Monday, June 16, 2014

Driver's Test and Moving day (Brattleboro, VT to Old Orchard Beach, ME)

Location: Wild Acres Campground; Old Orchard Beach, Maine
(click pics to enlarge)

Well, I made it to Maine. It's been one of my goals since I left Louisiana more than 9 weeks ago. It hasn't been a straight line here, but the general direction has always pointed here. There isn't anything special that I'm looking forward to seeing like it was in many of the other places I stopped. I just wanted to go to Maine. Specifically, I wanted to go to Bangor, Maine, just to know that I had been there. I have heard the name Bangor, Maine in songs all my life and it has always been sort of a mystery to me. The two older songs that mentioned Bangor were "King of the Road" by Roger Miller and "Roll on Big Mama" by Joe Stampley. The newer ones are "How about them Cowgirls" and "Brothers on the Highway", both by George Strait. I'll be in Bangor some time next week.

Yesterday was a moving day. I drove from Vermont, across New Hampshire and into southern Maine. The weather was great with the temperature in the low 70's and a bright blue sky with just a few scattered cumulus clouds. The trip was about 180 miles, which is about 4 1/2 hours of towing so I had picked out about 3 to 4 places to stop along the way. The stops can be nothing more than a pull-off on the side of the road. Google earth usually locates these places for me. With Liberty behind me, I can't just turn into any place along the road to use the restroom or get something to eat. Everything was going fine until somewhere around the middle of New Hampshire. I topped a mountain and rounded a curve and there was a State Trooper with his car blocking the highway. He was directing traffic down a smaller intersecting side road. I pulled up to him and asked if the detour was OK with my RV. He looked at Liberty, then back at me, and said "Yeah, if you're a good driver". I wasn't expecting an answer like that at all. What the heck did that mean? I looked at the detour road and the lanes didn't have edge striping so that usually means they are less than 11 feet wide. There wasn't any shoulder to speak of and what was there was rutted pretty bad. If I hooked a wheel in those ruts, I could rip up a tire or worse, throw me off the road and down the mountain. I had seen worse roads and towed Liberty on short stretches of them but this one was unknown to me and I had no idea how far the detour was going to be. I looked back at the trooper and told him I was trying to get to the interstate just up the road. His answer, which again was not reassuring, was "go to either the first or second town and make a hard left onto 202 and that will take you back to 9". I was on highway 9 now, so that part made sense. I started to ask him what was the reason for the detour and how long would I have to wait if I parked here, but he waved me on with a strong wave and with a mean look on his face, said "Move on". So I did. I quickly grabbed the phone and turned Elise (gps) back on. In her sweet little voice she told me to "turn around". That wasn't possible now so I kept going and was hoping for a place to pull over to look at the paper roadmap and the map that Elise uses. Elise finally comes to her senses and realizes that I'm not going to turn around and tells me to take the next left. I'm hoping this is the left that the Trooper was mentioned. I got to the turn and wouldn't you know it, there are two lefts, one about 90 degrees and the other a sharper turn. I figured, I must be in the right place and this is that "hard left" the trooper mentioned, so with very little clearance on one side I took the sharper turn which went up a little hill. I breathed a sigh of relief just as Elise said, "turn around". Crap!! (the word "crap" was mine, Elise doesn't use such words). There wasn't much traffic on this street so I pulled over as far as I could and stopped. I started looking at Elise's map and luckily this street did go to highway 202 which the trooper mentioned. Looking ahead I could see the road narrowing more and more with cars and trucks parked on the edges. Since it was such a pretty day after so much rain, I had an audience in just about every yard looking at the fool trying to tow an RV down their street. I started waving at the people as I slowly drove between their parked cars. Some waved back, others just stared. Finally, Elise gave me good news; "In 0.5 miles turn left on highway 202". Bingo. Highway 202 is a very good road with 12 foot lanes and wide shoulders. I relaxed and turned Freedom loose and headed north looking for highway 9. About 5 miles later, I turned onto highway 9 and was back on my planned route. One good thing about Elise is that she hasn't learned the word, "dumba$$" yet.

I made it to the interstate and needed to travel on it for about 15 miles before turning on another state highway. One of my planned stops was a rest area along this stretch of interstate. My luck hadn't changed yet and the rest area was under construction. There is a big sign though that says it is open during construction. I pulled in and of course there isn't any 18 wheeler/RV parking. Wow, the rest area was packed with cars. Since I couldn't park, I drove on through and that's when I noticed the reason for all the cars. There is an Official New Hampshire liquor store located in the rest area. People were going in and out of it like they were giving free stuff away. Darnest thing I had ever seen. Of course right in front of the liquor store is the official state sign saying "DUI's are strictly enforced" so I guess they think that makes it OK. As I left the useless rest area, I remembered I had a bathroom in Liberty and pulled over on the shoulder of the on-ramp. A few minutes later I was on my way again.

I made it to the campground around 2:30 and checked in. The woman at the office had very pretty eyes, almost like a Catahoula Cur. I came close to telling her she had dog eyes, but stopped in time and just told her she had pretty eyes. She assigned me to one of the 500 campsites at this campground. Yep, that's not a typo, five hundred campsites. A lot are tent sites, which are smaller and a lot are seasonal sites where people have their RV parked all the time, but still 500 sites is a lot. A guy on a golf cart led me to the site and mentioned that several people had started using it as a pull-thru instead of a back-in like it was intended. I stopped and looked at the little hill I would have to climb and decided to go for it. Freedom and Liberty didn't have any problem pulling in that way and I think they were ready to stop for a while too. The campsite is a full-hookup site, meaning it has water, electricity (50 amps) and sewer. I think it also has cable but haven't checked since I rarely watch TV anymore. The campground is a Passport America location so I'm getting 50% off for 2 of the 3 days I'll be staying here. Good deal, Lucille. 

I drove around the town while looking for a place to eat. I was hoping to see the ocean and maybe walk on the beach for a while. Nope. I found the street that runs in front of the beaches, but they are blocked by private residences, restaurants and hotels. There was a place or two where you could walk to the beach, but there wasn't any parking. I decided to get something to eat and solve the beach problem later. I found a restaurant and ordered a Lobster Roll to celebrate being in Maine. I had never had one but had heard they are great. They aren't. It wasn't anything special but I ate it all because I was hungry. I won't order another one.
Brochures from the Maine Welcome Center
Parts of the Campground while walking

My part of the campground
Freedom and Liberty with neighbors

I'll leave here on Wednesday and head to a campground at Bar Harbor on the edge of Acadia National Park.

It's about noon, so I'll publish this post and head on to a place that Google earth says I can get to the beach with available parking. We will see. I'll also look for another restaurant with a local flare or maybe a Taco Bell.

Ya'll take care of each other. Cya down the road. 

1 comment:

  1. You must be having a Taco Bell withdrawal after 9 weeks. :)