Current Location: Smyrna, DE
The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
~ Marcel Proust
This week’s update is a little delayed (meaning it’s over 2 weeks late, oops!) so we have a few things to share with you. As of the last email we had just surprise visited our families in Kentucky (which was really fun!). We finished up our time there with a huge RV spring cleaning, both inside and out. I went through and reorganized many of our storage compartments and cabinets, goodwilled some items, and deep cleaned the window crevices to remove 46 national parks worth of sand and dirt that had accumulated. The NPS tells you to take nothing and leave only with memories, but we could have made a small mouse-sized beach complete with dunes with all the sand I found hiding in odd nooks and crannies. Matthew handled most of the outside, and it was no better. Having spent the last few months driving through desert sands, mountain sleet, and bug clouds, our front end looked like a morbid modern art painting. When we left Moab, the red dust blowing about had stuck to all the bug explosions on the front of our rig, creating a very interesting and colorful pattern of splatters. Very embarrassing (for me anyway). All this to say, we were really dirty and spent a lot of time cleaning. Now I can look at our home unashamedly (at least for a little while, until the bug swarms start again).
We left west Kentucky and moved east to Mammoth Cave National Park. Being Kentucky natives, we have visited the cave in the past, so for this visit we decided it would be fun to explore the above ground section of the park. There is a lot of very nice hiking and bicycling that we really enjoyed. The Mammoth Railway Bike Path ran right by our campground so we spent an excellent day enjoying some pedaling on it’s wooded, gravel path. Other than one heart pounding moment on the trail when Matthew and I almost ran over a snake it was a very pleasant ride. There were scattered thunderstorms during our visit, so we also played about a thousand rounds of UNO. This UNO marathon sparked an idea and Matthew suggested we start a Lifetime UNO Tournament (where we will keep a running score until one of us dies). Right now Matthew is winning, but I have at least 40 years to regain my lead, so the odds seem pretty good.
From Mammoth Cave we made an overnight stop in Lexington, KY to visit some dear friends. We had a blast catching up with them and also got to indulge in our most favorite donut/coffee shop of all time, North Lime Coffee and Donuts. If you ever go through Lexington you should stop just to go there. Best. Donuts. Ever. We may have gone twice during our 16 hour stay in the area; there is no such thing as shame when it comes to North Lime.
- 46 National Parks (of 47 in the Contiguous US; Holy Cow we’re almost there!!)
- 40 States (of the lower 48, woot-woot!)
On to West Virginia we headed and happily stumbled upon New River Gorge National River. What a beautiful area amongst the rolling Appalachian Mountains! We spent a night here and motorcycled down in to the gorge the next day for a little refreshing scenery before heading on to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
At Loft Mountain Campground in Shenandoah we snagged a superb campsite, right on the edge of the ridge with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the Appalachian Trail about 10 steps down from our site, separated only by a thin line of trees. The sunsets from here were stunning, with the layers of blue and purple rolling mountains draped against the backdrop of a glowing pink sky and orange sun. Complete with a gentle breeze, the smell of moist air and spicy pine, and the chittering song of birds. This part of the country may not be as dramatic and awe-inspiring as the West, but it has a quiet, subtle beauty that is all it’s own.
We spent 4 days in Shenandoah, enjoying some motorcycling along Skyline Drive, a day of hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and generally just absorbing the pretty views and sunsets. By happy chance, we even met a fellow nomad at a little coffee shop called The Blue Elk Coffeeshop in Elkton, VA while doing some online route research. He and his wife are wedding photographers, originally from the area, and currently traveling and living full-time in their truck camper. It was fun to sit and chat about our common interests in RVs, travel, and coffee (you can see some of their beautiful photos on instagram @thesearchers.co).
Now we’re on the road again, headed over to Maryland and Delaware for a bit of a U.S. history lesson.
Ashley & Matthew