We have been incredibly fortunate in meeting a number of fantastic cruising friends during our travels and decided that since we still have a month left in our journey it would be the perfect opportunity to work our way up the coast seeing new sights and meeting old friends along the way. None of us have been up the east coast so we were looking forward to taking in the history and sights.
Being back on land has its challenges and negotiating the rental car system was our first challenge. We need to get from Lancaster, VA to Fort Lauderdale and could rent a car for a decent daily price, but when I clicked the reserve button, the total price was about $600 higher than it should have been. In looking at the details, they were going to charge a $600 fee for dropping it off in a different state than we reserved it in. After a little bit of on-line research, I found we could rent a car airport to airport without the drop off fee. No problem except that we are 2 hours from the closest airport in Richmond. What I ended up doing was renting a car from the nearest town (Lancaster) to Richmond, and then renting another car from Richmond to Fort Lauderdale.
After playing the rental car shuffle, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and went to the storage unit to pick up our vehicle, which was covered in pine needles. Mark hooked up the battery and it faithfully started right up. We transferred everything from the rental car into our car, dropped the rental off at the airport, ran a few errands and headed to our friend’s house, Lee & Tina’s, by supper time. Ross and Astrid had been on their boat in Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend and they met us at Lee & Tina’s for a reunion supper. What a fantastic evening.
Ross and Astrid’s house was our home base for the next few days. We love staying with them and were looking forward to relaxing at our home away from home. When the boys took their bags upstairs, they lay down on the carpet and were talking about how luxurious and soft it felt. Carpet was something I have taken for granted my whole life.
The following day we ran a few more errands in Fort Lauderdale and dropped some things off at Sailorman to sell on consignment.
That evening we had arranged to get together with our friends at Riviera where we lived on our boat for a couple months while getting ready for the trip. It was so good to see everyone again and share a potluck like we had done so many times with them while we lived there.
We had originally planned on returning to Riviera after the Bahamas but took the cave in as a sign that we had made the right decision in going up the ICW. We had such a fun evening that I forgot to take a group picture, but I did get a picture of some of the girls enjoying the evening.
One of the evenings at their house, we all went to another friend’s for dinner and had a surprise birthday cake for Cole. His birthday was coming up in a few days, but we wanted to celebrate with our Florida friends too.
We enjoyed some down time at their house, spent time planning the next couple stops on our journey, relaxed in their pool, reveled in cooking in a house kitchen again.
It was hard to say goodbye, but it was time for us to move on to catch our next cruising friends.
Next stop, Georgia for the cruiser family reunion. Truansea, Southern Bound and Eleon were the kid boats and we had spent a few months together in the Bahamas. The boys were so excited to see everyone again that they counted down the miles for what seemed like a hundred miles. When we arrived, the kids instantly took off together in a pack. What did they enjoy doing together? Water activities of course. We swam in their pool, went to the river to swim and went to a local waterpark.
We also enjoyed time just hanging out. The kids did not really want to go anywhere; they just wanted to spend time together. It was Cole’s birthday while we were there so, of course, we had a party.
It came time to say goodbye to our friends, again. We’re looking forward to the next time we see each other.
Next stop, Charleston, SC to see Moonshadow.
Rob belongs to a rowing team so he took us out in one of the boats and we rowed across the bay for dinner.
After dinner we returned to Moonshadow for a game of Gulf with the masters who taught it to us. The next day we decided to do something non-nautical and went bowling.
Next evening, on to Mark’s cousin Lori and Steve’s in Charlotte, NC. We had a fantastic southern BBQ meal at their house and enjoyed a quiet evening together catching up while the kids played Lego’s, Nerf guns and listened to Jake play guitar. It was fun to hear stories about when Lori and Mark were kids.
Next on to Ruckersville, Virginia to John and Marty’s house (the new owners of Truansea). We drove part of the way along the beautiful Appalachian Trail.
We have heard so much about their home in the country, neighborhood friends, the band and everything there is to do at ‘Camp Whitlow’ that we could not wait to get there. We pulled up in their driveway and were greeted by Marty’s smiling face waiting for us on the front porch.
The first day we headed off to Monticello, the home of our third president, Thomas Jefferson.
That evening John took the boys fishing. Fish was caught by all, but Logan caught ‘the big one’ and has the picture to prove it.
Marty took our boys and the neighbor girl, Maggie, down to another neighbors house swimming the next day where they were met by a few more kids. After swimming and supper, all the kids rejoined at yet another neighbors house for an evening of flashlight tag. All we could hear was the sounds of running feet and kids voices in the night.
That evening, John and Marty had arranged a dinner at their house and our very own private concert by Scuffletown.
John is playing his harmonica in the following video.
John is playing his accordion in this video.
This is one of the boys favorite songs which John wrote and sings in.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya4C7ZKSF60&feature=youtu.be 2223 scuffletown song
The song Scuffletown.
The next evening was another group meal at their house with Marty’s sister. After that we went to yet another neighbors house where one of the kids made balloon creations for everyone, even the adults. Thanks for the Unicorn Zac!
We reluctantly left Camp Whitlow to see Truansea one last time and get our boat belongings out of storage and put into our vehicle. We stopped at James Madison’s (4th president) house, Montpelier, on our way. There seems to be presidential history every 5 miles along the way in Virginia.
We arrived at the marina late morning. If you look closely inside the car and on the roof rack, we have packed a great deal of gear already. Do you think it is all going to fit?
Well, it almost fit. We shipped 7 boxes of various sizes back to Boise, then we were on our way. It is truly amazing that you can fit everything you need for a year (minus consumables) in a vehicle.
The new owners were having a bottom job and a couple other things done on Truansea so she was on the hard. We said our final goodbye to her and continued on toward Washington DC.
There are a variety of strange sights one sees along the way on a road trip. This one we just had to take a picture of.
George Washington’s (1st president) birthplace was along our route so we stopped in.
The house burned down when he was young and the only piece salvaged from the fire that they put in the memorial house for him is this table.
Negotiating the DC hotel reservation system proved to be another back-to-land challenge. What we take for granted as included in most of America’s hotels is not included here. I had to make sure I was comparing apples to apples in figuring out the best hotel price. The lowest price hotels did not include parking (extra $45 per day), no continental breakfast, wi-fi was not free and there is no frig in the room. Access to the Metro (to get to downtown DC) was a long ways away from the less expensive hotels, and no Metro passes were included with the room. If you included one weekend night in your stay, the price was cheaper and reserving at least 3 days in advance, the price was less. In the end, we paid more for a room than we wanted but it included free parking, free wi-fi, 2 daily Metro passes and the Metro left from the hotel.
I had a predetermined vision in my head of what The Smithsonian looked like and thought it was one huge museum that covered a few blocks. The Smithsonian is actually a bunch of separate museums scattered for blocks around ‘The Mall’. The National Mall is a threadbare grass area that runs for blocks from the Washington Monument to The White House.
Be prepared to walk – a lot. Not only do you walk a lot in the museums, but a lot between the museums, the Metro, the hotel room, etc. Also bring a pack with water bottles and snacks. There is what I called ‘food truck row’ which you could find just about anything you wanted, but it is a long way from some of the museums. It was also helpful to be able to stop and take snack breaks whenever we wanted.
Another tip for going to Washington is grocery shop before you get to DC and take a cooler to your room. We ate breakfast, took our own lunches with us and sometimes made our own supper in the room, which saved a lot.
There was so much to do in DC, we quickly realized we needed to make a priority list. First on the list were the Air and Space Museum and Museum of Natural History. The rest was equal to us so our strategy became to see everything we wanted to in each area before moving to the next block.
One day we did take a bus tour to see the monuments. We could have taken a combination of the underground Metro and Metro buses to get to them but in the interest of efficiency, we took a tour. The tour bus was not as efficient as we had hoped and it would have been just as fast to use the Metro system to see everything.
What a stark contrast seeing a mounted policeman texting in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
After a whirlwind three days in DC, we were ready to move on. Next stop, New York City to see a classmate of mine, which I had not seen in 28 years, since high school. Getting into NYC was an experience in itself.
From NYC we went on to Mystic, Connecticut to stay with cruising friends Ginnie and Ted from s/v Firecracker. Of course, we shared fantastic meals with them, the boys sharpened their pool playing skills, went sightseeing around Mystic, including seeing Mystic Pizza where part of the 1988 film Mystic Pizza was taken, and Ginnie took us on a tour of the last school she set up before retirement, the Marine Science Magnet High School. Here is a link to the school which you will find quite impressive. http://www.marinesciencemagnet.org
We could have easily stayed longer. There was so much to see and do in Mystic but it was time to move on.
Next to Boston, to visit Gayle and Julia from s/v Esprit. Mark originally met them on his first boat-shopping trip in Florida. They are the most organized people I have ever met and provided us with so much information as we prepared for our trip. We had been trying to meet up with them in the Bahamas but kept missing each other. This was another one of those meant-to-be moments. We called them to find out where they were at in their travels and our paths were essentially crossing that day.
Next to visit more Nordhaven friends, Don and Debbie from Valkyrie at their cabin in Maine on beautiful lake Sebec. Our friends had a few landscaping projects we were able to help with in exchange for a great stay in Maine. Mark also took the opportunity to change the brakes and rotors on our vehicle which had rusted after so many months of sitting in Florida causing the brakes to pulse.
Don not only let the boys take the dinghy out whenever they wanted, but he also let them drive the Bobcat.
As always, it is hard to say good-bye but time to move on to our next stop – Canada and The Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundi is known for its extreme tides. While we were here, the tide range was 35 feet. I would not want to anchor our sailboat here!
There has been a number of covered bridges in the area. This one lead to our campground.
Does the tooth fairy visit Canada? You bet she does, and yes, she leaves loonies.
His tooth was not taken however and the next night Cole left it under his pillow again to see if he could double his money. He was left with a note written in French. We still need to find someone to read it for us. The only word we could figure out was dente.
There is absolutely beautiful hiking here.
We will continue west across from here. Next stop, Graeme and Laura’s (s/v Sweet Chariot Too).
Fair Driving ~ Christine