Saturday January 2nd 2021
Today started with a foggy morning. As the day went by the fog lifted to a cloudy day and then a little bit of sunshine broke through in this area, but to the west near the gulf the low clouds remained all day. The temperature reached the high seventies as the area braces for the approaching cold front.
The cloudy weather altered my plans for the day. I had intended to drive out to the coast and wander around in the nature preserves and beaches. That outing will have to happen another day. My focus for the day turned to planning for my 2021 travels.
In the overall pattern for my Rambling Road trip this is an east coast year. What exactly that means in our pandemic dominated world is questionable. How quickly people get vaccinated and conditions improve will make a lot of difference. Right now, the further north one travels the greater the number of restrictions.
My current thoughts keep my travel slow and restricted to the southeast this year. I’m thinking about staying in Florida until after Memorial Day. It will be getting hot in Florida by then. The higher altitude of the mountains in northern Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky would get the bulk of my visits during June through September. I’ll make a few visits to lower altitude, but the few degrees cooler temperature in the mountains will be welcome. After dodging tropical storms this year, I don’t plan to return to Florida until late in October.
Within the framework established by the general area of the mountains of the southeast, I need to make specific plans. Do I travel in a clockwise loop north along the west side of the Appalachian mountains then back down the east side or the reverse clockwise loop. A zigzag route crossing the mountain chain multiple times might be more efficient, but wear and tear on the motorhome and my nerves isn’t worth it. Once I decide were I want to be for the Forth of July and Labor Day holidays the direction of travel becomes clearer.
I want to spend time in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. If I get into Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is another good place to visit. Similar to 2020, I plan to avoid cities and indoor attractions. That takes many possibilities off the list. This brings the secondary level of locations and outdoor attractions into the planning process. The problem is I need to do research to identify what those attractions might be.
For popular areas I’m already behind schedule booking reservations. I may need to book shorter stays at multiple places. Last year at this time I’d already made several reservations. They all got canceled, but at least I had them. I’ve got reservations from now until the middle of April. Booking the rest of April and May in Florida should be easy. I’ll do that as I continue to research the rest of the year.