A WONDROUS BIRTHDAY GIFT

My wife’s birthday always comes along during our summer RV excursions. So Amy has flipped the calendar in places as varied as South Dakota and Wisconsin, Grand Rapids and San Francisco. This year, it fell at—appropriately—Niagara Falls.

We simply parked our RV on the New York side—at Goat Island for $10. Then we walked over Rainbow Bridge and into another country.

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THE OLD COLLEGE TRY

Sometimes RV excursions have a purposeful theme. You want to visit national parks or battlefields or ballparks. And sometimes that theme emerges rather organically. That’s what has happened to us this summer as we’ve passed through university towns like Hanover (New Hampshire) and Middlebury and Bennington (Vermont). So amid this Summer of Love 2.0 tour in our retro-designed Tribute from Winnebago, we’ve gone back to college.

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AND THEY’RE OFF!

My father loves horseracing. He doesn’t do the actually racing, of course. That would be unfair to the horse. But he’s a big fan, so much so that he recently achieved a lifelong dream by purchasing a small percentage (4 percent, actually) of a racehorse. Although Shanghai Red has a somewhat unfortunate tendency to finish second, he won a race last April by about nine lengths, meaning that even the part that my dad owns finished first. In May, my father became part-owner of another horse. This one’s a great-great-great grandson of Secretariat. Yup, no kidding. Sure, Big Red’s grandchildren aren’t all Big Reddish. But still.

But my father had never been able to tick off one thing on his lifelong to-do list—visit Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.

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HEAVEN ON HIGHWAY SEVEN

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

“The Road Not Taken,” the classic poem penned by four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Frost nearly a century ago was likely meant as a gentle mocking of indecision. But, being that I’m immersed in an RV excursion in which myriad roads are worthy of the taking, I like to read it as an ode to options.

That’s what a house on wheels offers—choices, possibilities, roads that may lead to something unforgettable. Over the previous few days of our two-month Summer of Love 2.0 journey, we motored through the heart of Frost’s native Vermont along a pretty magical road—Highway 7 south from Burlington.

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SERENITY

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Twelve steps to the near perfect day:

Wake up at an RV campground—in this case, the lovely Quechee/Pine Valley KOA in the breathtaking Upper Valley of Central Vermont, where mountains and meadows and lakes and rivers and forests battle for bragging rights, a place so picturesque that you think you’ve somehow been swallowed into a postcard while you slumbered.

Brew a cup of coffee. Inhale the peaceful surroundings.

Set off a couple of miles down the road toward Quechee (rhymes with “peachy”) Gorge Village, the kind of uber-charming hiccup where you find candle shops and antique malls and a toy and train museum—and where the establishments have names like the Vermont Spot Country Store and a brand new one called Maple Harvest Specialties, which sells everything from maple kettlecorn to maple cotton candy to maple pumpkin relish.

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