Day 11 // Connecticut

A little late on this post, but better late than never right.

While we were at dinner the night before, the restaurant owner got to talking to us and told us we should definitely look into taking a ferry across from Long Island to Connecticut. We looked into it and found a ferry that left about 30 mins from where we were staying and would drop us off in a good location in Connecticut for what we wanted to do there. The cost (approx $160) for us to take our RV on the ferry was about equal to what we would have to pay in tolls and the the emotional abuse we were going to have to take while driving through Manhattan again. SIGN US UP.  In true Mark and Rachel form, we arrived to Port Jefferson (departing city) at 11:57 when the ferry was supposed to depart at 12:00 and we literally could not figure out how to get in the parking lot of the ferry! We drove up and down the (narrow) road at least 4 times trying to figure out what were doing wrong. To add stress to it, as we were driving up and down the main road we were watching the ferry pull away. I guess there is always the next one, right?! We finally figure out what were doing wrong: it was one of those entrances where you could only enter from one direction which was obviously not the direction we came in from. I’d like to think we are smarter than a road & ferry entrance, but I guess not.

our little guy on the ferry

our little guy on the ferry

view from the ferry!

view from the ferry!

We made it over to Connecticut easily and headed out to our new spot: Riverdale Farm Campsite

Stan parked at Riverdale Farm Campsite

Stan parked at Riverdale Farm Campsite

We headed out as soon as we got there and went to drive around Yale and grab some dinner. Mark found some place that has been around for like 90 years and is supposed to have the best pizza ever. Apparently the gluten free thing is going to be a lot harder on the road than I thought. We didn’t really know where we were supposed to go to “see” Yale and were disappointed at first because what were seeing was not what we were picturing. We drove around a little more and found the super cool old buildings we were looking for!

so pretty

So pretty!

We headed over Pepe’s next and were amused when we turned the corner and there wer no less that 25 people standing outside the restaurant waiting to get in. It was like 7 pm on a Tuesday.. reallllly?! This better be some great pizza. It didn’t take as long to get seated as one would have imagined as part of the line was like a group of 13. Once we got in and looked at the menu I realized what type of place we were at. We have one similar to us in Akron that I.. loathe. I know that is a strong word but I’ll use it anyway. I’m talking about Luigis. Same story, old restaurant that people love and flock to. There is always a line outside of Luigis before it opens and various other times but I personally would rather eat dirt than Luigis. Luigis is only good at around 3 am after a night of heavy drinking. #hater. Anyway, back to Pepe’s. The only serve pizza and 2 salads. That’s it. I ordered a salad and a create your own chicken + veggie pizza. Mark ordered a 1/2 original tomato pizza and 1/2 clam pizza which is confusing because he doesn’t like clams. What a person (Mark) will do because of a good yelp review is amazing. The pizza was decent, but I certainly don’t think it warrants being listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die: USA & Canada. As we were leaving, the line outside was even longer! Crazyy!!

waiting in line for some pizza!

waiting in line for some pizza!

Mark's 1/2 clam pizza 1/2 original tomato pizza

Mark’s 1/2 clam pizza 1/2 original tomato pizza

I think that is it for our first day in Connecticut! More to come tomorrow!!

xoxo,
Rachel

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Day 4 // Philadelphia

I have been waiting for this day since we added Philly to our list of stops a few weeks ago. Philly Cheesesteaks.. get in my belly!!!!! Now, I try to eat gluten-free but these few days don’t count. Like not even a little bit. We arrived around 7 pm to the city and I’ve already eaten (half of each) 2 cheesesteaks. So. Freaking. Good.

soooooooo goooooood

soooooooo goooooood

Now, I need suggestions for your favorite cheesesteak place because I’m judging I have about 4 meals tomorrow that I plan on eating nothing but cheesesteaks for.

But let’s back up a few hours. We were set to leave Hershey around 10:30 am but we slept in and took our time showering and packing up. And then we couldn’t get the stupid robo-brake to work and spent a solid 45 mins trying to get it to work. We did, but such a pain. So it had to be around 1 by the time we left. We headed straight for The King of Prussia Mall, which is the largest Mall in the U.S.A. Surprisingly, this was Mark’s idea as I just assumed the biggest mall was the Mall of America and trust me, I have and continue to make it clear that we are going when we are out there. Anyway, we spent a few hours walking around and I finally pulled the trigger on a silver watch! I forgot to take a pic of it but I will tomorrow. The watch was certainly the highlight of the mall trip!

Philly.

Philly.

Now back to Philly. As I mentioned, we arrived around 7 and had to sweetly ask our new neighbor if he could help us with our water heater because it was spraying/leaking water and we couldn’t figure out 1. why or 2. how to stop it. Luckily he was able to help (something about a faulty cap but luckily we had a spare just sitting in the compartment? Unclear, Mark’s territory = anything broken)

our new setup at Timberlane Campground!

our new setup at Timberlane Campground!

We hit the road and headed out to get some cheesesteak! Afterwards, we went downtown and parked and walked around! Here are some pics from our night:

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Geno’s Cheesesteak

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being silly with the life-size game pieces

being silly with the life-size game pieces!

L.O.V.E

L.O.V.E

Second cheesesteak stop of the night!

Second cheesesteak stop of the night!

Now that we are stuffed beyond stuff with cheesesteak, it’s off to bed to get plenty of sleep for a long day of Philly, take 2!

xoxo,
Rachel

Day 3 // Hershey, PA & surrounding area

Since we knocked out the Hershey stuff yesterday, we drove around the surrounding area today and did some exploring. Up first was a house that is shaped like a shoe! Now if you know me, you know I love shoes & if you don’t know me, just believe with all your heart that I love shoes. I’m probably the only person who packed at least 10+ pairs of heels for an RV road trip. And that is just the heels, you probably don’t want to know how many shoes in total I brought.

The Shoe House!

The Shoe House!

We then stopped by an antique mall and walked around looking at all the treasures throughout. We were starrrving by this point and did a quick yelp search for a lunch spot and found a great cafe close by: Gaia, fresh food cafe. Highly recommend! Mark loves eating as healthy as possible (me too at times, but I’m certainly not ever going to pass up junk food) and this place was perfect. Raw/Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free options and delicious fresh juices and smoothies. Plus they have a cute outside patio which no matter how hot & humid summers can be around here, I LOVE sitting outside to eat!

Gaia Fresh Food Cafe! Yum!

Gaia Fresh Food Cafe! Yum!

Up next was a tour of Turkey Hill Ice Cream plant. Also known as the “Turkey Hill Experience.” We opted out of waiting over 1.5 hours for the create your own ice cream part and settled for the self guided (hallelujah) tour. But don’t worry, the tour came with all you can eat free samples. HEAVEN.

Turkey Hill Experience

Turkey Hill Experience

goofballs

goofballs

As per a suggestion from a friend, we stopped by the Hershey Hotel & Gardens and walked around. What a sight and certainly worth the $11 dollars/person admission sign I rolled my eyes when we walked up. It is a huge garden with several different areas which is located up on a hill overlooking the Hershey theme parks. We ventured into the butterfly house. we have passed on several butterfly houses before on other travels, but it didn’t take long before we decided we regret all those times. It was so cool! It was fun seeing all the butterflies and having them land on you as well. We will definitely be visiting more butterfly houses in the future.

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butterflies!

butterflies!

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Mark with a butterfly on him!

pretty!

pretty (the scenery, not us) 

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Part of the garden with the Hershey smoke stacks in the background

We stopped by a roadside farmer’s market on the way back to our RV and picked up some fresh fruit and veggies for dinner. We broke in our new grill and cooked dinner at home for the first time. Delish!

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Tomorrow we move on to the greater Philadelphia area for a few days. Wish us luck because we didn’t plan ahead (I know you’re shocked) and we don’t have a campground picked for the holiday weekend coming up. EEEEEEKKKK. Walmart it just might be!

xoxo,
Rachel

The Start to A Wonderful #RVhoneymoon

Well, the guys over at Avalon RV Center pulled through and got our RV all fixed up! I told them I would write something nice about them since they helped us out, so here it is guys. Hope you’re reading this!

We got the RV back on Thursday around 4 and drove him home! We unhitched my car and ran a few last-minute errands. How we still had errands to run as we were supposed to leave dayyys ago is beyond me. We got home from our errands and went to load some stuff into the RV and the electronic step didn’t work. Weird. As I’ve mentioned, we are not very RV savvy yet (and I doubt ever) so we just assumed (there’s that word again) we were doing something wrong and went and got ice cream at Strickland’s instead of messing with it. We thought maybe it would fix itself by the time we returned. No such luck. I had the bright idea maybe we should just turn the RV on and that would fix it. Well, it didn’t fix it but THE RV WOULD NOT TURN ON. It wouldn’t even try to turn over. REALY!?! Are there hidden cameras somewhere, because this cannot be normal.

Well, it is now 8 pm and our only choice is to call GoodSam as we are members. The guy walks us through a few things and still nothing. He says the only guy he could find to come help us would be around 9 am tomorrow. “Better than sometime next week,” is all we can say. We get the rest of the RV loaded up because “we are leaving tomorrow even if we have to push the RV in neutral down the street to the Walmart.”

The mechanic arrives at 9 am ish, to our pleasant surprise, and informs us our battery is 110% dead and we need a new one. Fine. He goes and gets a new battery and puts it in and Stan (thanks mom for the great RV name) starts right up!!! YAY!!! I wanted to kiss the mechanic I was so happy! We loaded up the last few things and hit the road around noon! #RVhoneymoon has officially started!!!

Mark, officially in the captain's chair!

Mark, officially in the captain’s chair!

We head towards PA as our plan is to head east to the coast and then up it into New England and possibly Canada! Everything is great, we are riding smoothly and enjoying the drive and views and company. Our first stop along #RVhoneymoon is a place Mark found called “Joe’s Bar.” It doubles as a taxidermy museum. In fact, there were more animals than bar. Also, you can smoke in bars in PA apparently so we got out of there STAT after viewing the museum.

Joe's Bar everyone!

Joe’s Bar everyone!

Now for the fun stuff. The keys have to be in the ignition for my car to be towable. As we were planning on walking around the little downtown and go to “Joe’s Bar,” we didn’t think it wise to leave the doors unlocked and car keys in the ignition whether it was hooked up or not. When we got back, we went through the series again to hook up the car to be towable and put the robo-brake in. We start on our merry way and get about .1 miles and people start honking at us. WHY!?! I know we are a big RV driving through your little town, we’re sorry we are blocking intersections. But then we see it, smoke billowing out from my car’s tires. (slightly dramatic, not billowing so much as barely smoking- poetic license over here). Anyway, we stop and realize the robo-brake is just in the down position, so we’ve been basically dragging my car with the brakes initiated. Oh vey.

It has been about 4 hours since we left home for anyone keeping track.

Considering we were blocking about 85% of the town’s downtown intersection, we decided our best plan is to just unhook the whole thing, test the car to make sure we didn’t cause permanent damage and I would just follow Mark to the campground about 30 mins away and we would readdress robo-brake tomorrow. So for about 1/5 of our #RVhoneymoon, Mark and I weren’t even in the same vehicle. *golf clap*

I'm driving my car and following Mark. The drive to Brenner's Meadow Run was reallyyy beautiful and my iphone pic taken while driving doesn't really do it justice.

I’m driving my car and following Mark. The drive to Brenner’s Meadow Run was reallyyy beautiful and my iphone pic taken while driving doesn’t really do it justice.

The rest of the evening went smoothly. We put some food in our bellies and went to Walmart because, you guessed it, we realized we forgot stuff and needed stuff we hadn’t even thought of. It is the start of our first full day of #RVhoneymoon and we’re headed to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and Laurel Canyons! We will address robo-brake tomorrow when we leave. Stay tuned for pics and I’m sure more stories of trial and error (which I know is the real reason most of you read this 🙂 )

Our first night at a campground!!!

Our first night at a campground!!!

xoxo,
Rachel

p.s. I just spellchecked this, and I had spelled “brake” – “break” the entire post.

Delays, Delays, Delays

Hi all! Sorry it has been awhile! Back when we planned this trip, we said we were going to leave for our RVhoneymoon the day after our wedding. We reconsidered that soon thereafter and decided that we didn’t need the added stress of planning & packing for an RV trip in addition to us (me) planning our wedding. This was probably the best decision we’ve ever made as I.WOULD.HAVE.SNAPPED. In fact, my inner bridezilla did appear a few times, which I’m not proud of per say. But hey, you only get married once right?!

We took our PreHoneymoon trip to Turks & Caicos (read about it here & here & here) the day after our wedding and decompressed for 8 days. It was so incredibly perfect. We came home refreshed and ready to plan for the RV honeymoon! We had tentatively planned to leave May 30th after getting back from the PreHoneymoon. The RV was not finished upon our arrival back from Turks & Caicos. Delay #1. This delay wasn’t too disappointing because Mark was in the process of buying our 3rd rental property in Scottsdale, AZ so we flew out to AZ to do some planning, negotiating and buying! More on this new rental later!

Recap of some of our adventures! Watson Lake | Turks & Caicos | Miami

Recap of some of our adventures! Watson Lake | Turks & Caicos | Miami

When we returned from AZ, the RV remodel was done! It looks soooo good! If you haven’t seen the remodel, check it out here! Delay #2 comes in the form of busy schedules and too many moving parts. I’m kind of stretching here with this being a delay as our lives are always a hot mess (in the best possible way, I would never change it) but it does feel like a lot of things have happend in the last few weeks. We’re in the process of selling our house in Ohio to prep for a probable move to Arizona in the future, Mark is going through some major business changes, I’m about an entire year behind in the book-keeping (accounting) for a few of our side projects including the vacation rentals and really need to get caught up, I needed to hit my 100th class in Pure Barre so that I could wear my tutu in class and sign the barre, etc etc etc. All of these things compiled together and there was little time to take the RV back into Camping World for them to fix a few things and for us to learn how to use the thing! We pushed our tentative departure date to June 13ish. We spent an entire day getting lessons on how to work the RV & took videos of all the stuff! I think we are good to go with that!! We also turned our learning day into a shopping day at Camping World! Everything there seems so necessary for an RVhoneymoon road trip. It is a dangerous place I’ve decided. We then did the next most logical thing, went to Target. Because Target is the least “dangerous” store on the planet.

Some of our new kitchen things!

We did get some shopping done for the RV in the meantime! Some of our new kitchen things!

Delay #3 is all about towing a car. We had gone back and forth between towing a car or not. We ultimately decided that because we want to see as much of the country as possible, including cities, we needed to tow a car so we could be more mobile when we needed. By the time we figured out that we couldn’t tow Mark’s car (as was our original plan) and made appointments to get my car tuned up and get it some tires – we were another week behind. But this was much needed as a mechanic probably hasn’t looked at my car since 2006 when it was built and it was approx 15,000 miles overdue for an oil change. I take such good care of my belongings. June 20th estimated departure date.

Some goodies we bought from Camping World

Some goodies we bought from Camping World

Delay #4 Still about towing the car. We assumed that towing a car was a simple process. Well, we knew we would have to get a hitch but we thought that was simple. Wrong. We went to Camping World where we bought our RV first to ask about how to tow a car. The guy told us there were 3 choices. (Have I mentioned that I’m still recovering from all the wedding decisions and lightweight freeze when anyone asks me to make a decision almost 2 months later). We were not prepared for 3 choices. Basically we could, flat tow (all 4 car wheels down), 2 wheels down tow, or get a trailer and put the entire car on the trailer. Well shit, with option 3 we could have towed Mark’s car after all. research people, research. Flat tow is the easiest and doesn’t involve strapping wheels down to a trailer (dirty) every time we need to drive the car. Flat tow is also the most expensive and involves adding parts and pieces (official terms) to my car. Guess what, Camping World told is it would be August before they could get us in. Estimated departure date August?! Well that ain’t gonna work. We spent a day or two going to a few RV/trailer places learning more about all the types of towing and the soonest we could get any of it done. We decided to flat tow my car after all the running around. We found a place that could have all the parts and pieces ordered and delivered and do the work on Wednesday the 25th. Departure date June 26th.

Trying out my new chair while sitting in the driveway.

Trying out my new chair while sitting in the driveway. I’m sure the neighbors appreciated this masterpiece.

Possible Delay #5.  As we were taking the RV to FastSigns to get some RVhoneymoon.com decals put on today, we found out that the AC doesn’t work. There is a fuse that is permanently tripped or something. Neither Mark or I are handy (we didn’t even own a tool box until May 3rd – Thanks for the wedding gift Bankovich, Bankovich and Frank families) and clearly fuses are beyond a screwdriver and hammer fix. So we will keep our fingers crossed and hope the RV people can fix “it” on Wednesday. Otherwise, Delay #5 it is!

How cute are our new decals!! Love!

How cute are our new decals!! Love!

But the good news is, we are so close to leaving for the RVhoneymoon! We are more or less all packed up and all our goodies are purchased and in their new home! Hopefully it is just a matter of a few days before we are on the road! I’ll keep you posted!

xoxo,
Rachel

Our Packing List

Forget what we need to have in our RV, I’m talking what we want to have in our RV. RVescape covered the boring, albeit 100% necessary list of things we need to pack here, but now that we are safe and fully operational – I want to start buying & packing the FUN stuff!

I should mention, however; that neither one of us can still figure out how to properly close and lock our new “front door” so “safe and fully operational” might be a slight exaggeration. I’ve still mentally checked that box off and am ready for the fun stuff! Mark will figure the door out, I’m confident.

I should also probably mention that aside from driving the RV from point A to B (a total of 10 miles), we’ve spent zero minutes learning how to use our RV. I don’t know how any of it works. Electricity? nope. How to take a shower? nah. How to empty the toilet? Certainly not. What runs off the generator? Um, what. How to use the kitchen appliances? Isn’t that what restaurants are for? How to connect _____ (I don’t even know “what” connects) when we are at an RV park? Seriously, I can’t even complete the entire sentence because that is how little I know. So “safe and fully operational” is a giant exaggeration. Still, fun stuff people!

Here is what is on our  packing list!

The 9 things we simply need to have for our RV trip!

The 9 things we simply need to have for our RV trip!

1. solar charger. I’m under the impression (and common sense leads me to believe) that electricity isn’t necessarily easy to come by while driving down the road. I believe it comes from our generator which I believe runs off gas or propane. (We really need a crash course in RVing). Either way, I like to be on my phone 24/7 and it dies in about .8 minutes so charging it is a big deal for me. Why not save some energy and use the sun to charge for me! Lets just assume that we are places where there is sun…
2. propane grill. I’ve been known to grill in the middle of winter in my UGG boots and winter coat because I simply love grilled food. A grill is a no brainer for this trip.
3. bonfire tools. You can’t have a bonfire without hotdogs, s’mores and other goodies right?! My mother had the genius idea a few years back to make little pizza pockets and sandwiches using crescent rolls and sandwich irons over the bonfire! If you haven’t done this, highly recommend as it is a fun twist on traditional bonfire food!
4. RV GPS. They make a specific GPS for RVs. I’m going to assume it will help us SUPER NEWBIES out quite a bit. Don’t worry Google Maps, I won’t forget about you!
5. travel steam buddy. I will start this off by saying I Hate (capital H) ironing. I have never ironed successfully without burning myself, I always iron more wrinkles in than out, and it takes forever. The travel steam buddy seems like the perfect solution because I know Mark will pack 700 button ups that will need some attention after being packed away in a tiny RV closet!
6. lounge chairs w/ detachable tray. As Mark and I will be working from the road during our trip and we’ve never “shared” an office, let alone one as tiny as an RV, I’m picturing my workspace to be OUTSIDE and IN THE SUN! The tray is perfect for my computer. Let’s be honest tho, I really want the chair so that I can lay out in the sun and the tray for my fruity cocktail.
7. fold-up bikes. I just think these will be super fun to have in the RV and the perfect toy to have to explore fun places we find along the way!
8. Pure Barre DVDs and equipment. This is just for me! I’ve recently found a deep & true love for Pure Barre. Read more about it here. I am going to try to take classes at as many studios throughout the USA as possible, but I know there will be states that don’t have a single PB studio – I’m talking to you Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont (PS, we’ve decided to head to New England first on our RV Honeymoon) and I will need to have my Pure Barre fix in the RV. The at home equipment is perfect for this! Just pop a DVD in I’m all set!
9. bluetooth speaker. The perfect way to have some good tunes while on the road!

 

Things We Are Leaving Behind:

1. TV. We think our RV Honeymoon is the perfect time to leave the TV out and just enjoy the experience. (and enjoy our iphones, tablets, kindles..) baby steps.
2. kayaks. A lot of blogs talked about bringing kayaks. We’re going to pass.
3. random kitchen gadgets. They make a ton of RV specific gadgets like a microwave pressure cooker. In theory it sounds great, but I made it through 2 years of college dorm life with just a microwave while adamantly avoiding the dining halls and I lived. I might have gained some weight, but I lived. I’m confident that we’ll be able to make do with our oven/stove and microwave without needing 1,000 RV kitchen gadgets.

That is all for now. What have you packed for your RV trips? Have I forgotten anything major? Let me know!

xoxo,
Rachel

RV Honeymoon Planning Meeting

Hi Everyone!

It is getting close! Just a few more weeks (fingers crossed) before our RV remodel is complete and we are on the road! We spent the last few nights planning out some “routes.” I’ll use routes very loosely here because we’re just noting places we want to see/stop and with the intent to drive through that area. My husband found this great tool on Pinterest which seems like it will help us a lot. Now I am a Pinterest Fanatic. Here is my Pinterest, make sure to check out my boards and follow me! It is probably my #4 most used app on my phone but I didn’t connect the dots on Pinterest’s new “map boards” and how awesome it would be for this trip. Shame on me. The map boards link and places we pin to a giant map and you can pull up the map and see quickly where each place is. You can zoom out and get a broad sense of what things are close to each other or you can zoom in to see exactly what road whatever place you want to see is on. It is actually perfect for what we want to do.

Here is the board I am talking about. See how cool?

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planning meeting with our trusty Pinterest and some books!

We’ve also been reading a ton of books to get ready for this trip! The three pictured are:

USA’S Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries across America. Get it here.
This book is cool because as the title implies, the road trips are themed. Examples? “60 lighthouses in 60 hours” (New England) “Gunfighters & Gold Miners” (South West) “Historic Battles of the Civil War” (South) and “Here’s the Beef” (Great Plains). Cool right?

1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Get it here.
Once you get ove the fact that you will die one day (morbid) this book is great! It includes 1,000 physical landmarks to see throughout the world before you die. You’ll have to skip over the countries.. hemispheres that don’t apply to you. But once you get to the correct area, the destinations are pretty incredible and must sees. 

500 Things to do Before You Kick the Bucket. Get it here.
Again with the morbid titles. This books has about 495 great suggestions ranging from places to visit to activities to try. There are some weird “things to do” in this book… “compose a song” or “learn to play the bagpipes”  or “go to clown college” but whatever floats your boat right?!

We are always looking for suggestions on places we need to stop on our RV Honeymoon! You can comment on any of our posts or send an email to rvhoneymoon1@gmail.com with your suggestions!

xoxo,
Rachel