Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Summer Begins

OK. I know we’ve been out ten days already. But there really hasn’t been anything too exciting to report as yet. We took our first exploratory trip yesterday, but I’ll get to that a little later.

We left home on Tuesday, May 12, as planned. In fact everything on the drive up here went pretty much as planned. We spent our first night in our favorite “first night” place in South Carolina. This was at least our third (if not fourth) year stopping there.

Our second night was just outside Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. This was a nearly brand new campground and very nice. There were no trees to be found, but the sites were very level and spacious.

Most of the trip to this point was on the interstate – not very exciting stuff. But our friends, Mary & Gary, told us how to get around Washington, DC, on decent roads. It was great and a very pretty drive through northern Virginia. We stopped in Leesburg, VA, for lunch. Then it was on through Maryland and into Gettysburg, PA, for the night. We got there early enough to get out and drive around a bit. We went past the famed battlefield and drove around the town. We had a beer at a local pub and enjoyed the ambiance.

Friday brought us the rest of the way here, to Clayton Park, just outside of Scranton, PA. (In case you weren’t aware: we are work-camping here for four months. We will do 20 hours a week between us and get our campsite for free.) We met our bosses, Sonya and Maurice, and Sonya’s son, Jonathan. They are very nice people and we should enjoy our time here.

Over the weekend we mostly just got settled and acclimated. The weather turned nasty, too. We actually had the furnace running at night. It got below freezing for several hours one night. Last week in Florida we were in 95-degree weather and come up here and we get highs of 50. What’s wrong with that picture! Fortunately, it’s in the 80s the last couple of days and we’re fine with that.

We are super grateful for our GPS in the car. We’ve been into town several times already, but we still don’t have parts of it figured out. There are lots of turns through a residential area before we get onto the road that brings us back out here. But we have four months to get better at that. And we will.

Since the weather was so bad and we weren’t working yet, we found the nearest casino on Sunday. We didn’t win anything huge, but we came home with half our budget still in our pockets, so that was a big plus.

Julian spent a couple hours earlier in the week mowing. This place is much bigger than it might appear and there’s lots of grass. There is a riding mower to do the big areas, but he was using the walking mower for this time.

I just took some pictures around here and I’ll share those now. Here’s the boat dock. It seems to be a pretty popular place, too. I’m sure we’ll see tons of boats this holiday weekend.

This is a good shot across the lake.

Here are some of the sites along the lake frontage. People have their units here permanently and come out off and on all summer, I guess.

This is the main building. The owners live on the top floor. The middle floor is used for piano lessons and recitals. I think Sonya’s mom has taught for years and is still at it.

The bottom level is the office and store. That’s where I’ll be spending a good part of my working hours. Oh, and that happens to be Julian on the porch on the middle level. We have little or no cell coverage at our campsite, so he’s up there using his phone.

Here are a couple views of our home for the next few months.

Yesterday was our first day of exploring for fun. We sort of arbitrarily picked a place out of our PA tourist book and went for it. We drove east, almost to New York actually. It’s called Shohola Falls. We took Heidi with us and had a picnic after viewing the falls. (Be sure to click on the panorama to see all the cool detail.)

With this being Memorial Day weekend, our work will begin in earnest. I’ve got 9 hours scheduled in the store on Saturday and Sunday. Julian will be manning the guard shack for an hour or two tonight and a portion of the weekend, too. The place is pretty deserted right now so it’s hard to imagine the pace we’ve been warned about. But this will be the official start of summer, so we’ll be ready for it.