As expected our 8AM departure was more like 9AM, as we were a little rusty at the pre-flight preparations of the Discovery. At least there was no snow and temperatures were mild – what a difference from last year!
No major problems or wrong turns and we arrived in Clarksboro about 4PM. It’s interesting to note that the adjacent town is East Greenwich, NJ. In the photo to the left note the greeting from our new mascot Alvin (click photos for a larger view – use arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll thru all photos in this post)
Our route was via I-95 as the weather was good and we expected light traffic on the weekend holiday. We considered I-84/I-81 but given the good driving conditions it didn’t seem like it would be worth the extra time/distance.
The ride was good except the usual crappy road areas in New Haven (seems like they have been working on that bridge forever) and around the New York/Connecticut border. We exited I-95 at I-287 and crossed the Tappanzee Bridge to pick up the Garden State Parkway. In the photo to the left you can see our tour guide Alvin was quite excited as we crossed the Hudson on the Tappanzee.
For those of you with big rigs note that you are allowed on the Garden State Parkway – and it is nice not having to deal with commercial truck traffic (just buses) – but beware of the last 8 miles before it intersects with I-95/New Jersey Turnpike. This stretch has several low bridges, the first arrives without much warning with an 11’3″ minimum height! Luckily these are arched bridges and the center span here is 13′ something (we need 12′ 6″). There are 4 or 5 more after that with low heights at the left and right shoulders – just stay in the middle lanes (there are 5 lanes in this stretch) and you will be fine unless you are over 13′ in which case you need to do some homework.
From the Garden State we exited to the Jersey Turnpike (I-95) , then on to to a short stint on RT-168 (Exit 3 of NJTP) to I-295 and on to Clarksboro at Exit 18 off I-295. The Timberlane directions advise exiting the NJ Turnpike at Exit 7 and picking up I-295 – this is probably fine and maybe better as the sections of I-295 we did traverse were smooth and not congested.
Initially traffic was non-existent but built to moderately heavy by the time we hit the Jersey Turnpike – appeared to be lots of holiday travelers based on all the vehicles with precariously strapped on roof luggage. We only hit one slowdown where the separate car and truck lanes merge on the Jersey Turnpike – this was due to a combination of road work and rubberneckers viewing an accident on the north bound lanes. Time lost was only 10-15 minutes. There were several apparently major jams in the northbound lanes of both the garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike.
While we had no major problems with the Discovery we did have a couple of issues. Early on our tire pressure monitoring system alarmed. This system monitors the pressure and temp of all 6 tires on the coach plus the additional 4 on the toad (our towed Odyssey van). It was indicating an issue with the inside passenger side rear on the coach – it turned out to be that the sensor crapped out, which I suspected but we had to stop and check it out.
Then when we hit the crappy road areas we had some issues with drawers popping open – one in particular is a new IKEA drawer under the fridge (will be posting about this later) which glides much more easily than the stock drawers so the stock catches just aren’t sufficient to hold it in place on rough roads anymore. We had to stop and wedge it in to place – we’ll address this with a permanent solution as soon as possible.
One near disaster at a toll both on the Garden State when some bonehead in a lane to the right decided to swerve into us – we were well past him and I just happened to see him in time and swerved out of the way (luckily there was no one to my left). It’s hard to believe he couldn’t see a 12′ high wall next to him, but Linda was looking right at him and the driver was just not looking. We both braced for the crash but somehow it was avoided – that would have been a show stopper.
When we settled in at Timberlane the kitties uncharacteristically recovered quickly from their day of terror. Chooey even got to go visit the ducks on the pond here. Our site is a pull through so we did not need to unhitch the van and can get an earlier start tomorrow.
The weather is mild at the moment – check out the weather report from Alvin on the right – but is expected to get severely cold as early as tomorrow night. The cold looks like it will extend well into Florida so our stops in NC and SC are probably going to have nights with low temps in the 20’s – ironic that we left home with mild weather and need to deal with freezing as we get into the south!
Timberlane is OK I guess – a typical northeastern campground with fairly level but unpaved sites. Maybe it’s the time of year but it seems quite drab compared to some of the true “resorts” we have experienced in the sun belt. It is also not that inexpensive at $48 although with the Good Sam discount and additional coupon that lowered the rate to $38. It is a good stopping point for us though and there are not many other options.
Sites have full hook ups with 50A service, water spigots with heat wrap and sewer. WiFi is included and we had a strong signal at our site (69) although we did not use it. The Sprint 3G signal was also good. OTA TV reception was excellent with all major networks at the same compass azimuth. We did not use the cable TV service.
Tomorrow the planned stop is Crossroads Campground in Roanoke Rapids, NC. This is a fairly inexpensive and easy in/out stopping point and they have small and plain, but nice & level pull-thru sites . Hopefully, the Monday holiday will minimize any traffic issues as we traverse the DC beltway area.
Stay tuned for the next report!