We learned a lot of things on our week-long trip to Maine last week. It was the first time in New England for both Pat and myself and we had a great time discovering a beautiful state.
1. Tolls are expensive, especially when you have two vehicles and one of them is an RV – about twice as expensive as a car. Going up and coming back we made extensive use of the I-95 corridor that runs up the Atlantic coast from Florida to Maine. It’s a toll road for most of the trip through the northeast, although I seem to recall that south of Washington, DC it becomes free of tolls clear to Florida. From Baltimore to Maine and back, we spent close to $60 just for the privilege of using I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike. The problem is all of the narrow (North to South, that is) states like Connecticut and New Hampshire. Every one of them has its hand out and, If in some instances it may be possible to bypass the toll roads, other chokepoints like the Tappan Zee bridge get your money instead.
2. Tank capacity: Full hookups are nice but not strictly necessary. Although our site only had electric and water, Pat and I do like our showers so we didn’t stint. This is our vacation after all. So we lived with the fact that the grey tank filled up every 2nd day. On one occasion early on, the camp honey wagon came by to empty our tanks, but its pump broke down in the last half of the week and we were on our own for the rest of the trip. We pulled the RV around to the dumping station to dump both tanks and then returned to our site, thereby learning by doing. We had to do this twice, once in mid-week and again when we were pulling out of the campground for good. We lamented the fact that the 30′ Cruise America Class C we rented had a chihuahua-sized grey tank in a bulldog-sized RV. Two lessons were learned here: tank size matters and back in the woods loop where our site was, the pain of pulling out of the site to go dump the tanks would be double in a larger Class-A like the one we’re considering for our future home.
3. Levelers are a must. For whatever reason (and I can think of a few) C/A does not supply them. We tried a solution using scrap wood but later on we just popped for two packs of Lynx Levelers; at $32 a pack they are not a cheap solution but they are adjustable and provided a quality leveling experience.
4. Quiet time is nice, if you happen to be a couple of old farts like us. Most of the kids in our loop were allowed to run wild during the day, and they did so quite politely, but by 10PM things got quiet and sleeping with the windows open became really pleasant. Early in the week was the best time as most folks seemed to go home on Sunday and Monday, and then our loop got quiet on Tuesday through Thursday. By Friday things picked up with the new weekenders.
5. Cooking over a fire is pleasant, convenient and congenial. It only rained once, just before a visit by our local relatives. Since we were doing burgers, dogs and s’mores over the fire as a key part of the visit, I had to stand over the fire for about a half-hour with an umbrella to keep it from going out, looking like an overweight male Mary Poppins trying to avoid a hotfoot.
6. In tandem with #2, shower size quickly emerged as a major factor in which motor home we will buy. The shower in our Class C was about 24 inches by 30 inches – doable but pretty awkward – several times we opted to just use the shower house, which was clean and well-kept, because it wasn’t as cramped. I decided that at least a 30×40 shower will be a must-have in our future retirement vehicle, and adjusted my short list of potential coaches accordingly.
Parade during the Yarmouth Crab Festival. It was a good thing no houses caught fire during the parade since every piece of firefighting gear from every town around Yarmouth was parading past in review. Including this somewhat extreme example.
The Freeport/Durham area is a very pleasant place for an RV’er in the Summer and I recommend the KOA. When we weren’t visiting with relatives, we attended small-town parades and crab fests, we shopped in Freeport (an upscale boutique town with much to offer the tourist shopper), and deflated by and in the CG pool on days when nothing particular happened. A Maine dinner is all about seafood (Got Lobstah?), and we ate way more of this than I’m used to. We’ll definitely be back one day.
Seals catching the rays in Portland Bay