I spent all day resorting all my important ‘stuff’, that I can’t possibly do without and a few ‘well…I might need it’s’. The bed/couch/lounge/office area is about the only thing you can see very well, as most of the inside of the van is a demure black and blue. I Granny’d it up a little with a few pillows and a sweet roses throw. There will be more pillows when I take off.Image

For convenience I am hanging a chambray shirt for woods cover up and a sweater on the back of the passenger seat. These also cover up a couple spray bottles of baking soda water and water with a dab of dish soap and two hand towels. They are nestled in a pouch the van came with .Image

My Faux Java Cup Coffee Maker/Collapsible Silicone Funnel:

I had been looking all over for a java Cup coffee maker . None of the sporting goods stores or even camping world had them. Then……I discovered this funnel at aOld Time  Pottery Barn store in the gadget section. I will do the drip method of coffee making. Just stick a paper filter in this and pour the hot water over it. I found what they call a turkish coffee maker at a thrift store. it’s blue enamel and I will  heat the water in this on my butane burner.

I am reserving a special drawer just for coffee supplies, as it’s way up there on my list of important things. My foo foo coffee creamers , cinnamon, and special cup will be added to the drawer just before I leave. ImageImageImageImageImage


I was pretty proud of myself in putting together this compact , yet sturdy porta potty. It fits under the bed frame of 9″ height, yet is sturdy enough to support my fluffy frame. I made it from a chamber pot, from a chair for sick folk. It had a nifty lid, and the one i bought for a 5 gal bucket, fit fine on top, even with the other lid on. Then for sturdiness, i cut down a 5 gal. bucket to encase it . Now…lol…on me….in the resorting of the van, it sits out from under the bed and acts as a support for the foot part of the bed. I figured early on that pulling the drawers out every day, would get old really fast. ImageImage


I finally joined this century and got a Garmin GPS. I’ve been playing around with it this week, and  I really like it so far. It automatically knows where I am, and I don’t have to type that location in. But just in case….I printed out a trip map and bought a fold out one, as well. Unknown territory is a challenge to those of us that cannot find out way out of a paper bag…..but the excitement of exploring new places trumps the apprehension of not knowing what lies ahead.

As of May 1st, I’m taking a trip to visit my family in Scranton Pa., area , with a few stops along the way. I will be visiting a friend in Melbourne Beach, and am thinking of taking a day to visit the Thomas Jefferson Gardens, in Virginia. It’s only a tad off I-95, then then I can detour Washington traffic, by taking 81 the rest of the way up. Win win to me…..

Hopefully there will be road side advertisements for a few other things to do, and I’m sure I will see cute shops I have to visit along the way. I kind of wanting to hit a jazz or Blue grass festival. if anyone can recommend any in the area I am heading, please let me know. Should any fellow group members want to meet for coffee along the way…let’s try to make that happen. Garmin GPS

  1. Ed Helvey - The Professional Nomad said:

    Looking good, Joy —

    There is bluegrass and old time mountain music going on all the time in the Shenandoah Valley once you’re on I-81. I’m guessing that you’re going to be coming across on I-64 from I-95 to get to I-81, However, you could also take I-40 in NC to I-77 then I-77 to i-81. If you go that route you won’t be too far from Richie in Appomattox, VA or the “Floyd Store” in Floyd, VA – Bluegrass every Friday night. Also you won’t be terribly far from The Carter Fold near Abingdon, VA home of AP & Sara Carter and Maybelle (and June Carter Cash) where the family still runs the place and has live music every Saturday night. They are part of the the Southwest Virginia Musical Heritage Trail – here’s a link Ralph Stanley’s farm on Clinch Mountain is nearby as is Bristol, VA – birthplace of recorded country music (Tennessee Ernie Ford was from Bristol. You will also be near Galax, VA home of the world famous Fiddler’s Convention as you’re coming up I-77 to intersect with I-81 near Wytheville, VA. As you come north on I-81 you’ll come to where I-64 eastbound intersects and you can go east on I-64 over Afton Mountain (where you can stop and see some of the most gorgeous views of the Shenandoah Valley looking north and the Rockfish Valley looking south – from the same vantage point. Heading further east on i-64 will take you toward Charlotteville, VA and to Monticello, Jefferson’s famous home, where I guess the gardens you want to see are located. While you’re in that area you can also visit the U of VA, started by Jefferson and also the home of President Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland in line of sight from Monticello. Staunton, VA at the intersection of I-81 and I-64 has has Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace. It’s also home to the now retired famous Statler Brothers and and a wonderful 1950’s style Drive-in restaurant, Wright’s Drive-in (with car hop service or eat inside and good old fashioned malted milkshakes made with REAL ice cream and great burgers, chili dogs and fries. It was also a favorite hangout for the Statler Brothers.

    But, I’d also suggest, if you’re interested and not in a huge hurry to get to Scranton, that you drive up U.S. Rt 11 instead of I-81 and really enjoy so much of the old towns and villages and beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. Rt 11 is the old blue highway and it parallels I-81 – but it has all the charm, character and beauty that is the Shenandoah Valley. There is, of course, more to see as you pass through Harrisonburg, Broadway, Timberville, New Market, Mt Jackson, Edinburg, Woodstock, Strasburg, Middletown, Stephens City and Winchester – and a detour at New Market on Rt 211 east will take you to Luray and the world famous Luray Cavern with its Stalactite organ in the “Cathedral” Chamber. There are also other caverns along the trip up the valley plus Natural Bridge. They are all easily accessible. There is so much Civil War, Indian and American history along this drive that you could spend weeks exploring this region and still never see it all. And I didn’t even get into Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    I hope this is helpful in your trip planning (and you’re Garmin should take you to all of them.


    • Wow Ed,
      You’d make a great tour guide! Thanks! I’m going to have to check out that diner and some caverns! Will have to head on up to Scranton after that, as I am putting in a big garden at my family’s home….lol.

  2. jenniferjohns said:

    Looks really good Joy. I’m glad you’re finally able to get on the road. Hope we can connect somewhere soon.,

  3. Cecilia McGowan said:

    Joy, You make me so jealous! I’ve got great hopes of getting on the road like yu. But 1st I’ve got so much to do it seems overwhelming and I’m afraid I’ll never make it. I’ve got about ten pages of projects to do to my old house so I can put it on the market and make enough money to last me the rest of my life. (I’ll be 60 this summer.) I had extensive and elaborate plans 4 fixing a van. Your ability to “make do” has inspired me to SIMPLIFY and actually get somewhere.

    I’m going down to FL tomorrow to pick up my 85 yr old mom. I may have to convince her to take to the road with me if better arrangements with other family members can’t be made. after all , it was her dream 4 years. She had a little Toyota Escaper RV years ago that my brother allowed to get towed and disposed of. Wish we had that now. It would be perfect. We’ll try the road life out in a van, and if she likes it, then we’ll look into a little RV. I’ll be following you on your blog. You’re going to be going through some luscious countryside. If you get by Knoxville, let me know and we’ll meet. Cecilia

    • Cecilia,
      One tiny step at a time. Shucks if I wasn’t committed to doing the big garden for my kids, I would just trot over and help you fix your place up.

      I’ve been downsizing for what seems the last 6 years now….and have recently been watching vids on tiny houses, permaculture, and simple living. I also read a book and blog a traveling psychologist lady did for several years on homeless women. That really opened my eyes, in learning how to survive. In all home repairs, i try to find the fix on utube and then see if I can try to duplicate it. If all else fails, then I pay someone.

      Where in Fl is your Mom?

  4. karen said:

    Hi Joy – How’s it going? Where are you now?
    My internet service was down for over 10 days as of April 26th, and then another week of not working properly.
    So I’m just catching up. Remember I’m directly south of Scranton about 2 hours and I’d love to meet someone who
    is actually doing this. Let me know if we can meet at some point somewhere. I’m thinking of taking my grandson to Lake Tobias which is not too far off of Rt 81 north of Harrisburg.

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