Saturday, March 26, 2022


 I really thought this word would not exist in the english/american language, at least not spelled together, but rather like "Home Feel". 

Google taught me otherwise though. Apparently, there are Hotels and Inns, which use the word in their name or marketing. Of course, I didn't want to lecture you about english spelling. No, the reason for using the word "homefeel" in today's headline is that when I woke up on this first day at home after almost 5 months away, I had a "homefeel". Mind you, I slept on the couch in the living room, as the bedroom was frigid. Yet sleeping on the couch is not quite as comfortable than in a bed, I had the luxury of starting a fire in the woodstove at 5:30am and making a cup of coffee, all without waking my better half, who didn't mind a cold bedroom.

So "homefeel" is, in my opinion quite different from living in an RV. This is not meant as a critique against those RVers who have decided that their RV is a year-round home, but rather a self-learning experience for me, especially since years ago, I thought of starting a year-round life as an RV-tramp on the road. I still enjoy seeing new places, learning about them along the way, but I now know that it can't stand up against "homefeel".

Just imagine, yesterday we got home after a 3-hr drive in nasty rain weather. We got our tests done at the Health Center across from our border (didn't even had to pay for it) then went to the border where 2 officers rummaged through our trailer in search of what??? (they came up empty-handed) 

I phoned a couple of neighbours about our home-coming and promptly got a supper invitation. Yes, a seafood chowder and dessert was, what we enjoyed. So, think about it, we didn't have to cook ourselves in all the unpacking of the RV and getting back into order in the house. How nice is that?

Things like that, add to the "homefeel" for me. Another neighbour brought the remaining mail to the door and yet another friend had been waiting along the road when we rolled on to the island, honking her car horn. Amazing!

I think it's very healthy to get this renewal of "homefeel", once in a while. It makes us appreciate our homebeing, and our life so much more.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

North To Maine And Almost Home

Yessss, we slept well even with the noise from the highway. If you are tired enough you can sleep in a closet!

Because we went to bed so early I was awake again at 5:30 and got up for enjoying a coffee. And that was a good thing as we heard a knock on the door an hour later. Outside was a DOT officer who had the nerve to ask us to move as they wanted to use this rest area for truck inspection. I was not amused by his request, especially as I cannot drive in the dark. So we had to pack up and leave, but moved over to where the cars were parked to take our breakfast. there.

It was drizzling too, so the weather would not be good today.

To make a=this very long day story short, we kept going most of the day ending up in Bangor Maine, where we know a truck stop off the highway. We have used this place many times before and it has always been quiet here, as truck are usually just parked here in wait for new orders. A couple of other campers are here as well. We are now only 3hrs. away from home. We still need a Rapid Covid-19 test to cross the border tomorrow, so we have scheduled for that tomorrow.

Looking back at this journey, which started on November 11, I have to say that we will not drive with this trailer/van combination once more. The 1t. van is equipped with the 6l GM Vortec engine and a 6-speed tranny. Despite the fact that GM states an allowable trailer weight of upto 10,000pounds, the van is not capable of maintaining normal travel speed on ANY incline or ANY headwind. 373pounds of torque is just not enough to pull our trailer weight of 7,500 pounds up any hill. 

The question becomes what to do. A big diesel for the trailer or back to a Class A Diesel? 

Time will tell.

Sorry, no pics today, it was just grey and rainy all day long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

We Did What We Did Only Once Before

We knew it would be getting colder, but when I stepped outside this morning, I was reminded of what March is all about. An icy wind from the east was sweeping across the campground. So both Dixie and I were quick with getting back inside.

Our ferry departure was booked for 10:10am, but strangely, the ferry left at 8:45, which was just fine for us as we would be saving some time on our trip.

Lewes Ferry Terminal

What we didn't know then was that later it turned out to be quite important.

View of Manhattan
Driving along the shoreline of New Jersey was a pain in the **s. The fierce wind hit us as a crosswind and it was almost impossible to keep the rig going at a normal speed. 

Then Bea got an idea. She suggested to take a route westward across the peninsula towards Philly, but without getting into the city. Another Hwy 206 was running parallel with the I-95 and offered a much better protection from the wind.

After getting through Trenton, traffic got really heavy. We followed the I-95 along the eastside of the Hudson river. This is a route we had once taken with our motorhome. We crossed the Hudson on the George Washington Bridge. And I had to shake my head over and over again. How can ANYBODY be living in such a congested area with such unbelievable chaos in traffic? We had to cross on the upper level as campers and trucks are not allowed on the lower level. (No idea why)

We went onto the I-87, then I-287 and finally the I-684. This is NOT a good route. Traffic is crazy there, and gas stations can only be found miles off of the highway and usually they are tiny places with extremely little space to get in and out for a camper rig like ours. One station we tried had a price for regular almost up to $6.00. I got out of there, but had to back out into traffic as the way forward was too narrow. 

A short distance from Danbury, we got into really heavy stop-and-go traffic. It was past 5pm and time to call it a day. Lucky us, we found a rest area and pulled in there for the night. It's full of trucks but we had an exhausting day and are dead tired. So, I guess, we'll sleep anyway.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Across the Chesapeake Bay

Coming up from the south, one has the option to fight traffic through WashingtonDC and Baltimore or take the outer route via Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel-Bridge, which offers a scenic trip along some pretty pristine landscapes.

Great view along the bayside beach
Needless to say we chose the Chesapeake route. Now, I must admit that Suffolk/Norfolk are some pretty cities and sure have a lot of traffic as well, but it is all worth it once you have entered the bridge. 

The entire Bridge-Tunnel route is 17.6miles long. 

They are currently building another tunnel hole

It is an enormous experience to drive right out into open waters and then, all-of-sudden, take the dive into a tunnel in the middle of a lot of blue water. And there are actually two tunnels one has to drive through. The weather was of the best possible as well.

Stunning view towards the bridge

Wildlife sanctuary Fisherman's Island - closed to the public 

It just felt like a beautiful summer day and we would've loved to take a long walk along the white beach, but of course, after about 30 minutes at a look-out, we had to continue towards Lewes, Delaware, from where we have booked a spot on the Cape May Ferry tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, Google maps led us through umpteen little villages and towns, each blessed with its own traffic problems. And there was road construction just about everywhere. Arriving in Lewes, we steered right along into the Henlopen State Park. Staff had already gone, but we found a spot for the night.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Flying In To North Carolina

 Had a good nights sleep in a Georgia rest area, where we even found another dump station.

Early out on the road
Palmettos, the State Tree of South Carolina

Before we knew it, we had reached South Carolina at Fayetteville where we said Goodbye to the trusty I-20 which had led us all the way from West Texas. 

From there on we were north-bound on the I-95 which runs right up to Canada.

Lots of swamps in South Carolina

North Carolina was the next State today where we found an accommodating Walmart in Smithfield.

Gas prices are now higher, but that was no surprise to us.

Coming from the Alabama and Georgia where we have already seen lots of blooming trees and lots of green shrubs, we realize that spring has not fully sprung here in North Carolina. Yet the grass is green along the highway, but many trees still have a long way to go, before showing their green summer dress.

Tomorrow we will reach Lewes,VA where we are gonna spend the night and take the Cape May ferry in the morning.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

"I Came From Alabama, With A Banjo On My Knee, But Then I got Georgia On My Mind


Yup, that's what happened today. "Sweet Home Alabama" is the license plate inscription, and so said the sign at the road and it sure is beautiful up here on the I-20 via the big city of Birmingham. 

Birmingham, AL

The road here was nice, with only a few exceptions, and the weather with low winds couldn't have been more beautiful.

Spring has sprung

And then we rolled into Georgia, the "Peach State". Beautiful green rolling hills also here. 

Atlanta Skyline showing up

Approaching Atlanta, the mega city of the south, we were wondering how to get through. We decided to stay on the I-20 instead of taking the I-285 by-pass. And we did the right thing, as the bypass was a traffic mess, while there was no problem getting straight through the city. Also the I-20 is much shorter to drive. 

This is light traffic in Atlanta

Georgia State Capitol

Hallelujah, we got back into a country setting and are spending the night a few miles from Madison, GA. Our route the next days will be Augusta, Columbus Fayetteville,SC, Norfolk, VA. We will not stay around in neither NC nor SC as we expect that cold front moving in to Maine soon, and we should beat it by getting home before it makes traveling really uncomfortable. 

We got a kick out of this name

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Rattling through Louisiana and Mississippi

After a somewhat peaceful night (except one or the other trucker) in the LA rest area, we were back on the I-20. We needed to get an air pressure check done on the trailer as passenger side tires looked somewhat deflated. Sure enough, the tires showed around 39PSi instead of the required 50PSI.

Always best to check in time. This was done in Shreveport,LA and from here on we had a hell of a time with road conditions. The I-20 had be great all through-out Texas, but now we had entered one of the poorest states in the nation. Especially bad were the town crossings. Indescribable pot holes and broken pavement made for a really rough ride. Some places felt like riding on waves. Then again, we had a stretch with new pavement, but constantly interrupted by these old concrete bridges. Much of the highway looked like German Autobahn in the sixties. 

Once we had reached Mississippi, the road got a bit better, but we still rumbled over half broken bridges. 

At one point it was time for lunch. When we got back in the trailer we were met by a broken and fallen-over dining table. The damn thing is a misconstruction alltogether as it is very heavy and unsufficiently screwed into the thin flour plate of the slide-out. What a mess. I got out a set of tools and screws and managed to put the broken leg back on, plus securing it to the flour with a couple of angle brackets. How long this will hold? We don't know, but time will tell.

Tonight we had a conversation about how to proceed home. Option 1 was hanging out in North Carolina for 4 days, then proceeding north. Problem 1: It's gonna rain next week. Problem 2: it's gonna get freezing cold from the 27th, which would mean complete winterizing of the trailer, which is a bitch to do when you are on the road.

Option 2: We drive straight home arriving there before the cold weather hits the area. Problem: We need to get a Covid-19 antigen test done as we will arrive before April 1.

Let's see what we think tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Wind Was Nice Enough To Blow Us Into Louisiana

 Geez, this was a cold wake up. We went from 82F (28C) yesterday evening to 42F (6C), and the wind had been blowing and rocking our trailer most of the night. It was still blowing hard when we had our breakfast. Dressed with 2 jackets I readied us for departure.

Pretty soon we were sailing down the highway with a considerable tailwind. Our fuel mileage, which was 8.2mpg on the way from home to CA, has increased to incredible 10mpg. That sure makes up for increased cost of gas, which btw. is not too scary in TX or even LA where we are now.

Lowest fuel price we have paid was 3.58/gal. Compare that to the crazy 5.35/gal we paid in California.

We passed Ft. Worth/Dallas on the southern I-20 route, and Bea took a faint picture of the city. Of course, traffic volume was crazy all the time, but it helps when the Highway has 5 lanes in every direction. We never even stopped anywhere for congestion.

A great sign of solidarity with Ukraine in the Ft.Worth/Dallas area.

As we got further and further east, the landscape turned ever more green. Instead of far-stretched plains, tall forests were now on both sides of the highway.

Dixie loves the green grass and rolls onto her back. It is sooo satisfying to see how she enjoys being back from the desert.

What we didn't like on this part of the I-20 is the complete lack of rest areas. We wonder whether there is a plan behind it, like trying to get drivers to turn into the commercial truck stops.

Another couple of hours passed before we saw the welcome sign of Louisiana. 

We had worked up an appetite for coffee and donuts and pulled into an empty weigh station only minutes before reaching Shreveport, LA. Then being back on the highway 30 minutes later, we approached the LA Welcome-Center and pulled in there. We found out it had a dump station, which we used immediately. The place also looked inviting for an overnight place, so we stayed. Weather is gorgeous and Dixie is enjoying walks on the surrounding grassy area here. What more could we ask for?

Because of Canada abandoning the Covid testing requirement from April 1, we have decided to "drag our feet" with our return to the home (Is)land, I bet there are some nice coastal areas to explore on our way north.

                A sign of spring in Louisiana