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All posts for the day February 15th, 2017

Cross Country Day 1: From Rochester to Ohio

Published February 15, 2017 by Susan Woodward

The first day on the road was scary…and I hadn’t even left the garage yet!  Last minute jitters had me taking deep breaths, telling myself that I could do this.  I had planned and prepped and prayed.  I just had to believe and put it in gear.  I also looked at my passenger seat and remembered that Mom was with me for the long haul.

In order to make sure I would not chicken out, I made plans to meet a friend from high school in Erie, Pennsylvania for breakfast.  Nothing like having a commitment with a live person to motivate me to get on the road by 5 AM in order to get there by 9.  It was a beautiful day once the sun came up, and having the sun at my back, lighting my way westward, gave me confidence.  img_20160629_202748

It had been about ten years since seeing my friend, Greg.  It was great to sit, once again, in a diner drinking coffee and eating breakfast food!  Your Host was the diner where we hung out during our high school years (even though we went to two different schools).  It was like old times, and we had so much to catch up on.  Plus, Greg was just the person to give me that extra boost of confidence that everything was going to go perfectly for my trip and that I had nothing to fear.  Thanks, Greg!

From Erie, my next destination was Serpent Mound in Ohio.  Since anything to do with ancient peoples fascinates me (especially their myths/legends), when I learned that there was a quarter mile mound in the form of a giant snake nestled in the hills of Ohio, I had to go!

I had carefully calculated the mileage using Google Maps and the time estimates for getting to where I was going for the entire trip.  Let’s just say that the timing was NOT in alignment with the claim by at least two hours, even though I was doing the speed limits and following the maps.  But at least I got to where I was going!

Serpent Mound is most definitely NOT anywhere near any main highways, and the roads there wound through hills and forests. It was a beautiful drive, and I found myself sing20160629_175028ing “The Long and Winding Road” over and over.  It was early evening when I finally found the place, and I felt a sense of accomplishment just for getting there!

In order to best see the mound, there is a large tower to climb.  With my bad knee, I was terrified that it might give out while climbing.  Then I told myself that if I DIDN’T climb up there, I would always regret it by saying I had the chance and got too scared to do it.

So I climbed.

20160629_181113When I finally got to the top, I was glad I had gritted my teeth through the pain.

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The view was wonderful, and the pictures do not do it justice.  I hiked along the path around then entire mound.  There were only a few others there, so I felt more or less totally alone in this peaceful place.  This park is where I placed the first of my crystals.  Every time I dropped or planted a crystal, I offered the following song:

By the Earth that is her body,

By the Air that is her breath,

By the Fire that is her bright spirit,

To the living Waters of her womb,

May the peace of the Goddess

Be forever in your heart!

The circle is open but unbroken,

Merry meet and merry part!

Once I was ready to leave Serpent Mound, it was time for me to find the campground I had booked nearby.   I was not at Rocky Forks State Park very long– only long enough to explore a little, fix my dinner, get a hot shower, and go to sleep– but it was a beautiful place.

20160629_201408 20160629_201419 20160629_205046On my first day on the road, I learned no to be afraid to to just trust that the Universe held me in its hand.  I needed to simply enjoy.  Sleeping in the van was surprisingly comfortable, and I felt blessed to have made it through that first day. If I can do one day, I can do any day!

Blessed Be!

 

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Physical Preparation: Van Sweet Van!

Published February 15, 2017 by Susan Woodward

When planning to drive across the country alone, and camping in a van along the way, it is imperative to make sure that you have everything you need.  And trying to make sure that I had it all AND make room for myself to sleep in the van was like a giant puzzle.

I had a very large plastic tub to hold some food items and necessaries that would not be needed every single day (like my back pack, my extra shoes, books, plastic bags of all sizes, and things like that). That tub would also serve as a table when I was resting inside. It was big enough to hold my picnic set/dishes, my CPAP machine, and also act as a nightstand for my glasses and phone.

I had two large coolers: one filled with water bottles and the other held more water and my “refrigerated” foods (yogurt, lunch meats, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, and fruit).   I made sure that the food cooler was kept near the side door behind the wheel so that I had easy access to it, as well as easy opportunities to drain melted water and add new ice every day.

One of those small plastic “dressers” that has three drawers served as my medicine cabinet, a storage unit for small things that I would need access to easily, like hygiene items.

Two large water coolers in the event the engine needed a drink, or I needed to wash up without having a sink nearby.

Two suitcases for clothing, and I made sure I brought a variety so that I was prepared for any possibility, including dresses.

A single sized inflatable mattress with the pump, a set of sheets, my sleeping bag, and a set of towels.  I also remembered to have a 30 foot extension cord so that I could run it out the window at the campground and plugged it into a power strip in order to use my CPAP and to charge my phone.  If I had really been thinking, I realized I could have brought a coffee maker!

On top of ALL of this, I had promised that I would bring my ceramic Christmas village for my daughter who has a house big enough to set it up in.  Since I downsized to an apartment, I no longer had room to set it up.   That added five boxes to the stuff in the van!

When I told folks I was going to be sleeping in my van, I was warned to make sure that I had ventilation during the night, which would mean leaving a window open a bit.  I was not feeling that!  Especially since I did not want any creepy crawlies to get into the van while I was asleep!  After looking that van over, I realized that the rear vents opened outward.  They were also too small for any miscreant to reach in and unlock the van!  The only thing they needed was screening to keep out the bugs.  I went out and bought some cheap screening at KMart and a roll of duct tape.  That worked like a charm!  When I was at the campgrounds, I was able to get fresh air, listen to the night sounds, AND be bug free!

I even thought to buy a cheap plastic waste basket and some liners in the event of a bathroom emergency!  Happily, I never needed to use it, but I was glad I had thought of it!

The final touches included AAA travel books and maps, a GPS gift from my Aunt Nancy (Garmon was AWESOME), a selfie stick, a tripod for my camera, sun shades for all the windows, and my laptop.

Finally, everything was ready:

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With my mechanic’s blessing, saying he would take my vehicle anywhere, I was off!

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