October 19, 2009

There and Back Again

Twelve years ago, before kids, my hubby and I took our first "real" vacation. We loaded up the car and drove. No reservations. No definite plans. Our final destination was Bar Harbor, Maine, but we took our time getting there. We visited places with funny names like Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, and Kennebunk.
One night we drove until it was almost dark. As we arrived in Freeport, Maine, we stopped and asked the locals about a place to camp. After following the directions and setting up camp in the dark we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. When we awoke the next morning, we found the most wonderful surprise. Our campsite was right on the coast of Maine.
Some things are worth doing again.

This year, our family vacation included a blast from the past: Recompence Shores

Check out the view from beyond our tents.

At low tide, the kids had a beautiful playground of nature
We had the entire peninsula to ourselves, which was so nice but would prove to be a problem for me.
We enjoyed several hours of exploring, pretending, and enjoying nature.
Just before sunset, we noticed a beautiful flock of Canadian geese that landed in the water (the little dots above the kids' heads in the picture). There were hundreds of them. This intrigued me because I've only seen maybe 20 or so fly together in the V pattern. I didn't know that many birds would hang out together.

Well, well, well, it seems that just like humans, geese get rowdy when the crowd gets big. As soon as the sun set they started getting restless. We laughed and joked about it as we enjoyed our s'mores. By bedtime it had turned to nervous laughter, as in hoping they quiet down soon haha kind of laughter.

As was our nightly ritual, we put out the fire, piled into one tent, played UNO by flashlight and then got ready for bed. Up until this point when we were actually in civilization the girls had slept in one tent, and the rest of us had slept in the big tent. Unfortunately, my oldest daughter and I figured out about the same timejust how remote of a place this was. She didn't want to sleep without a grown up and neither did I. Oh wait. I am the grown up.

There was no way to fit all 5 of us into one tent, so we drew straws. Okay, in reality, hubby doesn't fit in the little tent so he got to stay put. I volunteered to sleep with our 8 year old daughter, and nervous daughter got to stay in the "safe" tent with the boys.

I used the geese as an excuse of not being able to go to sleep, but my hunter-husband assured me that they would get quiet as they bed-down for the night.
I'm buying him a Hunter's Guide to Canadian Geese for Christmas.

Truthfully, I'm not really sure when geese sleep. Between the hours of 11pm and 5am they quarrel, bicker, fight, wrangle, feud, argue, squabble and mate. Loudly.
I'm thinking the boys from Pennsylvania should come hunting.

Since I couldn't go to sleep, I let my mind wander. It wandered to mathematical word problems such as:

1. If a family of 5 is located 3.2 miles from the nearest cell phone service and 1.6 miles from any other human being, how loud would they have to yell if a bear attacked their flimsy little tents in the middle of the night?

2. If a pack of wild dogs/coyotes (which I did, in fact hear) attacks a family of 5, what is the mathematical induction that there would be survivors, given that the only form of weapon is a 5 inch pocket knife?

3. How long would it take if a woman drove 5 miles to town, purchased a firearm, and illegally killed 472 Canadian geese?

I never thought I'd see daylight. If I did survive the night, I knew I would emerge from the tent with a head of white hair. Thank you, Jesus, for Revlon.

At one point, this conversation actually occurred between hubby and I:
Me: Psssst! Are you awake?
Him: Well, I am now.
Me: Did you hear those wild dogs?
Him: Yes
Me: What are we going to do?
Him: I'm going to go back to sleep
Me: I CAN'T sleep, I'm scared.
Him: Okay
Me: Will you go with me to the bathroom? (paint bucket at the tree line of our site)
Him: Yup
Me: I'm scared. I can't sleep. I'm going to sleep in the car.
Him: And leave our daughter in the tent by herself?
Me: Well..... I guess not.
Him: Here, you'll feel safer with this as he hands me the pocket knife
Really? Because those wild things will have to get within 5 inches for this to even be effective.

Back in the tent, I shake daughter awake.
Me: Do you want to go sleep in the car with me? It will be so fun!
Her: Why? Why do we need to sleep in the car if we are sleeping in the tent?
Me: Because I can't sleep, um, with those birds making all that noise.
Her: Sssnore

I'm really trying to be a good sport, but 2 out of 3 nights with barely a wink is stretching it. Would I go back to Recompence Shores? Yes. With a sound-proof tent and a 9mm.

The redeeming factors? The memories we made and photos like this:
We're only half way through our camping trip. So, stay tuned... ;)


The Chubby Dove said...

So enjoyed that story (one reason is because I didn't experience it myself).

The only camping I will ever do is in an RV.


Amy Kinser said...

Love reading about your vacation. Our family spent two incredible weeks last years traveling up north. (We live in TN). Lancaster, PA was probably my favorite and Maine was my next favorite. It was all breathtakingly gorgeous. God's artwork is amazing. So happy you all had a great time.

NM said...

That is hilarious! Thanks for confirming my "no camping in tents" policy!! Best wishes, NM.

O Mom said...

So funny! Thanks for sharing.

Suz said...

I am loving your post about your trip. I was cracking up about the geese. Who knew that they could be so loud.

Loved the conversation you thought about having with your hubby. I can so hear him saying "here is a pocket knife, now go to sleep."

Sherri said...

Beautiful pics! Wow! Sorry about the hard time camping - We've had maybe that many birds in our backyard at once before. It got me thinking about the poem, The Raven, and gave me the creeps. Sure hope you eventually got some sleep!

Tracey said...

Oh.My.Goodness. The photos are gorgeous. I am so glad I'm not the only one that comes up with all kinds of math problems while not sleeping in a tent.

You are one awesome mom (& wife)! Can't wait to hear more stories!

Carpool Queen said...



You're my hero.

Sandy said...

Even though I've heard first hand the story, I still laughed when I read this. Love you!!! And better you than me on the camping... been there, done that! But so glad you have these wonderful memories as a family!

Samantha said...

I'm cracking up. Seeing the geese leaving here every fall is a spectacular sight. Just the other night at my sisters there were hundreds of them getting ready to break for the night on the pond(well the storm water collection thingy) near her home. Amazing.

Your photos are beautiful. That story will be great to retell over and over.
And for the record I would have been scared too!

Janet said...

LOVE hearing your trip stories! It's the 'crazy moments' that one talks about for years to come. Great memories! :)

Kellie said...

Oh, goodness... the stories just keep getting better. Thanks for that chuckle so early in the morning. :)

Gretchen said...

I lurve Canadian Geese. So pretty and...

Well, now that you mention it...they're pretty loud. And they hiss.

Is there a hotel by the coast? ;)