Saturday, July 28, 2007


Friday, July 27th, 2007
Dover, NH to Camden, ME

152.8 miles
Beautiful day!

I keep saying the days have been beautiful, and they have been . . . beautiful to look at! But I have to admit, I’m finding this particular summer weather to be terribly oppressive. It is so humid and hot – hot for here anyway, apparently. And my personal thermostat is malfunctioning dramatically! I simply can’t take the humidity anymore! I guess I really did get accustomed to the ‘dry heat’ of the desert! Oh well – it is so gorgeous here, that I just keep on going!

And it was a fun day! Not too many miles, but Maggie and I were weaving in and out and around and about the incredible coastline of Maine! The highway 1 here is as incredible, in its own way, as the coast highway 1 in California! A little more touristy, a lot more crowded, a lot more signs – all in all absolutely wonderful!

You know I love signs - we saw terrific signs all day – great imaginations from these folks, great play on words, lots of entertainment just in reading signs! Not to mention the marvelous homes, the beautiful flowers! (I know, I know, I talk all the time about flowers! What can I say? I love flowers! And the people who live in really cold country do their best to make beautiful flower arrangements in windows and yards, taking advantage of the summer sun!!)

Signs - there was “Brenda’s Bloomers” which was a flower shop! And “Sister Mary Catherine’s Origami Sushi Internet Bar” . . . the “Tipsy Butler Bed & Breakfast” or “Oriental Rugs and Fiddle Repair” . . . the what?

The signs are even gorgeous along this coastline - the "open" signs are almost all pennants in red, white and blue and sometimes yellow - so much nicer than neon! And name signs are in fancy script with big gold lettering - classy!!

We saw Elvis was sitting at a bus stop in Kennebunk! Not quite as classy, but fun!!

Lobster signs everywhere, lobster rolls, lazy man's lobster, twin lobster and more – and fresh blueberries, OMG the fresh blueberries! It took us 7 hours to go 150 miles, but it was worth every minute of it! People watching, neat bridges, church steeples, sail boats, flowers, more people watching . . . fun fun day!

Spent an extra day once we arrived in Camden, outside Rockport, to relax and organize, and especially for dinner tonight, Saturday. We went to a neighboring RV park, Megunticook Campground by the Sea, Saturday night Lobster Feast! A feast to change plans for, a feast to die for! One and a half pound lobsters, caught today, buckets of fresh clams, all the fresh corn we could eat . . . outside on a deck overlooking Penobscot Bay with the fog rolling in. Stunning!

We could hear the fog horn warning boaters of the wild coast line!

The fog horn we heard was from Owl’s Head lighthouse, and interestingly enough, we had just heard about that particular lighthouse on the Travel Channel today! The story was about haunted lighthouses of America, and this Maine lighthouse was so interesting, I looked it up online, and found even more fun stories . . . one about the resident dog who had learned to pull the cord that sounded the fog horn when he heard a boat coming too close, credited with saving lives ( naturally, I tell the dog story!) For more stories about this neat place, check out - fascinating history!

Too much fun!!

Met up with Maggie today!

Pownal, VT to Dover, NH

196.1 miles
Lovely day

As I headed back towards town from my idyllic little spot in the country, I was reminded again why this area is not for me in the winter – humungous piles of chopped wood, which are growing bigger by the day, in preparation for what the residents obviously are anticipating as a COLD winter! Thanks anyway!

Truly beautiful country though! The little town of Bennington, down in the southwest corner of Vermont is picturesque, quaint and charming, with colorful flower baskets everywhere and streets a little too narrow to be wanting big old boxes driving thru!

Spent the morning weaving in and out of narrow river valleys, packed with big trees, and crystal clear water tumbling over the rock studded creek beds – couldn’t be prettier if you asked someone to paint you a picture.

Several National and State forests and parks throughout the State and lots to do for the outdoorsman/woman!! Lots of water – creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes. I never understood the need or desire that others show for camping and fishing and the like, but traveling thru these marvelous lands, I can see that if I had grown up in this type environ, I’d have been doing that camping, fishing schtick too! And probably loving it!

Sad to see a lot of old trees dying here too, though. If it’s the same pine bark beetle that has wreaked havoc on the forests out West, it’s rather frightening to think where it might all end. No one seems to know what to do to eradicate that nasty beetle yet, before it destroys the woods completely. Some say that it’s as much the unusual weather of late in this area that's causing the death of trees – really wet then really hot – very unusual hence very damaging to the trees. Whatever, it’s sad to see it happening, for someone who is just learning to appreciate how special the area is!

The town of West Brattleboro, VT has a (at least one) single lane covered bridge, as the entire region is apparently famous for – charming carry-over from the past, which wants no part of a big old box like mine!!

I’ve been seeing quite a number of big stars, five-pointed stars, adorning the sides of many homes and businesses. I’ve asked a few people what they represent, hoping it might be historic and special. Apparently not though. The final answer seems to be that someone started doing it as a holiday decoration and it just caught on. I heard more about it when I met up with Meg in New Hampshire later today, relating the stars to the ‘Gold Star Mothers’, who put out stars for sons lost overseas in battle, a carry-over from WWII. I like that story better!

I had hoped to drive up north today thru Vermont, along the border and the Connecticut River, and then back down the other side in New Hampshire to Portsmouth, but realized that I was running out of time. The wonderful morning weaving thru the little valleys took way more time than I anticipated, and I had too far yet to go this day. Maybe later, after the Maritime Province tour! (You might spot the little side trip north on the map – I turned around and returned to the main road to save some time!)

I’ve enjoyed spotting a whole lot of blow-up swimming pools in backyards of homes all through this area . . . makes plenty of sense – short summer, long hard winter, and you can still have the joy of a pool, without the wasted work and space for the rest of the year! Obviously they don’t have the problem I did when I tried using one of those 18’ round above ground blow-up pools that Wal-Mart sells – I was the only water source around, in the Tubac Foothills of southern Arizona, so all the wasps and bees and birds in the area said thanks very much, and refused to let me near the pool. I gave up on it after two summers!

Interesting to me, the difference between Vermont and New Hampshire! In just a matter of miles, first impression, it was like going from one century to the next. Not to say that Vermont was old-fashioned. It just seemed that immediately, everything in New Hampshire seemed more, well, modern. Tidier, better maintained, wider roads, newer houses, newer cars. I liked Vermont!

Particularly when I saw an 11% road grade down into Keene, NH. That is one steep grade!!

Whatever, they all suffer serious winter here (spoken by a true summer worshipper!) more snow mobile signs, Granite Gorge Ski Resort (with chair lift!!), moose crossing signs everywhere.

Then I knew I was approaching the lobster famous Maine coast when I saw a restaurant claiming “Best in Town, Claws Down”!!

Pulled into the RV park outside Dover, as my girlfriend Meg arrived by shuttle service from her flight from Seattle. Meg’s daughter lives in Portsmouth, so it seemed like the perfect place to meet for our upcoming caravan tour of the Maritime Provinces!

We rented a car next morning, took Penny to the beauty shop, visited with Meg’s grandkids for a while, then took off on a bunch of errands, including a full body massage for me!! What a treat!! I had hoped it would help me overcome a pinched nerve in my hip that’s been driving me mad for the last several weeks. Didn’t really help that, but sure made me feel good everywhere else! I might have to find a way to include a massage every few weeks – after driving these long miles, it sure was nice!!

The spa was in a fantastic old 1800’s house! Claims to be one of the five best rated spas in the nation! Gets my vote!!

Had a fun dinner with the family, picked up many weeks of mail which had been forwarded to Elizabeth’s house, and then a good night’s rest before hitting the road again!!

Old Stage Campground
46 Old Stage Road
Madbury, NH 03823
978-374-3109 (off-season)

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