May 19, 2017
Cortney and the kids drove me to the airport in Philadelphia to catch a flight to Los Angeles. My good friend and business partner is getting married and I am planning to catch up with our staff in California and Colorado.
I think today was the hottest day for us thus far – even hotter than San Antonio, Williamsburg or LEGOLand in Florida.
Cortney will be the first to tell you navigating is not her thing! At the time, she had what she refers to as a dumb phone, an old Nokia flip phone – it worked and it served its purpose for communicating. Well, after a two hour detour last Fall when she was driving with the kids from Nashville, TN to her parents home near Charlotte, North Carolina, her parents took pity on her and upgraded her navigational skills with an extra iPad they had. So armed with her dumb phone, iPad for navigating and if you recall, no working air conditioner in the Civic, she was set up for an adventure on this sweltering day. And it was hot!
After dropping me at the airport they headed to a Trader Joes in downtown Philadelphia since the last TJ’s shopping trip was all the way back in Austin, TX. It was time to replenish treats! When Cortney went to route herself back to Elk Neck State Park the iPad showed a very sad emoji face and said something like – “why did you leave me in the hot car – I am going to die! So I am not going to give you directions until you cool me down” – something like that. How Cortney managed to navigate her way back to the park is a miracle of sorts. It was a bummer as she and the kids were just blocks from the Liberty Bell but no way to get there.
I arrived late in the evening to LAX and rented a car. When the gentleman at the rental car counter found out that I was by myself and had only a backpack he stepped away to confer with a coworker. He came back and asked again, “Are you sure you are alone? Just you in the car?” “Yes, just me” I said. “Okay he said, you can find your car in slot A15, here are your keys”. I left the rental counter and strolled around back and found that only a few cars remained and there in A15 was a two door convertible Mazda Miata! Not only was this cool but pretty sentimental as my dad owned a Miata for a time with a license plate that will go down in history as it read, MiataBoy! My dad was a few inches over six feet tall so you can picture him lowering himself into and peeling himself out of this miniature car. We always joked with him that he looked like one of the McDonald’s Happy Meal toy cars, where the character’s head is sticking out the top. All these memories flooded back when I saw the Miata sitting there in A15! And I had a nice laugh.
While in California I stayed with Cortney’s childhood friend Claire and her husband Michael in El Segundo. They were gracious to allow me to crash in their spare room for the couple of days and nights I would be in town.
(It was there that I told Michael – a hobby astronomer – that I was interested in maybe checking out the solar eclipse that was set to occur in August. He said I “MUST GO!”, explaining in great detail what an amazing experience it would be. I wouldn’t say I was on the fence – I was fairly certain I wanted to see it – but what he convinced me of is that I needed to get under the path of totality. to really experience the eclipse. If I had been on any fence, I hopped off that night and was firmly in the camp of totality. And we did. We stood In the Shadow of the Moon in August of 2017 in a small little town in Wyoming! Thanks Michael!)
May 20th through May 27th 2017
On Saturday May 20th my plan was to attend my friend Adam’s wedding in San Clemente, California. That morning I stopped into our California office for some work and then did, what I hope anyone with a sporty convertible in SoCal would do, drive it to the beach with the top down and enjoy the beautiful weather.
The wedding was great! I had a lot of fun seeing friends I had not visited with in far too long, played some games at the wedding (Adam and I do teach games for a living), followed by dinner and dancing.
On the drive back El Segundo I ditched the top again and took the drive up the Pacific Coast Highway until it became too cold!
On the other side of the country, Cortney and the kids were roughing it in comparison. That same day they built a teepee in our campsite!
On Sunday morning I flew early into Denver and spent the week working from our Denver office. Not much made it into the journal this week, other than lunch with our neighbor and friend Rob.
Cortney and the kids spent much of the week battling rain and severe storms, spring showers as they say. When you are camping in the forest along the Chesapeake, with saturated grounds where large trees just fall over, big storms create mild anxiety. (The flooding that occurred recently in Baltimore, is a perfect example of this. So much water and no where for it to go.) It’s that dreaded viral photo you picture in your mind of a large timber crushing though your RV. Several trees were downed but thankfully none in our loop. It’s not easy sitting in an RV avoiding the rain, so they pulled out the rain gear and got out, keeping busy and mostly dry.
On Tuesday they ventured back to Roots Country Market & Auction, a fascinating experience. The kids purchased more fidget spinners! Why?! Fidget spinners + Amish Market , what an amusing thought. They enjoyed all the market had to offer short of purchasing a bunny from the auction!
One of the other days they ventured north to Hershey, PA for Hershey’s Chocolate World Factory Tour. They had a blast and lots of kisses, both chocolatey and smootchy.
Another day they ventured to a miniature railroad, The Choo Choo Barn in Strasburg, PA. (They are still talking about this place – Nolan was in heaven) A hobbyist, who’s passion for trains began in 1945, soon out grew his basement, moving his miniature collection and opening it to the public. Or as Cortney thinks, his wife got tired of the trains taking over the house and gave her husband the ultimatum, it’s either me or the trains 😉 His son in the the current proprietor and tinkerer extraordinaire whom keeps the trains on track!
Between rain storms and outings, they enjoyed the waterfront near our campsite. There they viewed Bald Eagles and simply just played and explored.
School was in the forecast as well, rain makes perfect reading time! Trying to save on gross weight in the RV we left many books at home. With ravenous readers on the road we had to get creative in getting our hands on books. We attempted several different ebook formats from free platforms offered by our library at home to Amazon’s Kindle Freetime. None of them had enough titles, we stumbled upon Epic Books for Kids and fell in love! So many great fiction and non-fiction titles, better options than our own library offered!
When not doing school the kids made friends with local turtles, rode their bikes and did what kids do best, they played!
Amongst the play came some chores such as laundry – a great place and time to do some school work as well. And the best kind of school is when the older sibling teaches the younger one!
One evening cell service became spotty as a big storm passed over, Cortney was unable to bring up the forecast on her computer. Through some texts that made it through the network, she asked me what was happening. Thankfully I was able to look at the doppler and basically let her know – don’t go outside, it’s big! “Duh!” she said, that was obvious! It eventually passed but it was a big one, lots of strong wind, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. It ended up downing several trees, thankfully again, none in our loop.
I yearn for the week to be done and to get back to home. Thankfully as I write this there is just one more day.
On Saturday May 27th, I landed e-a-r-l-y in Philadelphia after taking a red eye from Denver. I thought I would never have to take one of the flights again, but I did. They are the cheapest option by far – so I bit the bullet on that one. Cortney, bleary eyed, picked me up and we drove back to Elk Neck, our little piece of heaven on Earth. Upon arrival I napped for a bit and then woke midday for bathroom cleaning while the kids played.
That afternoon Cortney and Hadley went into town for ‘date’ while Nolan and I just hung at the RV. He wanted to play LEGO and well you don’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me to join in and build with LEGO.
It is good to be back home and know that I just have taken my last work trip back to Denver for the remainder of our adventure. We are due back in Denver in late July. Wow – only 2 months remain – where is the time going?
(When I was ready to post this blogpost, WordPress provides a place to share a message to Facebook. This is the message I drafted and I like it because it sums up the post in one my favorite literary tools – a run-on sentence:
A lot can occur in 9 days including: flying across the country, renting a convertible, being lost in Philadelphia, becoming convinced that you would stand in the shadow of the moon in a few months, witnessing a wedding of someone whom you thought would probably never get married, providing weather reports to your wife from 1,500 miles advising her and the kids to stay in the motorhome, that your kids would purchase more fidget spinners to add the already growing obnoxious collection, kisses in Hershey’s PA, and certainly not the end of the list, but the list does need to end somewhere – realizing that home, that word home, is really about being with the one’s you love and cherish – and that after a week away from them you are glad to be back in their presence and back in your own bed – even if it is two foam mattresses stacked on top of one another.)