Postcards from the Perimeter
Plans and Replans
I wanted to drive the eastern coastline.
But I reconsidered while still in eastern Maine because:
- Hurricane Threats
Hurricane Joaquin was still an undetermined threat. I talked with folks who had just come from the coast saying it was wet and foggy and they didn’t see much. And they came inland to be safe.
- Hurricane Aftermath
Even if the hurricane didn’t come that far north, it could still hit mid-Atlantic states and I didn’t want to drive through suffering areas with the dogs in an RV.
And the Carolinas were flooding big-time, who knew how to get past that.
- Cumbersome Mobility
Finally, quite frankly, the deal breaker was the realization that a coastal trip would be more suitable by car. As much as I love my motorhome Betty, she’s hard to park in small places, and it’s wearisome to make frequent stops.
So a promise was made to do the coast “right” another time.
Now, with altered (and re-altered several times over) plans, we took 16 days to reach Florida.
Here is a little about those 16 days …
We camped in back-woods parks through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
They were pretty in fall colors and nearly empty of other campers. I got spoiled with the dark nights, quiet private days and plenty of space for the dogs (and small animals for their entertainment.)
Driving backroads in the northeast was nice: barely any traffic, pretty picnic spots, endless interesting sights.
There was one little town with traffic backed up, sporting a construction sign
Warning: Elevated Structure
What is an elevated structure?
Suddenly we rounded the corner to see a raised old, white churched! I managed a quick shot out the (dirty) side window for you:
The backroads are also potholed, ungraded and narrow.
One especially long and winding day, poor Zoe puked and soaked one of the dog beds so we’re now down to two dog beds.
State Trooper Warning
Then we got thrown off New York’s Taconic State Parkway by a state trooper. Seriously.
There was a “Passenger Vehicles Only” sign posted at the on-ramp (too late to turn around at that point.) I figured Betty IS a passenger vehicle! I’m not carrying commercial goods.
But I didn’t argue. We left the luxuriously smooth Parkway to bounce through congested towns and white-knuckle over the super-narrow lanes of the Mid-Hudson bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY.
New England Visits
I had a lovely time in Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia, where I met up with cousin Kelly who I had not seen since we were little kids, and her husband David. I was so delighted and we had a wonderful time! Zack and Zoe love them, too.
I forgot to take pictures during our time together. Why is it that I forget the camera when I visit with family? But here’s the pretty little campsite where we got reacquainted.
The very next day I was thrilled to be warmly greeted in the parking lot of a Maryland marina on the Chesapeake Bay. There in person was one of my favorite dog bloggers Pamela, her husband Mike and famous dog Honey. It was fun getting to know them better and witnessing what life might be like on a sailboat.
The Honey family is amazing, taking it upon themselves to learn what it takes to embark on a life at sea.
Pamela made a chili picnic meal in her tiny galley on that green sailboat you see below. Impressive! And delicious, too. Thank you, Pamela!
Be sure to check out Pamela’s blog Something Wagging, if you aren’t familiar with it already.
After our first parking lot night of the trip (at the marina which was actually quite quiet), Zack, Zoe and I woke up to this.
We left the serenity of the marina to spend a few horrendous hours to and on the Capital Beltway (an interstate circling Washington DC) with it’s fast, weaving and crowded traffic mixed with mysterious construction. Sudden drop-offs onto grooved sub-pavement mixed with huge potholes.
I swear, Betty’s shocks are shot.
A Few Days Off
Finally, we reached northern Virginia. Rolling hills, horses & cows, small towns, fresh air.
We spent a long weekend at an RV park just above the Skyline Drive (as seen in the Postcard above).
The park not only has a city-sized dog park that no one seemed to be using except us, but they also had a petting zoo! I can tell you, that was a big hit with both Zack and Zoe.
Among horses, donkeys, chickens, lamas and pigs, Mr. Pig was the clear favorite.
The Skyline Drive
It took all day to drive the 109 miles of the amazing Skyline Drive.
The National Park Service does a great job maintaining a smooth (narrow) road with many pull-offs for viewing. The road is curvy and there’s quite a bit of mountain driving … many ups and downs.
Ever since we were in Vermont hearing about bad Carolina floods I had been scratching my head over the map. I spent way too much time trying to figure out a route past possible devastation.
The main interstate that most people take down to Florida was closed due to flooding.
I tried to figure out what other roads were open and where there might be safe RV camping (away from floods and the snakes that emerge afterwards.) But I couldn’t find a comprehensive map showing where the problems were. I was getting frustrated.
My sister suggested staying in a couple hotels and driving straight through North and South Carolina. I gave that a try.
I feel a little sad for not doing North and South Carolina justice. And not getting shrimp and grits.
The part of South Carolina I saw from the interstate (that had just reopened) was wet. Quite a bit of standing water, especially in all the ditches and streams and rivers. Thick groves of trees were standing in water.
We stayed at a northern North Carolina hotel before driving straight through the Carolinas. The hotel was OK, but a pain to drag in the dog beds, dog food, dog bowls, dog toys, dog medication …. for myself I just needed toiletries.
Anyway, we didn’t get much sleep. The dogs were sensitive to all the noises around us.
The grounds around the hotel were swampy.
The next night I skipped the hotel and stayed at an RV park near Savannah. They hadn’t gotten the flood waters.
It was nice to be our own beds again and the dogs slept better.
I guess Betty is finally home to Zack and Zoe, and me too.
I didn’t dip far down into Florida. Just to Jacksonville, which is in the northeast corner of Florida.
Which is also home to Kelley of Kelley’s Dog Blog, another favoritest dog blogger! I first met Kelley through a Christmas blogger’s exchange (sponsored by Pamela whom we just met up with in Maryland!) Click here for preview of Kelley’s blog.
Kelley and her husband, Bill, joined us at the RV park where we had a very nice evening getting acquainted. Before I left Florida, Kelley met us at a windy Atlantic ocean beach to chat some more and snap beach photos with the dogs. Thank you, Kelley!
Where to Next?
Now we head west.
I decided not to hug the (Gulf of Mexico) coastline, rather go inland through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and into Texas towards Dallas.