Bearing Replacement, Transit to Randolph Center, VT and Fun Stuff©

Well…we had ourselves a little issue with our rig which resulted in a 2 day delay in leaving Glen NH…which then reduced our time in Randolph Center VT to 5 days instead of a week…so once we got there we ended up with all busy days…but more on that in a bit.

When we were on the way into Newry ME a couple weeks back…Connie heard some squealing from our left rear wheel and we thought that we had isolated the problem to worn out disk brake pads which we procured and were planning on replacing in Glen. We got those and Neil crawled under the rig to do the replacement…pulled the pads out and they were not worn out…so he decided to put them back on…which was when he noticed the hub was wobbling about 1/4 inch back and forth. A little more troubleshooting revealed we had a failed bearing on that wheel…and since we have NevRLube bearings which are press fit into the hub means we needed a new hub…and they’re only available from MORryde who builds the independent suspension we have on the rig.

We put in a call to get parts…the hub/bearing costs about $200 and it was probably another $100 or $125 for overnight FedEX…but Rob at the factory stepped up to the plate since the bearing was only 2 years old with about 18,000 miles on it…he provided a new one under warranty and also picked up the shipping…he’ll deal with Dexter who actually makes the bearing assembly for warranty coverage. Neil talked to him Monday and we received the new hub late Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday he installed it, reinstalled the wheel…and we were ready for a Thursday morning departure only 2 days late.

We headed out about 1000 from Glen Ellis campground for our 160 mile trip to Lake Champagne Campground in Randolph Center VT…pretty much in the center of the Green Mountains for which the state is most famous. Pulling into our site was a bit exciting…we had to have the owner come down and trim some branches that were hanging too low…he said they were trimmed in the spring but obviously they grew considerably over the summer…although to our eye some of those that were trimmed were too large to be this year’s growth…he claimed he had big rigs in the site all summer and nobody had a problem until we arrived. Yeah…right.

Friday morning we headed out for our first day of Fun Stuff©…and a full day it turned out to be with us leaving the rig about 1000…we had to wait for the fog to lift since it was a scenic drive day…and didn’t get home until 1830…so a long day it was.

Connie the DLETC picked out this scenic drive based on some information she found in Yankee Magazine along with several other internet sources…and she had our route planned out but it was largely of the “turn here” variety…where we headed on a number of small, twisty, hilly country roads most of which we wondered what the name of the road was…more on that in a bit though. Our first stop…well actually it was our second but we passed it shortly before getting to our actual first stop and went back later…was to investigate a dead canine on the side of the road…Connie took a look at it and said it was still alive. We didn’t have any cell signal so couldn’t call the fish and game folks…so Neil knocked on the door of the nearest house and he and the owner (who was actually the local constable) took a look. Turned out it was a coyote and it was dead…Connie mistook the wind blowing the fur near it’s eye for blinking. Anyway…civic duty done for the day.

Our actual first stop was at…Bonus Waterfall©…named Texas Falls. She saw it on the map we were kinda sorta following and we decided it was worth a couple of minutes side trip to investigate…and it turned out to be a pretty nice waterfall.

Small cascade just upstream of the man drop.

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The main drop…only about 15 feet downstream from the first shot but a walk of a couple hundred yards to get downstream, down the path from the road, and out on the bridge over the stream.

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Looking downstream almost straight down from the bridge…both Connie and Neil liked the shape of this eroded rock.

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We then continued the planned portion of our tour…and after turning onto a really empty road we started wondering what it was named…the map had nothing except a road number on it…but fortunately within a dozen miles or so our question was answered. It turns out that the poet Robert L Frost…although not born in Vermont…spent 42 summer and fall seasons here in a little town named Ripton teaching at Middlebury College. His farm and residence were nearby…and he was named as Poet Laureate for the state…after his death his farm and home were preserved as a state historic site. We drove past the historic site on the aforementioned unnamed road…and thus the name of the road was revealed…clearly it’s “the road less traveled by.”

We arrived over on the shores of Lake Champlain for our second stop of the day…the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum…which is composed primarily of historical watercraft used on the lake…but also has a built using period techniques an exact replica of the USS Philadelphia…which was one of the gunboats constructed by Benedict Arnold on his original campaign to control both the lake and take possession of the fort at Ticonderoga…which was necessary since George Washington needed it’s cannon to lay siege to Boston early in the American Revolution. We wandered around for an hour or so until Connie’s hip started bothering her.

Indian birchbark canoe. While the museum has many watercraft that were found sunk or buried or in garages…including the remnants of an Indian dugout canoe…this one looks too well preserved to be an actual Indian constructed one…I think it’s a reconstruction but it’s beautifully made.

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Reproduction of a period (late 1700s) drawing by Mr. Champlain of the noble savages that inhabited the region.

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They also have what’s known as an ice boat…essentially a catamaran type craft that rides on 3 ice skates…one under the stern and one on each end of the outrigger. Neil had to take a pano shot with his phone to get the whole thing in.

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Close up of the forward starboard side of the ice boat…according to the signage it would said at 3x-5x the actual wind speed…so in a speed of 20 knots would be in the 80–100 knot speed range out on open ice. There was a short video from back in the day playing nearby and the boat was clearly up in the 45-50 knot speed range even though it was tacking and gybing frequently to stay within view of the primitive movie camera used…it changed course every 5-10 seconds and never really got up to full speed.

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This is the cockpit area…it’s about 8 or 9 feet long and maybe 2 or 3 feet wide.

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View of the replica USS Philadelphia…although back then it was just Philadelphia as the US didn’t exist yet.

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The bow cannon…it carried 3 of these and several swivel guns mounted on the rail.

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While we were standing on the dock this WW II era B-25 Mitchell bomber flew by…must have been some sort of air show or exhibition going on although we didn’t see anything about it. Neil wasn’t sure whether it was a B-25 or a B-24 until we got home and he could look up the silhouettes to make sure…it’s clearly the former from looking at the forward gunner/bombardier canopy configuration and the vertical tail fin configuration.The two engines vs the 4 that the B-24 had would have given it away instantly if he had known about it.

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We headed for our final destination of the day and on the way there stopped by Bristol Falls as well as taking a few shots of the leaves turning…looks like we’ll miss the peak here in VT unless it improves a lot by next week in Burlington but we’ve another 2 weeks after that in MA and CT so we should get some good colors eventually.

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Not quite as cool as some of the other covered bridges we’ve seen the past few weeks…but cool nonetheless…and this is another one that’s still in use albeit limited to a single lane and vehicles less than 3 tons.

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Our final destination of the day was Prohibition Pig…a bbq place found in Waterbury VT. It’s comprised of both the bbq restaurant and a brewery in the back…strangely although both have the same beers on tap the brewery only has tacos and burgers and we went there for the bbq. We didn’t find this out until we had ordered a couple of brews at the brewery…a Vanilla Bean Porter for Neil and a Blueberry Milkshake Swine Cooler (sour ale or gose  type which Connie’s discovered she likes) for Connie. Luckily they have a way to carry your brews from the brewery to the restaurant without going out on the street and breaking the local liquor laws…so after getting our beers we walked up and ordered dinner. 

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Very nice chalkboard drawing up near the door…the wine bottles were drawn from the outside in so that the unchalked portion of the board became the bottle.

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Connie had a pulled pork sandwich with a side of potato salad…she made a mistake and let them put the eastern NC vinegary type of sauce on it. Neil had a smoked beef brisket sandwich with the bacon bbq sauce and crispy onion strings on top…he ordered a side of maple baked beans to go as he was sure the sandwich would fill him up…he was right. The food was pretty darned outstanding but the beer was typically…for New England…over hoppy so after we finished those Connie had a glass of French Pinot Noir and Neil a Dark and Stormy. Here’s a shot of their cocktail glass.

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But the back of it was the good side…the light square is located on the map of VT where Waterbury is located.

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After dinner…we headed home…luckily it was freeway all the way home as we were tired by then.

Saturday morning…we headed off about 1000 for a trip 20something miles up the road to the capital Montpelier to tour the State House…they have some construction going on up there. The dome is wooden and then covered with copper that is then gilded with gold but it’s currently undergoing refurbishment to stop leaks and replace the deteriorated wooden statue that crowns the dome.

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Chair in the governor’s office…it’s made out of original timber from the USS Constitution…Old Ironsides from the War of 1812.

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This is a painting by a VT born artist painted in the 1870s to commemorate the valiant Vermonters who fought in the Civil War…it depicts them at the Battle of Cedar Creek in western VA. It’s huge. An interesting thing about it, besides its size, is that the artist interviewed families of those who participated in this battle and the portraits of all individuals depicted in the painting were actual participants in the battle.

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After that we stopped by the Morse Maple Sugar Farm for some goodies and such…then headed home with a pair of Maple Milkshakes on takeout for lunch. Yum.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Don’t text and farm.

DontTextAndFarm

Not all heroes wear capes.

NotAllHeroesWearCapes

I would really like to know the story behind this.

TheRestOfTheStory

Good dog.

StopThat

Cyas.

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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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