I was super excited that NJ was the first real stop on our adventure because I’m originally from NJ and I still have family and friends living in the area. We had planned to stay for a week, but given all of our setbacks getting on the road, we were only able to stay for 4 nights. The days were cold and the nights almost dipped below freezing on a few occasions. Campgrounds were starting to close in the area and we were worried about freezing pipes. We couldn’t afford to stay for too long because we needed to head south.
Getting to the campsite was a little stressful because an hour out from our destination, we realized that we would be cutting it close with gas. We had hit some traffic on the road, the roads were a lot hillier than expected, and the truck started to clean the exhaust filter mid-trip which drops your MPG significantly. I was frantically trying to figure out our tank size to calculate out the MPG, but was coming up short. Paul wanted to stop at a gas station but I was too nervous that we wouldn’t be able to make the turns. I calculated out our worst-case scenario and convinced Paul that we would make it to the campground. I was right in my calculation, we did make it, but I didn’t take into consideration that we wouldn’t be able to back into the spot. Thankfully, with 11 miles left until empty, a friendly gentleman from Texas pulled up and helped us back in within seconds. Two new lessons learned – always plan for gas stops and don’t ever turn down a helping hand.
We stayed at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, a campground that I was familiar with as I had stayed here as a child, and one that was a 10-minute drive to my dad’s house. During our time there, we were able to start learning/breaking-in our new fifth wheel but also had the conveniences of WiFi, home cooked meals, and a shower just a quick drive away. We also were able to show the rig to our family and friends before taking off for a year.
While in NJ, we paid a visit to Stokes State Forest to take a hike with the pup and my brother. The trails were well groomed and although I turned us around a bit, it was enjoyable to walk through the fallen leaves and see the changing colors of the trees. We saw waterfalls, walked along a river, and wandered through the trails. It was a glorious afternoon!
Since most of the time was spent with family and friends, we didn’t get to stop at a brewery, but we did pick up some local beer from Carton Brewing Company. Stay Down is a German Schwarzbier that pours dark and ominous in the glass but is light and crisp in the mouth. There was a peppy pop of fresh hop that was unexpected and the aftertaste left you with tastes of roasted nuts, coffee and just a touch of campfire; fitting for our surroundings and the season. In the past we’ve had Regular Coffee, Boat Beer and a handful of others from Carton and we would highly recommend them if you can get your hands on them!