We’re driving a groove into the route between our house in Charlottesville and the one in Vermont. Between April and October of this year, we will make the almost 1,600 mile round trip every single month.
April was for a day. Okay, we were in southern Vermont with my parents for the week, visiting colleges, and one day Day, Mom, and I got up at 5 am to do a day trip. That’s 4+ hours each way, and yes, we were home in Rupert by 9 pm. My math isn’t good, but I think we spent more time on the road than in the house.
We talked about the OPO, of course. About family. Upcoming graduations. The state of the world. What gas stations have better junk food and coffee. How overrated my dad thinks our favorite ice cream spot is. Why they didn’t buy a house in Lyndonville when they retired.
In May, Jeremy and I drove up for Memorial Day weekend, taking advantage of “dump days” and bringing our garage refrigerator up to the house. An old fridge went to the dump along with about 4 other pickup truck loads. We scrubbed and dusted and cleaned and set up mattresses and talked about the lake, politics, the kids, what the best beer is, how yummy homemade bread is, what pie-in-the-sky projects we might tackle over the summer.
In June, Jeremy and I stacked the trailer with garage shelving, 2 kayaks, and a windsurfer while we stuffed the inside of the van with tools, clothes, food, a carpet pad, and a few containers filled with odds and ends. Oh, and the windsurfer mast and the kayak paddles, plus life jackets. Normally we break the drive up into two days, with Mom and Dad’s house in Rupert as a great stopping point (10 hours from Cville; 4 from Averill). This trip we did in one long day, leaving at 4 am and pulling in a little before 6 pm. That trip hummed with plumbing talk and the all-important question about where we’ll place the outdoor shower. Plus the “couch on wheels” that zipped past us on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut.
Maybe June doesn’t count as a full trip; we went up on June 15 and stayed up.
Until July 5, when the drive back to Virginia started again. Back to the 2-day jaunt. Whew.
This conversation ranged all over the place. Jeremy is the master of turning ideas on their heads, and one of the earlier trips (as we drove alongside the Hudson River up near Albany, where you can see at least one lock from I-87) I’d mentioned how much fun I thought it would be to take the boat up the Hudson.
“How about DOWN the Hudson?”
Which sent us to the maps, tracing the coast of Nova Scotia and finding St. Pierre and Miquelon (French protectorates off the southeast coast of Newfoundland) and starting to research the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The most recent trip had us on this topic again. We texted friends who live and boat in Canada, traced the trip and animatedly discussed how we could do it. Do we cruise Lake Champlain? What places can we step/unstep the mast? When do the locks open for traffic after the winter?
“This feels really fast for one season,” I commented, already mourning the places we won’t get to see. We’re selling the house, remember, and neither one of us likes the cold that much. We’re counting on the boat to be our “get to warm weather” plan - take our house with us as we go!
“What if we make it more than one season? What do we do for a warm place to live?”
We discussed couch surfing. Maybe trying for jobs in national parks somewhere warm - we’d volunteer for housing.
Then a pair of Transit vans passed us. “1” “1” and “12” “12” were painted on the back windows. Later on we saw the “14” “14” and the “2” “2”. A caravan of vans.
“We could get a van like that one, and turn it into someplace to live,” said Jeremy, his eyes lighting up.
I looked around our van. Our trusty, loved, paid for van.
“Does anyone do a van conversion in a Sienna?”
Cruising plans, cruising routes. House projects. And now a van conversion.
Our life is never boring.