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Albany, New York

Or how to be connected and mobile

Our new phone numbers: Stephanie 518-258-6392 and Patrick 518-258-1494

The stopover in Albany, New York was useful and redemptive on several fronts. First, our dear "Caravan Guard" spent time at Keeler Mercedes-Benz licking its wounds. But Uncle Sam had a surprise for us in store. Our Sprinter 3500 is an American model, so not only was the recall free, but our four Horsemen of the Apocalypse also fell into the same category! As a result, we now have an additional 4-year extended warranty on everything from the sensor to the turbo to the diesel. Bye bye Apocalypse (at least for now). Unexpected and much appreciated, this allows us to keep on budget.

I have to say that I'm used to getting a shit** service, so it was a lovely surprise to see this Mercedes-Benz Sprinter specialist make his team work overtime to get us back on the road the same no extra charge. Also, it wasn't the condescending wealthy crowd I usually find at my dealership. We paid for a transmission oil change and an alignment, but at a really decent price (half of what I would have paid at my dealer in Quebec). It has to be said that the 8% rather than 15% tax helps...So, we're mobile and pictogram-free on our dashboard...hey hey let's be humble about this triumph because there will be other episodes like this at a less humanitarian rate.

While the motorhome sat on the sidelines, we rented a car to take care of our connectivity. An adventure awaited me there...First of all, Google map played a nice joke on me...the Alamo rental was not close to our dealership and it was, instead, at the Albany International Airport...I walked and jogged a few miles along the side of the highway to get to the Alamo stand which was...closed...looks like there won't be an easy one. Direction rental garage the other side of the airport but I can't rent the car because I don't have my passport (I left it in the RV!)... I have an international driver's license but...the Alamo guy thinks I made it (honestly, it's a piece of cardboard, I don't blame him...) So what? Well the Quebec permit will suffice....The guy can't read it but it "looks" more serious than the international permit, they're crazy these Americans.

So, after a few miles of walking and jogging in over 30 degrees, I leave with a super Kia that has air conditioning... that feels good.

Now that we have a car, the family hits the road, heading for Verizon first... big, blingy store, full of serious-looking "Obersturmführer" and, in particular, a not-very-friendly one who answers no to all of my questions. In short, she tells me that if you don't have a "social" (equivalent to our social insurance number) then you're nothing and I can't sell you anything you want and eff you. Ha well, Sieg Heil and eff you! Next stop, AT&T. Wow, a young attendant named Mohamed is there with his manager, Juan. They're interested in the trip and they're finding solutions for us. No "social", no problem, we'll ask for an exemption, no address in the U.S., no problem, we'll give the store's address! We pick up a super hot spot Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G mm Wave WiFi 6E Mobile Hotspot Router that's free with a business account and two cell phone accounts, but "unlimited" is really not free, really not...consolation, it works in Canada and Mexico. We'll be super well served while we are paying the big bucks...The budget holds up, but it's lost two teeth and needs some downtime 😊

Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit Albany properly. However, we are camping at SCHODACK ISLAND STATE PARK right on the Hudson River, not far from Albany and it's really superb. A bit like the Parc national des Iles-de-Boucherville in the middle of the St. Lawrence, but with possums.

The boys are getting used to the nomadic lifestyle and...they take afternoon naps, yes yes, and we take it easy on them all the same. We are staying on SCHODACK ISLAND until Monday, after which we head for the Catskills. This is the first real stop and the boys have a book to read, Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. School's back in session, but don't tell them, they don’t know yet…

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