December 08, 2023

Campfire Talk

Merriam-Webster defines the word “impromptu” as (1) “made, done or formed on or as if on the spur of the moment;” and (2) “composed or uttered without previous preparation.”  Welcome to an impromptu edition of Campfire Talk, a post consisting of the sort of things you might talk about around a campfire with friends or fellow travelers or even around the dinner table with your family.  It was composed with no preparation so, basically, I’m just winging it and you’ll be dealing with my “spur-of-the-momentness” regarding a variety of mostly unrelated topics.  Here’s hoping Mike doesn’t see fit to correct my grammer grammar.  Interspersed throughout the post are random photos from this fall’s tour of the southwest.

Regrets?  Ten days after we arrived home from our fall tour of the southwest (and well before we had worked our way through “catch up” and all the appointments I had scheduled), we found out from our sister-in-law, Joan, that Alan’s uncle was celebrating his 100th birthday on November 28th.  Since Alan and Uncle Adolph share a November 28th birthday, and since Alan’s uncle is the last remaining aunt/uncle on either side of his family, Alan thought it would be a good idea to make a quick trip to Florida to wish his uncle a happy birthday in person.  The timing wasn’t the best.  We had Thanksgiving just ahead and Alan was scheduled for jury duty the week of December 4th. We talked about waiting until January, but that seemed like too far away.   Alan really wanted to go in November, and I agreed that it was the right thing to do.  So, with our camping gear still not packed away for the year, our Christmas newsletter not written, and virtually no holiday shopping or cleaning done, we told the kids that we were on our way out yet again, and we set off for Florida.  Since we prefer the pace of a road trip over an airline flight, it was three driving days down, four driving days back and three days to visit in Florida.  We left the day after Thanksgiving, and arrived home the night before Alan needed to report for jury duty.  Was it even worth it?

November 14, 2023

A Tour of the Southwest - 12,182 Miles of Adventure

A leisurely tour of the southwestern United States had long been on our bucket list.  Although Alan and I had visited the Grand Canyon at least twice, traveled to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for business and to check in on friends, attended an adoption conference in Houston and driven through the southwest on our way to the west coast during our most recent National Parks trip, we had never actually vacationed throughout Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  Well, now we have.

Before we left home on September 4th, I had scheduled a bunch of appointments between the date we planned to return home (November 2nd) and Thanksgiving.  I was attempting to get the important stuff out of the way before the start of the holiday season.  Eight appointments – four medical, one dental, three auto-related - and one wedding were on the calendar even before we left home in September.  I thought I was brilliant.  I was not.  I forgot how much time it takes to process two months of mail and dirty laundry and empty the travel trailer for the season.  Plus, we wanted to catch up with the kids, which is always a priority.  We’re home, but we’re dragging.  Thankfully, the trip itself was amazing and we happily crossed off another major item on our bucket list.  Here’s the summary:

November 01, 2023

Winter Island Maritime Park - Weird and Wonderful!

This is the second of two posts about Winter Island Maritime Park, a city-owned park and campground in Salem, Massachusetts.  Winter Island was the first of three stops on our 12 day “Little States Trip” in June of this year.

Winter Island in Salem, Massachusetts, is (hands down) the most unique campground we have ever visited.  It’s a magnificent piece of property located at the entrance to Salem Harbor and it’s quite popular.  The history of the island is fascinating, too.  Alan and I had been looking forward to staying at this one-of-a-kind campground, and we were thrilled to have landed a waterfront site adjacent to the boat launch.

October 18, 2023

Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Connecticut - The "Little States Trip"

In June of this year, shortly after returning home from our adventures in Maine, Alan and I set out on what affectionately became known as the “Little States Trip.”  All of the photos in this post were taken at Winter Island Maritime Park in Salem, Massachusetts, over the course of Father’s Day weekend.

Last year, Alan and I were looking at our map of the states we had camped in since acquiring our first travel trailer in 2006.  (The map always appears at the bottom of the column to the right.)  We realized that we had only four states left to go in the contiguous United States, and all of them were clustered right here in the northeast, pretty close to home.  Go figure.  We quickly devised a driving loop that would take us through Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, leaving the state of New Jersey as the last piece of the puzzle.  (Alaska and Hawaii might pose problems, but we’re working on that.)

Choosing campgrounds in Rhode Island and Connecticut was as easy as pie.  And you know how much I love pie.  Fishermen’s Memorial State Park in Rhode Island had a wonderful reputation and would put us close to the coast.  Actually, now that I think about it, almost anywhere in Rhode Island is close to the coast.   As for Connecticut, after visiting Hammonasset Beach State Park when we were in Connecticut on personal business a year or two ago, we had already added it to our list of places we’d love to camp.  So, for those two states, the campground selection couldn’t have been easier.  However, for Massachusetts, choosing a campground couldn’t have been more difficult.

October 04, 2023

An Awful, Wonderful, Final Day on the Coast of Maine

The Friday after Memorial Day weekend would be our last day in Maine.  Sigh.  The combination of Acadia National Park and so many fascinating cities and villages to explore creates an irresistible draw for me.  I really do love coastal Maine.  Of course, I understand that the residents of Maine, like those in every other state, have issues to deal with, including the lack of affordable housing in many areas.  I can remain grateful for the countless opportunities we have to explore and enjoy Maine's natural beauty and learn about its history and heritage.  Hopefully, the tourist dollars that we and other visitors spend are a true benefit to this magnificent state.

Knowing that the next day would bring a day of travel, followed by the inevitable unpacking and the loads of laundry that go along with it, we tried not to over schedule ourselves on Friday.  A leisurely day of poking around Freeport, a visit to a State Park and a late lunch at the Five Islands Lobster Company – that was the extent of the day’s itinerary.  After a slow start – it was SO hard to leave the amazing water views at our campsite – Alan and I made our way to our first stop – the wharf in Freeport.

September 19, 2023

In and Around Portland, Maine - The Most Photogenic Lighthouse Award

Having arrived in Freeport on the Wednesday after Memorial Day, Alan and I were enjoying our waterfront campsite at Winslow Memorial Park and Campground.  With such a gorgeous view out our big back window, it was really hard to tear ourselves away from the campsite, but we put on our big kid pants and headed out to explore Portland.

September 05, 2023

Finding a Gem in Freeport, Maine

When I was planning this trip to Maine last year, I spent a bit of time poking around trying to find a campground in or near Freeport.  Alan and I had visited Freeport more than two decades ago when Ryan was only two, and Kyra wasn’t even a twinkle in anybody’s eye.  I remembered it as a sweet little town, and I remembered being impressed by L.L. Bean’s enormous flagship store there.  Thinking that it would be both fun to revisit and a good place to layover for a couple of nights on our return trip from Acadia National Park, I started searching for a campground that would be a good fit for us.  I happened across Winslow Memorial Park and Campground (link HERE), a 100 site city-run park on the outskirts of Freeport.