Last fall when I was negotiating my annual contract with my Session, I asked for a couple extra weeks of vacation time in lieu of a raise. I also got permission to take the bulk of my vacation in one fell swoop. So. My time off begins today and extends through Aug 10, a full 7 Sundays. Can you believe that? I can’t, even as I ride along a back road in Massachusetts and type (obviously my husband is driving).
My goal is to spend concentrated time working on a manuscript during this seven weeks. My husband has time off, as he works for an elementary school, so we decided to start the summer with a road trip, somewhere that I could write while he indulges in his new hobby, kiteboarding. We needed a big body of water and hopefully cooler temperatures, so we decided to head north. The plan is that each day he can spend a couple of hours playing in the wind and the waves, perhaps in a wetsuit, while I spend time writing. Then we’ll have the rest of the day to explore, hike, whatever.
We’re headed to Prince Edward Island, which is just beyond Nova Scotia. I’m typing this on my new MacBook while we drive the last hour of the first day.
The route was familiar to anybody who lives along the Eastern Seaboard — straight up Route 95, across the George Washington bridge, and beyond. Usually the worst part of the trip is the NJ/NY portion, but the traffic moved along today. The GW bridge is always a marker, and today I noticed it was 101 degrees as we crossed. Just past the bridge, there was a rainstorm with strong wind and lightning. In 30 minutes the temperature dropped 26 degrees, to an even 75. Of course, in a few moments it climbed back into the 90s.
After that we thought it would be clear sailing, but we were wrong. In CT the traffic moved at a crawl for a full 16 miles, so we lost about 2 hours. There was another big storm, with the sun shining at the same time. An incredible, distinct rainbow popped up, like a stage effect. At one point it split into a double. We drove through the foot of the rainbows, like driving through a halo. This was in Hartford, so I guess Connecticut redeemed itself.
We stopped for supper at a place called Wood & Tap, where we had soft shell crabs, then arrived at Wells State Park, just outside Sturbridge, Massachusetts (just outside Worcester, middle of the state). We had a mishap arriving because neither Google nor the GPS recognized the park name. We arrived about 9:00, and needed to hurry a bit to get set up before dark. The ranger on duty was friendly and slow-moving. He put the date down as June 17, and my husband had to correct him. He was amazed it was the 24th, he had missed a week.
I love the idea that somebody could miss a week, especially when they move in slow motion. This fella must be quite a bit closer to the Kingdom of God than I usually am.
I chatted with the one other person I have seen here, a woman. I commented about the storm and she said it hadn’t rained here, it had rained on Tuesday. I said limb-shaking kind of storm and her eyes got big and she said, oh yeah, I put the kids in the car and we all went home, they were scared! I don’t live too far. How great that she spends a week here with the kids, they have the lake to themselves. They love it.
People spend a fortune looking for private lake experiences. This was $14 a night, would have been $12 if we were Mass residents.
Tall pine woods on hills surrounding a beautiful lake, with a full moon rising. We had the place absolutely to ourselves. There’s no electricity, so there are no pull-through sites, so there are no RVs, so there are no people. Unfortunately in America, camping has become synonymous with RV-ing.
Our setup is a small, new Kelty tent that supposedly sleeps 4, but is just perfect for the 2 of us. We have a double sized air mattress and a battery operated pump to blow it up. We didn’t bring any food, the plan is to eat all meals out, just to save the money of hotels. We’ll see how it goes. Last night the biggest problem was the strength of the moonlight. I felt like someone was shining headlights into the tent. And the restroom is a bit of a hike up a hill, and yes there are plenty of bugs. I watched a slug crawl an inch while I brushed my teeth. Anything other than mosquitoes, I can co-exist with a happy heart.
Right now it is morning, cool, breezy, beautiful. I could use a cup of coffee!
Friday, June 25
Breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Mass Pike, then Route 495.
I have received two emails from church members. I changed computer systems last week and am still making adjustments. Because of that I didn’t put a vacation reply message on my email, so I will have to respond from my iPhone, which will surely sound curt.
Massachusetts: “frost heaves”
We drove all day today. Lunch was lobster salad in a cute little town in Maine, supper was fried clams in a lobster pound just outside of Bar Harbor. I am now officially ruined for fried clams, these were so far above and beyond what I’ve had before. You could actually chomp on the plump bodies of the clams, not just the stringy parts. Yum.
We’re camped tonight at Hadley’s Point Campground, which is privately owned. I’m pretty sure I stayed here as a child. Down the road is the Great Maine Lumberjack Show, or some such, which we went to with the girls in the early 2000s.
This morning we will take a bus into Acadia Park, and then head up to St. Martins, which is beyond St. John, New Brunswick.