We’ve spent the last few weeks primarily out of the van enjoying some family and friend time. We expected to be craving some time away from the van by early October, but were actually sad to leave it behind for a couple weeks of travel. We found ourselves a little homesick for the van, which I think is an excellent sign. However, we won’t pretend we didn’t enjoy a “real” bed and shower. I won’t go into too much detail on our side trips (or I’ll never get caught up on this blog!), but here are some of the highlights.
France with the Somachs
We spent almost two weeks in Paris and on a riverboat cruise around Bordeaux with David’s parents, sister, and grandma. We had a lovely time visiting museums, eating lots of good food, learning about wine, and of course drinking lots of wine. David’s grandma Bobbie lived in France for a couple years and met David’s grandfather Fred there. David’s family took a trip to Paris with his grandparents twenty years ago, so this trip brought up lots of great memories for them. Bobbie found the riverboat cruise in a Viking catalog and we were all easily persuaded to accompany her on it. Despite David, his sister Sara, and me being the youngest on the riverboat cruise (and his parents likely the next youngest), we had a fantastic time. I think we went to bed earlier than most other cruise goers most nights as well. Looking at the photos now that I’m back in the van definitely makes me long for the sunny days and prepared food!
Fall Foliage with Alison
Our good friend from Portland, Alison, joined us in Boston as soon as we got back from France for a long awaited fall foliage trip. Alison lived in Washington DC for a couple years and David and I always promised we’d come visit in the fall – it didn’t happen. So Alison was kind enough to make the trip to us on the east coast to do some fall peeping. Although the weather could have been better, the trees put on a good show and we had fun just getting to spend time with Alison. She is such a good sport she even shared the van with us both nights, breaking in the small bed up front that the bench seat converts into. We spent the second night of her visit in a Walmart parking lot, so she really had the full van life experience (although we didn’t ask her to empty the tanks!). Although I try to keep up with friends in Portland on the phone, I’m not good at. Add in our unusual schedule and a different time zone and I’m pretty hopeless. So it is so good to see a friend from Portland while on the road and feel like we’re a little caught up with life back home. We can also reassure ourselves our friends will still be there when we get back and haven’t forgotten us!
Coincidentally, David and I both had good friends from college get married on the weekend of October 12th. While we were both sad to miss the wedding for the other person’s friend, we were glad they were both on the east coast at least! I flew down to Washington DC and hitched a ride with a friend to Charlottesville for my college roommate Lydia’s wedding. David drove up to Portland, Maine for his fraternity brother and post-college apartment mate Ben’s wedding. I loved being back at UVA and am excited that David and I will spend a few more days there on our way south. I went wine tasting, running, bagel eating, and reminiscing with old college friends. David went brunching, dancing, and vanning around Portland. Good times were had by all!
David’s grandma, Jane, lives in Marblehead, just about 45 minutes from downtown Boston. Her home served as our base camp for a few weeks in between our other travels. We were also in Marblehead for her 89th birthday and our first wedding anniversary (October 20th), and celebrated the occasion with two cakes, thanks to David’s mom! We loved showing Jane our pictures from the Bugaboos and hearing her recount the story of her and Jim’s ascent and naming of Mt. Kelvin. Jane and Jim’s travels were a big motivation for the trip and the Gnar Wagon felt right at home in Marblehead. We also fit in visits with David’s aunts, uncles and cousins who all live in the area.