This is the last day of an RV “Rally” at the Elkhart 4H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana. Today is day four. We will be pulling out in the morning and driving all of 35 miles to a local winery who allows RVs to stay overnight.
The general rule for travel is 2-2-2. That means: drive no more than 200 miles, get into your camp before 2PM and stay 2 days. We are pretty good at the first two, but the staying two days is hard if you are bored! Sometimes you want to stay longer when commitments or cost dictate otherwise.
We are finding this life to be different than boating, and enjoyable. It is much, much easier in many ways with a corresponding increase in cost. We are able to cover a lot more ground, and it is easy enough to drop off the path to explore if desired at a moments notice.
One of latest revelations is online membership sites (at about $40/year) that allow us to find people who welcome RV’s to their house to stay, and another site that lets us search for wineries, farm and historical sites that also allow RVer to stay overnight for free.
With some state parks and private campgrounds charging as much as $45 per night, anyplace we can stay for free with the additional benefits of meeting great people or wine tastings are greatly appreciated!
Our routine seems to be yoga for Shelly in the morning while Goose and I run, then she readies the inside while I get the outside ready to go. Normally we are on the road by 930 or 10.
We are staying off the interstates as much as possible although it means the trip takes twice as long. The trade off for having things to see is well worth it for us. If we are in to our next stop and set us by 3 or 4, there is plenty of time for a hike or a visit to something interesting. If we like what we see we might stay another day or three. No hurry!
Tomorrow we begin to head in the general direction of Branson, MO. Looking at the wineries available to us it might take us two weeks to travel the 700 miles!
We already have started putting put feelers to find where we might hole up for the winter and ski but who knows?
It’s all good. We are having a great time, living the way we like – but we know it not for everyone!
Some interesting finds along the road:
In Alligator Point, FL, we walked along the beach where the most common item was the roadbed from previous hurricanes.
You CAN take you Mother in Law with you in a 5th wheel for a week and not hurt each other! We had fun poking into places in North and South Carolina.
The road from Weaverville NC across the Blue Ridge into Tennessee was a wonderful trip. Up and down, around the sharp corners, along the river and through the mountains. Very cool.
Cumberland Gap. This place is amazing. If you don’t know it is really a gap in the Appalachians that has been used forever to pass over the mountains. Buffalo and other animals, then Shawnee, Cherokee and many other tribes used it (The Warriors Way) before Daniel Boone came through three times from Virginia to help open up Kentucky and the Ohio Valley. Then they called it Wilderness Trail. He walked through the Gap at least three times and 115 miles north to settle Boonesboro, KY. He first came through in 1787!
Boonesboro was built on the Kentucky River – and has the nicest, natural, fresh water sand beach in the world! The replica fort is worth the visit.
Indiana is a beautiful state. Who would have thought?
The Amish have settled much of the Goshen and Elkhart Indiana area with beautifully kept farms. We pass horse and buggies on the road and shop for fresh, natural farm products sold inexpensively at their stores.
Next target is Branson, Missouri. No particular reason why other that we heard nice things about it!
If you have friends or relatives around our path we would be happy to visit them for you if they can accommodate a 32′ 5th wheel RV!
Not only is the golf tournament completed (very successfully thanks to volunteers, sponsors, donors and players) but so is our 6 year relationship with paws4vets and paws4people. We have separated due to ‘irreconcilable differences’. It was a good run and we are proud to have played a major role in bringing in close to one million dollars in funding during that time. They have a great mission and we wish them the best.
So Saturday after the event we hit the road on a new adventure in our 5th wheel. We have lots of ideas and maybes, but really we are just headed westward. Slowly. Faster than the boat’s 7 mph as we travel more like 60mph, but instead of pulling anchor up at dawn and moving 10 or more hours to get 70 miles in, we unplug from water and electric, roll up the awning, put everything away, back the truck up to hook up, and we are out of camp by at least 10am! And we travel back roads to arrive somewhere else in a few hours that looks interesting.
So far, in 4 days we made it all the way from Beaufort SC to Andersonville Ga! Four campgrounds and a lot of decompressing.
We have passed through very small, very quiet towns like Waldorf, and Roberta, and Millen. These places seem forgotten by time and we love driving very slowly through them.
We now know State Parks are fairly expensive to camp, with US Forestry camps much less. Tonight we are in the town of Andersonville Ga in their small RV park by ourselves and it is only $17. Cool. The last time I visited this solemn ground was in the mid 1960’s when we lived nearby in Americus and saw the 60 ft + deep well hand dug by Federal prisoner of war soldiers trying to get water for the 33,000 civil war prisoners here in 1864. They have now filled those in and just placed a marker there instead.
It certainly does not come close to telling the story anywhere near as well. I still vividly remember that day long ago and my dad telling me they never found the water… Over 16,000 soldiers died here. War is awful for everyone no matter where it is fought.
Our shakedown of our new home continues – literally.
One of the surprises is that the RV gets bounced around WAY more than the boat ever did. We have had bags of rice explode, the tempered glass shelf with the tall items like milk etc shattered and the shards were driven deep into the produce below, and the best mess of all when the pickle jar shared its juice with everything in the refrigerator.
Yesterday I built an acrylic replacement shelf, screwed in the door shelves so they couldn’t jump off, and made a full piece of acrylic that holds everything in while we are moving.
A couple of cabinets have been tinkered with to strengthen latches, locks and shelves.
Next is to figure out the batteries and charging system and bring it up to ‘cruising’ standards. I think we will need new deep cycle batteries, solar panels and an inverter/charger. There goes a bunch of money!
All in all though, both of us are thrilled with our setup. The ability to move quickly, comfortably, safely in a fairly new rig is something we have not experienced before.
We can pull in and have the RV set up, level, truck unhitched and ready for living in 10 minutes. The ability to wash and dry clothes in your own home is an awesome thing! And to have a vehicle to run around in separately opens up a whole world we did not have without finding a rental car before.
This next week we help Ian move into storage as he is deploying for 4 months, then down to see Ryan in St Pete before we pick a road to start meandering towards the Rocky Mountains.
We are having a blast with our new Atlas, and Google looking at ski places we can stay for free in the parking lot this winter. 😉
All while having nightly discussions about what we want to “do” next. Someday we might decide on something fun and rewarding.