Tag Archives: scenic views

Manatee Viewing at Apollo Beach!

I have a confession to make.  Until recently, I was not aware of the existence of manatees.

Yes.  I know.

Our time here in Florida is getting short.  So  I wanted to take the time before we leave to witness this beautiful and shy creature that I had heard a whole lot about.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

And where do you go to see lots of manatees in one place?  Well, it just happens to be a power plant!

The Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach has won many awards over the years for helping the environment, while creating a clean source of electric power.  The power station takes salt water from Tampa Bay, uses it to cool Unit 4, and then puts it back into the canal.  The water is not only clean, but most importantly- warm.

manatees at apollo beach florida

This clean warm water attracts large numbers of Manatees.  They love  the fact that in the winter, when Tampa Bay gets a bit chilly, there is a nice toasty place to hang out!

The Manatee Viewing Center soon came to be.  It is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary.  And best of all- it is a free attraction!

manatees at apollo beach florida

So what the heck is a Manatee?

They are large aquatic mammal with flippers- looking somewhat like a sea lion.  Although, I did read that their closest relative is actually an elephant! The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs around 1,000 pounds.

They are gentle and slow moving, spending most of their time eating, resting and traveling.

Hmmm….come to think of it, that sounds a whole lot like us!

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

Our friends Rick and Judy came along with us.  This will probably be our last outing together for a while.  Rick and Judy are also work campers.  They are headed to Montana to work there for the summer.

The great thing about work camping is that you meet some great people.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

Of course I had to pose with my new friend the manatee!

He’d never heard of me either…

And yes, there were manatees!

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

The refuge had lots of great walking trails, mangrove swamps, a gift shop and even a small cafe.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida3It also included a great little museum where we learned tons about the manatees and the environment that they live in.

If you ever get to this part of Florida, we highly recommend this fun and educational attraction!

madeira beach

And speaking of Florida, we will be heading out of here next week.  We really did enjoy our stay here!

There is a reason our home is on wheels, though.  We are in this to travel!  We will be headed to Atlanta for a few doctor appointments, to visit some family, and then onto Arizona!

Stay tuned!

Tarpon Springs, Florida- The Sponge Capital!

One of my favorite places to visit in the area is the little town of Tarpon Springs.  Drawn there originally by an arts and crafts show, we have now driven the 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg several times.

tarpon springs florida

After living in Maine for six months, this little coastal town almost seems like home!

tarpon springs florida

Tarpon Springs is the self proclaimed Sponge Capital of the World.  You see, in the early 1900’s, it was discovered that the Gulf of Mexico was rich in varieties of sponges.  This attracted Greek sponge divers who wanted to make a living in the United States.

Over the next 30 years, the Tarpon Springs sponge industry became the largest industry in the state of Florida.  Even larger than the citrus crops or tourism!

In the 1940s, blight reduced the growth of sponges, and this profitable industry was nearly wiped out. However in the 1980s, new sponge beds were found. Now, Tarpon Springs is back to being a leader in the world’s natural sponge market.

tarpon springs florida

Our first visit in Tarpon Springs included our friends and coworkers, Rick and Judy and their granddaughter.

I’m totally getting that selfie thing down!

tarpon springs florida

This bustling little town is the home of many small and interesting shops.  Of course, there are plenty of natural sponges available for purchase all over town.

tarpon springs florida

And lots of great homemade soap shops.  I’m a big fan of homemade soaps and having tried my hand at them before, appreciate the quality and amazing selection!

tarpon springs florida

Soap shops, tourist items, t-shirts, you name it.  This town has something for everyone.

tarpon springs florida

Couldn’t find enough seashells?  They have your back.

I won’t tell.

tarpon springs florida

Dave’s favorite place in this town is the Hella’s Restaurant and Bakery.  Their huge selection of Baklava, Spanakopita, cookies, pastries, and cakes is enough to get you in the door.  Dave has gone their twice now and stocked up on Cannolis.

Awesomeness.

tarpon springs florida

Yes, this town even has a Husband Day Care Center!

tarpon springs florida

Hungry?  Head over to Yianni’s Greek Cuisine Restaurant, right on the Sponge Docks!  They offer traditional Greek cuisine and live music.  My favorite is the Pork Gyro Platter with tzatziki sauce!

And amazing Sangria!

tarpon springs florida

And I even found a boat named after me!

tarpon springs florida

Tarpon Springs is a great little town for family fun.   It is one of the many highlights of our stay here in the St. Petersburg area!

What is your word for the New Year?

A new year.  If there was one word that best describes the year 2015 for us, it would be “change”.  It was definitely a year of change.   We have seen so many beautiful things this year, made lots of great new friends, and are both so much healthier now than we have been in years.

christmas in fort desoto florida

A year of change.

Christmas didn’t involve the normal family get togethers this year. It was a little strange celebrating the holidays in 90 degree weather.

Yes, record highs!  Florida was supposed to be temperate this time of year.  Dave calls it Tropical.  I call it False Advertising.

But with new lives and new places come new traditions.  We celebrated with a beach picnic with our friends from Bar Harbor, Rick and Judy.

new year resolutions

New Year resolutions?  Well, let’s just say that my main resolution this year is to continue to live freely.  To take some advice from my dog Ralph who insists that New Years resolutions need to be simple.

Be nice to nice people.

Enjoy life, travel, go on an adventure.

Rather than focus on resolutions, I am focusing on one word this year.  From the website, One Word 365,

One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.

christmas in fort desoto florida

So let’s consider that word while I tell you about our holiday.

How do you celebrate Christmas when you are miles from your relatives and currently living in neverending sauna?

christmas in fort desoto florida

You snag your good friends and head to the beach for a picnic!  Fort De Soto, to be exact.

Fort De Soto Park is one of my favorite places in the St. Pete area. It is located on five offshore keys, or islands just south of the city.  Historically, the islands were used for military fortifications.  There are two piers, beaches, picnic areas, hiking trails, bicycling trails, kayak trail, and even a ferry to Egmont Key State Park!

christmas in fort desoto florida

This is Rick and Judy!  We met them while working in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Winter jobs are hard to get in the camping industry.  You see, Florida is in pretty high demand in the winter because much of the campgrounds in cooler areas are closed for the winter.

This means that you might very well run across folks that you worked with in other areas of the country if you are wintering in Florida.  Rick and Judy, and one other couple that we worked with in Maine, are working with us here in St. Petersburg.

christmas in fort desoto florida

It’s very nice to have friends in the area to celebrate with.

christmas in fort desoto florida

And do a bit of beach combing with.

Rick and Judy will be heading to the northwest in the spring, and we will be headed to Arizona.  We will definitely miss them.  The camping world is a small place, so we just may end up working together again in the future.

Change is becoming a regular occurrence.

christmas in fort desoto florida

Oh, and speaking of change, guess who stayed up past midnight for the first time in 30 years?

We have some plans for 2016.  We will be here until March, and then will be moving onto Arizona for the summer.  The fall is still a mystery.  But that is half the fun.

That word for 2016?  Let’s go with “Adventure”.  And we will see where that takes us.

Happy New Year!

Christmas in Florida

We have been settled in St. Petersburg, Florida for about a month now.  I am still behind on posting, but wanted to take some time to catch you up on our travels.  In the past month we have visited our favorite place, Tybee Island, GA, attended my daughter’s wedding in Atlanta, and even endured some RV problems.

st petersburg florida koa

But we finally made it to our winter destination, St. Petersburg/Madeira Beach KOA.  We will be here until March or April, when we begin to head west.

st petersburg florida koa

I have to tell you that I miss the snow.  As pretty as Florida is, I would prefer to be trekking through several feet of pure white snow.  But the RV and Dave both would like to have a warmer winter.

We arrived to 95 degree weather with nearly 100% humidity.  Looks like the RV and Dave both got their wish.

Our new spot is quite beautiful and the campground is like a little resort, so I really do not have a lot to complain about.  They tucked us in with the snowbirds who all seem very nice.   And we even have grass!

st petersburg florida koa

Ralph and Faith like it too.  They both have lots of things to keep their interest.  In fact, there are so many lizards running around here that it is hard to get Ralph to take a poop without getting distracted.

And Faith has an issue with herons (those tall legged white birds with the long necks), so there is always plenty of excitement when I take them outside.

st petersburg florida koa

We are working at the campground here.  I am in the office and Dave is working on the grounds.  And…we are getting the place spiffied up for Christmas!

Dave put up all the blow up decorations this week, and then spent quite a bit of time freaking Ralph out over this outhouse Santa.

Ralph is not a fan of Santas exiting an outhouse.  Just saying.

st petersburg florida christmas

The streets are decorated too!  What do you do when there are no fir trees around?

You improvise.

st petersburg florida christmas

We felt the need to decorate the coach too.  Since we had no nearby fir trees to decorate, Dave and I picked out a tiny tree at a local Christmas tree stand.

Charlie Brown would be proud.

st petersburg florida christmas

Our tree turned out great!  We ended up with just enough room in the living room for it.  The little table is actually my printer box covered in blankets.  (I’m the master of multi- purpose!)

st petersburg florida

Oh.  Did I mention there is a beach nearby?  It is 2.5 miles from the campground to Madeira Beach.  There will be plenty of beach photos in the next few months.

We have yet to located any great eating places to share with you, but I’m sure we will have a top 10 list before we leave the area.

st petersburg florida

Since ice cream is my second hobby, I do feel the need to mention this fun soft serve stand, Twistee Treat.  There are actually a few of them in the area, all shaped like giant ice cream cones.

st petersburg florida

And apparently, I have my new challenge for this leg of the trip.  Trying each and everyone of those awesome flavors!

Oh, and by the way.  That is a medium size cone there.  Can’t even imagine what the large one might look like.   I think I’m going to like Florida.

st petersburg florida

On the beach there are snowmen.  This will probably be as close as I get to snow this winter.  I’ll take what I can get.

st petersburg florida

And the sunsets here are beautiful too.  Christmas in Florida can be quite beautiful!

If you squint a bit, that white sand could be snow.  Right?

Stay tuned!
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Fall in New Jersey

Did I mention that I’m terminally behind in posts?  We have been in Florida for nearly a month and I’m still writing about the trip down!

We took a month to get from Bar Harbor to St. Petersburg, FL and during that time we did a lot of relaxing, visited tourist attractions, and even attended my daughter’s wedding.

After leaving the New England Coast in mid October, we headed to New Jersey.

new jersey rv travel

New Jersey?  You bet!  Most folks think New Jersey is just an extension of New York City with nothing but pavement, traffic and congestion.  And I’m here to tell you that most of New Jersey is nothing like that.

new jersey rv travel

We were headed to Lake Hopatcong, NJ, where Dave grew up.  The plan was to visit friends and check out the area.  He hadn’t been back in years!

We parked the RV at Panther Lake Camping Resort.  It is a 160 acre camping retreat located next to a scenic 45 acre lake in Andover, New Jersey. Loved the beautiful trees and the nice grassy lots!  The RV park was just a short driving distance to our destination, Lake Hopatcong.

Hopatcong NJ

Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater body in New Jersey.  Located 30 miles from the Delaware River and 40 miles from New York City, it is a mostly residential lake whose few public access points include Hopatcong State Park and Lee’s County Park Marina.  

Most of the shoreline is privately owned by individual lakefront residents, homeowner or community associations, or restaurants and marinas.

new jersey rv travel

Wildlife along the shore was plentiful.  In fact the deer were a tad too friendly for my taste.  They did not have any fear of humans and would pretty much come right up to you.

They sure were beautiful, though.

new jersey rv travel

Here we were able to meet up with Dave’s childhood friend, Daniel.  He and his family still live right here where they grew up.  They hadn’t see each other in over 30 years.  It was a fun reunion!

new jersey rv travel

We went out to dinner with Daniel and his family where we all insisted on sitting outside along the water, bundled up in our sweaters.

Because when you are in such a pretty area, you really need to enjoy it.  Right?

It was a lot of fun meeting this amazing family, and we do hope to visit with them again in the future!

new jersey rv travel

As for the town of Hopatcong and the area around it really seemed to stand still in time.  According to Dave, this ice cream stand was a regular destination of his as a child.  He says it looks just the same.  Home of the Skyscraper, Cliff’s Ice Cream is a regular tourist attraction.

Of course, we had to stop and get a bit of ice cream.  Sometimes I have to sacrifice for the benefit of the website.  Right?

new jersey rv travel

And I’m here to tell you that New Jersey is a beautiful place in the fall!  Check out this fabulous pumpkin and gourd display!

new jersey rv travel

The Lake Hopatcong area is home to many U-pick farms.  And many of them are open year round!  Depending upon the season, you can find all types of fruits, vegetables and flowers available.

new jersey rv travel

We spent quite a bit of time at several of the farms in the Andover area, picking large black berries, cucumbers, green peppers, and fresh corn.

new jersey rv travel

Just look at this bounty!  You can’t find fresher corn that that!  And if you are looking for a great way to make it and some yummy berry cobbler on the grill, be sure to check out my 3 Berry Cobbler and Grilled Corn on the Cob recipes!

new jersey rv travel

Faith says we need to get back on the road now.  Note the gapped teeth in the front.  We call her our little hillbilly.

Anyway, we headed south from New Jersey after a fun visit.  Our next long-term destination would be Tybee Island, Georgia, for a brief reprieve before we attended my daughter’s wedding in Atlanta.

Stay tuned!
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The White Mountains of New Hampshire

We officially left the state of Maine on October 2.  What a fabulous six months we had!  We met so many wonderful people and enjoyed an amazingly beautiful area of the country.  And now the adventure continues!

dave driving with dog

Dave wanted to check out the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  Faith was much more interested in seeing if there were any roadside hotdog stands.

Since Dave was driving, those hotdog stands would have to wait until another day…

moose crossing sign maine

It wasn’t too long and we left the state of Maine and all it’s Moose Crossing signs behind.  Did we ever see a moose?  Well, no.  Lived there six months and the closest I got to a moose was this sign.

traveling in new hampshire

And I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t see a Fall leaf change too.  Fortunately, we got to see plenty of colorful trees on the way to New Hampshire.   Fall is definitely here!

mount washington new hampshire

Dave wanted to ride the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington.  So, we chose the closest KOA, which happened to be Twin Mountain KOA.  This was a beautifully maintained privately owned campground at the base of the White Mountains.

We enjoyed talking to the owners who told us that they purchased this particular campground sight unseen several years ago.  Since then, they had done many upgrades including beautiful private tent areas and even a caboose as a “cabin” rental!

mount washington new hampshire

So what the heck is the Cog Railway?

It is the world’s first mountain climbing rack and pinion railway.  It is the second steepest railway in the world with an average grade of over 25%, and a maximum grade of 37.41%!

The three mile trek up Mount Washington takes about 40 minutes as you ascend to the summit peak at 6,288 feet above sea level.

mount washington new hampshire

The Cog Railway originated in 1852 when after becoming lost near the summit of Mount Washington, Sylvester Marsh decided to create a better way for people to reach the highest mountain peak in the Northeast.

One Hundred and Forty Years later, The Mount Washington Cog Railway is a National Historic Engineering Landmark!   The vintage steam engines, replica coaches and biodiesel locomotives are well worth the visit.

We loved the running commentary from the brakeman on board who filled us in on the history of the railway, the mountain, and other fun facts.  And then there was the cool optical illusion of the trees and structures along the side of the tracks being extremely tilted.  (When in fact it was us that was tilted!)

mount washington new hampshire

And then there was Mount Washington!  The summit was cold and clear and we could see for miles!

mount washington new hampshire

In fact, in the photo above if you look where the sky meets the land on the horizon, there is a strip of blue there.  That is the Atlantic ocean!

mount washington new hampshire

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m).

The mountain is famous for dangerously erratic weather. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory actually recorded a windspeed of 231 miles per hour (372 km/h) at the summit.  This was the world record for most of the 20th century.

Like most big mountains, it makes it’s own weather and conditions at the top are often poor.  We were fortunate to arrive on a clear day as more often than not, clouds cover the peak.

At peak of the mountain, there was a museum to enjoy which included an exhibit titled “Extreme Mount Washington“.  This video is a bit about the exhibit and the crazy weather that Mount Washington loves to share.

mount washington new hampshire

And here above the clouds is the Appalachian Trail!  One of things I’ve always wanted to do is take that trail from Georgia all the way to it’s end point in Maine on Mount Katahdin.  I didn’t realize that not only did you have to tackle that huge mountain in Maine, but you had one quiet a bit larger just a state away!

mt washington new hampshire5

The state of New Hampshire dressed up and greeted us with beautiful leaves, amazing weather and a wonderful start to our trek heading south.

Dave has a good idea every now and then.  But don’t tell him I said so.

Onward to Massachusetts!

Top 9 Things to See and Do in Bar Harbor!

We are now on our way south, heading to St. Petersburg, FL for our winter destination.  I wanted to put together a final post on the beautiful area of the country that we had the pleasure of living in- Bar Harbor, Maine.

One of the questions that I was asked the most while working at the front desk of the campground was, “What are the best things to do in Bar Harbor?”

Well, I have the answers for you, at least from our point of view.  These are the things that you should really not miss if you ever get the chance to enjoy the coast of Maine.

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain is located in the nearby Acadia National Park and at 1,530 feet, it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard.  There are various hiking trails to the summit, some more challenging than others. There is also a paved road to the top.

From the summit, you can see most of Mount Desert Island.  On a clear day, it is a beautiful site to see!

At certain times of the year, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States to see the sunrise.  Getting up to see a sunrise from the top of the mountain is a common attraction.

Sunsets there are beautiful too.

Schoodic Point

Schoodic Point is the only part of Acadia National Park that is located on the main land of Maine rather than on Mount Desert Island.  For that reason, Schoodic is a much more secluded, less crowded opportunity to actually see some wildlife.  Because of the fact that it is located away from barrier islands, you can enjoy the crashing of the waves from an unobstructed Atlantic Ocean.

It is about a 45 minute drive from the tip of Mount Desert Island, but well worth the time.  From Schoodic, you can see the peak of Cadillac Mountain and enjoy another beautiful Maine sunset.

top 10 things to do in bar harbor

Schoodic is where we ran across several huge porcupines.  I’d say they were as big as my VW Bug, but I’d be exaggerating just a tad. Suffice it to say, they were huge!

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

Restaurants

Nearly everyone that checked in at the campground asked me, “Where do the locals go?” As visiting “locals”, we soon discovered our favorites:

Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound– in Maine, any place that sells lobster by the pound is called a Lobster Pound.  Imagine that.  There are many of them all over Mount Desert Island and the mainland.  They all compete with each other, sell similar items and their prices are very similar depending upon the varying prices of lobster.  Trenton Bridge has the advantage of a great view and awesome Maine atmosphere.

Chart Room Restaurant–  This restaurant is located right along the water on Route 3 headed toward downtown Bar Harbor.  Because they are not downtown, they are not usually as crowded as those in Bar Harbor.  You can eat right on the water and the food is just amazing.  Loved their Stuffed Haddock.  They also serve steak for those of us that are a bit tired of seafood, and of course, lobster!

Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium located on Main Street in Bar Harbor has lots of fun flavors in their homemade ice cream selection including Dulce de Leche, Bubblegum, (KGB) Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream base ice cream with a Grand Marnier fudge swirl, Rum Raisin, Root Beer Float, and many more!

how to eat a lobster in bar harbor maine

Oh, and Lobster icecream!  Yes, I tried it.  Imagine butter pecan with little chunks of meat in it… yeah, that.  I have to say that it wasn’t my favorite, but at least I can say I tried it!  Ha!

Blueberry Hill Dairy Bar- If you love soft serve, good prices and lots of ice cream for money, you can’t beat Blueberry Hill Dairy Bar.  It is located off of Mount Desert Island in the little town of Ellesworth right on Route 3.

It was one of our most frequent stops when going back and forth to Ellesworth for groceries.  While the ice cream is fabulous, the folks that worked there never seemed to like their jobs much.  I have to say it was a very surly group of individuals.  Cash only.  No samples.  Make sure you know what you want when you get to the window.

In spite of the help, the ice cream was awesome! And well worth the stop.

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

Mussel Fishing

Hadley Point is a great place to go if you love mussels.  In the state of Maine, you do not need a license to go mussel fishing.  Simply wait until low tide.  In Maine, the tide drops 10 to 20 feet depending upon where you are.  This leaves quite a bit of the seaweed covered rocks exposed.  Put on some boots march out there, and start lifting up some of that seaweed.  Underneath you will find mussels!

Place them in a bucket of salt water, add about a cup of cornmeal and let them sit overnight, stirring them and adding fresh water every now and then.  This will get them to spit out any sand.  Rinse them and then either steam or boil them with garlic.

A true Maine experience!

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor
Whale Watching, Lighthouse Cruises

The town of Bar Harbor is the base for many different boat tours including Whale Watching, Lighthouse Cruises, Wildlife cruises, Schooners, Lobster Fishing and more.

Which one is the best?

Well, we think they all have their good points.  Pricing can be as much as $50 per person, so be prepared.  Decide what you would best enjoy and take advantage of the opportunity to get out on the water.  You will love it!

Oh, and take a warm jacket and some anti-motion sickness meds with you just in case.  It is at least 20 degrees colder out on the water and windy too!

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

Acadia Park Loop

Acadia National Park offers much to do including hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and more.  For those of us that love to watch nature in action, it is a fabulous place to go.  The Acadia Park Loop is a 27 mile road beginning at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center (near Route 3 on the northern side of the island) and connects the Park’s lakes, mountains, forests, and rocky coast.

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

Baxter State Park

Want a chance at seeing a moose?  Head about 2 hours northwest of Acadia to Baxter State Park in central Maine.  It is worth the trip.  Miles and miles of wilderness where the opportunity to witness wildlife is at its best.

If you love to hike, you can climb to the top of Mount Katahdin which is Maine’s highest peak at 5,267 feet (1,605 m). This mountain is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

Some things to note: Baxter State Park has restrictions- no pets, no RV’s, no motorcycles, no large trucks.  It is remote, so little to no cell phone coverage.

top 10 things to see and do in bar harbor

West Quoddy Lighthouse

The little town of Lubec is the home of the beautiful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.  But even more interesting, Lubec is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States.  Since we have already been to Key West (the southern most point); it seemed fitting!

A visit to this beautiful lighthouse and the area around it is a must-see!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Pemaquid Lighthouse

Located about 2 hours south of Acadia is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park. And…it is the lighthouse on the Maine State Quarter, making it the first lighthouse to be featured on a piece of US currency!

Coincidentally, this particular lighthouse is a top destination for weddings with its beautiful rocky cliffs and crashing waves.  The lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the Maine coast.

So there you have it!  Unfortunately, the list leaves out so many things.  I could talk on and on about how much there is to see and do in the area.  We are currently on our way south, and are already missing it.  Who knows?  One day we just may return!

That is the thrill of the journey, right?

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West Quoddy Lighthouse and life at the campground

Every now and then we actually get a day off!  LOL!  So last week we took the motorcycle out on a beautiful summer day and did the two and a half hour drive up the coast to Lubec, ME.

lubec maine

Why Lubec?

Well, this particular town interested us for two reasons.  One, it is the home of the beautiful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.  But even more interesting, Lubec is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States.  Since we have already been to Key West (the southern most point); it seemed fitting!

Lubec is a quaint fishing town.  Small, but beautiful, located along the Bay of Fundy at the top most point of the US east coast.

lubec maine

See that land over there?  That is Canada!  Unfortunately, Dave has allowed his passport to expire, so we did not cross into Canada as much as we would have liked to.

On the other side of that bridge is the island of Campobello.  Among other things, it is famous as being the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He spent his summers there as a child and used it as a summer retreat until 1939.

lubec maine

At the mouth of the Lubec Narrows, the Mulholland Point Lighthouse is part of Roosevelt International Park.  Although the lighthouse is not open to the public, you are allowed to walk around the structure.  (That is if you have a passport).  LOL!

west quoddy lighthouse

And then we found West Quoddy Head Lighthouse!  So beautiful against the backdrop of the Bay of Fundy.

And speaking of the Bay of Fundy.  Did you know that it has the highest tidal range in the world?  The upper basins of the Bay of Fundy have peak tidal ranges of around 50 feet- five times higher than typical tides on the rest of the Atlantic coast.

We didn’t get to see this phenomenon.  The passport thing.  DAVE. ūüôā

west quoddy lighthouse But we were able to spend lots of time at the lighthouse.  West Quoddy Head was originally built in 1808, and automated in 1988.  The 50-step iron stair in the tower is still used by the U.S. Coast Guard, which is responsible for maintaining the light.

west quoddy lighthouse

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, overlooks Sail Rock, the easternmost point of land in the continental United States.  Beautiful.

oceanside bar harbor

Back at camp, we have been enjoying days off with our coworkers.  Beautiful sunsets and good times.   We are so glad we made this life change!

We were hired last week by St. Petersburg KOA in Florida for the winter season!  We are excited to be back on the road.  We will be leaving Bar Harbor in early October and heading south for the winter.

oceanside bar harbor

This is one of my coworkers, Allison.  She and her partner, Kate, have become good friends that we hope to continue to keep in touch with when we leave in October.  They will also be headed to Florida, but a different part of the state.

bangor fair

When we do leave here, we are going to remember some of the things that you only see here in Maine.  Things like Lobstah rolls at McDonalds…

berries in maine

Berries everywhere you look!  Soon to be fresh blueberry cheesecake and raspberry pie!  I’m putting together recipes in my head as we speak!

how to eat a lobster in bar harbor maine

Lobster dinners everywhere!

oceanside koa

Lobster fishermen.

Oh wait.  that is just Dave in his “old man” rain gear.  He believes in blending in.

When in Maine, do as the Main’ers.  Right?

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8 Things we do not love about RV living…

We get asked a lot about what it is like living full time in a RV.  I talk about how much fun our adventure has been so far, and really it has.  It is so exciting to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful country.  Our new lifestyle has resulted in better health for both of us, much less stress, and excitement around every corner.

But in an effort to keep things real for those of you that might be considering this particular lifestyle, Dave and I wanted to point out a few things that are not so great about full time RV living.

Granted, we have only been full timers since April of this year, and I imagine in another year, our priorities may be different and our list of things we love and do not love might change.  But for right now, here is our top 8 things that we do not love about RV living:

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The Poop Issue

When living in a RV, one has to deal with poop on a much more personal level.  Both our poop and the dogs poop.  While the bathroom in our RV is definitely several steps above a port-a-potty, I have to admit that it is still a toilet situated over a poop holding tank.

A poop holding tank that is full of…well… poop.

rv black and gray tanks

We have two holding tanks.  The gray water tank holds leftover dishwater, shower water, etc .  The black water tank has the job of holding the poop.  Every few days, Dave flushes out the black water tank with water from the gray water tank.  He then adds a bit of water and a tank treatment which helps keep odors at bay and breaks down things.

In general, the bathroom smells fine.  But dealing with poop is much more labor intensive than simply flushing a toilet.

This is coming from someone who goes on eight hour plane flights and never uses the bathroom once due to the fear of accidentally getting locked in there with all that blue water and the potential of turbulence.  Heck, I can’t even use the public restrooms without having to run some water in the background!

The hubby says, ‚ÄúThen just use the woods!‚ÄĚ ¬†But I pee on my socks every time‚Ķ

Too much information?  Ha! Sorry…

life at the campground

Walking the dogs

While we are talking about poop, we cannot leave out the dogs.  I have to say that I do miss the days when we could just put the dogs out the back door and let them do their business.

Granted, walking the dogs is good for all of us.  But they do need walked several times a day, rain or shine.  Waking up in the morning with rain pelting the roof and knowing that I have to go out in the pouring rain and stand while Ralph takes ten minutes deciding what area he would like to pee in definitely puts a damper on my morning.

walking dogs bar harbor

Unlike Faith, Ralph took a while to get comfortable going to the bathroom on the leash.  And to this day, he has to circle an area for a while before he finds the perfect spot.

And whatever you do, do not watch him.  He will quit in mid-poop.  And then we will have to start all over again!

Oh, and then there is the fun bit about carrying fresh warm poop bags to the dumpster.

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Washing dishes

Yeah, I knew about this going in.  Working full time at the campground, running several websites and crafting in between, leaves me not so much time to do those things I really do not like doing in the first place.  As a perpetual procrastinator, I tend to leave dishes until the last possible moment.  Resulting in emergency dish washing in order to get dinner on the table.

Problems with the RV

Currently, the steps to the front door go up on their own accord.  Which could be a potential issue when we are ready to go to the next campsite, and they choose not to go up that day.

Two televisions turn them selves on occasionally without our help- usually coinciding with the slamming of the front door.

We called out the local repair guy and both  the steps and the televisions worked seamlessly.  Of course!

traveling sitcom rv living

The awning goes in on its own. ¬†Granted, it has a sensor that will pull it in when it gets windy. ¬†Apparently, it’s definition of wind is different than ours and if we do not shut the motor off, it rolls itself in quite dramatically while we are trying to sit in the shade with our iced tea.

Last week, I went to take a shower and we had no hot water.  The electric hot water heater decided not to work.  We are fortunate to have a gas alternative and switched to that.  When we called the RV repair guy out, the electric heater started right up.

He thinks we are crazy.

bar harbor oceanside koa maine camping

Mosquitos and other pests

Uggghhh!  In this part of the country, mosquitos are pretty darn plentiful.  And much to my dismay, they absolutely love me.  The scent of mosquito repellant is now my new perfume.

While working at the front counter the other day, an errant mosquito flew in and bit me right on the nose. ¬†Much to Dave’s enjoyment, ¬†I ended up looking like Broom Hilda the rest of the evening.

Ultracamper

Unfriendly and inconsiderate campers

There I said it.  There are those that have absolutely no camping etiquette.  They are the ones that park their car in the small area that you call your front yard.  They take short cuts through your campsite, dropping trash and making tons of noise along the way, setting off both dogs into a noisy bark-fest.  And then complain that your dogs are barking.

Tyler Kealey plays “Mama’s got a Squeeze Box” by The Who as part of his video a day challenge in 2014.

They play loud music past midnight.  Sit outside playing an accordion, electric guitar, or drum set (yes, all the above has happened in the past few weeks alone!).   Who the heck brings an accordion while camping?  Well, somebody did last week.

Not sure what they were playing, but Dave and I both had The Who’s Moma’s Got a Squeeze Box stuck in our heads for a week.

Now you do too.

You’re welcome!

Lack of Space

Again, I knew this going in.  There is not much space for crafting and I spend more time looking for my supplies than actually doing the craft.  Really!  I tried to be organized.  I labeled many containers and stored them all over the camper.  But when I am looking for one particular tool or paintbrush or fabric swatch, I spend the next hour searching all compartments until I finally run across it.

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Bumpy Roads

Coming up to Maine from Atlanta, we encountered lots and lots of terribly maintained roads.  In a car, you do not notice them as much, but when driving a huge motorhome, each bump and ridge is magnified ten-fold.  Dave said that I need to mention in particular, parts of I-85 North and the entirety of I-84.

Our coach shook so much over I-84 that when we finally reached our destination, not only was our bedroom door entirely off it’s hinges, but only one of the televisions would come on.

Unless of course, we slam the front door.

cadillac mountain bar harbor maine

So that is our top 8 gripes for right now.  I have to say that for every gripe, there are ten things we love.  I mean, just check out this view.  How could you not love that?

Living in a RV full time is not for everyone, that is for sure.  But for us, I think it just might work!

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and life on the campground…

Our youngest daughter is getting married in November.  Since Dave has to walk her down the aisle, it was necessary this week to take a trip back into civilization and get measured for a tuxedo.

fitted for a tux

So we made the two hour drive south to Augusta, Maine, where the closest Men’s Wearhouse was.  We were not looking forward to the drive and the fact that it would take up a whole day off to accomplish.  A two hour drive for a fitting that took all of ten minutes…

Now what to do?

We decided that since we were in the general area, maybe we should check out Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  After all, on the map it was just east of Augusta, and a trip up the coast would be beautiful!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

And the lighthouse was beautiful, of course.  We arrived after hours, so were not able to tour the inside, but were able to spend plenty of time enjoying the scenery.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was originally commissioned in 1827 by John Quincy Adams and built that year. Due to poor workmanship (salt water was used in the mortar mix), the lighthouse began to crumble and was replaced in 1835.

Most lighthouses in the US were converted to the Fresnel Lens in the 1850’s, and Pemaquid Point received it’s lens in1856. The lens is one of only six Fresnel lenses still in service in Maine!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park is managed by the Bristol Parks Commission.  And…it is the lighthouse on the Maine State Quarter, making it the first lighthouse to be featured on a piece of US currency!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Coincidentally, this particular lighthouse is a top destination for weddings with its beautiful rocky cliffs and crashing waves.  The lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the Maine coast.

pemaquid lighthouse maine

While taking photos, the whole scene seemed very familiar to me.

pemaquid lighthouse maine

And then it occurred to me that I had painted the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse back in 1998 in a series of lighthouse paintings for a calendar!  It had hardly changed at all!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Beautiful rocky shores, deep blue waters and a setting sun make this trip totally worth it.  We were very glad that we decided to make the stop.

Our boring trip to Augusta turned out to be pretty fabulous.

life at the campground

…and then we had to go back to work.  The park at Oceanside is full to capacity and has been so since the beginning of July.  The boss says excitedly that this is a record year.

We are just tired.  LOL!

life at the campground

Of course, the campground still has it’s beautiful scenery to enjoy.  On our days off, we can wander about the rocks at low tide with the dogs and look for shells.

…and rescue tiny crabs from Ralph’s mouth.

life at the campground

The summer here is nearing it’s end and the wild apple trees on the campground are just full of apples.  I was told that they make great pie, so I am waiting for them to ripen.

life at the campground

One of our guests had a dog that could have been Ralph’s twin.

life at the campground

Ralph thinks he looks much younger and cooler, though.

eating a huge sandwich

Oh…and in our down time, we apparently enjoy taking uncomplimentary photos of each other.  This is Dave’s take on my humongous BLT courtesy of one of the local restaurants…

eating a huge sandwich

….and a little morning scariness to keep it real.

Because life is a sitcom, right?