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

New Paltz, NY- Region #2 Rally

The skies were grey but not our spirits!  The Region 2 Rally “crew” welcomed us with open arms and very helpful hand signals for parking.   With almost 70 rigs attending, the field was nothing but shiny aluminum.

Thursday was a day of arrivals, set up, and getting friendly with our neighbors. During the rally we were given 2 breakfasts (one yummy one served by our group!), a delicious catered dinner, and ice cream every night!!  It was not a rally to attend while on a diet 😉

Just as good as the food was the entertainment.  One night was a solo act and the other a 60’s band.  Many cool prizes were awarded at the costume ball! Many of us danced and sang until quite late into the evening.  I believe a good time was had by all.

This weekend also offered a number of fun and educational workshops.  The choices included Airstream Maintenance, Social Media, Cast Iron Cooking and A Caravan Leaders meeting.  I attended the Social Media workshop to help us with this blog 🙂

During free time there were many options for site seeing. The town of New Paltz has a 60’s vibe with a few “hippie” shops and many great eateries.  People were friendly and helpful.  At the very beginning of town is the historic Huguenot Street.  Here I toured a number of homes from around 1894.  Huguenot Street was home to a diverse group of people including French, Dutch, African, English and Indian.  The street is lined with beautiful homes filled with  many artifacts and rich with history of the area.

For those who ventured out of town, the Hudson Valley offered much to see and do.  Some went to the Vanderbilt Mansion, or FDR’s home and library,  Eleanor Roosevelt’s home; Val-Kill, the Walkway Over The Hudson, and the “Gunks” just to name a few.  The scenery was beautiful no matter where you went.

This was a weekend with many options to choose.  I believe many of us did a little of everything.  I very much enjoyed relaxing, site seeing, and meeting so many new people.  I am already looking forward to the next streaming adventure!