It was back to reality today. Motorcycles are great, but I have a day job that needs doing, so I got to it. For some reason I was awake earlier than usual. With no one camped around me, I didn’t have to worry about bothering anyone making my coffee outside as usual while Lister got some out time. Then I fired up the laptop and caught up on some work stuff waiting from last Friday. It was one last good use of the great public WiFi at the Carlisle Fairgrounds.
I packed up and left mid-morning, and headed to the Love’s across town for a shower. I’ll have to pick up a gym membership sometime soon as I continue west and run out of friends conveniently located along the way. $13 for a shower is pricey, and a good chunk of the cost of the membership. So far I’ve done fine without it, but that’s likely to change soon.
With work under control for now, I set a course for the Chateau Walmart I’d be staying at for the night, with “Avoid Highways” and “Avoid Tolls” selected as usual. My route closely paralleled the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but gave me an amazing view of rolling hills, valleys, and the farms within them that I wouldn’t have gotten on the highway. I didn’t pass by the scenery. I drove through it. There were a couple of steep climbs and descents over these hills (including the one in this picture), but the van handled it just fine. It was easy compared to Mount Washington.
As lunchtime rolled around, I decided to look for a park where I could stop and eat. I Googled and set a course to a pleasant looking picnic area just off US 30, the Lincoln Highway. It turned out to be part of Buchanan State Park, where I stayed on my way east back toward New England right after the split.
The picnic area was quiet, with plenty of room for other people to pass through and enjoy themselves. After having some lunch at a table under one of the many pavilions, I brought my laptop and Jackery 240 over to turn it into my office for the afternoon. It doesn’t get any more “digital nomad” than this. Situations like this are exactly why I picked up the Jackery 240 in the first place. Unlike many van lifers, no, I’m not sponsored by Jackery to say that. I just really like it. This place is at the top of a hill (that I was stuck doing 20 mph up in a 55 in a conga line behind a great big truck), so my data reception was excellent as well.
After a few hours I set a course to Walmart. Less than a mile down the road, I recognized the turn I had taken to the free campsites back in July! So I took it, and actually found the same site I stayed in before. It was a wonderful site, so I decided to stay here again. I even set up my ham radio antenna, just like I did last time, except this time it was the Alpha Full Metal Jacket I just picked up. I activated Buchanan State Park on Parks On the Air. I only successfully made one contact, another park in Texas. I could hear many stations well, but just couldn’t be heard by most, even when I announced my presence and frequency on the POTA website. I wonder if there’s something wrong with my radio, preventing it from transmitting with as much power as it should.
Anyway, aside from radio I had a lovely, quiet, relaxing night. I saw not a single soul from the time I pulled off US 30 until the following morning when a tractor drove by. It was wonderful. I didn’t even bother putting up my window shades overnight. It was that quiet.