Cold, cloudy, and rainy. More humidity, though, with the fog floating above the groundout of the day and a brief thunderstorm.
Memorial Day Weekend was a milestone of sorts for the Holliston Family. As readers know, we spent a lot of time living in the Winnebago Minnie Winnie over last summer. It served us well, transporting us and our essentials from all over the Pacific Northwest to visit family and friends, across the country on an epic two week adventure, and then over six weeks in an RV park in New Hampshire while the prices for Airbnb’s dropped down to something not ridiculous. Since then it’s sat. And sat. Now it was time get on the road again, but this time knowing we had a house to go back to. Home owner campers, not hobos.
I’ve spent a bit of time in Maine growing up. My Mom was born there. A lot of my family is buried there. The Richard Family sisters met many of their future husbands there. But for Danica, Grace, and Clare, this was their first time in Maine. Check off another of the 50 states! The KOA we went to is in Lebanon, ME, which is right on the border with NH. In fact, it’s on Salmon Falls River, which is the dividing line. I would have had to get wet, but I could see NH from the camp. It counts, though!
This was a great KOA. There was two pools, waterslide, splash pad, arcade (which I failed as a Dad and didn’t get them quarters for), ball field, fishing pond, minigolf course, and a bounce pad. Quite the list of activities. We hit most them, an in a couple cases, more than once.
We learned from this experience, too. Danica and I were pretty good car campers, getting the list down to a science. This time, both because it was new to us, and because we were so busy leading up to the trip, we definitely didn’t pack as well as we should. The first night we didn’t have enough blankets, so Grace and I didn’t get great sleep. We went to Kohl’s the next day and bought some: problem solved, and now we know. There was also some creature comforts that we definitely have to build out to make hanging out outside the RV a little more fun. Apparently we also need speakers — I’ve never heard so much music being played at a campground in my life.
New Englanders, man.
Overall, a great trip. The kids had a great time, none of us got a serious sunburn (much of the trip it was in the high 70’s/low 80’s — very unlike Oregon Memorial Day Weekends), and not too many mosquito bites due to a liberal use of spray. Next trip is in 2 weeks to Strafford County for a KOA there, kind of near Lake Winnipesaukee. We’re bringing the Tesla to that one for a day trip to Fun Spot (if you’re not familiar, check out the link!) and Kellerhaus (fond memories of that place growing up!).
In the move across the country last summer, we took along all the family’s bikes: 4 of them. Looking back, I don’t think I would have kept all of them, as it was a huge pain having all of them hanging off the back of the Explorer. I had to unload/reload them probably a couple dozen times, and while the rack can handle 4 bikes, I always had to do more than little Tetris’ing to get them on there securely.
In all that on/off, Clare’s bike got a bit damaged, and I don’t trust myself enough to fix it. In the city, this would probably be a 10 minute drive to the nearest shop to get fixed, but it’s not the case when we’re in the middle of nowhere. I was very surprised that, in a touristy area like Lake Sunapee, the nearest bike shop is in Concord, 45 minutes away. Oh well.
There’s so many great things about living in rural America. 3 cars in a row is considered “rush hour”. You can actually get to know people in town without too much effort. The view is amazing, and if you want to de-stress with a nature walk, you just have to walk outside your door. And clearly, many of the low level toxins that you deal with living in the city are vastly reduced. (How much of that has a substantive effect on your health? It’s really still up for discussion, but it’s definitely not zero.) But yeah, services aren’t as handy and you end up spending a lot more time with things like fixing a bike. Not a first world problem but a rural America problem. I’ll take the trade!
I tried to convince my family to try somewhere else for after Mass brunch, but the uproar was deafening. So, carnita bowl and iced coffee it is!
The family spent a couple hours doing a deep clean on the Winnie Minnie for the first time since arriving in New Hampshire. It needed it! There was still hay on the floor from Lily. Next weekend we’re heading to Maine (first time for 3/4 of the family) for 3 days at a KOA. It’ll be great to camp when we’re not thinking about the next 9 hour drive!
After we kick on the air conditioner, I refuse to put on the heat. It was near 90 just a handful of days ago, and yesterday it never made it above the low 50’s. So, of course, it’s cold in the house this morning — it was 63F when I woke up, and slowly warming. Danica is sick of me complaining about it. The nice thing is today it’ll reach 78 and this weekend in the 90’s, which Clare and I are super stoked about!
If it’s not going to snow and I can go skiing, then darn it, I want shorts and t-shirt weather!
51 years old. 4 per year. That works out to finishing them up at 63. Should have started in my 20’s!
Things are rolling right along! Only a day after getting the trees removed, we now have a fence. Why is this important? Well, not only do I not completely trust my demon of a dog not to run away, but there are coyotes in the area. A 20 pound fluff ball seems like a potential snack and I’d rather not risk it. So, fence it is. San-Ken, our home builders, was nice enough to install the doggie door next to our deck door, so now she has access.
I go outside.
And I go back in.
I go outside.
And I go back in.
Repeat ad infinitum. Next up: grass and a paved driveway!
View as of yesterday from our deck:
Four poor, lonely trees. and soon — maybe this afternoon or latest tomorrow morning — they will give their life for firewood. We’re going to be buying a fire pit later on in the summer that will be hungry for fuel. Step by step!
Clare will be attending her first overnight summer camp in less than a month and a half, right on Lake Winnipesaukee at Camp Bernadette, a Catholic summer camp associated with the diocese here in New Hampshire. When we drop her off and pick her up, we won’t be able to walk around at all – just paperwork, a quick kiss goodbye, and off she goes. So, clearly Danica and I wanted to see what all the hub-bub was about, and yesterday we took advantage of an open house they had. It also served to get Clare super pumped for the experience she’s going to have!
It’s a long drive up there, at least for New Hampshire terms. It’s on the far side of the lake, in Wolfeboro — about an hour and a half. (Luckily the Tesla avoids the stupid gas prices we have right now, even considering the high cost of electricity as compared to the PNW.) We left early, and got there just after 9AM, thinking that’s when the open house started. Nope, it was 10AM, so we grabbed brunch in town first. Great 4 egg omelette, by the way, at the Farmer’s Kitchen.
We spent about 90 minutes on a tour by the dining hall manager, and then exploring for ourselves. The place is pretty amazing, with the obvious highlight of being right on the lake. Some stuff was still in flux — the dining hall was getting some renovations, some cleaning still had to be done, the rope course wasn’t set up — but we got a great feel for what it’s going to be like for Clare for 2 weeks. She’ll also be there for the 4th of July (first time not with us for Independence Day), but she’ll get her fireworks display regardless. It’s an all-girl camp, with a brother all-boys camp about a 20 minute drive away. I guess they also have inter-camp functions, as well, including, what’s sure to be, a somewhat awkward dance. 🙂