Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, MA: Hello Bill, Hello Danny

It's been hot, it's been humid, and it's been wet. We have found ways to cope -- get out of bed before the sun rises to get an early start, suck down electrolytes early in the day to prevent hydration (despite the inconvenience of peeing every five miles) and linger in the frozen food section during the afternoon grocery stop. But we also figured out how to save a flooded tent, which happened to us on a night outside Kennebunk when Hurricane Bill sent us waves of torrential rain showers during the evening. Good thing we hung on to those Maid of the Mist plastic ponchos -- spread out on the floor of the tent they made a nice barrier between our air mattresses and the puddle occupying our tent site.

The effects of the high surf caused by our friend Bill was evident as we went down the Maine coast near Wells Beach the next day. Seaweed strewn on the beach and residents shoveling sand and seaweed that breached the seawall and moved into the streets and driveways.
We arrived at York Beach to find a campground that resembled an RV parking lot -- vehicles parked side-by-side with not much more than ten feet separating them. If we wanted a site right on the oceanfront, those were $87. Those with a view of the water -- $72. The tent sites were in the mushpot -- surrounded by RVs and no water view -- $35. But it was a weekday and the proprietor had a soft spot for cyclists, and she gave us a site where we could see water between the gaps of the row of RVs separating us from the ocean for $25. And despite the fact that Bill delivered a curtain of rain on us in the middle of dinner, we also got a rainbow.
So once bill moved on to threaten Canada, it left behind a couple of humid, hot days with temperatures near 90 degrees. We waited one of them out by taking an extra day in the countryside of New Hampshire at a campground that could not be more different than the one at York Beach. Next to a lake, no neighbors, and the cooling effect from the canopy of trees. And no rain.

We have left the coast of Maine, and we are now deep in New England. Colonial architecture dominates, the cemeteries bear dates from the 18th century, and rock walls from local granite delineate property boundaries.
We are hiding out today near Webster, MA. The Atlantic hurricane season is blooming, and Tropical Storm Danny is showering his grace upon us. We are on the shores of Lake Webster, aka Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. According to a local brochure it is the second longest place name, but they failed to tell us the first.
It has been raining steadily since midnight. And watching it out the window of our most lovely room at the inn is much better than it could possibly be from our tent.

Warmth, a real bed, just a few steps to the bathroom -- all are an indulgence after 14 weeks on the road. Not that I miss being home, but it does make me appreciate it when we are there. And thanks to Bill and Danny, we got a little reminder of just how comforting these basic pleasures are.
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