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Primitive Places Make Us Forget Social Distancing is Even a Thing

“To science, not even the bark of the tree or a drop of pond water is dull or a handful of dirt banal. They all arouse awe and wonder.”

-Jane Jacobs

We left Pennsylvania on Saturday morning, last week. The last days of our stay in the Delaware State Forest were productive. Bryon began working on one of a kind bags, for a customer in Driggs, ID. The kids and I explored and worked out invoices and travel logistics for upcoming weeks.

Friday night we packed up most of our gear and early Saturday we headed to the Scranton area of northeastern Pennsylvania. We stopped at UPS and picked up the piece we needed to use our bike rack again. Alta Racks did a great job getting us the part to ensure our rack was functional, while on the road.

From UPS, we went to a laundromat. Bryon worked on the rack and getting the bikes out of the bus and onto the rack. We have had to carry our bikes in the bus, during the time it took to get the part for our rack. I started laundry and hung out with the kids.

After we were done with laundry, we headed to Walmart to get supplies for the week. We grocery shopped for the week ahead. On our way out of Walmart, a family approached us and asked us about Lucky 13. They had considered building a bus. They walked over to the bus and took a look at it and asked a few questions. After they walked off, we filled our fridge and pantry with our groceries. Next, we got boxes ready for bags we needed to ship. Then we drove to a nearby post office with later Saturday hours to mail the packages. If we are able to bike to post offices during the week, we ship bags a few times a week, otherwise post office stops are part of our travel days.

We spent Saturday night at Chenango State Park in central New York. We had a unique experience during our stay as the people camping next to us had several personal issues, which they vocalized to all around. The shower house at this particular campground was also extremely busy. I was able to get April in for a shower right after dinner, but I had to wait until after 10 pm to use a shower. Usually we have found that showers are not busy at campgrounds.

We got up Sunday morning, rolled off our blocks, filled our fresh water and were on the road again. We arrived at Hunts Pond before lunch. Our campsite we had reserved, through the permit system, was still occupied. We found a parking area near the pond to hang out at, until the spot was open. I went for a bike ride on the trails and near the walk in campsites, on the other end of the park, we made lunch, and then moved into our campsite.

Our spot was not easy to get level in, but Bryon was able to bring the bus to a decent resting position. We set up camp and got comfortable, as usual. The campground we are at is primitive. There is no drinking water or pit toilets. There are porta johns near the entrance and a set at the far end of the walk-in sites. After 2 months on the road, we are used to primitive conditions. The places that are primitive have the best views, are usually free, and make us forget that social distancing is even a thing, these days.

Bryon wrapped up the bag set he began in Pennsylvania, on Monday. We biked into nearby New Berlin, to mail the bags and get our mail from the post office. The town of New Berlin was established in the 1790s. There are old homes, churches, and businesses. There are signs throughout the town noting the historical significance of places, such as the law office where lawyers practices from the 1850s to 1990s. The 9 mile ride was a challenge. The hills were steep and the sun was hot. I had to push my bike and the Weehoo with April in it up a couple of hills. Bryon made it up them all pedaling, but I am pretty sure this is the steepest terrain I have covered, towing April.

Tuesday, we woke up to an empty propane tank. We had predicted we could get through the week on our propane that was left from last week, but unfortunately we were wrong. Bryon biked into the town with the Burley to get propane. We have been talking about getting a third propane to have as a back up for the BBQ and bus propane, so it made sense to do it now, as then Bryon only had to bike one way with a heavy load in the Burley. The kids, Chico, and I walked around and checked out the wildflowers, while Bryon was out.

April has enjoyed exploring this pond habitat. We have observed little frogs in the gravel, and larger ones in the pond. She now recognizes black berries and was excited when she discovered some near camp. We have learned to observe the differences and similarities of lichen and moss. We talk about pollination every time we see the big bees that buzz near the bee balm, daisies, and forget-me-nots along the pond shore and road. We are starting to talk about how plants capture light and get water through their roots to make food for us and animals, on our walks. There are bat houses near the boat launch and another parking area. We have discussed how bats are nocturnal and eat insects at night. Did you know a bat can eat 1200 insects in an hour and 6000-8000 a night???

Today, after our usual breakfast and morning walk, I biked into town to send off our recent “Deal of the Day” sales. The ride was still a challenge with the steep hills, but I was able to pedal the whole way, without a kid in tow.

It has been raining this afternoon. Bryon is working on bags. Daphney is playing on the floor. April was watching PJ Masks on Netflix, but now is dragging Dr. Monkey around the floor on Chico’s leash. Chico is napping in the lower bunk.

We leave here in a few days and have our route planned through mid-August. We will be in the Catskills, Connecticut, and Maryland these next few weeks. We can’t wait to share what wonder and adventure we discover, in these places.

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