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camping 2015: homeward adventures

the tarp shelter Andrew built, standing proud in the fog

Maine morning

After four hot sunny days, we were delighted on our last day of the trip to wake up to some real Maine weather—even if it did mean we'd have to pack up a damp tent. With four adults and five kids (and some trouble with Harvey last year!) we were a little nervous about how the pack-up would go, but we needn't have worried: they played wonderfully together and even helped gather the things. Lijah drank beer.

Lijah sitting at the picnic table with a bottle of beer

not sure what he thinks

I don't think he liked it much, though.

With everyone cooperating it was easy to take down the tent and load up the car. For the first time ever I managed to pack as efficiently for the ride home as I had for the trip up, which meant we had plenty of space for our friends' air mattresses when they couldn't get them in their own—much smaller—car. Minivans are just the thing for camping.

looking back on the boys amongst the things packed in the back of the car

just like the way up

Driving through the fog to breakfast was lovely.

Leah driving the car through the fog

poor visibility

As was breakfast itself: just nine of us felt like an intimate gathering. After breakfast we took a walk around town and acted like tourists.

Harvey, Zion, and Nathan posing on the ice-cream-holding lobster

there's always room on lobster's lap

Harvey knew what to do with a giant ice cream.

Harvey licking the lobster's wooden ice cream

how's it taste?

Down by the shore the boys put the cannons to good use.

Zion, Mama, and Lijah looking down the cannons at the fog-bound ships

ready, aim...

Closer still to the water we spent a good long time playing and throwing rocks. We have ocean in Massachusetts I suppose, but it's just not the same.

Zion picking up rocks on the foggy beach, docked schooners in the background

collecting rocks for the trip home

All good things must come to an end, and eventually we hit the road. Not that we had far to go before finding something else fun to do: our friends the Stevenses were in Searsport, just an hour away, and like last year we met them for some playground and beach fun.

Harvey and Zion trying to get a large log out of the water onto the beach; grayhound Hammy in the water behind them

another beach

The tide was lower than last year, and the kids (and dog) enjoyed having a little sand to run on. Of course, it was still Maine so there were also lots of rocks.

naked Lijah climbing on the rocks


And apparently Maine apples start to ripen in August; I'd foraged a few back in Bar Harbor that Leah enjoyed eating on the drive to Searsport, so when the kids noticed an apple tree right on the beach she knew what to do!

Leah smiling triumphantly, standing on a rock in the midst of apple branches

beach apples

After the beach, of course, we went for ice cream.

Lijah holding a melting ice cream cone

vanilla, so the drips won't spot

The boys had all worked hard for days, and they were happy enough to nap as we drove west in and out of the fog. Our luck held and traffic was light—though of course you can never just breeze through Camden.

a bit of traffic heading south on Rt 1 through Camden


Our plan was to just make one more stop, at the McDonalds in Bath for dinner (they have an enormous play space), but halfway between Camden and Wiscasset we got a text from the V-Bs, who had left Bar Harbor several hours before us: their car had overheated and they were stuck in Wiscasset! Well, there are worse places, I suppose.

Lijah looking back towards the bridge

plenty to look at

Only problem was, their car was at a garage a few miles outside of town. We stopped just over the bridge and Leah packed up supplies for herself and the kids so they could hang out while I picked up our friends and took them... somewhere. Leah's phone was out of batteries so we felt like pioneers as we made a series of contingency plans for how we would find each other again.

As it happened it wasn't any trouble: the car was borderline driveable, so I took Katie and the kids (just in case) and Tim drove the car back into town, where we planned to get dinner and wait for Katie's dad to come up and caravan with them back to Massachusetts. Just half an hour after leaving them, I found my family in the first place I looked.

Leah at the gift shop counter, smiling at the camera

buying souvenirs

I owed the boys prizes for various things—I can't always remember—so Zion came away with a couple of pirate figures, and Harvey chose a book on treasure hunting. Then we went to dinner, choosing Sprague's Lobster Pound over Red's Eats (not that any of us got seafood: besides the price, Zion was delighted to finally have the chance to order chicken and french fries, which would have been his first choice at the cafe every morning). They took their time with the food, but that wasn't a problem because we had to wait anyways—and there was plenty to see and do!

Harvey hauling a rope--connected to a lobster pot--over the railing of the pier

heave away boys, heave away

And then when we were hungry enough there was food.

five boys eating supper on the pier

seaside dining

As the sky began to darken Grandpa Bill arrived, to much delight from Nathan—two and a half hours out from Boston. His daughter bought him some crab cakes to show her appreciation. They didn't need us anymore, so—with hours of dark driving ahead of us—we turned sleepily towards home.

Mama and the boys walking along the train tracks

following the rails

A good vacation; we'll do it again next year.

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