Well here we are at last writing about our most current travels rather than apologizing for being behind. We set out from Cape Lookout National Seashore in late March with 6 weeks to reach our Summer 2018 destination at Grand Portage National Monument in northern Minnesota. Before we even left our plans had changed several times as we tried to figure out how to get our small boat to Minnesota. Finally we realized that this purchase was not one of our brightest ideas and it was unnecessarily complicating our lives. We donated it and moved on.
As we write this edition to our blog we realize we packed a great deal into a few weeks. To make our posts more timely and easier to read we will break up our travels into three sections, all of which revolved around getting repairs done, done well and dealing with having to be out of your home in the process. This is the downside reality to all of the wonderful times we enjoy as full time travelers.
Our first stop would be at Pocahontas State Park near Richmond, Virginia. We’d been here about four years ago and realized there was much more to see and do. Since then we’d added trying to tour all of our state capitols. So that’s where we would start. As luck would have it we met up with RV friends Janice and Dave for the tour and dinner at The Village Cafe, a Triple D stop.
Also while visiting the Richmond area we toured the Museum of the Confederacy and the Confederate White House. The museum has one of the most extensive collections of original artifacts and should be a stop for anyone with interest in history. Having toured the Jefferson Davis home in Biloxi and knowing his post war story, it was a great comparison to tour the Confederate White House.
Our history blitz continued with day trips to four more National Park sites: George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument, Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. While at the G. W. Birthplace we learned how the first Washington ancestor to arrive on our shores did so literally by accident. He had invested in a merchant ship that was wrecked and stayed. Just think of the alternative history potential if this hadn’t happened and George was British General! Ever hear of Thomas Stone? Can’t say we had either. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a moderate voice in the discussion. Weather was not good during our two days exploring the widespread Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania Battlefields. However the campaigns here shaped our history and are most interesting. Lastly we learned about a fascinating woman, Maggie Walker, a woman of color who rose to prominence when neither her race or her gender were given their due. I kept wondering why I’d never heard of her during either Black history month or Women’s history month.
As if our brains weren’t already busting with new information, we made a trip to Jamestown, VA to see where it all started in the first permanent English settlement in the USA. The museum is extensive and very well executed as is the reconstructed village. Little did we know at the time that fellow volunteers we’d meet at Grand Portage NM live in the area and have volunteered at Jamestown for several years.
And now it is time to move on to Pennsylvania where we will drop off our 5th wheel for repairs in Greencastle, PA and visit family in Chambersburg. We had a long list of things needing work but the most pressing was our leaky roof that despite two other attempts at getting fixed still left us with using a bucket during heavy rain. Keystone RV suggested we do a special test where air is forced through the roof and leaks not easily spotted can be found.The special test is not covered by our manufacturer’s warranty but we just want the leak fixed so agreed to the $300 cost. Also on our list was the persistent problem of the bedroom slide not closing properly. We would also finally repair our ding to the front cap from making too tight a turn. The repairs would take a week.
We visited with Steve’s mother and sister in time for Easter where we saw other family from New York. His mother had recently turned 90 and looks great. Our one week stay became two when the RV dealer had their fork lift die and couldn’t get our rig into the shop. You know the 3 day rule about fish and company having stayed too long? We all joked about it but by the end of 2 weeks we all were anxious to return to normal.
We did some local sightseeing, went to Harrisburg to see the Pennsylvania Capitol Building and toured more NPS sites (C&O Canal, Catoctin Mountain and Antietam NB). The Pennsylvania Capitol is the most elaborate one we’ve visited. That’s saying something as we’ve seen some gorgeous ones. We hope you don’t mind all of the photos but art was everywhere here. The floor tiles depicting everything from early settlement to industry cover the entire entry floor. Another excellent and free tour.
We visited Antietam on a rainy day so just did the drive and stopped at a few spots. If I’d only known then that my great grandfather had been in that battle, I’d have looked up his regiment. Thank goodness he survived or I wouldn’t be here! At Catoctin Mountain we did a short hike and tried to peak through the trees to see Camp David as we drove along. It is posted “Do not stop.” I do think they are serious. C&O Canal has several Visitor Centers. We visited a smaller one nearest Chambersburg. I’d love to go back to see the main center and do a bike ride on the towpath.
Finally the RV repairs were done. The bill came to $2600! Gulp! That’s after the things covered by warranty. So much for keeping the credit card under control this month. Due to the delay we’d cancelled our stay in western PA until our next visit. So off we head to Ohio thinking we were all fixed. To be continued in Part 2.