As of today, May 27, we are a little more than one month away from having been full-time-on-the-road travelers for two and a half years. I've avoided posting too much of the details about our life traveling because much of what happens with us daily is just the kind of mundane everyday happenings experienced while living the stationary bricks and mortar life.
Recently, I've mostly posted photographs taken in some pretty scenic places like National Parks we visited. I think these photos should be easily digested and should generally fall easy on pandemic-stressed, stuck at home eyes of a viewer. My hope was the photos would give the stay-at-home quarantined a view of the outside world and maybe lend some ideas for post-pandemic vacation places. They mark our journey as punctuations in our day-to-day living while on the move.
Life during the pandemic has been mostly great for us. I'm not oblivious to the fact that for many people life stuck at home with family, while a great notion in theory, has sometimes been a struggle not foreseen. Between child care and work obligations life became suddenly a bit more real and complicated. That's understatement, I'm sure.
For many, the thought of life going back to normal is not something they desire now that priorities have been adjusted. This partially explains why employers are having a difficult time filling positions or the take-your-low-paying-job-and-shove it mentality.
Most who read this will come to it thinking Melanie's and my life is a perpetual vacation. Considering only the reviews of restaurants, campgrounds, and National Parks, etc., that dominate my postings, why wouldn't anyone think that? Granted, traveling does provide us with (mostly) a constant stream of new and varied experiences one typically attributes to a vacation.
And though we have more opportunities to experience more frequent vacation-like experiences in our lives, we, like many of you, are not on vacation. Yes, many, many times we skip the roadside attraction(s) we know are there or that have been graciously suggested to us by friends both old and new. Sometimes you are up for an attraction, many times we note the attraction for a next pass through the area. Sometimes there's grocery shopping to do (where's the market in this location?) or laundry, or van cleaning, or just planning our next move(s) etc.
With this post I hope to begin an accounting of our day-to-day living for a little over a month leading up to our July 6th anniversary of two and half years living this life of travel after leaving Birmingham. I hope not to bore the reader too much with the more mundane aspects of our lives, but everyday life on the road, as you will see, does have its more mundane elements as well as, at times, more opportunities for peak experiences we all relish. I hope it gives you an idea of what life has been/is like for us.
May 27, 2021
Every day for us begins when I get up and make our morning coffee, a large pot, pour over style. I've been doing this for us for many years. It's one of the "blue jobs" we quip about periodically. As I make coffee, and Melanie sometimes dozes for a few more minutes, I read emails, check Instagram and Facebook or begin reading either the New York Times or Washington Post newspapers. I almost always read Professor Heather Cox Richardson's daily posting on Substack.
Our van has an almost queen bed in the back. This is where our coffee is consumed and our day really begins. Melanie most always begins her work day as Director of Episcopal Peace Fellowship as she sips coffee.
While we sometimes set an alarm depending on whether we have a travel day and how far we intend to travel, we mostly wake up between five and seven a.m. without alarm. We recently crossed over into Eastern Daylight Savings Time which has thrown me off a bit and I was up around 7:00 a.m. EDST.
Breakfast varies for us. Cold cereal, granola with fruit and yogurt is a favorite of mine. Sometimes I eat a protein bar, especially on a travel day that's close to 200+ miles. We try to keep those days to a minimum and usually opt for travel days ranging from 100-150 miles.
We both picked up a few "COVID pounds" over the winter months so we've been eating a more healthy diet and picking up our exercise routines. Melanie has been getting in her 10,000 steps each day, I sometimes walk with her, but often opt for a bike ride to check out our surroundings.
Today, after leaving our campsite in Bluffton, Indiana, Melanie worked and walked the Rivergreenway Trail and I rode a portion of the trail into downtown Fort Wayne. We parked Miranda at Lawton Park, a very nice park just off of downtown Fort Wayne.
Afterwards, we drove to downtown Fort Wayne for a late lunch at a local Irish Pub and then traveled 140 miles to the Shelby/Mansfield KOA. I am composing this from the KOA.
Upon arrival to a campsite, depending on which hookups are available, I level and stabilize Miranda with the push of a few buttons on an app I have on my phone, we close up the front of Miranda with built-in shades, and I connect us to electricity and water, if available. Melanie readies the inside of Miranda for us. We've now done this so many times it takes only minutes for us to be ready to enjoy our newest spot.
Melanie took another walk around our campground. I made a cocktail and spoke to a friend from Birmingham I'd not caught up with in a while. After I ate a very light snack for dinner, we walked together around the camp which bills itself as a KOA resort, a destination KOA, if you will. Pool, hot tub, miniature golf, huge trampoline, bicycles, etc., you get the idea. They have number of sites here that appear to be occupied by seasonal campers, most likely people who live not too far away and come here for what was called "lake season" by someone we met in Fort Wayne.
Our evenings are usually spent watching something via one of the platforms to which we subscribe. We are able to stream via a now discontinued plan through Verizon Wireless and we subscribe to a number of platforms that allow us a wide variety of entertainment. Rare is the evening we don't have good enough connectivity for streaming something of interest.
Tonight, we watched the HBO Series, Six Feet Under. We're asleep close to 10:00 p.m.
May 28, 2021
We generally try not to travel on consecutive days, but today's another exception. We're drifting ever so slowly east and Melanie has meetings scheduled in Cleveland and the area around Cleveland coming up so we're moving closer to there. We want to be close because of the holiday weekend that's about to happen.
It rained most of the night and was raining when we got up at just before 6:00. Coffee, breakfast, then we both showered using the KOA camp showers. We've become accustomed to using camp showers most of the time. Our van's shower is certainly very usable for us, but our shower also serves as storage for shoes and a few other items we use regularly so it's easier to use the campground showers when they're good, clean and available.
With light rain continuing late morning, we ready the van for travel. Melanie arranges the inside of the van and opens up the shades in the front. Since we are headed to a Boondockers Welcome location over the Memorial Day weekend for three days, I make sure our holding tanks (black and grey) are emptied and our fresh water tank is as full as possible. We have a macerator pump which makes emptying our tanks very easy. The whole process takes less than ten minutes to accomplish.
We can generally be off grid for up to five days if the black and grey tanks are empty and we have our full complement of water. This time we only need three days and we'll have a thirty amp electrical hook up at our host's location so the mostly cloudy weather we'll have for a few more days isn't a factor since our solar panels won't be necessary to recharge the house batteries during the day.
The distance for travel today is only 65 miles so we left our campsite later than we normally might. The route is mostly rural secondary roads with small towns and scenic farms along the route.
We stop in the smallish town of Wadsworth, Ohio, population 24,000+/-. I go into the Valley Cafe and get a couple of salads to go while Melanie sets up the van for both lunch and a Zoom call she has for work.
We're then within 8 miles of our destination after the Zoom call is done and the drive is an easy one.
Since we know where we're to be located at our hosts property on a concrete pad with electricity offered, it's easy to go ahead and park in the obvious spot once we arrive. Our host arrives as soon as we're parked and verifies we're in the correct spot. Since it's still raining we exchange pleasantries, he leaves and I level and stabilize the van and hook us up to electricity.
Cocktails in the van followed by dinner that consists of left over Costco ribs with a simple spinach salad and creamed cauliflower that Melanie prepares for us. Afterwards, I do the cleanup and we're then ready for bed and more Six Feet Under on HBO.
The rain stopped sometime last night and it's cloudy and unseasonably cool this morning. It was 43 outside when I got up to make coffee, 51 in the van. Time to crank up the furnace while the water boils for coffee.
Since there's no real reason to move Miranda today, we take our time drinking coffee, checking social media and reading the papers. Late morning Melanie suggests we go out for a saunter in the neighborhoods close by our location,
We take a three and a half mile walk in two different neighborhoods separated by the very busy four-lane Highway 18 out in front of our hosts property. Nothing remarkable really except the Rhododendron are blooming and they're spectacular here. There are wild flowers blooming too, It's a nice walk in what was most likely recently farm land. We're just northwest of Akron and almost due south of Cleveland, Ohio.
Lunch today is a nice salad Melanie makes for us with left-over fat-assed Costco chicken. It's healthy and yummy too.
After lunch, Melanie gets in a few more steps in the neighborhood and I read and relax in the van.
Drinks, then dinner consists of frozen Wild Caught Salmon from Whole Foods that I prepare by placing it in the microwave a al David Chang's Instagram preparation tip and left over cauliflower. After clean up, we retire to the back of the van for HBO's Bill Maher and another episode of Six Feet Under.
We're asleep early as we have to get up early on Sunday morning.
All Along The Watchtower (Playing For Change)
I'm up early at 5:30 a.m. this Sunday morning. Melanie is scheduled to attend church services in Euclid, Ohio just outside of Cleveland and we're located 40 miles away. After a few days of clouds and off and on rain, today is partly cloudy and cool, but we'll see the sun again.
After a few cups of coffee, Melanie is ready to move towards a local Planet Fitness for a shower before we travel on to Euclid. We have Planet Fitness' Black Membership we use exclusively at this point for showers when we've been boondocking for a few days. We hardly ever shower on a daily basis, especially when the weather is cool and we've not been too active. The one in Copley, Ohio is only 2.5 miles away from our Boondockers Welcome location.
After showering, we head for Euclid which is an easy drive up Interstate 90. We arrive early before services and spend some time reading before Melanie goes in when friends, and EPF members, she knows arrive. Church service at Church of the Epiphany is Melanie's second church service since we've been fully vaccinated and since churches closed after the pandemic hit last year. She was also excited to visit with the priest, Roselind Hughes, who is the author of Whom Shall I Fear, Urgent Questions for Christians In An Age Of Violence.
I nap in the van for a time after she leaves. Five-thirty was apparently too early for me this morning.
After church services, Melanie finds us a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland for lunch. Han Chinese Kabob and Grill is only open for takeout. We order and I wait for our food while Melanie prepares the van for eating lunch there. While not as good as our beloved Red Pearl in Birmingham, Alabama, our takeout lunch satisfies our cravings for Chinese cuisine for another week.
We've discussed a visit to Ohio's only National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for a few days. Melanie, wanting to get in a good walk and me wanting to get out on Red Ranger, my bike, travel to a spot within the park where we can park Miranda.
Melanie walked almost six miles along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail that has become a multi-use path running through the park and beyond. I rode from our location at the Brecksville Rail Station 15 miles south and back. It's a stellar day with high temp at 65 degrees and blue bird skies. Since it's the Memorial Day weekend, many people are out walking, running and riding bikes.
We make a quick trip into Akron for groceries at Whole Foods and then travel back to our Boondockers Welcome location in Copley.
We skipped dinner and opt for healthy (mostly) snacks and drinks outside, then retired for our evening streaming.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath
May 31, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. this morning. It's a travel day, but we're not in a hurry because we're only moving about 25 miles away to a KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio.
Melanie has her coffee and gets out for a morning walk while I wash up dishes and begin to get us ready too move.
We decide to travel back into Cuyahoga Valley National Park so Melanie can walk and I can get another bike ride in. I do a 10 mile out and back and she walks 3.0 miles.
Melanie makes us a salad for lunch and we eat in the parking lot near the trail in the park.
Afterwards, we travel to Streetsboro, Ohio and check in at our KOA campground. We take showers and get ready to travel to Akron for an afternoon with Bruce and Jane Freeman. Bruce is one of Melanie's EPF board members.
We spend the afternoon talking with Bruce and Jane in their backyard. It's another splendid Spring day in Ohio. Bruce and Jane feed us a wonderful dinner outside and afterwards we make our way back to Streetsboro and this time set up camp.
Tonight's streaming is the finale of a series we've been watching on HBO.
June 1, 2021
It's a new month and we're up at around 7:00 a.m.
Melanie is meeting the Bishop of Ohio, Rt. Rev. Hollingsworth, Jr. at Bellwether Farm in Wakeman, Ohio. We travel from Streetsboro, Ohio KOA, about 70 miles, to the farm.
When we arrive, Melanie makes us a lunch salad and afterwards I take out my bike and ride down State Route 60 a short distance to the North Coast Inland Trail and Oberlin Trail and ride 12 miles to Oberlin, Ohio and then back.
We grab a bite at a local Streetsboro establishment on the way back. Our KOA is only about a mile and a half away afterward. I try (again) to refill our propane tank, but it's close to closing time at the KOA and the young folks there tell me there's no one capable of filling the tank. I'm not out of propane so, okay.
Melanie takes another walk about the campground before we retire for the evening to stream a bit.
North Coast Inland Trail
June 2, 2021
It's another rainy (off and on) day in Ohio. We're up at 7:00ish and I've been reading and checking social media, while finishing up on yesterday's posting. Melanie has been working steady all day, except for a brief walk to the KOA office between showers.
We will FaceTime with friends at 4:00 EDST and with our son, Tate, sometime afterwards.
The down time is good, we've been out and about over the past three plus days and I've taken some great bike rides and ridden 70+ miles. I glanced at my bike odometer yesterday and as we approach 2.5 years on the road, I've put nearly 6,000 miles on my bike. While I've mentioned what a great choice it was to have electric assist bikes instead of towing a car, I've been meaning to extol the virtues of having those bikes generally for a while.
As I mentioned, yesterday, while Melanie had her meeting with the Bishop of Ohio, I rode 24 miles in the country side of Ohio on a rail trail. Bike riding provides us with that kind of exercise, a great way to check out the towns and cities to which we travel, and a way to run errands like going to market. More and more, we're seeing towns and cities decide well-marked bike lanes and dedicated multi-use paths are a great idea.
Since the pandemic, there's been a renewed interest in bike riding generally, but ebikes are becoming a real sensation. Sales are way up over the past year. So much so that manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with demand. Supply chains have been disrupted and will need the passage of time in order for normal operations to resume.
I really like finding great rail trails and they are most everywhere we go. Just since April I've ridden portions of, sometimes multiple times, the following trails:
Colorado Riverfront Trail, Cherry Creek Regional Trail, Riverway trail, Bison Trail, Jamaica North Trail, MoPac Trail East, Neil Smith Trail, Great Western Trail, Rivergreenway, Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and North Coast Inland Trail (Lorain County).
Here's my reading this morning on the subject:
Portugal's Bike Boom: How the Country is Meeting the Demand, New York Times
If You Build It, They Will Bike: Pop-Up Lanes Increased Cycling During Pandemic, New York Times
Farther, Faster and No Sweat: Bike-Sharing and the E-bike Boom, New York Times
We left camp around 6:00ish to run a few errands in Hudson, Ohio close by and had dinner while we were out. It was nearly 10:00 p.m. when we returned to camp and, since Thursday is a travel day with more errands to run before we camp, we turned in. Plus, which is rarely the case, our connectivity wasn't great, possibly rainy weather related.
June 3, 2021
I didn't sleep well last night for whatever reason, but I'm up at 6:30ish and making coffee. We don't linger too long over coffee before Melanie is up and gone to get showered using the campground shower. I finish a breakfast bar and go outside to get the truck ready for travel.
After Melanie is back and prepares the inside for takeoff, we leave our spot at the KOA and travel to a local UHaul to fill our propane tank. We get there only to find that, for some reason unknown before this time around, we need some identification number for our propane tank before the attendant will fill our tank. We leave without propane.
We leave, I'm a bit disgruntled having driven somewhat out of my way, and travel to Kamper City in Peninsula, Ohio about 8 miles away and get our tank filled without incident or trouble. Nice folks.
After a relatively quick stop for provisions at Costco in Boston Heights, Ohio, we travel to our spot at the cathedral in Cleveland and set up in the same spot as the time before that's been thoughtfully reserved for us.
Melanie has a meeting with the Rev. Adrienne Koch, Priest Associate, at Trinity Cathedral. This will make our second time boondocking in the parking lot at Trinity. We were here almost two years ago. We'll camp here this time for four days.
We go for lunch very close by after Melanie's meeting with Rev. Koch and then walk a ways toward the Indian's stadium in search of coffee. As sometimes happens, the coffee shop near the stadium has closed. The closest one within walking distance is..., you guessed it, Starbucks. That'll do, I suppose.
We hear from friends we met several years ago in a campground just outside of Brevard, North Carolina asking how close we are to them and if we'd consider paying them a visit. I give Rand McNally a quick look and we make the decision to head towards Northern West Virginia after we leave Cleveland. Looking forward to catching up with our friends, Rebecca and IB.
There are many perks to be found in full time travel. Making new friends ranks high on the list.
Melanie takes her afternoon walkabout in downtown Cleveland. Nap sounds good to me.
We still need a few items from a market so we walk to Heinen's of Downtown Cleveland from Trinity. It's about .75 miles away. Hungry, we see Betts located at the Kimpton Schofield and before shopping have a nice dinner. I'd recommend Heinen's to you if only for the fact it's located in the Cleveland Trust Company Building. It's spectacular.
Home with our groceries around 8:00 p.m. and time for a bit of streaming.
June 4, 2021
I was up around 7:00 a.m. this morning, but didn't leave the back of the van and bed until around 10:00 a.m. I read most everything in the NYT I wanted before Melanie, who'd gone out to the downtown post office returned.
I got our bikes out and we proceeded to the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway and rode east until we came to its end. At that point, it was well after lunch and we decided to ride to Cleveland's Little Italy and have lunch.
I was having trouble remembering where we'd eaten when we were here in 2019, but upon arriving in Little Italy, we quickly remembered it was Mama Santa's (Saint Mama). But the time we finished lunch it was after 3:00 p.m. and we headed back to camp at Trinity Commons, Trinity Cathedral.
We rode 26 miles around town on what turned out to be a glorious late Spring day.
After I had locked up the bikes for the evening, Melanie took off on foot to make a Heinen's run, another 3.5 miles for her toward the 10k steps goal she's set for herself each day she can.
Since we had such a late lunch, we are skipping dinner and opting for a snack and a gin and tonic or two. Friday night streaming to follow.
June 5, 2021
It's Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio and we're up around 7:00 a.m., lingering over our coffees. Melanie decides, around 9:00ish she'll walk to the downtown post office about 1.5 miles away.
She gets there only to discover it's closed and there are no outside boxes to deposit her mail. She's not pleased, but quickly finds an alternative.
While she's gone I wash the few dishes we used, make the bed, plug our bike batteries in, and do a bit of personal maintenance.
When I was a semi-regular backpacker, one of the items we carried with us was baby wipes. Yes, the ones you use to clean up a baby's bottom can, as you may imagine, be used for an adult's too. Let's just say they are a great assist especially when trying to save water while boondocking. A corollary to those are cleansing wipes which are larger and can be used to take a moderately decent dry bath. These are staples and well-known items among full-time travelers.
Generally speaking, we 'Mericans bath far too much anyhow. I know, I know, you just don't feel right if you haven't showered. Trust me that's only stating a personal preference and has nothing much to do with hygiene. The question almost always becomes how much are you willing to compromise in order to travel comfortably and in the way we do it. After almost 2.5 years, we believe we know what works for us. User experiences may differ. I know this too.
Today Melanie has an appointment to have her hair cut after about 17 months. She made the appointment on advice from Rev. Koch at Prime + Process in Lakewood, Ohio just west of downtown Cleveland.
After a brief stop in downtown Cleveland for postcards, we ride west over the Cuyahoga River bridge and on into Lakewood where we have lunch at a local bar and grill, check out a recommended chocolate shop, then ride around Lakewood before Melania's hair appointment.
I sit and read in the salon while Melanie gets her hair cut. She looks great after her cut and says it feels much better than her longish hair. Things continue to take on a post-pandemic air.
We decide it's the right time of day for a cocktail. We ride over to a distillery we saw on the way to lunch and arrive at Western Reserve Distillers in time to give their in-house gin and vodka a try in a couple of drinks. We decide to have a light dinner snack at the Distillers in the form of a small pepperoni and hot honey pizza. We take away a couple of 4 packs of our current favorite tonic water.
We're both pretty tired when we get back to camp at Trinity and opt for staying in our lovely air-conditioned van for the evening. I watch Bill Maher from Friday's show, Melanie reads and checks social and because she's going to a church service tomorrow, we turn in.
June 6, 2021
I'm up at 5:30 a.m. after the alarm goes off at 5:00. Too early's my initial thought. But we have coffee and I eat a protein bar then prepare the van to move.
There's a Planet Fitness within a few miles of our location downtown and we travel there to both get showers.
We then travel to St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Cleveland. We're early so Melanie continues to get ready for church. She's wearing orange to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness.
Our Dometic refrigerator is beeping telling me there's something awry so after Melanie leaves for church, I pull out the manual and then remember how to reset the refrigerator. All is well.
After church services, Melanie and I are invited to brunch with EPF membership. It's a great time and, again, life is beginning to feel much as it did before the pandemic.
It's warm in Cleveland today. We have the air conditioning in the van running. Melanie works for a while after we return to our spot at Trinity Cathedral. Around 4ish we head out on our bikes traveling to the northern terminus of the Erie & Ohio Canal Towpath and ride south for about 11 miles.
Returning to downtown Cleveland we decide, since it's our last evening in Cleveland, to have drinks and dinner downtown. We choose Barrio (reminding us of Birmingham). Margaritas and dinner follow. Temperatures drop as the sun recedes behind the buildings downtown and it's pleasant sitting outside. Turns out the Barrio is not our beloved El Barrio of Birmingham. Not even close.
Tomorrow's a 200+ mile travel day.
June 7, 2021
We're awakened at just before 6:00 a.m. by the sound of machinery beeping as it backs up. That's okay. It's traveling day. We're headed into Pennsylvania and a town called Farmington. We'll be staying in a campground there for a few days.
We have breakfast in the van. I discover our Truma hot water heater is not working giving me a blinking error message. I quickly look at the manual provided us, but don't get a quick fix answer. I try the Leisure Travel Vans Facebook page for an answer, try something suggested which resets the device, but again with the blinking and no hot water. Sigh. I learn later our propane was still off from when we filled it several days past. Thankful that was the problem.
Melanie wants to do a short video for the Ohio Chapter of EPF so we go inside Trinity Commons and make the video in a conference room there.
Not too far down the road, I stop so I can start the generator and run the air conditioner on our roof. The temperature has reached 85 degrees and it's beginning to warm up in the front of the van. The Mercedes air conditioner can't cool the front when the back is too warm. It eventually reaches the low 90's.
We leave midmorning and stop for lunch along the Pennsylvania Turnpike at a rest area. Melanie makes us a salad, we eat, then I quickly clean up the dishes and we're back on the road.
Once we're off the turnpike we begin to see remnants of the presidential campaign in the form of old Trump signs and flags and new Trump 2024 signs. We could be in Alabama.
Once we're at our campground and check in, we travel to Uniontown, a small town nearby, for a few items we need. It's a really pleasant trip with some great vistas.
Upon our return, I make a cocktail and Melanie gets in a few steps and checks out the campground. I make her a drink upon her return.
We make dinner in the van and, after clean up, retire to the back of the van, watch Jon Oliver and retire for the night. The temperature has dropped into the low 70's.
June 8, 2021
I'm awake around 5:00 a.m., but that's okay because we were asleep just after 9:00 p.m. last night and before it was dark. It had been raining off and on since around 4:00 a.m., the rain mostly dripping loudly on the rooftop of the van from the trees above us. I stay in bed until around 6:00 dozing.
After coffee, Melanie works and I process the video we made in Cleveland yesterday and send that along to her for approval. She approves with minor changes and I post the video to our Vimeo site.
Melanie finishes her second walk of the morning, comes in and makes lunch for us. We're still eating (mostly) salads for lunch which, at this point, seems like a great thing to keep up. Today's salad has a portion of breast meat from the fat-assed chicken we purchased from Costco a few days ago. I love those chickens.
Our black tank needs emptying so after lunch I go out and empty it and do a once every few weeks cleansing of said tank. This takes about 15-20 minutes. We're good to go now for another few weeks.
Tomorrow we'll be traveling to spend time with friends we met in Brevard, North Carolina camping in a National Forest Campground there. So, I'll empty grey and black tanks again in the morning and fill our water supply for parking in their driveway for 5 days.
The campground we're currently in has a pool and Melanie and I go over and spend some time around it after I clean lunch dishes and perform the aforementioned black tank thing. She takes a dip, but I'm not there today. I haven't showered since Sunday, so I'm off to shower at the campground showers.
Melanie has a Zoom meeting at 5:00 p.m.
Tate calls and I FaceTime with him for an hour or so while Melanie Zooms. It's nice to catch up with him once a week. Technology is the shit when you're traveling.
After dinner we take the trash up the road a bit to dump it.
We encounter what has become ubiquitous for us in small town after small town, an American flag accompanied by a Trump flag. I have to tell you this more than concerns me. First, I now have a a quite visceral reaction to the site of an American flag. It symbolizes for me a growing and/or enduring fascistic tendency in America and the world.
I am as concerned as many are for what this means for our democracy and the rule of law.
Upon returning to the van, we close it down and retire to stream a series we've been watching.
June 9, 2021
We slept in a bit this morning. I wasn't up to make coffee until almost 8:00. We lingered a bit in the back of the van in bed, Melanie working and me reading social media and newspapers.
Today's a travel day, but we don't have to rush away from our current campsite as we're only about 40 miles away from our next destination in Morgantown, West Virginia at the home of our friends Rebecca and IB.
I'll empty our grey and black tanks and fill our water to capacity as we'll be without a way to empty the tanks for 5 days going forward. We'll have access to our friends' home for showers and bathroom breaks most of the time we're visiting, but it's good to be prepared for further travels starting Monday next.
Melanie's planning on getting showered as we leave here. The showers are about a 100 yards away from us so we'll get the van ready to travel and drive closer on the way out.
Shower out of the way, we travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, a short 35 miles or so south and east of our location.
We've got a few errands to run before we travel to see our friends, Rebecca and IB. First stop in Morgantown is for coffee, then we have a nice lunch down by Monongahela River, a stop for wine, fuel and finally, a few grocery items.
We arrive at our friends' home at around 4:00 p.m. and have a great evening with them catching up over wine and a nice dinner prepared by Rebecca.
June 10, 2021
It's a lazy Thursday morning, for me anyway, It's pleasant here in Morgantown this morning. We have coffee and read, Melanie works from the back of the van, then goes across the street to take a walk on a trail.
We're trying to decide whether we can get in a bike ride this afternoon before anticipated rain.
We have lunch in the van and spend the afternoon reading and relaxing in the van. Melanie takes another walk. I begin doing our laundry.
I also schedule an appointment in Buffalo, New York to have our diesel generator serviced and arrange places to park Miranda in Buffalo and Rochester, New York. We now are booked through June 17th.
We meet our hosts for drinks around 5:00 and and IB and Rebecca begin to make dinner for us afterwards.
While dinner is cooking, we're introduced to VR by IB and Rebecca. Melanie and I take turns BASE jumping. It's a very cool experience, one that I most likely will revisit once we're off the road.
After dinner I continue with my laundry task, return the sheets to our bed and, bid out hosts good night. We're in bed and going to sleep around 10:00.
June 11, 2021
It's cloudy and pleasant this morning in Morgantown. We have coffee then go inside where IB is putting the finishing touches on a great breakfast for us.
Afterwards, Melanie works, takes her morning walk, and I read and listen to a pod cast of an Ezra Klein interview with Sam Altman on A.I. which I recommend to you.
Late morning I take a shower and IB and I go for about a 3 mile saunter in Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area. It's still pretty cool, if humid, in the forest as we walk and IB shows me a few great overlook areas of the Cheat River with views of Coopers Rock State Forest across the way.
Great walk and the first time this year I've broken a real sweat while out walking or biking.
After another shower and some down time in the van, we have drinks with our friends and Melanie, IB and I make dinner. Salmon, rice and a salad with a nice bottle or two of wine.
We all enjoy the Browning's hot tub to end the evening.
June 12, 2021
It's much more sunny than cloudy this morning, less humid and cooler. We awake at around 8:00 a.m. and I make our usual pot of coffee. Melanie works, we eat in the van and I check social media and read a bit.
Melanie goes inside the Browning's for a shower. She and Rebecca are going to the local botanical gardens in Morgantown. I stay in the van, work on photographs from yesterday and finish yesterday's posting.
Later on today we've planned to take a bike ride on Deckers Creek Trail into Morgantown then, for those of us up for it, a farther ride on the Mon River Trail. We've also planned to have dinner in town.
After lunch in the van of our go-to salad of late, we load all our bikes onto Rebecca's Subaru and travel to a trailhead along Deckers Creek Trail. There's a parking area at Masontown Trailhead about 13 miles from town. IB and I unload 3 of our 4 bikes for me, Rebecca and Melanie to ride. He will take the car to town and start his ride back towards us.
Deckers Creek Trail is a rail-trail running along Deckers Creek. It drops around a 1000 feet in elevation over the 13 miles into town, making for a super easy ride through a great (mostly) forested trail.
We meet IB about 4 miles from town and all ride to the Deckers' Trail intersection with the Mon River Trail. After a brief discussion, we travel north on the trail through town next to the river for about 2 miles before turning back.
We travel just past our intersection with the Deckers trail head and to Mountain State Brewing Company. We have a short wait before drinks and early dinner follow.
Afterwards, IB, Melanie and Rebecca go in search of postcards and stickers for Melanie. I ride the 13 miles back to Masontown Trailhead and arrive just as IB and company drive up in the Subaru.
Because the ride into town was so easy, I didn't use much of my bike's power which made the ride back gaining 1000 feet all the more enjoyable. The last 5 miles were a fast 5 miles averaging between 20 and 25 mph. What a joyful experience!
IB and I watch the sunset from one of their outdoor balconies, Melanie and Rebecca enjoy a dip in the hot tub. We turn in afterwards.
June 13, 2021
We're up and have our coffee and breakfast in the van. It's a post-pandemic kind of Sunday for Melanie so she goes into the Browning's home, showers and readies herself for a local church service she will attend.
There's a market stop for her after church for a couple of things we'll need for dinner later. I start another couple loads of laundry, not necessarily needed since we did laundry a few days back, but we're in places coming up that may or may not have access to a good laundry facility. Why not begin that will mostly clean laundry is my thinging? Right?
Tomorrow is a travel day. We're headed 200+ miles almost directly north of our current location in Morgantown to Erie State Park in New York State.
We'll spend some of this afternoon making sure Miranda's ready for travel which includes making sure everything that left her is returned to its place. We will have spent 5 great days in Morgantown with our friends cooking, doing laundry, showering in their home, so some attention to what's been taken inside is required.
We finish our last evening with the Brownings having "Taco Tuesday" for dinner. It's been a really nice 5 days.
June 14, 2021
We're up at around 7:00 a.m., have coffee and, while Melanie goes into the Brownings' for a shower, I begin to ready the van for travel. We're headed north to Lake Erie State Park where we'll be for a few days. We're about 250 miles away. A little farther than our less-than-200-mile goal for a day we set for ourselves, but the route is mostly interstate highway.
IB makes a great breakfast for us, we eat and say our goodbyes.
As you can see from the photo above, Miranda hit 60,000 miles on our way to the state park.
We run through a thunderstorm on the way with high winds, lighting and torrential rain. Lucky for us it lasts only a few minutes and as the photo tells, temperatures drop from a high of 78 to 66 degrees.
After a quick trip to a market in Westfield, New York, we find Calarco's Italian Restaurant, 81 years in existence. We have a pleasant late lunch then walk around Westfield which happens to be the heart of Concord grape juice processing along Lake Erie. There's also a marker indicating President Lincoln's visit to Westfield and his meeting with Grace Bedell.
We then leave Westfield and travel the relatively short distance to Lake Erie State Park. It takes us a short time to set up and afterwards we take a nice walk around the park, sit for a while on a bench overlooking Lake Erie and return to Miranda for cocktails with a view of the lake.
Rain moves in and we retire to the van and then to the back for an evening of streaming.
June 15, 2021
We sleep until around 7:00 a.m. It's 62 degrees this morning with about 65% relative humidity. Very nice.
Because our internet service is not as good as it really needs to be at our campsite, we travel to Jamestown, New York to find connectivity for Melanie to work.
I chose Jamestown because they have a rail trail there and we park right next to a portion of the trail.
While Melanie works, I make a salad for our lunch. We eat and she goes back to work and I get out my bike and ride portions of the Jamestown River Trail and some of downtown Jamestown.
Later, after driving Miranda into downtown Jamestown for something to eat and an adult cocktail, we travel back to Lake Erie State Park.
We quickly set up, make another adult cocktail and sit for a while as the sun goes down. Our neighbors, Bob and Sandra from Ohio come over and we sit and talk with them for a while. It's nice to be vaccinated and feel comfortable being able to get together with other campers again.
We part ways with our neighbors and move into the van and begin to stream a show. We're asleep relatively early since we'll be up to get Miranda to Buffalo for generator service.
June 16, 2021
We've made it to the Buffalo, New York area for service on Miranda's generator. The generator is just short of having 250 hours on it. I'm glad to have the service done as summer approaches.
I'm sitting in the lounge of the Cummins dealer awaiting service to finish. Looks like we'll be done here in about an hour.
It was cool when we got up this morning at 6:00 a.m. The temperature in the van was 57. It was 55 outside on the shores of Lake Erie. Temperatures should remain in the low to mid 70's highs and mid 50's for lows for the foreseeable future. It's the temperatures we've been looking for.
The afternoon found us in downtown Buffalo. Melanie worked some and took a walk along a trail that was near a marina. I got my bike out and rode over on the a portion of the Erie Canalway Trail. I made it just past the Peace Bridge before encountering road construction and heavy road traffic that made me rethink going any farther.
We had a nice dinner in downtown Buffalo, took a shortish walk afterwards and then went to our Boondockers Welcome host location and spent a quiet, restful night in their driveway. Another travel day tomorrow.
June 17, 2021
After a nice restful night in Buffalo, we take a short drive to Rochester, New York where we'll have dinner with Tom who is a member of EPF.
We put in directions to a trail head along the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail and park Miranda there. We take a shortish walk of about 1.2 miles to lunch along the trail at Parkside Diner. Temperature is around 70 degrees with a light breeze off Lake Ontario as we walk back to Miranda.
Melanie decides she will walk in the opposite direction on the trail and I get out my bike for a bit of exploration. I ride portions of the Irondequoit Lakeside Multi-Use Trail and the Genesee River Trail.
We travel to Planet Fitness for a quick shower then on to our latest Boondockers Welcome location in Rochester.
We meet Tom at his home in Rochester, park Miranda in the driveway of his home and he drives us to a nice dinner in downtown Rochester. He and Melanie talk shop and we have a really pleasant and good dinner.
Afterwards we drive back to the Boondockers location and shortly afterwards we're asleep. We like Rochester and will definitely return for a longer stay. Travel day (again) tomorrow.
June 18, 2021
I've got an alarm set for 6:00 a.m. as we have a 175 mile trip ahead of us today. Regardless, I don't rise until around 6:45. Some days.
After coffee and breakfast in the van, we leave our nice driveway location and travel towards downtown Rochester to a coffee roasters I've located and I buy a couple pounds of coffee.
We then head towards our location in Alexandria Bay, New York.
After stopping for fuel in Cicero, New York, we travel a short distance to Parish, New York and find a place where Melanie can be on a Zoom Call for work. The call is scheduled to last 2.5 hours so I begin today's travel journal entry and finish yesterday's entry.
We nosh on left over pizza as she gets on the call.
After Zoom's over, we continue our journey to our home for a few, 1000 Islands Campground and check in, ride around to our site, then go into Alexandria Bay for an early dinner at Cavallarios.
It's a rainy Friday evening so after dinner we travel back to our campsite, set up and retire to the back of the van for a bit of streaming before retiring.
If Friday was rainy, Saturday dawns with bright blue skies and cool temps. We have coffee and breakfast, check social media and I read a newspaper.
Melanie goes for a morning walk over to Grass Point State Park. Even though I've only recently cleaned the screens in the van, living in a perpetual Spring season has its downsides. The screens have a great deal of detritus from blooming plants and need another cleaning. I finish the screens and then also mop the floors.
I get the bikes out and we ride from our campsite to Clayton, New York, a small town on the St. Lawrence River and Seaway. After riding through town and generally checking out the lay of it, we settle on lunch at The Hops Spot. We enjoy a really good lunch outside on an amazing late Spring day.
Afterwards, we ride to Keewaydin State Park. We're mostly interested in the two state parks for future camping spots. The location of Grass Point and Keewaydin is great for access to Canada and we're sorry the border is only open for essential traffic. At this point there will be no non-essential crossings for at least another month. Sigh.
Since we had a late lunch, we skip dinner and retire early for reading and streaming.
June 20, 2021
It's another bright, bright sunshiny day on the Summer Solstice and Father's Day here in Alexandria Bay (ABay). I make our coffee and Melanie has decided which of the three Episcopal Churches she will attend. The one she chooses, Church of St. Lawrence.
Services are not until 11:15 a.m. so we enjoy our morning coffee and leave camp on our bikes at around 10:15 a.m. We arrive at around 11:45, ride around ABay for a bit and then settle on the bench in front of the church to await services.
Melanie and I part ways when she goes into church. I'm tasked with finding lunch while she's finding Jesus.
I find a lunch spot quickly after leaving her and spend the rest of my time cruising around the small village of ABay. Like Clayton, New York, ABay has largely escaped the gross commercialism found in many coastal areas of the south. Quaint it is.
Melanie takes a walkabout in ABay after services while I sit on the church bench and listen to tunes with a nice view of the St. Lawrence.
Our lunch spot, The Kitchen at the Captain Visger House proves to be a really good one. Melanie had the Fish & Chips, I enjoyed Duck Confit Omelette with English Muffin. She had a glass of nice Rose Wine, I had a Bloody Mary. We recommend you try The Kitchen.
We ride back to our campground and FaceTime with our son Tate. Melanie and I open our Mother's and Father's Day gifts, Bomba Socks, and have a nice chat with T. Afterwards, Melanie strikes out on another of her walks and I take the big dog Father's Day nap.
We have dinner and cocktails outside, go for showers and then retire for the evening. Another grand day in the books.
June 21, 2021
It's the day after the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, and a travel day for us. We awake at around 7:00ish, have coffee and it begins a light rain that turns into a thunderstorm of relatively short duration. We'd headed for Meadowbrook Campground just outside of Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.
So. We make it to Lake Placid where the temperature is 84 degrees. 84 degrees. WTF? The good news is the high tomorrow is 58 degrees, the low tomorrow night is 38 degrees. Sweet.
We check out our digs for the next few days. Acceptable, but definitely nothing to write about. Meadowbrook Campground needs some TLC. We'll be fine and it's located between the towns of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid making for easy bike rides into both.
And there's a bunch of road construction going on downtown which makes driving Miranda a bit of a challenge. After a few choice words due to road closures, we find a parking spot next to a park, next to Lake Placid. Melanie finds lunch for us.
Since Melanie believes our internet connection isn't great back at camp, we sit next to Lake Placid while she works.
We travel back to our campsite as storms move into the area. Downtown Lake Placid is not very navicable at the moment due to major construction on the roads, but we slowly progress and make it as rains move in.
Since we've had a late lunch, we opt for no dinner and after a cocktail, move to the back of the van for evening streaming and sleep.
June 22, 2021
We awake in Meadowbrook Campground to much cooler temperatures and cloudy skies. Yesterday reached into the mid 80's in downtown Lake Placid, but today promises to stay pretty much in the mid 50's. Nice for the end of Julne, at least for we southerners living in a 25' van.
After our coffee we take a saunter on the Scarface Trail. From our campsite, we walk down to what will be a new rail-trail pathway, The Adirondack Rail Trail. A very good reason to travel back to this area.
Lunch follows sometime thereafter. Melanie works pretty much all afternoon, but towards the end of the day we walk over to a local brewhouse for drinks and dinner. She's able to use their WiFi to schedule EPF's weekly newsletter.
I return to the van before she finishes a glass of wine as time is running short for us to run our generator to charge batteries for evening power usage. We run the generator about 45 minutes, something we don't really like to do, but when you're in a heavily shaded campsite and there's been no solar generated power during the day, it becomes a near necessity if any power's to be used at night.
We're expecting temps in the high 30's/low 40's during the evening so running our furnace in the morning is most likely a thing we'll need to do to knock the chill off in the morning.
We retire for an evening of streaming and sleep.
June 23, 2021
When we awoke this morning the local temp was 44 degrees outside. Melanie got up and turned on the furnace for us. The van quickly warmed and I got up and made coffee for us.
About 9:00 a.m., after breakfast and coffee time expires, Melanie leaves the van for a morning walk and I leave the back of the van and begin to ready us for moving to a post office, grocery store, wine store, and Melanie has a call at 12:45 a.m.
We park in downtown Lake Placid where we have good connectivity and Melanie conducts her Zoom call before we head out for lunch.
Our lunch spot in downtown Lake Placid is a .75 mile walk. After lunch, as we begin our walk back to the van, we check out a bit more of downtown. It's not really a time to be on Main Street as there's a great deal of disruption due to infrastructure improvements. Streets and sidewalks are torn up. There are still a good number of tourists on the streets though.
We find a nice chocolate shop and I buy a nice variety. Melanie shops for postcards she'll send to our friends and family. She's prone to buying stickers and postcards at nearly every stop we make. Melanie has become our emisary of good will and keeping in touch while we travel. Flor that I'm most grateful.
Once we make our way back to the van we travel back to our campsite and settle in for the evening. Shortish travel day tomorrow.
June 24, 2021
Another cool morning for us. We have our coffee, Melanie goes out for a walk and I get the van ready for travel.
We leave around 10:00 a.m. for Lake George, New York. The drive there is less than a 100 miles and beautiful. We travel through small towns and stop along the way for fuel. There's some traffic, but most of it is headed in the opposite direction.
Melanie has the day off and we plan to have lunch somewhere on the lake. She finds us a great spot overlooking Lake George and we have a nice lunch at a spot called Lake George Beach Club.
After lunch Melanie finds a place for postcards and we travel to and check into our campsite at Ledgeview Village RV Park. We quickly set up for our three day stay, take the bikes out and head out for a ride back into town on the Warren County Bikeway. Recommended.
We make our way into town and back to our lunch spot for an afternoon adult beverage before making our way back to the van and a bit of relaxing outside. It's the perfect end to an otherwise perfect day all around.
We retire to the back of the van for a bit of streaming.
June 25, 2021
After a quiet restful night in our newest spot, we up and having coffee around 7:30 a.m. We take a good long while reading and sipping our coffees before Melanie is up and out for a walk.
Since our internet connectivity back in Lake Placid was sketchy, I spend some time catching up on my 30-day project.
Melanie has work today. I'll head back out on my bike to explore more of the Warren County Bikeway. Looks to be another stellar day.
I leave camp as Melanie is making herself lunch. Traveling the mile or so to the Warren County Bikeway, I head south towards its terminus in Glen Falls hoping I can find the Champlain Canalway Trail: Glen Falls Feeder Canal. It's nice to have good digital maps on my iPhone. Thank you TrailLink.
The Warren County Bikeway is well marked even when off the dedicated portion of the trail and on the road portions. I falter only momentarily when looking for the Glen Falls Feeder Canal trail, but quickly find the terminus and ride south for about three miles before turning back to camp.
Once I'm back, Melanie finishes her work day and we both ride into Lake George for dinner and adult beverages. We take a short walk along the shore afterwards, then ride back to camp and relax in our chairs on what can only be described as a near perfect evening.
We retire and don't make it through a show we've been watching before nodding off for the night.
June 26, 2021
We're up around 7:00 a.m. Melanie starts work while I make the morning's brew. After breakfast, I'm still in the back of the van reading when she comes back in from her morning walk at around 10:15 a.m.
It's hard to believe I've been making notes of our daily happenings for nearly a month. Tomorrow marks 2 years and 8 months we've been living in Miranda. July 6th will mark our 2.5 year anniversary of full time travel and leaving Birmingham, Alabama.
If you've made it this far reading my post of 30 days in the life, you have more stamina for the mundane than I might have. Though, as I type those words I can remember when the first kernels of the idea of full-time travel was passed between Melanie and me. Exciting is an understatement.
Watching videos of people who were already out here traveling, telling of their experiences, making a living on the road by telling us of their experiences, including the day to day, grocery shopping doing laundry, cleaning and servicing their homes on wheels, etc. All the peak experiences and the more mundane aspects of life.
I remember somehow finding the van we now live in and recognizing it as being a few steps removed and above the quality of anything I'd seen or experienced to date. Telling Melanie we'd travel to Missouri or North Carolina to a dealership to view one. Making contact with a Leisure Travel Van representative who told me when he'd be in Missouri for a show and I could test drive the one in which he was traveling.
Life has a way of passing you by when you're not paying attention. If there's one thing life on the road doesn't allow, it's not paying attention. Almost by definition one is every day forced to view things anew as many days venues and people in front of you are just that, totally and completely new.
We mark our days with notes and photos of the places and people we meet because, after a fashion, the days can be full of experience and all begin to bleed into each other. Every day, especially after the pandemic, was like, is it Saturday or is it Monday? Wednesday?
As ours and your lives begin to resemble "normal" again, the days will begin to be marked by the work week or, as tomorrow will ours, by Sunday. I will take Melanie to the Episcopal church in Wells, Vermont for services. It's Sunday worship for her, but also an opportunity to make an additional contact for EPF. We're slowly getting back talking social justice face to face.
I'll stop this for now and get ready for another day out riding and exploring on Red Ranger, that Ferrari of a bike I have. What a real privilege it is to be able to explore our country like this.
I ride south again today into Glens Falls and onto the Canalway Trail. I ride out a bit over 13 miles altogether, turn around and head back to camp. It's cloudy today and in the high 70's by the time I get back to camp. Another great ride.
Melanie finishes work, I have a snack before we head into town for dinner. This is our last evening at Lake George and it's windy out, but pleasant.
Once we're back I begin to prepare to travel tomorrow. I put bikes away, roll up the sun screens that cover the Mercedes windshield and side windows. I clean the windshield. I empty the grey and black tanks and fill the water tank. I check tire pressure. Finally, the zero-gravity lounge chairs are folded and put on the rank located on the ladder on the rear of the van.
All that will be left to do in the morning is to bring up the levelers, roll up electric chord and water hose and put them away, put the charged bike batteries away, and go through our check list. Less than 15 minutes and we're moving.
We each get showered and then stream a bit before bed.
June 27, 2021
June 27 marks 2 years and 8 months living in Miranda. July 6th will officially mark 2.5 years since leaving Birmingham or living full time on the road.
My phone alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m this morning. It's a travel day and Melanie is attending church services in Wells, Vermont at 9:00 a.m., about 30 miles away from us. I'm finally up at 5:30 to make our coffee.
We drink coffee until around 7:00 a.m., dress and I go outside to prepare us for travel. We're gone from our campsite around 7:20 a.m. and make it to Wells a little past 8:00.
After services, we'll travel north through Burlington to South Hero and Apple Island Resort RV Park for the night. Tomorrow we'll travel to Essex Junction, Vermont just outside Burlington for a few days visit with friends.
Church services end with Melanie sending me a text saying we have church folks who want to come and see Miranda. I figure there may be a few who will come, but a few turns into more than 10, including something we don't often experience with Episcopal Churches, children. Seems the Episcopal church in Wells has a good many young folks and they seem to be a very close knit community of worshipers.
We leave after some time and travel a winding road to Middlebury, Vermont where Melanie has found lunch for us. It's an interesting place with all sorts of memorabilia on the walls and a okay lunch.
We make it to South Hero early afternoon and Melanie goes out for a walk to check things out. It's hot outside and I opt for a nap in the back.
We both walk to the pool and take a nice dip early evening, then return to prepare dinner at the van. I get out the Blackstone griddle and make pork tenderloin while Melanie makes the sides.
We end the night with some streaming and keep the air conditioning on since, as mentioned, it's warm outside.
June 30, 2021
We've been parked in the driveway of friends in Essex Junction, Vermont for 2 days. Today is our last day with them as we'll move to Rock Point Center, the Episcopal Camp on Lake Champlain tomorrow. John is a member of EPF and he and his wife, Cec, hosted us in September of 2019. It's been nice catching up with them.
John took us to he and Cec's ski chalet not far from Essex Junction yesterday. It was a nice drive and they have offered their place there as a future place to park Miranda for a few days. We'll likely add it to the list next pass through Vermont.
The weather has been on the hot side of things for the last few days beginning with our travel day Sunday past, but we're looking for a break in the temps tomorrow when highs are forecasted to be in the high 70's. By Saturday the low's will be in the 50's again. Melanie has been out walking everyday, I've been living in the air-conditioned van, not moving too much.
The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement which predicts that a "very unstable air mass will lead to strong to severe thunderstorm development." We're just north of the predicted impact area. Melanie has gone out for her second walk of the day. The air conditioning cycles on and off in the heat of the day. Hopefully, we'll miss most of the torrential rain and large hail they mention is possible.
July 6, 2021
Today's the day. It's been 2.5 years since we left St. Andrew's parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama for life on the road in Miranda. I'm typing this from our spot at Rock Point, an Episcopal Center just outside Burlington, Vermont where we've been living for the past 5 days.
Melanie is currently meeting with the Bishop of Vermont, Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown over coffee at her residence here. Afterwards, another travel day for us. Not far today, just 50 miles or so north and east of Burlington.
For those of you who happen on this and who also own a Leisure Travel Van, we've been operating for the past 8 days on 30 gallons of fresh water and for 5 of those days without electricity. Most of the days were either cloudy or at best (yesterday notwithstanding) mostly cloudy. We did not use our shower during this time and we ate out a fair amount so water was not nearly the issue it might have been. But I'm very impressed with the ability of our solar panels to generate enough power to keep our batteries at least 60% charged even on those mostly cloudy days.
We turned off everything, including the inverter and excluding one of our ceiling fans, every night before going to sleep. While the weather hasn't fully cooperated as it's rained a fair amount the past 8 days, the temperature has been mild never reaching any higher than the low 80's and a few nights getting down into the high 50's.
We've been fortunate while in Burlington and the surrounding area to catch up with old friends who traveled from Alabama to meet us here, make new friends, attend a protest rally, and check out some of what Burlington has to offer. Burlington is certainly in the running as a place Melanie and I could, some time in the future, live.
If you've read this far or skipped to this post, I hope you come away with an idea of what life for us is like while we travel. I also hope I didn't bore you too much with the mundane details. Today's a laundry day when we arrive at our new spot. We, of course, need to empty tanks, fill fresh water, but we'll have full hook ups for a few days so all that will be very easy to accomplish.
We have no idea when we may begin to seriously consider getting off the road. It's a great life full of great experiences and all the problems of a bricks and mortar residence. We're still learning, but we've mostly got this life figured out. Not too far, not too fast. Slow down a bit and enjoy the ride.
And the good news for us today is we're off to see more of beautiful Vermont. Cheers, y'all.
Steven and Melanie