a while.
Beautiful fresh water river.
Since we did a major shopping along the road we had enough supplies to stay two nights. The weather was sunny and warm, and all of us enjoyed this little paradise. What a relief after Ghana! Here we had green grass, trees, bushes and fresh water :)
Summer is coming here as well.
Plenty of wildlife. First chipmunk...
... a snake...
"Gigantic" grasshopper on Hertta's paw :D
First real repair at the BMW. The tail light bulb was strangely melted into the plastic (already in Ghana but it was too hot to fix it).
Our next accommodation was already planned in advance. Steven – one of our eager followers – had invited us already a long time ago to stay at his place and so we did. It was absolutely deluxe place as we got the bedroom of one of his daughters and could be around the house where ever we wanted. Thank you very much Steven, Liz, Teagan, Molly, Toddy and the Cats to let us stay at your great home!

Steven and Liz.
The house was in the middle of a forest and a walking path started right away from the backyard. That almost felt like home :) I fixed the windscreen of Skippy's bike somehow (I think this original design is totally screwed). We did some further planning and research on route planning, accommodation and so on. David, Francine and Steven recommended us to ride the Puppy Dog Trail and that sounded like a great idea. Riding gravel roads and avoiding the busy highways was just perfect for our tastes.
Getting things organized and eating delicious organic apples.
We had a great time at Steven and Liz. Skippy made one day raw vegan dinner for all of us, and since we were so hungry we forgot to take any pictures :D We took it somewhat easy, tried to learn the local habits and cought up on our list of internet-to-do things. 
Forest walks.
Leaves are coming. A few more weeks and have to make a vihta for sauna :D
From wikipedia: Finnish vihta (vasta in Eastern Finland), made of birch. It is used in traditional sauna-bathing for massage and stimulation of the skin.

Some special flower.
Little waterfall where a mill used to be.
Hertta started to worry us more and more. She stopped eating, drinking and was extremely dizzy. She could barely walk and her tail was constantly all in. That was not good. Even though Skippy fed her and made her drink water it did not get any better and we decided to go to the vet nearby. After some initial tests, Hertta was kept there and received IV and blood transfusion. Since we didn't want her to be there overnight we agreed with the vet that we pick her up as soon as she is done, which would be around one o'clock in the night.
Voivoi Hertta - what is the problem???
Well, Skippy called at 2AM and Hertta was still not ready. At 4AM the vet called and told us that we can pick her up. We jumped on the bike and besides the misery, the ride in the morning hour was very lovely. The air felt unbelievable clean and the streets were empty. Hertta was doing visibly better and she was happy to be back with Skippy. We rode back to Steven's place and had a good sleep for a few hours. One advice to others. Do not get sick when being in America. The health costs are sky high and our bill was really heavy. There is – to our knowledge – no travel insurance for pets and even then Hertta would be too old anyway for that. Anyway, Hertta got better and better in the following days and that was the important thing here. We hoped that was it on medical stuff for some time now.

We really enjoyed our stay at Steven and Liz, nevertheless the road was calling us and we headed towards the Puppy Dog Trail.

On our first day we rode along stunning rivers, through most beautiful landscapes of grass, lakes and forests. I had hard times to describe our sensation in words. Both of us were inhaling this beauty of nature. A few times it was difficult to focus on the road when the scenery was exceptionally great ;)
Along Puppy Dog Trail - beautiful day, beautiful scenery.
More along Puppy Dog Trail - still beautiful day and different beautiful scenery.
Skippy made another great travelogue.

Click here if you have trouble to watch the video.

~ Wolfi