Thickly Settled

On our way south again, we decided to really change things up and hit some of the big metropolitan areas on the East Coast. And it was none too soon. Not that we didn’t absolutely love Vermont, just that the campgrounds and dump stations were closing up behind us almost literally as we went down the road!  We had to get south!

Our first stops out of Vermont took us to the greater Boston area. We parked in a church lot near the home of our friends Donovan and Kat. Next we moved closer to the city to my dear friend Sue’s house. Our kids played (in between illnesses) while we caught up and we managed to visit the city a few times. We were struck by the road signs warning that we were entering “Thickly Settled” areas! One thing is for sure, we were not in Vermont any more! While in Boston we visited the Science Center, Paul Revere’s house, Beacon Hill, Walden Pond, Concord, Minuteman National Historical Park, Harvard, Cambridge, Wood’s Hole and Cape Cod.  In our history lessons, we had just finished up Mr. Revere and I, an Account in the Career of Paul Revere as told by his Horse. It was perfect timing to actually see his house and stand where he rode.

Willa at Minuteman National Historical Park.


Sue and I dressed up and took the kids out to the local library for a Halloween event.

On a beach on the Cape.

Next we had to hit New York City and were able to park with an old friend in the Central Valley of the Hudson River. Thankfully my cousin in NYC agreed to meet us and help us navigate! It truly was Country Mouse meets City Mouse! We saw the Empire State Building, Times Square (Toys R Us), the National September 11 Memorial, the Fraunces Tavern (the same tavern Phoebe the Spy was raised in, another history lesson), rode the Staten Island Ferry and walked through Chinatown and took 9 different trains!  After all that, the kids’ favorite part was the tub of frogs in one fish market in Chinatown. It was very interesting to say the least.

Silently gazing into the National September 11 Memorial and struggling to answer the kids questions as to what and why.

Lego heaven!


Country Mouse and City Mouse!

Country Mouse and City Mouse in Times Square!


We had at least one tired pup at the end of the day! Waiting for the train ride home…

An old friend of Jeff’s welcomed us into her driveway and her home in Central Valley. The kids trick-or-treated with her girls which made Halloween an extra special treat!

Last but not least was Washington DC. For the second time we were able to park in a church parking lot in Fairfax for 5 nights. It gets interesting boondocking like this! We become very aware of our water and electric usage! While in the DC area we toured the monuments and museums on the National Mall and Memorial Parks and the kids earned their Junior Park Ranger badges for the monuments, which is no small feat.   We were there on Veteran’s Day so there was a lot going on. And not to be missed is the cell phone lot and park at the Ron Reagan airport!  It is right at the end of the runway.   Additionally we had the opportunity to participate, with members’ of our friends’ church, in Our Daily Bread, Complete the Circle FOODraiser. 8,300 pounds of food were collected that day to help feed those struggling in the Fairfax area.

The Korean War Memorial. Jeff’s Dad served in this war.

One of the requirements to earning the Junior Ranger Badge is to rub one of over 58,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial wall. Lots of volunteers are on hand to answer questions and to help you.

We got to see some of Uncle Jon’s artwork in the Natural History Museum.  We could have spent days in the Hall of Human Origins.

It seems like you can almost touch the planes as they come in to land!

The kids and I were so happy to have the opportunity to participate in something with such a good message and with so much impact. The folks in the red shirts made up the heart surrounding a hand holding a loaf of bread. The (real) photo was taken from high above the ground.

The kids and I were so happy to have the opportunity to participate in something with such a good message and with so much impact. The folks in the red shirts made up the heart surrounding a hand holding a loaf of bread. The (real) photo was taken from high above the ground.

It is so nice to have time to spend with family and friends. That has been one benefit to being on the road…we spend more time with more people and have an opportunity to become familiar with their routine and life. It also feels good that the kids now have a visual of many iconic American landmarks. When we read a story about immigrants coming to Ellis Island or about Paul Revere rousing the Patriots, we can think of exactly where it happened and what it looks like now. Many thanks to our friends Donovan and Kat, Sue and Todd, Ellen and Ted, Tom and Kris, Kathy and Lee and Dan and Laura who helped us navigate these areas and find a spot for our rig!!


Filed under Family, Natasha, Parkschooling, RV Living

6 responses to “Thickly Settled

  1. Patricia

    Ah, Boston…brings back memories of whale watching off Cape Cod in high school, cycling on the Cape in college, & visiting my brother in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂 If you pass through NoVA again, let me know…I have 2 brothers in the Fairfax area, my old hometown. Safe travels down south!

  2. Mike

    You four have had quite the summer! Glad you are able to share you life and times with the rest of us.
    Now – on to a warm and balmy winter…

  3. Charity

    If you are ever in the northern Michigan area, (Leelanau peninsula or traverse city ), you are welcome to come and stay at our place! We have 5 children, ages 2 to 18, and lots of extra visiting space including a cabin and yurt. There are three spring feed ponds here and an artisian spring. We milk a Jersey, Guernsey and a brown swiss that roam on pasture on this amazing 45 acres and we have 2 little Scottish highlander cuties as well. Email me!

  4. happen to find your blog somehow?? I am a big supporter/reader of handy bob for solar stuff as are you guys. I have read his battery charging article several time myself and learn something new each time. 🙂

    I found you story quite interesting and quite nice. I wish we had the financial ability to RV with kids when mine were younger,, now 20 and 17, we did the timeshare thing going to florida, vermont, VA and other east coast destinations.

    Are you’ll still working or taking a 3 yr break from the rat race..

    I did have a question on the church parking lot “boondocking” accounts.. Did you pull up and head inside to see the pastor, or whoever was there, to get permission and what was the general response..

    thanks and take care.

    • Jeff

      Hello Carl,

      We have stayed now at three church parking lots in our travels. The first was a Catholic Church in Massachusetts. Our friends we were visiting were members and called for permission to stay one night, worked out fine. In Fairfax, Virginia other friends were members of a Lutheran Church right across the street from their home. They asked the Church’s Pastor for permission to park our fifth-whee there and got it. We stayed for a week in that parking lot while enjoying the Washington DC sights and our good friend’s company. A week ago we parked for a night in a Catholic Church lot in the Cleveland Area near my Dad’s house. In this case I simply called ahead and asked for permission. This church was one I went to when young and my Mom was a member for 30 years. We could have stayed there for several days, the Pastor and Secretary were very friendly and helpful. I think I am learning finally that it never hurts to ask, most folks want to help if they can.

      The Solar project has been on hold for too long. We are 80% of the way there but need an inverter, the one I plan to buy is $1,000 (Magnum MMS-1012). It seems there is never a time to spend that much money. But the other thing is so far we have been doing fine without the solar capability. Our truck (Ram 3500) has a built in 150 watt inverter and two strong 12 volt batteries, so we use this to keep our devices charged while off the grid (though we have never idled the truck to accomplish this). If watching television is a must (not too often) we can run it off the truck. You just get creative when in the need for AC electric. As far as DC is concerned, with our four Crown CR-260 batteries we can easily go a week off the grid powering everything in our Excel Fifth-wheel running on DC (lights, water pump, hydraulics, etc.). Once we get out West though it will be time to get that Magnum Inverter and get on with it.

      Our plans are to continue traveling for 3-4 more years if possible. Unfortunately I am still in the rat-race, I continue to work full-time, but all online; this is how we can do the full-time lifestyle.

      All the best,


      • I guess it really is who you know in life to get ahead or in your case a spot to park. Wonder how it would go at a regular church with you being a total stranger.

        When you toured DC I was wonder is something like an adult scooter
        would have been a good addition to the family collection. One thing i dislike about large cities is all the walking you have to do short of a bus pass but that is not a cure all..

        The one thing might be getting it in.. Do the places like Smithson have security check points now..

        anywho have a good one and happy 4th you all..

        ps: quit beating up the NEW truck.. 🙂 to cost a lot of doe..

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