This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Don't Blink or You'll Miss Vermont

We pulled into the Sam’s Club parking lot in Bangor, ME around 5:30PM.  The GPS told us it was 224 miles and would take a little over 4 hours and 16 minutes.  I knew it would take longer because the first 70 miles or so would be on US 302, right through the middle of the White Mountain National Forest.  We would not, probably could not, be driving 60 MPH.  But we did not expect it to take 6 and a half hours!  The drive through the National Forest was very scenic and there was very little traffic.  That is, except for motorcycles.  It is Motorcycle week in New Hampshire (maybe the whole US as far as I know) and we have seen thousands of them over the past several days.  Anyway, driving through the mountains was nice.  We leaned back and enjoyed the view.  That was as good as it was going to get (you’ll soon find out why).

Many of the small towns we passed through coming out of the National Forest were, apparently, popular vacation spots at one time.  There were a lot of tourist accommodations that looked a bit dated.  I can tell you that the “motor court,” along with the “tourist cabin,” is alive and well in New Hampshire.

The middle part of the trip, about 40 or 50 miles between the National Forest and I-95 (I believe it is the only interstate highway in the state of Maine) were some of the worst roads I have ever been on in the motorhome, and I’m including Mexico!  The motorhome shook, rattled, and rolled over some very poorly maintained state highways.  Items we had considered secure were sailing around in the motorhome (the floor was littered with stuff by the time we got to Bangor). Some of the roads didn’t even rate having a number.  They just had names, like Raymond Road, Carpenter Road, Poland Spring Road, and Range Hill Road.  You can’t find those roads on a map.  We made so many turns and changed roads so many times I had no idea in what direction we were going.  Three times, that’s right, three times we had to change our route when the road onto which we were directed to turn had a sign warning of a load limited bridge and we were well over the limit.  The GPS kept repeating, “Make a legal U-Turn” and “Recalculating” until we would find a road without a load limit.  It would also try to “take us around the block” with 3 right or left turns to get us going in the opposite direction.  That can get a little dicey with a 40-foot motorhome towing a car.

Along the way, we drove through the little town of Bethlehem, NH.  Doesn’t that get your mind to start singing Christmas carols even if you don’t want to?  It seemed strange to see a sign for the Bethlehem Country Club.  Everything was very “quaint” and the woods were very dense (after all, we are in the “deep north woods”).  I keep expecting to see Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox any time.  I felt like I should be wearing a flannel shirt with suspenders.

Another really neat town we drove through was Naples, NH.  Everything in the town must have been located alongside the highway and before we knew it we were right in the middle of their annual Father’s Day Weekend Blues Festival.  Cars were parked on both sides of the street, leaving two narrow lanes for the East- and West-bound traffic.  To make matters worse, people were walking in the street because the sidewalks were so crowded.  We crawled very slowly through Naples.  It did seem that everyone was having a lot of fun.  If we could have parked the motorhome we may have stayed a while.

One thing we have yet to see since first arriving in New England is a moose.  We have seen a lot of “Moose Crossing” road signs but no mooses.  If one is a moose, would it be two mooses, meese, or moose?  It’s one goose and two geese, one noose and two nooses, one caboose and two cabooses.  What about moose?  The English language doesn't make a whole lot of sense much of the time.

Although we have seen no moose, mooses, or meese, we have seen scads of Dunkin’ Donuts!  Even some of the very small towns had two or three!   New Englanders must really love their donuts. 

Oh, I almost forgot.  Even though Maine has only one interstate highway, at least they numbered the exits to correspond with the mile markers instead of starting with Exit 1 and numbering all subsequent exits in numerical order as in New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Except for the roads, it’s really kind of fun driving in New England.  It reminds me of driving in Europe.  Over there the countries are small and you can drive through two or three of them before you know it.  It’s the same with the New England states.  They are so small you might miss one.  For example, I don’t recall seeing Vermont.  I’m sure we went by it but I missed it.

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