We left Cape Cod on December 9th. We woke up to snow lightly falling and as I walked between the house and the RV getting ready to go, a troup of geese flew overhead, calling loudly as though to tell all of the sleepy humans below that they were outa there. How fitting that we were nearly gone as well. Our ultimate destination was to get to New Orleans by the 22nd of December, where we had plans to meet Jordan’s brother, Trevor, & his girlfriend, Elizabeth. This was a plan that we had made early on in our trip, and as we drove towards our destination I felt an impeding sense of both freedom and dread… the beginning of our trip that was unplanned and without destination. We had left California, three months prior, heading (meandering) towards Cape Cod, and now we were on a mad dash to get from New England to New Orleans in ten days. But then there was an empty calendar and one criteria: warmth. We had an inkling of which direction we wanted to head in, but had not made any set plans. From the Cape, we went back to the Mohegan Sun parking lot in Scranton where we spent an extremely cold night.
Then another cold night (but hooked up so we could use our space heater) in Virginia. On the third night we made it to Charlotte, NC, where we’d etched out several days. As one of the places we were considering living, we knew we wanted to get a taste for Charlotte before we spent more time when we round back through in the Spring.
In Charlotte we stayed in a state park on the outskirts of the city. It was significantly warmer there but we still had nights in the freezing temps.We didn’t have nearly enough time to see the city, but liked what we saw enough that we knew we wanted to go back and spend more time.
Our last morning in Charlotte, we sat down and planned out our New Orleans to New Years plans and decided that we wanted to get as far South as possible, meaning a three day drive to Miami. As soon as we made that decision we realized that everybody else had too… except they had done it months ago. All of the places in Florida we wanted to stay at were completely booked (for months). We were on the computers and the phone all morning, trying to schedule out places to stay into January. For some periods we got lucky, for others, we decided to hope for the best and wing it. More on that later.
After Charlotte, we spent a final stretch of freezing nights outside of Atlanta. We went to a super fun christmas festival– with fake snow and tons of beautiful lights– and had a blast. From there it was on to Alabama, and we planned out another parking lot night at a Casino near the Florida border. Our last night in Atlanta got into the upper twenties.
We woke up that morning before dawn and it was cold. But we bundled up and left the RV before it was dark out. We had plans to climb up Stone Mountain for the sunrise. It was only a mile and a half of a climb, but it was steep and we were rushed for time because we’d left a few minutes late. We basically ran up the mountain. The entire thing was sheer stone and it was beautiful. We weren’t the only people heading up for sunrise and it felt like a pilgrimage to see the rays of light. The view at the top was unreal. It was such a magical way to start the day. We were so energized and filled with light. We got back to the RV, and left around nine. It was probably 35 degrees at that point.
When stepped out of the RV at 4pm in Alabama, it was hot. Thunderstorms had been blowing through the area all day and the air was wet, heavy, muggy, warm. It was misty and our cold bones soaked up every sticky ounce of it. We planned to park for free in the casino parking lot, but lucked out as they had an RV park on site and someone had left early so the attendant let us get the spot for free since it was already payed for. As soon as we hooked up, we brought out the dehumidifier my parents got us for christmas, we turned on the AC, changed into warmer clothes immediately and took the dogs on a walk in the warm, misty rain. We were completely giddy at the warmth and sudden change– the feeling of warm air on our bare skin.
The following day, we got up early for our quick 3 hour drive to New Orleans. We were staying at a State Park in Westwego, outside of the city. We got there by noon and happily backed into our spot in the beautiful, swampy, Bayou Segnette State Park, where we would stay for four nights before moving to the French Quarter RV park, right smack dab in the city.
We felt so grateful that we’d given ourselves a few days to catch up from the driving. That was the most intense stretch of travel we’d done, over 1500 miles in ten days. As intense as this trip was, it felt so good to be back on the road. It was terrible leaving my family. I cried for days after…when I thought about how far we had already gotten from them. But I have had to turn my focus onto the experience we are having and how grateful I feel to not be tied down to a place right now.
At the state park, we got a ton of rest, deep cleaned the RV and did all of our laundry. By the time Thursday rolled along we were ready to move on and start our week in NOLA!
We spent an amazing week right outside the French Quarter. It was super fun staying inside of a city- something you can rarely do in an RV. Trevor and Elizabeth flew in the day after we moved to the French Quarter RV park and we had a blast with them enjoying all of the food and novelty of the French Quarter. We spent Christmas morning in the RV opening presents before going to see Star Wars (a Christmas tradition we have developed). We felt so grateful to be able to spend time with them… saying goodbye to Jordan’s family (and my aunt and uncle) in the Bay Area was one of the hardest parts of our decision to leave. So we felt hugely blessed to have this time with them, exploring a place that was new to all of us.
Once they left, we had just a couple more days to spend in New Orleans. We celebrated my 28th birthday at Le Petit Grocery, a gift from my parents, and had our final– incredible– New Orleans- style meal… which included crab beignets that I am still dreaming about. On the 28th of December, our time in Louisiana had come to a close. We weren’t quite sure where we were heading next… but we knew that we wanted warmth and so we set our eyes towards Southern Florida.