The Long Road Back

Pennsylvania

We crossed through Pennsylvania on our way north to Corning, New York (see New Jersey and New York), and then returned south to Pennsylvania to continue our journey west. Finally, we were immersed in autumn colours.

We stayed one night at Ives Run campground in the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Recreation Area. Though quiet at this time of year, it is a beautiful campground and likely very popular with families during the summer.

Heading south, we stopped at the Leonard Harrison State Park Visitor Center for the views over the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It doesn’t look anything like THE Grand Canyon, but it certainly is a grand canyon in its own right.

Hershey

I have had a long-standing wish to go to Hershey when I learned of its existence many decades ago. It may not represent the best in chocolate, but it was a town that grew from the business of chocolate and whose name drips with indulgence. We weren’t interested in the amusement park (which was good because it didn’t appear to be open when we were there), but a free visit to Hershey World sounded just right. We took the ride-on tour, got our wee chocolate sample, and wandered through what seemed like acres of chocolate packages and branded goods for purchase. We then did a short walking tour and learned about the history of Hershey while completing an Adventure Lab.

Repairs

Until this point in our road trip, we had been limping along without an inverter and with batteries that didn’t seem to be holding a charge (though we had had them tested earlier in the trip in Maine), making it challenging to boondock or camp anywhere without electrical hookup. Only a few places have experience with Artie’s breed (RoadTrek), and Beaver Motors RV in Beaver Springs, Pennsylvania, is often cited as one of the best. A month or so earlier we had made an appointment for an inverter replacement for when we would be in the area. Finally, Artie was getting the TLC that he deserved. We ended up spending a night in the Beaver Motors parking lot (common for RoadTrekers seeking service), and made a mad 6-hour return dash to Jersey City to pick up a new set of four batteries on warranty (turns out, they were not good, despite the clean bill of health they’d been given in Maine) and returned to Beaver Springs for installation the following afternoon. Artie left there full of vim and vigour and kept his energy up for the rest of the trip.

We spent that night nearby at Shy Bear Brewing Harvest Host and celebrated with dinner and live music on the patio (under heaters, thankfully).

And now it was time to head west. We had to be in Calgary in 10 days for an appointment, and we could see that winter weather was threatening as we looked ahead.

Cleveland, Ohio

We stopped for a couple of hours in Cleveland, just to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a little of the downtown area. It would have been fun to go through the museum, but we settled for a quick step inside the doors and a walk around the outside of this beautiful building.

Indiana Dunes National Park and State Park, Indiana

On our way past the southern tip of Lake Michigan, we stopped at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and then took the scenic drive along the dunes and lake of the national park. It was so windy and cold, we only hopped out for a photo or two, and then just kept moving.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

We drove right through Chicago, having been before, but made a stop in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt was a visual surprise with its completely different scenery akin to the Alberta Badlands.

We began to be challenged in a way that we hadn’t expected–getting fresh water to fill our tanks was becoming more and more difficult. Most campgrounds were closed, which didn’t bother us too much now that Artie was back in full health and we could easily sleep in him without hookups, but without campgrounds, we had to rely on other water sources. Outside of winter, this can be visitor centers, gas stations, truck stops, water treatment facilities, etc., but these sources were, quite literally, drying up for us as almost everyone had shut off their outside taps in preparation for winter (October 1 seemed to be a standard cutoff date, regardless of weather). At a still-open, no-hookup campground in the national park, we found one water tap that had not been shut off. Though it had no fitting for a hose attachment and smelled a bit sulphury, it was marked on the map as potable and we managed to fill the tank, gallon by gallon.

Medicine Hat, Alberta

We drove right by our planned overnight stop in the Cypress Hills area of Alberta when we discovered the road blocked by a snow plow’s residue. Having little choice at this point, we broke our one taboo for this trip and stayed in a Walmart parking lot. Nearby, a kind person at the Great Canadian Oil Change shop allowed us to fill our water tanks from their still-active outdoor spigot. We emptied our tank completely at the visitor center’s dump station (still open, though no potable water was available) and then filled it up with lovely clean, fresh water.

We made it to Calgary for the scheduled appointment and managed to stay warm in the -7C overnight temperatures, though woke up to no running water two mornings in a row. It was definitely time to get to the West Coast, winterize Artie, and put him to bed until spring. And there ended Road Trip 2022.

Road Trip 2022: The Stats

# of nights90
# of kilometers15,773
# of states and provinces crossed22
Cost of fuel (diesel)$4,188.18 CAD
Cost of campingPaid campgrounds (14 nights): $822.02 CAD
Unpaid nightsThousand Trails: 19
Harvest Hosts: 17
Boondockers Welcome: 3
Informal boondocking/wild camping: 14
Housesitting: 23

Total unpaid nights: 76

TripBits

Stays (for camping program details, see CampingPrograms)
  • Tioga-Hammond Lakes Recreation Area: Ives Run campground ($36USD). A beautiful lakeside campground.
  • Hershey, Pennsylvania: Hershey RV Park Thousand Trails
  • Beaver Springs, Pennsylvania: Beaver Motors, Inc. RV
  • Scotrun, Pennsylvania: Scotrun RV Resort Thousand Trails
  • Lewistown, Pennsylvania: Shy Bear Brewing Harvest Host
  • Wakeman, Ohio: Vermillion Valley Vineyards Harvest Host
  • Elkhart, Indiana: RV Hall of Fame & Museum Harvest Host
  • Bloomingdale, Illinois: Wiggwam Boondockers Welcome
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin: K Point Brewery & The Coffee Grounds Harvest Host
  • Monticello Minnesota: Nordic Brewpub Harvest Host
  • West Fargo, North Dakota: Costco parking lot (ask for permission)
  • Medora, North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Cottonwood Campground ($7USD)
  • Nashua, Montana: Roundhouse Point Campground ($0)
  • Medicine Hat, Alberta: Walmart parking lot
  • Calgary, Alberta: Parkdale public boat launch parking lot
  • Calgary, Alberta: Weaselhead Flats parking lot
  • Salmon Arm, British Columbia: DeMille Farm Market Harvest Host
  • Cultus Lake, British Columbia: Cultus Lake Thousand Trails RV Resort

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