Connecticut and A Camper’s Complaint

Coming to you from the Summer home of the Yale School of Music, where an endowment of Old Money brings a small influx of culture and smart-looking young folks, from June through August each year. I am sitting on the patio of the Infinity Music Hall, enjoying beer, coffee, and Bailey’s Cheese Cake–a frivolous stop, but I had a strong feeling that I’d regret it if I didn’t make it. This was, after all, the one time Summer residence of Mark Twain, every Missouri boy’s patron saint of letters. Wikipedia tells me that there is a stained glass window dedicated to the memory of his wife in an Episcopalian Church here.

The Berkshires–if indeed, I am still technically in them–continue to be beautiful country. I would characterize the roads running through them as more hilly than mountainous. But if I’m reading my maps correctly, today’s travels will be at the highest altitudes of the remainder of my trip, and probably feature the most intense ups and downs I’ll see until Bar Harbor, so I’m taking my time.

I’m thinking a lot about time, these days. My father will not be in Maine for another two weeks yet, which means I could travel 30 miles a day and still reach Bar Harbor at the same time he does. And I’d still have four days to dig the island before he leaves.

*time warp* I came inside to have another beer as I was all wrapped up in the blogging. Wound up sitting next to the Music Hall’s owner, Dan, who struck up a conversation after mistaking me for a photographer from the Hartford Courant. He gave me a tour of the hall and a rundown on getting into the music venue/restaurant business in a tiny CT town. Flirted with the bartender: 25 years old and she’s never been out of New England. Had eight glorious miles of nearly uninterrupted downhill from Norfolk to Winsted. Payed a ridiculous 21 dollars for my campsite outside of Pleasant Valley.

rant, out of time: There were two campground options and I chose the state-run Austin F. Hawes Memorial Campground, because: it’s next to a river; it’s state run, which meant the possibility of an absentee ranger attendant (“Please put $10 in the envelope and deposit it…”), making it a free night of camping for those of us who believe that the least this country can do is offer the weary traveler a piece of ground on which to lay his head (my conscience chalks it up to Civil Disobedience); and, finally, even if I had to pay, how much could they be charging in Austin F. Hawes memory?

I went ahead and payed because it’s a pretty spot, and because it would have been five or more miles backtracking, uphill to get to the other campground, and I’m lazy. And it probably wouldnt have saved me any money anyway. I’ve called ahead to the three camping possibilities for tomorrow, all privately run, and they’re charging $24-$35. My best option for tomorrow is $20 for a hostel in Dudley, MA.

There’s ‘guerrila’ camping, and now I’ve got a little experience with it. But it’s difficult to find the right spot at the right time. I don’t want to stop at a guerilla spot much before sundown, especially with the Northeast being so densely populated. But I also don’t want to be wandering around, looking for a spot in the dark. I suppose the best way would be to stake out a spot early and return to it at dusk, but that presumes there’s a halfway convenient place to hang out nearby. Maybe it’s just more work than I’m willing to put into it. But if campgrounds run this high all along the coast, I might have to sharpen my guerrila skills.

Zoe at Kripalu mentioned YMCAs as a possibility. I’ve never noticed a Y while touring, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for one tomorrow.

end rant, back in time: So, I’ve got a lot of time. And now I’m out of steam.

This will have to be continued tomorrow.


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