Like so many other RVers, we keep track of states we have visited while towing our RV. Check our blog’s U.S. map display to see which states we’ve been through with our RV so far (sorry but we don’t include Canada). In case you're wondering how we got from Michigan to New York without passing through Ohio or Pennsylvania...we snuck through Southern Ontario.
Just because a state isn’t filled in with a color doesn’t mean we haven’t been in it before. For example, technically our first visit to New York occurred in 2000 to attend Jennie’s wedding in upstate New York’s Old Forge area. Our second visit was soon after Alrick was born in 2004 while the kids lived in Amityville on Long Island. However, our latest visit occurred while towing our RV which meant that New York was again “new” to us. Likewise Vermont was “new” in spite of a prior visit to attend a conference at Middlebury College some years earlier. Looking at the map, clearly we have more “new” states to add in the eastern U.S. even though we’ve been in a number of these states before - just not with our RV. By the way, we can’t really explain why we have so far avoided Kansas and Oklahoma except to ask: would you want to be traveling through these states during tornado season?
We’ve confirmed two distinct differences about our travels east versus driving west that came as no surprise. First was increased traffic congestion. And second, everything is more expensive. From fuel to food to RV park rates, prices on average are noticeably higher. Again, not a huge surprise but it certainly reinforced why we enjoy traveling in the western United States. More open space, less stressful driving conditions and less cost.
In an effort to resolve the nagging vacuum breaker issue we made an unscheduled early morning stop at Ballantyne RV. We have to say that on the rare occasions when we’ve had to make an unscheduled stop for RV service, most of the dealers have been able to quickly fit us in (especially when they understand we’re fulltime RVers). Ballantyne was no exception. And while they failed to have the correct part in stock, they were able to install a shutoff valve in the water line leading to the toilet. Using the part number they supplied, we then went online and ordered the necessary part. We had the part shipped (2-day air) to the Pumpkin Patch RV Resort in Bangor, ME where we would be in less than a week’s time.
By midday we were driving through hilly and scenic southern Vermont. A huge obelisk caught our eye as we passed through the town of Bennington - definitely would have to find out what that was all about.
|Pine Hollow Campground, Vermont|
Bennington had a Home Depot. That was first on our list of “to do’s” the next morning
|Farmer's Market, Benningtin, VT|
|a few of the Catamount Prowl entires|
Fortified with lunch we set off to seek out the large obelisk which turned out to be the center of a state historic site. The Bennington Battle Monument commemorated Brigadier General John Stark and his allied American forces defeat of two detachments under the command of British General John Burgoyne’s invading army in 1777. The actual battle took place five miles northwest near Walloomsac, NY. There, Stark’s army engaged a combined force of British troops, Indians, Loyalist and German mercenaries who were intent on raiding the local arsenal depot’s bounty of desperately needed supplies located near the present site of the monument.
|note Carol for a scale comparison|
The monument was impressive. Standing 306 feet tall, the cornerstone was laid in 1887 and the completed project was dedicated in 1891. The monument’s base is 37 feet square. Constructed from blue-grey magnesian limestone (known as Sandy Hill Dolomite), it has an interior elevator (fee required) that takes visitors up 200 feet to an observation level where twenty eleven-foot high slotted openings offer views of the surrounding hills of Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. And no, we didn’t feel the need to subject ourselves to a small dark elevator...
|artful moose and Silk Road covered Bridge|
|Old First Church, Bennington, VT|
One notable citizen of Bennington is buried there - Robert Frost. His grave is located close to and behind the church (signs mark the way) under the shade of a birch tree. Back again at our RV, the rest of the afternoon was taken up by Tom replacing the defective shutoff valve with the new valve purchased at Home Depot.
|"One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."|
Our target for the day was Portland, Maine so without much ado, and with the assistance of our current audio book selection (Stieg Larsson's “The Girl Who Played With Fire”) we passed straight through New Hampshire knowing that on our way back west we likely would spend a bit more time in the “Live Free Or Die “ state. One interesting observation: major rest stops in New Hampshire all seem to have a state owned liquor store which made for some interesting people watching.
|Eartha at DeLorme|
|Old Orchard Beach RV Resort site|
Old Orchard Beach Campground was where we for the duration of two night stay in Portland. Clearly a vacation destination park where park models abounded. Not exactly our style of park but again, the further east we traveled, this type of RV park had become prevalent. And this park was by far the most expensive daily rate we’ve ever paid to stay in any RV park to date!
|part of Portland waterfront district|
After Cabela’s we drove down to the Portland waterfront area to scope out the whale watching trip launch location. We’ve discovered that it’s always crucial to to scope out things like parking options for these kinds of events, especially in a high tourist area. Not surprising there were some horrendous parking fees. Some charged as much as $10/hour! But the representative at Odyssey explained that the lot they had their customers use only charged $10 for a whole day’s parking.
|the boat but we never got to board|
Watching local weather reports we had grown concerned about possible poor weather for the boat trip and sure enough, the next morning we got a call from Odyssey to inform us that due to fog, the morning’s tour had been cancelled. We rescheduled for the afternoon tour but then learned that Luke would not be able to meet us for the afternoon tour. He had a prior commitment to pick his parents up in Boston at the airport. Bummer. We would not be getting together with Luke after all.
|Jim, his son, and Tom at Pine Point|
|from boat to belly - fresh Maine lobster|
Time for plan B. After we had finished our walk and Jim and his son who had departed for home, we followed up on another of Jim’s suggestions: to return to Pine Point to grabble with some fresh lobster at Bayley’s Lobster Pound. That turned out to be an excellent suggestion. Not only was it our first experience wrangling a whole lobster but the young woman who tended the outdoor bar instructed us with step-by-step instructions on how to crack open a lobster without us looking like idiots! Suffice it to say, eating fresh Maine lobster right out of the ocean has probably ruined us from ever eating lobster that hasn’t been fresh caught.
|Dimillo's in Portland, ME|
|Carol and Naomi|
|Pumpkin Patch RV Resort near Bangor, ME|
Bangor was the last U.S. destination before we entered New Brunswick, Canada. In Canada our phone will be turned off for the duration plus access to wifi will become severely limited. We will be sporadically off the grid for quite some time. However, we are very much looking forward to many new and interesting places to visit as we head into the Canadian Maritimes.