RV Trip – Way Back – 24 Days – Small Camper Conclusion

Where to go next? Using our beloved Harvest Host App we found the next winery “Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard & Muscadine Nursery”.

Marcus loves to push boundaries…. we didn’t realize how off the beaten path this amazing winery was….. and Marcus felt the gas will be enough….we drove, and drove and drove to the most spectacular view…..


When we arrived we had our own VIP covered Deck where we could enjoy our yoga, reading and working. This winery sold experiences and we booked a Muscadine wine lecturer lesson with a legend and owner for the next day. In the morning we went first for a walk around the mountain and then we got educated….. we never will forget how we learned to smell wine the right way ( 3 times and count to 10 between…), How to do cheers (don’t clink the classes….)



After we felt really sophisticated we left to find the next gas station…..the fuel gage went down rapidly ….. lucky 0 miles on the gage didn’t mean no gas…. but we were definitely relieved when we made it finally …. I think there was less than 0.3 Gal left.



The next destination was a new addition to Harvest Host called “Boondockers Welcome” which mostly RV owners offer to stay at their private property for free. We met the most lovely couple who explained where we could stay for the night.

Next destination was an RV park as we wanted to have a nicer shower and if possible washing. We ended up at the nicest RV camp so far with the most wonderful toilettes and showers.

Unfortunately – at night – walking back from the shower Marcus mistakenly confound a snake for a stick….. Marcus managed to take a picture of the snake and we were able to ask neighbors what kind of snake it was… a Copperhead poisoned snake…. he called the “Poison Control Centers” hotline and they advised to go to the nearest emergency hospital and in the meantime they alert the hospital that we were on the way….

We didn’t feel to pack up our camper so we took an Uber which was a bit of an adventure to do in this remote area…. Arriving at the hospital Marcus could have been half dead…still we had to go through the metal detector and got checked thoroughly that we don’t carry guns…. After that he was handled as top priority…. however he was told hopefully they don’t have to give “snake antidote” as this would cost $10,000….. a new experience for us to be told how much a treatment could cost….. lucky he was bitten by an adult snake and often it can be a dry bite an not much poison will be injected which ended up to be the case for Marcus. We had to stay for observation for 4 hours and then were allowed to go back home with a swollen foot.

The next day we went to Lake Gaston for a Sunfish camp. We had an incredible time. Scott the owner is an excellent sunfish sailor and teacher. We also had all wind conditions. I was doing the sunfish for the second time in my life…. the first day it was rather windy for my beginners taste. My heart was racing, but Scott was there with a power boat to assist me if I would get in trouble and calming talked me through how to handle my sunfish.

Second day was was even more windy, but thanks to the calm teacher I made it! The biggest challenge for me…. on the windy days I seem to end up with the sunfish with the short tiller and I had such a hard time to stay on course. The 3rd day we had less wind which I really enjoyed and started to get more and more the hang of it. On the 4th and final day it was so windy, but this time I had the sunfish with the longer tiller. Still I had a hard time to keep the tiller under control. I just felt I didn’t have enough strength. Marcus stayed back to take some Drone videos and pictures and despite the better tiller, I wanted to jump off the sunfish and go back on land….. I stalled the boat because I got scared and did chicken jibs. However before I could put my thoughts into action, I begun to be more comfortable. In the end Marcus suggested we do a race ….. I finally managed to position the tiller so I was able to control it beautifully and guess what… nobody could catch me anymore…. I was flying

Scott let us stay in his driveway with our camper for which we were so grateful as no Harvest Host or even RV parks were near by. Thanks to him we had great internet to do our work and enjoyed dinner in a wonderful Lake side Restaurant and BBQ at his home.

Next we were off to Castle Glen Estates Winery – they had an amazing Estate and lovely wine. We did a wine tasting and enjoyed their view in their backyard. We got to meet an incredible Harvest Host couple who stayed there too. They were 79 (she) and 81 (him). They met a year ago and started dating…. This inspiring story proves one is never too old for falling in love…. The best she was the experienced camper. She drove the RV and had it before she met her boyfriend and he had no experience camping or with campers!

On a side note she backed the camper below at it’s location in front of ours…. awesome lady!

Then we went off to Skydive Carolina where Marcus made 6 wonderful jumps. We could park for free and they even had facilities we could use. I did my workouts, yoga and self care with Luna.

We ended the day with a delicous BBQ

The next day we went off to visit our beautiful god child Lucas and his family we lived with in New York before we moved onto our boat. We had a fantastic BBQ in their nearby Park and enjoyed our precious time together.

We found on Harvest Host a brewery just 15 minutes from our friends where we could stay for the night.

Next we were off to catch up with our gorgeous skydiving friends Loreta and Raymond. We had an incredible catching up and will never forget their hospitality and the amazing food they prepared for us! We felt so spoiled. One cool side note, Raymond has an awesome Sprinter van on which he is working on to model into a camper. Luna was impressed and we too!

Conclusion

I’m very proud that we made out of Lemon’s (Cancelled Annapolis to Bermuda race) Margarita’s (Camper trip to Nashville) and had a trip of a lifetime. For Marcus it was great as his consulting job really started after we got back and I’m so grateful for everything he did for us….driving, breakfast, tea, organizing were to stay….and much more! For me it was a super busy time with work, I worked to make up most nights and of course while Marcus was driving and doing everything else.

Marcus and I both love the camping live style – we have done a few camping trips before….however our pick up camper is a 1/3 of the size than the smallest camper we ever used before…in the beginning it was so hard. Lucky we were able to move some things around, figure out how to have showers in our limited space and set up our offices – one had to work in the car and one in the camper so we could do our conference calls and not disturb each other.

Next…. we have to buy some folding chairs and work on some shading solutions and on top Marcus has a “little’ fixing list…..

The best….

……on the day we arrived back….. our boat felt like the most luxury hotel…..so big, so comfortable….., so warm…., so inviting…., so much beautiful space…. there are not enough words to describe how wonderful our boat felt….




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RV Trip – Nashville Tennesee

Finally we arrived in Nashville – our destination! On our drive, I got us in the mood playing country music on my play list. Jolanda booked a nice hotel room with a kitchen and washing machine. It was about 1.5 miles outside of the city center and once again a train track behind the hotel…..

It was unbelievable but the hotel prices are higher than in NYC. We never paid these kind of prices for such a hotel. Initially we only wanted to stay one night, but we were so tiered that we decided to pay for two nights (the 2nd night was even $100 more expensive than the first one)…..

The first evening we went to our hotel’s rooftop bar which held a concert of some local bands and and had an amazing view of Nashville. It was funny that some bands were so young that the parents were also in the audience.

After we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the hotel’s Japanese / American Fusion Restaurant which was amazing delicious. We also met the owners explaining us all about their food. After we went to bed with our earplugs – hoping for a quiet night. Also Luna enjoyed the hotel room (we had to pay extra for her…).

Next day we were off in the morning for a sightseeing run to explore Nashville, we run along the river and through an impressive park, after we enjoyed our breakfast and a walk on broadway – a lot of interesting groups of people getting drunk before lunchtime.

We have seen many bridal showers and stag nights parties, but the party vehicles with celebrating young people bit anything we have seen before….

In the evening I came up with a list of the top 10 rooftop bars (Jolanda loves rooftop bars). The bars were nice, but mostly part of a hotel serving American light beer. People were super nice and we had some interesting chats with our neighbors. Jolanda was disappointed that non of the roof top bars had any live bands playing country music.

It seemed that we planned our trip around spring break and this is why an army of college kids took over the city.

In the evening the lines in front of the bars were getting longer, but we found a place with good music and nice drinks and stayed there for a while.

Next time we will google the 10 best small live music places…..

Nashville is a cute and upcoming city. We met a lot of people who just recently moved there, because it’s still cheaper for people who live there permantelty…. than California or New York.

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Alternative RV trip

As Jolanda mentioned in the last post, our offshore sailing adventure was put on a hold for this year. So what to do? We decided as we already had our Pickup Camper and the weather was still rather cold in Jersey City to travel South. 

So instead of going for a month to Solomons / Maryland, we decided to go on a road trip to Nashville Tennessee. We took our sailing and I my skydiving gear with us and off we went. I was in charge of driving, skydiving and setting up camp while Jolanda worked.

Jolanda found a website called “Harvest Hosts”, for a small annual fee, you can book one night stays at small businesses like Wineries, Breweries and Local Attractions for free. Only thing is to buy some  of their products, not a problem especially in Wineries and Breweries 🙂

So on May 1st we packed the camper and Luna and off we went.

Fist stop was a Rescue Community Church at Harrisburg Pennsylvania. It was a bit of a residential area but enough space for us to stay the night. Unfortunately it was next to the railroad tracks so even with earplugs you could hear the trains going by all night.  We still had enough sleep and energy to travel to the next called James River Cellars Winery in Glen Allen, VA. On the way there we had to do a conference call at a service stop and we did not realize that Luna escaped and broke free from the leash. After searching for her for about half an hour we saw her behind a fence in the nearby forest,  where she did not find the way back.  Luckily I was able to climb over the fence and got her back. Lesson learned – always watch the cat.

This evening I had to work so Jolanda went for wine tasting at the winery, she told me it was well worth.

On the next day we went to a beautiful campsite called Sherando Lake Recreation Area, a friend of ours recommended the place.It was a beautiful campground with a lake in walking distance. Only downside was that there was no cellphone reception and Jolanda had to send an important email. Must have looked funny us walking around with a phone and a laptop to get a little bit of internet to get the email out. After a good night sleep we did Yoga in the morning and left to our next destination.

On day 4 we booked a stay at the Woodridge Farm Brewery at Lovingston, VA. This was our first stay at a brewery and even Jolanda liked the beer (she is not really a beer drinker).  The Brewery was a bit on top of a hill with an amazing view over the farm and a really nice garden with exotic flowers everywhere. On the next morning we did a quick run around the estate and off we went again.

Unfortunately we had to stay in the area as I needed to pick up my work laptop which was posted to a UPS store at Lynchburg VA. My consulting gig was starting and I needed to get set up for the next client. Luckily we found a tourist office close by where we could stay the night. In the back there was a very nice garden and a baseball field close by where kids were playing in the evening. The next day Jolanda wanted to go strawberry picking as this was recommended by the tourist office lady. The strawberries were very delicious.

Equipped with a load of strawberries and my work laptop we headed further west. Next stop was the Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg VA. For dinner we got a very nice pizza and their delicious wine. A quick run in the morning energized us for the journey to Greenville VA.

I found out that there is a skydiving place close by so since I had my gear with me, we stopped by the airport to see if there is any jumping going on. The skydiving place provided us a nice place to stay for the night and I could catch up with the local jumpers. Unfortunately the weather did not comply and after a few hours waiting for the clouds to clear we decided to move on without any skydive.

Now it was time to head to the next campground called Country Girls RV park, which was also recommended by the same cool friend Malisa from our Marina. We had to fill up our water tank and empty our holding tank. The RV park was next to a river, so we had a very nice view over the river and we also went hiking at a creek close by (Deep Creek). In the evening we had our first BBQ.

After staying two days at the RV park, our battery and water tank were full and the holding tank empty we went off to our first farm to stay overnight. The TNMtnFarm in Old Fort TN was in a wide open area which was just for us and the couple of pigs and cows. Also we had the attention of two dogs which were trying to make friends with us. Luna was a bit suspicious and after I found out that one of the dogs destroyed my flip-flops I knew that Luna was right. During the day I was able to watch my favourite football team Eintracht Frankfurt to win the Semi Final in the Europen Cup, thanks to new technology. The weather was perfect and a skydiving place was close by, so I took the chance to make 2 jumps at Skydive Chattanooga, Jolanda was able to hitch a ride to altitude on the co-pilot seat so she was able to enjoy the view from above as well. Super friendly drop zone which great facilities, Jolanda told me that it had the best restrooms she has ever seen at a skydiving place . 

The night we stayed at the Beans Creek Winery at Manchester TN, unfortunately we got stuck in traffic for 2.5hrs (I think a truck flipped over in a sharp corner), so we arrived after the winery closed. The place was besides to a highway so our earplugs provided us a good night sleep. Next day at another Skydiving place called Skydive Tennessee, I managed to do another 2 jumps followed by a wine tasting at the winery we stayed and then we were off to Nashville Tennessee. 

Our next blog will cover our adventures in Nashville and the way back home. At this point we travelled already about 1,200miles in 11 days (see map).

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

2022 has been one of the most exciting year so far with a lot of beautiful adventures and also a lot of changes. 

We looked so much forward to train and sail from Annapolis to Bermuda. Sadly due to illness and injury the wonderful owner Rebecca and Joseph had to pull out of the race. 

We felt heart broken with them. We knew how hard this decision had to be and admire  their braveness. We have high respect for their courage  for doing what is best for everybody! 

At the same time I was so busy – my beautiful right hand and friend Clara who worked with me for 12 years and we went through so much, built and amazing business together and made me a better person received a job offer too good to refuse. I’m so proud of her! However so sad to lose Clara We almost talked daily if not on the phone via Email. She also has become like family to me and my husband. The pain losing that closeness was a new experience. 

However I have been fortunate to have two other amazing people in my life, Ewa and Faith which have been super supportive. However one can imagine how much training is involved to change over 12 years of knowledge between the new team. 

On top my work with the two clients I have is going really well and I’m more busy than ever. 

So going back to the news that our dream to sail across the Golf Stream with a sail boat came at a time I had no time to think. Also as some of you remember we acquired a huge pick up truck with a cute camper on top…..

We were meant to re-locate until the race to the Solomon Islands Maryland and work from there from our RV.

Lucky my awesome husband had time to think for both of us and came up with an amazing plan to make out of Lemons not just Lemonade but Margaritas! 

Stay tuned for more info on our next blog

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Philipp’s surprise 50th birthday – Switzerland whirlwind visit

Before the pandemic – if somebody asked us a month before a special event – if we can make it to another country,  it would have been best case difficult when not impossible….. but when my sister Priska asked me in late February if we would  be able to celebrate her husband’s (our brother in law’s) 50th birthday – we were – why not – all our other work travel plans have been cancelled and it was super easy to find a reasonable flight. 

So on March 16th off we went in a pretty empty airplane. We were hiding one day in Zurich while we were working during the day.

In the evening we planned to have dinner with our wonderful friends Susanne and Davide, but AS Roma was playing (Davide is Italian) …..  and we were super lucky to get invited to have a seafood fondue at their place instead going to a Restaurant. At the same time Marcus team Eintracht Frankfurt was playing so Davide had an amazing set up that everybody could watch their favored team and the best both teams won!!!!!

Side note: to all (almost all ) our surprises both teams are in the final  – Rom in the Conference League and Frankfurt in the Europe League final

The next day  we took the train and bus all the way to the little village of Richenthal near Luzern where my family lives. First we surprised my Mom at the hair dresser…. then we walked with her to the birthday boy’s farm. It was gorgeous weather. It was beautiful to spend quality time with my Mom and then to see our bother in law’s surprised face was priceless. We had an amazing time celebrating and walked after the party under the full moon home.

The next day we went to redeem Marcus 50th birthday gift certificates he got for an exclusive spa on a mountain in Luzern with our good friend Thomas

After we enjoyed an amazing dinner on a boat at lake Luzern – the food was delicious

On Sunday we squeezed in a run (Marcus and Arben) and a walk and 1000 steps (Patricia and Jolanda) 

In the afternoon the  celebration continued with the immediate family from our brother in law – after some more delicious food we experienced some transportation adventures – we felt back in high school -especially with the moped….

Then we got ready to walk from Richenthal to Ettiswil – 7 miles over breathtaking hills – we walked with Marcus god child Melanie and my other sister Karin’s boyfriend.

There was even a farm store on the way with amazing looking self made products. 

On Monday Marcus did a bike ride with his god child around the nearby lake called Sempacher See while Jolanda worked.

After we all went together for an amazing yoga class which was tailored so Marcus god child got introduced to yoga.

And then we were already on the way to Zurich to fly off in the morning back to Newark New Jersey – it was an amazing visit – so grateful we were invited and could make it. 

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