Xi’an in December

Xi'an in December 2014

Our Honeymoon Part I
Country: China
City: Xi’an

Back in December 2014, we went on our honeymoon. It was my husband’s first trip China! Our first stop was Beijing, which you can read about here.

Our second stop along our journey as newlyweds brought us to the bustling city of Xi’an. The weather was cold, but not as cold as it was Beijing. 

Our itinerary prior to visiting:

Screenshot of Xian Itinerary

Prior to this trip, I had never been there before. So, I did not know what to expect. We ended up staying at the Hilton Xian, which came with a breakfast buffet. Overall, it was a nice stay. 

Cost for one night: $148.70.

Terracotta Warriors

The main reason I had wanted to visit Xi’an was to see the Terracotta Warriors, which was outside of the main city. We ended up finding a shuttle to see the attraction. Here are some of the things we saw along the way.

After purchasing our tickets from the office, we soon realized we would be seeing a lot of statues that afternoon. Indeed we did. It was as if we were seeing warriors and horses over and over again. Although it was interesting to see the different exhibits, we couldn’t help but ponder if this type of visit was our cup of tea.  We’re not huge history buffs or anything. And just seeing a few made me realize that it was more than enough.

The Journey Back

We had to find a way back to the hotel that evening, so we just listened to the ladies calling us back to the city. We took a shuttle and ended up staying in that evening because we were too tired to explore. Our hotel overlooked the city wall, so we felt as though we didn’t need to actually visit it.

Could not think of a more wonderful way to relax than to soak in the hotel’s wonderful tub! 

More to come on our honeymoon in China! Next stop: Luoyang.

A Rookie’s Ride

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Day 1: Wednesday, July 11th

This was our very first real road trip with our brand-spanking new 2018 30′ Classic Airstream.

That morning we picked up a few last minute items from Walmart, ate lunch, and packed up the truck + RV for our 2.5 hour drive to Cabela’s in Scarborough, Maine. We had planned to boondock our first night out.

Camping Resource

RV Parky is just a great website resource to use to search for places to park your RV. We love using the app on our smartphones too. That’s how we discovered free overnight parking at Cabela’s! I did call the store beforehand, just to confirm before we got there. The store associate told me that the store doesn’t manage the parking but there are a lot of trailers and trucks that park there overnight and don’t get bothered. So, basically, they don’t want to be liable for anything = totally understandable!

After we got Kai and Stanley loaded into the truck, Kai was already NOT feeling it. He must have either been over-tired. The days leading up to the trip were fairly routine. Michael had lots of work to wrap up the week before and during the trip. So, I spent a great deal of time with Kai and Stanley. We got to bond a lot!

Michael was home on Friday morning, and Kai just wanted to spend all of his time bonding with daddy. It was hard for Michael to ‘get stuff done’. It just felt like it took forever to “get going”.

It had already been a long day.

To top it off, I get pre-departure jitters/anxiety. So the night before, I couldn’t get to bed. I think I stayed up until 2:30am.

Connection Problems

Yes, we were experienced at RVing, but this was a whole new beast!

Something was bound to GO WRONG. We just didn’t expect it to be so soon. The problem started before we even left.

After Michael hooked up the Airstream, we were trying to get our lights to connect so we could drive safely. The connection to our rearview camera was not working. And, we had preordered trailer cameras to be picked up while we were in Maine. So, we didn’t have those either.

We made a call to Pete’s RV in Plainville, MA. I explained to them that our lights weren’t hooking up properly and that we had just purchased the Airstream from Pete’s RV in Vermont. They said we could bring it on by. THANK GOD! They did inform us that their service department technicians leave at 4pm. At this point it was just after 2pm. So we got there around 2:45pm.

The wire was damaged. Most likely from the way it was sitting up against the sway bars/hitch. So, the connection wires were cut.

Thankfully, on our drive there, Kai fell asleep. Much needed nap indeed! We didn’t anticipate them taking a long time to fix because they just needed to replace the wire and hookup. They said they would only charge us for the wire and no labor, which was super nice!

It was 4pm, and Kai woke up. We still had about fifteen minutes before they packed up.

Unfortunately, the fixed wire didn’t resolve our connection issue. One of the other technicians came out and discovered our Ford F-150 had a blown fuse! We called the closest Ford dealership in Foxboro, MA. They didn’t carry it. The only place in the state of MA that had one in stock was located in Quincy, MA.

Michael ended up just taking another fuse from a different part of the truck and replacing that, temporarily. So we didn’t have power in our center console. It was definitely more important we fix the trailer rearview lights. They also control the running lights for the trailer. So we wouldn’t be able to drive safely at night without them on.

Phew, it was already 5pm. Now we were hungry again!  And, we had only made it to Foxboro, MA, from our home in Rhode Island!

Michael wanted to stop along the highway, but I just suggested we head to Olive Garden at Patriots Place, which was literally down the road. When I get over hungry, I get hANGRY.

Dinner hit the spot.

We left Foxboro, MA around 6:30pm, which was perfect because there was less traffic vs. during rush hour. Michael just kept on driving. We can cruise at 60mph comfortably while towing. We made a stop along the way so Kai could use the restroom. And, we have to find a parking lot large enough to accommodate the truck and travel trailer duo.

Arrival time: 9pm. Yay, we made it. And, it was time for bed. No shower for us that night. We had planned on it. Just had enough freshwater to brush our teeth, wash some hands, faces, and use the bathroom.

To be continued…

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer, a 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone.

The Learning Leg

After two nights in Delaware, we decided to head directly to New York (to my parents’ house) because we were in need of some R&R.  We have intentions of cleaning out Michael’s truck to limit some of the items we are bringing for the next leg of the trip as well as transferring a bunch of our items to my MINI for the second leg of the trip, which will cover Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Challenge 1: It was definitely a learning process for us, as we were unsure as to what items were needed for our trip. We definitely ended up over-packing, so it was sometimes difficult for us to locate items we needed throughout the days. In addition to the excessive items we had in the truck, we also did not have a solid plan of attack when moving from one state to the next. Often times we found ourselves staying up until 1AM or 2AM in attempts to search for things to do and places to stay at our next location. Towards the end, we got better at selecting our hotel or campsite options. We have learned that for every state or two that we visit, we need to allocate some time for us to just do nothing: sort of like traveling is our so-called “work” time with a much-needed 2-day weekend “break” every week or so. Moving forward we will spend more time planning and booking most of our campsites and hotels more in advance.

In addition to finding the time to do nothing, we also have learned a lot more about each other during these past few weeks of traveling on our own. Because we previously interacted a lot less throughout the day, we felt time was insufficient. Now we see each other 24/7! We sort of think of this as our mid to late twenties crisis or mini retirement before moving full-force into our busy lives. It’s funny how time just flies by so quickly. There are so many things we were planning on getting accomplished: studying, relaxing, exploring, taking photos, updating family and friends back home, learning, planning a wedding, and more!

Challenge 2: At times we have realized it has become a challenge to balance all of these things at once. We need to come up with a better solution to managing our busy lives and communicating with everyone at the same time. It’s difficult because we are on a semi-vacation, but we are also “plugged-in” at the same time. So we constantly need to have access to internet and our phones need to be turned on at all times. We do not have the leisure to “escape” yet. We believe the third leg of our trip (to start in September) will give us a chance to really be able to travel further west. That will be a whole new perspective. Throughout the first leg of the trip, Michael did not feel as though we were far from home and really traveling. I actually felt like we were in different places, but it’s interesting because camping in different states does not give us a lot of time for exploration within city limits (unless we drive, park and explore). We should figure out a way to be one with nature and also be able to travel in urbanized areas.

Challenge 3: We found it really difficult to keep track the days of the week and which state we were currently in (even though we only hit eight states, including Illinois). So we are thinking that maybe we should put post-it notes in the car of the city/state and day of the week/date it is in the car (similar to a makeshift calendar).

Overall thoughts: Because the first leg of our Journey Across All 50 has come to an end, we wanted to express some of our feelings and thoughts aside from describing all of the sights we have seen, food we have tasted, and things we have done. Without the support from our family and friends, this trip would not be possible. And, we wanted to send out love to everyone who has been following along in our journey.