We started off with a bang! The last 10% of the packing proved to be the most difficult. Thankfully, my parents stopped by to sure up a few things on Eleanor and then took the boys with them to our first stop: my sister’s house in Westminster, MD. This allowed Joe and I to bust out the last of the packing and get on the road. On Day One, we left later than we wanted, but we made it in time to reunite with everyone for the finale of the fireworks show!
On Day Two, we enjoyed real beds and a home cooked breakfast for the last time and set out with adventure in our hearts on Thursday morning!
Western Maryland looked beautiful as it lead us to West Virginia. We had a great time stopping at our first Welcome Center when we crossed the border. The employees were so kind and helpful and hey – free maps! This was particularly exciting to Brady!
The sweet employees were so excited to hear about our trip! And they actually gave us an alternative, and shorter route to our next destination: Shenandoah National Park. We were all singing John Denver on our way in. “…Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River…” Before we left Baltimore, we got an annual pass to the National Parks. WORTH IT!!! Just that first park’s admission was almost half the price of the complete pass that will allow us to go wherever we want for free! The park was stunning and we even got to learn a lot of history in a movie that was showing in one of the Visitor’s Centers. It was incredible to see and then learn that workers built the stone wall and planted some of the trees along the beautiful Skyline Drive during The Great Depression. And the boys got their very first National Park stamp from one of the Rangers!
From there, we proceeded to our first overnight stop. During our planning period, Joe found an awesome website called “Boondockers Welcome” – a nationwide registry of people who allow campers to stay on their property for free. Staying in campgrounds every night adds up quickly! If you’re willing to “rough it” you can do dry camping in parking lots of Walmart, Cabela’s, Camping World, or Cracker Barrel. It’s great that it’s free, but with that means no water or electricity. So finding people that are willing to host you on their property is a real treat! On their profile, the host tells you about themselves, their property, and what amenities they can provide. Most of them are RVers themselves, who are happy to serve the larger camping community…but they also have a lot of experience and wisdom to share! About a week ago, Joe arranged our first night’s host in Roanoke, VA.
We arrived at Sherman’s house around 8:30 last night. His property was even more beautiful in person. It sits on a creek with a waterfall! He is such a kind-hearted man and he loved watching the boys skip rocks and play in the creek. But seeing his picture doesn’t tell the whole story…you have to hear his molasses-like southern accent. We had a few really nice conversations, but he also left us to ourselves after awhile and told us to make ourselves at home. (He allowed us to plug in too! woo hoo!) After settling in, we got back in the rig to get ready for bed.
Eleanor was a champ through the night and the A/C worked great! This was the first real test! Around 1:00 am, there was a HUGE thunderstorm – sooooo – now we know what that sounds like… We were certainly glad we were not in a tent! Eventually, we were all able to get back to sleep and were very comfortable. It was such a blessing to wake up to the sound of the waterfall and be able to sit and read by the creek and enjoy such a peaceful setting. I think we may have been spoiled by Sherman at our very first stop, but stay tuned… We’ll check back in from Tennessee!
Sherman’s PRO TIP: “When you’re Rving, the best plan is to have no plan.
Ten of our favorite things: (so far)
1. Clear plastic bins to keep our stuff organized and avoid avalanches from the cabinets
2. Stainless steel, insulated cups for ice water on these hot days
3. Body and face wipes
4. Ben Rector’s new album, “Magic”
5. Bubble gum
6. Playaway audiobooks from the Public Library
7. Not having to constantly stop for Karen to go to the bathroom
8. Flashing our National Parks pass and rolling in with no extra fees
9. Having nothing but time and no real schedule…just being…and not rushing
10. State Welcome Centers – fun info and history, sweet employees, and free maps!
Miles so far: 707
| Psalm 23 |
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.