Cannonball Run!! Complete the 48!

We knew we still had 3 more states to do, and we knew we were running out of time. Our goal to complete the 48 was close to being doomed. Thanks to Covid, our 2020 trip ANYWHERE was cancelled. All three of us essential workers didn’t have an opportunity to take time off, and with restrictions everywhere, it wasn’t worth it anyway.

We had saved the Northeast for the last of the 48 because they were easy in our book. We live local enough, we can do them whenever. Or so we thought. Now here we are, 1 month until Jayden graduates High School, 3 states to go, no time to spare, and a promise unfinished.

rv hangers

If you know Doug and I, you would know that the unfinished promise is just unacceptable. We may not always do things conventionally, but we do them our way, and we keep our promises. Jayden has been promised the continental 48 BEFORE graduation, Alaska FOR graduation, and then… when he is rich and famous he has the responsibility of getting us to Hawaii. Good deal, right?

Our US Map of completion - Complete the 48
Almost Done!

What’s left? Jayden needs Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Doug actually needs New Hampshire too. So, here we go! House is on the market, realtor would prefer we were out of the house for the weekend so we don’t have to keep taking the dog around the block during showings, so an opportunity has risen.

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The Plan

Doug found a KOA just over the New Hampshire boarder into Maine. That will nicely provide us a place to call base for the Friday night, and we can see a few things in New Hampshire and bounce over the state line and do a few things in Maine. We plan to leave New Jersey on Thursday evening once we are all home from work and school and taking care of our appointments. Per Google, it is a 6 hour drive to the campground; but, that is without stopping and without towing a camper. We know we will be moving slower than the cars around us and will likely need to stop on our way up for a nap at the very least. But it puts us on the road!

Saturday morning, wake up early, hook up, and get on the road through Vermont to stop and see the in-laws for a quick minute, back on the road and get the camper down to Mystic Connecticut. We want to drop the camper, and hustle back out and back north to Massachusetts and do a few things up there for the evening before going back to Mystic for the night.

Sunday morning, wake up in Mystic, pack up and prepare the camper for departure, but leave it at the campground. Head into Rhode Island for some breakfast and sightseeing. Back to the camper in time for checkout, hook-up and head back toward New Jersey….

The Reality

Our plan was fairly impressive and honestly, probably a little too ambitious. But.. We DID complete the 48! Some adjustments needed to be made on the fly. It’s a road-trip, it happens, and should be expected.

We managed to get on the road about 2 hours earlier than anticipated on Thursday. Initially we thought this was great, it would provide us with more time in Maine and New Hampshire! Then, after being on the road for about an hour we looked at the GPS and it dawned on us that we really only gained time in the middle of the night when you can’t do anything anyway! First change in the itinerary. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner (a road-trip MUST HAVE in our family). While sitting there waiting for our food we came up with a newish plan. We didn’t completely alter everything, but we decided to look for a place to just crash Thursday night. Both Doug and I pulled out our phones and started looking for a KOA along our route, BINGO! We found a KOA Journey. We left dinner, and found our way to the KOA. When we went to bed, we made it known to Jayden and his girlfriend that we would be up early.. for them at least.

Friday morning – up at 6am, woke the kids at 7am after taking the dog for a nice healthy walk and hit the road again. Plugged our Maine campground into the GPS and hit the road. While Doug was driving, I pulled out my phone and started poking around on our Harvest Host app. I don’t know that I was looking for anything in particular, but I was looking. We booked this quick trip at the last minute and completely forgot about Harvest Host. So I guess I really wanted to see what we had missed out on. Well, you know what, we missed out on a lot! I found a farm that was only about a 30 minute detour off of our planned route. Based on the GPS, we were on track to arrive to the campground MUCH too early for even an early check-in, so I called! Snow Pond Farm in Windham New Hampshire. The information on Harvest Host said we were out of season for them, and to make sure to call ahead for possible availability. If this worked out, Jayden was going to be childishly excited, Doug was going to check-off New Hampshire, and we would now be arriving at the campground at a reasonable time to hopefully be able to go straight to our site.

Jayden and Nikki at Snow Pond Farm with the Alpaca's
Jayden and Nikki at Snow Pond Farm

Snow Pond Farm is an Alpaca farm. They also have chickens, but quite frankly, we were more interested in seeing the alpaca’s. Jayden has had a ridiculous obsession with them since he was young. I believe it started when he learned that they spit… But whatever the actual reason may be, having the opportunity to stop in and check them out was right up his alley. Guess what! They told us they would be available and that we could make the stop. Insert second change in the itinerary. We made our way through a development with our big truck and our even bigger camper, and found Snow Pond Farm.

I’ll admit, we were a little hesitant. We were on a cul-de-sac, in a development, in front of someone’s house… I called again and was told to head around the left side of the house, and we could check out the alpaca’s. Ok! So that’s what we did. There were 15 females, 9 males, 2 babies. It was great! One brown one was rolling around in the dirt making a ruckus, enjoying the day and the sun on his belly. There wasn’t much else, but we took a few pictures, gave the dog a good walk, took a break from being in the truck. The information on Harvest Host said that they have products that they sell, but I have to assume that because we were there off season, that wasn’t an option. We hopped back in the truck and finished the journey to Maine with New Hampshire officially checked off of all of our lists!

We pulled into the KOA Holiday in Lebanon Maine at almost exactly 1pm. They had a site available for us for an early check-in. We got the rig all disconnected and set up. The kids ran to the store to grab firewood for later, Doug took Lagertha for a walk, and I started getting a crockpot dinner together. With all of us working together, we got everything done quickly. In Maine, our plan was to head up to Acadia National Park. After speaking with the lovely ladies in the office, they informed us that it was another 4 hour drive from where we were. It was encroaching on 2pm already, it would have been 6pm before we arrived there, and 10pm if we did nothing but turn around and head back to camp… Insert itinerary change number 3. Back to Google we went. We were 45 minutes from York Beach. Honestly, we knew nothing about it before we got there, but once again, we weren’t disappointed. It is a beautiful little beach town with adorable shops all around. We spent some time at the beach horsing around, taking in the sights, and taking a couple of pictures. We walked around the town, through some shops, purchased our souvenirs, and made our way back to camp. The drive both directions was great. We all love being off of the highway and driving through little towns, and that is exactly what we were able to experience. Thankful for the crockpot, dinner was hot and ready when we got back to camp.

Velting Family on York Beach Maine
the Velting’s on York Beach Maine

Saturday morning, with 2 states checked off and 2 more to go, we hooked up, jumped back in the truck and headed south. From here on out, we did manage to stick to the itinerary. So a quick visit with family in Vermont, a lunch stop at Cracker Barrel, of course. And kept on trucking down to Mystic Connecticut. Once again we dropped the camper and had to jump back in the truck to stay on track. This time, it was going to be another haul, just without the camper. Back up to Massachusetts we went. After already driving THROUGH Mass., we needed to now go DO something for it to count. It was a 2 hour drive to Boston. When we were at the Cracker Barrel for lunch our waiter told us to check out the Seaport, so that’s where we headed. We walked around the seaport for a little while, but without reservations, catching dinner wasn’t really going to be an option. It is a very beautiful area with a ton of eateries, and bars. Looking out over the water is gorgeous. But… We were in Boston… I’ve made Doug go to NY and Chicago for pizza, Philly for cheesesteak, I HAD to have some chowder.

Boston Tea Party Museum
Boston Tea Party Museum

Things happen for a reason. We didn’t know we would need reservations to eat anywhere near the seaport. Our fault, we didn’t look it up. Instead we walked around Boston hungry. We walked past the Boston Tea Party Museum, hung out with Sam Adams, and stumbled upon the South Street Diner. Maybe it’s because we are from NJ, self-proclaimed Diner Capital of the World, but eating at a diner just always seems perfect! Doug had Apple Pie for dinner, Jayden had Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes, Nikki had a Happy Waitress, and me – I GOT MY CHOWDAH! None of us were disappointed, the food was outrageous, our waitress was hysterical, and now, Massachusetts was checked off. Back to the truck for the 2 hour drive back to camp.

South Street Diner - Boston Massachusetts
South Street Diner – Boston Massachusetts

Sunday Funday. Last day of our journey. One state left. How we managed this, I have no idea, but we unintentionally saved the smallest state for last. You could sneeze and completely miss driving through Rhode Island, but don’t let it fool you! It packs a mighty punch inside of those borders. It is the 13th state in our Union, so it has a lot of history. We chose Newport, Rhode Island to finish up our grand expedition. It was a 45 minute drive from the Mystic KOA. We opted to just pay for the site through Monday so we wouldn’t have to worry about pulling out before check-out.

We’ve seen Josh Gates and Scott Wolter both talk about the Newport tower on the Science and History channel. No one really knows who built it, when it was built, or even the purpose it was built. One of America’s mysteries. But we were there with Lagertha around 10am for a wonderful walk down old cobblestone roads to check it out and see it for ourselves. Newport has definitely learned to cater to tourists, but somehow they have also managed to keep their little city feeling quaint and historic in the process. It was a fun place to walk around, and bounce in and out of little shops, some with water bowls outside for your 4-legged companions to hydrate. They have public restrooms throughout the downtown area too, so you aren’t in constant search for a shop that will allow you to use theirs. We settled on O’Brien’s Pub for lunch. Pet friendly with a great outdoor patio area. Our drinks were cold and our food was yummy. Personally, I wasn’t going to leave New England without having a Lobster Roll… But everyone else settled on a burger.

Doug and Loretta in front of the Newport Tower
Doug and Loretta in front of the Newport Tower

One last stop in a souvenir shop to pick up our treasures and that was it. For real. That was it. We did it. We completed the continental 48! Holy sh*t! With exactly one month to spare before Jayden graduates High School, we had made good on our promise. We didn’t do a lot of anything in any of the states. In fact, we had just barely scratched the surface for all of them, but We Did It!

Group Photo at the top of the Lighthouse - York Beach Maine
Group Photo at the top of the Lighthouse – York Beach Maine

This voyage was a true Cannonball Run. We drove and drove and then drove some more, but we did a few things and saw a few more. Mostly, we probably ate in a couple new places, but that’s ok too. We had a ton of fun being together, trying out the new camper, seeing new places, and really – just not being home. Don’t be afraid to just jump in the car and see the things you want to see, do what you want to do, or check out some infamous eats! Now to head back home and see how the realtor made out with the showings, and find out just how soon our next chapter starts.

What have you done or seen in these states? We know we missed a lot, and we know we will be back, so do you have suggestions for next time?

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