Delaware

Next on the list: Delaware! Because we had been staying in various hotels along the way, we opted to camp for the remainder of the first leg of our trip, which includes, the states of Delaware and New Jersey. In Delaware, we selected Trap Pond State Park mainly due to the availability of laundry facilities and its close proximity to a pond to fulfill Michael’s passion for fly-fishing. We later discovered that the state park was the first in Delaware! This was a strange coincidence because the state of Delaware is also known as “The First State”.

The drive from Baltimore to Delaware was pretty interesting, annoying and scary all at the same time (since I ended up driving the entire way). Along the way, we passed a couple of small towns with lots of corn fields and availability of fresh produce for sale. Traffic congestion contaminated two-lane roads which randomly merged into one-lane ones. Within certain gas stations, there were restaurants and were often one-stop locations for commuters and locals alike. Civilization was approximately 15 minutes away from our campsite, which is located in Laurel, DE.

We arrived on the afternoon of Friday, August 1st and decided to do a walk-in registration for a campsite for two nights, which cost us exactly $60 including an out-of-state park fee. This campsite was the first where we stayed that was right on a pond.

Realization: Where there is water, there is life!

Tiny frogs flooded the area where our site was located, as Michael made the surprising discovery as he moved our metal fire pit from one location to another. Dozens of tiny like frogs went hopping everywhere! They were so cute: I wanted to keep one or two for the nights we were camping, but Michael didn’t let me (mainly since we had no idea what their diet consisted of and also, it would have been a bit mean and selfish to them). Throughout the evening we kept seeing various frogs all over the site. Larger ones crept out as the evening progressed and all of them blended in so well that it took us a while to figure out they were right in front of us.

We were fortunate enough to be camping for the first time while rain was fairly likely in the forecast (at 80%). Therefore we had the chance to practice our survival skills. Well, mostly our innovative skills at putting up the large tarp to cover our abode for the next two nights. It took some teamwork to figure out and calculate the proper angles to make the tarp tight at the four outlaying grommets. But, we were quite successful and happy to start the cooking process following our set up as we were starving!

During our ride over to Delaware, we stopped at a local Giant supermarket (which had the Stop and Shop symbol), so that’s how we knew it was a grocery store! We picked up some ground turkey, steak, yogurt fruits and vegetables to put in our cooler for the next few nights. For dinner, we ate left-over chicken that I had cooked a few nights ago. Michael cooked the beef and made turkey burgers for us to consume the following nights.

After dinner, I was rather keen on getting our laundry done. We had so much clothes that needed to get washed, and I did not want to spend the next day doing this chore. So I rounded up the quarters we had (from the truck and from my wallet). We had enough! It was $2.00 to wash and $1.50 to dry and since we had a lot of clothes, it took two rounds of drying!

While the laundry was going, we decided to take a nice walk around the site to scope out the area. A few steps away, we located a small floating dock and walked on it. We saw a few small fish jump out of the water and across the pond we saw a place where it looked as if they had some boat rental offerings. We were excited to possibly explore those options the following day. We then walked a bit further and found a small playground for children along with locating the dumpster area (very important).

After that, I decided to take a nice, much-needed shower. At that point, it was raining a bit harder. And we were surely glad we had put the tarp up properly because we set up our little table with chairs underneath it for some relaxation time. Michael started the fire for our s’mores later that evening (which were oh so delicious). We got the good stuff this time: Jet-puffed marshmallows and Honey Maids graham crackers, with Hershey Symphony chocolates with toffee and almonds (yum). Definitely a nice after-dinner snack.

We headed off to bed and watched Monsters University on Michael’s laptop because we ended up catching the last 10 minutes of the movie at the Hyatt in Baltimore and Michael wanted to watch the entire movie. It was actually pretty cute.

Rain beat on the overhead tarp and tent throughout the evening, and it sounded like drums beating sporadically with a nice soothing rhythm. It was surprisingly fairly comforting to hear, and I awoke to the sound of the pattering raindrops yet again. I made breakfast (eggs, hash, and turkey bacon). Then, we drove about 20 minutes to a local Starbucks to get some free wifi for Michael to catch up on West Virginia and Maryland blog posts:) I ended up booking the next campsite at Wharton State Forrest in New Jersey for the next few nights which would conclude the first leg of our 50 state journey!

After a few hours at Starbucks, we were getting a bit cold and decided to head back to our campsite to cook dinner and hang out. We had to make a few pit stops: first to get two 8lb bags of ice for $0.99 each at Popeye’s, then to get some extra bug spray, fire starter sticks and a frisbee for us to play with. Once we arrived back at our site, we were starving and Michael started heating up the steak and mushrooms for dinner. I made the salad for us with a raspberry vinaigrette.

After dinner, Michael started cutting up firewood and putting all the pieces teepee style in the fire pit. Shortly after, we realized that we needed to hide our tiny frisbee at a geocache location in Delaware! We spotted a few on the iPhone app Michael had, and went on a search for one. It took us to this trail, called Cypress Tree Trail. At that point it was already 6:30pm. I was a bit nervous going on this trail because there was a “tick alert” sign right at the start of the trail, and I was wearing capri-like pants, and he had on shorts. We both had short-sleeved t-shirts, so we were not properly covered. But the show had to go on.  Michael said the cache should be within half a mile from where we started.

Fast forward to 1.5 miles later, we had still yet to make this discovery. Primary reason: we were unclear about which trail the cache was on. After passing bridges across streams and crossing different trails, we decided to head back to the truck before it got dark. We turned this search into a cardio session because we pretty much jogged the trails to prevent ourselves from being followed by bugs and tiny frogs everywhere. It was so funny because it seemed like there was no other hikers on the trail in the woods. We were the only ones to brave the woods.

The following morning, we decided to drive around the town of Laurel to find a cache we could stash the frisbee. Along the way to New Jersey, we came across a few cache locations, and one was right off the road! Michael got out of the truck, and leaped across a bed of water to get to this cache. We did it! Finally, yay! Delaware was complete. We were off to lunch in Dover, DE.

Be sure to stay updated on our route and states we have traveled to on the “Our Plan” page of the website.

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