The Escapees RV Club‘s 56th Escapade rally will be held July 24- 29 in Essex Junction, Vermont, and like all Escapees events, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m not sure of the exact schedule yet, but I’ll be presenting several seminars at the rally and they will have a full lineup of seminars on every topic an RVer could ever want or need.
I have had several people who have never been to New England asking me what to expect because they have heard tales of narrow roads, heavy traffic, and tight RV sites in the campgrounds up there. So for those of you who haven’t spent much time exploring that part of the country, I thought I would share my perspective from an RVer’s point of view.
First of all, a lot of what you have heard is true. Be prepared to deal with some of the most aggressive drivers you’ll find anywhere, and a lot of traffic any place you go. I’ve driven in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, even New York City, and the drivers we encountered in Massachusetts and Connecticut rank up there with the worst of them. If you drive an RV through here, you need to pay attention every minute, and having an alert copilot is a big plus. More than once Terry warned me of another driver who was changing lanes without signaling, failing to yield when coming onto the highway from an onramp, and pulling other kamikaze stunts.
Something we found frustrating is that the mile markers and the exit numbers on the interstate highways are not keyed together like they are in most states. So while you may be at mile marker 35 (if you can find a mile marker), you may only be at exit 4 or 5. It makes it a little difficult to quickly figure out how far you have to go to your next turn.
While fuel is never cheap anywhere, when we went to Connecticut to visit Mystic Seaport, gasoline was 35 cents a gallon more as soon as we crossed the state line from Massachusetts.
Before we set out on our trip, several people told us that the highway tolls in New England would kill us. Actually, we spent more in tolls driving through Indiana and Ohio on our way there than we did while in New England.
Many of the RV parks up there are not built for large motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers so if you plan to visit, be sure that the campground you are headed for can accommodate a rig your size. Also, a lot of the RV sites are not full hookup. Many of them are just water and 30 amp electric, with a dump station. And make your reservations early. Space is limited and fills up fast.
Most of the people we met in the campgrounds were weekend campers or folks who have a seasonal site and leave their RV parked in the same place all summer long, or even year round. We only ran into a couple of other fulltimers. Expect every campground to have a lot of kids, a lot of smoky fires, and don’t be offended if people don’t seem quite as outgoing as those you meet in the Midwest or down South. It’s not that they’re unfriendly, they just don’t seem as open as RVers we have met in other places.
And as can be expected anywhere with a relatively short season, the RV parks have to make money while they can. On our visit four years ago, $45 and up per night was about the going rate. If we didn’t have membership campgrounds to stay in while we were in the area, the trip would have been too expensive for us for the month we spent in Massachusetts. I think we enjoyed Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, which we visited on a previous trip to New England, more than we did Massachusetts. Those other places just seemed a lot more laid back by comparison.
If you’re like many RVers and have a firearm in your home on wheels, be aware that once you leave Pennsylvania it is unlawful to have a gun in most states in that part of the country. Penalties can be very harsh, and can include both steep fines and jail time.
So why are we going back again? How could we not! There is so much to see and do that we could spend years exploring the region and hardly scratch the surface. Quaint villages that look like they should be in a Norman Rockwell painting, the rugged coast of Maine, the most delicious lobster you’ll ever taste, historic sites that date back to the very beginnings of our nation, and a thousand other sights that you will never forget. And did I mention Escapade?
It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Shades of Moloch: Star Borne: 2, an excellent science fiction tale by my friend Sharon Delarose. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Brushing your teeth is the only time you clean your skeleton.
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Nick, could you add this as a follow-up from today’s blog? We are from Vermont and have to say New England is a beautiful place to visit. It is harder to find inexpensive places to stay park an RV for all the reasons Nick has said. If you are boondockers, we have stayed in parking lots of ski resorts because they are usually empty in the summer. (If there is someone from whom to ask permission, then do ask permission.) If you are small enough you could stay at boat launch sites or trail heads as long as it doesn’t say no over night parking. And then there’s Day’s End from Escapees RV Club which will have suggestions for free or cheap over night parking. Come and enjoy!
I found ALL of the above to be exactly true. Also, the toll road pay stations are made for cars, not wide motorhomes. GO SLOW!! And many toll roads, just like regular roads, are rough as all get out! GO SLOW!! Okay, one more thing … you can buy a toll road ticket for your motorhome and a separate ticket for your car. MUCH cheaper than buying one for a 60 foot long rig.
Thanks so much for today’s post. How timely! I had just inquired on another forum (irv2) about…”what’s it like to go to escapade in Essex junction”
We had been to Vermont but not to Burlington. Just Joined Escapees and signed up for the escapade this year so we are all ears. Haven’t heard about Days End yet, will have to check on that. Never experienced fairgrounds parking. We were able to get E/W site as all the others were taken right away.
Found Vermont to be a beautiful state with so much to see and do. We are really looking forward to attending your seminars!
Thanks for the great summary of camping in the north east. We are not full time, and live and do most of our RVing in Upstate NY and you are right on. As far as folks being more closed, because so many of us are part timers/weekenders, we’re “getting away” and tend to wait for others to start conversation so we are not intruding on their away time and since they are doing the same- it can be pretty quiet! Only once have we ever run into being in a park with someone else listed their on RVillage. Because we are so seasonal, there are also less services like mobile techs, rig washers etc. All that said, I am so excited to have EKPs coming this summer. It gives us an opportunity learn and share in the experiences of these of you who come from bigger sky country. We offer a moderate summer weather, woods and farms that know the change of the seasons and are endlessly variable. We are smaller so getting across the state can take less time than you think. And of course history!
Thank you for this bliog, we just finished making all our summer reservations for traveling up to the Escapade. mots of the ones our for thousand trails or and Encore park up to and the event in Vermont. we were told that it was a good thing we were making them at least three to four months in advance since it is summer time. we hope to see you at the Escapade I am looking forward to finally being able to sit in one some of your seminars. all of the reservations have been confirmed so hopefully we won’t run into any problems other than brats and to many fires in the campgrounds.
EZ pass is good in 37 states including the Northeast check any EZ pass facility will tell you which were states are covered
They’re all based on the amount of axles you have And yes a bogey axle is considered an axle to the toll plaza
Now if you take the 95 corridor you will pay dearly
But if you travel the western side of the state you won’t run into any tolls if you don’t want to although you’ll be in a truckers rude where we don’t pay tolls don’t we don’t like to spend the money comes out of our pocket
Also if you decide to go around DC Baltimore New York New Jersey Connecticut Boston You’ll save yourself the best grief you’ve ever had (if you have to do it on a Sunday morning)
As a trucker that drives the Northeast corridor for many years you can go anywhere without paying a toll or the bare minimum
You better have deep pockets if you cross over anyone of these points the GW bridge Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Tappan Zee bridge or the Outerbridge or CBE but the trick is you don’t pay a toll going south only north The exception is a Chesapeake Bay Bridge but then again it’s worth the ride it’s pretty
You’ll be happy to know that Vermont does not have a total system they cannot by federal law if you want to know every toll Road in the United States and its cost go to Wikipedia and type List of toll roads in the United States
Once you have that information you can route yourself around any toll road