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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Floatin' down the road....

8:14 am - Thursday - October 18th - Lexington, KY - 36º F, 80% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the east by northeast.......partly cloudy with a forecast high today of 56º F.  Coldest night we have spent on the road in almost 5 weeks since we left Southwest Harbor, ME!  All three gas heaters are rocking right now.  Got down to 50º F inside.  We roll our wheels for Campbellsville, KY and Amazon in two hours!

Wednesday was the nicest driving day we have had in a week.....no wind, no rain, mostly flat highways, and lots of sun.  We were on the road by 11 am looking forward to our drive into Lexington, KY.  We only had 95 miles to cover, and the 90+ minutes it took us to float down the road to the Cabela's on the east side of Lexington passed quickly.......

......once we parked, we were people on a mission.  We were dressed, and had the VW out within 30 minutes......first stop?  A Trader Joe's about 8 miles distant.  This is the first Trader Joe's with wine, beer and 'spirits' we have seen in literally 6 months......

 Safely ensconced at Cabela's

.....knowing we would be in Campbellsville for the next 8+ weeks, which happens to be in a 'dry' county, we stocked up on all the liquor and wine essentials.  Once that mission was accomplished we headed back to the coach to disgorge our alcoholic booty, then drove over to COSTCO, which is just on the other side of the parking lot from Cabela's....does it get any better?  COSTCO and Trader Joe's in one day!

By the time we put away all the groceries, and TLE had broken down the two rotisserie chickens she had purchased at COSTCO it was nearing 3 pm, and time for a nap for moi.  My cold is getting better each day, but still leaves me feeling tired and in need of a nap by mid afternoon whether I have been driving, or not.

Game five of the NLCS between my L.A. Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers began at 5:05 pm, and we were right there in front of the TV for every single pitch and out.  Clayton Kershaw started a little shakily for the Dodgers giving up a run in the top of the 1st inning, but he settled down and retired the last 13 batters he faced in a row.  Meanwhile the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the 5th, and then went on to score 4 more runs in the bottom of the 7th inning.  They ended up winning 5-2 and now it is back to Milwaukee for game 6 up three games to two in the series. Boston won the nightcap over the Astros to go up 3 games to 1.

We were in bed by 10 pm, looking forward to Thursday, and our arrival in Campbellsville.  Our 5 weeks of wandering have come to an end, and we are ready to sit still for a while.  If we were still on the job at Smuggler's Den we would still have 5 days to go before the end of the season, but we are not.  The last 10 weeks have been amazing, and we would not trade the experiences we have had for anything.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Layover day......

8:16 am - Wednesday - October 17th - Grayson, KY - 42º F, 90% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the southwest.....crystal clear blue skies today with a forecast high of 63º F.  Haven't seen sun this early in the day for a week!  Our layover day here in Grayson has come to an end, and we will be rolling our wheels in a couple of hours......onward to Lexington!

Having spent so much time in the northeast this fall dry camping I have been reminded why it is so much more difficult to utilize solar power to recharge one's batteries.  Why?  There is so much cloud cover this time of year, and then you have the much heavier tree canopy which prevents you from getting sun on your solar panels at various times of the day.  That has not prevented us from doing our fair share of dry camping, but we have had to use our small generator much more than we do when in the southwest.  It is not my ideal way to dry camp, but it is just a matter of adapting to the conditions in which you find yourself.  The one thing which is exponentially more difficult to do in the northeast is to boondock, and I miss that a lot

Tuesday began like most days recently with heavy cloud cover, but eventually we got the partly cloudy skies we were promised.  It never got above 60º F.  We eventually ventured out to do a little exploring around Grayson, which included a stop at the local adult beverage store to resupply, and then to the local supermarket to pick up a few things.  Other than that we did make a stop at a local antique store to browse through their junk, and they had a lot of really interesting stuff.  Nothing was purchased, but we had a good time browsing, nonetheless.

We were back home around 2 pm.  My cold is gradually fading away, but it is taking longer than I would wish.  I find myself tired much of the time, and taking frequent naps when not driving.  I took two nice naps Tuesday afternoon.  I am really hoping this thing is done by the time we start work at Amazon next week!

Around 5 pm I pulled out the Sea-B-Que to grill some salmon for dinner.  Haven't had the Sea-B-Que out since we left Tony and Janet's home back on September 14th.  When we have been in a place long enough to pull it out the weather has not cooperated at all.  It seems we have had more rainy days than dry, but that's probably just in my mind.

My L.A. Dodgers lost game three of the NLCS series Monday night 4-0 against the Brewers, but they prevailed in 13 innings Tuesday night 2-1 to pull even again in the series at two games apiece.  The game did not end until 2:15 am here in the eastern time zone, so I was not awake when they won....I did stay up until 11:30 pm, but based on the way the game was proceeding decided I was not going to see the end of the game, and went to bed.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Driving in the rain - Part 2

7:17 am - Tuesday - October 16th - Grayson, KY - 43º F, 93% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the south.......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 58º F.

Since we left Fontana, CA back on April 17th we have studiously avoided driving in the rain, and for 6 months we were 100% successful until this past Sunday, and then again on Monday.  We're kind of in a bind time wise as there is rain forecast in Campbellsville on Friday & Saturday, so we do not want to arrive in the rain, meaning we needed to drive Monday to get to Grayson, KY where we are going to stay 2 days at a small RV park where we will dump our tanks, take a break from the daily moving, and then head into Lexington, KY where we will overnight at a Cabela's which happens to be right next door to a COSTCO, and not that far from a Trader Joe's!  From there we will make the final 100 run into Campbellsville, KY where we will sit still for 2 months.

But, I get ahead of myself.  We awoke to threatening skies, but at least it was already in the 60's temp wise.  We knew we only had about 69 miles to travel Monday to get us to a small RV park in Grayson, KY, about 20 miles west of the West Virginia border.  We haven't had full hookups, or 50 amp service for several weeks, and thought it would be nice to have a couple of days with both before we continue our run to Campbellsville.

I started putting away the small generator around 9 am, and just as I finished it began to sprinkle.  By the time we turned over the big Detroit Diesel 6v92 it had begun to rain, and by the time we were merging onto I-64 it was coming down pretty hard.  On the plus side the road was pretty flat, so I just set the cruise control and held onto the steering wheel.

The time passed pretty quickly, and within 50 minutes we were crossing into Kentucky......

......when we were just 3 miles from our off ramp I saw a sign for a rest area.....perfect!  We were going to arrive in the rain, and I was still wearing my pajama bottoms and slippers, so a quick wardrobe change was in order.  We pulled in, used the bathroom, then changed clothes.  Within 15 minutes we were parked in the entry drive and walking over to the office to register.  There was no one in, so I self registered for two nights in one of the pull through sites, paid my $60 ($30/night) and then drove to the site we had chosen.......

This little RV park is called Valley Breeze RV Campground.....we are in the spot with the vertical red line drawn through it

.......within a few minutes I had connected our shore power cord to the 50 amp outlet, and we were in business.  I waited to connect the sewer hose and city water line until it stopped raining, or at least slowed down a little.  There was only one other RV in this little park when we arrived, and by nightfall there was one more.....very quiet, and peaceful little place!

Over the past few days of dry camping we had missed a few of our favorite shows, which would normally have been recorded by our DVR, but since we turn off our inverter when we go to bed, they didn't record.  Fortunately, we have a ROKU TV and can now stream shows we miss, and that is what we did to while away the rainy afternoon.....suweet!  We watched 'Hell's Kitchen', 'Last Ship', and 'NCIS: Los Angeles'.

It seems our 5 week odyssey to Campbellville is just about over.  We have covered just over 1,200 miles visiting 11 states checking off State #48 along the way.  This time next week we will begin our two month sojourn of work at Amazon.

One last thing......I forgot to mention in yesterday's missive that we 'paid the rent' on Sunday.  We were down to less than a quarter tank of diesel, and had traveled nearly 1,000 miles on the current tank, so TLE went online as we were moving and found a very, very convenient EXXON fuel station just off the Interstate.....about as easy off/on as they get!  We paid the highest per gallon so far on our 6 month odyssey....$3.35/gallon, and took on about 120 gallons.  We'll top off the tank in Lexington, KY, where diesel is much more reasonable at $2.99/gallon, one more time before we drive the last 100 miles into Campbellsville.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Driving in the rain.......

7:21 am - Monday - October 15th - Cross Lane, WV - 60º F, 97% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the south by southwest.....heavy cloud cover....rained most of the night.  Forecast high for today is 70º F....a big improvement.

It is never our intent to drive the Newell in the rain.  It is not because we cannot, but because we wish not to drive in the rain.  Our air operated windwhield wipers work quite well, we have plenty of tread on our tires, and the Newell handles just fine in rain, or snow.....we have never had a loss of control because of snow, or rain.  Whenever we are traveling to a destination we always give ourselves enough days to layover a day here and there if it is extremely windy, or rain is forecast for our driving route.  I am quite regular about checking weather conditions each morning prior to our departure, and I did so on Sunday........

......but within minutes of merging onto I-79 it began to rain, and that was most of the story for the 146 miles we covered through the West Virginia mountains.....rain, rain, and more rain.  The weather guessers guessed wrong Sunday.  For the first 40 miles the terrain was remarkably flatish.....hence I am remarking.   That is, it was mostly flat until after our first rest stop, then the Interstate reverted to form with a vengeance.  Up down, up down, up down for the next 100+ miles into Cross Lanes, WV.  Why Cross Lanes, WV you ask?  Well, there was a Walmart Supercenter right off the Interstate, plus a Lowe's, and also a large casino/racetrack with an enormous parking lot.  We figured one of them might work for us.  

We arrived in Cross Lanes about 1:30 pm, in the rain, to find the Walmart parking lot quite full, and signs everywhere advising "No overnight, or long term RV, or Truck Parking".....TLE had checked online prior to our departure from Fairmont, WV, and there was no mention of no parking at this Walmart, but it was quite crowded anyway, so we moved on down the hill to the Mardi Gras Casino & Resort which has, as I mentioned previously, a very, very large parking lot, most of which is empty most of the time.  We quickly found an isolated spot in the far corner of the lot, parked, and then leveled.  There are no 'NO OVERNIGHT PARKING' signs to be seen.....perfect!

 Our parking spot for the night

On our way into the casino parking lot we noticed 'La Roca Mexican Grill' at the top of the hill, so we set our minds to visit them later in the afternoon for an early dinner.  It was about 1/2 mile walk back up the steep hill on a road with no shoulder, and we did not want to be walking that road after dark.

We left for our walk up the hill about 4:30 pm, and arrived 15 minutes later.......

.....we were promptly shown to a table, at which time we ordered two 'Jumbo Texas Margaritas'.....a nice reward for me after two grueling driving days in the West Virginia mountains......

......the chips and salsa were wonderful!  TLE ordered their Quesadilla Texana, which she loved, and I ordered their 2 tacos/1 beef enchilada combo plate.  My dish was fine, but did not have that 'WOW' factor.  Overall I enjoyed our experience at La Roca.  Yelp does give them 4 stars on 43 reviews....I would be more in the 3 star range.....passable for West Virginia.

We were back home by 5:40 pm relaxing, and watching game 2 of the ALSC between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.  Houston won game one, and the Red Sox ended up winning game two by a score of 7-5, so both the NLCS and ALCS series are tied at one game apiece as they go into game three of the their best 4 out of 7 series.

We were in bed by 10 pm listening to the pitter patter of a light rain on our roof.....thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The ups and the downs.......

7:35 am - Sunday - October 14th - Fairmont, WV - 44º F, 83% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the west by northwest......heavy cloud cover, but no rain in the forecast....at least during the day.  High for today in Fairmont will be 59º F.  We roll our wheels in 2 hours!

Having only 156 miles to cover on Saturday we were in no hurry to depart the Walmart Supercenter in Hagerstown, and TLE wanted to get a pedicure.  The 'nail' place opened at 10 am, and TLE was there at 10....she was back at the coach a little after 11 am, and we were rolling our wheels shortly thereafter.

We have driven the Newell through northwestern Maryland, and northeastern West Virginia before, and I was not looking forward to doing it again.  Why?  Well, it is very mountainous, and for the 156 miles we traveled Saturday it was continuously up 5-6% grades and then down 5-6% grades, one after the other, all day long.  It is mentally exhausting as one is having to watch downhill speeds, shifting down one gear after another to climb each 1-3 mile grade, remembering to turn on one's hazard lights when the speed dips below 50 mph.....remembering to turn them off again when you get back over 50 mph....continually having to move into the truck lane on the long climbs, and then moving back to the left when the lane disappears after the latest climb.....all the while monitoring the temps of the coolant, oil and transmission.  Repeat this process about 60 times and you kind of get what I am trying to convey.  You can never just hold onto the steering wheel and let the cruise control push you down the highway.  It is, simply put, a 'knock down drag out' experience.

While I was busy keeping us on the road, and safe TLE was taking a plethora of pictures.....

 A little to add a little something extra to the mix

 A much needed Rest Area

 The Maryland sign at the West Virginia border.....first one of these I've see in 7 years

......for most of the drive we were traversing northeastern Maryland, only dipping into West Virginia without about 14 miles to at the end of the day.  We made two rest stops, one being at a regular Rest Area, and the second at at Pilot Truck Stop as there were no rest areas on the horizon.  We took about a 30 minute break at each.  Our highest elevation was just over 2,700', and we now sit at just over 1,000' elevation in Fairmont, WV.

We began our day with a brief stint in I-81, then back to I-70, eventually hitting I-68, and finishing on I-78 in Fairmont, WV.  Why Fairmont, WV?  Well, there happens to be a Cracker Barrel there right off the Interstate with RV parking.  We haven't visited a Cracker Barrel in a long time....

....we arrived at the Cracker Barrel around 3:30 pm, found a suitable spot in which to park our 62', and then just relaxed for about a hour and a half before venturing inside to have dinner around 5 pm.  It was nice to just sit drinking a few cups of coffee and enjoying a great dinner.  We finally paid our check around 6:30 and headed back to the Newell for the evening.  

My L.A. Dodgers were playing the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS (National Leage Championship Series) for the chance to get to the World Series again.  They lost their first game in Milwaukee on Friday night, but were successful Saturday night coming from behind to win 4-3 on a 2 run Justin Turner homerun.  A nice way to finish the evening.   

We were in bed by 10 pm, not looking forward to another 140+ miles of West Virginia mountain driving!  By the way, a good friend commented on Facebook I should be taking my zinc tablets at the first sign of a scratchy throat....doh!  I started taking them Saturday morning, and I feel much, much better......thank you  Lee Lisman, and thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Road to Campbellsville.......

8:29 am - Saturday - October 13th - Hagerstown, MD - 48º F, 86% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the west by northwest......heavy overcast.....rained all night, and is still raining as I write.  The forecast high for today here in Hagerstown will be 58º F.

After 3 days in New Castle, DE it was time to begin our westward trek to Campbellsville, KY and our next seasonal job.  It has been one month since we left Southwest Harbor, ME, but it seems much longer.  We have covered over 1,100 miles since then, and seen our 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th, and 48th states during that time.  Maybe that's why it seems much longer than one month?

Our goal was to drive 150+ miles to Hagerstown, MD where we would spend the night in a Walmart Supercenter.  Essentially, from New Castle to Campbellsville, KY it is just under 700 miles, and we could cover that distance in two, or three days, but we've got 8, so why rush it?

After 3 days of overwhelming humidity, we woke up Friday to temps in the high 50's, and humidity in the mid 60 percentile......big, big changes!  In addition, we had sunny skies for the first time in almost a week.....a perfect day for driving!

We were on the road by 10:30 am, and merging onto I-95 southbound once again.  Within 30 minutes we were rolling through a toll area using our new E-ZPass transponder, and 5 minutes later we entered Maryland.......

Within 30 minutes we were skirting around Baltimore, and entering the tunnel which would take us under the Patapsco River......

.....shortly after passing through the tunnel we passed M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the NFL Baltimore Ravens.....

.....finally we escaped the gravitational pull of urban Maryland, and spent the last part of our trip to Hagerstown driving through rolling Maryland countryside......

.....when we began our day we passed numerous Service Areas (Rest Areas), but it was too soon for me to stop and take a break.  I figured I would take a break sometime after Baltimore after we transitioned to I-70 westbound, but there were no more rest areas until 13 miles before our destination!  What's up with that?  In spite of how close we were I decided to pull off and take a break, and a short nap....you see, that little tickle in my throat was turning into a head cold, and I needed a short nap.

We ultimately arrived at the Walmart off I-81 in Hagerstown around 2:45 pm, found a nice spot to park for the night, and then took a long walk around the large shopping complex in which Walmart is but one of the many national chain stores (Bed, Bath and Beyond; Home Depot; Marshalls; Game Stop; etc.).  In all I thin we covered a little over a mile before making our way into Walmart to do a small shopping.  We always try to patronize the business in whose parking lot we are staying.

It looks like the rain has stopped (9 am) this morning (Saturday), and we'll probably be back on the road in about 2 hours heading for Morgantown, WV (actually just past)......about 156 miles.  Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Airing dirty laundry.....

8:08 am - Friday - October 12th - New Castle, DE - 58º F, 65% humidity, wind 16 mph out of the northwest.....partly cloudy with a forecast high today of 62º F.  Rained all night, and was oh so humid.  Finally turned on the front A/C around 12:30 am when it hit 86º F inside.  The storm front finally blew through and now we have cold temps, and low humidity again!  We roll our wheels in 3 hours!

The forecast for Thursday was rain all day, so we had no big aspirations except to do a few loads of laundry.  Normally we would do our wash in our splendid Splendide, but we have no sewer connection, and have not had one for two weeks, so we found ourselves in need of  a laundromat.  On the way into the Elks Lodge we noticed a laundromat just around the corner.....perfect!

Around noon time, in between rain storms, we gathered our dirty laundry and drove over to the laundromat.  It was a pretty nice one as laundromats go, but they are still not my favorite places to spend time.  On top of that it was very, very humid and combined with the washing machines/dryers running made it quite warm inside.  The only seats were along the front windows where the sun was shinning through quite intensely. 

Finally we were getting to the folding part of this exercise, and the end was in sight.  As we loaded our clean laundry into the VW it was obvious it would not be raining again for a while as the sun was out magnifying the humidity.  Thankfully we left our A/C on and were able to return to a cool, dry Newell interior.  

I hadn't been feeling well all morning.....had kind of a scratchy throat, and didn't really feel like doing anything else, so we cancelled our plans to go and see 'First Man' at 7:30 pm.  That will have to wait for another day.  The rain returned with a vengeance around 6:30 pm, and it rained the rest of the evening, and was still raining when we went to bed a little after 10 pm.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Delaware happenings........

6:47 am - Thursday - October 11th - New Castle, DE - 73º F, 98% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the southeast.....90% chance of rain all day today with a forecast high of 78º.  A very humid night, and still very humid this morning.

We were still suffering from our post NYC hangover Wednesday morning, and into the early afternoon, but we finally shook off our lethargy, got dressed and headed out on a few errands, the first of which was to obtain an E-ZPass transponder so we don't have to sit in those toll booth lines every 40 miles.  This transponder is good in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  It costs you a $15 deposit for the transponder, plus another $25 to activate you account.  The nearest E-ZPass office was about 9 miles from our location, and we were pulling into their driveway after about 20 minutes of crosstown driving.....

.....you must fill out an application, and then hand it to the nice lady behind the bullet proof glass who then takes about 10 minutes to process you into their system.  Once she is done you are called back to the window to receive your transponder and associated paperwork.  So, no more having to make sure we have oodles of cash on hand when we are traveling, and no more waiting in toll booth lines.  We will now just sail through in the E-ZPass lane.

TLE had been doing some local research about what there is to see in this part of Delaware and she came across the historic site of George Read home, who happens to be a distant relative of hers, and also happens to have been a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution......

Took this picture on the Washington Mall a few years ago at the Declaration of Independence monument

 The original home was destroyed by fire in 1824

 He had a nice view of New Castle Harbor right across the street

.....he was apparently a distant uncle (think great, great, great, great....is that enough 'greats'?).  Unfortunately, although the house was open for tours on Wednesday the tour people were gone until later in the afternoon.  From there we drove over to New Castle Harbor......

 The 'Lynx'...a tall ship

....as is most often the case there must be beer, and good pub food at the end of any sightseeing foray, and we found a good one just a few miles from the Elks Lodge....

I had a couple of pints of their Irish Red, whilst TLE imbibed a Smoked Porter

....by 4 pm we had one more stop to make at the local supermarket to replenish our supplies of a few staples: butter, milk, grapes, cereal, & eggs, and we were off for home arriving just before 5 pm.

The temps got into the 80's here on Wednesday, and the 90%+ humidity made it feel like it was in the 90's so our A/C ran most of the evening.....thank goodness for 30 amp electric!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Number Forty-Eight!

8:29 am - Wednesday - October 10th - New Castle, DE (Our 48th State!)- 71º F, 97% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 80º F.

Tuesday was departure day from Liberty Harbor RV Park.  They have a very, very strict policy that if you have not departed your site by 11 am you will automatically be charged an additional $40.  So, obviously, our goal was to be rolling out of our site before that time.  We were ready to move by 9:30 am, and headed directly to their dump station.  It had been over 5 days since we dumped and we did not know when, or where we would have an opportunity to do so again.  By the time we finished doing that it was after 10 am, and time to head over to their storage lot to retrieve our trailer, which we did in short order.  It was just after 10:30 am as we exited the facility and back into the bowels of Jersey City for a short, but excruciating 2 mile drive to the I-78 on ramp.  Having just traversed those same roads 3 days prior we knew what to expect, but that did not make it any less stressful.

Within 15 minutes we were sailing on to I-78 which would reconnect us with I-95 southbound.  We passed through the toll booth area and retrieved our toll ticket to be delivered to a live person on the south end of the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95)......

.....over the course of the next 90 miles we stopped twice at 'Service Areas' to take a break, and at the second one (Clara Barton Service Area) we went inside where I acquired a mocha frappuccino.....my favorite.  By this time it had been over 2 hours since we departed Liberty Harbor, and we had covered mile upon mile of spacious, smooth Interstate.....the tension had begun to ooze from my soul.  You know, there are a lot of people who decry the national chain stores, but the one thing I love as we travel across the country is the continuity that you get from chain stores such as Starbucks.  I know that every single mocha frappuccino I buy will be exactly the same as the last one, and that makes me happy.  I know that any Home Depot I shop in will have a given product that I use on a regular basis in stock, and that makes me happy.  It is why I love Sirrius/XM Radio....I can listen to the same station day after day, and not worry about losing the signal.

Eventually we came to that toll area at the southern end of the New Jersey Turnpike at which time I handed over my toll ticket from Jersey City.....the cost?  $41.85.....WHOA NELLIE!  That was not it for tolls for the day.....in all we paid just under $70 in tolls before we exited I-95 in New Castle, DE.

Our goal for Tuesday was the Elks Lodge (# 2281) in New Castle, DE.  Originally we had planned to overnight at the Cabela's near Newark, but it was quite humid Tuesday and we really wanted to be able to plug in and run the A/C when we arrived.  The New Castle Elks Lodge has a single 30 amp outlet available, and you can stay there for no charge!  Perfect!  The lodge was just a couple of miles off I-95, and had very easy access.  We arrived shortly after 2 pm, quickly plugged in and got the A/C drying out our interior air.  So, why Delaware?  Well, it constitutes the 48th State we have visited, and spent at least one night in before continuing our travels....it also happens to have been the FIRST State, and that is their motto.....

 We have the whole place to ourselves!

.....it has been 4, or 5 days since I've had a proper nap, and once we had A/C I sat down and did just that.  On Tuesday's the bar opens at 6 pm, so we went in to introduce ourselves, and have a couple of brews......

....we met J.R., Bob, Beth, Danny, and many other very friendly folks.  It is one of the things we love about being Elks.....wherever you go you are always made to feel right at home.  Our first round was free, which is an Elks tradition, and Bob picked up the second round.....sweet!

We retreated to the Newell a little after 7 pm as they were going to have an induction ceremony.  We spent the evening catching up on several recorded series episodes, and then watched the end of the MLB Boston Red Sox vs. The N.Y. Yankees.....the game was won by Boston 4-3 sending Boston on to the American League Championship Series.  We were in bed by 11:30 pm looking forward to sleeping in, and no schedule on Wednesday.

So, now we have come to the end of our quest to visit all 48 of the lower states, and all that remains is Alaska.  Next summer we will visit Alaska in the Newell.  We were in Hawaii back in 1991 celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, so we will physically have visited all 50 states by next summer.  What happens next?  We don't really know, but we do know we will continue living our nomadic life, and continue to seek out new, interesting places to spend weeks, or months at at time.  I do think, though, we will spend more time in the western half of the USA to be a little closer to our children and their families.

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