Lest you think our travels are all sunshine and daffodils, I will be very honest about this particular travel day. In a nutshell: it sucked. If you go back and look at the hours and miles traveled on each preceding day for the prior 6, that pretty much explains why. It took basically the whole day to unravel some things so we could re-group, so it was a necessary part of the process. Still, not much fun in the moment.
When we’re in the unplanned mode of getting from here to there, we are essentially trading one type of stress for another. If we’d had the whole route planned and reserved ahead of time, that would lead to needing to get to each place on time with no room for the unexpected or spontaneous. If one day falls apart, that could lead to a whole string of missed reservations. So, we make the conscious choice to play it by ear, only reserving sites for specific things, like group gatherings.
How we decide where to stay at the end of each day is complicated, and where we needed to talk some stuff out. If you start by running a Google Maps route from where you are to where you need to be in 9 days, and divide by 9, that should tell you about how many miles you should travel each day. From there, you can use apps like Allstays to look for campgrounds in that general vicinity. Here’s what we learned: Allstays will give you mileage from your location to a campground as the crow flies. So Richard was looking for nice state parks further down the road that I had in my head. We’d plug that in, and I’d think, “Well, that’s farther for today, but that will mean tomorrow could be shorter.” Except that kept not happening. Here’s the other thing we learned: if you stray too far from your shortest distance route to get to a nice state park, you have gained nothing in terms of average daily milage.
So, the gist is that I was getting really tired and the days never seemed to get any shorter. With two days left before we needed to be shooting distance to our gathering in Quebec, Richard said the wrong thing and I freaked out. The next 230 miles were driven grumpy.
The shame is that this was an otherwise beautiful route that neither one of us was able to appreciate. I could see that the western part of Pennsylvania is a lovely, rolling terrain, fully blooming with all sorts of wildflowers. Likewise, the campground where we ended up looked to be an otherwise gorgeous location, along the eastern bank of Seneca Lake (one of New York’s Finger Lakes), but we were both too spent to really be able to enjoy it. Sigh, I guess we’ll just have to come back for a do over.
We did re-boot and work out some kinks in the route planning. Like maybe it would be better to stay at dumpy places sometimes if we want to make tracks and earn a two night stay somewhere pretty. That would have really helped. Also, it is probably inherently unfair to leave all of the mapping to the person with the visual spatial disability. Like for him, one scenic route on the map looks about the same as the highway, even when it adds a hundred miles to the day. But actually, despite all of this, I think the lesson here is more to realize there are times when the driver will get tired, and in these moments, it’s best to tell her she’s doing great and hand her a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Total miles: 331.2, 16.3 mpg, 7 hours 51 min. Nice campground with spacious sites, but the electric hookups are very far away on a shared pole with the next site. We didn’t have an extension cord, so just boondocked it. There appeared to be a naval history museum and visitor center but we didn’t visit.