Part 21: Long Island to Narragansett Bay, RI


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The Trip

We stayed for about a week at Kathleen's mother's house.  We had a nice time and were able to meet most of the folks that we wanted in that period.  But, after a week, we moved on.  Our plan was to continue east on Long Island to the eastern-most point of Montauk.  From there, we would backtrack a bit and then take ferries over to the Connecticut mainland.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

We stayed at Hither Hills state park right on the beach to the east of "the Hamptons", almost to the eastern end of Long Island.  It was a pretty nice camp, but did not have any utilities.  For us, that is generally not a problem, but in this case, we discovered that our on-board water tank was leaking water into the cabin of the camper.  We dried things as best we could and then broke camp and went to the beach.  Above is a shot of the very nice south-facing beach.  The beach was clean and had lifeguards.

A view of the beach looking to the west of our position.  Give the (general) proximity to NYC, there really were not that many folk there.  We got one of the very few camp sites left when we arrived and were happy to get it.

From the camping area, we headed east to Montauk Point.  Above is a shot of the lighthouse at Montauk Point.  We had information that there was another unimogger in the area, but we were unable to establish contact with him, so we moved on.

From Montauk, we traveled west to Sag Harbor and then took the ferry to Shelter Island.

At Shelter Island, we had to take another small ferry to get off the island to the REAL ferry that would take us across the Long Island Sound to Connecticut.

Everywhere we went along the water there were shacks and hovels.  This hovel looks like it has 3 fireplaces and about 20 rooms.

The cross sound ferry was a full size ship.  Because of the length of the mog, they got their pound of flesh from us.  The fare was about $65 for a trip of about 80 minutes.  But, it saved 4 hours of road work that would have taken us through the thick of Brooklyn and Bronx near rush hour.  Truly a no-brainer.

As the ferry pulled out of the dock, we got a view of the infectious disease test site on Plum Island.  Plum is a restricted area reserved for dangerous pathogen research, but frankly I would have felt better if it had been much farther from land.

As we neared New London, CT we got a view of the New London Lighthouse built in 1909.

The path of the ferry gave us a clear view of the University of Connecticut campus with its nice brick buildings.

More shacks on the waterfront.  But, much to the chagrin of the owners, just to the left of the houses is a huge power plant.

The power plant had its own mooring area for off-loading fuel for the plant.

The ferry route took us past a submarine undergoing repairs on the river.

Upstream from the ferry landing was the awesome I-95 bridge over the river.

Next to the ferry landing was the dock for the high-speed, passenger-only ferry.

Mike Hessling invited us to stay at his place and met us at the dock with his 406.  Like my rig, he has a bit of body rust, but the unit is mechanically sound.  He uses it frequently.

When we were at our beach camp, we noticed some water on the floor of the camper.  Investigation revealed that we had a leak.  Close investigation revealed that the leak appeared to be coming from the tank, not the hoses or fittings.  Not good news.  But, on the other hand, when I redid the plumbing, I designed it so the camper could run off "shore water" without the tank in the loop.  So, depending on what our deep inspection showed, the worse case is that we would be inconvenienced by having to use bottled water when remote camping.  Camping in an RV park with water hookup would be "as usual".  Above, I pulled the flooring in the storage compartment to gain access to the plumbing.  Note the towel soaking up some water in the bilge area.

Mike and I pulled the tank and revealed that the wooden support underneath was soaked and had been that way for quite awhile.

A view underneath the flooring of the dinette area revealed that the wood there was wet as well and showed mineralization stains suggesting that the problem had been going on for "awhile".

Mike found one of the problems: the upper seam had separated allowing water to slosh out.  When I saw this, I ordered another tank online.  But, sadly, the tank would not arrive for at least a week.  So, we decided to attempt a repair.  If the repair failed, no big deal; we would be no worse off than if we did not attempt the repair.  I had the new tank shipped to Mike's place and we will return to Waterford, CT in a few weeks to install it.

A view of the side of the tank showed more mineralization stains, but these may not be directly related to the current problem.  In addition to the calcium encrusted shut off valve, we discovered that the internal slosh baffle had broken loose and was flopping around inside the tank.  This tank's days are numbered.

I had to use a fan to help dry out the area in the plumbing hold to prevent mildew and generally musty smells.

Mike attempted a repair of the existing tank with ABS glue.  We coated all the seams and then did a fill test to try to identify any remaining leaks.  The test showed no leaking, but as it turned out, it was not a sufficient test.

While I had everything torn apart, I decided to replace the fill lines to the tank.  The valve that came off the tank was mostly occluded with calcium deposits, so that might explain the excessive fill times for the tank.  1/4" copper hard line was replaced with 1/2" braided plastic pressure line and a new valve.

We re-installed the supposedly repaired tank and filled it in situ.  The tank still leaked, so we drained it and put the whole assembly back together.  Above, the hold is put back together before we started loading our equipment and personal gear.  The wooden bolsters were not part of the camper; I added them because the seats were too low and were uncomfortable to sit on for any extended period of time.

Once we had our rig put back together and all of our gear was loaded, we headed east toward Rhode Island.  On our way to Conanicut Island, we had to pass over a pretty large bridge.

Next to the bridge was a small lighthouse, one of many we saw that day.

We passed more shacks on the shore.

We went south to Beavertail Point to check out the lighthouse there and look for a camp site.  Above is a view of the West Passage in Narragansett Bay.  The shores are rocky and many ships have grounded in this area due to fog, bad weather, mechanical failures or general incompetence on the part of the crew.

The Beavertail Lighthouse is pretty wimpy compared to some of the other lighthouses that we have visited.  But, the museum was nice.  The lighthouse is constructed of large stone blocks so it is mechanically robust.  Beavertail is a RI state park, but there is no camping allowed.  The docent at the museum told us to go back up the road a few miles and there was a camp area on the water.  So, we headed out.

On our way to the camp site at Fort Getty, we spotted these planes doing aerobatic maneuvers.

We greatly appreciated the kindness of Mike and Barbara in letting us stay at their place.  And, I am especially thankful that Mike was able to assist me in attacking the leaking tank issue.  While our attempted repair did not work, we did set the stage for an easy replacement when the new tank arrives in a week or so.  Thanks Mike, we owe you. 

The New London/Groton area has many interesting things to see.  We will investigate it further upon our return in several weeks.  Meanwhile, we headed toward Cape Cod.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
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