Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shakedown Campout to Williamsport, Martinsburg, and Antietam

Every year at the start of camping season we take a short, shakedown campout to make sure everything is working and in good order. Usually we do this in early spring, but this year we've been delayed by one thing and another. We finally made it out the driveway pulling our Trailmanor, hard-sided popup on a short trip to Williamsport, MD's KOA arriving Thursday afternoon.

The KOA is lovely with an extensive garden and a great location along a creek with lots of shade trees. We got a lovely, level pull-through site that made set up a breeze.

We didn't check the camper at home and I was afraid we would open up to find mouse droppings or other nasty surprises, but happily all was well. The camper was as we left it when we closed it in October except for a some leaves and acorns and a few dead bugs. Everything worked when we turned it on including the air conditioner, thank God, because the temps were in the 90s. Our campsite was shady in the morning, but got the afternoon sun and would have been hot and uncomfortable without the AC. How spoiled we are!

After registering and setting up, we headed out to Williamsport on an exploratory adventure along the C and O canal where we walked two miles and visited lock 44. (You can read about that and our visit to Martinsburg here.... )

Then off to the Hagerstown Outlet Mall. I have enough junk at my house to maintain a thrift store for at least a month, but I needed some decent glasses. I hosted my book club this week and had a hard time putting out six that match. I know, I doesn't matter, but it is a little thing with an easy fix. (Actually, the ones I was replacing were purchased at a thrift store. The standing joke in our family is that our house is furnished in early yard sale.) But after a visit to one of the kitchen stores at the mall, I now have ten MATCHING glasses, a real first.

The campground was very quiet on Thursday night and I had determined to sleep until I was ready to get up to play catchup after several bad nights and 2:00 a.m Eucharistic Adoration. So Friday morning I slept in and got up about 9:30, something I haven't done since last camping season. Larry was up about an hour before me and very graciously let me sleep. After breakfast we headed out to explore Martinsburg and Antietam.

Martinsburg is charming. We visited the childhood home of Confederate spy Belle Boyd, the railroad station including a 19th century roundhouse, and we admired the wide range of architecture in this town that was founded in the 1750s.  We had a wonderful lunch at a little Italian bistro. Check out my restaurant review.

After we finished exploring Martinsburg, we headed out to Antietam, the site of the bloodiest single day of conflict during the Civil War. Other battles had more casualties, but they were fought over several days. Walking the battlefield we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for all the poor souls who died there.

Our day ended back at the camper with a late dinner and a walk in the KOA gardens.

Saturday morning started out with cold showers (actually frigid!) because there was no hot water...not a good advertisement for any campground. I stood at the edge of the shower and washed gingerly. Larry said he took the plunge -- not me...I'm no polar bear!

We went back to Williamsport to look for a bike rental place and found one a few blocks from the canal path. Since we had to be out of our campsite by 1:00 p.m. we only had about an hour and took a leisurely five-mile bike ride. At one spot where the woods opened up to the Potomac river we saw a herd of deer on the farther bank drinking. There must have been a dozen. What a sight! It was a delightful way to end our trip.

We're home and unpacked and already looking forward to another short getaway which seems to be all we can manage these days, but they're as refreshing as a twenty minute nap or a brisk ten minute walk!

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