Oh my, the most stressful part of our journey has been the New England states and big eastern cities. Why? Because of the smaller roads, multitude of crazier drivers, and honestly; over 50% of the drivers we passed were on their cell phones!
We planned to go through NYC mid-day.. Mark drove through and did a fabulous job! I kept myself busy, as well as looked at sites. There were several near-hits from people trying to cut us off (while on their cell phones), but Mark did great to avoid them.
Once we were moving again, I took a breathe of relief. This day I long-stressed about was finally over! Whew! Thank you LORD!!
From here we will be heading west to longer stays. Certainly looking forward to the SOWERS project coming up in October! :-)
Stay Details: Boondocker's Welcome Location - Harmony Acres Farm
The hosts are wonderful! They have 14 acres, have worked very hard to clear some RV sites in their woods, and they came to welcome us and invite us to visit their animals! It will be a very nice & quiet 2-night stay before heading to Delaware.
I must say, Rhode Island is one of the prettiest states we've been to! Besides the mountains, plentiful trees, and rocky cliffs, everyone we've experienced in this state was very nice and all the drivers seem to be respectful to others.
We took a day trip to Newport while here, and found several gems:
Watch Hill Beach: Mark surprised me with a nice beach walk after we arrived at the campground. We were hoping to find the remaining fort and lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, but it was too rock and the sun was setting, so we were more than happy with beautiful sunset photos instead.
Fort Adams: Started as an Army post by President Adams in 1799, this is one of the largest standing forts in the U.S.. We bought the audio tour, and explored the fort with Pica, which was an added bonus. This fort was active in 4 different wars.
Ocean Drive and Cliff Walk: There are a few very beautiful trails you can take around the Newport Island to explore the beautiful homes. After lunch at Chili's, we took both. We enjoyed the walk better though, and you could see the pretty side of all the large homes/buildings.
Stay Details: Burlingame State Park; Charlestown RI - Site 341
This was a beautiful and very large campground that did not offer any amenities. All dry camping, it has two dump stations and all sites are nestled within the woods.
A bonus of stopping here, was there was a lady stranded in the site next to us. Her car wouldn't start, and she'd lost her keys. The ranger never came back after saying they'd help, so Mark began charging her battery. By the time her husband came with the backup key, the battery was full and the car started. The hour we were there, we talked to her, calmed her down and made her realize that the camping community are mostly friendly people.
Ultimately, the rangers never came, nor did they clean up the surrounding area. So, we did that too.
We were lucky enough to be there after school started, so there was nobody around us. We felt we had the entire woods to ourselves, which was very nice.
Leaving Ruth & Darrell was bittersweet. It marked the turning point of heading south-west, but it was also sad to say goodbyes. They are moving out of the country and we won't see Tham again for a long time. We love you Ruth & Darrell, we will greatly miss you!
After a 4-hr drive, we made it close to Boston. Stayed overnight at a Boondocker's Welcome location that had a very sweet spot in the apple orchard.
In the meantime, there were some beautiful mountains end route. :-)
This time of year causes difficulties getting into state parks, so we needed a filler night on the way to Interlochin. So, we are using our last Harvest Host stay to visit this distillery and have dinner. We parked in the back near the woods right beside of their wheat fields. Very quiet place, and nice people. Dinner was pretty good, and the tasting of whiskey's were pretty awesome. Highly recommend this location if you have a Harvest Host membership.
Stay Details: Iron Fish Distillery; Thompsonville MI
* Note: You need to have a membership with Harvest Host in order to stay here, but you will have a wonderful, peaceful evening and an excellent outdoor dinner. If you get a chance to stay here, they have a nice path in the woods for their guests. :-)
From FL to Myrtle Beach, had to find an overnight stay. After almost 7 hours of driving, we stopped at this precious little gem. MUCH better than a truck stop, don't you think?? :-)
Before leaving in the morning, we walked 3 miles on the trails (listed below), then rode our bikes about 12 miles on the other trails. We saw over 20 alligators, numerous birds (herons and Anhingas), a lot of frogs and unfortunately, numerous deer flies that drove us nuts. However, surprisingly we did not encounter many mosquitos here during this visit.
Stay Details: Santee Coastal Reserve, McClellanville, SC
* This is a small FREE campground in a beautiful reserve which lies inside the Francis Marion National Forest. The campground is total dry camping, meaning there is no bathrooms, water or garbage for people. You have to be totally self-contained. There are about 8 sites that are First Come, First Serve, and there were 3 left when we arrived. There were several beautiful trails in the area, a boardwalk over the marsh, and the possibility of seeing quite a few different animals. We walked the Marshland Trail, the rode our bikes on the Cape Trail and Eldorado Trail.
* The Eldorado Trail leads to the ruins of the Eldorado Plantation which was build in 1797, was hit with a canon ball during the Civil War, then ended up burning to the ground years later. It was a very interesting piece of history.
During our stay at Long Pine Key, we met up with Maria, Steve & the kids. It was great to see them after a year of traveling!
After resting and working on her camper for a day, we visited Wooten's Airboat tours. We bought the package which included the airboat ride, swamp buggy ride andgator park. The airboat ride was phenomenal!! Buggy ride.. Not so much. It was still fun being all together though.
The next day we all went to Key West. Visited John Pennekamp State Park and took a kayak tour and small hike. Mark had to work on his class halfway to Key West, so we found good cell signal, and the kids went on their way. They went shopping in downtown, then we met up again to get our pictures taken at the Southernmost Buoy.
We visited the beach, the kids swam in the ocean, and we found a spectacular sunset! After that we satisfied our hunger at a Mexican Restaurant.
Stay Details: Long Pine Key Campground; Homestead, FL:
* This is a beautiful campground nestled inside the Everglades State Park. The sites are dry camping only (no hookups), and are spaced pretty far apart. The kids parked oposite of us, and we were close enough to comfortably share the picnic table and refrigerator. We were also right next to the bath-house, so it was convenient for everyone.
* We walked the Anhinga Trail in the morning, and we saw a large alligator, and many Anhinga's along the way. It was a nice short trail for the kids.
* The only problem we had was some other campers were screaming at eat other until 2am, but the rangers were quick to take care of the problem in the morning.
We set up this location a month ago, knowing it was within 30 minutes of our friends from MI. To our surprise when mapping it, it was only 4 miles from their home! So, we set up camp for a few nights, and visited with Jeff & Kathy for 3 days! What an awesome time we had together, and so great to see people we know from MI. :-)
We visited Shell City, browsed the venders, enjoyed the animals at the zoo, and played miniature golf. Jeff won! :-). In the evening, they even introduced us to a Bingo extravaganza! What a beautiful blessed day together!
The last day, we drove to Sanibel Island to enjoy the beach and special treats.
Stay Details: Racer's Retreat (North For Myers, FL)
* This was a Boondocker's Welcome location, so it was a free stay with an elderly couple that are very involved with racing cars. There were 5 other RVers in their back yard with us. They have a gated entry so we were secure, and also had some electric and water available for those who need it. They are well loved and very nice to their visitors. We would highly recommend a stay with them if you're traveling by.
This is a wonderful museum that is also a "Harvest Host" and a "Boondocker's Welcome" location. They allow RVers to stay overnight at their location in hopes that they will visit the museum. Of course we did just that, and what a museum it is!! They did a wonderful job putting all these articles together, and even had several pieces that we've never seen before, including Abraham Lincoln's Hearse, and a Batman section with real and replica cars.
Tallahassee Auto Museum had 6 other travelers in the very large yard with us this night. The gates closed at 5:00, and we were all snug and safe. We highly recommend staying or even visiting this museum. They have a lot to show you, and the stay at night is very peaceful.
(See more photos on our ARIZONA page)
We found this spot on Campendium, and after reading the reviews, I wasn't sure if we were going to find a spot or fit into the spots we did find. We could only go so far, so after passing the 5th cattle guard, we pulled over and rode the bikes in to scope out a spot. Low and behold, there were 2 areas that MAY work, and a few spots to turn around if they didn't.
It was difficult to put the rig into position, but even though a bit frustrated, Mark did an awesome job. Once it was in position, it was also work to level the rig, as we were 8" off. We put one side up on blocks, and the other side we dug a little hole so the tires would go down. Came out to 1/4" off, so we called it good and hit auto-level.
The views at this place are spectacular! We walked the area and found recent evidence of cows, Mountain Sheep, and some dog or cat-like medium type animal. We were at the top of the hill overlooking the rest of the campers, so we set up the cameras to face the mountains, in hopes that we'll see some kind of wild animal activity.
The local cows moved in on day 2, keeping their distance yet welcoming us with their presence. :-)
Stay Details: Indian Bread Rocks BLM; Bowie AZ. (32.240677, -109.506086)
Well we had a new favorite yesterday.. Now we have another new favorite today! Lost Dutchman State Park, just east of Phoenix is one of the beautiful places to camp at a state park. The beautiful mountain right behind us, the many walking and biking trails, the ammenities, and the wonderful staff made this place top-notch.
We chose to dry camp at one of the newer spots which was located closest to the mountain for spectacular sunset views! There are modern bathrooms and showers here, a dumpster at the beginning of every loop, a camp host on every loop, and a dump station so dry campers get take care of tanks (included in cost of site).
We met up with some CMA friends and had a wonderful visit. We met up with another CMA couple in the campground and visited with them too. They happened to be camping across the loop from us! What a small world! :-)
Critters: We caught several mice or desert rats on the camera throughout the night. A screen shot of one is listed on the AZ page.
Stay Details: Lost Dutchman State Park; Site 124. 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ. (33.452576, -111.479417)