We left Florida later than we intended. The camper needed to be customized for Team DeCorso – new sofa, new table, 5 bunks with an optional 6th bunk, bunk lights and chargers, a new oven/stove, upgrades to the running lights, a new stereo and speakers, new countertop in the kitchen, 14 hooks for coats and an overall upgrading of the camper (like scraping off the pink & blue gnocchi-like wallpaper border that was added to the bathroom and kitchen). During this time, we had a great stay in Florida! Swimming, bike riding, Snapple-drinking good time with grandpa & grandma!.
We left Florida on October 10, so very late as we needed to be in Halifax to catch our flight to Glasgow on October 20th.
The USA & Canada
We raced up the eastern seaboard. In Asheville, we visited Aunt Alice and cousin Mary. In Cleveland, we visited Grandma Dorothy and Aunt Pat & Uncle Smitty. Jack visited Carnegie Mellon and spent an evening with their pipe band. In New York, Mark realized he did not have the title to the camper and we had to send power of attorney to Ryan at a FedEx. In New Hampshire, someone hit our mirror while we were parked and broke it off. In Maine, we went out for lobster with the legendary Joni McNutt. In Calais, we fetched the camper title from FedEx. We drove around the Bay of Fundy, watched the tidal bore and arrived in Halifax on 10/18. We woke up early on 10/19 to discover that the transmission had completely failed. A panicked call to Mr Transmission, and $3000 (thankfully Canadian) later our camper was on the road again. Mr Transmission lent us a pick up truck so we could run our final errands and do our final paperwork for shipping the camper over. On the morning of October 20th, the camper had to be at the quay before 11am but our flight did not leave until 10pm. We spent the day sightseeing in Halifax , learning about the great Halifax Explosion and the Titanic Exhibit. Two things we learned: the explosion released the equivalent energy of 2.9 kilotons of TNT and Halifax was the staging ground for rescuing people from the sinking Titanic, although all they recovered were dead people and a sad collection of items like dolls and baby shoes.
Our plane landed in Glasgow and we caught a Citylink bus to Edinburgh and were at our lovely home by 11am. Ourhouse was literally 41 steps off the Royal Mile, on Bell’s Wynd. Later, in a bookstore in Leith, we would read in Haunted Edinburgh that our house was haunted. The house was perfect for us, the location was fabulous.
The camper departed Halifax on 10/24 and was supposed to take 7 days to get to Liverpool but a storm in the north Atlantic delayed the ship and we were happy to extend our stay in our little house on the Royal Mile to 3 weeks. We had a really great, super fun, amazing time in Edinburgh. We went to Tesco and bought a ton of weird British food (vegetarian haggis, clotted cream, crumpets, bangors, swedes, neeps, bramble jelly, turkish delight and several chutneys). We went to the Scottish National Gallery. We went to the Royal Botanical Gardens. We visited the castle. We went to almost every pub, or so it seemed. One night, Mark and Jack and I went to a small pub
with traditional music and had a great night of drinking, singing and dancing. We went on the Harry Potter Tour, in the poring rain, and saw where JK Rowling wrote the books, the inspiration (and grave) of Tom Riddle, Diagon Alley and much more.
We spent Halloween here. Sylvia and Annabelle went trick or treating in neighborhood of old gothic mansions. They had to do a trick at every house to get candy. Max supplied one excellent joke that no one had yet heard here: Why does Peter Pan fly? Because he can Never Land. We found the neighborhood from someone we met at the Unitarian Church in Edinburgh. We also went to the Royal Botanical Gardens on Halloween and did the Witch Hunt Trail, where you had to collect information on magical plants for a surprise. That night, was the Samhain Festival at the Grassmarket, a torch procession and very well attended.
Finally the camper arrived in Liverpool. Team DeCorso got up way too early and took a train to Liverpool. While Mark fetched the camper, Jack & Jennah went on a quest to find the house where John Lennon was born and Annabelle, Sylvia, Max and I went to the Albert Docks, World Herit age Site (not exciting at all).
Mark appeared with the camper and we piled inside and began the long task of preparing it for travel. We had screwed all the doors shut and put paneling over all compartments and screwed that shut, a basic RORO safety measure. Turns out, someone did steal stuff from our camper, it seems they always do. They took our Tide-scented Febreeze, a string of solar LED lights and, sadly, Mark’s drill so unscrewing became much more work. Next we had to find water, gas and propane (which required a fitting which had to be shipped from Oxford). While we unscrewed cabinets and waited for the fitting for the propane, we camped north of Liverpool at Crosby Beach, site of the 99 Iron Men statues. We also rode out the first storm
with a name in UK history, which battered the camper with 75mph winds. We had to move in the middle of the night to find more shelter. We also went to a store called Go Outdoors! and bought all of Team DeCorso suitable rain gear, jackets, boots, umbrellas and hats.
Then, with fuel and water and propane, we started on our left-driving journey.