Now for Maine, the last of the New England states for us. We stayed at 2 different places in Maine before heading up into Canada. The trip from New Hampshire to the Canada Border is about 275 miles, a little over the 240 limit we like to go in a day. So we decided to break the trip up into smaller trips with Augusta Maine being about half way at 133 miles. That still gives us about 140 miles to the Canadian border.
|Just after crossing the border we stopped at the huge visitor center to take a break.|
|Patty walking to our rig in the background at the visitor center.|
The first place in Maine we stayed was the KOA of Augusta/Gardiner on US201. This was a very small campground but was nice for us for the 2 nights we were going to be there. The campground, as the name implies, is very close to Augusta, Maine’s capital and is roughly half way to the border for us. So this seems like a good place to explore.
|They had our name on the black board when we arrived!|
|Our site at the KOA in Augusta Maine.|
|The low limb did put a hole in the fibreglass AC shroud though.|
|The low limb also did a little damage to a vent cover.|
Neither of us had been to this area before so now we could do a little exploring around the State Capital. We had ideas of going into Augusta and maybe touring the capitol building but that didn’t happen. We found a paved bike path that would take us all the way to Augusta 9 miles away. The trail is called the Kennebec River Rail Trail which runs along the Kennebec River and a live RR track. Usually these trails are built on the old RR right of way but this one just paralleled the tracks. We ended up just riding about 5 miles of the trail in one direction or about half of it. We got to the town of Lux and the trail went on to city streets for a bit. Patty is not comfortable riding in mixed traffic with cars so we just headed back then.
|Ready to bike on the trail.|
|View of the Kennebec River along the trail.|
|Some pretty good "art" under one of the bridges on the trail.|
After the bike ride we headed into the town of Lux with the truck this time for a late lunch. We went to a perfect little local place with loads of local color. The place had something like 50 beers on tap with a few being local micro brews. Micro brews are becoming one of our new things to do when in different places. There are so many new microbreweries around the country now.
It was around 2 in the afternoon and one of the locals was already drunk sitting a few stools away from us. He was a friendly drunk so it was all good. We had a pretty good time talking to him about our times full timing in the RV. At one point the bartender cut him off but not before he asked to pay a quarter less than what his bill was. The bartender told him nicely that he needed to pay his entire bill just like he has every other time he comes in. Yea, there was some color here!
|The Quarry Tap Room|
That was our one day with 2 night stay near Augusta Maine.
The next morning we headed toward Jackman on US201. We were going to go around Augusta on I95, but we needed to get Canadian money first. At the last minute we found out that there are no banks in Jackman Maine to exchange money so we need to get the money before we get there.
We looked up on the internet where the closest and easiest bank was to us on our route north. We found a bank in Augusta that looked to be an easy place to pull over with the rig and run in and exchange money. I used Google earth to zoom in and look at the roads for anything that looked hazardous and for a place to pull over, I was all set, or so I thought.
We left the KOA on US201 north and went through a few small towns before we got to Augusta. Augusta is not really a very big town either so I wasn’t really worried about any issues with navigating the rig in town. We have our RV 760 Garmin set and were sort of following it. The Garmin was trying to get me to turn all of the time to get onto I95 but I just kept traveling on US201.
We found the bank and a large parking lot to pull over in. The bank I was going to go to was not as easy as I had thought it would be. So we used our cell phones and found a couple more fairly close so I took off on foot to find them. The first one was closed permanently so off to the next one. The bank had just enough Canadian money that I was looking for. I thought all of the banks in this part of the country would have loads of Canadian money. Well, I was wrong! We should have gotten the money when we were stationary in New Jersey. It still worked out for us anyway!
Now we are back on the road and headed for I95 north.
We finally arrived at a landmark I was looking for, a traffic circle. This is where I wanted to change direction onto a street that was a direct path to I95. I expected the Garmin to recalculate and agree with me to turn on to my path to I95. Well it didn’t do that, it told me to turn off on a road that I didn’t recognize and I panicked! I followed Garmin and made the first turn and then before I could get oriented Garmin told me to turn again, just a few feet from my original turn. I was in the wrong lane to make the new turn and was also confused about where Garmin was taking me.
We were now on a slow 30mph city street and it was pretty wide so I calmed down. This is really just a small city/town, what could really go wrong anyway! Patty looked our path up on the paper map and found that it was not a trucker route but it did attach to I95 on the other side of Augusta, so, OK for now. We went by the state Capital and then through a downtown area with no problems, it was for the most part a nice scenic ride.
As we were leaving the downtown on a left hand downhill curve we came upon a railroad bridge with flashing lights and yellow signs, never a good thing! I slowed down and was immediately looking for a place to stop and see what was going on. I got closer to the bridge and now could read the yellow signs that warned of a low clearance of less than 13 feet, we are just under 13 feet high at 12 foot 10 inches!! Oh Crap, this bridge is 12 foot 11 inches!! That is way too close for me, we are not going to try and go under that!
|Oh crap, just an inch above the published height for our 5th wheel!|
I managed to get pulled over on the side of the road as there was in-line parking there; we just had enough space to get pulled over. Thankfully the parking area wasn’t full! OK, what do we do now? To our left was sort of a street/parking area and to our right was a river. The street we were on was pretty busy too! I got out my cell phone and tried to see where we were and to find a way out. I managed to get a look at our area on the phone using Google Earth but I just couldn’t see a clear way out without knowing the area or doing a lot more research.
We decided we were going to try and turn around by using the street/parking lot on the left. To do that I needed to back up about 100 feet. So Patty went back and guided me back and kept cars from parking behind us. As we were backing up I was looking at the area we were going to turn in and it wasn’t a very good space to do that in. I was going to need to completely block the road in both directions and completely jack the rig to turn. Also, the space was a fairly high grade so the truck and trailer were going to be in a really weird angel as we attempted the turn. I really didn’t want to do this at all!
About the time we finished getting into position for the turn; a local guy pulled his truck over and came to help. This guy was an absolute life saver! He told me he had a fifth wheel much like what we had and knew what we were going through. He asked where we wanted to go, I told him I95 north. He told me the basic directions we were going to go and said to follow his lead. I was more than happy to do so!
The local and Patty stopped traffic and I turned into the left side street and waited for the guy to lead me out. As I made the 120 degree turn into the side street I really don’t think I could have made a complete turn as I was going to try before. I would have been jacked (90 degree angle to the trailer) and blocking the road with nowhere to go. That would have really SUCKED! But all ends well!
Patty got back in and we followed the local through town on back street that we could have never found ourselves. Finally we were exiting on to I95 north! The local stayed with us all of the way to the next exit where we all waved and went our own ways. It’s just is amazing how a life saver comes out of the blue to save your ass. The situation we were in was one that I fear the most; getting to a place where you can’t get out. In the past 4 years we have had this happen a couple of times to some small degree, but this time was the worst! The only thing worse would have been if the local guy had not shown up. Maybe the guy will someday read this so, THANKS local guy!
We finally got around all of Augusta and back on to the scenic US201 for the rest of the trip, about 100 miles to Jackman Maine. We were headed to Moose River and the Moose River Campground. This campground is about 10 miles from the Canadian border and about 130 miles from Quebec City, our first stop in Canada. We are going to stay here for a short stay of just 2 nights giving us one full day before heading into Canada for a little over 2 weeks.
|Stopping for ice cream on our way north in Maine.|
|Roadside scene along the way north.|
|Cool cottages along the way too!|
|Nice view looking north toward Canada.|
|View from the road near the Canadian Border in Jackman Maine.|
The Jackman/Moose River area has not been changed much by time at all. After passing many signs with flashing lights warning us of moose crossings we arrived in Moose River. The Moose River/Jackman area of Maine is pretty desolate and beautiful at the same time.
We arrived at the campground a little after 4pm right as the camp attendant was leaving. We actually met her going the other way on our way in. She came back and checked us in.
|At the entrance to the campground.|
|Check in area.|
The campground was in a very tight wooded area that was a little difficult to navigate to our site. We have gotten pretty good at backing in, at least for a site that is on the driver’s side as this one was. Again, 30 amps and no satellite TV. We however, had internet!
|Our site at the Moose River Campground.|
Of all the things to do in an area like this, we went golfing for our one day here! Real close to the campground was a 9 hole par 3 course. The course was nothing special at all. It was built on the side of a hill and was a farm not too long ago. The holes were not all marked and some were very close together. Not many trees but a lot of high ruff to contend with. It really wasn’t a great course but, due to the cramped layout, it was actually challenging!
We were thinking it would be real cheap to play too. Boy, were we wrong! The cost to play was $40 each which included a cart. The clubhouse, if you want to call it that, was a walk up shed alongside of the parking lot. The club house shed was unmanned with an honor system in place. After you read the instructions you signed in and put your money in a slotted box. The carts we alongside of the shed, just pick one.
|The self serve clubhouse at the Moose River Golf Course.|
We signed up and paid our money and set off to play the 9 hole twice for 18 holes. We immediately got lost on hole number 2 and that is where we met the owner. He just took over the course this year from the town and lives across the street. He apologized for the confusion on the holes as he has not replaced the markers yet. He was taking them down a few at a time and redoing them.
|Hole number one tee box.|
We ended up talking to him quite a bit after we were finished playing. We both can’t remember his name but we think it was Eric. The city owns the land and he operates the golf course on a consignment. He lives across the street and owns a landscaping business as well. We wish him luck.
|WW I memorial and the town municipal office in the background. These are also located on the golf course!|
|We were the only players on the course.|
As for the course, it was actually challenging even though it was a short course. The course didn’t seem to play short as it was on the side of a rolling hill(s). You can see where the course has been improved as well as where it needs some more improving. We liked playing the course but it was way too expensive for where and what it was though. We had fun though, just a little poorer afterward!
That evening we met some of our neighbors in the campground. We went for a walk around and started to play horse shoes. Some of our neighbors also decided to play and we got to be friends by the end of the night. They were a family from the coast of Maine and were there to vacation. They were a couple and their 2 grown kids just having fun in the woods together. It was a lot of fun with this family!
|Playing horse shoes at the campground.|
Our neighbors turned us on to visiting the trading post near the campground before we left the next morning. So before we left the campground to head to Canada we first visited the Trading Post on US201. The Trading Post is a fun place to visit, but it is really just a tourist trap but in an old time fun way. The place really is a trading post as it has everything from tourist stuff to camping, food, and clothes. Besides the beauty of the area there isn’t much here so this is a must see if you pass here.
|The Jackman Trading Post. Funny signs here. The lower right sign says "if it's in stock we have it."|
That just about does it for our time in Canada. Next is our adventure heading into Canada and visiting Quebec City.
|And there it is, all of the New England states filled in as well as all of the states East of the Mississippi River too!|