Continuing our Tour-Du-Northeast, we left Bar Harbor and headed for Vermont. We first stopped for lunch in Augusta, ME and then headed to Mt. Washington in NH. We were deterred by the $40 fee to go up the mountain, so we just stared, longingly, at the base camp for a few minutes and continued along our route. I guess Comet will have to do without his “This car climbed Mt. Washington” sticker.
We were on our way to our friends' tiny home in Elmore, VT to *moochdock in their driveway, and of course catch up on life since we hadn’t seen them since college. They designed and built their tiny home (with the help of a few others) on a rural wooded site and were in the process of putting the finishing touches on it before winter. Lucy loved having some off-leash time and ate so much chicken feed from their coop that she didn’t touch her dinner, a first for her. After dinner and campfire s'mores we were able to get a tour of the house and we were able to trade some space-saving stories. Because when you live tiny that is pretty much your favorite thing to talk about, and yes I did a full inspection of all of their drawers and cabinets to see how well they organized things.
*Moochdock – To park your van/rv at your friends or family’s house, but still take advantage of their stationary-life amenities, ie: charging, water fill-ups, wifi, showers, laundry, warmth/AC, and general hospitality. Moochdockers are usually more comfortable staying in their van/rv at night, so don’t be offended if they don’t want to sleep in your guestroom, although sometimes they will.
After a hot shower in the tiny house and some breakfast waffles, another treat for vanlifers since we don’t carry a waffle iron in the van, we set out for Burlington, via Stowe, VT. Add Stowe to our list of unexplored places that we had to pass through but would one day like to return to. It was raining on-and-off all day, so we retreated to the Skinny Pancake in Burlington for crepes before exploring the shops on Church Street, a completely pedestrian and dog-friendly street. Lucy got a ton of pets from people that day as we each took turns holding her outside while the other went into the stores.
Before dark we started our decent further south. We like to break our days up with some driving in the morning, with a bulk of the driving at night, since we’re night people; and its typically less trafficky. We do not like to do more than 3(ish) hours of straight driving a day because we don’t want to miss stuff on the way. We stayed at the Bennington Walmart that night, which had a huge quiet parking lot and was close to the Bennington Memorial that we wanted to visit the next day. Another trick when doing driving at night is to plan out your first stop for the next day so that you can find accommodations near it and not have to drive so far the next morning. Our favorite app is the Allstays Camp & RV. It is currently $9.99 for iPhones, but it is worth the cost for the money and peace of mind that you’ll save not having to guess which Walmarts allow overnight parking. The app also helps locate campgrounds, truck/reststops, overnight parking, propane, dump stations, camping/sporting supply stores, etc.
We stopped at the Bennington Monument before continuing our journey through the hills of New England down to Connecticut. The monument is the tallest built structure in Vermont and commemorates the Battle of Bennington, which was a turning point in the Revolutionary War that lead to the defeat of the British at Saratoga. It looks similar to the Washington Monument and I was able to get maple sugar candy and syrup at the gift shop.
It happened to be one of my very good friend’s birthdays in Connecticut that weekend and I secretly coordinated with her husband to make sure our schedules would match up for a visit. But just before we arrived at my hometown horror struck.
We were minutes away from arriving at my friend’s house, and an even bigger insult to injury, we were in the town I went to high school in. I was at a stoplight waiting to turn when I heard a crumply crash and experienced a slight jolt forward. The impact was so light that I questioned whether we had been hit at all. My initial response was “Humz, get out and see what that was; did we just get hit? I hope it’s not someone I know.” When we got out and saw the damage my heart sank. The impact from the hit felt so minimal that I was hopeful that it would just be something minor and cosmetic. Boy was I wrong. As soon as I saw the damage, the fear of having to potentially deal with someone I went to high school diminished and was replaced with instant rage.
“WTF, You hit our home!”
“How could you be so wreckless!?”
“Can we drive this home…oh wait, this is our home”
“Can we get this back to Humz’s parent’s house in New Jersey safely?”
“How good is our insurance?”
“How long will this take to fix?”
“How far behind our schedule will this put us?”
“Will we even be able to start the second leg of our Northern-heavy-state schedule before it gets too cold?”
So many questions and I felt as though our journey hadn’t even started before we were instantly derailed…or in our case “de-roaded.” Of course I didn’t say any of this to the woman that hit me as she was apologetic, clearly disheveled, and took full responsibility. I even managed to keep it together despite my severe annoyance and disappointment. Months and months of planning for this trip completely destroyed by a careless driver. All I could hope for was that the damage could easily be fixed by a body shop and that this miracle body shop had all the parts just lying around waiting for suckers like us to come crying through their doors so they could sweep us off our feet while they knight-in-shining-armored us. That was another thing I was wrong about.