19 – 26 September, 2016; Vermont and Maine!

Greetings folks!  The 19th was a special day for us, marking our two year anniversary on the road full time.  On 19 Sep, 2014 Terri and I began this great adventure.  Thinking back over the wonderful things we have seen, the people we have met, the time with family and friends, new and old, and the joys and challenges we have experienced and faced, we are awed, blessed and thankful!  Two years certainly flew by.

We last left you in Bernardston, MA and a great little campground with great hosts.  We had pouring rain most of the day on Monday, which was fine, as it was a work day for me.  Terri lit out between rain drops and checked out the local area on her bike.  We were up and at it on Tuesday with the destination of St Johnsbury, VT.  We landed at the Moose River Campground…real nice:

Just a shot off the roof of the Coach. I rand up top to check some stuff out, and figured I should take a pic or two.

A shot off the roof of the Coach. I ran up top to check some stuff out, and figured I should take a pic or two.

Quite a nice front yard. Marty Moose was a great host.

Quite a nice front yard. Marty Moose was a great host.

This place goes all out for the fall. Decorations everywhere.

This place goes all out for the fall. Decorations everywhere.

Shortly after we arrived, we headed out for a haircut for me and a bite to eat, and when we got back, they had decorated the power post at our site.

Shortly after we arrived, we headed out for a haircut for me and a bite to eat, and when we got back, they had decorated the power post at our site.

This girl always has to check out the water...Moose River in this case.

This girl always has to check out the water…Moose River in this case.

Looking at the power poles from the other side. Temps were unseasonable, in that we had the air on and were in shorts. Come on kewl weather! By the way, the Coach is trashed on the outside...we traveled in rain all day to get here. They charge $50 for you to wash your own RV here...some obscure state law. Not gonna do it!

Looking at the power poles from the other side. Temps were unseasonable, in that we had the air on and were in shorts. Come on kewl weather! By the way, the Coach is trashed on the outside…we traveled in rain all day to get here. They charge $50 for you to wash your own RV…some obscure  law. Not gonna do it!

OK…great first day.  The leaves are not really changing too much as of yet, and most of the locals say that it will not be a real good color year because it has been too dry.  We will see…we are at the beginning of the season, and will take what we can get.   What we do know is that this part of the country is awesome…a term I’ve used many times, for many parts of our country.  While talking to the folks at the camp office, they let us know that they had a tour that the owners of the campground put together called the belly ache tour.  Named so because it goes to many sugar houses and cider houses.  It is about a 200 or so mile round trip tour.  So on Wednesday, the 21st we headed out, and we did go to many neat places…everything from sugar houses, to cider houses, covered bridges, Smugglers Notch, Cabot Creamery, Montpelier, Stowe and much more.  Here are some shots:

First stop was the Cabot Creamery. They do a great job here letting you sample everything. We were going to tour the inner workings, but just as we arrived, a tour bus pulled in that had a reservation for the tour...so we tasted a lot of the cheese, and hit the road. Good cheese for sure, but I wouldn't put it over Wisconsin cheese!

First stop was the Cabot Creamery. They do a great job here letting you sample everything. We were going to tour the inner workings, but just as we arrived, a tour bus pulled in that had a reservation for the tour…so we tasted a lot of the cheese, and hit the road. Good cheese for sure, but I wouldn’t put it over Wisconsin cheese!

Next stop was the Braggs Sugar House in East Montpelier. This is a small, family owned sugar business. It was real neat. They still do it the old fashioned way with a big pan and wood fire to cook the sap down. You have access to everything. They have really good Creamies too...ice cream with Vermont Maple syrup in it. Too sweet for me, but Terri loved it.

Next stop was the Bragg’s Sugar House in East Montpelier. This is a small, family owned sugar business. It was real neat. They still do it the old fashioned way with a big pan and wood fire to cook the sap down. You have access to everything. They have really good Creemees too…ice cream with Vermont Maple syrup in it. Too sweet for me, but Terri loved it.

Outside of the sugar house. See the stack to the right? Small place, nicely done and nicely run. The owners are on sight and are the ones that give you the tour and all.

Outside of the sugar house. See the stack to the right? Small place, nicely done and nicely run. The owners are on site and are the ones that give you the tour and all.

Onto the state house in Montpelier...the VT state capitol. It is the only state capitol in the nation without a McDonalds! It is a small town, and a really neat place that we want to see some more of at some time.

On to the state house in Montpelier…the VT state capitol. It is the only state capitol city in the nation without a McDonald’s! It is a small town, and a really neat place that we want to see some more of at some time.

Moving onto the Cold Hollow Cider Mill! You can taste everything here. This stuff was awesome! We toured the cider manufacturing, and had a great lunch here.

Moving onto the Cold Hollow Cider Mill! You can taste everything here. This stuff was awesome! We toured the cider manufacturing, and had a great lunch here.

The ground up apples going into the press to make cider. They have a spout that feeds directly into the tour area where you can taste the stuff right off the press.

The ground up apples going into the press to make cider. They have a spout that feeds directly into the tour area where you can taste the stuff right off the press.

We then traveled on to Stowe, VT.  Great little town.

Small town, big views.

Small town that apparently explodes in the ski season.

Neat little town.

Neat little town.

Further up the road, we landed at the Trapp Family Lodge. The youngest member of the Von Trapp built this back in the 80's, and if you get a chance to wonder the halls, you will see a lot of the history from the Von Trapp family getting to the U.S. during WWII and settling here. The real story is much different than The Sound of Music...just so you know.

Further up the road, we landed at the Trapp Family Lodge. The youngest member of the Von Trapp family built this back in the 80’s, and if you get a chance to wander the halls, you will see a lot of the history from the Von Trapp family getting to the U.S. during WWII and settling here. The real story is much different from The Sound of Music…just so you know.

The Trapp Lodge.

The Trapp Lodge.

We then headed to Smugglers Notch, and over the mountain.  What a neat trip.  I forgot to take pics, but a real nice ride over the mountain.  We stopped at a pull off and ran into some folks coming out of the hills with what looked like folding mattresses strapped to their backs.  Come to find out, they use these to do a thing called “bouldering.”  Check it out on-line.   We went on down the road and found a covered bridge.

Headed back to the Campground, we got this nice pano of the countryside.

Headed back to the Campground, we got this nice pano of the countryside.

We got back in time to have a nice dinner at the campground, and prep for the Thursday move.  We headed out on as early as we could on the 22nd.  We only had about 200 miles to go, but it was all on two lane roads, through many towns to get to the Bangor, Maine area.  It was a very nice trip and not too stressful at all, but took about 6 hours with only one stop for fuel.  It was all truck route, and went through some very nice country.  We were able to definitely see the change in the types of trees from VT to ME.  We left behind mostly sugar maples and headed into hard woods interspersed with evergreens.  We landed at the Pumpkin Patch RV park in Hermon, ME about 3 in the afternoon.  This is a very nice park, and hope to remember to take a few shots before we leave.  Soon after we got set up, we heard from our great friends that live here now that we had been stationed with in Montana and Colorado.  What a blast to catch up with these folks!!  And what a wonderful family!  Cannot believe it has been so long, but that usually does not matter, as we pick up right where we left off.

Mike stopped over at the Coach after work, and we were able to catch up a bit.  He left for a bit and picked his two boys up after football practice (their school is right by our campground,) and he brought them by for a visit before they all headed home for the night.

Mike is a professor at Husson University here in Maine, and invited us to join him for one of his classes at the University the next day…you bet!  Mike and I were instructors together at one point in the military, and he was always one of the very best!  No wonder he ended up doing what he knew he wanted to do way back then.

The classroom had much more people than this...Bad Ron photo...but Professor Mike has the stick. We are so grateful to have been able to attend one of his classes.

The classroom had many more people than this…Bad Ron photo…but Professor Dr Mike has the stick. We are so grateful to have been able to attend one of his classes.  We got to meet a lot of the staff he works with, and got to “re-meet” one of their two wonderful daughters there as well!

After lunch at the university cafeteria and the class, we headed to Mike and Paula’s house and got to finally see Paula again and their oldest daughter.  We were in Montana for both of the girls being born, and met the boys when we were in Colorado together in ’01 and ’02.  I could go into pages and pages about this awesome family and how much they mean to us and our kids; however, I would not be able to do that justice.  Let it just be said, that great friendships last forever.

Later in the evening we headed out for dinner, and then headed to their boys high school football game.  It had been a long time since Terri and I enjoyed some Friday Night Lights!  Even though it did not turn out in the boys favor as far as who won, they played great, and are able to play together on the varsity team.

The last time we experience Friday Nights Lights was when Jason was in High School in FL...needless to say, we were not in shorts, but blankets and hoodies. It was awesome!

The last time we experienced Friday Nights Lights was when Jason was in High School in FL…needless to say, we were not in shorts, but blankets and hoodies. It was awesome!

It was a great night.  On the way home, Mike and Paula invited us to go for a hike with them and some folks from their church on Saturday morning.  Why, yes!  We left about 0830 on Saturday and headed to Borestone Mountain in Elliotsville, Maine for a great time!!  The hike is about 2.5 miles each way, and goes from about 900 feet to 1,900 feet at the summit.  What a rush!  Here are some pics:

At one of the overlooks on the trail on the way up.

At one of the overlooks on the trail on the way up.

The hiking crew sans Mike who is the photographer.

The hiking crew sans Mike who is the photographer.

Few places in this country leave us speechless...this is one of them.

There are a few places in this country that leave us speechless…and this is one of them.

This hike was much more technical than we thought it would be. A few very vertical transitions, and iron bars inserted into the mountain to make sure you had grip. As you can tell by Paula's hair, as we got higher, it got quite windy.

This hike was much more technical than we thought it would be. A few very vertical transitions, and iron bars inserted into the mountain to make sure you had grip. As you can tell by Paula’s hair, as we got higher, it got quite windy, which added to the “thrill” factor if you will.

Almost at the summit.

Almost at the summit.

Mike, Paula, Terri and I.

Mike, Paula, Terri and I.

A rather steep

A rather steep “5 points in contact with the ground” downward climb before the final press up to the summit.

Top of the hill!

Top of the hill!

Huddled together having lunch on the leeward side of the summit.

Huddled together having lunch on the leeward side of the summit.

Just to give an idea of the elevation change. Those lakes are not the bottom.

Just to give an idea of the elevation change.

Terri sprinting down the mountain.

Terri sprinting down the mountain.

Down always seems to be worse than up for us for some reason...

Down always seems to be worse than up for us for some reason…

Yes, I am suspending myself by holding to only iron and leaves!!

Yes, I am suspending myself by holding onto only iron and leaves!!

Almost at the end of a great hike!!

Almost at the end of a great hike!!

The lake where it all started.

The lake where it all started.

What a great day it was!  We were back in the early afternoon.  Terri and I headed back to the Coach, as I was going to try to figure out why the heater would not fire up the night before.  I really wanted to get it going, as the temp was going to be in the 30’s the next two nights.  The heat pumps were still working fine, and we have the electric heater that we can plug in, but the heat pumps don’t do real well below 40 degrees.  Mike planned to come over and lend a hand later on, and in the mean time, I headed to the office to see if they knew of anyone that knew how to work on these older hydronic heaters in case I couldn’t solve the issue.  They gave me the card of a guy they said could help on Monday if we had not resolved the issue by then.  Also, one of the camp hosts that works here said he had some experience with these types of heaters and would stop by in a bit.  In the mean time, I decided to start pulling things apart to see if I could figure out what the issue was.  I guess if you pull enough stuff out and put it back again (maybe not correctly even) you get lucky every now and then.  After spending two hours fiddling around, I got it to fire up, and knock on wood…it’s been working fine ever since.  Mike showed up just as we were firing it up, and I blame him for making it work…he scared it into submission.  We had a bunch of smoke coming out of the exhaust, which has never been an issue before though.  Mike recognized it right away, even though he’s never had one of these things…he said, “hey, I think you’re getting too much air.”  Yep…I still had the access panel off and it was sucking air big time.  Once I secured the panel, it burned clean.  Stupid high school shop class mistake…duh!!  Paula joined us later, and we enjoyed a night catching up and playing a dice game Terri recently acquired.

We were invited to church with them on Sunday, and it was awesome!  Caught up with the folks we’d hiked with, and were warmly greeted by many others.  So thankful for their church and community.  God is good!

We headed over to Mike and Paula’s after church, and I got a couple of shots of their property, after which, Mike and I headed out fishing and Terri and Paula hung out and made dinner.

Mike and Paula have Bees!! And chickens, and rabbits, and dogs! Awesome! Note the wire around the hives...keeps the bears out...that have visited before the electric fence!

Mike and Paula have Bees!! And chickens, and rabbits, and dogs! Awesome! Note the wire around the hives…keeps the bears out…that have visited before the electric fence was up!

Chicken and Rabbit coop built and designed by this creative couple.

Chicken and Rabbit coop built and designed by this creative couple.

Ahhhh...out on the lake with Mike. We caught a few Crappie and Bass. It was an awesome , awesome time.

Ahhhh…out on the lake with Mike. We caught a few Crappie and Bass. It was an awesome , awesome time, or a “Wicked Pissah” as they say here!

Man...this brings back memories of doing the same exact thing with Mike on the Missouri River in Montana!

Man…this brings back memories of doing the same exact thing with Mike on the Missouri River in Montana!

As the sun started to fade, we headed in and back for Mike and Paula’s, where Paula had cooked up a bunch of chili and corn bread for us.

On Monday, Paula and Laura joined us in the morning for a trip to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.  They gave us a windshield tour of the area, and we stopped at a couple of places in the park, or at least we tried to!  We all figured that on a Monday after school was in session and the leaves not in color yet, there wouldn’t be any Peepers (as they call them here) out and about.  Man, were we wrong!  Paula stated it was busier that she had seen it in the middle of the summer.  So, we bypassed a couple of areas, but we did get some great shots.  We decided to head out for lunch so Paula could get Laura back for work, and Terri and I would head back into town to fight the crowds in the afternoon.  Paula suggested we head to the Chart Room restaurant before it got too late in the lunch hour and too busy.  She was spot on!  No wait, and the food was awesome.  I had the boiled whole lobster special, Terri had bang-bang shrimp, and Paula and Laura has lobster rolls.  It had been years since I had lobster, and having it here was fantastic!  Here are some shots of the great day we had:

Looking out to sea from near the entrance of Acadia.

Looking out to sea from near the entrance of Acadia.

We tried to stop at Sand Beach, but there was no parking to be had, so we headed up to thunder hole, which is what this picture is of. When the tide is coming in, the impact of the water this area is so loud, it sounds like thunder. The tide was out at the time we were here,, but an awe inspiring site none the less.

We tried to stop at Sand Beach, but there was no parking to be had, so we headed up to Thunder Hole, which is what this picture is of. When the tide is coming in, the impact of the water in this area is so loud, it sounds like thunder. The tide was out at the time we were here…but an awe-inspiring sight none the less.

Looking out toward Bar Island from the harbor. We had fun watching the lobster boats come in and unload their catch.

Looking out toward Bar Island from the harbor. We had fun watching the lobster boats come in and unload their catch.

The little black spot in the foreground is a sea lion that was playing around in the harbor.

The little black spot in the middle of the shot near the little  boat is a sea lion that was playing around in the harbor.

The way they say it here!

The way they say it here!

A pano from the top of Cadillac Mountain looking south into the Atlantic.

A pano from the top of Cadillac Mountain looking south into the Atlantic.

The vistas were phenomenal with the naked eye. Very hard to catch in a photo.

The vistas were phenomenal with the naked eye. Very hard to catch in a photo.

Looking down at Bar Harbor. As you can see, there was a cruise ship in port, so another reason it was so busy.

Looking down at Bar Harbor. As you can see, there was a cruise ship in port, so another reason it was so busy.

Looking northwest form Cadillac.

Looking northwest from Cadillac.

Last shot of the day!

Last shot of the day!

And just like that, another day in the books.  Terri and I headed back to the campground and called it a night.  We have managed to get reservations made for our next stops.  I had forgotten about Columbus Day coming up, so we were getting a little nervous about finding a spot during that holiday and all the Peepers storming in.  We will leave here on Thursday (grudgingly) and head back to St Johnsbury, VT and the park we were at before we came here for 4 days, then on Monday we will head over to the Burlington, VT area to a park right on Lake Champlain for a week.  We are hoping we hit peak color in VT during that week.  After that…we don’t know just yet.  Whatever it is, we have been having a blast and look forward to continuing to do so.

As I finish this up (started last night and ran out of gas) it is raining.  It is supposed to clear up bit around noon, so we will head out to see what we can see.  We were going to head back to Acadia early, as we figured it would not be so busy with the rain, but sometimes it is just nice to spend the morning relaxing with a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning listening to the rain hit the roof!

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living Your Dreams!!

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