Finishing Out the NE (July 12th - September 13th, 2021) PART II
We left off in Boston, MA on July 29th, after having collected my parents at the airport...
…And now it's moving day again! July 30th started with a Bootcamp class, then Ted walked Apollo, we packed up the Glamper and I walked with my mom to this cute little shop called the Spring Brook Farm Country Store (it was my 3rd time there but I knew my mom would love this little store that sold antiques, locally made foods and goods, and fruits and veggies from their farm). It was quite a charming atmosphere. We walked back to the Glamper and headed to Maine - we had been looking forward to this part of the trip very much. Everyone we told that we were going to Acadia National Park only had great things to say. We stayed at Mt Desert Narrows Camping Resort, right on the water in Thomas Bay at the northern end of Mt Desert Island. We found that our site only had 30 AMP power and no sewer hook up - SHIT! This would have been fine if it were just Azlan, Ted and I but back when we booked this...in January of 2020, it must have sounded like a great idea and we never double checked if the site was full hook up or not. No sewer connection with 5 people in the RV means we have to shower in the public restrooms to avoid filling up our tank. Normally this would be no biggie except the bathrooms weren't very clean and hot water wasn't plentiful...so dirty cold showers it was lol. Fortunately they had a honey pumper (so ironic that they call the poo truck a honey pumper) that could come out and empty our tanks almost every day which meant some of us could shower in the Glamper. We parked the Glamper head in so we could enjoy the water view and ran our connections under the motorhome this time. Once we got the fire pit going, we grilled some steaks and enjoyed a beautiful sunset right from our site. That Saturday, Ted, Apollo and I went into Acadia and hiked Jordan Pond Loop. We have found that the earlier we start our hikes, the better. Less people are around (if anyone at all) and we can let Apollo roam free and explore so he can get all that puppy energy out. As we went around the loop we found a sign for Bubbles, a short hike up the mountain, so off we went. We got to one part Apollo couldn't climb up so he and Ted chilled while I went to the top - super cool! We made a plan to bring Azlan back (sans Apollo) as this is the exact type of mountain climbing our boy loves to do. My mom had been talking about lobster since we picked her up at the airport so that afternoon we went into the town of Bar Harbor for lunch and then mom and I went for a nap while the boys took Azlan to Pirate's Cove for some mini golf and ice cream. Sunday morning, the first day of August, I took Apollo to Little Long Pond. I was delighted to find that dogs didn't require a leash - it was the first place I had been to like that. The route I had planned on taking was a Carriage Road (a gravel road that carriages used to ride on back before cars) and to be honest, it was a little boring after having rock climbed the day before. I came upon a sign pointing into the woods for Thuya Garden. I had no service on my phone but the trail looked well marked so Apollo and I veered off onto the path less traveled. That is when we came upon a door in the woods. Yes, a door in the woods! I was beyond delighted at finding this curious treasure called Richard's Door "A door between the trees opens into mystery. Step through to see with eyes anew then close it if you please (and leave no trace of passing through).". Well, the trail did not disappoint! There were shimmering moss covered boulders that looked like they would turn into the rock trolls from the FROZEN cartoon, a lovely stream meandering between hills, winding and twisting roots that seemed to melt and mingle into the rocks. As I walked with Apollo into the unknown with no cell service or music, just paying attention to the trees above and the surrounding forest, I became very overwhelmed with emotion. I was (and still am) so very grateful to be able to have these experiences in my life, for choosing to change my life, for never giving up. In that moment, sitting in the middle of the path with tears streaming down my cheeks, I seriously thought about stripping down and walking in the woods naked to become one with nature...then I looked at my watch and remembered I had people waiting on me so I headed back towards the door I had come through, silently promising to return. Later in the day my family and I journeyed to the Carroll Homestead, Seawall, Ship Harbor and Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. We finished the day off with some afternoon rock painting and sunset watching at the Glamper. The next morning my dad wanted to go hiking with us so we picked Stratheden Trail which was about 2 miles with an option to make it longer adding the Jesup Path. We ended up going 3.8 miles to include some cool rocks we had to go around and over. My 70 year old dad did awesome! We followed that morning hike with an evening Sunset Cocktail Cruise to see Bar Harbor from the water. It was a lovely boat ride despite the wind chill!
Tuesday morning, August 3rd, I took Apollo for a solo hike up Bald Peak Trail. I only ran into 2 other couples on the trail and both were on my way out. Only recently have I developed a fondness for hiking. The physical exertion, the mental focus when going over rocks and roots, the peaceful vibe of the woods all take part. When I get to the top of the mountain, I feel powerful, strong, invincible! I yell "I'M ON TOP OF THE WORLD"! I would definitely like to hike more in my life in the years to come. After that, we took my parents to Jordan Pond where my mom and I walked along the board walk for a bit and my dad, Azlan and Ted embarked to do the full loop (with Azlan and Ted going up South Bubble while my dad waited below). After that we took the car up Cadillac Mountain (the highest point on the east coast of the U.S.) to admire the spectacular views from the top. I proceeded to nap as Ted took us on the one way road through Acadia, ending in Northeast Harbor, where we had a nice lunch at The Colonel's Deli . The following morning I took Ted and Apollo to Richard's Door. I never made it to Thuya Garden the first time but this time I had a map #poundwinning. I had no idea what to expect and boy was I pleasantly surprised! This was one of the most beautiful displays of flowers in a garden that I had ever seen. I think the way we approached the garden through the woods and the time of year had a good deal to do with my impression as well. On the way back we took the David & Nieve Trail, another beautiful trail in this amazing land preserve. The rest of the day was spent cleaning, doing laundry and enjoying out last fire at Mt. Desert Narrows. So far, we have been extremely fortunate with weather overall. Not too many rainy days over the summer, however on August 5th it certainly showered! Apollo didn't care though, he still wanted to hike (as did Ted and I). This time we opted for the Man O War Trail and Acadia Mountain. Despite the rain, we had a great hike and only encountered one other person on the trail...we even commented with each other that it was a lovely day for a hike, lol! It was a pretty cool trail staying true to the characteristics we saw on previous hikes: tree roots intertwined with rocks and earth through pathways, plenty of trees shading (or umbrellaing in this case) the way and boulders dispersed throughout, creating parts of paths or fun obstacles to climb. After our wet-scapade, we played a fun game of Uno with Azlan and my parents, had a nice nap, watched Spirit (the original movie) and then went over to a friend's house for dinner. I find it so cool that I made friends at ZT's Fitness and I get to link up with them up north! Well, unbeknownst to us, she grew up cooking decadent meals for weddings - WOW, what a delightful treat! We had great conversation and even better food - I am pretty sure we are now spoiled and I need to up my cooking game!
Friday, August 6th was a very interesting day. Our goal was to get to Boston as my mom, Azlan and I would be sleeping in a hotel room and flying out on the 7th to Miami. Remember all that rain the day before? Well, what happens to dirt when it gets wet? Mud. What happens when you have something really heavy (like 36,000 lbs for example) on top of mud? It sinks. Yep, we got stuck in the mud! Ted called AAA and it was supposed to be an hour before someone arrived. While we waited, we hooked up the Jeep winch and tried getting it out ourselves with boards under the wheels...no go! All that did was drag the Jeep closer to the Glamper and dig the Glamper deeper into the mushy mud. After an hour or so, AAA told us they had no one in the area that was in their network that had the right equipment to help. They did, however, get us in touch with someone who could - and those guys were about 2 hours out. Time passed and the new crew called and said they were not sure when they would be there. Our friendly neighbor offered to try and pull us out with his heavy duty strap and heavy duty truck. At this point we were willing to try just about anything. Ted and our neighbor connected the truck to the Glamper and coordinated pull and reverse communications...I was standing there watching as the Glamper started to move but looked like it would tip over. I freaked out and started screaming...Ted and the guy just looked at me like I was crazy...they kept going, it kept tilting and then POP! It slid right out! We thanked him profusely and all he asked was for us to remember that it was NOT a Dodge, but a GMC that pulled us out! Way to go GMC!!! So, my freaked out parents, my son, Apollo, Ted and I hit the road towards Boston and ate a quick dinner at Red's Kitchen and Tavern, before mom, Azlan and I jumped in an Uber and headed to the Embassy Suites by Hilton Boston at Logan Airport. An interesting layout to the hotel...our 2nd floor room windows looked into the lobby, I had not seen that before. After a lovely breakfast the next morning, we headed to the airport, jumped on our flight and made it to Miami. Just like that my summer trip ended. Ted and my dad continued the drive south with the Glamper and here is his adventure:
< Kiko (Daisa's dad) and I depart the gas station across the street from the restaurant almost as soon as the ladies depart in their Uber. I think I heard a sigh as soon as our buts hit the seats! The ladies are gone and we only have to put up with each other…for 750 miles…and a battlefield and museum… it’s already late and our only goal is to get to the other side of Boston so we don’t have to fight the traffic in the morning. It turns out pretty good…a little less than an hour later and we are parked in the rest stop. I open the slides and walk Apollo while Kiko gets settled. We say good night and I watch some Olympics before going to bed. This is the first time I’ve seen the Olympics since leaving Boston a week ago and I’m not really sure why I like the Olympics so much, but I do, and I enjoyed watching them.
The next morning, Apollo is kind enough to wake me up early for his morning ablutions and walk. I get dressed dreading walking around the relatively small rest stop 30 times to get Apollo his miles. Lucky for me, the rest stop is just outside a lovely neighborhood with a road leading right to it. Apollo and I have a marvelous walk through a neighborhood of Framingham next to the Framingham westbound service plaza. There was even a Massachusetts Scenic Byway right there that we got to explore. Beautiful! One guy had a natural creek running through his front yard that he built an amazing landscape around…phenomenal! We return to the motorhome and pack up to roll out. We get on the road and Kiko immediately puts his headphones on…well, this should be fun! I had tentative plans to meet my nephew so I could move some things down to Florida for him but that got cancelled...or he didnt want to wake up early on a Saturday morning to meet me... so we take the southern route, saving a little time. Kiko and I have a couple good conversations interspersed with his headphones time and after a long day on the road with a stop for gas...that took almost two hours (there is a kink in the gas hose which has been "repaired" 3 times)...we arrive at the Granite Hill Campground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As it turns out, there is a live band playing in a couple hours and they have a restaurant on site! #godtakescareoffoolsanddrunks #iqualifyonbothcounts We make drinks and get set up before I take Apollo for a walk to explore the campground. As it turns out, the place is huge! And they have a perimeter trail around a good portion of the campground! We spend 45 mins to an hour poking around and figuring things out for tomorrow’s inevitable romp through the woods and return to the motorhome to have some more drinks and watch the band. We have a good, deep conversation that measurably lightened the mood. More drinks and more band, then off to get some dinner to go with more drinks! We end the night with some more Olympics.
The next morning I rise with Mr. Rambunctious (aka Apollo) and we set off around the campground for an hour or so exploring the trails and running around off leash before returning to the Glamper for breakfast and getting ready to leave. Francisco and I go to the Gettysburg National Military Park and poke around for a while before our 1.5 hour Ranger guided tour of the battlefield. The Ranger was an Artilleryman in the Army before and now he is giving a block of instruction on old cannons and a battlefield that saw a lot of Artillery fired on it. He obviously liked his job and it reflected in his tour, it was really good…albeit a little too technical on the Artillery side. After this we went for a lunch before going into the movie and to see this amazing painting. The movie was good, not as good as the Ranger guided tour, but good enough. Lots of facts and data that help you put the battlefield into perspective. Next was a 360 degree painting that fills a massive room, I can’t remember the circumference, it had to be 100' and about 17' tall. It is inside a cylinder and they have capped it and put a light show in that helps point out how the battle went down…it was incredible! The Gettysburg Cyclorama.
All in all, Gettysburg was a success. We head back to the motorhome, walk Apollo and take a nap. We spend a nice evening relaxing and having a couple drinks, dinner and then turn in. The next morning we depart for Ashland, VA, close to Richmond - about three hours south. Kiko flies home to Miami tomorrow and then I am on my own. I’ll be honest, up until today, I never really thought much about rolling this monstrosity on my own…tomorrow that becomes a reality…I’m a little nervous. We get to the Americamps in Ashland, VA after a long ass fuel stop. We find a place to have dinner and I take Apollo for a walk while Kiko works. When I return, he asks if we should just Uber around and to the airport so I don't have to drop the Jeep. I readily accept and we have a couple hours of relaxing and drinking before going to dinner at the Industrial Taphouse. Good food, good drinks and good company! More walks with Apollo (is anyone else tired of all this walking, yet?!?!) and off to bed.
The next morning, August 10th, I say my goodbyes and actually get back to sleep. We sleep in and get the Glamper ready for the road, then I walk Apollo for an hour and we hit the road to Fayetteville RV Resort and Cottages. The first night I am staying in one of their cottages because they don't have any room for the motorhome until the next night. They do let me put the motorhome in their storage lot in the meantime though. The cabin is OK, Apollo destroys the Venetian blinds (that little shit! Maybe I should say big shit now though!) because I am going in and out bringing in stuff we need for the night. After some down time and a shower, I head to a friends house for dinner. His girlfriend is there but he’s at work and while she promised to cook for me, she doesn’t (#raincheck), oh well the food is good and so is the company. My buddy gets home and we get to spend some time hanging out before returning to the cabin. The next morning Apollo sleeps until 10! Holy moly, that’s never happened before! I spend the day getting the motorhome in the new spot and walking the maniac, then off to dinner with another friend. August 12th, I roll out for Savannah where we will spend a couple more nights with another friend before finishing out the drive to Florida and home. The best part of this trip is the time I get to spend with my family, but a close second is getting to see these amazing warriors that I served with and seeing what they are up to now, how their lives turned out, getting to meet their families or becoming reacquainted. The drive from Savannah to the house is about six hours with a fuel stop and I make it no problem! I-95 in Georgia and Florida is pretty smooth, more so than the rest of the trip south.
I’m home! After 85 days on the road, 77 of which were spent with my family, I have to say that it was spectacular! We are all looking forward to doing it again next year and agree that while there were some hiccups, like getting stuck in our last camp site in Maine for several hours, this summer was pretty incredible. >
During the time Ted worked his way down to Florida, I spent the 8th in Miami school shopping and enjoying some time with my brother and niece. Azlan had an eye doctor appointment in Plantation (his vision is now perfect with his glasses on - and no more patching!) and then we arrived in Palm City on Monday afternoon, August 9th. Just in time for me to get back to ZT's Fitness Studio, visit Ted's dad, get all the supplies sorted, meet Azlan's teacher and commence school on the 11th. The next few days were well spent getting Azlan into the groove of school and getting me back into shape so I could start teaching classes again. Once Ted got home with the Glamper we spent the next few weeks emptying it out, running the usual adulting errands, celebrating my 41st birthday, signing up for extra curricular activities, visiting with local friends and getting back into the swing of things. I instructed 23 fitness classes in the span of 2 weeks (and had a blast doing it...but man I was sore), I also started tracking macros again and eating about 800g of fruits and veggies on most days. We dropped the Glamper off at the shop (yep, every time we take a long trip we will need a tune up...especially since we just rolled 26,100 miles moving it from one shop to the other). Azlan is loving school and I would say we have readjusted to stationary life again....but we are looking forward to next summer!
In the meantime we will be writing some more blogs focusing on different topics and experiences. Everyday with the Condits is an adventure...wink wink (insert mischievous laugh here)!
Best Wishes, Good Health and Much Love,
Daisa, Ted, Azlan and Apollo