We interrupt our normally delayed timeline of posts and briefly jump ahead to near real time to wish everyone well during these trying times.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to all essential workers and first responders!
For us, the pandemic situation became more of a concern around mid-February, but the dire nature of the situation really hit home two or three weeks later as the reality of what was happening in Europe became apparent based on reports from other bloggers we follow.
At that point it was mid March and we decided to abandon our original plans and reservations and make alternative arrangements to get back “home” to RI as soon as possible where we have a site waiting for us and have summered since 2013. Just a few days after making that decision the state of Florida closed all state parks and cancelled all of our reservations anyway. The federal government did the same shortly thereafter. We did get full refunds in most cases.
At that time we were in coastal Alabama (Orange Beach) and due to the lack of cooperation among the spring breakers regarding the practice of social distancing, the local governments were forced to close all the beaches there. At that point pretty much nothing was open and our previously fully booked campground (Pandion Ridge) began to empty out. We joined the fray and on March 20 we began our journey north. Despite a strict no-refund policy, Pandion Ridge (a Sun Resort), did in fact refund the unused portion of our stay, so kudos to them.
We decided to avoid dry camping in parking lots, but fortunately had no problems finding RV parks to stay at. The “new” process at most of the RV parks we visited was to call ahead to make a reservation and submit payment, then at arrival proceed directly to the assigned site, or in some cases pickup the paperwork that had been left outside for us (usually taped to a door).
We traveled 1452 miles, made 6 stops (7 travel days) and rolled back into Sun Valley on March 28.
- Starting: Orange Beach, AL – Pandion Ridge RV
- Montgomery, AL – Montgomery South RV: 1 night
- Fort Payne, AL – Wills Creek RV: 1 night
- Sevierville, TN – Two Rivers Landing RV: 3 nights
- Fort Chiswell, VA – Fort Chiswell RV: 1 night
- Mt. Jackson, VA – Shenandoah Valley CG: 1 night
- Pine Grove, PA – Twin Grove RV: 1 night
- Arriving: East Greenwich, RI – Sun Valley
We covered the 1452 miles (about 24 hours of driving time) traveling about 3 hours each day, except the last run which was about 6 hours. We stayed 3 nights in Sevierville to take a break, stock up on food and because of some severe weather that we wanted to let get ahead of us. Click here for an overview of the route, or for full route details click here. Below are some images of the scenery along our route.
The modified COVID-19 campground check-in policies pretty much eliminated all human contact, so despite the miles we covered, in reality we have been in self-quarantine since about March 16, which was the last time we actually went inside a grocery store back in Orange Beach. We did one curbside pickup for groceries at a Walmart in Sevierville, TN but again there was no direct human contact.
Along the way we noted various states had various – and changing – policies regarding whether campgrounds would be considered “essential” or not, and therefore whether they would be allowed to remain open or not. This created a great deal of uncertainty and we needed to make sure places we were planning to stay would indeed be open when we arrived so we called ahead each travel day. Lucky for us it all worked out, but we fear that situation has become more difficult at this point. Campendium is a great resource with up to date closure and status info.
As we rolled across the Connecticut border into RI, the National Guard and State Police were on full display and stopping vehicles with New York plates. The next day they started stopping ALL vehicles with out-of-state plates. Whoa.
Since then we have been in full self-quarantine as mandated by the local authorities. We are looking forward to putting all this behind us.
We hope everyone has a safe place to stay for a while and will remain healthy. If you can, please help those you know that are less fortunate and may no longer have an income. For example, for folks we know that do various boat or coach related work for us, if they need it to get through the rough spots we have offered advance payment for services to be rendered down the road. We are also trying to patronize our local restaurants that offer curbside pickup and/or delivery. Sadly, already a few of our favorites have shut down permanently.
Going forward, our upcoming posts will revert back in time to where we left off on our journey, the next post will be about our trip down the Bolivar Peninsula and across to Galveston, TX on a free ferry back in February.