Finally in Maine! My son, posing before a sign at the Welcome Center, welcoming us to Maine.
My second trip in a little less than two weeks (closer, actually, to a week and a half) started after I drove from work to meet my son and my brother.
Having taken care of pretty much all of the packing for the trip, all that remained was to meet, then go.
Indeed, it did not take long for us to get going, which was a better start than for the first trip, when it seemed all sorts of obstacles suddenly were in the way.
Loading the car took maybe fifteen or so minutes, and after my son said his tearful goodbye to mommy, we were on our way!
Things were going fairly well early on, as we left northwestern New Jersey and entered New York, going immediately onto I-87 towards the Tappan Zee. We crossed, and it was cheaper than I expected it to be. Plus, there was less traffic than expected, which made it feel nice. A good start.
Before too long, we were in Connecticut, and now, everyone was talking about eating someplace.
Nobody there knew of any good places in the area, as the GPS had us crossing across Connecticut from southwest to northeast, more or less. Wanting to get some miles behind us, I drove for quite some time, until we reached, more or less, the New Haven area. That was when we stopped at some local town and ate at a Greek diner, for the first meal of the trip.
My brother and I switched driving responsibilities at that point, as he took over, heading towards the Hartford area. I eased the seat back and tried to take a nap, having not gotten any real quality sleep in quite some time.
I don't know how long I had been asleep, but I woke up with the familiar toothache that I had been experiencing now since before the first trip. Yes, it was familiar, but it was getting very annoying and extremely repetitive! And this toothache was particularly intense, spreading the pain until it became an outright headache, and one of a fairly pronounced level of intensity.
Not remembering where I had packed the aspirin (I was running low anyway), we pulled over somewhere so that I could pick up some aspirin, in hopes of alleviating the pain.
There was something a bit strange. Once I put the seat upright, and especially when I physically got out of the car, the pain largely diminished. I still bought some aspirin, and took a couple of pills. But by then, the pain was definitely on the way out, much to my own surprise. When I went back to the car, I eased the seat back a bit and, as soon as I did, the pain was back.
No sleeping for me the rest of the way. At least, not lying down in the car. I was a bit worried about later that night, trying to get some sleep. But that was a concern for later. We still had many hours before we would be reaching our first destination - Skowhegan KOA, in Canaan, Maine.
We reached Massachussetts, and I was pleasantly surprised, because usually on trips through New England, Connecticut is pure hell. Since we were not going to be too close to Boston, I thought we were in good shape.
Wishful thinking, as it turned out.
The traffic jam lasted quite a while. It was one of those long ones, where just when you think it has let up or eased, and you start moving again for a little while, it begins again. We were losing time. A lot of it.
Also, it was stressful. While we had been doing relatively well before, now I looked and saw that it was after 5pm, and we were still only in Massachussetts! I had thought, by now, that we would have at least reached Maine!
Finally, the traffic eased, and we started moving. The state line to new Hampshire was getting close, and we all let out a sigh of relief once we crossed into New Hampshire. Massachussetts had been extremely annoying this time around, and the GPS was going crazy on this day, as well. Not exactly what I had in mind.
That part of New Hampshire, the part where I-95 crosses it, is very short. It kind of reminds me of the part that crosses Delaware, where if you sneeze, you miss it. I always enjoyed New Hampshire on previous visits, but I was in a hurry to get to Maine. We all were.
Finally, we could see the bridge, and crossed it. Halfway across, we saw the Maine state line, and began joking around, suddenly very cheered. I remember being especially happy hearing my son laughing heartily.
We pulled over at the Maine Welcome Center, and took some travel brochures, as well as a state map. It was also a good time to go to the bathroom and, once we got back to the car, a decent time for a snack or two, and drinks.
But when we returned to the car, i also noticed something that pretty much sobered my mood up in a hurry: the GPS, which had been insisting we were only an hour and a half or so from our destination, was now reading that we still had three hours to go. Having been to Skowhegan before, I remembered it being pretty far, and knowing that daylight was going to run out before long, I began to want to get a move on.
We still had not eaten dinner, and we were getting hungry. But, again, I really wanted to get some miles behind us, so that we at least might have a chance to be in the area before daylight ran out.
So, we reached the Augusta area, and since we were so close at some point, decided to take a brief excursion to see the city a little bit, and hopefully grab a bite to eat.
Augusta was much smaller than anyone really expected it to be (not that anyone thought it was going to be huge - this is Maine, after all!). It seemed that they had a decent downtown area, but everything looked closed.
But we found a place on the edge of town - I think it was called Red Barn. It looked cool, with an outdoor eating area that looked inviting. It even had a concert stage on it, presumably for local acts on certain nights for the locals to enjoy. It had a cool feel, and we decided that this was going to be the place.
Indeed, it was enjoyable. I got a bit of seafood, to kind of get in the mood of the trip, which would be dominated, presumably, by the sea and little fishing villages and regions. So, I got lobster roll, and a seafood soup, which was excellent!
Then, we continued on, stopping at one point for an ice cream. We sat for a little while outside on a very pleasant evening, and I was just happy to be back in Maine. it always gives me a special feeling to be here, for some reason. And it was so quiet! A few cars would pass us, but very few, and they were driving in a very relaxed fashion, in no real hurry at all. The polar opposite of New Jersey, where people are racing everywhere, and the tension and stress are always so thick, you can cut it with a knife!
But we had taken too many breaks. Although I had resigned myself to making the tent in the dark by that point, it seemed that we still actually had a chance to make it with a tiny bit of daylight left. But the GPS acted up again, and I had to guess at some point as to directions.
Apparently, I guessed wrong, and we were completely in the dark before long. We had called ahead telling them as much, and they had left instructions and all of that for us, so that was not a big problem. And, as it turned out, putting the tent up in the dark was really not all that difficult, either.
We were all tired, and just wanted to get some sleep.
Unfortunately my brother's tent was not so easy to put up, and in the dark, barely able to read the instructions, and with a relatively cheap model tent to begin with, we gave up before too long. He would try to sleep in the tent and, as it turned out, would eventually spend the night in the car.
But our first day was done, and that was a huge, huge chunk of the driving to get out of the way.
Now, being in Maine, in the peace and quiet, it actually felt like we were on a vacation, and it was nice!
I took this picture in the Main Welcome Center off of I-95, and just thought it was cool enough to post here!