I left for Maine on Wednesday and I made it as far as the Target/CostCo parking lot. I needed gas. And snacks. And toothpaste. And lunch. And by the time I was done with all those useful things, the sky was gray, rain looming, and I had a sinus headache and wanted a nap. So I drove to the garden house and took a nap. I enjoy rain so much more sitting in Serenity than driving Serenity. By the time the rain stopped and my headache eased off, I had no inclination to start driving, so I spent the night in the garden house driveway.

On Thursday, I really drove to Maine. Well, no, I didn’t. I really drove, but I mostly drove to Connecticut. And around Connecticut. And more around Connecticut. Note to self: never take Serenity to Connecticut.

I guess the problem is not “to” Connecticut as much as it is “through” Connecticut. Route 15, aka the Merit Parkway, has bridges that are too low to take Serenity under. Vehicles over 8′ are not allowed on it. But nothing I could do would convince either of my GPS systems — Apple maps on my phone or the GPS in the van — to let me avoid it. I wound up wandering surface streets in random towns and trying not to be obsessive about how much time I was wasting. Ironically, every time I’ve driven this direction before, I headed north to Albany and then across MA because even people driving cars think CT is a nightmare. The only reason I didn’t yesterday was because Apple Maps was convinced that CT was faster and I decided I was perfectly competent to deal with traffic, even NYC traffic. Traffic, yes. Low bridges, no.

I didn’t stop at all until after 1PM, and by the time I’d finished eating my lunch, traffic had added another hour to my journey. Five more hours to my destination in Maine, meaning an arrival at 7PM, not including stops for dinner, gas, and walking the dog. And further delays as rush hour traffic really got underway. I decided against. Or rather I decided I would let fate decide. If the state park right next to the highway was full, I’d keep going. If it wasn’t, I’d stop for the night. Such a good decision!

Wells State Park was not universally loved on the camping apps: narrow roads, sloped spaces, no hook-ups or amenities. But it is gorgeous. The host gave me a site “overlooking the water”, which is an apt description — I’m high on a hill with a steep slope down to the water, so there’s no playing in the water. But the site faces east and the sun is shining on my laptop as I write this, and I’m surrounded by trees and the smells of nature. Also, plenty of traffic noise, but distant enough that I can pretend it’s the sound of the ocean. (That is what happens when you aim for a state park right off the highway!)

This morning there was an orange note on the van. I was puzzled by how it had appeared sometime in the night, but I think I was asleep by about 8 with the front curtains drawn, so it was no surprise that I hadn’t noticed someone putting it there. Anyway, the note warned me that the town was closing activities between the hours of 6PM to 8AM because of the risk of EEE caused by mosquitoes, and warning me to use insect repellent, cover up, etc. I was reading this at 7AM, comfortably within the time of mosquito bite danger, so of course, I walked Zelda feeling absolutely paranoid about bugs and itching like crazy. But it was so pretty with the fog rising off the water as the sun shone on it that I still took dozens of pictures.

blurry scenery shot of water with fog rising on it
Wells State Park

None of them turned out very well, unfortunately. I had a brief moment of wondering, “What’s happened to my phone camera? Did I mess up the settings somehow?” And then I remembered that my favorite game with Oscar, the Best Brother Ever’s puppy, was letting him steal my phone out of my pocket and then run away with it. He was so cute and determined as he tried to drag it away. I’m willing to bet that my camera lens has a bunch of dog saliva on it. Time to clean it. (Also, Dad, I am planning to stick it in the mail today – I haven’t forgotten, I just needed the gps for one more trip first!)

If I was staying a few more days, the first order of business would be to drag my ever-so-rarely used inflatable kayak out from under my bed and start inflating. It’s a beautiful day for kayaking and this is a perfect place for it. But Apple maps is steadily adding time to my route to Maine and on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, I think it’s only going to get worse. So I’m going to pack up and get on the road. But I would happily stay in this campground again, mosquitoes and road noise and all.