Our First Road Trip!
So excited to share a bit of our first big road trip with you guys! We left August 19th and got back September 12th, so it was just under a month of official nomadic life. Other than the dreadful temperature and that it's just Florida in general, we are glad to be back. We have a bunch of Fall and Winter weddings coming up that we are really looking forward to, and a few other projects in the works.
So many of you have asked how we went about planning our trip, where we stayed, how we kept our sanity. There were some parts of the trip that were planned ahead of time, and then others that we just kind of went with the flow. There were a few places we knew ahead of time that we had wanted to visit, and for those places we booked our campground ahead of time. I'll talk about the campgrounds that we stayed at below.
We spent the first night in our friend's driveway in Acworth, GA. From there, we stayed 3 nights at Diamond Caverns in Mammoth Caves. We had planned this stay ahead of time for the eclipse. We had about 98% totality from the campground! While we were there, we visited the caves and went to Kentucky action park for the alpine slide - oh my gosh, so much fun! We couldn't take a road trip without seeing our family in the midwest, so we stayed at my grandma's in Michigan for a night and then with Karlton's mom in Ohio for two nights. It is so cool to be able to just park our house outside of our family and friends houses! After that, the next night was a Walmart stay - we visited Niagara Falls during the day and they actually had pretty ok motorhome parking. When we were leaving though, it was already starting to get dark and we didn't want to drive at night, so we stayed at a nearby Walmart (our first time!) which was surprisingly a very pleasant evening.
The next night we made it to Burlington, Vermont where we had booked Northbeach Campground ahead of time for 2 nights. It was a cool campground - right on Lake Champlain, biking distance from the town of Burlington. For us though, as full timers with a larger class a motorhome, it was a little too camp-y. It was mostly tents and pop-ups, some small campers and vans. Despite what most people probably think, we just aren't into camping. I really hate that fire smell getting on your clothes and inside, I like having the comforts of home, I like to be able to wash my hands, you see what I'm getting at? We're not camping, we live here. Anyway - the area was awesome, I'll say that much. While we were in Vermont we hung out in Burlington, we went to Ben and Jerry's, and we visited Stowe - ugh. The most picturesque town in the world.
What's next - New Hampshire! Live free or die, baby! What an awesome place - the weather, the mountains, the people, the government - or lack thereof. One of our favorite places on the entire trip, by far! We stayed at a KOA there - Mt. Washington KOA. This place was awesome, but maybe it was just the vibes New Hampshire was putting out. We went up Mt. Washington, which was terrifying because the road became more treacherous and narrow the closer you got to the top, there were like 65 mph winds and visibility was pretty much non-existent. It would be a cool place to shoot a creepy post apocolyptic alien movie, though. While in New Hampshire we found another alpine slide, haha! That first one in Kentucky got us hooked! But seriously, visit Attitash if you're in the area. They have zip lines, the alpine slide, a mountain coaster, water slides, slack lines, one of those big balloon things you can jump onto, ahhh it was a blast.
Maine was up next! We spent a few nights at Patten Pond first, and then spent a couple nights at Moody Beach - both are Thousand Trails Campgrounds, which means they were free for us. Were still in the first 90 days of our membership, so any TT campgrounds we stay at are free. After that 90 days, they will be a cool $3 a night - not bad! We tried to do all the things in Maine. This was like the big 'destination' of the trip, I guess you could say. We did Bar Harbor, we went whale watching, we found a moose, we saw the coast, we went hiking, we ate lobstahs. It was freaking amazing.
After Maine, the next week was basically just coming back to Florida. We didn't really spend too much time in any one place. We generally would wake up, eat breakfast, unplug our power, drive like 3-5 hours to our next campground, plug-in, and spend a few hours out on the town. And then come home completely exhausted and zonk out, ha! We stayed a night at Timothy Lake North in Pennsylvania, we stayed in Hershey and of course went to the park and ate way too much chocolate, we stayed at Lynchburg RV in Virginia, and then our last night we spend at a Walmart in Walterborough, South Carolina before making the dreadful 8 hour drive down into Florida with EVERYONE ELSE heading back after they evacuated for hurricane Irma. I will admit, it was pretty good timing that we just conveniently happened to be out of the state when the hurricane came through, because that definitely would not have been fun.
Here's a little honest paragraph: We stayed with family in Ohio for a couple of days and had planned to drop off the motorhome at a nearby mechanic to get an oil change and a basic overall check done since we had never done that before (yikes). When we planned it, it sounded like such a great idea. We figured we would take advantage of the opportunity to drop it off for a few days since, well when would we be able to do that again unless we stayed in a hotel or something. Let me tell you, it was a hard slap of reality in the face. Our home wasn't a home anymore, it was a vehicle. It was a completely unexpected gut wrenching feeling to hand the keys to our home over to a mechanic and drive away. It wasn't a feeling I could even begin to put into words. I guess it was just weird to have a stranger come into our home and work on it, because the entire time we've owned this beast we were the only ones doing any sort of work on her, inside and out. Gah. Anyway, I cried while we drove away and had a breakdown in the bathroom at lunch. All in all, only good things came from it; we got an oil change which is always a good feeling, and one of our back tries was actually on the brink of exploding, so we got that changed. But man, I really, really hope we never have to do that again.
Another thing - it definitely wasn't a 'relaxing vacation' by any means. Things went wrong; like, a lot of things went wrong. Our (newly fixed, or so we thought) generator quit on us about 4 hours into our first day, which meant that our A/C wouldn't work. We were still in Florida at this point. In mid-August. It was definitely not the worst thing that could have happened to us; we could have broken down or got into an accident or something. Regardless, it definitely wasn't the start that I had envisioned for our trip. That same day, we got stuck in two separate situations because of our tow car. One was at an overly crowded gas station. We pulled in to get gas and couldn't back up, so we were stuck. We had to get out and unhook the car, back up, and re-hook. The second situation we got stuck was in our friends neighborhood that evening. We went down a cul-de-sac to make a u-turn, and we were too long to make it around. So, we had to get out, unhook, get straight, and re-hook in the dark. Mind you, both of these times were like our first times ever hooking and un-hooking the car, so each time was like trial and error trying to get it right and it took like 20 - 30 minutes or so. That day was just so intense, we were so sweaty and hot and exhausted. Being with good friends that night really made the world of difference. Our battery died on day 2 the very second that we pulled into our campground. We had to jump it right out front where you get registered. Halfway through our trip, our converter stopped working, which basically means that our battery would never keep charge. Even when we were plugged in to shore power we were losing our 12 volt power which meant our lights, fridge, and our slide out all wouldn't work. We had to keep the house battery charged by running the coach battery every so often - good thing we were forced to get a new one early in the trip, ha! We lost our gas cap sometime in the first week, and when we were driving back down to Florida through the hurricane it was raining so much that we got water in the gas tank and were sputtering down the highway. We pulled off of the highway, un-hooked the car and Karlton drove to an auto parts store to get some Heet and a new gas cap. - Oh yea, we drove back through a hurricane, gah!
All in all, it was an incredible trip and I am so glad that we have those memories to hold onto forever. Maine and New Hampshire were definitely our favorites, but I really think it was because they reminded us of the west coast. I guess we just aren't east-coasters; which must sound insane because we were both born and raised in Florida. The West calls to us. We took a trip out there 6 years ago and drove up the coast from California to Washington. Karlton asked me to marry him in the car overlooking the Seattle skyline at night. Ever since then, we've had this immense yearning to be back out there. This trip was a way for us to put some 'feelers' out there and see if we felt like we belonged anywhere on this side of the country - and we don't. Most likely, we will end up being snowbirds and continue to have weddings and keep all of our wonderful clients that we have here in Florida, and then make some seasonal ones somewhere that actually has mountains and rivers and beauty. Until then though, we will always feel at home in this tiny little 280 some-odd sq ft home on wheels that we built together, wherever it happens to be parked. It's not about where we end up, its about the journey. <3
This somehow got insanely long and drawn out. Anyway, heres some photos from our trip!! I'm certain that I left something out, so if you think of anything just let me know!