My Retirement Stories

Kathy and Bill

Airstream Summer 2023, Part 1

Internet connectivity was unfortunately terrible at every stop this summer, so I can only now post an update on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this Airstream Summer 2023 adventure.

When summer gets too hot in Key Largo, we hitch our Airstream to the Suburban and head north. This year, we had a rocky start. We stopped at an Airstream dealership in Savannah, GA, for minor service. While there, we discovered termites had tagged along, but since there’s no wood in an Airstream, a can of termite spray did the job. The fun continued …


Many RVers love boondocking. For non-RVers, Boondockers can stay in parks without water, electricity, or sewer connections. They join Harvest Hosts and other sites that provide free one-night stays at historic sites, wineries, breweries, churches, and more. We have had nothing but bad luck finding a Harvest Host location, and when we do, it has not worked out. Our first stop this summer was to spend a night at a Brewery in Savannah, Georgia. When we arrived, it looked nothing like the charming breweries everywhere. It was in an industrial park in a bad neighborhood; there was no way I was sleeping there. We left and were fortunate that we could check in early at our next stop in Chapel Hill, NC.

Chapel Hill

We stayed at Jones Station RV Park, a very comfortable, friendly park with limited amenities. It was perfect for us because we were there to visit our friends Leslie and Carlie.

We had a great time, the perfect combination of visiting friends, playing Pickleball, and discovering the charming towns of Hillsborough, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill. Our friends Leslie and Carlie have built a beautiful home in a great community with an active Pickleball group! We played some very friendly, competitive games. On Sunday, they joined us for an afternoon of music and good food at 401 Main, a neighborhood restaurant in Carrboro owned by Chris Baldwin and his son, Evan. I met Chris about 25 years ago in Wilmington, NC, when he was the Casting Director for a movie production company. What was I doing there? That’s a long story, but I spent a year there and enjoyed being an extra in several Hallmark movies.

I highly recommend Antonia’s, an Italian restaurant in Hillsborough. It’s so good that we ate there twice in just five days! I had fish both times – salmon on our first visit and fresh-water trout the next. Both excellent. Bill had lasagna the first time and Veal Parmigiana the next.

A sad detour

From Chapel Hill, we traveled north to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where we planned to spend a week visiting friends and enjoying many Maryland crabs! The only place to order crabs is Maryland or The Delmarva Peninsula; ignore crab on menus elsewhere.

Upon arrival, we had to quickly change our plans and head north to New Hampshire. I got a call from my youngest brother, Kevin, who was dying of kidney cancer. He was at his daughter Megan’s home under Hospice care and wanted to see me. We left early the next morning. It was a long day, punctuated by route challenges, torrential rain, and mountainous, dark roads, but we made it. (FYI, no RVs are allowed on Rt. 15, the Merritt Parkway, in Connecticut!)

We found a spot in a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park near Megan’s home in Milton, NH, but we would have to switch sites after the first night. The staff was incredibly accommodating, moving us from one campsite to another the next day while we visited Kevin. What a beautiful campground, but we had to be the only couple with no children or pets!

We spent some good time with Kevin, Megan, her husband Calvin, and their two children. We laughed and reminisced about fun times we remembered. As kids, we went camping every summer as a family in Maine or New Hampshire. Kevin recalled that I was not in love with camping, while my fondest childhood memories were the opposite. He was surprised that I now spend the summer months traveling in our Airstream!

It was hard to say goodbye, but I hope it brought him peace. (P.S. A few days after we left, we got a call that he had passed in his sleep.) RIP, Kevin J. Sperl.

The Flume Gorge

While in New Hampshire, we took a day to ourselves and traveled to White Mountain State Park. We drove around the park and stopped at The Flume Gorge. It’s a must if you ever find yourself in New Hampshire. We walked The Flume Gorge, despite my fear of heights! On the way back, we stopped in North Conway and found another wonderful Italian restaurant – Vito Marcello! Can you tell that Bill’s favorite food type is Italian? I had the Linguine Primavera, the best I’ve ever had! Bill had the Veal Parmigiana again, and it was excellent.

Newport Jazz Festival

Sadly, we said our goodbyes and resumed our planned itinerary. We headed south to Newport, Rhode Island, for the Newport Jazz Festival. Did you know the Newport Jazz Festival moved to New York City in the late 60s/early 70s for several years? I lived in NYC then and attended events all over the city, from Radio City Music Hall to the Staten Island Ferry and Central Park. The highlight for me was Brubeck & Sons on the Staten Island Ferry!

This Festival featured Jazz greats like Marcus Miller, Christian McBride, Branford Marsalis, Jon Batiste, Diana Krall, and Herbie Hancock! There were so many new names and women musicians that I will now be able to enjoy on my Apple music – women like Lauren Sevian on baritone sax, Lakecia Benjamin on alto sax, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, Camille Thurman on tenor sax, and vocalist Claudia Acuna. Just WOW!

Bar Harbor, Maine

Our next stop was Bar Harbor, or Baahr Haarbahr, a charming town Downeast providing access to the mountains and cliffs of Acadia National Park. On our second day, we took our collapsible GoCity e-bikes to the park and spent the day riding the carriage roads. Although we saw no carriages, the roads were wide and smooth, with plenty of room for all the bikes and hikers. We stayed at the KOA Bar Harbor Oceanside, a park recommended by friends who spend several weeks there each year. It’s a convenient location to explore the area and visit Acadia. Whether you camp with a tent or an RV, plan to stay at this KOA and visit Acadia National Park.

Next stop – Portland, Maine. Stay tuned for more when we have another decent Internet connection!

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