Our travels back and forth between Rhode Island and Florida usually end up being pretty relaxing. We normally take about 2 weeks to make the journey, spending several days at each reserved campsite and some time visiting family – all planned out 4 – 6 months in advance. And we usually only drive around 250 miles per travel day, so we’re usually off the road before the traffic gets too bad. This worked quite well for the first 2 years of our travels, but not so much this year.
While I did make reservations way in advance and had dates planned to visit family, COVID19 changed everything. No family visits, we stayed in Florida longer due to stay at home orders, campground closures, virus running rampant in areas we planned to visit.
We ended up deciding to just do 4 overnight stays at KOA campgrounds and get from Florida to Rhode Island in 5 days. We still mostly drove about 250 miles a day.
Monday afternoon and overnight we enjoyed the KOA in Santee, SC. Because it was sparsely populated (due to COVID19 travel restrictions) we had a lovely view of Lake Marion to enjoy as we spent the sunny, warm afternoon outside. We weren’t far from I-95 and could watch the traffic go across the bridge – definitely seemed like the usual amount of traffic.
Tuesday we traveled to the KOA in Enfield, NC. Another beautiful afternoon spent outside. Dave and I played some Phase 10, Samson got to enjoy some freedom chasing his ball in the dog park, and Audrey sat by the screen door checking out the new scenery.
Wednesday we arrived in Harrisonburg, VA. We have stayed at this KOA before and enjoyed it. This time we ended up in front of a couple with 4 big dogs. One of the dogs got loose and came to snarl at Samson as we got out of the truck. Not so nice! And those dogs barked at anything that moved. Thankfully, they brought them inside in the evening and the barking stopped. The family next to them apparently decided that this whole COVID19 thing was not a big deal, because they had at least 15 people over for their young daughters birthday party. Also, when we arrived and Dave went to open the camper, he complained about trash left on the site. Well, come to find out that “trash” was a cork from a wine bottle left behind by Miranda Lambert. She and her husband spent the previous 2 nights in that very campsite. That was kind of cool. (Would have been way more cool if we had been next to them while they were camping! We were told they sat around a campfire each night, drinking lots of wine, and Miranda played her guitar and sang.)
Thursday morning had a drizzly start, but by the time we arrived in East Stroudsburg, PA the sun was shining once again. Took longer than expected to get to the KOA because of traffic. First there was construction, then President Trump was flying into the airport and visiting a factory that makes N95 masks. Thankfully, we were heading in the right direction! All westbound traffic was blocked by police and backed up for miles. Every entrance ramp was closed. There were cars and trucks parked all along the highway waiting for a glimpse of those black limos. This KOA campground was nice, but the sewer connections were spaced far from the electric, water, and cable. We had to move to a different site, and even that one was a challenge, one hose just barely reached and it was a very strange connection. Lots of guinea hens running around in the morning!
Friday was to be our shortest travel day, but ended up being our longest. Partly because we stopped so I could do a little grocery shopping (waited until NY so I could get Sabrett’s!!) to get us through our 14 day quarantine in RI, partly because we sat on the right shoulder of I-84 in NY for 2 hours waiting to have a flat tire changed. Tire pressure monitor paid for itself right there! We were alerted of a fast leak on one of the camper tires and Dave was able to pull over immediately, before the tire actually deflated. We contacted the company we have emergency road service through and they called and had a NYS trooper dispatched to make sure we were in a safe location, and they contacted a local company to come out and change the tire. We’ve been discussing when we should replace those tires, guess now would be a good time! Very thankful there was no damage to the camper. Also thankful there was a wide enough shoulder along that stretch of interstate.
We finally arrived in Rhode Island (1321 miles!) sometime around 4:30 and headed over to Laura and Matt’s house to pick up a little refrigerator they’ve had sitting in the garage for a while. I was so very sad that I couldn’t hug Emma!! The fridge was a little bigger than we thought and with that flat tire in the truck we had no room for it. So Dave had to break quarantine and go get it this morning. (masks/6 feet distance!) Will be nice not having to buy bags of ice all the time, also nice to have a little more refrigerator space! Thanks, Matt & Laura!
Today we started getting the campsite cleaned up. Dave got to use his new toy – a leaf blower. Took about 2 hours to clear the leaves – I can’t even imagine how many blisters we both would have if we had to rake up all the leaves that were on this site! But now it’s all clear and we’re partially set up for outdoor living. We’ll get the rest of it set up over the next couple of days – before the rains come again.
Now to get used to the very early sunrises! It was already kind of light when I woke up at 4:45am – craziness! I did manage to go back to sleep until Audrey insisted on food at 7am.
Was an interesting trip, but we’re all glad it is behind us and we look forward to a relaxing 5 months in Rhode Island.