Off to Canada and Adventure on the Way

Life seldom goes according to plan, unless you are very fluid with your plans, and you allow them to change with the speed and frequency of life. I was planning to go to Canada with great friends, but life intervened, and they were unable to come. If I were in their position, I would not have gone with me either. You have to do what’s important. I decided prior to making plans with them that I would go alone, and that it might be beneficial. It’s been a long time since I went away on vacation by myself.

I visited them before heading off. It was difficult to leave. I always have a great time when I visit them or me. We play cards, have conversations on a variety of subjects, eat too well, and enjoy the world wherever we are. It’s difficult to visit places prettier than their neighborhood, so leaving is hard. I spend the majority of my time alone lately, so heading off solo is even harder.

They live in Upstate New York, and I dislike traffic, so I headed across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine via Route 2. Route 2 is a pre-Interstate road. It starts in Vermont, where someone followed their cow across every pasture and stream and down every gully. The road is now paved. Well, they claim the road is paved. Route 2 is a collection of asphalt pieces arranged to imitate a road.  There are a bunch of side roads that are definitely not paved. There are loads of cars that are covered with dust. They make you wonder “Where the heck were they?” until you see the roads. Not many car washes apparently in Vermont.


Vermont view

The state has a Stepford wife vibe too. All the towns (those where there is some money) along Route 2 seem to have the same signs and color schemes. It’s as if J Crew was hired to design the state. Honestly, there are a number of ‘artist’ towns, but they look pretty standard as artist enclaves go. Not once was I struck with a “Wow!” It was more “Gee, that looks more like  . . . (Fill in the blank)”. Collective mediocrity.

New Hampshire has a wider road, less smart car swallowing pot holes, and was a pleasure to drive. There appeared to be more fun, less breweries, and more business in New Hampshire than Vermont. ATV’s were incredibly popular. Many of the streets shared the road with ATV’s merrily speeding along until the designated return to back in the woods location. Unfortunately, my route  passed the wreck site where seven motorcyclists were killed by a truck. The tribute to those killed was moving. I’ve seen some wreck sites, that one was huge and horrendous. I hope justice is served.

The New Hampshire Mountains are still beautiful. I’ve aged; but they have nicely retained their beauty and mystery as they were shrouded in clouds at the summits. They seem to have reached a balance, with use of the forest. I’m not sure what the environmental impact of the ATV’s is, but the economic impact was tremendous, as there were dozens of ATV rental locations, and all the motels were packed.  Their effect certainly isn’t as bad as running large machines through the forest harvesting timber. The trees are there after the ATV’s leave, and during the winter snowmobiles can use their trails, hopefully packing the Motels again. Takes a long time for a tree to grow, and those harvesting guys don’t stay in motels summer or winter.

Maine has roads even wider and more straight than New Hampshire. Funny, the further north I went the colder it looked. The trees looked more like those in Alaska, and there were fewer deciduous trees. Route 2 is a nice road, but goes straight through every town, so it’s 55 MPH, 45 MPH, 35 MPH, 25 MPH, and back again.  If you look in the fine print on my out of state registration, it says “Tax Revenue for small towns on a big road, ‘cause this guy has a big RV, and money to leave home, get some, while it’s good.’ “I’m very, very careful going through small towns. There was only one town that had a 55 MPH zone that transitioned to a 25 MPH zone without any warning signs.

It’s a nice slow drive with plenty to see. There are lots of places with no money. I saw houses that were inhabited, but should not have been, but those people owned their homes, so helping them keep what they have isn’t fair to those who don’t have a house. Crazy system.  I spent the night at a WalMart. I had planned to spend the night out in the middle of the woods at a State Park, but they had no available single night reservations, and I think they expected me to stay for two days (a Friday and Saturday), but I just wanted to get a start on the trip. Things have changed in where I stay.

I had great plans for cleaning and organizing the RV, but I was tired, and there was this great thunder and lightning storm to watch, so I didn’t get much done. I went to bed at 9:30. It was an OK night, and I was ready to start the day at 6:00 AM. Quick pot of coffee, pleased that my new batteries can make coffee without running the generator (another RV snuck in during the night) a bowl of cereal, and on the road. Then I dumped the cup of coffee in the center console containing paperwork, cameras, plug in doohickeys, etc. Cleaned the mess up, threw stuff out, and then crash! The new cover for the sink wasn’t put on correctly, and on the floor. Good News! No damage! The only bump of the day.

The Duck of JusticeIt turned into a grey gloomy, rainy day. It wasn’t an all day travel day, so I decided to stop in at the Bangor Police Department. They have a Museum, and they have a stuffed duck. Not the restaurant type of stuffed duck I’m familiar with, but a taxidermy duck They also have a Sergeant, now Lieutenant, Tom Cotton that frequently writes stories and posts them on Facebook. It’s an ongoing thing. The stories frequently feature the stuffed Mallard given the AKA of the ‘Duck of Justice’. People come from far and wide (I’m a people) to have a picture taken with the duck, a former resident of a trash can that was divorced from it’s owner, a woman of German decent. I didn’t know that at the time I met the duck, or I would have apologized, as I have German Ancestors. It’s a quirky thing, lots of fun, with the famous, almost famous, not so famous and never will be famous having their picture taken with the duck.  I had a great conversation with the Patrol Duty Lieutenant Rumsey who took my picture.  Pretty cool. I’ve had my 14 minutes of fame, and met a great person, and the duck.

The Maine Turnpike is a long, straight, Interstate with evergreens on both sides. No houses, no electrical systems, no billboards, no junked automobile graveyards, just pine trees of varying species. A switch from music to an audio book, and the corresponding switch from drowsiness to awake, and I was ready to drive for the day. It was an under 300 mile day, so it was all good. Entering Canada was good, standard questions, a document check, all very businesslike.  The location Garmin selected for the provincial park was incorrect; Garmin must have been confused, because it said it knew the location from the name. I was dropped off in a residential neighborhood. Fortunately, I printed out all my reservations, and the correct address was on the paperwork.

I located the park, got my ticket for the site, and directions, and off I was. Then I couldn’t find the spot. Turned out that the previous residents, a very nice couple from Connecticut hadn’t left yet. Been there, done that, so I had a short conversation with them, told them not to worry, take all the time they needed and found a place to chill.

Just as they were leaving I walked down to say thanks, and then there was a 45 minute conversation. An exceptionally nice couple. It was a shame to see them we leave. It would have been a very interesting evening of conversation if they had been able to stay. The world can be a small place; I hope that I run into them again. They are worthy of a large detour. They were great, but the site was crooked on a diagonal. It’s cool, so neither AC nor heat is needed, so I moved the RV in backwards, got it leveled to within a half a bubble and used the 20Amp service as opposed to the 30 Amp.Maine

I finished up the night with writing this, a couple of phone calls, a quick dinner cooked inside that stunk up the RV more than I would have liked, and watching the passing parade of campers strolling by. It’s Canada Day tomorrow, a National Holiday, so no one has to leave. Watching the kids sped by with not a care, all fun and excitement is nice. It helps me remember when I sped by and when my girls sped by with the same abandon. Made me feel young again and brought a large smile to my face. You get to live life once with no do overs. Grab life and go.

Tomorrow is off to Prince Edward Island to solve they mysteries surrounding my great grandfather, and to see if I can find my great-great-grandfather. Adventure awaits!