South to north. Warm to cold. Sun to rain. Rocket launches to the mothership. Wellness to wellbeing. Friends to family to friends.
Our lives seem to plod along in the rituals of each day – wake, coffee, clothes, chores, work, appointments, play, eat, rest, worry, dream, plot, plan. Yet, tucked between the comforting sameness of these daily rituals are sparks of magic. Anticipation of exploring an unknown. Comfort and communion with family and friends. Contentment in charting one’s own path. Pleasure in personal hobbies. Self-possessed pride in completing a project or achieving a goal.
As I reflect on the past couple of months, there doesn’t seem to be much to report. Our last couple of weeks in Florida were fun – seeing family and friends one last time before leaving the state, spontaneous kayaking, watching rocket launches, visiting Kennedy Space Center. Then we moved north, finally getting South Carolina on our map. Then we spent much-needed quality time with family and friends in North Carolina while getting various medical appointments out of the way. The sparks of magic, though…
Seeing rocket launches in person is so different than seeing them on TV. I felt like I was part of something much bigger and grander, and I wished I could turn back time and seek out a job at NASA so I could be more intimately involved.
Kennedy Space Center needed two days of our time, not just the one we so thoroughly gave it. There were places we didn’t get a chance to see, buildings we would have liked to spend more time in, and presentations by astronauts we didn’t get to attend. But the bus tour was wonderful, and the Atlantis display was just as awe-inspiring as the rocket launches we watched.
Our time in North Carolina did not go as initially planned. We had about a week in Fayetteville with Carl’s brother, Brad, and his wife, Valerie. We love our quality time with them. Then we spent a week near Karen’s mom and sister in the Newport/Swansboro area, which never seems to be enough time. We initially thought we’d be in the Garner area for two weeks before leaving the state to begin our trek toward Canada for our summer jaunt to Alaska. However, Karen’s mom underwent a surgical procedure, so we shortened our stay in Garner to one week to be near her during that time. The magic… being there when needed; Karen having quality time with her brother, Kevin; touching base with friends and neighbors; seeing our daughters and their loves.
Our Alaska trek officially began on April 16, when we left North Carolina. We were able to spend a night at the Princeton Railroad Museum in West Virginia (to get the state on our map), a Harvest Hosts location. We wish we could have been there when they were open, but their hours and our schedule did not align.
We then made our way to the MOTHERSHIP – Airstream’s factory and Heritage Museum in Jackson Center, Ohio. Fierce winds and loose bolts resulted in the loss of one of our solar panels along the way (which we did not discover until we were in Michigan!). Visiting the MOTHERSHIP is something most, if not all, Airstream owners want to do at some point. Some go there for needed repairs; others, like us, to pay homage. We were able to stay at the Airstream RV park, next to the service center – just $10 for the night with hookups. We bought some swag, visited the museum, drove around the town, and toured the factory. It’s hard not to be a proud Airstream owner, knowing its history and seeing how they are put together.
After Jackson Center, we traveled to Napoleon, Ohio, where the owners of the Hidden Valley Campground graciously allowed us to stay there a couple of nights (another swirl of magic) while our truck’s transmission was being repaired. Hidden Valley was not yet technically open for the season (it opened a week or so after we left), and they are only open to seasonal RVers – not transient overnighters like us. Their location was very convenient, though, to where our truck would be, and we greatly appreciate their flexibility!
We are now in a familiar place – Thousand Trails Bear Cave Campground in Buchanan, Michigan. As ordinary as this campground is on the outskirts of a small town along the St. Joseph River, it is a magical place for us. We’ve been here a few times – the first time we met Less Junk More Journey and Finding Our Someday – YouTubers and Instagram folks we have watched for a few years before starting as full-time RV travelers. The second time we met Dennis and Mickey, now close friends of ours whom we have met up with and have seen in other locations. And now, this third time, we are spending quality time with our friends Kelli and Bobby, whom we originally met in Arizona, then saw in California, then again in Alabama!
Magic in the mundane, making the journey sweeter and richer.
Next stop on our way to Canada is to visit Karen’s Uncle Thom and Aunt Jan in Iowa.
We promise more regular updates as we traverse through Canada and into Alaska. We cannot wait! Stay tuned…