Adirondack Mountain Fall Foliage Loop among the High Peaks

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Our stay in the Adirondacks is getting short so Niki, Brother Ken and I paid homage to the foliage Gods today by taking our yearly 130 mile Autumn loop through the heart of the High Peaks of these Adirondack Mountains.

There were splashes of beautiful color here and there but most of the route had only 25% to 50% peak color. So there is still time if you want to try the loop for yourself.

Starting in North Hudson this route takes us through Keene and Keene Valley (Artists & Craftspeople), Lake Placid (Winter Olympics venues), Saranac Lake (thriving lakeside town), Tupper Lake (The Wild Center), Long Lake (seaplanes, water taxis & Hoss’s Country Corner) – then finally down the Blue Ridge Road (past The Buffalo Farm) and back  to our starting point at North Hudson (former Frontier Town theme park location).

So much to see and do along this route that anyone could easily spend an entire day completing it.

We stopped for lunch on Main Street in Saranac Lake to try The Downhill Grill for the first time. The sandwiches and soups were excellent and cheerful Susie who waited on us made the whole experience most enjoyable.

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Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, Lake George, NY – Last One Standing!

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Lake George, NY

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant (9/16 $39.15)*
2143 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845 (518) 685-3022

We will do our best to be objective with this review. We drove 80 miles one way to visit this Howard Johnson’s Restaurant – truly as their sign says – the “Last One Standing” in the World. We arrived around 2pm and were a little concerned as there were no other vehicles in the parking lot nor other patrons in the restaurant – but then again it was past normal lunch hours.

We looked at the salad bar before being seated to see what it was like as we often just order the salad bar. This one had two sides – one was a small salad bar with a choice of two soups, iceberg lettuce, spinach leaves and only a choice of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and shredded cheese for toppings plus a selection of four dressings.

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The other side of the “Bar” – called their “Smorgasbord” offered several warm selections like beans, rolls, spaghetti (that hadn’t been stirred in awhile – spelled “congealed”) and another vegetable. It would not be an option for us.

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We ordered from the lunch menu which came with the limited Soup/Salad Bar. The soup choices this day were minestrone and chicken noodle.

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I ordered the HoJo burger which was actually pretty good ($12.95) ….

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Niki opted for the Famous Baked Macaroni & Cheese ($12.95). The mac & cheese was laughable and looked more like cooked elbow macaroni stirred into a Cheese-Wiz type concoction (and tasted like it as well). The closest it came to being baked was maybe passing by an oven on the way out to our table.

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We asked the cashier if they actually ever baked their macaroni & cheese and she acted quite surprised and offered to bring out the “Chef”.

When we were leaving the restaurant we met a couple just arriving that had driven over from Connecticut especially to have the famous fried clams that HoJo was also known for. They will have to wait another day to try them as the restaurant had already closed (at 3pm) for the day as we were leaving.

We enjoy eating out and finding new restaurants, especially the local “Mom & Pop” type in our travels. We can both still remember the Howard Johnson’s of our younger days and unfortunately this restaurant does not come close to what we remember. We have seen a couple decent reviews for their breakfasts – though $14.95 for a simple omelet seems a little on the high side. Maybe we came at the wrong time of day but then again what can you really do to breakfast.

We rate the restaurant at one-star (*). Very overpriced and not a good value for your dining $$$. We did have dessert at Martha’s down the road. Her hot fudge sundaes did make up for a lot.

Find a few dozen more of our completely unbiased reviews of restaurants along the Snowbird Routes at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/diningreviews.htm

Workamp in Mackinaw City, MI – Free RV Site & Pay – Couples Needed

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Workamping Couples Wanted
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping in Mackinaw City, MI. 2017 Couples Full time positions for: restroom shower cleaners at $12.00 hourly, cabin cleaners, camp office (which requires strong computer skills), camp store, and maintenance. Work 40 hours each @ $8.90 and get a 30 amp FHU 50X25 site size at no charge. Workampers receive free WiFi, golfing, and a ferry ticket to Mackinac Island.We are looking for couples who possess a strong work ethic. Some work can be physically demanding: walking, lifting, bending, cleaning and maintaining 600 campsites and 80 cabins. We have a beautiful,family oriented, FAST paced campground with a mile of Lake Huron shoreline and 18-hole golf course. Positions start in May or June thru September or October. Check out our website: www.campmackinaw.com. Please send resume, CURRENT photo of yourself and your rig to: office@campmackinaw.com or Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, PO Box 728, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Mackinac Lakefront Resort (sister location to Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping) located in Mackinaw City, 18 cabins. Full-time positions for couples: being responsible for cabin cleaning, grounds and maintenance, nightly bonfire, security,and morning coffee. A smaller, more private resort. Also, working at Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping  when time allows. Work 40 hours each @ $8.90 and get a 30 amp FHU 50X25 site size at no charge. Workampers receive free WiFi, golfing, and a ferry ticket to Mackinac Island.We are looking for couples who possess a strong work ethic. Some work can be physically demanding. Seeking couples who possess a strong work ethic.. Positions start in May or June thru September or October. Check out our website: www.mackinaclakefrontcabinrentals.com. Please send resume, CURRENT photo of yourself and your rig to: office@campmackinaw.com or Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, PO Box 728, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

Received by J. Armstrong, snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com  – 9/27/16

Counting down the days

We have thoroughly enjoyed our Summer of 2016 in the Adirondack Mountains exploring new places, meeting new friends and enjoying good times and campfires with family and friends. Now – as the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder – it’s time to think about warmer destinations for the months ahead.

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Our Southerly course is plotted and we are anxious to be on the road again to see what’s around that next curve and what is just over that next hill – and we invite you to Hop Aboard and “follow” along with us via this Blog.

Our 1,500+ mile journey begins on October 14th with 7 two-day stopovers planned for exploring (and maybe finding a great new “Mom & Pop restaurant” or two). We should land in our Winter home-base in New Port Richey, FL on October 28th.

As usual we will post reports with photos, reviews and the costs. For us it’s not the destination but the adventure and the new discoveries along the way.

Jack, Niki and our Furry Family Crewmen, B.B. and Stanley

P.S. If you have visited any of our planned stops and have any cautions or must-see suggestions we’d love to hear from you. We’re at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com.

What I did on My Summer RV Vacation (and maybe you should too?)

I do a visual inspection of the outside of our 5th Wheel at least a couple of times each year. I’m looking for screws that show rust and also caulk that is missing or in need of repair. I heard someone say there are a thousand screws holding the outside of a trailer together and I am leaning toward believing it – there are a lot of screws!

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RV Water Leak Prevention
Visual Inspection and Repairs
Part I – Dealing with rusty screws

How we do it and the parts and tools we use…. on our website at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/rvleakprevention.htm

Upcoming: In Part II we’ll deal with making the ugly job of caulk removal and replacement on an RV easier and the end job looking more aesthetic when finished.

In Part III we’ll discuss the many “fun” uses for “Eternabond” and other rig-saving RV tapes. Move over duct tape you have some fine competitors in the RV world!

Workamper Couple Wanted Myrtle Beach Area

North Myrtle Beach Area RV Park with Vineyard seeking long term hosts.
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Position for a couple to include park cleanup, grounds/landscaping, maintenance, cleaning restrooms, guest services, pool maintenance, and help with special events. CarrollWoods RV Park is located at working vineyard only 20 minutes from both NC and SC beaches. 15 hour work week for full-service site with free wi-fi. Electric billed separately. Host should plan to be onsite after 6pm nightly and on Sundays. View us online at www.myrtlebeachcampingwest.com and e-mail resumes to contact@grapefullsistersvineyard.com.

Received: 9/17/16 by J. Armstrong @ snowbirdrvtrails.com
Note: Niki and I have stayed at this campground and can vouch for nice owners in a beautiful country setting AND a vineyard too!

New shoes all around!

There is both good and bad sometimes when deciding to spend the Summer in the mountains of Upstate NY! Niki, I and our furry kids packed up and motored down the Northway – with 5th Wheel in tow – for 80 miles to Queensbury for new tires to be put on the RV.

I had two goals this Summer. One was to have new tires put on for our trip back South coming up soon. The other was to try the new Sailun tires which I have researched ad nauseam and found enough good reviews to warrant giving them a go.

Most of the Summer – on and off – has been spent trying to find a dealer locally in the Plattsburgh area that sells the Sailuns and/or find a professional installer to put them on if I ordered them in.

The RV dealers in the area weren’t interested in the project at all. I had a lapse in memory for a moment and forgot that most if not all RV dealers are interested in sales and certainly not service after the fact. I have a couple of stories of past experience in that regard but perhaps another time.

There are several tire dealers in the area but none I found had the tires I wanted nor the space nor the experience that I felt comfortable with to install them. Suddenly the Sailun tires are out of stock everyplace online even if I had found an installer.

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Longer story short I felt more comfortable with a tire dealer (Tire Warehouse) down in Glens Falls. He ordered in the 14 ply Goodyear tires (G614RST LT235/85 R16) I have been running on the rig for the past six years without problems.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and the trip was uneventful. The lot at Tire Warehouse was small, a fact I noted with many dealers when I started looking at places mindful of towing in a 32′ 5th Wheel, but we made it fit.

My only complaint and I guess the moral of my story had to do with the installation of my new tires. They had two of the four new tires installed on the trailer when I noticed there were no clips used to balance the tires. When I asked about it they told me they NEVER balance trailer tires. I was dumbfounded! I was brought up knowing that if it rolls and is attached to any vehicle it gets balanced. We had a short discussion about the problem and the new tires were taken off, balanced and put back on. Other than that and being up-charged over the original quote I was happy with the end product.

We will be heading South in a few weeks with new tires all the way around – truck tires this past Spring and now new trailer tires. The bank account has been seriously compromised but that takes a back seat when it comes to safety.

It pays to use tire covers to block out UV rays but also inspect your RV tires regularly for wear and sun damage. Think seriously about replacing them when they are 5 to 7 years old even if they look fine. They do get a lot of wear and tear as you take them to new places on new adventures. Be sure to have the new tires balanced as well.

Oh, and yes, the good far outweighs the bad when we made the decision to spend the last five Summers in the Adirondack Mountains. Next year an exciting new destination for us but more about that later.

Help Wanted Urgent – Perfect FL Snowbird job for an RVer!

URGENT! Hiring Hunter Check Station Operator Volunteers ASAP
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking volunteers to work at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Kenansville, FL.  Volunteer operators are needed at our hunter check station between 10 September 2016 and 23 April 2017, in exchange for a beautiful free RV site.  A position just came open and we need a new volunteer to fill it ASAP! We are located in central Florida, in Osceola Co. just south of Orlando, and approximately 15 miles south of Holopaw along Highway 441. Nearby towns include St. Cloud (~25 miles), Kissimmee (~35 miles), Orlando (~50 miles), and Melbourne (~50 miles). We are within an hour’s drive of Disney World, Universal Studios, theme parks, and beaches!

There are five full hook-up RV sites with electricity, sewer, and water. The area is remote, so if you enjoy the outdoors, a rural lifestyle, and outdoor recreation such as hunting and fishing, you will probably be well-suited for this position. We also a “clubhouse” for volunteers, which has a refrigerator, stove, restrooms, and laundry facilities.

Volunteers’ primary duties will be to monitor recreational use on the Management Area, provide information to the public, and collect biological data. This includes keeping count of hunters and other recreational users, checking various licenses and permits, providing information to hunters and recreational users, and collecting biological data from harvested animals. No previous experience is  necessary and training will be provided by staff biologists. However, if hunting is objectionable to you, or if you are reluctant to handle dead animals, then you should not apply. In addition to work at the check station, volunteers may assist with facility maintenance, data entry, and other tasks as needed.

In exchange for hookups and use of facilities, we request a maximum of 32 hours of work each week. Days of the week worked are somewhat flexible. The heaviest use of the Management Area occurs from September through December, and consequently, some preference may be given to those people who can arrive early in the season and/or those that can stay the entire season through the Spring.

If you are interested in this position, please contact Sara Miller at sara.miller@myfwc.com for more information or to receive an application.

http://myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/three-lakes/visitor-information/

Received by J Armstrong at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com – 12 Sep 16