I survived a recent trip to Guatemala when the pandemic hit. Been bottled up for a few months and need to get back out there. We decided to go on a long road trip. We ideally wanted to go overseas, but we settled on the East coast instead. We packed up the dog and all our toys and headed towards Maine.
We had to get negative COVID tests within 72 hours of arriving in Maine or quarantine for 2 weeks. I am sure we could have sidestepped those regulations like most vacationers we saw in Vacationland (Maine), but we are taking this pandemic seriously, as far as wearing masks and taking proper precautions to avoid gatherings. Now I guess if we were really good, we would stay in our houses and only leave for groceries and work, but we don’t feel spending our days hiking and biking is disrespecting the virus.
It took us 3 days of driving backroads to reach our cabin in Lincolnville ME. We could not cut through Canada, so swung down along the south shore of Lake Erie. I never knew there were so many vineyards on the shore in the Southwest corner of NY. In addition to only taking back roads, our progress was hampered by the remnants of a tropical storm were moved east with
We hit the coast in Portsmouth NH after nights outside Buffalo and Manchester NH. Manchester was an interesting town. I had to sit up half the night to watch our car out the hotel window out of concern that some gang bangers were going to pick it clean. It seemed the parking lot was a nonstop drug deal revolving door. It felt like we were in the epicenter of an opioid hotspot they make documentaries about. Anyway, our gear survived intact and Max dipped his paw in the ocean for the first time.
On the way up the coast to Lincolnville, we drove through Kennebunkport and South Bay. There was a shark attack fatality the week before in South Bay.
We were staying at Point Lookout Cabins. It used to be a corporate retreat for a major bank before getting closed down. Parts of it were being liquidated, with core facilities reopening within the last few months. It must have been something in its heyday, having a bowling alley, cafes, restaurants, soccer fields, and lamp post lined streets through the woods.
I imagined families returning year after year, kids running around till dark, making summer friendships. But then all those Norman Rockwell feelings were dashed when I learned it was only 20 years old and just a playground for rich bankers.
We got a great deal on a 2 bedroom cabin by agreeing to stay for a month. It looked out over the ocean and even had a quaint little beach (Ducktrap Beach) that dried out with the tides. Speaking of tides, I had never seen such fluctuations. We are talking close to 10ft between low and high tide!
The area even had its own hiking trails. We really only focused on the one out to our favorite spot on Knights Pond.
After unpacking the car we headed to the local grocery store to stock up. It is interesting that each region of country has its own store. In Maine, it is Hannaford. Things are not cheap up here. I am always amazed when you go someplace and even if the stuff you are buying is produced a mile down the road, it still costs the same as if I were buying it 10K miles away. Before the trip we created budgets to keep everything in check. Amy did a great job of cooking most of our meals.
The next morning we headed towards the town of Camden and stopped to hike the Bald Rock Trail
Amy had picked up a backpack and hiking shoes/socks before leaving so it was time to break them in. Also before leaving I did an extensive amount of research and practice on all the best phone apps for hiking, biking, offroad (both finding trails and navigating on them). I also purchased a Garmin Inreach Mini to pair with my phone so when on my own I could both drop breadcrumbs to track online and give frequent status updates. I am getting older and my health is not what it was, so trying to be the responsible adult while still getting off the reservation to test myself a bit.
Amy did well, and we headed back to take Max on his first big hike. He mastered a 2 mile trip through the woods near our cabin. He is a city dog, more specifically a condominium dog, so all this is new to him. We read an article recently how a couple with an aging dog, took a year to travel to all the places they thought he would enjoy. I thought it was a cool idea. As we progressed on this trip I wonder what Max thought of all these new experiences he was being exposed to. Did he just take them in stride, or feel like this was the best day ever! "I got to ride in a boat!" Whatever that is.
After the hike we drove south from Lincolnville and stopped to check out the town beach.
It looked like a scene straight out of Jaws and the town of Amityville. And with the recent Great White attack a little south of us, it wasn’t far off.
We kept going south through the beautiful, but touristy town of Camden and onto Rockport, where we stopped at Claws for lunch. Like everyone, we had to get our first lobster roll. I am not a huge fan of Lobster because I don’t feel its worth the price tag, but when in Rome. You can get your lobster with butter or Mayo it seems. I am more traditional, so I went with the butter. Amy always gets mussels. I don’t see the big excitement for mussels, it is too much work for little reward in my opinion.
A final stop at Owl’s Head Lighthouse and it was back to Point Lookout
The next morning we headed to the resort gym. Oh, I forgot to mention they also have a full service gym. This became our normal morning routine. Working out and doing laundry at the main building.
Later we walked the trail with max to Knights Pond
Max really took to water. For a small dog, he had no problem jumping into the water. He had to learn the hard way that some water is shallow, but other water is deep. He showed off his paddling skills, but made a mental note to stick to areas where he could see bottom in the future. This same strategy went for his mother as well.
This became my favorite spot on our Maine trip. Nothing better than lake swimming, especially because there were not many sharks in the pond. I would come here on afternoons to just relax. In fact I kept a swimsuit and towel in the car so anytime there was an ideal swimming hole to partake in, I was ready.
In the afternoon we drove into Camden to walk around.
I saw this ad on a telephone pole. It seemed an intriguing opportunity to command a boat. I had never guided a double oared boat/dory, or whatever you might call them. I would be in for a rude awakening when that day came later on in the trip.
The local library had a beautiful park to look out onto the harbor. We had lunch at a place called Mariner’s. Haddock was the fish used around her for sandwiches and that became my go-to-order.
We walked the marina, planning to go on a lobster charter in a few days to understand the primary business in these parts.
After coming back I fired up my mountain biking app on the phone and downloaded a trail at a local ski hill. I uploaded the GPX route to Rever and mounted that on my bike for turn-by-turn. The trail was brutal, as are all trails out here and probably everywhere outside of Michigan. I am used to these low, rolling hills that have 10mile loop trails. Enough for a good workout but not a heart attack or trip the ER with a broken clavicle. Out here the trail starts with a climb up the ski slope before firing back down at mach 1. I mean I looked like a complete ass as I was pushing my bike up the trail while 6 yo girls were passing me by. I may have to stick to the converted rail trails in the future.
We had a fire that night. About half of the cabins in the complex were filled with travelers looking for a break from the Covid infested cities and everyone emerged after dark to poke at a fire in their front yard. We were no different.