Some Little States

A zigzag route to see best selling author Neal Stephenson speak.

The Sweep, Part 4

To get from Jersey City to Connecticut you have to cross the Hudson River. RVs are not permitted in the tunnels (propane is prohibited), so that leaves bridges. The George Washington Bridge was 4.5 miles away, which took a mear 1 hour 40 minutes to drive to. The toll for my rig was listed as $80, but they charged me only $72 to cross. A little over an hour later I was in Niantic, Connecticut.

There was some beach time in Niantic, then on to Rhode Island for some sailing.

After a brief visit to Massachusetts and a day trip to Cape Cod, I landed in Vermont where there were, um, well, trees. Oh, and some pretty aggressive flying insects too.

Finally, in New Hampshire I got to see Neal Stephenson on his book tour for Fall; or Dodge in Hell, complete with a signed first edition.

And Then There Was One

That’s 47 states visited on the Roamward Bound journey.

Continued in The Sweep, Part 5.

Harpers Ferry and a Ferry

Maximizing highway tolls while checking off three more states.

The Sweep, Part 3

There wasn’t really a goal to stay in all of the contiguous 48 states when I started off on the Roamward Bound journey. Still, looking at the map and seeing that all the states I hadn’t stayed in were in the North East (except Arkansas), I decided to sweep through them in the spring and summer of 2019.

From the Washington, DC area I headed to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, racking up $80 in tolls along the way. Harper’s Ferry is where West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia meet at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. It’s also the site where abolitionist John Brown attempted to trigger a slave revolt by seizing a small federal armory. The town is a well preserved historical park.

Next up, Delaware, required driving back through Maryland. I left with $126 in cash for tolls and arrived with $6 left. I camped at Delaware Seashore State Park near Rehoboth Beach. It was a great little beach community.

First Time on a Ferry

Well, first time the 5th wheel has been on a ferry at least. Taking the Lewes to Cape May ferry saved at least $50 in diesel and at least that much in tolls.

Cape May is another beach community on the south shore of New Jersey. One of my favorite things here was the lighthouse tour.

The downside here was on my way to the campground I missed a turn. The GPS sent me down a road which on the map circled back to the road I’d been on so that I could go back. In reality it was a dead end, narrow, residential street with cars parked on both sides. Trying to turn around was not fun and not entirely successful. I ran over a hedge destroying it and denting a panel on the RV. The homeowner was really nice and wouldn’t take any money for the damage I caused. He said they have lots of people coming down the road and have had at least six 18 wheelers stranded at the end. The loop part of the road hasn’t been there for over 10 years

NYC from Jersey City

On New Jersey’s northern shore I stayed at Liberty Harbor in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from New York City. You can catch a subway from here under the river to the World Trade Center.

Next: The Sweep, Part 4 – New England

Walking in Memphis

Traveling through Tennessee to Maryland and Washington, DC – Beale Street, the Memphis Pyramid, Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe and the National Mall

By law, a travel article about Memphis must reference the Marc Cohn song, so bear with me.

The Sweep, Part 2, Tennessee to Maryland

Leaving Little Rock, I headed to the land of the delta blues, staying in a state park just three miles from Graceland and six from downtown.

Walking down Beale street, I didn’t feel the need to keep my feet ten feet off. There was live music everywhere, drinking in the street, smoking and pot in the bars, and historic spots like Sun Records just around the corner. A happy, energetic party every night, and yes, there was catfish on the table and gospel in the air too.

The Memphis Pyramid, originally a 20,000 seat basketball arena, now a gigantic Bass Pro Shop, on the banks of the Mississippi river, is completely insane. There’s lakes, rivers, shooting range, archery range, hotel and more inside the pyramid. I took the 28 story free standing glass elevator inside to the apex for lunch and the observation deck. A must see in town.

The most moving outing, however, was the National Civil Rights Museum at the site of the former Lorraine Motel. The massive museum covers everything from the start of slave trade through the present day, with special emphasis, of course, on the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Moving on to Nashville, my main goal was to get into the Bluebird Cafe, which I wasn’t able to do the last time I was in town. Reservations are all but impossible to get and only 10-12 seats are available for walk ups. It took three tries but I did make it in.

College Park, Maryland – Washington, D.C.

To visit Washington, DC, I camped at the Greenbelt National Park in College Park, MD. Pro tip – if you are driving through Maryland without an EZ Pass you need a wad of cash. I spent $70 in tolls from Petersburg, VA to College Park.

I was last in DC about 54 years ago. All I can remember from that family trip was the Lincoln Memorial.

Since I may not remember anything at all in a few years, here are a few pictures.

Next Up: The Sweep Part 3 – West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey

Go East Old Man

The Sweep Part 1

Often credited to newspaper editor Horace Greeley, there’s just no evidence he said “go West, young man” and, in fact he denied it. No one has proven the origin of this phrase.

Lucky for me, my days as a young man are gone – going East should be fine. Nearing six years of full time RV travel, all the states (in the lower 48) I haven’t visited in the RV are in the East.

I left Butte County, California, which is still recovering from the destruction of the Camp Fire, on February 21 heading for Arkansas. It was slow going – winds gusting to 90 MPH, flipped 18 wheelers and a freight train blown off the tracks along the way. Had to hunker down in Benson and again in El Paso. It felt right to stop in Texarkana, Texas before really getting into Arkansas.

The Texarkana Post Office, right on the state line.

Yup, located downtown in Texarkana, Texas, salutes “our loyal confederates” … just like all the statues celebrating America’s adversaries and traitors like Hideki Tojo, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Robert Hanssen, Erwin Rommel etc. No statues of them? How unfair, part of our culture!

Little Rock

A short drive later I was in North Little Rock, staying in a municipal park on the Arkansas River.

View from my campsite in North Little Rock. The bridge, formerly a rail bridge, is a pedestrian walkway to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

I got to see the presidential library / museum which showcases the good, bad and ugly of the Clinton presidency. What a fantastic museum.

I also visited Little Rock Central High School and the National Park Service’s Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site across the street, which tells the moving, yet horrific, story of Arkansas’ fight to block integration of the High School, a lasting stain on our entire country. You might want to watch Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later, available on HBO or DVD.

Little Rock Central was again the subject of a Supreme Court case in ’68 challenging the state’s prohibition on teaching evolution. It’s no surprise that the state ranks 44th in percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma, and 45th in personal income.

Next Up

Heading east through Tennesssee towards Maryland.