THE HEART OF VACATIONLAND: SUMMER IN MID-COAST MAINE

 

The license plates in Maine proudly declare that their state is Vacationland. After one RV trip along Maine’s rugged and beautiful coast, you might just fall in love and call it your Vacationland, too. Coastal Maine is one of those places that gets under your skin and then moves deeper into your soul. It’s a place to return to again and again, the perfect place to dream about on cold winter nights when your RV is covered with snow.

 

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FAMILY NEXT DOOR IN DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN

It’s always such a great feeling to pull into a new campsite, but it’s even better when your neighbors for the week are people you love!

 

 

My mom and dad are RVers too. A few months ago we made plans to meet up with them, my sister, and her kids to go RVing in Door County, Wisconsin where we would wrap up our summer Great Lakes tour. We were all excited having never been to Door County and we enjoy RVing together as a family. This past spring we all met up to Go RVing in Mississippi and Louisiana.

 

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THE REVERSE SNOWBIRD – RVING TO FLORIDA IN THE SUMMER

Snowbirds is a term for people who leave colder climates to migrate south in the winter to areas like Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. I grew up in Minnesota and went to college in a small town way up north. It was so cold that the college built underground tunnels connecting each building because they knew college kids wouldn’t head out into -20 degree weather to sit in a lecture. After so many cold winters, I understand why people head south when the weather starts to turn cold.

As an entrepreneur I often ask myself, “what if I did the opposite of what everybody else is doing?” Some of the biggest rewards in my life have come from doing the unconventional. Our RV trip to Florida was one of these rewards of going against the grain.

The idea of being reverse snowbirds came after we unknowingly took a trip in the off season to southern Utah. In the winter it felt like we had everything to ourselves! I hiked Angels Landing and watched the sunrise as I reached the summit. I spent over an hour at the top with just myself and my thoughts. It was beautiful!

 

 

A few days later I did a huge loop trail in Bryce Canyon and didn’t see anyone the entire hike. It felt like I had the entire national park to myself that day.

 

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SMOOTH SAILING AHEAD

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

-Louisa May Alcott

 

Every human harbors dreams of things they wish they could do. Some of those things are actually doable with some applied preparation and perspiration. Running a 5K, taking a bucket list trip, or getting a handle on your finances or health. Some bigger dreams, however, fall into a category with the dreaded, “someday” label.  They get put there because life has obligations and responsibilities that take precedent over dreams. Some dreamers fall into complacency and their dream dies, but some nurture that dream and do things to keep the little flame from going out.  Jea Santovasco (pronounced Gia), a Girl Camper who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fell into the second category. She kept her dream of one day owning a travel trailer and traveling at will alive while making a Herculean effort to raise three children on her own.

 

The dream of one day owning and traveling in her own “tiny house” on wheels was “on hold” while Jea raised her three children.

 

At age 39, Jea left a husband whose verbal and emotional abuse turned physical and began to trickle down to their 7 and 8 year old children. With a six week old infant in her arms and her two older children in tow, she left the marriage with nothing but what fit into her car.  Years of unpaid child support left her in the unenviable position of being the sole supporter of her family. She decided she could cry, or she could make it an adventure. She took the attitude that she and her children were on an adventure. Not having anyone to rely on, she worked as a secretary and then a real estate appraiser. When the real estate market crashed and the appraisal industry slowed, she got side jobs driving for Fed Ex and as a medical records clerk. Money was tight, but her children did not feel deprived because she found every opportunity for free fun, like concerts in the park, picnics, and family game nights. Jea recalls that one of the low points was swallowing her pride to ask for “waived fee” educational and entertainment opportunities for her children. Somehow, with gall and guts, she found a way for them to participate in all the sporting activities, from karate and tennis to T-ball and hockey.

 

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FUN TIMES IN COLORADO LEADING UP TO THE GOPRO MOUNTAIN GAMES

 

Once we got into Colorado, we made it from Denver to Buena Vista for our first event of what we call the “Colorado Tour”, the BV Pro Freestyle Kayaking event and CKS Paddlefest. The drive from Denver to “BV” really is a reminder that “we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” We go up in the mountains and the snow goes from what you see “up there” to what you see all around you. The open valleys when you come out of the passes are my favorite part of the drive. You can see for miles and miles in what looks like a big bowl surrounded by mountains, snow, and water. Springtime is my favorite time for driving through Colorado as the snow is still covering the peaks, but the driving is easy. We did have one short burst of rain and then snow in our final pass on the way into BV that slowed down our drive a little due to limited visibility. It adds to the adventure, however, and is something you remember. Just a few miles from BV is where I start to get excited about being in that awesome “river town.” Restaurants like Eddyline Brewery, Evergreen Café, and the Asian Palate are favorites of ours that, in combination with Kristine’s cooking in the RV, give us something to really look forward to. The Eddyline Brewery has epic burgers and pizza, and they make their own beer. The “River Runner’s Pale Ale” always gets my attention. If you can get a table, the Evergreen Café is the place for breakfast. The Princeton Benedict (sausage eggs benedict) is amazing. At the Asian Palate, everything is good, including their Mojito and their specialty Sushi Rolls.

 

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