Bar Harbor

Wednesday June 16th We decided it would be a good day to check out Bar Harbor and get our National Park pass. My stomach is doing better, but I’m still not completely out of the woods. A nice relaxing day is just what the doctor ordered. I start the day out slowly with yoga and meditation. We tidy up a bit and head out to Bar Harbor to see what there is to see.

Catholic Church

It’s a beautiful day with highs in the low 70’s. We are only a few miles from the town so it takes longer to find parking than it did to get there. We are surprised by the number of travelers that are already there. Most hotels, inns, and B&B’s are proudly hanging their no vacancy signs. We see a public parking sign and take a very narrow two-way street about a quarter of a mile until it turns into a one-way street with stone pillars on each side. As we pass through the pylons we realize this parking lot is on the water. It’s unbelievably beautiful. We find an open spot, pay, and head for the beach.

Seaweed flow

The beach is rocky and it being low tide we can reach some of the larger rocks far away from the shoreline. We spend our time taking pictures and reading the informative signs placed throughout this trail/park area. After 45 minutes of exploring we decide to head into town.

The town is exactly what you would expect from an established tourist destination. Specialty ice cream and coffee shops are on every street. We are thirsty, so we grab iced latte’s and continue our tour. There are a ton of stores so we pick a few where she finds a moose mug at our first stop. It immediately reminds her of her mom, so we buy it and a couple of postcards.

Back out on the street, we notice a couple of shops with sea kayak tours. The first location requires masks to enter, and we came unprepared, so we move on to option two. We approach the desk and ask what they have available. She tells us there is only one spot left for the next two weeks. We quickly make eye contact and I tell her that we will take it!

Chipmunk fun

Our final stop for the day will be the Acadia National Park welcome center. It’s not far, and we need to purchase a park pass for the hiking and biking we plan on doing over the next week. There is no one in line when we arrive so the purchase takes about two minutes. He is very friendly and explains what we need to do if we want to see Cadillac mountain. We catch a chipmunk running around on our way out, and it makes my day. Now it’s time to head back to the campground and allow me to recover for the rest of the day.

Bar Harbor Campground

Crossing from New Hampshire to Maine.

Tuesday June 15th We wake up early, and I quickly realize it is time to put solid food on hold. We can’t wait to get to Maine, but I want to make sure we get some pics of the animals before we take off. Jodee cleans up while I head over to the fence that separates the house from the alpacas and chickens. The rooster is excited, screaming while the alpacas look on with disinterest.  I grab some shots and head back to help Jodee pack things up and get on our way. Today’s destination is Bar Harbor Campground. It is a family-owned campground that is first-come, first-serve. We have no idea how many spots will be available, so I call to confirm that there will be something available. There are plenty open, so we continue with our plan.

The trip takes longer than planned due to bathroom breaks required by the massive amounts of water I am consuming in my attempt to avoid a trip to the doctor. We arrive around 2 pm and check-in at the small office that functions as a welcome center and small shop. They are very friendly and informative. They give us a site map and make recommendations on where we might like to stay.

Now it’s time to drive around and pick an open spot. Bar Harbor Campground is quite large with 300 RV/tent locations, and there are even locations with ocean views. We take our time driving around. My goal is to avoid backing in, so our first stop is the pull-throughs. These sites have very little privacy and are the furthest from the water. We continue our adventure by checking out each campsite as we get closer to the harbor. Every water facing location is full, but we have identified a site with privacy and a short walk to the amazing harbor views.

Somewhat successfully backing in for the first time.

The moment of truth has arrived. The time has come for me to back Bigfoot into his temporary home. I take it slow as Jodee yells at me to change direction followed by silence and then more yelling. I am clearly not experienced at backing in or effectively communicating with my wife under pressure. After a few minutes of nervous backing up, straightening and yelling I am close enough to straight that I feel like celebrating. We disconnect and attempt to level. We are unable to get completely level so we compromise, and finish setting up.

Once we are settled in it’s time to check out the views and find out where everything is located. This place is Amazing. We take some pictures, cruise by the pool and identify the laundromat. It hasn’t been a long day, but I’m pooped. We settle in for the night. Jodee cooks up some chicken while I eat some soup. Lupin continues and we go to bed.

On the Road Again

Alpaca Time

Monday June 14th We are on the road again! We have decided to visit Maine while we are so close. I turn on the hotspot to test it before we leave. It doesn’t work, and the next hour and a half is consumed by Verizon online and phone reps inability to get it running. We clean up the RV, pack up and hit the road at 10. We are slow at this process. I hope this improves with time, but if it doesn’t I’m not sure it really matters.

Verizon is open so we stop in. The rep is awesome and quickly gets everything working. We happily resume our trip with our sights set on Snow Pond Farm in New Hampshire. It’s an Alpaca Farm with room for a few RVs. I can tell my stomach is unhappy, but it’s not bad. I have a few days of antibiotics left with my fingers crossed that I will be able to make it through without going back to the Dr.

We are the first one’s to arrive so we get to pull through rather than having to backup. The thought of backing up a 28 foot trailer is not appealing and I do everything I can to avoid it. We settle in and eat lunch, a delicious combination of tomatoes and mozzarella. This is a mistake. My stomach provides me with negative feedback soon after.

Home and Shop

We take the obligatory walk to the onsite shop. Harvest Hosts is an awesome way to travel. They provide you with free places to stay and you do your best to support the business. We are excited to acquire a dozen farm fresh eggs. Jodee is enamored with the alpaca winter beanies so we leave with one as well.

We spend the rest of the day relaxing and binging on Lupin. Lupin is on Netflix and is FANTASTIC. If you haven’t watched it stop reading this and turn on the Netflix.

Family and Hotspots

Final Day at Lake Compounce

Sunday June 13th Our last full day in CT before we head out to Maine. We need to pick up a hotspot before we leave CT. Hotspots on our phone aren’t cutting it and the WiFi at the RV parks are not secure and relatively terrible. We hit the Verizon in Southington where they say they don’t have any 5G hotspots in stock. Fortunately our sales rep is wrong as the manager digs through a drawer, finding their “last” one. We happily upgrade our services and activate the new hotspot.

Kim and Krzysztof invited us over to their place to hang out. They are always the best hosts. As usual they had a ridiculous spread of steak, chicken, sausage and every salad and snack that you can think of. Jakub and I play some killer two handed frisbee. For those of you without experience with two handed frisbee, it’s where you throw frisbees back and forth using both your left and right hands so as to overwhelm your adversary while showing your athletic skills (haha). It’s a perfect way to end our visit, Relaxing and enjoying everyone’s company.

Mystic with Anna and Matt, aka Kevin and his ABC’s.

Great Day!

Saturday June 12th I wake up a little early and do 30 minutes of yoga, congratulating myself on the back to back effort, before helping Jodee tidy up a little. I leave about 10:30 am to meet Anna and Matt in Mystic, CT. It’s been a while since I’ve been there and I have hopes of lobster and catching up with Matt and Anna. The morning combines cloudy sky’s with questionable warmth and high humidity. I wear shorts and bring a hoody to cover my bases. It’s a quick ride while parking is anything but fast. After 10 minutes of exploring I find a place and give them a call. Fortunately they are right behind me and we head off in search of of lobster rolls.

Anna and Matt looks great. It’s wonderful to see them both. Matt has done some pre-work on lunch so we begin our hike to Red 36. Highly rated and on the water are the right combination for this post-mask pandemic experience. They are slammed when we arrive. Connecticut has definitely moved on from social distancing. We can barely navigate people and chairs as we are brought to our table. Anna and I order lobster rolls and Matt orders a fish sandwich, the nature of which I can’t recall. Lunch is delicious. It is the first solid food I’ve had in 5 days so I am both very happy and fearful of intestinal retribution. The conversation is even better. I quickly reflect on the missed opportunities of the past, but quickly shift to appreciation of the moment. The conversation is great, they are happy, life isn’t perfect, but that’s ok.

We spend the rest of the afternoon visiting shops, eating chocolate, and relaxing at a local brewery. The shorts paid off as the day ended up being warm and quite humid. Mystic was a fun location to visit, but the location mattered much less than the people I was lucky to spend the day with. It was around 5 o’clock that the beers were emptied and close enough to dinner time for us to visit Mystic Pizza before we went our separate ways. There was no wait, but they were busy. We went deep into google to learn all the trivia we could while waiting for the pizza to arrive. The place is littered with memorabilia from the movie and it felt like more of a tourist stop than a place to eat pizza. The pizza arrived with little fanfare. It tasted ok. I wondered if some magic had been lost in the 25 or so years since a writer had visited and been so moved by this pizzeria that they were compelled to use it as a backdrop for their movie. We did not finish the pizza, but did stop for a postcard on the way out. We said our goodbyes, took a final couple pictures, and headed back to our cars.

Maybe it was the second beer, or just the nostalgia of being in CT, but I felt so grateful for Kevin Indudi I had to see him before we left and thank him for being such a good friend over the years. The timing was perfect. By the time he got off work I would be in Manchester and we could meet up at ABC, like we had so many times in the past. It was great to see him. Our conversation covered the usual topics. What was going on now, how is his mom, work and the necessary trip down memory lane. We shared a pretzel and some drinks before I left to pickup Jodee from Tammy’s 50th birthday party. What a great day. I love great days.

Rest

Grilling with Family at Lake Compounce

Thursday and Friday June 10th and 11th are recovery days for me. Jodee is spending some time with Marcy, Ashlee and Kim while I rest and recuperate at Lake Compounce. I have an opportunity do so some yoga, but most of the time is spent just relaxing and starting to eat again! YAY!

Friday night we have everyone over for dinner. Krzysztof kindly cooks almost everything as I have no grill experience with charcoal. Kim and Jodee do some shopping and put together a delicious bbq. We thought it would be fun and more affordable to have a charcoal grill. This night proves that is not the case and by the end of the night the grill is in the garbage and I’m sure we will now be buying another grill shortly. In spite of the joys of charcoal dinner is delicious. I eat some soup with hope that tomorrow will bring solid food.

It was a fun night to see everyone and relax. I am really looking forward to seeing Anna and Matt tomorrow in Mystic. I haven’t seen her since Christmas and I know we are going to have a great time. The night ends relatively early and I am feeling so much better.

Family Time and Lake Compounce

Wednesday June 9th We sleep in and I’m feeling a bit better. It’s a beautiful morning and we decide to take a walk around the pond before checking out the store. It’s a short walk. We find another larger pond across the street with a few kayaks and a row boat, but the best is yet to come. As we pass the pond there is a large fenced area with 3 goats and a “goat house”. They are excited to see us, but probably not as excited as we are to see them. Videos are taken, conversations are had, and for a moment all is right with the world.

Next stop is the farm store. The building has 6 doors, but somehow we are only supposed to use the one that is furthest from us. I quickly recover from this emotional setback to be confronted by another. Everything looks delicious. They have pies, veggies, jams, and fruit. None of which I will be able to eat. I am sad, while Jodee excitedly moves from station to station, lauding the delicious appearance of every item. We buy some donuts, a couple tomatoes, cookies and a couple cups of coffee. Yes we do have a coffee maker, but this morning our generator has decided to play hooky again, so we are on our own.

Lake Compounce is only an hour away and we will be settling in for 5 days. I’m looking forward to catching our breath and seeing friends and family. The last few days have felt a little overwhelming and chilling out is my top priority.

The CT Home Stretch

Pond at March Farms

Tuesday June 8 Today is going to be a difficult day. I am totally uncomfortable as my stomach has decided to be in full revolt. Yoga is on the menu before we head out and I’m doing it no matter how crappy I feel. It will only be 20 minutes, but there will be YOGA! It starts the day with the right mental vibe, but the battle with my stomach will continue and I will not be the winner today.

Before we hit the road we must capture a few pics and videos of this incredible property. We take our time, but I haven’t charged the drone batteries since we used them last so we only capture 2/3rds of what we would have liked.

Armstrong Valley Winery

We head out after tidying up a bit. It won’t be a long drive, but I feel every mile. Fortunately I can schedule a video call with a Dr who might be able to prescribe some antibiotics. Around 2 in the afternoon my appointment time comes. A very nice Dr asks me a few questions and prescribes an antibiotic I haven’t used before. Which is exciting as the ones I normally use cause serious stomach discomfort after 4 or 5 days of use. When I tell her a Walgreens address in CT she quickly informs me she is not allowed to put in a script out of state. Thankfully Walgreens has no issues transferring my prescription out of state so after a couple calls we can pick up my meds in CT.

March Farms in Bethlehem, CT is our destination. They have a store, a playground a pond that we can park at for the night. I can’t wait to get there. We arrive around 5pm and I just want to sleep. There is another couple at the pond when we arrive. Tom and Mary retired in March of 2020. Literally began full timing right before the world shut down. Their first stop in Texas became their home base for the next year. Amazing how our best plans don’t give us the control we seek. Our choices aren’t the only inputs to life’s outcomes. They were super nice. They recommended a couple items at the store. We go to bed early with my fingers crossed hoping tomorrow will be better.

My stomach is trying to kill me.

Armstrong Valley Winery

Monday June 7th Halifax, Pennsylvania is in our sights for today’s adventure. Armstrong Valley Winery has plenty of good reviews and a lot of property. I am hoping the drone will get some flight time and we can start capturing the beauty of the drip. Unfortunately I can tell the diverticulitis monster has returned by the afternoon so lunch at McDonalds will be my last solid food for the next two days.

Cicadas are everywhere as we move from Virginia, through West Virginia into Pennsylvania. The planned 5 hour drive, becomes 8 with extra stops, increasing discomfort, and complaints from the Jodester. We arrive to darkening clouds and a large parking area with hookups. So excited. It’s the 2nd day in a row over 90 degrees so we are stoked for the thought of a nice air conditioned night.

Cicada Central

We are both burned from the stress of the past couple days. As quickly as we can we get Bigfoot settled and we head to the Vineyards bar and tables to reduce the tension. It works. We get a couple flights and finish it up by splitting a glass of Blueberry Merlot. My stomach does not feel better, but Jodee is beginning to have fun. The bartender is fantastic and friendly. Her conservative beliefs stop another patron from leaving. The customer begins to share an alternative way to view the world, spitting out each word with slightly more enthusiasm than the last. As she leaves two mothers arrive, pregaming for their sons afternoon baseball game. Everyone exchanges pleasantries. Soon after, we leave, and turn in to watch a bit of local tv. Stomach not feeling better, praying it feels better in the morning.

The Bigfoot Adventure Begins

Snow Pond Alpaca Farm

Sunday June 6th 5:06pm we left from Loftis Mini Storage. Months of goodbyes, a rollercoaster of emotions was now officially in the rear view mirror. I’m still surprised that we haven’t secured one specific destination, but we are on the open road, heading north. We are both exhausted from the fun and moving that has taken up the last 7 days, or maybe it’s been 14. It feels like 14. I pull Campendium and find a Gander Outdoor. It’s only 3 hours away, but I’m excited for sleep. It feels like it takes 8 hours to get there, but at least it’s time to relax and go to bed. We take some pics of our first stop, setup for the night, and go to bed. So much noise overnight keeps us both awake on and off. Loudest birds I think I’ve ever heard in my life, but I’m just tired, and they are just birds.