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.

3 thoughts on “Back on the Road Again

  1. Funny, I was thinking about you just the other day and here you are, heading south once again! What a trip so far, however! I’m sure you had th worst of it and you’ll be sailing clear from now on. I’m still confused about why your batteries would freeze. I run my solar panels all winter in my camper and keep my batteries charged up. They never freeze. Why would your? Anyway, I’m sure you are taking someone’s good advice, don’t take mine!



    • Hi Michael,
      That’s funny….I was thinking about you also a day or two before I got your post! As far as my batteries go, I double checked with the company that installed the system, and my batteries have water in them. Not good to let them freeze! Are you going to be heading to Florida in the next 2 months?


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