Challenges living in an RV: Part 1 of many

I can say with certainty that living in an RV is one of the coolest things I have ever done. To say I enjoy it is an understatement but there are challenges. Some of the challenges are small and can be worked through with a little imagination while others can be a bit tough. Several friends have asked me what the hardest parts are so I will try and think of most of them and give them to you here. This will come in several parts since there are many different “Challenges” to cover.

Gorgeous park just difficult to get to

One of my biggest challenges is the nightmare that we will drive our HOUSE off the road or severely damage it in some way. Every time we plan our next move I have to look at where our GPS thinks we should go and compare it to where Google Maps thinks and then triple check the roads we will be driving on to make sure there are no overpasses along the way that will not accommodate our 12-foot 7-inch tall monstrosity. Sometimes even with the best planning things can detour you because you may not have access to information on many roads. This is a bit of a nightmare some days. Take for instance driving to our last park.

We got up early and got a great start. We only had a little over an hour to our next park and it was going to be a great easy day. Little did we know that as we packed up the RV and got ready to move a man in Boston had shot and murdered a man and had started a high speed chase down the highway we were supposed to be driving on and crashed into a police car. After crashing he leapt from his vehicle and commenced to have a gunfight with police on the highway exit we were supposed to take! Well if that wasn’t enough after sitting in an additional hours worth of traffic with no idea what had happened we are forced off the exit before the one we were supposed to exit off of leading us onto some severely treed back-roads where I spent as much time driving down the middle of the street as I could to keep the low hanging branches from scaring the sides of the rig. Now if you think the day might not get any worse… well you obviously don’t know anything about Mr. Murphy and his laws. We follow the directions on the GPS winding through these roads until we reach our next turn… onto a DEAD END street.

So it turns out that the park service used to have a back entrance into the State Park we were moving into and all the maps think it is still there but guess what? It’s not. So now Bill has to grab our secondary mapping system (thank goodness for that) and guide me through more winding treed roads until we finally after another 30 mins find the FRONT and ONLY entrance to the park. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

This is one of the larger challenges for me personally. We will keep posting about other challenges as they come up.

Laundry? Maybe not

So what happens on a typical day that Bill and I don’t have plans? Well we wake up in the morning and I have grand delusions that I am going to park my butt in my chair and just be. I might stitch, or watch TV or just do nothing at all. Well that isn’t always what ends up happening… actually that is rarely what ends up happening. Today I had the grand idea that I was going to do a few loads of laundry and take a shower. If I got adventurous I was going to wander over to the little restaurant onsite here at the park and have lunch but thought it was more likely a bowl of cereal kind of day.

Around noon Bill started to get antsy. “What are we doing today?” he says. This means, “I want to go out but I don’t want to initiate it because then I have to decide where to go.” When you live together 24/7 you begin to understand the true meaning behind the words. I got up to go shower and told Bill to find somewhere for lunch, by the time I got out of the shower he had found a few places NOT to have lunch but nowhere that looked good. Luckily for me he at least told me what he wanted to eat. He wanted Lobster. Well being that we are in MAINE that shouldn’t be a difficult request. He went to take a shower and I started my search.

Something I have discovered is many people don’t REALLY know how to use a search engine. Bill, for example, isn’t always as specific as he could be. To find a restaurant he picks up the phone and hunts for lobster restaurant. He may find a few places but the Google Maps app on the phone can be annoying and not show you things you should see and shows you many things that have nothing to do with your search. So Bill gets in the shower and I grab my computer. We are near Bangor, ME and so I google “Best Lobster, Bangor, ME”. Instantly I have a slew of restaurant suggestions from different travel sites (Fodor’s) and reviews. Something that may take Bill half an hour because he does it a different way takes me 20 seconds.

Yum


So I find two excellent options for lunch. One is 5 miles away in Bangor, the other is on the water a little over an hour south. I know from past experience we will be going to the one an hour away because we will have lunch and then drive up and down the coast for a bit exploring. So I get dressed with the idea we will be gone for a couple hours and I can finish my laundry when we get home. Now I don’t know why after so many years I can read Bill like a book but I still REALLY think we are going out for JUST lobster and a drive. HA! Not likely. We have our lobster and we start driving south. We hit Camden, ME about 4pm and I gasp at how much the main street looks A LOT like Main Street USA at Walt Disney World. We must find a parking spot and get some pictures. We park and walk around snapping pictures.

Next thing you know we are walking along the water of the harbor (ha-ba in New England speak) and there is this BIG beautiful schooner bobbing up and down at the dock. Bill is snapping photos when we realize there are people boarding the boats around us. We see a table that looks like a good place to ask about this. We wander over and start talking to the man there. They have 2-hour sunset tours where they take you out in the schooners and float around while the sun sets. We think about this for a while and realize that of our days we planned to be in the area TODAY is the best day for something like this. So when does this tour leave? Well 5 minutes from now. SOLD!

See if I had PLANNED I woulda brought a jacket. LOL

Laundry? Well maybe tomorrow? LOL

Crustaceans and Sunset

We slept in today and did not really have a plan for what we wanted to do with the day. We will need a reasonably early start and a full day to go explore Acadia National Park so that was out of the picture for the day. We have not figured out if we are going to travel to the Bay of Fundy yet and again would need an early start and full day. So we just kind of hung around and played on the computers, took showers and tried to figure out what to do.

Well if you are in Maine one obvious thing to do is find one of those lobster shacks. You know what I mean – the ones that are out on a dock somewhere on the coast. They take the lobsters right off the boats and put them in holding tanks until some hungry person comes up and orders one. Then they drop them in a pot of boiling water, crack the shells and serve them up with some melted butter.

Since it was about lunch time, which for us is somewhere between 2 and 4 pm these days, we decided to head to the coast and eat lobster. We found Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast, Maine. There we ordered two lobsters and waited. When they were close to being done we added a pound of steamers (for me since Leslie can’t eat them) and an ear of corn to share. It was a wonderful lunch – fresh lobster on a dock in Maine.

Young's Lobster Pound

Young's Lobster Pound

After lunch we decided to continue to explore costal Maine. We continued our drive down US-1 and as we crested the small hill and saw Camden, Maine. Leslie commented on how it reminded her of “Main Street” in the Magic Kingdom. Well it has been awhile now since we have taken a stroll down “Main Street” so of course we had to find a parking space (much easier than in Boston) and take a stroll.   Camden was nice and we had fun wandering along and stopping in various shops. There is a river that runs into the town and there are stores on stilts that sit over the river. The river then flows down a small rocked waterfall area and into the harbor full of sailing ships.

Camden, Maine

Camden, Maine

As we continued our exploration of the town we ended up by some of the dock area, and saw people boarding some of the ships. We decide to get some information to see if we wanted to come back and take a little cruise. Well the sunset cruise on the Appledore II (http://www.appledore2.com/index.html) was getting ready to cast off, and since the weather is not going to be as nice tomorrow and Friday we are going to Acadia we decided to “Just Do It”.

Appledore II Sunset

Appledore II Sunset

The Appledore II is a 86-foot (65-foot deck) dual mast schooner that was launched in 1978. The Appledore has sailed around the world and for the last 20 years has offered day sails from Camden during the summer months and Key West in the winter. (Leslie adds that we might have to go down to Key West and take another one of these tours)

By the time we got back to shore we were hungry again. We got a recommendation from one of the deckhands and had a delicious dinner at 57 Bayview Bar and Bistro.

What a wonderful day – Lobster for lunch, a sunset cruise on the schooner Appledore II, and delightful diner. I could get use to this.

The Historic Boston Area

We have been in the Boston area for about a week and half and have visited a few of the historic sites in the area.  We documented our trip to the Old North Bridge a little while back but have been to a few other sites since then.

Sit Down John

Quincy, Massachusetts is the birthplace of two United States Presidents – John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The Adams National Historic Park includes the birthplace of both Presidents along with Peacefield the home to four generations of the Adams family.  We took the tour of the houses and learned more about the life of John and Abigail Adams. I was not aware of the rift that developed between two of the founders of the country and good friends – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

The photo on the upper left is the birthplace of John Adams. The house on the upper right is a house that that John and Abigail moved into and is the birthplace of the sixth President John Quincy Adams. The photo on the lower left is the house that John and Abigail purchased when they were in Europe to live in when they returned. The house stayed in the Adams Family until it was given to the National Park Service in 1947. The lower right hand is the photo of the Stone Library that holds the books of John Quincy Adams. Some consider this the first Presidential Library; however since it does not hold the papers of from his administration it is not an official Presidential Library. (The National Park Service does permit photos in any of the buildings).

Adams National Historic Site

Adams National Historic Site

When we walked into the Visitors Center of the Adam National Historic Park a TV in the corner of the room was playing the movie 1776 (a musical about the writing of the writing of the Declaration of Independence).  One of the songs in the movie is a number in which the members of the Continental Congress plead with John Adams to stop going on about independence and just sit down.  It’s a great movie – if you have not seen it, you should.

The Merchant Peter Faneuil

Peter Faneuil was a wealthy Boston Merchant that wanted to give back to his city. The first floor was an open marketplace and the second floor was large meeting room. The meeting room has hosted numerous speeches and debates about all forms of independence and a wide range of topics.

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall

Old Ironsides

In 1774 the United States Congress authorized the building of the original six frigates of the United States Navy. The USS Constitution was third built and was commissioned in October of 1797 and holds the world’s record as the oldest floating commissioned warship in the world.  The USS Constitution is famous for her actions in the War of 1812 which she defeated four British warships and captured numerous merchant ships.  The hull design of Live Oak sandwiched between two layers of White Oak allowed her to repel the attacks of  and defeat the British warship HMS Guerriere giving the USS Constitution the nickname of Old Ironsides.

 

USS Constitution

USS Constitution

Our time here in Massachusetts is coming to an end and we are getting ready to head up to Maine to see the leaves change color and eat some Lobster.

Leslie says: The USS Constitution went 33:0 in the battles it fought for the United States. The ranger stated: It is the only undefeated team from Boston. We all giggled. :-) Also while here I shopped for numerous Boston Red Sox goodies to take home to the family. Much fun will be had by all. :-D

 

Oceans

There is something comforting about walking in the sand listening to the waves break as they crash to the shore.  Depending on the weather I could spend hours walking in the sand taking a few pictures (although Leslie might say I take more than a few pictures.) Since we left Seattle in November we have been able to visit the ocean beaches in 7 states (Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, and New Jersey).

Today we added Massachusetts to the list by visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore. The Cape Cod National Seashore in the National Park Services was created 50 years ago (August 7, 1961) by President Kennedy. The National Seashore encompasses just over 43,000 acres and about 40 miles of Atlantic shoreline. In addition to the miles of shoreline there are acres of marshlands, along with number of lighthouses and museums.

Today we visited the Coast Guard Beach which was listed the 8th best beach by www.drbeach.org for 2011. (Leslie wasn’t quite sure she agreed with that as she sat huddled in her hoodie) It is amazing how different the shorelines are depending on where they are located. For example I could not find any shells on this beach where the ones in North Carolina where covered in shells. Off the coast in Oregon there are incredible rock out cropping’s and from the one today was flat as the horizon.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore