We decided to squeeze a trip to Acadia National Park before we left the East Coast and moved west. As any good trip planners would, we visited with good friends who live in New England. It was also a fantastic way to burn up the remainder of Jess’ vacation time before she quit.
We were pulled over by police two times on the trip up to Acadia. Ticket free both times – out of state plates and Alex’s red wagon made for a sympathetic combination. The first was entering the GW, where contrary to what the Canadian border crossing agent told us, we are required to adhere to all truck restrictions. Thus we were not allowed on the lower level of the GW bridge. Apparently others have made this error before and there was a special ramp for us to us to get to the upper level. The second was driving through Connecticut – we were not allowed on parkways due to size restrictions. The signage informing us of this restriction was not observed. We had to exit the parkway three miles short of our target destination (the interstate) and got to explore small town Connecticut as we worked an alternate route to the interstate.
We arrived in Acton, Massachusetts and spent a couple nights with Jess’ good friend from high school. As always, we added class to the neighborhood with our RV parked near her house. We also met up with some of the New England motorcycle group. After good times catching up and exploring Acton, we pushed on to Acadia National Park.
We camped a Blackwoods Campground, which was heavily wooded. This was a problem for the time of year with limited daylight hours combined with the fact that it was overcast and raining the majority of the time we were there. We had to be very conservative with our batteries since our main way of recharging them was not functioning due to the lack of sun. We could have run the generator, but that gulps propane and we had a limited supply. An important note – when traveling to an area at the end of the season make sure your key amenities are full. We could not find an open propane station and needed to have enough for the furnace. We did not do our pre-trip preparation well at all. We could not recharge the coach batteries while driving because the solenoid was disconnected (did not discover that until after the trip).
Despite the rainy weather, we were able to get a few hikes in. We were very please to discover Acadia is dog-friendly and allows dogs on most trails. Penny, Chewie, and Buster enjoyed the opportunity to hike with us.
On the way back to Delaware, our overnight stop was at the house of friend’s from Dave’s motorcycle group. It was great catching up and great to be able to enjoy a real shower. We pushed on home the next day, and 15 miles shy of our goal, the great transmission failure occurred. Such things happen, we managed to get home in a friend’s truck.
Alex and Abby met for the first time when Alex was just shy of three months old. It was not love at first sight. Alex was tired and cranky and didn’t seem to appreciate the test drive. But good parents that we are, we overrode Alex’s objections and purchased Abby.
August 2014: Alex’s first trip in Abby was an overnight shakedown run to Pequea Creek Campground in Pennsylvania. It was on this run that future thoughts for organization started to present themselves. But nothing too disastrous and we were only an hour away from home.
October 2014: Alex and Abby had more time to bond on their next trip to Cooperstown, NY area over Columbus Day weekend. We dragged Alex not to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but to Brewery Ommegang. That’s just how we parent. We were fortunate because Alex was still at a stage where he slept – a lot. And wasn’t super mobile so he perfectly content to hang out in his car seat at the table while we ate and chatted. We stayed at Beaver Spring Lake Campground, which had full hook ups. This was very fortuitous because the overnight lows were high 20s. No water lines froze despite our lack of an arctic package. Alex seemed to enjoy himself on this trip and it was deemed rather successful.
Novermber 2014: Alex took his first trip to Cape Henlopen State Park. This is a beautiful campground area, with some spots very nicely shaded. Being late in the season, the campground was sparsely populated, save some tent campers who were competing in the ‘Skate the Cape’ event weekend. Looked like a fun event; everyone that we interacted with was extremely nice. A drawback at Cape Henlope is the park staff don’t want RVs parking off of the pavement; there are only a few spots that don’t resemble parallel parking. It would be nice if one could be trusted to use their own judgement and park on the hard pack sand, but I am sure experience has taught the staff that most people overestimate their or their vehicle’s abilities. Review the park map and choose wisely. While there are water hook ups, some of the spigots are at least 50′ away from the spot they are assigned to service; pack two sanitary water hoses just in case.
June 2015: 2015 started out relatively quiet with a trip to Cape Henlopen and the Outer Banks as a quick weekend shake down runs ahead of a busy summer travel schedule. After that the travel season became very hectic. First, was our trip to the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE the weekend of June 18 – 21. We had been debating on going, but when they announced Paul McCartney was headlining, we decided to go for it. Alex seemed to have a really fun time; we introduced him to the WeeRide which he loved. He had a strong dislike for his bike helmet initially, but once he made the connection between the helmet and going for a bike ride, all was okay. Alex enjoyed snoozing in the hammock and got to “see” Paul McCartney in concert. Never fear, he had ear protection on whenever we were on the concert grounds.
June/July 2015: Less than a week after we returned from Firefly, Abby spirited all of us (including the dogs) off on a 3 week western adventure. This trip started with failed turbo resonator, but there were no more mechanical failures on the trip. Alex had a great time playing in dirt and “driving” the RV.
September 2015: Abby took Alex on his first trip out of the country! We drove up to Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, in Quebec. It was a fun trip. We were only a little bit nervous at the border crossings because Alex’s favorite phrase at this time was ‘uh oh’. We didn’t think it would be wise to answer the border guard’s question with ‘uh oh’.
October 2015: Just when Alex and Abby were going to have to say good-bye to each other for a few months, we decided to throw two October trips into the mix. The first was over Columbus Day weekend to the Mansfield area of Pennsylvania. Dave rode his motorcycle up and Jess drove the RV. Alex and the dogs got a bonus visit to the farm to visit Mimi and Grandpa. We stayed at Tanglewood Campground which was very family friendly. Costume parade for the kids and what we heard was a very well done haunted trail ride.
We decided to take a trip to visit all the remaining Northeast states before we moved west. So Alex and Abby hit the road together again to Acadia National Park in Maine. This was the most dog-friendly park we have visited where dogs are allowed on most trails. Our creature triple feature had a great time. Abby was challenged with no hook-ups and short, cloudy days prevented the solar panels from recharging the batteries. We needed to run the generator to charge the batteries. Except we overestimated our propane levels and couldn’t find anywhere to fill up since it was the end of the season and most places had closed down. To add to the challenge, the coach batteries weren’t recharging from the engine. Thus, a very delicate game of cat and mouse was played between propane and battery levels. This trip happened to be the trip that the transmission failed; while Abby didn’t see Alex home to the door, she did arrange a ride for him in a big rig.
December 2015/January 2016: And we can’t forget the cross-country move! Alex and Abby had lots of quality time together as we meandered across the South and up the Pacific Coast Highway to Davis, CA. Check out our detailed blog posts chronicling this journey. There are many more than the one linked, check out the archives or the category ‘Travel Diary: 2016 DE to CA’.
One of our greatest concerns with all the traveling we do is making sure Alex is having fun. We can’t know for sure, but he always gets excited when he sees Abby and wants to climb aboard. All said and done, we let this picture speak volumes.