Sunday, August 6


Generally speaking, we're fairly bad at taking vacations. When we do, we do them really well... we just tend to go a pretty long time between them. It's something we're actively working on.  One of the things we've been wanting/planning to do was take a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. At the beginning of July, after much anticipation, we went! We both took a full week off from work, and we packed up the babies and the Errant Venture and set off.

"Oh look! Napping kelp! Don't mind if I do!"
Our GPS was not in our favor. We thought we had it set up to take us well away from the Springfield (Massachusetts) area (which is notorious for abominable traffic), but somewhere en route it recalculated and sent us through there anyway. What should have been a six or seven hour trip took ELEVEN hours... large chunks of it gridlocked in Massachusetts with people who drive like lunatics and apparently have never heard of blindspots and are unaware that their vehicles come equipped with a bunch of mirrors for a reason.

As we passed through the Portland area, we started seeing signs for lobster rolls and decided we totally needed to find some before the trip was out. (We always look for good coffee, too, everywhere we go.)

Thankfully, it took almost no time to get set up once we arrived at Bass Harbor Campground. The dog run looked like something out of a horror movie (we used it exactly once) but the pool was nice and we appreciated being able to swim. We didn't plan a lot of excursion-ing: the goal was to relax. And, given what a sopping wet, unseasonably cold winter we've had at home, to enjoy sunshine and being warm! I had a very good time soaking up some sunshine while reading a good book and, for once, didn't burn because I finally found sunscreen that doesn't make my skin crawl. Hooray!

The babies spent most of the trip overstimulated, damp, and thrilled. We took them for a walk to a nearby lighthouse, all over the campground, and then to the ocean. It was their first exposure to any kind of body of water bigger than a mud puddle, and their reactions were pricelessly delightful. Arthas deigned to get just the tips of his toes wet and stand there enjoying the scenery. Nenya flopped her furry little self directly in the seaweediest spot she could find and beamed. She tossed her head in indignation that the water was salty and not drinkable, but otherwise was quite content to stay there. Both enjoyed exploring the forested, seaside trails with us. (Though they slept for days when we got home.)

It took forever to find halfway decent lobster rolls - apparently nothing around there opens much before 4pm or on weekends (which was ridiculous); we never did find good coffee (except what we took with us, of course). I did find that my appreciation for people-watching has improved; I wasn't ever much of a fan, but now that I am doing it in some sort of context it's much more interesting. (It was interesting to watch the people at the neighboring campsite grapple with four little girls, a 13 year old terrier mix and two enormous Great Pyrannies puppies!)
"This is plenty close enough, thanks.
Have you not seen Jaws?"

It was a wonderful trip and, on the way home, we decided to overnight in Vermont. That not only cut the driving time for the day in half, but kept us well away from the Springfield mess. We also learned a few things that will positively inform our planning for future trips:

-  First (which we'd already kind of suspected), major holidays that everybody has off are not great times to try to camp. The roads are nuts, everywhere is completely full (and booked a year in advance), and there's a lot more of the loud-families-with-kids dynamic at shared facilities like swimming pools.

- Second (which we hadn't thought about, but makes a lot of sense), by contrast, the weekend after a major holiday (or even mid-week, right when everybody else is going back to work) is a great time to travel. Rates, populations, and traffic are all lower. Definitely something to keep in mind as we look ahead!

- Third, hopping in the pool (when there is one) as soon as we're set up and the dogs are walked is something we should make a priority. It definitely refreshes both body and perspective after you've been in the car navigating traffic for hours.

- Fourth, the whole "level sites" tag on campground websites is worth paying attention to. The first couple places we went were very level and gave us unrealistic expectations; we now appreciate that we need to either keep some spare planks of wood on hand for leveling or pick up some of those lego-block style RV levelers to make up for less well set up sites. (Not a big deal, but good to know!)

- Finally, the whole overnighting somewhere on the way home thing is something we should consider more often.

Aside from being told by our coworkers that they don't appreciate having to survive without us for a full week, it was a fabulous trip all around and we look forward to more!!

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