Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Rig Twenty-Twenty... Trip Planning

Trip map
Click on photos to enlarge
This coming summer, I'm planning to drive US Route 2 West. I have no idea how long I'll last on the road... we'll see what happens. Last year in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (May - October), I took 2-3 day trips, hiked 100 mountains including 20 ski areas, and drove 7000 miles. They were great little trips and easy to manage. A longer trip may stretch my abilities and interests. Plus, who likes to leave Maine in the summer? Nevertheless.

The plan is to leave in July after Espen and his family depart, and to keep to the US/Canadian border. I've read the book, Northland, and loved the idea of exploring this region. Route 2 doesn't dance conveniently along the border, but it's a basic path to follow. At this time, I don't have an interest in driving through Canada as the map below indicates because I want to hit spots like the Lake Placid and others off Route 2.

I've started a packing list (e.g., me, Bailey, sleeping bag)... \o/... and will use apps like RV Parky, Google Maps,  Roadtrippers, and AllTrails to find free parking at Walmarts, small ski areas, hiking trails, and dump stations along the way. Traveling is tough with a dog, but I'd never leave Bailey behind even though in Sharon, he has the best caretaker on Planet Earth. Truth is, we're coming to the end of our days together. He'll be 10 years old in May and I'm pushing 70 (holy flying cows). For Bernese Mountain Dogs in America, 10 years old is 3 years over the average death date. But, we're still going strong hiking local mountains and XC skiing 4-5 times a week.

I belong to a Facebook group called Travato Owners and Wannabees. These members share lots of insights about travel. If you have an issue on the road (e.g., error warning about hot water heater) you can search on the Facebook site about solutions or post a question. Within minutes,  5 - 30 people offer insights. This support is quite amazing.  I'm guessing I should take more precautions with Bailey by buying a restraint seatbelt (i.e., harness that connects to a seatbelt). He won't like it, but the protection while logging miles seems smart.

Attean Lake near Jackman, Maine 
These little RVs fit right into typical parking spots because they're only 21' long. Furthermore, they're fully contained... just like a tiny condo in New York City. I wish I could leave at the beginning of June when school gets out because it's a bit cooler, but I've got obligations with Sebino and Guido as well as Espen and his family. It's all good.

More to come...

Parked along the road in the Mahoosuc Range in Western Maine.
The Rig's log and journal. I keep track of oil changes,
generator exercising, trips taken, and gas mileage.
I hope to keep this blog updated, too. We'll see! 

Farewell, my friends.

Noemi, Jose, Sofia, and Felipe headed back to Leon, Mexico yesterday after 10 days in America.  Little Jose loved skiing in the Sunday River ski school with kids his own age and a fun instructor. His English improved and now he's convinced that he wants to attend Kawanhee Boys Camp  in Weld this summer. That'll be an adventure for him and for the whole family. Sofia is geared up to attend university and then plans to study abroad at schools like Stanford. What a fabulous opportunity for her. And Jose and Noemi continue to reinvent their business with 3 branches: Sato restaurants, Itacate brand foods, and Sushitai restaurants. They have 400 employees; these two dedicated and hardworking entrepreneurs continue reinventing themselves and their business.

See you this summer, my friends!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Jose and family return again

Jose lugging wood in 1985
Reason #2 for hosting exchange students: they return. Thirty-five years ago Jose Felipe Ytuarte Nunez arrived in Rumford answering every question for the first 24 hours with "Si." He made a slew of friends, played soccer for the Panthers, saw snow for the first time, and learned to ski race. He also lugged 8 cord of wood into the house with his host brother Allen...and we were still cold that winter! Now, Jose returns to Maine almost yearly with his beautiful family, Noemi, Sofia, and Felipe. They love Rumford and the western mountains of Maine... Welcome home, Jose!

Jose and family with Guido and Sebino

Friday, January 3, 2020

Whitecap Snow Photos

We are indeed hiking Whitecap once or twice a week this winter. Today, we followed back-country skiers' tracks up past the switchbacks. At 38 degrees F snowballs formed on my micro-spikes, but fortunately for Bailey I put a layer of Musher's Secret on his paws. This stuff keeps snow from snowballing between his pads. Here are a few pictures from early December.