After departing Maine we debated whether we should take the coastal route through New England or if we should head back into the mountains. Since driving the teardrop through heavily trafficked areas is a challenge, and since we weren’t tired of seeing all the brilliant fall foliage, the mountains won out. Our first destination was the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and we quickly realized that we weren’t the only people with this grand idea. For the most part, we have been relatively alone on this journey. Yes, some of the National Parks have been very busy indeed, but overall it is the “off season,” and we tend to travel in the middle of the week. So we were more than a little surprised to see just how crowded these White Mountains were! It’s no wonder either: the trees were aflame with vibrant colors ranging from cardinal red to dazzling yellow, and every shade in between.
Our first night was spent in a nice campground surrounded by a beautiful array of trees, and as the sun started to dip the leaves were set aglow with the last bright rays of the day. We had a very relaxing evening, and as I walked around the teardrop heading for bed something twinkled in my headlamp, and I walked towards a nearby tree to take a look. A tiny caterpillar about one inch long was suspended from a branch, dangling from a thread of silk. As I looked closer I realized this caterpillar wasn’t just hanging free, it was actually performing an intricate maneuver in which it twisted from side to side, slowly gathering silk and passing it from leg to leg as it rolled it into a ball. I was astounded. Of course everyone learns about caterpillars turning into butterflies, and how insanely complicated this process is, but to watch a caterpillar literally roll a ball of silk between its legs really blew my mind. I watched transfixed for several minutes while this tiny creature continued its weaving dance, blissfully unaware of the voyeur nearby. Who needs a television?
The next day we continued our drive through the trees and attracted a lot of attention from the mostly retiree-aged tourists. People of a certain age really do love our vintage-inspired trailer! When we got through New Hampshire we stopped in Montpelier, Vermont to buy some groceries. I commented to the clerk about all the people in the mountains, and she replied, “Oh yes! We call those The Peepers. Florida has Snowbirds and we have The Peepers!” Apparently people come from all over to enjoy what a “real fall” looks like, and I can’t say I blame them! I was happy to be known as an honorary Peeper for the day.
The next few days and nights were rainy, and we plodded on through the Adirondacks and Catskills among more trees, but with less people. The trees here hadn’t quite caught up to those in the White Mountains, but I assume The Peepers are on stand-by for when they do. We stayed a night at a campground that prohibits both dogs and alcohol, and since we were the only campers we felt guilt-free about breaking both of those rules. We each grabbed a drink and plopped into the truck to tune-in to the Presidential debate while the continual rain muddied our campsite. After an hour of misery I called it a night and crawled into the teardrop, completely exhausted from the overexertion that comes from listening to politicians pontificate.