This weekend was Winston’s first NorthEast Weekend Roadtrip and Mum’s first solo run. A lot was learned this weekend! It was also like karma was testing just how much patience Mum has! Let’s start from the beginning…
On the highway not 15 minutes from home, a wheel, as in a real deal wheel possibly a spare from an ATV that someone didn’t tie down well, bounced across the highway and given Winston’s size and the fact that the highway was full with nowhere to move, there was no avoiding it. Winston hit it on his brand new left front tire and it shattered into smithereens. This prompted a stop at the nearest gas station to check the wheels were still OK. Remarkably there seemed to be no damage. Well done Winston you smashed that wheel and lived to tell the tale!
On the road again. Teen boy Q hide in a book while his younger siblings fought. The sibling fighting was so much fun and distracting that google maps voice couldn’t talk over it and Mum missed an important exit. Sadly, the terrible route up North has very few options and that missed exit cost us two entire hours in traffic! Stop and go traffic is very tiring! Next up instead of meeting Dad at work we figured out if we stopped in Boston then we would miss the campground checkin time. So we pulled over and called Dad and let him know we had to meet him at the campground. Great thinking although we made that decision a little too late and ended up routed through Wooster, MA. MORE TRAFFIC and tiny roads! Sigh. We made it to Maine just after 8pm and boy were we glad to see our campsite!
Mum managed to do the 50 point turn to get into the campsite after we finally found it. Bailey’s Campground in Scarborough, Maine is huge! It took three rounds to find out site! We got hooked up all on our ownsome just before Dad pulled in and did his own three rounds looking for our campsite.
Bailey’s Campground in Scarborough, Maine is really like it’s own little town. It was a great place to stay. (Review to come) The kids had a great time and it was convenient to plenty of lovely sights to see.
Having Dad drive separate and having a second vehicle was a super convenient treat for the Q family. We hooked up Winston and left him be then explored in the smaller vehicle.
Maine was cold this weekend which was perfect as NJ had a terrible heat wave that was awesome to leave behind. The dogs had a blast being outside and not melting.
Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth, Maine was a wonderful spot. The shore is gorgeous. There is a lovely working lighthouse, interesting old forts and an old mansion that was taken over by the army in World War 1. A lot of interesting history there. We met a man who was visiting the mansion as it was his birthplace. He was an Officer’s son and lived there until he was about 10. He had many stories to tell of it’s glory days. A real treat!
Next stop was The Lobster Shack at Two Lights. Google reviews must get read by many a tourist as this place had a near 2 hour line! I have to admit it was worth the wait. The lobster was fresh. Only our eldest Q kid has had the taste of lobster before and the younger 2 Qs went for fish meals! HA! Dad was silly enough to share a little of his lobster to let the younger 2 try… guess where we had to go back for lunch the next day!! The weather was crummy the next day and thankfully the lines were shorter for our 5 lobster meals! Silly Daddy!
We spent most of the weekend in Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It was a great dog friendly place for adventuring.
Monday Dad had to go back to work. Mum stayed with the kids at the campground. We set up the dutch oven on a tripod over a campfire. We cooked a roast chicken with vegetables and later popped popcorn in it. It was a delicious campfire day. Even the 4 legged Qs enjoyed their campfire meal.
The kids played minigolf, swam and then played games in the field with the other campground kids until dark. A lovely day was had by all.
Now on to the return trip…
All went well with the pack up routine and getting on the road. We took a break on the way and met Dad at work, hadn’t hit much traffic, all was going well… until the google fail….
OK, Google Maps, generally the best thing ever made by man. We save so much time by having google tell us where to go. UNTIL… it all goes wrong… So, I put in home and notice Google Maps has cleverly chosen a route that appears to have little traffic. Now, I drove this route for 2 years before the time of Google Maps and the route that I would normally have taken has a bad accident on it causing a delay, so I thank Google Maps for being so clever and get on my way.
Now, my first warning was getting off on the highway Google Maps told me to take and noticing a small sign that said something about vehicles above 8 feet. There was a lot of traffic so I didn’t get to read the entire sign. That sign however ran circles around in my head. I started looking around at the other traffic and noticed that there was not a single truck, not even many tall vans… hmmm… odd … so then the overpasses start and I start seeing clearance signs… “QUICK! I NEED YOU TO CHECK THE MANUAL IMMEDIATELY TO SEE EXACTLY HOW TALL WINSTON IS” I scream to the kids in the back. The yell 11.3 feet. I am now praying that they know how to read and this measurement is correct. The overpass clearances are just over 13 feet so Winston makes it through. We travel along wondering what alternative route we can take. Finally there is a large red sign, all vehicles over 10 feet must exit at exit 44,strictly enforced. Alrightie then! I take that as my cue to get the hell out of dodge. Just as well as the next sign read “Bridge work ahead, clearance 10 feet” WOA! So I get off at exit 44. Now, dear Google Maps, where have you lead us?!? I end up parked at a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere. This motel was so seedy and grouse even the dogs wouldn’t go pee! So I’m standing in the parking lot trying to convince the dogs to pee whilst also trying to convince Google Maps that there must be SOME OTHER ROAD other than route 15 which said we are not allowed on it. SERIOUSLY GOOGLE! OK, so I might have yelled something like “ARE YOU F***ing KIDDING ME GOOGLE?!!” It looks like there might be one road that might get us somewhere near Interstate 95 so I plug in our address into Google Maps hoping it will re-route itself eventually and help us find the interstate. This road was a 25 mile an hour dinky road through a small town. There were many a hairy moment when Mum noticed that people just do not seem to realise that big vehicles cannot maneuver like a mini cooper. I mean seriously folks, if you cut off a very large vehicle you are running the risk that we will just mow you down and there won’t be anything we can do to stop the squishing of your tiny vehicle!
Finally we make it back to the interstate with Winston fully intact! Mum breathed a huge sigh of relief and so did Winston! Winston is very glad to still have his head!
Oddly enough, with all that adventuring and having to stop for an emergency doggy poo, we managed to avoid most of the awful North East traffic and make it home in decent timing. Well done Winston!
Despite the younger 2 Qs endlessly bickering during the drive and complaining about helping load and unload Winston, I heard the kids all sharing that this has been their best summer ever and how much they love Winston. All worth it just to hear those words!
Now to get some washing done so we can start next weekend’s adventure!
PS: Dear Google Maps, please read the following restrictions on the Merit Parkway, http://www.ct.gov/dot/cwp/view.asp?A=1394&Q=259554, and discontinue recommending this route to large vehicles. Maybe you could consider a “I am a truck” button, thanks!