Virginia to Florida

Voxmobile and Intrepid in Virginia

So this was where I was able to park for the night and get a hot shower. I didn’t leave until 3:30 because Gil was beefing up my studio door (thanks Gil!). I missed the Express entrance to the freeway and got stuck in some awful rush hour traffic for about 45 minutes before seeing an entrance to the Express Lane. Aaaaahhhh, that’s better.

After 8pm, the traffic had lightened up considerably. I knew this would happen, but I always leave first thing in the morning, and by evening I’m bushed. Driving at that time of night was so pleasurable that I ended up going until midnight. I resolved in the future to take 3 or 4pm to 7 or 8pm as a break time and then get back on the road when it’s still nice and relaxing (especially when towing a trailer).

I spent the night at a rest area, and thanks to my white noise app, crashed almost immediately into a deep sleep. I hit the road again around 7:30 and got to my destination at 2pm. I backed my trailer into my site, intending to have the park manager put it exactly where I wanted it with his 4 wheeler. But my friends had other ideas.

Sylvain guilding Bill towing the trailerSylvain decided that the best place for the trailer was in front of the van so that I would have more privacy in the van and a shorter walk to “work”. Bill got his van with the hitch and Sylvain guided him. Sylvain then figured that we should move my rug up so that I wouldn’t track sand into either the trailer or the van after walking between them. Brilliant!

Voxmobile and Intrepid in SA

We decided to celebrate with a glass of wine, even though I only have 2 plastic glasses and a tea mug.

Celebrating with wine

Thanks everyone!

 

February 22, 2016

The day after I arrived, I finished setting up the studio and worked for awhile. Good thing too, because the following morning I woke up sick. Sore throat, sore head, and feeling like absolute crap. Perfect weather and I was stuck in the van watching Frasier reruns (love them!) and napping. It’s 3 days later and I still don’t feel terrific. I’ll probably be back to normal tomorrow as the weather is supposed to turn rainy.

An aside: after DREADING calling Comcast to order service (in the past it has taken them well over an hour to process my order – WTF?), I reached a customer service rep who knew what she was doing. I couldn’t believe how quickly it went. I picked up a modem with wireless router (my mistake last year was bringing a modem that didn’t have wireless and my new laptop is only wireless. It cost me a bundle to use my Mifi instead, about $200 for the month!), and then called them back to give them my Mac ID so that I could skip that step when I arrived. Now, there were 2 numbers with Mac ID in front of them – identical except for the last number. Of course, the one I gave them was wrong. So when I set everything up, my internet didn’t work. I called Comcast and, after a few minutes, the CSR suggested sending a technician out. NO! I exclaimed. A technician is not needed! I’ve been to this site 3 times before! Finally, he decided to try the other Mac ID and it worked. Whew….

Back on the Road Again

So, I’m not so good at keeping this blog up, apparently.

Anyway, after leaving frigid Virginia with sufficient antifreeze in my tanks late last March, I had an uneventful trip north, although I woke up with snow on my rig at the PA/NY border.

Snow on vanAnd when I checked the forecast, I could see that there would be freezing temperatures in Maine for at least the following week. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh. So I stopped outside of Worcester and had my van winterized at the end of winter! Fortunately, I don’t usually use the van in the spring, summer, or fall, so I didn’t have to drain my tanks and then winterize again in October.

February 2016:

ANYWAY, I hit the road 2 days ago. It’s very hectic getting ready to leave because there are so many things you can’t do or pack until right before you drive away. I couldn’t pack anything that might freeze, including my solar batteries, because it was 9 below 2 nights before I left. And I couldn’t pack personal items, the cats and all their accoutrements until the van was warmed up. And I always wait until the last minute to break down my studio and pack that up.

So the van and the trailer look like disaster areas when I first leave. There are bags, boxes, and totes everywhere. But my goal is to get as far south as soon as possible so that I don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures.

About an hour into the trip, Nora, my eldest, started bellyaching. I wasn’t sure what the problem was. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw her tail up and a stream of urine hitting my new pillow. I had put a shower curtain on the bed to protect the bedding, but the pillow had been leaning up against the wall. Yikes.

My first stop this time around was southern Connecticut, where I visited my stepdaughter, her husband, and their son. (After greeting them, I asked it they could do a quick wash for me. There’s nothing worse than smelling cat urine for 4 days…)

They have a long driveway with a curve halfway down and it slopes down toward the road. So in the morning, I had to back down the driveway, navigating the trailer around the curve and between two stone walls at the end. It took HALF AN HOUR to do that. Just when you think you have the whole backing-the-trailer-up thing figured out, the trailer refuses to do what you want. You need a lot of space so that the vehicle (in this case, the van) can swing wide as the trailer is going around the curve. Between trees, curbing, and ice, this was quite, ahem, challenging. I got down to the end and almost hit one of the stone walls. It took a while to move the van forward enough to clear it because there was ice and my tires kept spinning. I could smell rubber. I was supposed to head in the other direction when I got down to the street, but I was so grateful to finally be out of the driveway, that I just went in the direction I was pointed in and let the GPS take me where I needed to go.

Unfortunately, the GPS kept leading me to the Merritt Parkway, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t allowed on that road. For non-Northeasteners, parkways are for pleasure vehicles and some of them have low bridges, so they are very, very bad for vehicles above 7 feet or so (I qualify). More than a few RVs have tried to go on a parkway and run into a “low bridges” sign with a hanging bar that indicates the height of the bridges. (They then had to figure out how to turn around to get off the parkway.)

So, I told the GPS to calculate an alternate route. The GPS kept calculating alternates routes to the Merritt Parkway. By the time I finally got to I-95, it was almost 11am. So it had taken me 1.5 hours to back out of the driveway and get to the interstate. It should have taken about 15-20 minutes.

That was an indication of the day to come.

It was raining, and I was grateful that it wasn’t snowing. But it got torrential at times, and windy. Since I had gone through southern CT, I was now driving through NYC, which I usually avoid at all costs. Stop and go traffic. Aggressive drivers. But I hung out in the right lane and tried to listen to good tunes. I have a portable  Sirius/XM that I bring along, however it uses an unused radio station frequency to transmit the signal. In the NYC area, that’s hard to find. No problem – I brought a bunch of CDs. Except it appears that some of them don’t work in the player. Huh? I temporarily gave up and found a good station in the area. It turned out to be the station I stream all the time at home in Maine – WFUV out of Fordham University in NY – 90.7. Yay! I listened to it for quite a while until it started to peter out, then went back to Sirius/XM.

I had planned to meet up with a voiceover pal, Moe Rock, in Harrisburg, PA. With all the confusion regarding the parkway, and the trouble getting out of the driveway, the time I expected to arrive there changed from 1:30 to 2, to 2:30, and finally 3pm. We had a great hour long chat.

Karen Saltus and Moe RockI left there around 4pm with 2 hours to get to VA, where I was to meet up with my friend Gil. You’ll remember Gil as the guy who oversaw the construction of the VO booth in my trailer. He was going to beef up the booth to make it even quieter. He also invited me to park in his in-law’s driveway (his place is in a much too congested area to park the van and trailer). His in-law’s are both deceased and the house will soon be on the market.

I was traveling near Baltimore and other busy areas right during rush hour. Darn. Then, there was a 2 car crash on the interstate that bogged everything down for about 20-30 minutes. I was so tired and just wanted to be done for the day. Finally I arrived. Gil had given me the code to the back door. The heat was on. There was hot water. Life is good. I took a shower and then Gil arrived with beer. Life is very good. It was supposed to get down to 31 during the night, so Gil gave me a space heater from the house and we plugged the van in. I just didn’t want anything to freeze, especially my solar batteries. In the middle of the night when I woke up it was 64 degrees in the van, so I shut off the heater. Small spaces heat up pretty quickly!

Gil is coming over this morning and we’re going to take a drive and visit an investment property we own together. He’s moving pretty slowly today (he works hard and has a lot of stress), so I’m in the house working on this blog. As I was coming in, it occurred to me that I probably wouldn’t have internet here. I could use my iPad for these updates, but I had a few other things I wanted to use my laptop for. I booted it up and it found the house WIFI. I looked over in the corner of the living room and voila! There was the router with the password on the label. Yay!

I’m anxious to get back on the road because I still have 11 hours to St. Augustine, so I want to get 5-6 hours in today. I probably won’t leave here until 2pm, so it’s going to be a late night. I suppose the good news is that once I pass Richmond, I shouldn’t get stuck in any more rush hour traffic until possibly Jacksonville. I think.