A Return to Connecticut on the Way South
Well, up and at’em ! After our quick one night stop in New Hampshire it was time to move on and tackle a couple of more states. Today’s planned route would take us thru Massachusetts, but staying well west of Boston, and continuing southwest into Connecticut, with our destination being Bear Creek Campground in Bristol, CT. The planned route was about 160 miles which equates to a little less than four hours of drive time for us. That included a rest stop or two, with a packed lunch at one of them. (Thanks for always having a yummy packed lunch for us Betsy!)
We rolled into Bristol and Bear Creek Campground mid-afternoon on Wednesday, October 18th. The campground appeared to be fairly new and well kept, but on a Wednesday in mid-October it was definitely somewhat empty. I believe we counted no more than 8 - 10 RV’s in the entire park. We wound our way around the park to Site #1, our home for a couple of nights. We found Bear Creek Campground after a couple of our fellow Maine Workampers (Phil & Sue, Bob & Pam) stopped here on the their way south the prior week. Also, we found it hard to pass up the mid-week BOGO they were having, buy one night for $35, get a second night free. That comes out to $17.50 / night, well below our budgeted nightly camping rate. Bear Creek Campground is on the grounds of Lake Compounce Amusement Park, the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, celebrating its 171st season. See our review of Bear Creek Campground here.
After setting up our site (We’re getting the hang of this again already!), we headed out for an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, P.F. Chang’s. Once again an email special had gotten our attention, FREE entree Hoikken Street Noodles with the purchase of another entree. Enough said, count us in! As we pulled into the parking lot at the mall where P.F. Chang’s was located, we looked at each other and said, “I think we’ve been here before.” After a couple of minutes of thought we realized we had eaten here on our way up to Maine when we stayed at Aces High RV Park in East Lyme, CT. Geez, we either gotta get to another part of the country or expand our dining out options! We always have fun reading our fortune cookies at the end of our meal, even though I can’t enjoy their gluten-filled cookies. Betsy’s fortune tonight was very fitting as we had just discussed leaving our summer home in Maine and heading for our next one in Texas.
After dinner we decided to take a walk around the West Farms Mall. In the mall we came across an Apple store, where we would normally stop and look around at all of the new toys. But we actually had a real reason to stop this time, my iPhone 6 is a little over two years old and the battery has been giving me problems for a while now. I decided it may be time for Apple to evaluate my problem. After about an hour wait, one of the Mac Geniuses told me what I had already suspected, my battery was shot. My options were to have them replace the battery for $79.99 or call Verizon the next day to see if the phone insurance we carry on our phones would finally benefit us. A quick stop at Trader Joe's for some provisions before heading back to home at Bear Creek Campground.
The next day brought us another chance for some retail catchup after being in Maine for five months. I started my morning on the phone with Verizon to inquire about my failing battery. Surprisingly, without much conversation, they agreed to send me a replacement (refurbished) iPhone 6S the next day. Yes, phone insurance finally paid off! They shipped my new phone to the Kapusta’s house where we would be visiting in a couple of days. Onto Lunch at Panera and a visit to the local Costco to restock the pantry in Charlie. Not that we didn’t have access to groceries in Maine, but there are several things that we consume which are much cheaper at Costco, so we rarely miss a chance to stock up when we are near one.
On the way home, about a mile from the campground, we had seem a neon ESPN sign along the road. Now if you’re as much of a sports junkie as Betsy and I are, you are already aware that Bristol, CT is the world-wide headquarters of ESPN. Along the road was a sign to the Welcome Center, so we thought why not stop and see what they have. We pulled into the visitors parking lot and immediately noticed several security vehicles and people. After parking we headed into the visitors center to look around. Behind the desk, inside the front door were two not-so-friendly security guards. When they asked what they could help me with, I said we just thought we would look around since we were staying so close. They didn’t think that was such a good idea and informed me that the welcome center was for people who had business at ESPN. (When she said that, going through my head was all of the money we’ve paid over the years to our cable providers to have access to ESPN. So I definitely had business here! Just not the kind she was talking about.) I thanked them as we turned to exit their “Un-Welcome Center”. As we were walking across the parking lot to the car, we decided to at least go get a picture in front of the ESPN sign along the road. As we were walking that way, once again, another security guard had other plans for us. He proceeded to advise us that it was illegal to take pictures on private property and that we should leave. I questioned the “Welcome Center” sign along the road, and he at least admitted that it was probably not a good name for the sign. So with our tail between our legs we headed for our car to leave. Betsy said she was at least going to snap a picture out the window as we drove by the ESPN sign. As I looked in the mirror and noticed the security guard following us out of the parking lot, I suggested she skip the picture and we just head home. Thus this post contains no illegal pictures on ESPN property. The irony of the whole story is we were camping about 1 mile, as the crow flies, from all of the big ESPN dishes on their campus. When I settled in that evening to watch my Philadelphia 76ers play their season opener on ESPN, the local cable provided by the campground had ESPN on their channel list. When I flipped to the channel at game time, the picture was so fuzzy you could barely see it, and there was no sound. Maybe they had spent too much money on security guards to provide a good picture to the surrounding Bristol area. Yes, I’ll still watch their channel, I’ll just do so now knowing they don’t really like me as much as I thought!
Friday morning we were up and ready to move on again. More visits and more states in our future. Thanks for the short visit to Connecticut, I’m sure we’ll be back to stop at our favorite P.F. Chang’s on our next trip into New England!