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My Van Life: Day 43

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Newport, RI – New Haven, CT – Trenton, NJ

This was the first weekend in a while where we actually set an alarm. Can you believe it?? A Saturday morning in Van Life and we set an alarm! However, it was for good reason. I can promise you that. We’ve been keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Henri the previous few days and now it’s actually gained speed and power and is predicted to hit land as a Hurricane, affecting most of the Northeast. As I’ve mentioned, neither of us are from the land of tropical storms/hurricanes so we really don’t know what to expect nor if we should be taking it seriously or not. From our point of view it’s better to be those naïve "out of towners" and make a break for it while we still can rather than be stuck and regret the decision to tough it out.

So, we set the alarm. We set the alarm to get up early, get moving and start this Saturday off early, checking off as many items on our Newport, Rhode Island checklist so we can feel like we actually experienced this city before being chased away by torrential wind and rain. After the experience we had trying to find parking yesterday in the downtown Newport area we didn’t want to risk it so we found a restaurant we wanted to try for breakfast, claimed a prime parking spot right in downtown and walked over to Cru Café.

This café looked like a newer spot but a well established one. We got there 30 minutes after opening and it was already packed. We managed to get a table outside though which was great because honestly if we arrived even just 30 minutes later we might not have been able to. I’ll tell you the coffee was phenomenal, the chocolate hazelnut scone I indulged in – it’s the weekend, let me live – and the side of tater tots were absolutely delish. All of the aforementioned items I would certainly order again. Beyond that, it was a no for me. I had the Next Level Avocado Toast and Adam had The Bellevue Burrito. Personally I couldn’t even finish my avocado toast. It had avocado, poached egg, sesame seeds and a chili sauce on it which in short really just meant the toast was extremely soggy by the time I got to the second half of it. Adam said some of the meat tasted almost frozen in his burrito so not sure if we just didn’t order right or what. Like I said it was extremely popular with a line out the door by the time we left but I’m not sure that I would visit again personally.

From there we walked around the downtown area now that we had secured 3 hour parking and the streets weren’t exploding with throngs of people. You could actually walk on the sidewalk, imagine! I secured my Newport souvenirs and then we were off again. I told you, I was running a tight ship this morning. We did another drive by of the Newport Mansions on Belleveue Avenue (one drive by truly isn’t enough), and another loop around Ocean Drive before heading toward the Redwood Library. I’d seen photos and phenomenal reviews of this library in my Newport research and I was anxious to see the inside for myself. It truly looked like the most picturesque library one could imagine. Well, unfortunately it wasn’t a traditional library that you can just walk in to and browse, it was $10 for admission and knowing dogs likely weren’t allowed, I wasn’t about to pay $10 to walk in, snap some photos, and leave. Add that to the list of destinations to come back to.

Around 1pm, we decided to head out of Newport as we knew we wanted to be able to drive to Yale before driving more inland (if possible) to get out of the storm’s path. We managed to make it to New Haven to see yet another beautiful Ivy League campus. Still not quite what I expected nor the surrounding area that I expected but it’s good to gain that perspective on these "larger than life" schools that many of us traditionally admire from afar. Before hitting the road once again we popped over to Whole Foods to grab a few items and then drove a few hours inland, through New York, before landing somewhere in New Jersey. They have similar “Park and Rides” here in New Jersey which is where we stayed the last couple of nights but unfortunately these ones had strict “2 hour” limits so we kept moving. There’s honestly nothing worse than doing our research, finding these places we (think) we can land, driving hours into the night only to arrive and realize there are restrictions not previously indicated in our research. Nothing worse. Thankfully it’s never too far that we have to travel but after visiting two of those such destinations this evening I really thought this would be our first time not having a safe (and legal LOL) place to land.

It’s so much harder on the East Coast - which we kind of expected. We agreed we’d be open to paying for places to camp overnight, whether it be camping sites or RV parks, since we managed to not pay for most of the West Coast but when you’re talking $50-$75, even $100 a night essentially just for a place to sleep it gets a bit ridiculous. Adam got on the phone and called one of our favorites, Cracker Barrel, who confirmed they allowed overnight parking. WHEW. Sigh of relief and 15 minutes later we have landed in our home for the evening. Tomorrow it's all rain in the forecast so I’m curious what that’s going to be like considering we’re not completely out of the path or effects of the hurricane. Also does that mean we’re just completely relegated to the van? Likely. I mean I imagine so unless we can find an indoor place to hang out with Coco but again, much easier said than done. We shall see. It will be a new van experience!

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