Saturday, October 18, 2014

Maryland, Our 50th State!

When Don and I first started traveling together, we had both been full-time solo RVers for over 5 years. In fact, he had about 13 years under his belt by then, as he and his late wife became full-timers in 1994. And many of you know that Don and I met through the Escapees RV Club SOLOs group, about 2 years after we were both widowed, coincidentally 5 days apart in June 2002.

At our first meeting during a SOLOs rally in Kendallville, IN in Sept 2004, we both felt an attraction, but for various reasons we didn’t decide to travel together until 3 years later. I like to say it took us 3 years to figure out we liked each other! I was enjoying the full-time RV life so much that I was afraid that, if we became a couple and started building a long-term relationship, Don would want to stop traveling and put down roots somewhere. But it turned out that he wanted to continue to travel as much as I did, maybe even more.

After we stored his 5th wheel and truck and started traveling together in my motorhome, at some point the map of states I’d visited by RV, which I mounted on a piece of Plexiglas, fell and broke. This seemed to be an omen, as Don hadn’t visited all of the same states, so we started over with a clean map and added each state as we visited it.

Initially, our requirement for adding a state was to park the motorhome inside its borders and sleep in it, usually overnight. Lately, we have relaxed that requirement a bit and have added a few states where we just had a meal. We never counted any that we just drove through. In fact, it took us about 6 years to qualify Minnesota! We had both stayed there previously, but it seemed like together we always drove through the state without a stop. Finally, we visited the SPAM Museum in Austin, MN and had lunch nearby. We then agreed that we’d add that state to our map.

So now that we are parked at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, MD we have now added Maryland to our U.S. map, and it’s the final state to qualify! Imagine, it took us less than 7 years to visit all 50 States, plus all but 4 Canadian Provinces!


Note: If anyone’s keeping track, we have recently visited all of the New England states, sleeping in most of them, and two nights ago we stayed overnight in PA and had dinner in NJ, although I didn’t write a blog post about them. We also spent last night in DE.

While we’re talking about milestones, Don also recently celebrated 20 years as a full-time RVer. And he still doesn’t see an end in sight. I will mark 12 years on Feb. 3, 2015, and I feel the same way. We both love this lifestyle, and want to continue our life on wheels as long as we can handle it physically.

Since we’re in Maryland and not too far from where Don lived for 6 years, after getting set up in the RV park early this afternoon, we took a drive to Waldorf to see his former house. At first, he couldn’t remember exactly where it was, so I zoomed in on the map on my smartphone and starting calling out street names. He said he lived on a cul-de-sac off a cul-de-sac, and remembered “fish” street names. I zeroed in on the place – Goby Ct. off of Flagfish Ct. just past Flounder Ct. (Notice the fireplug in the middle of the driveway?)


Now we have seen each others’ homes before full-time RVing, as we visited mine in Utah a few years ago.

During our stay here in MD, we plan a few outings. So stay tuned for some reports of our new adventures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Massachusetts, Again

After our brief trip to Vermont, we returned to Massachusetts, this time to the western part of the state to spend some time with Don’s niece Laura Kroll and her two sons Christian and J.J. We went to the boys’ football game one night, then went out for a Chinese dinner afterward. The first thing I noticed is that many of the players were wearing breast cancer awareness socks!


Christian is in the #61 jersey and J.J. is #8.


Laura helped with the food booth during the PeeWee’s game early in the evening. She wore the SPAM apron because it has the school’s colors. She also has family roots in Hawaii, which is the largest consumer of SPAM, although she’s from California.


Yesterday we went to a corn maze. I didn’t want to go into the maze because of my claustrophobia – I was afraid I would get lost and start panicking when I couldn’t find my way out! So Don stayed with me while Laura and the boys got their wrist bands and picked out a numbered flag. She waved to me and Don as we watched from the observation platform.


That’s the last we saw of them for over an hour. As they entered the maze, the corn was so tall we barely saw them as they disappeared among the stalks.


To pass the time, Don and I had some hot cider and wandered around the facility. For $5 you could ride a pony around a small fenced area 3 times.


You could buy food and feed it to the animals.




And if you didn’t offer food, some of them would get a little aggressive.


You could take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon.


There were lots of pumpkins, free to those who went through the maze.


J.J. tried to pick up a heavy one.


But he learned quickly just how heavy the big ones were! Then he easily picked up a smaller one.


Our final stop was the Potato Blaster.


People lined up to put potatoes into a chute on top of the gun, pulled a loader, then aimed and squeezed the trigger.


The goal was to hit a target with a prize like kettle corn or a donut, and the potato had to hit the target directly, without bouncing.


Christian and J.J. took turns shooting the gun and even Laura got a couple of shots.


J.J. hit both the kettle corn and donut targets, so he went to claim his prizes before we left. Earlier, I had spotted a tower on top of a cliff not far away (look at the upper left), and noticed so many beautiful autumn colors.


Later, we drove up to this lookout point on Mt. Sugarloaf, with elevation 652 ft.


What wonderful views! Too bad the sun wasn’t shining so you could see the brilliant autumn colors.




The Connecticut River flows below.


And the maze was visible, too.


It was fun spending time with this part of Don’s family!