I checked on my RV the other day – it’s been in storage since December 1st – and it started up just fine. Seeing it generated a flood of great memories from my travels last fall, and I realized how much I miss it! So I’m really looking forward to getting back on the road in early April after my trip to Seattle and China beginning next week.
My first stop will be at a campground near Athens, Georgia, where I’ll stay for a full month. I was there for about three weeks last November, and barely scraped the surface of the research I need to do in Walton and surrounding counties. That’s partly because Eric and I had the agenda of cleaning up the family cemetery and visiting places from Eric’s childhood, which was great fun. But this time, I’ll focus on courthouse research.
Eric’s family goes back more than 200 years in Georgia, and the campground’s location is central to various county seats I’ll need to visit. The weather in Georgia will be stunning, with all the flowers in bloom which we don’t see until May in the northeast. And it’ll be really helpful to have my first stop be a full month, so I can get organized for the season, which will include several visits from my new BFF, the local mobile RV repair man!
In early May, I’m heading up to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the annual National Genealogical Society conference. I’ve been to a few of them over the years, and always enjoy it tremendously. I especially love the feeling of being with thousands of my “peeps” – they’re all just like me when it comes to genealogy!
After a week in Raleigh, I’ll go to a little town north of Richmond, Virginia to visit my cousin Betsy for a week (the same special cousin who lets me stay at her house in Sarasota). I visited her last fall for a few days, but we both decided it wasn’t long enough! She has a lovely home and sheep farm and I just feel so comfortable there. If I want to, I can visit the fabulous Library of Virginia in Richmond to do some genealogy research.
Next, I’ll be going back to my former home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for two weeks, spanning Memorial Day weekend. I have some annual doctor appointments scheduled, and will hopefully spend time with people who I miss very much, including my wonderful friends at the Bucks County Genealogical Society, and my former workplace. And, I’ll do an RV clean-out, dropping some things off at storage and picking other things up.
When I leave Bucks County at the beginning of June, I’ll head out to the Pittsburgh area, where I’ll stay for a month, through the 4th of July weekend. On the way there, I’ll stop at the home of my second cousin, Melody, for a few days – that’s a whole ‘nother exciting story which I’ll share when I get there! Melody will join me in the Pittsburgh area, where we’ll do research together, visit the family cemetery, and spend some time at her mother’s house in Belle Vernon, going through photos and boxes of family memorabilia (Yay!! I can hardly contain my excitement!!).
Last fall, I ordered a stone for the grave of my parents and my two brothers, and it’ll be installed this spring. So the trip to the cemetery will be especially meaningful for me.
At the end of June, just before leaving Pittsburgh, I’ll attend a week-long class at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (“GRIP”), held on the campus of LaRoche College. I registered for a course called “Mastering Genealogical Documentation”, taught by Dr. Thomas Jones, one of the top genealogists in the country. I attended GRIP in 2012, and intended to go each year since it was low cost, and easy to get to from my home in Bucks County. But, it just never worked out – there was never enough vacation time, especially since I used every day of accumulated time off to take care of my brother in 2013. So, I’m extremely happy to be finally attending GRIP again!
I’ll post more details about my summer plans when the time gets closer, but generally my path will go through upstate New York and western Vermont, looping back to Pittsburgh for another conference at the end of August, and then I’ll head west after Labor Day.
I’m so excited about every single stop this spring. At the risk of sounding extremely trite, the truth is that Willie Nelson’s song keeps invading my mind: I just can’t wait to get back on the road again!!