Dumping is Top Priority
James arrived safely from Toronto on the motorcycle and enjoyed a quiet night in the Allegheny Forest with me. Traveling from Allegheny to Washington, we had 2 days so we planned to stay at a Harvest Hosts winery along the way. We felt like we had lots of time with an early start and did some touring along the way: Kinzua Dam, Bent Run falls in Allegheny and Kinzua Bridge State Park just outside. We needed to dump the black and grey water but I figured I could dump at the state park: big miscalculation as there isn’t even a campground there. We had to scramble to find a dump station and decided on Parker Dam State Park which seemed to be on the way to the winery.
Steep Sketchy Gravel Road
I followed my GPS blindly and it took me up a super-sketchy, steep gravel back road which was absolutely terrifying. I arrived at Parker Dam in tears and since it was already 3pm, we didn’t have enough time to dump and travel to the winery before they close at 5pm plus I was too upset. Furthermore the cost to dump was half the camping fee anyway and they wouldn’t give me a break for having such small tanks. So we got a site with no electricity, dumped and set up for the evening. It was hot – I put on my swim suit and walked to the lake with Sadie and found a rock I could jump off to cool down in the refreshing spring water! James preferred the comfort station showers.
Our battery was a bit low despite traveling, I had left the inverter on to try to run the fridge but James had turned the fridge off because it was clicking trying to start on propane. Not sure what happened, but we ran the genny to make popcorn (1440 watts was no problem) and finally tested out the AC on the genny: it worked! Genny seemed like it would stall on start but it didn’t and the light went back to green! Woo hoo! Our AC unit is a special power-saver model: it only draws between 1000 and 1200 Watts depending on the temperature differential so it is just the start-up draw we weren’t sure if the genny could handle.
We learned our lessons: dumping is always priority number one, avoid touring while towing and know your route! So the next day we drove directly to Greenbelt National Park campground. James created a route and loaded it in the GPS for me and I studied the route on a map and wrote down all the highway numbers on a list as a back-up. Much better: no sketchy back roads this time and we got there in good time. We rode 2 up no helmets around the campground to choose a good site since we would be there for 5 nights with no electricity. The campground was shady but we found a spot with a patch of overhead sun and borrowed the camp host’s ladder to tilt the panel (shopping list: telescoping ladder). We only needed to run the genny once on the rainy day.