Hotel Life Not That Bad

I feel bad judging my neighbor in the suite next door because she may not be a prostitute since I only have seen one guy coming and going from her suite. I guess they just have a healthy sex life. I just don’t want to hear it 😬 This place is almost like an apartment complex since I have met people that have been staying here for a very long time since an extended stay hotel. Everyone I have met here is actually pretty nice and I don’t mind the air conditioning, shower, a table to work on, a t.v., a full fridge and maid service. I still prefer the van life though for all the little reasons and the big reasons. Yesterday I bought groceries and instead of just leaving them in my van in my fridge and cabinets I had to carry them on two trips across the parking lot to the elevator down the hall and into my suite. I prefer living in my van as long as it’s not hot outside mainly because my van takes me to new places to call home. I have a hard time staying in one place too long, always have. I have an insatiable need to explore new places and have new experiences. However, I will enjoy the experience of living in a hotel for now 🏨

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Intense Heat and Hotel Stay

I am in my former home state for work and to visit family in another part of the state afterwards. It is ridiculously hot here. It is in the 90s in the daytime and 80s at night which is too hot for me to stay in the van and there isn’t anyone here with a spare room for me to stay in, just a couch, so I checked into a studio suite at an extended stay hotel. I didn’t like dragging my stuff from the van to the hotel and sleeping in a bed that I am sure thousands of other people have slept in instead of my comfy van bed, but I don’t like sweating in my van more. The suite is nice but I think there is a prostitute working out of the suite next to me. I hear sex noises throughout the day and night and what sounds like different men’s voices.  As I was walking down the hall yesterday I saw a woman standing at the door with it partially open with a man leaving. She didn’t look too skanky so maybe she’s a high-priced call girl. I miss staying in my home on wheels! 🚐

Staying Overnight at Truck Stops

I have been mainly staying overnight at truck stops since I just need a place to park my van to sleep for the night on my way to my next destination. I am at one right now. Walmarts use to be my favorite place to stay overnight between destinations but I always have to call ahead to make sure they allow it because not all of them do and I often get transfered to several people when I call because they aren’t sure if they allow it. Also, sometimes they say they allow it but when I get there they have signs everywhere prohibiting it. However, truck stops always allow it so I don’t need to call to ask which is why I now prefer staying overnight at them over Walmart. Also, truck stops have everything I need besides a parking space. They have gas, laundry facilities, showers, restaurants and a good cup of coffee in the morning. I also like that they are open 24 hours with lots of people around and I like the sounds of the trucks. They have a relaxing hum to them. I know, I am wierd 😁 The only time I have felt uncomfortable at truck stops were at ones in or near big cities because of shady looking locals that hang out there like the one I stayed at in Memphis so I could go to Graceland in the morning. I now avoid those truck stops. When picking out a truck stop for the night I search for ‘truck stops’ on my navigation in the direction I am headed and zoom in on the satelite view to make sure it is away from big cities and populated areas. Although I prefer truck stops between destinations I really miss camping in all of the great forests, deserts and BLM land that is more abundant in the Western part of the U.S. I also miss my van dwelling and RV friends I have met on the road that are mainly out West. Several of them have texted me asking when I will be headed that way again which made me feel good 😊 Since I have pretty much traveled the entire country (and parts of Canada) in my van going to most of the places I have wanted to go I plan on slowing it down when I get out West again sometime in December after heading South to visit family. I am looking forward to visiting with my family ❤️

 

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

I enjoyed exploring Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. I drove along Skyline Drive and stopped on the many turnouts with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I also went on a nice hike. It is the start of the changing leaf colors. I really enjoy exploring the national parks after summer is over because they are a lot less crowded. If I didn’t have the annual pass for the national parks and national monuments I went to over the past nine months I would have spent at least $500 since a lot of the parks cost $20-$30 each. The annual pass was so worth the $80 I paid for it and it is still good for another three months. The road I took out West was a lot prettier of a drive and less congested than I95. However, I didn’t realize it is very popular with truck drivers. I always get a little nervous around the big trucks because an accident with one of them would be worse than an accident with a regular size vehicle. Most of the truck drivers try to leave enough space in front of them if they have to stop quickly but then other drivers drive right into their space. I have also had to deal with bad truck drivers that don’t leave any space and get right up to my bumper to scare me to moving out of their way even though I have nowhere to go. I have learned that if I can’t get into another lane to get away from them to speed up to get into another lane even though it means I will be driving over the speed limit until I can get over because I don’t want them behind me. I remember in my torts class in law school my professor telling us that the attorneys for the trucking companies instruct them to instruct their drivers that if there is a chance of fishtailing if they hit their brakes they should instead run over the car in front of them, I assume because of less liability. I confirmed this with three truck drivers I have met. I always try to stay away from them if I can avoid it. Also, if I am in the left lane and a truck is in the lane on the right of me and there is a vehicle merging into their lane from their right a lot slower than the truck is moving I will slow down and let the truck get in front of me. I don’t want anyone to get run over. Please keep all this in mind when you are on the road with the big trucks 🚚

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Family and New Jersey

I was in New Jersey the last couple of days visiting family I haven’t seen in a long time and some that I have never seen. I forgot to get pictures of everyone but some are below. I stayed overnight in my van in my uncle’s driveway. Although my cousin and my uncle both offered the spare rooms in their houses I slept in my van. I always feel more comfy my own bed. I don’t like the whole New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area that is close to New York City because it is so congested with traffic and agressive drivers so on my navigation I chose a route taking me further out West. I also wanted to avoid the Washington DC area because traffic is insane there. However, the navigation kept changing the route on me directing me to the New York City area even though I didn’t click on accepting the new route. After yelling at the lady talking on my navigation several times and going around in circles on the interstate I pulled off the road and decided to do it the old fashion way and just wrote down where to go. We get so use to technology we forget how to do things without it. I went to a gas station in New Jersey and was surprised that it is unlawful for you to pump your own gas. They have attendants that pump the gas for you. I guess I’ve never had to get gas in New Jersey before. I am now in Virginia and am looking forward to exploring Shenandoah National Park. I really liked a quote I saw online yesterday ‘The older I get, the less I care about what people think of me. Therefore the older I get, the more I enjoy life”. So true! 🌷

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Portland, Maine

Yesterday I spent the day in Portland, Maine and met up with my son because the ship he works on was docked there for the day. I took my son out for lobster because when you’re in Maine you gotta have lobster, except for me of course because I am a vegetarian. I try not to push my vegetarian ways on my son. We had fun walking around the old port area.  I was told that in Maine the weather can change very quickly so you always have to be prepared. It was really clear and warm when I got to Portland but within a few hours there was a dense fog that came in that brought really cold air with it. You could hardly see the ship and I had to go back to my van to get a couple of jackets for us. Last night I stayed overnight at Cabela’s which is a camping store chain up in this area that allows free overnight parking. Today I felt like Goldilocks looking for the perfect parking spot for the night. I didn’t like the Walmart and truck stop I went to because both looked like they were in bad areas. Apparently there are a lot of bad areas in Connecticut. I went to another Walmart that told me over the phone that I can park overnight there but when I got there I saw signs everywhere that stated ‘no overnight parking by police order’. I didn’t want to take a chance staying there and found a travel service plaza off the interstate that allowed overnight parking. I almost was going to stealth park at a hotel. I have to catch up on work tomorrow so I may not drive much. Since I just work part-time I usually let my work pile up for a few days and then I do it all at once to get it out of the way so I can have fun again 🌻

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Music Saved My Life

I had an awesome time at the Rock Gods Tribute Tour and camping festival in Maine this weekend. I had so much fun hanging out with the group of people that I met there who invited me to hang out with them again whenever I am traveling through Maine. Last night they had a Black Sabbath tribute band and a Pantera tribute band that played that reminded me how much I still love heavy metal. The real Quiet Riot played with their new singer who won American Idol. I was so impressed with all of the bands. I danced so much. I must’ve thought to myself at least twenty times over the weekend ‘I have an awesome life!’ I  didn’t always feel that way though. Since it is suicide prevention awareness month I thought I would bring up when I was fifteen and living at a group home I tried to commit suicide since I didn’t see a future. I took a bunch of pills and was waiting to die when I heard a rock song on the radio that I loved and thought to myself ‘I want to buy that record’. It was the 80s. I then thought ‘how am I going to buy the record if I am dead’. I then found something to live for which was music and I went to find someone to call an ambulance for me to take me to the hospital. So in a way music saved my life. I am grateful for the musicians that make the great music and the radio stations that play it. I haven’t thought of suicide since then and have found since then how awesome life really is, not that it is always perfect. If you’re feeling down reach out for help and always know that this too shall pass and rock on! 🎼

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Rock Gods Tribute Tour and Camping Festival in Maine

Earlier this week I was driving through Maine listening to a local radio station that announced an upcoming Rock Gods Tribute Tour and camping festival that sounded like fun. I pulled off the road to look at the navigation on my phone to see where Litchfield, Maine was and it wasn’t far from where I was at, so that is where I have been since Thursday and will be until the festival ends on Sunday. I love camping and music festivals. They had a Kiss tribute band and an AC/DC tribute band that played last night that sounded amazing. They even dressed the part. I felt like I was watching and listening to the real bands. The last time I saw the real Kiss in concert me and my friends wore the Kiss makeup on our faces and me and my boyfriend at the time got access to the very front of the stage because this guy that had to leave early with his kid knew we were big fans of Kiss because of our Kiss makeup and gave us his tickets to get closer to the stage. I also remember dressing like Kiss with my mom and my sister for halloween. We won first prize as ‘monsters from outer space’ because the judges didn’t know who we were and all the kids started yelling out “They’re Kiss!” I dressed the part of Ace Frehley both times. Today some more tribute bands are playing and the real Quiet Riot is playing tonight. It has been fun to hang out with the locals. The day I got here I found a great group of people to hangout and camp with. I found out that what I thought was just a Boston accent is an accent for all of New England and that people in Maine love to use the word ‘wicked’ to describe something great. I am having a wicked good time! 🎼

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Acadia National Park and Walmart Drama

I explored more of beautiful Acadia National Park yesterday and stayed overnight at a Walmart in Banghor, Maine. This morning I looked out my window to see police officers going up to all of the RVers that also stayed the night to talk to them but they didn’t come up to my van, probably because they didn’t think anyone was in the van since a cargo van. After they left I got out of my van and asked one of the RVers outside what was going on and they said the police are looking for someone. I then went into Walmart to buy groceries and they told me I couldn’t leave the store because the store was on lockdown. I was eventually allowed to leave after I was told they found the person they were looking for. When I was driving out I noticed they were removing the cones that were blocking the entrance and exits. I sometimes see shady characters sleeping in their cars overnight at Walmart since most Walmarts allow it, not sure if it was one of those shady characters they took into custody. When I park for the night I just go straight to the back of my van so nobody knows there is a woman in there traveling alone. I also learned I can put my alarm on while inside with the blue flashing light outside notifying people of the alarm. I went to another part of Maine on the way to my next destination to stop at a park and hang out for the day to get some work done. I found a nice shady spot in front of the playground there. Towards the end of the day I noticed this lady in her truck sitting there a long time. She kept looking at my van. She was the only one left in the parking lot and there was only two kids left at the playground so I thought maybe they were her kids but as soon as I started my vehicle and drove away she immediately started her vehicle and followed me all the way to the main road. After getting on the main road I could see her in my mirror still there looking in my direction. She didn’t try to get on the main road. I then thought it may not be the best idea to park a cargo van with tinted windows next to a playground all day 😁 IMG_0642IMG_0649IMG_0666IMG_0670

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine

I noticed the demographics at the tourist destinations I have been to lately have changed a lot. They were crowded with lots of families but now that kids are back in school they are less crowded and there are mostly older retirees there. I bet most of them waited on purpose for families summer vacations to be over and the kids back in school before traveling, which is a smart decision to me. Many of the older people had a hard time walking which made me realize even more that I am grateful to be doing this while younger and physically able to. I always wanted to travel the U.S. in an RV when I retired but ended up doing it sooner with a 5th wheel and a truck when I got hit with breast cancer about six years ago. An illness has a way of waking you up and realizing that you need to do what you love now and to cherish every day because you don’t know how much time you have left. None of us do. I no longer have breast cancer because they caught it early on my annual mammogram. Every woman over 40 should get an annual mammogram. My mom wasn’t so lucky but she did travel more and she seemed like she was enjoying life more after she got breast cancer. They gave her two years to live but she lived eight, I think because of her positive attitude in spite of everything. I miss her so much. I know she would love that I am traveling in my van. You don’t have to wait for a serious illnesss to jolt you awake and realize how precious life is. As the lyrics in a Tim McGraw song goes ‘I hope you get a chance to live like you were dying’, which I am by doing what I love now. I am grateful to be healthy and traveling full-time, this time in a van. Today I explored the cute town of Bar Harbor and beautiful Acadia National Park, which is one of my favorite parks now. I enjoyed walking on the beach and over the rocks up on Cadilac Mountain to check out the beautiful view of the park and ocean below ⛰🏖

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