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Zephyr’s First Ferry Ride: Pocomoke River State Park, Cape May-Lewes Ferry & Vineland

We often have readers who have attempted blogging write us in thanks for keeping up with this blog for so long. It’s not until you try to do it yourself that you realize just how much time & effort it takes to write, process photos and keep a story going.

If you’re not motivated to do it for your own reasons – it’s easy to put it on the back burner and fall behind. I know how much I enjoy looking back on our past posts and reliving parts of the adventure, or looking up information about a place we’ve been before.

Our general route since Little Pee Dee State Park.

Our general route since Little Pee Dee State Park.

It is so worth it, and we enjoy sharing slices of our lives with you (so thank you for reading along!).

Even so, honestly, sometimes it is very difficult to keep the pace of traveling, exploring, enjoying and taking the time to stop and record it.

We’re in all new territory to us now, and life is proceeding at a rapid pace as we soak it all up. So thus, the tales are falling further and further behind.

Today, I’m going to attempt to at least catch it up a week or so.

Last I left you, we were sleeping on the side of a bridge in the Chesapeake Bay.

Pocomoke State Park – Snow City, Maryland

We don’t put a lot of effort into planning ahead, and often don’t have firm plans or reservations made much more than a week in advance. We prefer trusting in serendipity to lead us to where we are meant to be.

Using Reserve America to spot campgrounds with availability in an area.

Using Reserve America to spot campgrounds with availability in an area.

We had some recommendations to check out the Assateague Island national or state parks, the central outer barrier island of the Delmarva Peninsula. Images of beaches and wild horses were enchanting.

A quick check at online reservations showed all booked up for the time period we might be passing through. Oh well. No biggie, we’re sure we can find our own adventures.

I love using Reserve America – it allows me to check out availability for an entire region for state parks (the ones that participate anyway), some federal campgrounds and some private campgrounds.

All at once, with filters for our preferred date range, RV size and amenity preferences. On a handy map too.

It fits my lazy approach to planning and our preference for non-commercial campgrounds.

And that’s how we found our next stop – the Shad Landing area of Pocomoke River State Park (our review) in Maryland. It came up as a nearby park to Assateague, and had availability for a few non-weekend nights in the pet/electric loop.

Side Note: Up north, we’re finding many state parks have pet and non pet loops (Maryland and Pennsylvania in particular). Something we don’t see too much in other areas of the country. It definitely makes finding available space a bit more challenging.

We made our best guess as to which of the available sites might meet our desires best, and booked it.

After leaving the Welcome Center in Cape Charles, we made the under 2 hour drive and discovered we totally scored on our site selection.

All of the sites in the Acorn loop are on the outer perimeter of a circle, and each offering decent privacy and spacing. But our site in particular, Site 24, was especially deep and tucked back into the woods. Offering loads of privacy, and access to the trails.

We enjoyed a very delightful stay at the park, hitting the trails (Kiki even joining us on a nearly mile long hike), checking out the nature center and just exploring around on our electric folding bikes.

Zephyr’s First Ferry Ride

From Pokomoke we hosted our live video cast on Driveway Surfing, and one of our viewers suggested we take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to our next stop in New Jersey.

Having not yet taken our bus on a ferry, we thought it an appropriate adventure. It would save us about 40 miles in driving, not to mention the time & traffic.  And of course.. be fun!

The fare for the 90 minute crossing for a 35′ motorhome with a toad was $78 (if hitched, they just charge by total length – not individually for the vehicles), plus $10 for each of us.

At $98, it wasn’t going to offset the saved fuels and tolls, but so so so worth it! We very much enjoyed the ride and being out on the water.

We saw endless pods of dolphins, lighthouses and there’s local craft beer on tap.

Harvest Host Winery Stay

It had been way too long since we had used our HarvestHosts membership, which allows us to stay at partnered wineries, farms and museums.

Earlier this year, owners Kim & Don totally revamped their website, including their host location directory & map. Making it tons easier to research possible stops along your route.

We quickly spotted a few options between the ferry and our destination of Vineland, NJ.

When we called Southwind Vineyard – they answered the phone with excitement for our visit. That night was open-mic night, and they’d have a gourmet food truck onsite. Woo!

We had a delightful stay getting to know the staff and other customers until late in the evening while we sipped their delicious wines.

This was such a perfect visit, and exactly the experience the embodies the HarvestHosts program. Stays in unique gorgeous locations and meeting amazing people. We left glowing.

Bus Service at US Coach

Our reason for routing to Vineland, NJ was a visit to the legendary US Coach. Run by Luke & Bill, two long time friends and bus experts – this is the place we call when we’re looking for parts.

When we first got our bus five years ago, we were told to have Luke’s number – 888-262-2434 / 856-794-3104 – on speed dial. Not quite sure I remember what speed dial is, but we definitely added them to our contact book.

Not only do they stock a lot of hard to find parts, Bill is an expert bus mechanic. We called ahead and booked as much time as they could give us (about 3.5 days).

Upon arrival we had Bill conduct a thorough inspection (we don’t have to pass DOT standards, but we try to maintain them). We came up with a list of things that needed to be addressed based on what he found, and had him prioritize them by what was most likely to leave us in a pinch.

The list included:

  • Passenger side front kingpin bushing needed replacement (a huge job requiring disassembling the entire front side, and one we knew needed to be addressed before arriving)
  • New shocks (ours were getting rather old, but still operational. And easy enough to change out with everything disassembled)
  • Power steering lines under the bus needed replacement
  • Various joints needed tightening up
  • A transmission and differential leak
  • Basic lube & service

There’s always a list of preventative maintenance to handle, and had we been able to book more of their time this visit – we could have kept going. But for now, all critical items are handled.

Thoroughly impressed with their operation and reasonable rates at $95/hour.

Plus, they allowed us to stay in our coach while the service was being done. This way Bill could educate us on what he was doing (something we love), and get a ton of work done while sitting over the pit.

And hey, being surrounded by dozens of vintage beauties ain’t so bad!

What’s Up Next

We just left our 4th of July hide away spot in Herkimer, NY where we driveway surfed with a kind blog reader who invited us in.

We’re heading now to the Albany area for a few days where we’ll be converging with our dear RVing friends Forrest & Mary.

We anticipate exploring Adirondacks with them over the coming weeks as we make our way to the Escapade in Vermont later this month (yes, we signed back up).

After Escapade, our best guess is that we’ll be exploring Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in the month of August and perhaps beyond.

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29 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. I’m a big fan of your blog, particularly the technical aspects of it. My wife and I are getting ready to resto-mod a 1973 Winnebago Brave in hopes of setting off on some adventures similar to yours.

    I drove tour buses for 15 years (including some old GMs) before I gave it up to become an engineer. I now work for Volvo/Mack Truck in North Carolina. I had the “opportunity” to visit one of our customers in Vineland a few years ago. I wish I would have known about US Coach then, it would have been cool to stop by and check out some of the old iron.

    Keep that great information coming!!
    Mark

  2. Hi Cherie & Chris,

    Been following your website off and on for a couple of years now. My wife and I are boaters and we have been cruising the Florida coast for the last four years. We decided to add a bus to our cruising fleet. We know lots about living in small spaces and all of the relevant equipment and systems but we know nothing about buses. Going to look at a GM 4106 that’s for sale on Monday. What 3 things should we pay attention to besides the engine, transmission and generator? I promise not to ask any followup questions.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give,

    Conrad

  3. Always love your writings! Thanks for taking time to share your advice and expertise. The time and attention you guys take to all your postings are very much appreciated. PS: I love your kitty!

  4. Sorry to see that you had issues with our (PA) state parks and their asinine pet policies. For decades they tried to be one of the last government campground operators in the country that refused all pets. Much like our ridiculous alcohol policies, the keystone state seems to delight in being at least half a century behind the modern world in this case. After much protest, huge amounts of lost revenue, and (I kid you not) test projects, reviews and analysis, they decided to continue with being as difficult as possible, and continue to hurt revenues, by creating portions of parks that allow pets. I want to scream when trying to book a site, only to find that there are many available, but not in the “pet loops”. Don’t forget, this isn’t a system like in FL. where there are folks in the parks, year round. The only pressure most PA. State Park CGs see is the dozen weekends of the summer months. Weekdays and shoulder season they are often ghost towns. Yet, they will go out of their way to continue policies that turn folks away.

    • I have to admit, I really don’t ‘get’ the pet loop segregation. And especially applying them to cats.

      Ok, yes – there are some dog owners who don’t clean up after them. And some dogs aren’t acclimated to campgrounds, get agitated with the new surroundings and bark. Ok, so maybe I can stretch my imagination and accept that some folks might like to camp in a dog-free zone. Maybe.

      But cats?? They use litter boxes indoors, don’t meow too much and are generally pretty quiet little critters. Most aren’t like Kiki (who walks on a leash and loves spending bunches of time outside), and stay indoors. Even so, just what nuisance is a cat creating? And what happens in actuality is that we’re now much more likely to have dog neighbors, who get excited by the presence of a cat… which creates MORE barking than we might otherwise encounter. And thus it makes it uncomfortable for us to let Kiki explore outside, and she’s less likely to take walks with us around the camp loop to get exercise because there are more dogs around who might sniff her butt (her only problem with dogs.)

      So not only are the parks turning away business for otherwise empty ‘non-pet’ sites. They’re also creating more agitation by having pets more closely camped next to each other.

      It just seems silly.

      What’d I’d much rather see is a night-owl and morning birds loop 🙂

      • What a great idea to have a night-owl or morning-bird option! That’s something even many commercial campgrounds could implement in PA which tend to be more wooded loops than open field type campgrounds. Do you know of anywhere that’s tried this, commercial or park?

        We do not camp in PA state parks because of their short-sighted pet policies even though we live in central PA. But “short-sighted” is the only consistency in PA government policy.

  5. Cherie an Chris – Such a good post! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all. Fun to hear about your bridge-tunnel-island free overnight spot. How fun. Now, I want to try the ferry ride when in that area. I’ll be starting my full timer experience August 2nd. I appreciate all your advice about apps, connectivity, saving water, and so much more. I may try blogging, but I think it’s a lot more work than I know. We’ll see. Continued happy adventures and travels.
    Pamelab in Houston for now

    • Congrats on your upcoming adventures.. less than a month away. How exciting!!

      And the Delmarva is definitely worth spending some time in, so wish we had been able to stick around longer.

  6. I always enjoy your posts and videos. I do know how much time and effort it takes to keep these up. I have been following you for some time now and have recently decided to subscribe to your site. I also hope to be on the road also. Thanks again.

  7. Love your sites. Really curious about how you’ve used Reserve America. I can do most of the filters but how did you tell it the area and also get a map instead of a list? Thanks for all your continuing posts. Its a real joy to read and quite educational.

      • Yes, there’s the rub. I tried lots of ways to get that list. None any good. I tried things like south Georgia and got things all over the US. I tried other similar things to describe the region and always failed.

      • I usually start by searching for a specific campground or city,state that I’m looking for in the area we want to be. Such as the example in the post, I started looking for Assateague State Park and went from there.

      • Got it. Instead of being generic or regional I needed to be specific and see others in area. Tried it and it worked beautifully. You’ve just made my future travels much easier. Thanks again.

  8. Enjoyed the latest updates. We’ve been in Maine since Jun 1st and have been loving it. In fact it’s been so great we decided to come back next year for June and July, so much to see and just not enough time. We will be spending a couple weeks in Vermont before Escapade. Hope there’s time to meet you in person.

      • If you like being on the water and your anywhere near Belfast ME, check out a sail on the schooner Timberwind. We did the light house tour, 6 hour sail and loved it They have shorter sails if that’s better for your schedule. We had 6 people on our sail so there was lots of time to visit with the crew members and captain. Maine Daysail is the company that runs the tours. The schooner Timberwind has a rich history with Maine as a Pilot schooner out of Portland from 1931 up until 1969. Very interesting while under way to hear the commands the captain gives the crew for tacking the vessel.

  9. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have always been on my bucket list, so I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures there.

  10. Thanks for the latest updates. You are now getting into my old “neck of the woods” – Grew up in northern NJ, spent many summers on the Jersey shore, and ultimately spent 10 years living in upstate NY (Saratoga Springs) and still make several trips each year to visit family in the Glens Falls / Lake George area. Love upstate NY and New England – especially in the summer & Fall. Spent many summers in NH (Lakes Winnipesaukee & Sunapee) as well as many visits to Acadia – our favorite N.P. for the hikes, scenery and biking. Too bad your plans do not include the chain of Saranac Lakes in northern NY – just west of Lake Placid. You would love to Kayak there.
    Then we also lived in Maryland for 16 years before moving out to CA where we are now. Did visit Assateague Island while there – way too many bugs & flies there for us.

    I realize there is so much to see and do in New England it is hard to accomplish in 1 summer, but I am sure all your experiences there this summer will be great.

    BTW – we just got our very 1st RV!! A 2005 Winnebago Adventurer which we love. Hopefully will find time later this summer to use more intensely before going full time in it by the fall when we have to be in VA for a wedding, before moving down to Florida for the winter. Thanks to all your helpful and realistic advice over the years – greatly appreciated!! Even your “Sucky Side of RVing was helpful – We especially like your honesty and good advice. Will soon purchase your Mobile Handbook to help us out with the on-board electronics and connectivity.

    Have fun in the East!

    • Congrats on the new RV!

      And so right, there’s no way we’ll be able to see even a fraction of what New England has to offer. We’re already feeling the summer flying by, and we’re just getting started.

  11. HI Guys, Assateague Island is definitely a worth while visit, but you really have to book well in advance. By summer’s end, if you’re still on the East Coast heading south, keep us in mind. Scott & Jeanne McLeod

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