Car Camping: Day 1
As we shut our trunk, jumped in the car, and drove away, I remember feeling lighter with every turn of the wheel.
“Can you see alright?”
I asked Boris, as I once again looked back at our car load of crap and started thinking about what I could’ve left behind.
“Yeah, it’s good babe.”
Ahh. Just the confirmation I needed to relax, turn back around and enjoy the ride.
Leaving Our First State
Our first goal was to leave Jersey. We knew after we made it past that Exit 1 sign, it would mean the official start of our adventure.
We chose to drive at night because we knew that our first state would be Pennsylvania. And, well… been there, done that.
Our first real state we were looking forward to was Ohio. Not because of any particular reason other than the fact that it was new.
And, that it wasn’t Pennsylvania or New Jersey. It was a state neither of us had been to, and would feel like the official official start of our journey.
Before we could get there though, we had to drive through the unexpectedly, long Amish country.
It was reaching 3am and we made a decision to find a place to pull over. We knew we still had a little bit to drive, and we wanted to be well rested enough to enjoy Cleveland.
Plus, we were kinda excited to try out this whole car camping thing!
We still weren’t even sure how it would be to transfer ALL of the belongings from the back to the front of the car, so that we could access our mattress. We tried out the mattress before and it was comfortable, but would we be able to sleep on it?
We’re not exactly spring chickens anymore and both sometimes have our “elderly” symptoms of bad neck or back pain, especially from bad sleeping arrangements. We had no idea what to expect.
First Stop: Bedford, PA!
At 3am we pulled over in Bedford, Pennsylvania at a truck stop.
And, this was a Truck. Stop. There were nothing but trucks. Everywhere. And lights. Everywhere.
Well, it’s not exactly the remote mountain view we would have liked, but we knew not every stop on this journey would be sunshine and rainbows. Or in our case, mountains and no people.
Don’t get me wrong, (some) people are great during the day, but when you’re trying to sleep, the less the better.
In this case, there was definitely no less of anything. Except maybe our privacy.
We pulled in between two trucks in front of a row of trucks and behind a road specifically for the trucks to exit through.
Needless to say, it was a symphony of engine, break, and tire noises with no final song in sight.
It’s okay, because we were excited. And exhausted.
So here we go. Time to unload the stuff.
The Real First Test
We hopped out of the car, popped open the trunk, and headed to our corners. As with all things, we have a special language and understanding where we don’t need to really say much, we just break off and do what we need to in that moment.
A funny example comes to mind during our road trip when we passed a local farmers market on an open field surrounded by mountains and the crispest air you can imagine.
Being on the road, you become versed in ways of making the most out of the least. So when opportunity arises, we seize it!
We walked up closer to discover an overwhelming amount of food samples. From picked veggies and fresh veggies to fruits to pies to everything you could think of and everything in between.
We never expected this! Quickly without saying a word, we went through the aisles and stands trying everything that aligned with our eating habits.
A minute and thirty seconds later we were out of there, completely fed and fully satisfied.
They never saw us coming!
Back to our story.
We made our rounds from the trunk to the front placing our belongings like Tetris pieces into the seats. We had to make the most out of the space and use it to our advantage. Our things would also serve as a shield against the nightly creepers.
Less than five minutes later and we were done.
“Wow, that was quick!”
“See, I told you it wouldn’t be that bad!”
Boris gave me his look and we both laughed.
“Okay, hop in!”
We both hopped in and shut the trunk.
We had left each of the windows open slightly because there are rain guards on the car. Which conveniently allow us a chance to keep our windows open without it looking like it and without any rain getting in.
Which is great when you’re in our dream location surrounded by nothingness. But you make due, and in this case, it was just nice to have air.
The First Sleep
We laid down and it was actually nice. We exhaled from relief and exhaustion and snuggled up next to each other.
We had hung pillow coverings and sheets on the windows providing a fort-like tent similar to the kind you make when you’re a kid.
It was so incredible. Here we were in a place surrounded by people and trucks and lights.
And yet, we were in our little cove. We felt comfortable and safe.
Neither of us even remembered falling asleep. All we knew was that we woke up about 4 hours later feeling completely refreshed and even more excited than we could’ve imagined.
We shuffled our way out of the car and went to the bathroom. When we got back, we quickly transferred our stuff once again. This time, back on the sheet, on top of the sleeping bag, on top of the mattress, and stepped outside.
As we were standing there, taking it all in, brushing our teeth with a water bottle on the side of our SUV, an RV pulled up.
This guy transformed an old school bus and made it into the coolest RV we had ever seen. And given it was our first day on the road, that wasn’t many.
But, it just felt like an omen of the good and very interesting things to come. We took one more deep breath of the lightly-diesel-laced-fresh air and jumped in the car.
Off to Cleveland!