AreVthereYet: Days 12 & 13

The road to and through St Augustine!

As we prepared for our next destination, Phil started the day with a batch of his very tasty cold brew. You know life is good when you can make cold brew in your camper.

We left Friday for St. Augustine and had an uneventful trip. Waze was a good navigator and routed us around the traffic on 95 entering Florida. It turned out the back up was due to COVID check points. We arrived in St. Augustine a bit behind our friends after stopping for a quick trip to Publix. They do have the best sweet tea after all!

I have to say I found it funny that it was about this point in our trip when Nala decided she had enough of riding in the back. She made herself a perch just behind Phil and I and ultimately ended up in my lap off and on for the rest of our drive time.

Our first afternoon in St Augustine was fairly laid back. The kids explored and our friend made the best mezcal margarita! It had a spicy/sweet rimming sugar and was very easy going down.

You have to love it when your friend comes prepared with a glass for every drink!

The next day we set off early to explore St. Augustine. That required another Uber trip, but it was ok.

Along our way, we found some unexpected treasures like this Andrew Young Crossing. Just walking away from a monument, I noticed the footsteps and decided to follow them. #supercool

We toured the Pirate Museum, walked through the old city and went to the oldest house in the US. The weather was lovely until we left there and after a brisk walk we had to find shelter to wait out the rain. After stumbling onto the Andrew Young Crossing, when I saw the back of a statue with a young woman who looked like she could be Black, I wandered over in the rain. It wasn’t quite what I expected.

After returning from our wonderful soggy ending day trip, we had a quiet evening enjoying the last night with our friends. The next day promised to be a journey as we planned to hear from St. Augustine to Bar Harbor, Maine!!

AreVthereYet Day 11: Savannah

We decided to have an adventure in Savannah and head into town to explore. Because we are in a motorhome, that required an Uber for us, while our friends unhooked their travel trailer and rolled out. We decided to do a hop on hop off trolley (which we’d done when our friends came to NYC a couple of years ago). We donned our masks and headed out!

Fortunately Uber has new protocols and the driver also wore a mask.

We had a really nice time in Savannah – it’s a beautiful city! We explored the old town area and a bit of the water front. And of course we found Savannah’s best ice cream. I have to say, though it was lovely, I think our Ice Cream at home is better 🤫!

I do have to say, that the Uber driver on the way home was fascinating. Her family has been in Savannah since the 1700s, but she is a diver, preparing to relocate to Bonaire in the Caribbean to start a dive and marine studies school. She had been in radio and TV for her career and seemed to drive Uber because she likes people and to keep herself busy. We had a great conversation on the way home and she was cool about answering all of my little mister’s questions and listening to his point of view about the oceans! She was also familiar with the Savannah social life and had a cameo appearance in, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”! If you’ve red it, she was the strawberry blond in the kitchen during one of the parties…

Enjoy Bonaire Maureen! I am sure the kids will visit one day. And they will ask the entire flight, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet? Day 10: Savannah

We had a good ride from Charleston to Savannah. We even took some time to stop at the Angel Tree on John’s Island. The kids were particularly interested in it because they heard about it during our tour in Charleston. I do have to say that the Angel Tree is 400 years old and it is stunning – we were careful to appreciate it gently.

We arrived in Savannah and set up for the evening. It was a nice campground, even though we were right next to the entrance. There was a lake and when I went over to take a look, I saw swans! I went back to get the kids with the reminder that they needed to maintain a safe distance. This was particularly important for my Little’s, who touch everything. And don’t let me start on my son, who decided to pick up a chipmunk and got a bite just last Summer!

Fortunately, the kids managed to appreciate the swans quietly and we went back to the RV for dinner. This was the first time we managed to get campsites adjacent to each other and we loved being able to run back and forth.

We enjoyed a super relaxing evening, including a movie for the kids, popcorn for everyone and talking late into the evening. Oh, and there were s’mores!

AreVthereYet? Day 9 & 10: Charleston

Charleston Day 2-3

We had a great couple of days at the Charleston KOA. The kids enjoyed a quick morning with Grandaddy Ted and some finishing. Then he and my Barbara got on the road.

For the rest of our time there, the kids spend lots of time bike riding and exploring the camp with their ‘cousins’! Unfortunately we got rained in for dinner, so we had to hang in the camper and play some games.

We ended up extending a night in Charleston to avoid having 2 stops in FL. Of course COVID was spiking all along our route so we felt better eliminating one more point to deal with. On our final day in Charleston, we packed up the RVs and prepared to leave. Things went very smoothly and we hit the road to Savannah. The kids couldn’t sit for 30 minutes before they asked, “AreVthereYet”?!

AreVthereYet Day 8

Three Days in Charleston! Day One!

So we had great plans to head out early on Monday and explore Charleston, but it was also my girlfriends birthday, so we had to have a special breakfast! Remember those crab balls? Remember those grits? It.was.on. I figured this was a great opportunity to use my new 3 qt instant pot and the air fryer. So the grits went into the small instant pot and I fried the crab balls in the 6 quart with our Air Fryer attachment.

Well I learned that my normal pot in pot method works much better than cooking the grits directly in the instant pot. I had to worry over those grits in that little pot more than I wanted to – first time I’ve seen the ‘food burn’ sign on any instant pot.

I just have to say, the crab balls were a big hit!! After a lovely but late breakfast, we went off to Charleston. We had the chance to learn about local history with Gullah Geechee Tours. Our guide was super informative and very passionate about history. The kids had so many questions and he answered each of them patiently and fully.

Given all that is going on, our visit was timely. We toured on Monday June 22 and on June 23 the City Council voted to remove the John Calhoun statue and on June 24, it came down!

After our tour, we went back to the camp site with a quick stop at a bakery to get some cupcakes for a birthday treat!

AreVthereYet Day 7

Well, today is Fathers Day!! Happy Day to all the Fathers, Uncles, Dad’s and important father figures. Phil had to make breakfast and break camp, but other than that we spoiled him mercilessly. Oh, and he had to drive and make the fire in the fire pit, but we gave him cards. Plus there were the chairs and stuff he had to haul so we could set up, but… Well, so at least we had good family time!

At the start of the day, the kids got up first thing and headed for the go carts. Then they figured out how to shuttle Phil and I around in some sort of 4 person cart. It was a little bit of a struggle going up the ‘hill’, but all in all it was cool.

And they are off!
A drive and a tour all in one
What a contraption!

We took off for Charleston and had a relatively uneventful drive. It was only a couple of hours and we arrived not too long after our friends did. And I was super excited because my Dad and my Barbara came to see us in Charleston! So, we got to share Fathers Day with 3 Dad’s! And our puppies had great fun hanging out with each other. Kizzy, made friends with both Rocky and Nala and Rocky and Nala were companionable. We had good fun swimming, riding bikes, sitting around the fire, eating s’mores and telling stories.

My son always seems to figure out how to get someone’s phone. Thanks my Barbara for sharing!
Grandaddy’ Ted’s Sunset bike ride!

AreVthereYet Days 6

What a weekend! We had a lazy start to Day 6, except for my son who ran off first thing! I was preparing breakfast when he came back to the RV with a report, “Mommie, I went to the desk and I’ve arranged for the use of a go cart! It’s free, I don’t have to pay anything!” Well if you know my son, he is a negotiator and will charm anyone, so I was doubtful. However it turns out that at the KOA in Myrtle Beach, the GoCarts are free and he and his sister took off for them! We didn’t see them for ages as they rode around the park visiting and exploring.

I was super excited to use my instant pot for breakfast! Phil pulled it out and I set out to make my grits! Instant Pots are great a solution for grits. You just set it up and the IP does all the work and watching!

…As a quick sidebar, honestly I’d been waiting all week for this! From long ago, when instant pots first became a thing, I remember seeing a story by someone who used an Instant Pot in their RV. I was sold! We didn’t have an RV, nor had I ever traveled in one! But, I was sold! So imagine how critical it was that we found space for the Instant Pot on our inaugural RV journey! And imagine how much I was looking forward to cooking with it! Now back to the RV…

I had everything ready, started the pot and watched it come to pressure. It seems pretty fast, but the pot was hot so it was working. I busied myself with my other tasks and when it was done opened it up, to see UNCOOKED GRITS. 😡. They looked just like they did at the beginning except now I messed up my foil seal.

About this time, hungry jack and hungry jane came back. I was forced to say I had nothing. I could whip something up, but no grits. Can you imagine what my son said, “it’s ok Mommie, I will wait for the grits.” With those eyes and that charm, I had to get them done! I redoubled my efforts, but after another attempt, I gave up and put them on the stove. We finally had grits around 12:30p and the kids snacked on them (plus the sausage I made) throughout the day.

While the grits were a bust, I figured out how to use my IP as a slow cooker to make my rice and peas. They turned out well, except that I forgot to season them because of the pain of my grits. Hey, salt anyone?

After our run to Walmart for my 3qt Instant Pot.

As a final note, I must say that later that day, the Instant Pot redeemed itself. I was so disgusted with my IP failure I went and got another (that’ll show it 😂). It was a good thing though because Phil had to make spaghetti — it was our plan B meal, but he couldn’t grill because it rained. So there we were, 8 people in our RV with 2 instant pots humming for dinner in the rain. AreVthereYet?

AreVthereYet Day 5

It’s FriYay! Our RV journey continues into the weekend!

We woke up feeling refreshed in Wilmington. It was really the first time we felt rested! First task of the day… to empty the tanks 😳. We (really Phil) put on gloves and worked it out while Peyton supervised.

Then we had breakfast, got some work done and prepared to hit the road. The kids made friends and enjoyed exploring the park with them – and how they have pen pals in San Antonio, TX. What a truly cool experience from our RV journey. I do have to say, most everyone has been so friendly and welcoming!

Once we were packed up we left Wilmington and made our traditional road trip stop at… Dollar Tree! We learned on our first long road trip to Charlotte that Dollar Tree is a great stopping point while on the way. There are drinks, snacks, kids activities, and a bathroom if the kids need it! This time however we only needed a few items (love those super large ziploc bags for organizing) and then we were on our way.

We had some challenges with the RV on this leg, but let’s hope they don’t repeat themselves. Unfortunately the RV Rental owner was stumped and so were we. Nothing to do with safety, but something we don’t want to have to worry about.

On this leg of the trip, I had the chance to drive. That was an experience – it’s kind of like driving an old SUV. Remember the ones that swayed every time a semi passed? Except it’s always swaying and don’t let a semi pass! A bit nerve wracking but we managed for the few hours until Phil couldn’t take being a passenger any more.

The best part of arriving at the KOA in Myrtle Beach… we found our friends! After 5 days on the road, we met up with our friends and their children. The kids were over the moon to see their ‘cousins’ and we were thrilled to have fellow travelers and friends for this adventure!

We were so happy to see them – we didn’t have any photos, but a good time was had by all! And now, we look forward to two days without anyone asking, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet Days 3&4

The adventure continues! We left Grandma and Granddaddy’s and drove to Hampton Roads Winery in Elberon, VA.

Short drive but still time for a little rest.

What a lovely place! Driving in through the lane bordered by Magnolia Trees, past the stately house and the Winery Building, the kids were excited to see the vineyards. After parking and settling in we had a private wine tasting including the “house white”, red blends with Norton grapes (native to Virginia), and a wine slushy. And they have goats – the worlds largest goat tower and live in goats!

David and Dianne, the Vintners, were wonderful and very hospitable. For our first evening ‘on our own’ it was the perfect place to relax and explore.

The next morning we got up, did a little more exploring and then we were off to Wilmington, North Carolina. Fortunately we had the chance to meet and catch up with one of Phil’s best friends, Uncle Rodney on the way.

We spent Thursday evening with my cousins Alice and Jeff in Wilmington, before going to our campground. It was great to catch up and the kids got to share lots of stories of our travels and play a little piano (which made me very happy)! Thanks so much to Alice and Jeff for hanging out with us!

We arrived at our first campsite, hooked up and turned in for the evening – it had been a very long day! Until tomorrow, when we are off to our next adventure and the kids ask, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet Days 2 & 3

The adventure continues

We made it to Grandma and Granddaddy’s house. Phil is the real MVP! After 2 weeks of non stop work around the house and packing for the RV trip of a lifetime, he drove 8 hours (including 2 stops) from NJ to MD.  What a champ!

Parking was a little tricky, but he managed a three point turn (in a 29 foot camper is that like an 87 point turn?) into a parking spot in his parents driveway. And he extended the slide out! That was amazing because I was so tired I would have gone to bed without it.

We all slept well, even as we tried to acclimate to the sounds of the outdoors. It’s like sleeping in a tent, you hear every scratch and wind gust like it’s right there.

So happy we are at ‘home’. We get to try everything out with the safety net of a real bathroom and some extra supplies to secure anything that doesn’t stay in place (painters tape anyone). And lots of special time with Grandma, Grandaddy and Aunty Auntie!

We spent the next day getting settled and being spoiled by Grandma and Granddaddy. We had a wonderful breakfast and kid koverage while we went grocery shopping. Then we finished up the day with a blue crab feast in the evening — it was so nice being there. The kids got to ride on the boat with Grandaddy!

We even got to hook up the electric to the house and lived without the generator for the time we were there. What a wonderful way to ease into RV living.

On Day 3 we woke up and started preparing to leave. Granddaddy had 1.5lbs of fresh crab that he’d picked out of the shells and I was able to make crab balls. That is certainly going to be a treat on the road!!

Fresh from the crab pot and picked by hand!

Crab balls ready to travel. Popped them right in the freezer and we will be ready to airfry them – yummm!!

Getting set up to hit the road… And one more special gift from Grandma… but I will wait to share.

Here we are ready to head out! Thanks so much to Grandma, Granddaddy and Aunty Auntie for a super fun visit on our adventure! Now we are off to the Hampton Roads Winery in Virginia. Anyone want to guess how often we will hear, “AreVthereYet?”