We started living our version of the American dream this week. Wednesday was an emotional good bye and we spent the first few hours of our trip pretty quiet, processing the fact that we are actually doing this. It wasn’t until we started to see the mountains of Virginia that we actually felt like it was real.
Our drive down to Virginia was thankfully uneventful. The camper and the truck handled the ups and downs of the mountains well.
It’s finally here, our last week of work and last full week in New Jersey, we really can not believe it.
We would not be able to take this journey and make such a big leap if it weren’t for our friends and family. We needed and wanted to say “thank you” and “goodbye” to as many people as we could. We have had the help and support every step of the way, from my mom for putting up with us for the past year as we worked our butts off saving money and working on the camper, to the countless number of friends and family who came by to help us with each project. My Aunt Barbara who generously gave me all the curtains in the camper. Our friend Nick who helped us demo the camper and find all the water damage. Paul’s dad who helped with the wood pallets project and putting all the cabinets back in. Paul’s cousin Freddy who not only helped but let us borrow his tools. My Uncle Ernie who was great in helping us with finding a truck and giving us advice when it came to maintenance on it. The list really goes on and on. We were given some really awesome gifts as well, a tire repair kit, an emergency battery pack to jump the truck, a small air compressor, gift cards, wine, coffee, some cool camping gear, and little things to remember New Jersey and everyone we love. We love our friends and family!
Last weekend my Mom was kind enough to throw Paul and I a going away party, making it much easier to see everyone that we wanted to see before we left New Jersey. Paul and I invited our friends and family only a few day before the party and we were so grateful to everyone who showed up. We shared stories, ate, drank and said our goodbyes. The outpouring of love and support that we received last weekend, and throughout this entire experience, was overwhelming and grounding for both of us. We have had lots of friends, family and neighbors come by to wish us safe travels, many bringing thoughtful cards and generous gifts that we totally were not expecting.
Another unexpected part of this whole experience has been the negativity and lack of understanding from some. As I’ve said, we have the most amazing family and friends who have made such an effort to wish us well, but we also have those around us (a small handful) that don’t understand why we are making the decision to do this and can’t figure out why we would leave our jobs. We’ve been called “stupid” and we’ve been doubted, but this only strengthens our love and gratitude towards all those rooting for us, so thank you all.
As we get ready to hit the road Paul and I have been having a lot of conversations about whether or not to take Murphy with us. I never thought that she wouldn’t be coming, I’ve always imagined this adventure with her by my side. Murphy has been by my side for over 14 years and to leave her behind would be sad for me, and I think for her as well. But, she is 14 going on 15 and life on the road may be rough for her. We will be doing a lot of outdoor activities and experiencing different climates. We worry about her being able to keep up and remain comfortable.
I’d love to hear some stories, opinions, and suggestions for traveling with a dog.
Over the weekend New Jersey was being threatened by Hurricane Hermine. While the storm ended up being a dud, bringing only some choppy waters, Paul and I decided not to take any chances and make a run for it. On Sunday we all got in the car and drove.
Our first stop was Centralia, Pennsylvania. Centralia is an old mining town in the heart of Pennsylvania’s mining country. In the 60’s a fire started underground in one of the old mining shafts, and since then it has continued to burn. Over the years the town turned into a ghost town, with only about 10 residents left living in Centralia today. While the story behind the town is really interesting, there really isn’t too much to see. Most of buildings in Centralia have all been demolished, and the only large piece of the town left is an old abandoned stretch of Highway 61. The road was closed off after it began to crack due to the underground fires. If you visit Centralia in the fall or winter you are able to see smoke spilling out of the cracks in the road.
After our short visit in Centralia, we decided to continue driving. We drove through so many beautiful little towns, miles of farm land, got stuck behind a parade of tractors, and ended up watching the sunset from the Application Trail. As we continued through the winding roads of Pennsylvania we decided to pull off to watch the sunset, and after missing a few pull offs we finally pulled onto a small dirt road that to you back to a trailhead. The trail was the Application and as Paul and I jumped out of the car to take a quick look at it, Murphy was barking from the car to let her join in as well. We grabbed Murphy and were able to see a beautiful sunset over the Pennsylvania countryside.
We ended our night in Harrisburg, stumbling upon a street fair and fireworks. We had a beautiful adventure, sometimes a day off and a full tank of gas are all you need.