Background Music: "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's

Our camping spots in Maine and New Hampshire have proven to be very restful. Over the last few weeks we’ve been visiting some big cities and spending long days touring. Big cities and opportunities for major site seeing tours are few and far between up here, though. The relaxed pace, and getting back to nature, have been very welcome.

In Maine, we stayed at Deserts of Maine – the “biggest natural phenomenon in the state”, according to the owners. The Desert is several acres of sand in the middle of farm and forest area, and that’s about the extent of it. They do give tours. A short ride in a circle around the property- the tour is pretty short. Not too much to say. It is just sand after all.

The rest of our Maine stop was self-guided. We drove down the coast, visiting lighthouses and getting out every so often checking out the rocky shore line. A couple of lobster rolls later, and it was time to start moving west.

Leaving Maine triggered the official start of the “Northern Leg” of our trip. First stop was New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire we stayed in Woodstock, a little town nestled within the White Mountains. This area is very beautiful- wooded, with clear mountain streams and waterfalls.

Our one full day in the White Mountains, we got up early and drove to the base of Mt. Washington. At 6, 288 feet, Mt. Washington is the tallest mountain in the northeastern United States. There are three ways to get to the top: drive, hike (the Appalachian trail runs along the upper slopes), or take the cog railway. We took what was probably the scariest route- the cog train.

The cog train climbs straight up the mountain at 2.8 miles per hour. It’s steep. The only thing keeping us from barreling back down the mountain was the steam engine built in 1874, a couple of brakes and the metal cogs that hold the train onto the rail. The railway has been used for over 100 years, though, and there have been only two accidents in all that time. So the odds were good, and we made it to the top with only minor ear damage from the roar of the steam engine and some black flakes of coal ash in our hair. From the top, the view is beautiful, and they say you can see several states and Canada when it’s not cloudy.

After the train, we drove through the mountains, avoiding any mud roads. There were several Moose Crossing signs, but despite a constant lookout we never spotted one. Maybe we’ll have more luck in Vermont.

So as we said, these stops have proven to be very restful and nice. Marley relaxed too, and even got a little extra food, though without permission.

We left him alone for awhile one afternoon and he ate half of the bag of bird seed that had been mistakenly left on his level. Usually we do a run through- garbage, plastic bags, books, cans, pens and pencils, and anything smaller than a tennis ball- put it out of reach. The bird seed we’ve been leaving out for months now. He’s never touched it, never shown any interest in it at all, so we thought we were safe. He was just waiting for the right moment.

The uneaten half ended up scattered on the floor, ground into the carpet, on the couch, in the heater vents, and most disturbingly, on the table. After clean-sweeping everything about 100 times, it became clear that as long as we own this trailer we will be stepping on little kernels of birdseed and cursing ourselves and the dog. The unpleasantness continued into the next day as Marley became a walking bird feed dispenser. These are the days of our lives.

We can only blame ourselves. He is a dog, after all. Plus, he’s done this kind of thing before. As our President would say, “Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. If fool me… We can’t get fooled again.” Well, you know what he means.

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