Tuesday, July 05, 2011

OH, what a day!

It starts out to be a great day.  We are on the road early, eager to get to Lamoine State Park where we have been accepted to be volunteer Campground Hosts.  The drive through the woods of Maine from Houlton to Lamoine is beautiful even though we are on an interstate highway.  Our goal is to take secondary “blue highways” (often drawn on maps in blue) as William Least Heat Moon calls  them in his Blue Highways book but today we take the fast route. DSCN5481 We arrive at Lamoine State Park about 12:30PM and are greeted by friendly rangers and volunteers.  So far so good!  Let’s get our fifth wheel set up!   Here’s where the day goes, as the saying goes “to hell in a hand basket!”

UH-OH-the entrance to our site isn’t very wide and there are rain runoff ditches on either side.  AND. . .trees, lots of trees, and brush on either side of the road making maneuvering very touchy.  Gary, who loves a challenge, gives backing into the site a try  --- nope, the wheels of the fifth wheel start falling into the ditch and the nose of the truck is deep into brush and trees across the road.

On to plan B-back in from the other direction.  Hey, it’s working until. . .the fifth wheel starts shifting and leaning into what turns out to be soft earth!  Oh no! The rather large tree and our home are becoming perilously close - 6 inches or less!!DSCN5463In my mind I envision the side being bashed in and with it the refrigerator which, inside, is exactly beside the tree.DSCN5476Gary jockeys the truck back and forth trying to get out of the rut but the rut only gets deeper.  This rig is going nowhere-not forward, not backward without it sliding toward the tree!  He and Bob  slip boards under the tires by jacking the whole rig up with bottle jacks.  Inch  by inch it is moved forward but THEN there is no more room for the truck to go forward because of the trees.  Can’t go forward, can’t go back!DSCN5461Let’s see now, if we could only swing it around to the left just a bit.  Gary unhooks our GMC and very carefully, almost inch by inch, ranger Bob’s VERY HUGE Mack truck pivots the fifth wheel just a few feet.  DSCN5472Gary hooks up the GMC again and eases the fifth wheel over the boards, the boulders, a granite slab the Ranger has dropped into the ditch but, oh-oh, the 17,500 lb. fifth wheel is sinking again!  Keep it moving Gary!  He does and, five hours after this odyssey began, we are safely out.  WHEW, WHEW and double WHEW!DSCN5464Now what?  Will we be staying at Lamoine State Park or will we have to leave?  For tonight we make NO decisions.  We boondock in the parking lot for the night (for you non-RVers, boondocking is parking with no water, electric or sewer hookups.)  With the electric coffee and tea maker out of commission, I dig out the good old percolator and tea kettle for my morning Earl Grey and Gary’s Maxwell House.DSCN5467 The not-so-scenic view of the parking lot from our window.DSCN5465A new day dawns with a decision to be made.  Is it back on the road or ??  Dulee and I go for our morning walk and see that they have moved the granite block to the other side and filled in dirt over the ditch to make the entrance about four feet wider.  Gary says “piece of cake!" and we’re soon in position for day two’s maneuvers.   The fifth wheel moves pretty smoothly over the makeshift arrangement with just a little sinking into the dirt and the boards crack as it passes over but we are soon set up in our Camp Host site. DSCN5470Much better clearance with the tree!

DSCN5471We’re home for the next couple of months!DSCN5482


  1. After all the stress (you even had my heart racing with your narrative!), it looks like an absolutely wonderful place to be! Thanks for the views -- both idyllic and on-edge -- about the realities of RV-ing!

  2. After that, the next two months should be a piece of cake!

    We're not camping--but heading eastward toward Buffalo. We're interested in the city this time. I've heard there are some fine (and open to the public) gardens. At least it was so last year - all summer. We think we're going to try a hostel. Will be our first time. Any advice????

  3. Did you see the movie with Robin Williams - RV? Sounds a lot like your vacation there! Good luck!

  4. Oh my Lord .... I can't even parallel park a small car!! And thanks for teaching me some of the RV lingo. I like "boon docking." Have fun being hosts. You have a very interesting life!