We left!

Kristen here!

So..We did it! We left home! We’re officially on our own, out in the world, relying on each other and Penny to get through it all! I’m currently writing this from a cute little place called Book Trader Cafe in Connecticut, a little because we love places like this, a little for the free WiFi, a little because we’re hungry and haven’t bought real food to make yet, and a little bit more because we don’t quite know yet where we’re sleeping tonight..I don’t really find that scary for some reason, but John does--but let’s backtrack here.

We had originally intended to leave on Wednesday August 12th, but I don’t think we really realized how much more work we were going to have to do to get ourselves and Penny ready to leave. Of course as our wedding got closer that became more of a priority and we started slacking on van-things, so once we got back from our mini-honeymoon we were scrambling to get everything ready to go. We had to clean out John’s room, which was covered from floor to ceiling with pictures, old cameras, nick nacks and a few gecko cages. It took a lot longer than we thought to get all of those things organized/thrown out and packed away. We also had to do some last minute ordering of spare parts and bus-living items and get everything organized and packed up, and Penny needed a last minute check up and new tires.

As each day went by we realized we needed to push ourselves back another day-- but also from Philadelphia to Rhode Island (where our first farm is) is not that far of a drive and doesn’t have much in between so we thought maybe it would be better to stick around home a little longer. I think we’re both secretly glad we did wait, because there hasn’t been too much to see on the way so far.

he night before we left we had a little get together at John’s house with his family, my parents and his aunt and uncle which was so nice! With all the things we’d been doing, even though we were sleeping at my parents house and working on Penny at his parents house, we really didn’t get to spend too much time with our families before we left. It was nice to get a fire and s’mores going and have the families together for one last night before we left. It was also the night we had to say goodbye to John’s mom and my dad because they had to go to work the next morning. They were pretty sad goodbyes, but I still think, at least to me, that it didn’t feel real yet.

The morning of our departure we spent packing up the last few things for our trip and, to be honest, dillydallying it a bit because we knew saying our final goodbyes were going to be really hard. John’s brother and sister are 12 and 17 so they’re pretty close with us, and especially since we practically lived at John’s house while we were dating it is probably going to be a lot less noisy and weird around there with us gone. When the time finally came, you would have thought we were never going to see them again with the way we were crying. But we got through it, and we drove on over to my house to say goodbye to my mom, which is especially hard for me because she’s not just my mom, but my buddy. We took a little family video and pictures, said our final tearful goodbye and sped away, trying not to look back.

It was a weird feeling as we were driving away, because we were so sad to say goodbye to our families and the town we know so well, but we also had this sense of accomplishment! Like: We finally did it! We said we were going on this dang trip, and we did! Even if we had turned around right there, I think we still would have felt good about it. We decided, due to being so busy that we hadn’t even found a place to sleep yet, to start our trip the comfortable way and stopped at John’s aunt and uncles house in Robbinsville, NJ for our first night. They took us to a really cute little restaurant called Marcello’s in Bordentown, NJ and we got ice cream at Halo Pub. It was nice to leave and get that accomplishment, but then have the comfort of a home to sleep in.

When we woke up we decided to head to Sleepy Hollow, NY--growing up in the Philadelphia area we feel like we have seen plenty of New Jersey and New York City, so we didn’t feel the need to explore those places much--but Sleepy Hollow was a place we’d never been and figured it might be a little cute and a little creepy. But, I’ll tell ya, it wasn’t much. There was a cool place called Philipsburg Manor that looked like something from a Thomas Kinkade painting, and a little old Dutch Church with a spooky cemetery. It seemed like most of the places that we were interested in cost a fair amount of money, and due to being on a road trip, we’re trying to save that for really special places. We decided to move along on our journey--plugged in the address of the farm we’re going to be staying at on Monday and decided we were going to stop wherever looked interested. And that’s how we got to Connecticut! The first state neither of us have been to!

We decided to check out Yale University aka the Most-Deserted-Place-Ever-In-the-Summer. It does have some really beautiful buildings though, so we went exploring around campus and took some pretty pictures. We found this cafe that is lined with books to buy and read--it’s pretty cool. We decided to sleep at a truck stop--which, is kind of weird or scary if you’ve never been to one, which we haven’t. We got there and it was actually pretty nice, and there were people everywhere so we didn’t feel that uncomfortable. It DEFINITELY wasn’t a glamorous or ideal sleeping situation, but there’s not too in that area of Connecticut besides some high end family campgrounds and shady back roads. We think as we progress through the US we’ll find better places along the way.

I’m not gonna lie. It was probably the most uncomfortably hot sleeping situation of either of our lives..we pulled all the curtains in Penny, and even if we didn’t it was just completely dead, humid air. We have a battery powered fan, but it’s nothing compared to the small household fans you simply use for “white noise” at home. We actually told stories about being cold to try to fall asleep--sad, right? I definitely can’t wait until the weather breaks and it stops being so hot, luckily we only have one more night in the van for the rest of the week and we’re praying the farm has some form of air conditioning or air flow! But, it’s all a part of the experience!

After waking up multiple times last night we finally got up at 6am and cleaned ourselves up in the surprisingly nice bathrooms. We’re quickly realizing that we’ve packed way too much stuff, so I guess the next couple weeks will consist of weeding through our clothes and probably sending some of it back home. That’s annoying, but it’s a learning experience! Kind of like when you go somewhere for the weekend and you think of every scenario that could happen and pack an outfit for every occasion--times 500. I think once we’re actually on a farm and know what we need for that we’ll be able to get a better idea of what we actually need.

We started out towards Rhode Island, not really knowing where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do--left feeling a little hot and grumpy from our sleep. Connecticut was not really what I thought it would be; I was picturing rolling hills and mansions for some reason, and instead we ended up in super ghetto neighborhoods and Yale (which was deserted). We wanted nature! Trees! I was keeping my eyes peeled for exciting sounding exits and signs, and finally saw one for the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. It was pretty much a path through the woods with a pretty little view halfway through, but it was enjoyable at 8am to be outside in nature. We ate our first breakfast in Penny after that (cereal!) and went on our way. We then decided to stop at Gillette’s Castle State Park in East Haddam, CT. As we were driving towards the park our GPS said “In 0.5 miles, board the Ferry.” John and I were like, “WHAT??” We thought about turning around and finding an alternate route, but why not take Penny on a teeny little 6-car Ferry?

William Gillette, a stage actor best known for portraying and having a major hand in creating the character of Sherlock Holmes, built this “castle” for himself in 1914 and it’s really, very impressive. It sits on top of a hill with great views of the Hudson. The whole place is completely covered in stone (with purple grout, mind you) and wood. Every light switch, light fixture, shelf, door, cabinet, flower box and awning is handcrafted out of wood or stone and most have a unique way of fitting against something else or locking together. Afterwards we hiked down the hill a little and ate a snack in the heaaattttt before making our way back to Penny--who is running super well these days, by the way. By the end of our Connecticut visit we decided maybe it wasn’t so bad after all!

We decided to finally head into Rhode Island for the afternoon and check out Providence, which is where we are now. We’re sitting in Blue State Coffee which is right near Brown University (we’re really getting the ol’ college tours in now). This town is pretty cute, so we’re happy here for now--blogging, editing pictures, taking advantage of air conditioning and charging some batteries. Tonight we’re actually going to sleep on the farm’s property, although I think we’ll be in Penny until tomorrow--one more night of hot sleeping! Wish us luck!