On the Sunday before Halloween, we entered Kentucky, crossed the Mississippi, and got on the Eastern Time zone, finally arriving in the East Coast. As it was the end of Halloween weekend, the Fort Boonsborough State Park that we drove into late in the afternoon was recovering from a huge Halloween bash they’d had over the weekend.
There were a ton of people leaving, halloween decorations (and trash) were everywhere, and it took us a little while but we finally settled into a private nook in the far end of the campground that backed up against the Kentucky River. After several days with absolutely no service in Missouri, we were psyched to get the hotspot going and stream the warriors games we’d missed and start the second season of Stranger Things. It’s the little things, you know. It was rainy, and cold and we snuggled in for the night after a long day of driving.
The dreary cold continued, and the next day we decided to get out of the damp RV and drive around Lexington. We brought the dogs to a beautiful dog park before meandering through the scenic horse farms on route 421. It was during this drive that we discovered we had picked up an unwelcome traveller somewhere along the way– a mouse ran like lightning past my feet and towards the back of the car. This made us pull quickly off the side of the road, and after realizing there wasn’t really much we could do about the mouse situation (as it had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared), and also realizing that we had pulled onto a really beautiful road, we decided to keep driving.
After a few minutes, we passed a vineyard and decided to make lemonade out of our mouse invasion. We pulled in for a tasting just as the sun finally emerged. I tried some of Lexinginton’s famous Beer Cheese (by myself… Jordan wouldn’t go near the stuff), and we both got a glass of wine and strolled the vineyard, without and then with the puppers (who were exhausted from the hour of running around the dog park). The vineyard was up against a beautiful creek and the sun fell through the dormant grapevines casting gnarled shadows and filtered light. It was quiet and stunningly beautiful– a welcome and unexpected stop.
From there we headed East to Red State BBQ and had the BEST meal ever… double smoked brisket, ribs, cornbread and slaw… plus eight different kinds of sauce. To top off the day we stopped at best buy and bought a space heater. This was a purchase we had put off for some time as we had spent a lot of time on the West Coast dry camping (so we wouldn’t have been able to run the space heater), but knowing we wouldn’t be dry camping as much on the East, and after the third day of thirty degree weather, it was something we just couldn’t put off any longer. And let me tell you, it was the best purchase ever. We tucked in for a warm and rainy night…glamping at its finest.
The rest of our time in Lexington included a long hike through a beautiful nature preserve, a tour and tasting at a small local distillery, fried whole banana peppers, bourbon infused ice cream and a small amount of wandering in downtown Lexington. On day 3 we felt like we kind of had to get out of there because we couldn’t stop indulging in all of the food and drink that Lexington is known for. We practically had to roll out of the state.
From there it was on to West Virginia. We had planned to get through the state pretty quickly but stopped at one of the most beautiful campgrounds we’ve found, at the Stonewall Jackson State Park. This was a “resort” state park, meaning that there was a large resort and golf course on the state park, across the lake from the campground. I am not really sure how this works in terms of a state park being public lands and honestly it didn’t really sit that well with us… though it was beautiful and relatively well preserved, it was hard not to think about the environmental impact of the resort and more so of the bright green golf course. But I have to say, we really enjoyed the amenities and decided to spend a full day and two nights. Jordan was psyched to golf the next morning while I took the pups on a 5 mile walk. In the afternoon we went on a 6 mile bike-ride on a challenging single track trail that ran through a gorgeous West Virginia forest. It was so fun and felt great to have such an active day. We topped the day off with a dinner feast at the nearby resort. It was a full moon done right. This was another one of those unexpected spots that turned out to be a major highlight of our trip.
And then we were on to Pittsburgh! It was just a few hours from our spot in W.V to get to the KOA we found south of the Burgh. It was our first time at a KOA since August when we were in Oregon, and we were reminded how spoiled we have been at most of the state parks we’ve been to; we have really lucked out with scenic and spacious sites. At the KOA we were packed like sardines, but it was cold and rainy the entire time we were there so we actually didn’t really mind. There was a fenced in spot for the dogs to run around and the turning leaves that surrounded the campground made up for the lack of privacy. We really wanted to check out Pittsburgh because it was on our list of cities that we might want to resettle in when we decide to park the RV for good. We were intrigued but not sold. It is definitely an up and coming city, and a lot of the neighborhoods seemed to be more behind than up and coming. That being said, there is so much change, development and innovation happening in Pittsburgh, it does feel like it would an awesome place to be. It had a grittyness to it that really interested me. We had terrible weather while there so we’d like to come back in the spring and spend more time checking out the city. It was still a great stop and I’m glad we had the time to check it out.
Our next full stop would be on the Cape and the closer we inched east, the more excited I was getting to get back to my people. But we couldn’t make it all the way there in one day, so we took advantage of free casino parking for the first time at the Mohegan Sun south of Scranton PA. It was actually kind of awesome–albeit freezing cold. We had dinner at the casino and then tucked in for a really chilly night (we were dry camping and couldn’t use the space heater). We woke up to frost and ice in upper twenty degree weather and got on the road quickly, heading to Harwich, MA and my family <3 We took a shameful amount of photos through these 3 states, in part because of the weather, but also because we were on more of a grind to get to the Cape by the 10th.
From the beginning, we saw our journey as a two part process. Part A as the time we spent getting to the Cape, and Part B would be our time after Cape Cod. And so as we drove away from the Mohegan Sun parking lot knowing that the first part of our trip was coming to a close. We got to Cape Cod late in the day on Thursday, my mom was here to greet us and my Dad came over soon after. We walked down to my sisters house and I scooped up my nephews. I haven’t been here since March which means I was meeting my youngest nephew for the very first time. This was the longest I’ve gone without seeing my sister and it was just the best to be reunited with my people. I was so excited to bring Jordan to the Cape too, there are so many places that I want to explore with him. We tucked the big mamma in the back of the driveway and settled into a real house. We will be on the Cape until early December, and it feels real good to not be moving for a while. We had a faux thanksgiving over the weekend and it was just the best to see my mom’s side of the family, my grandparents, aunt & uncle and my youngest cousin.
We have spent a lot of time resting, time soaking in family love, taking a few trips to the beach (with many more to come before we leave). We’ve had fires every day, and I am looking forward to cooking in a real kitchen again. The dogs have loved having a yard about as much as they have loved roaming the beaches.
I am writing this after having been on the Cape for almost a week. We have had time to rest, and think and reflect. We have had heat and plumbing and a real roof over our heads. I’ve had time with my family that I’ve been craving for so long. I can look back more clearly now on our first 60 days on the road. I see everything we went through, all of the amazing things we saw, all of the ways we were forced to grow. 60 days of letting go, of making decisions, of problem solving together and growing so much closer together. The travel we have done has not always been easy but it has been the most rewarding and transformative experiences of my life. It has tried and tested us, and shown us resilience and perspective. I am excited to see the people we’ll become at the end of this adventure.