Ok, we did exactly what we swore we weren’t going to do. We went a long time without posting. We went a lot of places and we did a lot of things. Should we relive them all here? Should I spend all day trying to remember everything we did? I’m thinking no. I’m thinking I’m just going to do a synopsis slash hit list. So here it is.
Synopsis: Since our last post we basically did a 33-day 5,000 mile shakedown trip in our new Winnebago Travato,which we now refer to as Street Spice (sort of a nod to the horrible name we inherited when we bought our now non-existent island house, Sweet Spice). Anyway, we took Street Spice from Indianapolis up through the Finger Lake region of New York and through the Adirondacks into Maine. We spent about 5 days in Acadia National Park, which I highly recommend. (I also recommend eating as much lobster as possible, which we did.) We actually had reservations in Acadia so we kind of sped through New York to get there but we’re looking forward to going back eventually.
After Acadia we had to haul ass to DC to catch the always fabulous All Things Go Fall Classic. That’s a music festival. You should go because it’s always fabulous. This year it was three days instead of one and we only made it in time for the last day, by which point we were so fried from traveling and just like, coping or whatever, that we ended up leaving before the headliner. And it was STILL FABULOUS. Also we got to spend a few hours with several of our favorite people, so that’s a plus. We got out of DC as fast as possible because we were just generally kind of freaking out about having the RV in the city, but everything worked out great. Sidenote: We are much more comfortable with the RV now and take it pretty much everywhere.
After DC we headed over to Shenandoah National Park (which we’ve visited many times) and hopped on and off of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way down to Asheville, NC. Basically this whole trip was a foliage-fest. Jennifer loves fall foliage. I’m not that into it because changing leaves means weather and I think we can all agree that weather just plain sucks. Nevertheless, we have lots of pics of Wembley and Frances and leaves.
While we were in Asheville we finally made it to the Biltmore Estate which we’ve been meaning to do for years. We love a good house tour. The Biltmore is this gigantic, enormous estate that one of the Vanderbilts built. It’s beautiful and amazing. Frederic Law Olmsted, the guy who designed central park, designed the grounds. Yeah, it’s like that. The thing is, it wasn’t really that interesting. It was kind of too tasteful and classy and there wasn’t much of a story (except that it seems like this Vanderbilt guy was pretty gay, although it was never mentioned and he did eventually get married and we’re totally just guessing . But, you know, it was tasteful). I’ll take circus-mogul John Ringling’s house in Florida over the Biltmore any day of the week. Onwards.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was kind of a bust because they have a pretty tough dog policy. Dogs are allowed in the campgrounds but not on the trails. This turned out not to be a problem because there’s tons of National Forest around the park which is, in many ways, better to camp in anyway. Usually it’s cheap and/or free, the sites are less developed and way less crowded. We did tons of camping and hiking and figuring out the complex intricacies of life in the Travato. (It’s not that hard, mostly because we don’t really have much stuff.) We did buy some camp chairs which are pretty ugly but have upped our recreation game considerably. And a Soda Stream! We finally bought one of those soda stream machines and it is completely life changing. Endless seltzer. Endless boxed wine spritzers. In chairs. We’re getting good at this.
On our way back to Indiana we stopped in Oak Ridge, TN. Maybe you know about Oak Ridge? We had no idea. Basically, it was a completely secret town that was part of the Manhattan Project- you know, the development of the nuclear program? Yeah, it turns out there were thousands and thousands of people living in a SECRET CITY in Tennessee during WWII working on making the atomic bomb. We got there late so we didn’t get the full tour but it was still mind-blowing. We’re definitely going back.
As an added bonus while driving towards Oak Ridge we ended up on a crazy, twisty road full of hot rods, motorcycles and photographers. Apparently it’s some famous achievement to “drive the dragon.”
After that it was straight back to Indy for a week of motel-living and a paycheck. Yes, we were back in the same extended stay hotel we’ve posted about previously. No, nothing at all interesting happened in that week (although the Hallmark Channel is doing it’s holiday movie marathon, in case you’re interested. Like me.).
Finally, we headed down to Florida (where we are now) to register the van and get some government ID. On our way down here we camped at a state park in Kentucky. On Halloween. When we pulled in it was after dark and almost completely deserted. So we took a spin around all the sites to find the best one and then we went to the after-hours registration station, filled in our info and parked at our deserted campsite. Five minutes later headlights show up out of nowhere. Right behind us. Suddenly Kentucky didn’t feel like the World’s Friendliest Place. But it turns out the couple in the car were the campground hosts. Apparently, we were looking very suspicious pulling in late at night in a black van. They thought maybe we were a meth lab. You know, like the two other meth labs they busted at that campground the week before. Not even kidding. All in all it was a pretty good shakedown cruise. No major malfunctions. Lots of good times.
*Progress Update on Sweet Spice: We had several text exchanges and static-y conversations with multiple insurance adjusters who have confirmed that “you’re house is gone” and “seems like it was a nice place, probably.” Then we got a letter from FEMA denying our request to build a bridge. We had no idea that was even an option. Stay tuned.