STATE O1: VERMONT
After a few hours of playing “Let’s-guess-how-fast-we-should-be-driving” due to us not knowing how to switch our truck’s digital speedometer from MPH to KMH, we arrived at the campground we’d be staying at for the night, the Rock Point Provincial Park located on Lake Erie — about the halfway point to our final destination in Vermont.
Now, what happened next is still a bit of a sore subject as we had just embarked on the road with a brand spankin’ new Airstream and shiny black truck… After a couple failed attempts of Tyler trying to back the Airstream into our campsite with me attempting to guide him in like an air traffic controller on their first day of the job, the back corner of the truck hit the front corner of the trailer perpendicularly, creating the worst sound you’d ever want to hear backing up for the first time on the tour.
Both of us to this day can still hear that awful noise, it still sends shivers up our backs. Fortunately, it was a very minor situation and you can barely see the dent on the Airstream or the crack in the tail light, but it was definitely a reality check for us to the new lifestyle we were committing to and yet another rookie mistake.
After our little mishap and then a quick set up, we hopped back in the car and drove to Niagara Falls and they did not disappoint. Although completely swarmed by tourists, the powerful sound of the falls muffled the sounds of the crowds and were mesmerizing. For a couple hours we walked along the falls while watching the crashing turquoise waters and feeling the rising mist.
The next morning we awoke in the beautiful campground and had our morning coffee while walking along the shores of Lake Erie. It would be a long time before we’d see another Great Lake.
We later packed up and headed toward Vermont, making our way across the surprisingly long state of New York. Eventually, late in the night, we arrived in Button’s Bay State Park, just south of Burlington, Vermont.
In the morning we woke up to teenage park employees riding around in what seemed to be an unmuffled golf cart picking up trash and litter. Since we had squatted there overnight without even unhitching, we hightailed it out of there as soon as we woke up and finally rode into Burlington by mid-morning.
While waiting for a site to open up at North Beach Campground, we sat along the campground beach on Lake Champlain in a blowup blob chair that our friends gave us as a wedding present, which was an event in and of itself to inflate by spinning around in circles trying to capture enough air to buoy ourselves up off the sandy grass.
Once we made fools of ourselves blowing the blob up enough to not sink in it, we had a moment where we couldn’t believe that just a couple of days ago, we were just sitting with family having a pizza feast, while the day before, we were in front of Niagara’s massive falls. The world felt small and large in that very same moment — a sentiment that we’d often come to feel throughout the tour.
Without spending too much more time pondering life’s big questions at this point, we got our home setup and settled-in for our four-night stay.
We were able to go for a run/walk (OK, mostly walk) along a converted railroad trail, brave the chilly water for a quick dip, and catch a Vermont summer sunset over the lake.
The next couple days were spent “working from home” and out of local coffee shops and walking all over the beautiful little town of Burlington. A fan of planes, trains, and (floating) automobiles, Tyler loved sitting along Lake Champlain watching the ferr launch and trains roll by.
Just a quick walk away, the picturesque Church Street Marketplace provided us with delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a sort of hilarious painting of Bernie Sanders within a mural, waiving with a very short arm.
Church Street is freckled with giant local quarried boulders to pay homage to Burlington’s location within Champlain Valley. We were wondering why these giant rocks were everywhere, so we asked. The more you know!
With it being our very first state project in the tour, we unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time to explore other areas of Vermont. Yet, on our way in, out, and through it, we did experience the beautiful obstacle-course Vermont’s landscape naturally provides. It was a good test for us greenhorn, RV-lifestyle rookies. We’ll be back for you, you Green Mountain State, you!
*View the Vermont state project we facilitated with U.S. Army Veteran Rachel Putney, designer Colin Bright, videographer Joey Szela from The Main Idea, and photographer StaciAnne Groves in partnership with AIGA Vermont. Their collaborative design is entitled “Ca-Deuces,” which represents the importance and balance of taking care of others but also taking care of yourself.