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Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park NY

Friday was a fairly lousy “day at the office” as a result of a few frustrating jobs I had to do, even though I was in an Airstream at a state park and not in an office.   People often think that because in traveling around and working from different locations, problems are somehow lessened.   Actually, when things go poorly, you have to face them just as you would anywhere else.   You’re still you, and the problem is still the same.

I guess the major compensation is having the option to walk out the door at the end of the day and take a walk around an interesting new place, and have the first long uninterrupted conversation with your spouse in months.   At least, that’s what it was for me.

And we had the pleasure of our friends Rick and Sandi showing up around 7:30 in their Airstream Safari 23, to camp right across the way from us for the weekend.   So things bloomed quickly with dinner and conversation.   Before we knew it, we were yawning and realizing it was 11 p.m.   That’s why you didn’t get a blog entry last night.

This morning we woke up late and had a little breakfast in the trailer.   I tapped quietly on Rick & Sandi’s door around 9:10 a.m., but hearing no response, walked back to our trailer.   Eleanor was working on a key lime pie for dessert this evening, and I got a chance to play ukulele and read a trashy sci-fi novel.   Nice morning.

It turned out Rick & Sandi were awake when I came by but simply didn’t hear me.   We discovered this when Sandi came over to invite us to a massive Rick-crafted breakfast at 10:00.   Communications breakdown, I guess, but we worked it out by having a second breakfast that was so hearty it lasted us until dinner.


Our only plan for the day was to visit the Vanderbilt mansion (which has for 68 years been a national park site).   The mansion is the smallest of about 40 Vanderbilt mansions that were built in the 19th century, and it is still 50,000 square feet, originally on 700 acres of land.   It’s a nice peek at the Gilded Era lifestyle.

hyde-park-rr-apple-vending.jpgNot far away there’s a historic railway station by the Hudson River, which is probably overlooked by most people but worth a quick stop.   There we found the strangest find of the day: a 1960s era Vendo machine that dispenses fresh apples.   I used to own a 1963 Vendo Coke machine, but have never seen or heard of one that sells apples.   This one is an antique, but the idea is not gone.   Cornell University has one today.

mills-norrie-rick-sandi.jpgThe rest of the day was completely blown off with a three-hour visit to Dunkin’ Donuts, some iced coffees, and a long talk about everything in the world.     As we got back to the   state park a fast-moving line of thunderstorms rolled over, but in an hour the rain was over and it was late enough that we needed to be working on dinner: marinated flank steak by Rick, mashed potatoes, squash and zucchini by Sandi, and Eleanor’s key lime pie. And so another day in the state park flew by …

Solar report: With heavy tree cover we’ve picked up hardly any power during the day.   Our first evening it was cold, 46 degrees, and setting the furnace at 56 degrees plus some lights cost us about 30 amp hours.   I used a lot of power working on the laptop all day Friday, but cloud cover kept us from needing the furnace that night.   At this point, after dinner and dishes, we are down about 82 amp-hours, which is nearly half of our “safe” capacity.   (We have more power in reserve but avoid using it, to get maximum life out of our batteries.)

That’s no problem at all, even with a third night and lots of power-hungry laptop use.   I track this only because it’s useful to understand the power we need on a routine basis, so we can plan major boondocking episodes at national parks under challenging (no sun) conditions.

One Response to “Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park NY”

  1. dr. c. Says:

    RL writes;

    ‘I got a chance to play ukulele and read a trashy sci-fi novel. Nice morning.’

    Maybe if you had trashed the ukelele and pretended to be Captain Kirk, the morning would have been even nicer.