Peaceful Valley 2018

This year’s August buddy rally was held at Peaceful Valley Campground in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

The Ratliff family headed to the campground after work on Wednesday.  Unfortunately we left the house a little later than planned.  We decided to follow Google Maps directions via Scranton PA.  Between Scranton and the campsite, the scenery was beautiful, but the roads were very hilly and curvy.  And then … it rained … hard.  The Dark Sky app on my iPhone told us that the rains would last an hour.  We pulled over to wait out the rain rather than drive.  By the time the rain stopped it was dark.  And some roads were flooded.  Given that we were not familiar with the area, we decided to spend the night at the Hancock House Hotel.  I slept in the trailer in the parking lot.  The rest of the family, including Margaret (the dog), slept in the hotel.

The next morning we arrived at Peaceful Valley.  We were greeted by the proprietor.  Not well organized.  Not exactly a warm welcome.  But, … he had marked out our spots so … we drove to the end of the mile long campground and set up.  After the long drive Margaret was ready for some exercise.  Here’s the ball …

The next day others began to arrive. One of our new buddies accompanied us to Roscoe Beer Co.  The beers were good, but the conversation was even better.  And what a fantastic ’68 Globetrotter he had.  Truly a work of art, or maybe better described as a “work of love”.

That night the sky was so clear that we got the best view of the Milky Way I have seen in a long time.  You could clearly see the diffuse light from the stars above and below the darker, dusty middle of the galactic disk.

After spending the night in the tent with Margaret, I awoke to beautiful misty views of the surrounding mountains.

Later that morning it began to rain, … and rain, … and rain, … and rain.  So we set up our popup shelters and had a breakfast of pancakes and omelettes.  That day I hung out at the campground, watching it rain, repairing the tent, and trying to keep the dog dry.  That evening we had the Cincinnati chili.  I felt like I was home again.  Just as good, or better, than the Skyline Chili I grew up with.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the 5-way:  spaghetti, chili, onions, beans, cheese.  Comfort food for sure.

We had another couple of buddies join us for chili too!  They were a welcome addition to the group.

Altogether an excellent rally.  Relatively small group, challenging weather, but an opportunity to meet new friends and strengthen bonds with old friends.  And that’s what this is all about, right?!

— Mark