Good morning from Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, Ohio where we've been graciously allowed to stay for the past three days. Before you start with the wondering about why Cleveland, aside from surmising we're probably here for a reason connected to Melanie's EPF work, stop. I have to admit when Melanie suggested we'd go to Cleveland so she could meet with an EPF Chapter here, I was, of course, on board, but hoping beyond hope there was something there that might also interest the collective us. Is there a there there?
I've not been disappointed. Like many mid-sized cities we've encountered along the way, a good deal of construction is going on in downtown. People appear to be moving back into the city to live. The baseball All-Star Game begins festivities today.
Cleveland has a number of great attractions including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a very nice Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens, and good restaurants. That's the short list.
Downtown Cleveland is also pretty bike friendly. Melanie and I were able to get out on several occasions and ride around downtown with ease. The path following Martin Luther King Boulevard takes you through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and leads down to Lake Erie. The ride along the lake is stellar. We've made new friends and we'll definitely be back to visit.
Yesterday marks our sixth month on the road. When we were in Asheville, I mentioned we were approaching this punctation in our journey and was hoping to give you, dear reader, a list of the pros and cons of full-time RV travel. After giving the idea more thought over the past few weeks and reading a bit of what others have to say, I have to admit I've got nothing that would, at least to my thinking, be of value to anyone pondering this life-style or otherwise explain what the hell possessed us to get out here.
Melanie would say one of the cons is she misses having our cats. I too, at times, miss having them around, but alternatively we've been able to spend time with them vicariously via the internet. The upside of that is no cat box in a small space and we don't have to worry about their welfare when we're away from Miranda. I loved having our cats. They are not, however, like our children and, besides, they have great homes now.
There's a Facebook group for those who own Leisure Travel Vans. We are members for, among other things, gaining continuing insight into this kind of travel and into potential problems and the solutions to those problems. But there are also posts from people who are considering purchase of a Leisure Travel Van for various reasons, downsizing from larger Class A motorhomes, those who are retiring and think travel sounds appealing etc. They generally have various concerns for which they seek answers from the forum.
Please don't misunderstand me, I take no small pleasure in stating that many (maybe most) of the their concerns sound like first-world whining and seem to be about retaining creature comforts many of us take for granted in stationary homes. By getting into the minutia, for example, will there be enough power for my coffee maker to work when I'm unplugged, people want to be reassured they will have all the comforts and benefits of a bricks and sticks home while rolling down America's highways. They seem to be saying please reassure me that life won't be too hard and I won't suffer too much should I do this.
Underlying all these questions and concerns is the element of risk. How risk averse are you? Are you willing to do the due diligence necessary on the front end of the travel experience such that once you've made the decision to live in a small space on the road, the quality of life remains good. Like stationary life, there are simply no guarantees. But, if you are too risk averse, if you are worried about creature comforts, my advice is, stay home.
Melanie and I anticipate the travel life will throw us curves, you know, just like those you have in a stationary home. So we plan, as best we can, for all the contingencies we can anticipate. Some things will likely fall through the cracks, just like they do when your home is located at 111 Ideal Lane.
At this juncture, my take on six months on the road is I could not have dreamed it any better. The experience has been much better than I anticipated and I anticipated it would be great.
Melanie and I make a great team. We have a good division of labor that makes traveling easy for us. We love our home. We love the new friends we make and the new experiences we continue to have while traveling. In the future, I'm sure there will be days when we may struggle a bit, but hopefully those days won't be too adverse or happen with such frequency they dampen an otherwise great experience.
And, with the Gods on our side, it's quite possible, Everything [Won't] Be Awful.
A few photographs from around Washington, DC
Steven and Melanie