Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Suitcase Living, Family & Friends

We're currently on a "southern" U.S. road trip from NH to FL and posting about sites seen & foods sampled along the way. This post provides some info on our road trip.

Living on the road for several consecutive weeks can be challenging. This current southern U.S. jaunt is our second 6-week road trip within a year. Last July to August we traveled from NH to OR within the same time period.
My single large purple suitcase

These extended trips have taught me that (1) we almost always carry more things with us than needed, mostly in terms of clothing and (2) it's entirely possible to live out of a suitcase the entire trip. Of course, that excludes toiletries which are always set up in the bathroom within 10 minutes of our arrival at a new lodging. We've become quick at setting up in hotel rooms (lots of experience lately).

Most importantly, we know that we can travel as a couple and still be on talking terms at the end of our travels.This post tells more about trip "essentials" rather than sites and foods along the way. There will be more of those as our adventures are not quite done yet, but this is a break (for you and me).

Grenville's 2004 Jeep Cherokee
Transportation: We travel in our personal vehicle vs. a rental and this year we're using Grenville's 2004 Grand Cherokee. Last year we used my 2007 Jeep Liberty. We had checked into car rental costs and after rental, mileage and gas costs (even with discounts), it would have been more costly than using our personal vehicle. 

Also, we would have needed to bring many of our own items, including a GPS, so it's easier to use vehicles we're familiar with and that already have "stuff".

Navigation: We have a dash-mounted GPS with satellite navigation vs. the using cell phone travel apps that are popular with many folks. These could be problematic when there's no cell service as in some areas we travelled. And, I also have maps provided by AAA and a large U.S. road atlas which is well marked from last year's travels. (After cataract surgery to correct for distance vision, reading glasses have become a necessity for close-up map reading and a highlighter is always useful.)

Hampton Inn
Lodging: Since we don't follow a "set" schedule, our next-stop reservations are generally madras soon as we arrive at a destination. Hotel stays have ranged from 1 to 4 nights in the same location. Accommodations are (nearly) always at this well-known hotel chain. We haven't used the popular "air bnb's"  favored by many others, including folks we know. 

Generally, we stick to one specific hotel chain as we always know the level of service to expect. Also as "Rewards Members" we receive bonus points which have been used for lodgings a couple of times on this trip; it's a nice "perk."

Laundry: We've been able to do it on-the-road, not literally of course, but nearly every hotel has a guest coin laundry. However, we were surprised to find that a couple didn't have a guest laundry, so now we check beforehand. Our usual practice has been to do laundry every 3-4 night, depending on how long we're staying. 

Speaking of doing laundry on trips, did you ever wonder HOW astronauts aboard the International Space Station do laundry? The answer is they can't as there's no washing machine on board. Astronauts stretch out how long they can wear clothes, including underwear. That's not quite as bad as it sounds since clothes don't get dirty in space like on earth. Fresh clothes are delivered several times during their stay. Dirty clothes are put in a non-reusable spacecraft that burns up in the earth's atmosphere. Now you know that despite their mother's advice, astronauts don't always wear clean underwear.

Food: None of the places we stay have kitchen facilities, aside from a microwave and small refrigerator, which means we're dining out every day. Breakfast is included at the hotels with  a variety of hot and cold choices. We limit meals to only 2 per day, which for us is breakfast at the hotel, then a late lunch or early dinner while out. Yes, we've had a few frozen "treats" along the way (isn't that what folks do on vacation?) Of course, we've gained some unwelcome pounds. I'm already planning a return to the South Beach plan, most likely for life!

Folks Along the Way: We've gotten together with so many family and friends on this trip. Pat's reunited with cousins in AL and FL, who he hadn't seen in 30-40 years. We visited a couple of my cousins in GA and VA who I have seen within the past 5 years.
Pat (Grenville) with cousins Rob (AL) and Patti Ann (FL)

Dorothy (Beatrice) with cousins John (VA) and Kathie (GA)

We met up again with blogger friends, Denise & Gregg, who we first met several years ago on a weekend trip to their area. We also met fellow blogger, Ludwig, for the first time. Since he lives in the same lovely GA town as my cousin, we look forward to a future meet-up. We had hoped to be able to meet up with other bloggers along the route, but weren't always close to where they live without going too far off our route. (Perhaps, on a future road trip.)
Blog friends Denise & Gregg (VA) and Ludwig (GA)

Friends we've re-connected on our travels are ones we've seen more often than than some family members. Several of these friends still live in our native NJ; some are former NJ residents like ourselves.
Top: Pat & Gary (FL), Mary (VA) Dorothy & Martha (NJ), Susan & Dorothy (NJ)
Bottom: Jill & Dorothy (NJ), Dorothy & Jean (GA), Margaret (NJ)

This trip has been so different from last year's in that we've visited time with so many folks. That's the great thing about road trips — we never know what adventures lie ahead. While our travels aren't quite over, we're getting closer to home in NH. Yes, it will be nice.

Thanks for coming along on the trip and leaving the driving to Grenville.


Nil @ The Little House by the Lake said...

I loved reading about your trip.

Did you do a post about places in FL? ( I was wondering if I missed any.:) )

Anvilcloud said...

Seems like you have a good way of doing it.

Sandra said...

sounds like you have a plan for everything. neither of us like to travel, and have never spent more than 3 nights away from home, and that was only in Savannah to visit my parents or in Ormond beach at the same hotel every time.. it is good you both love to travel and meet new friends and old friends.

DUTA said...

As a traveler, you seem to do all the right things.
Your post is very interesting as far as travel information and practicality are concerned.

Rain said...

You sound like a pro at the suitcase life!! :) Very interesting and kind of funny about the astronaut undies lol! :)

Emma Springfield said...

Thanks to Grenville (and you Dorothy) For allowing me to tag along and look over your shoulders. It has been a great trip.

Michelle said...

You guys sound like total pros at travel!

William Kendall said...

You seem to have the travel side of things down right.

DeniseinVA said...

Once again a great read! Fun story about the astronauts and their undies. Funnily enough we were talking about what we were going to pack today, which included underwear and disagreeing about how much to take. It is a girl/boy disagreement thing. Venus and Mars, lol! I always take too much, Gregg says, Denise says he never enough (in my humble opinion). Most would agree with him I know.

mamasmercantile said...

You certainly have everything well organised. I smiled at your comment about the astronauts underwear, lol!

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

Looks like fun … I'm sorry I was too far off the travel route but I was there in heart.

Christina said...

I'll make sure to read this post again if I am ever lucky enough to do another road trip. My last one was in 1997.
I had no idea astronauts wear their underwear until it needs incinerated. My youngest is on good track for becoming an astronaut, we argue about changing undies most days....

Kim said...

road trip! interesting! I need one badly especially after I got discharged from hospital P:

bill burke said...

You two make a great traveling couple. Wonderful photos and narrative.

Connie said...

It sounds like you've got travelling down to a science. Great that you got to visit so many folks along the way. I'm sure that made your trip all the more memorable.

Ludwig said...

Indeed, you have it figured out! Thank you for including ...err, a photo of me. I was really neat meeting up with you.

In my long working career I had a job that required much travel, around the country as well as other part of the world. Often I was gone for many weeks and my itinerary was changing "on the fly" all the time. I learned to travel with just one carry-on. I also learned that there was no time to do laundry and hotel service took too long. Dirty laundry went into the waste basket. Most cities had nearby stores, so I could buy a couple packs of underwear and an occasional fresh shirt. Fortunately never needed to buy a suit. Guess I was ahead of NASA ...

L. D. said...

Yes, the older I get the more I get friendly with friendly faces. You are inspiring us to take a road trip along the north shore Minnesota. Our elderly dog kept us home for so long. Now that he is gone we really can just go.