PLANNING OUR RETURN TO THE ROAD



After having spent the last six weeks residing in Tricia's aunt and uncle's backyard we have moved THE POD back over to her stepfather's rear driveway. This is the same location we spent our first two nights upon arriving here in Massachusetts. Our plans are to spend two weeks here before we once again hit the road to go exploring.

Tricia's stepfather's rear driveway, our home for two weeks

The state parks in the New England area are all still closed but indications are that may change next month. What is open right now are the United States Forest Service campgrounds in New Hampshire and Vermont, that's where we will be heading. While the campsites themselves don't offer water or electricity, some forest campgrounds do have flush toilets and hot showers available. One other important amenity that the forest campgrounds do not have are dump stations. We can go about two weeks without the need to empty our waste tanks, but then it becomes one of our highest priorities.

Fortunately in the middle of June an Army Corps of Engineers campground in Vermont will be opening with everything we need. On site water and electricity, hot showers and flush toilets, plus the ever important dump station. Right now we have campsite reservations through the middle of July, after that everything is still up in the air.

One other thing all these campgrounds have in common is they are all federally owned, which means with our Lifetime Senior Pass we will receive 50% off the normal rate, making them very affordable compared to the State Parks fees that are charged in the New England area.

Five of the six states in New England have a nightly out-of-state surcharge of $5-$15 added to their normal State Park camping fees. New Hampshire is the only exception to that rule, but at this time they are only allowing New Hampshire residents in their campgrounds.




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HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY (2020)

Our Location:
Backyard Camping
Cape Cod, MA 02637



Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May. The holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Every year volunteers place an American flag on each grave in all national cemeteries.

Excerpted from Wikipedia






Our 2020 Memorial Day campsite




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IT'S OUR 2nd NOMADIVERSARY!

no·mad·i·ver·sa·ry
/ˌnō-ˌmadˈəˈvərs(ə)rē/
noun


Merriam-Webster definitions:

NOMAD - a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place usually seasonally and within a well-defined territory

ANNIVERSARY - the annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event


Now if you compound these two words together you get nomadiversary. While it's true that this word is not yet recognized by Merriam-Webster I'm sure it's just a matter of time before it is.




It's been two years since we hitched up our Airstream and left Broward County, FL for the last time. Like so many others, during the last three months we have experienced many changes to our travel plans.


Our second year started out last May with several visits to New York City and then placing THE POD on a ferry boat to begin our two and a half month exploration of the six states that make up New England.

With very short visits to Connecticut and Rhode Island we then made our way to Tricia's home state of Massachusetts. After two weeks visiting with relatives in Cape Cod we made our way north for several trips into Boston to see the sights. Next was a month long visit to the state of Maine where we spent two full weeks staying inside of Acadia National Park. We didn't even scratch the surface of what there is to see and do there.

The Fourth of July was spent in Bar Harbor watching their parade and fireworks show, before making our turn to head south for the coming winter. On our way south we visited Mount Washington in New Hampshire and the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Vermont.

Next up was a visit to Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes Region of western New York, followed by quick stop in western Pennsylvania. In Ohio we toured the factory where all United States Airstreams are made. While we were there we received a much needed repair to our kitchen sink.

With a couple of quick stops in both Indiana and Illinois we made our way over to the Mississippi River near St. Louis. It was here we took a unique elevator ride to the top of the 630 foot tall Gateway Arch that overlooks the mighty river and Busch Stadium.

We couldn't think of a more fitting place for THE POD to cross the Mississippi River for the first time. After all, this is near where the Lewis and Clark Expedition began it's exploration of The West.

Once across the river we visited the states of Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. In Missouri we went on six underground cave tours, and then in Arkansas we enjoyed a private soak while inside of a historic bathhouse located in Hot Springs National Park. In Louisiana we visited the World Heritage Site of Poverty Point before crossing back over he Mississippi River into what else, Mississippi.

While in Mississippi we took THE POD in for repair work and some upgrades. Once that was done we headed to Alabama before reentering Florida. We visited six new Florida State Park campgrounds which brought our total up to 41 of the 55 campgrounds (including the ones before we started traveling) where you can overnight in an RV. We eventually hope to visit every one of them.

Just after Thanksgiving Tricia was informed her mother was experiencing some serious health issues. We decided to postpone our visit to Alaska until the following year and opted to instead visit the states of New Mexico and Colorado for the summer.

During the Christmas and New Year holidays we attended our first Airstream Rally with over 120 fellow Airstream owners. We had a great time and made many new friends.

After the rally we made our way west and visited the City of New Orleans over the course of three days. Afterwards we moved further west into Texas where we went ahead with the scheduled install of our solar package upgrade for THE POD. After the install we spent two weeks unplugged on the Padre Island National Seashore in southern Texas, something that would not have been possible with our previous solar setup.

It was now late February and the Coronavirus was becoming a household word worldwide. Tricia went forward with her plans to fly back to South Florida for a friend's Retirement Party. While in Fort Lauderdale things started changing rapidly and she cut her visit short by several days and flew back to Texas early. It wasn't long after her returning that most states started taking precautions against spreading the virus by closing their parks and campgrounds.

Just two weeks later it was discovered that Tricia's mother had been infected by the virus while receiving treatment in the hospital. It was then we made plans for a 4-day 2100-mile trek from Texas to Cape Cod, but sadly just 5 hours into our first day of travel we got word that her mother had passed away. We continued on our route with just a little less urgency.

While we haven't yet been able to share hugs, kisses or handshakes with family members we are still very fortunate to be able to spend our 2nd nomadiversary near family, safely parked in Tricia's aunt and uncle's backyard. Also just a few miles away are her stepfather, cousins and another aunt and uncle along with a couple great aunts.




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😷 14 DAYS OF OUR SELF QUARANTINE



SUNDAY - We arrived here in Cape Cod, MA on Easter Sunday and began our two week self quarantine. Before we started our cross country trek from Texas we did make a couple potentially ill-advised visits to an Airstream dealership's Service Department and a Walmart for groceries. We did take all the precautions to limit our exposure during both visits and felt comfortable that we were not in any great danger.

Our brand new front window!

While at the Airstream Dealership we got a brand new awning window installed on the front of THE POD and got our screen door hinge fixed so it no longer bangs against the door jamb when it is closed.

If were going to make another trip into a Walmart we decided to make in worthwhile at a cost of $450. We purchased enough groceries, beverages, snacks and paper products to last us hopefully for a month. With only a 7 cubic foot refrigerator we had to be careful not to buy more than would fit inside at any one time. For that reason we will probably run out of dairy products before the month is up but not much else.

During our four days of traveling on the road our only exposure came from our morning visits to the rest area bathrooms and our twice a day visit to the gasoline pumps. Again we took every precaution during these instances.



TUESDAY - After spending a couple of days visiting with Tricia's stepfather we moved THE POD from his driveway over to her aunt and uncle's backyard today. We also took THE POD over to the nearby water treatment facility to dump all of our holding tanks before we park in their backyard. With a little effort we should only have to go dump our tanks once every two weeks or so. It is here that we will spend most of our time while in Cape Cod this summer.

Our easy back in spot behind their home

Down in this gully is where the turkeys like to hand out

Water, electric and decent cell phone service! Everything we need, plus the bonus of being close to family.

We are nestled into a wooded section behind their home and access is gained by a gravel road that serves the high power lines running behind their property. It's like a mini wildlife preserve back here with robins, jays, a hawk and at least four big turkeys that come visit our area nearly everyday. We were also told to expect to see some rabbits when it warms up just a little.

Additionally we have 15-amp electricity that is supplied from their pool pump. Later this summer when they open their pool (usually around Memorial Day) we'll have to run an extension cord up to the house to get our electricity. There is also a water hose that reaches back to our parking spot so we can refill our fresh water tank when needed. Not a bad place to be for the summer! We are very fortunate to be able to spend our time here while all the public parks across the U.S. are closed until further notice.



THURSDAY - Today was a day for chores. Since we arrived at Tricia's aunt and uncle's backyard nine days ago Tricia's uncle has been trimming trees and collecting small branches into a burn pile. Just before we arrived he had burned a huge pile of brush twice the size of today's pile.

Today's modest pile of brush to burn!

Since this pile was located a mere 10 yards away from where we are currently parking THE POD we quickly packed up everything and moved it out of the way. There are a lot of safety rules about burning brush in this township. First you have to log in to their website after 10:00AM and make sure today is an authorized burn day. If the winds are too high backyard brush fires are not permitted. Also all fires must be completely extinguished before 4:00PM each day. One other thing to consider is that after May 1st no more fires are permitted until next February.

Today was perfect weather to have a brush fire, light winds and no rain, so while the fire was burning we took THE POD back over to the town's Water Treatment Facility and emptied our tanks, even though they were only half full.

By the time we got back, less that an hour later, the brush pile was reduced to nothing but a smoldering pile of ash. We threw on a loose extra piece of rotted wood just so there was something for the fire to continue to burn.

Not much left just an hour later!




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4 DAYS 😷 11 STATES 😷 2099 MILES



THURSDAY

THRU

SUNDAY

TRAVEL DAYS
YEAR #3 - STOPS #19-22



THURSDAY • DAY 1 TRAVELS

We finished up at the Airstream Dealership just before noon today and got an earlier than expected start to our eastward travels. The longest trip towing the THE POD before today was a mere 288 miles, that record will be broken over and over again during the next few days.

Today travels had us leaving the Airstream Dealer in Texas, traveling the full width of Oklahoma (including the state capitol of Oklahoma City) before stopping for the night at the Welcome Center located on I-40 Eastbound just inside the state of Arkansas. We shared the parking lot with a few other "big rigs" who were also there to catch a few hours of shuteye.



GOOD FRIDAY • DAY 2 TRAVELS

Today had us traveling the full width of the state of Arkansas (including the state capitol of Little Rock) and half way across the very wide state of Tennessee (including the state capitol of Nashville). We stopped at a very nice rest area on I-40 Eastbound which wasn't quite as busy as the Welcome Center where we stayed the previous night.

Oh, I also most forgot to mention! We were very nearly involved in a head on collision on the road today. A semi-tractor driver was going the wrong way down the Interstate.

Just kidding! The truck was actually being towed backward down the road, but it was a startling site for Tricia when I asked her to look up from playing a game on her phone.

That'll teach her to pay more attention
to the road while I'm driving!



SATURDAY • DAY 3 TRAVELS

Today is our longest travel day yet. It was so long we actually drove through five different states before parking and calling it quits for the night.

We started by driving through the eastern half of Tennessee before crossing into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. At the northern edge of Virginia we passed through short sections of West Virginia and Maryland before crossing the state line into Pennsylvania.

Once again we spent the night in a Welcome Center Rest Area, this time in was on I-81 in Pennsylvania. Also just like last time we were not alone in the parking area. We have now learned how to share a few hours of shuteye with the big rigs.



EASTER SUNDAY • DAY 4 TRAVELS

Over the last three days on the road things have been going better than expected. The conditions have been perfect for driving, no rain and no real winds to speak of. The traffic on all the Interstate Highways has been very light with most everyone complying with the nationwide "stay at home" requests.

With that being said, tomorrow's weather forecast for this region is for lots of rain and very strong winds, two things you don't want when towing a trailer. For that reason we decided to put in another very long day on the road and just push through to our final destination.

We started today at the southern edge of Pennsylvania and drove up to Scranton, PA to get well north of New York City before heading east again. It was when our route took us through a narrow section of New York state that we pulled over in a roadside picnic area to have lunch and inform Tricia's family we would be arriving tonight instead of tomorrow.

The picnic area was very neglected and poorly maintained. There was trash all around the tables and debris all over the parking lot, but we weren't even getting out of the truck so we felt it didn't matter to much to us. We couldn't have been more wrong!

After lunch we weren't more than twenty miles down the road when an alarm on our TMPS (tire pressure monitoring system) alerted us that one of the trailer tires was loosing air at a very rapid rate. In mere seconds the tire pressure dropped from 80psi to 35psi so I slowed down and pulled into the right-hand lane. As luck would have it we were in the middle of a very long uphill climb with no shoulder (only a cliff face) to our right.

Fortunately for us at the top of the hill was another rest area where we could safely pull off the road. I decided rather than deal with the situation ourselves I would call the Roadside Assistance company and let them deal with it. They informed someone could be there in 45-minutes to change our tire so we began our wait.

We once again called Tricia's family to let them know we would be further delayed but would still arrive tonight. The driver showed up right on time and within 15-minutes we were back on the road, sort of?

For the last couple of days every once in a while when starting ROVER the cruise control and tow/haul mode would not work. Usually turning the ignition off and back on would make the problem go away, not this time! After several attempts I just decided to drive the last 200 miles without the features.

I sure do miss having those two features! They help maintain constant speed and proper shifting (thereby cooling) of the transmission, which is especially important while driving up and down steep roads in the mountains.

Anyway we made it to our final destination after driving first through Pennsylvania, then New York and Connecticut, before arriving in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Like the blog title says, 4 DAYS • 11 STATES • 2099 MILES.


OUR SNACK TIME SURVIVAL KIT




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