Heading Home – Virginia & Pennsylvania – May 26 & 27, 2021

OBX to Fredericksburg

The first day of our return trip was uneventful. We had replanned our route to avoid Washington DC traffic, based on advice from the man we met in Frisco. We knew, in advance, that we would have to pull off and turn off the propane (for the refrigerator) before entering the tunnel at Chesapeake Bay. We were bringing some tuna and shrimp with us, and wanted to keep it frozen, as well as not waste some other groceries. We chose the perfect place to pull off to turn it back on, allowing us to bypass a major accident on I-64.

When we arrived at the Fredericksburg KOA, we were told that we had the best campsite in the campground. It was a full hook-up and large enough that we did not have to unhitch. We have friends in the area, but we planned the stop at the last minute, for a quick one-night rest. We had just enough time to decompress a little, eat dinner and go to bed early, for an early start the next day. It was about 95 degrees and very humid in the campground, so we were thankful to have electricity. It was a nice campground and it would be fun to return, sometime, to explore the area and meet up with our friends (sorry we didn’t see you this time, Annalee!).

During our travels, we have met many campers who like to “wing it” and stay at truck stops or Walmart parking lots, which are free. We met a couple at a Michigan State park who owned a beautiful, new class A motorcoach. They once took a one-week trip to the Badlands and only stayed at Walmarts. We recognize that everyone has different priorities when they travel. Even for these quick stops, we prefer to be able to have electricity and relax in a peaceful setting.

Fredericksburg to New Stanton

The next day we headed to Fox Den Acres Campground in New Stanton, Pensylvania, which was just off of I-76, on our route home.  We were assigned a large pull-thru site with water, electricity and even cable TV. We did not have to unhitch, again.  It was Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend and the campground was starting to fill up, with large groups of campers gathering. The weather was beautiful, though storms were forcast for the entire weekend. They had a very large tent set up, probably because the rain was coming. There certainly was no sign that anyone was concerned about the pandemic. It was a very well-maintained and updated campground, with friendly owners.

We really enjoyed the scenery over the 2-day drive home. We started discussing Virginia and Pennsylvania as possible destinations for a future shorter, closer adventure. For the first time on the entire trip, we had to drive through torrential rain and heavy winds on the very last day, between Pennsylvania and our home in Macomb County, MI.

On May 28, after 4 months – 120 nights in the RV, 14 campgrounds, camping in 7 different states, driving 6,400 miles (including towing and exploring), we finally arrived home.

Though our RV is quite nice, with plenty of space, a queen size bed and the tank capacity for adequate showers, our house seemed to be absolutely enormous. My first long, hot shower (with aromatherapy oils misting) seemed like a spa experience. Over the first few days, we would take multiple showers, just because we could! We slept like babies in our huge, king size bed. I was so happy to use the dishwasher!

I had a minor surgery to repair my foot. I’m recovering and planning to fix the other foot soon, to avoid trouble during a future adventure.

Reflections on our journey

Looking back on the winter, we are both so glad we made the journey.  It was a great alternative to being trapped in our house and routine during the pandemic. We were able to ride our bikes, walk, hike and spend most of our time outdoors. We enjoyed some new, very beautiful places (e.g. Fort Pickens, St George Isand, Flagler Beach) and we learned that some places were not what we expected (e.g. Destin, St. Augustine). We can now confirm that as beautiful as these places were, they are not more beautiful than Lake Michigan. Maui and Colorado are still our favorite destinations.  We also learned a lot about what the winter weather and wind can be like in the panhandle and on the Atlantic coast.

We learned how to cook seafood  and that yellowfin tuna is as good as Ahi tuna from Hawaii (maybe better). We are certain that there is no shrimp in the world that is better than fresh Florida shrimp. After many experiences with bland vegetarian or seafood burritos or tacos, we now know how to make them ourselves. (The fact that I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean that I don’t care about flavor!)

We learned that we can still have fun together, even in tight quarters and under less than ideal conditions. We never planned to live in the RV full time, and are even more certain about that now. Four months is tolerable, but 3 months would be better and two months would be ideal. Next year we have plans for a trip to Maui, a little time for skiing, then a 2-month trip on the Atlantic, including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

Our deluxe campsite at the Fredericksburg, VA KOA

Our deluxe campsite at the Fredericksburg, VA KOA
Nice pull-thru site at Fox Den Acres Campground, New Stanton, PA.
Another section of the campground.
Fox Den Acres Campground, New Stanton, PA.
Decompressing with Slushie at Fox Den Acres Campground, New Stanton, PA.
Home sweet home