jailMy last few years of work before retirement were fairly hectic: a government position in times of political and financial crisis. My semiannual vacations were the only times I was truly free of the cares and aggravations of the workplace. We had gotten our Roadtrek in early 2007, and twice a year we would head out as far as we could within the two weeks we had, only to return to another six months of drudgery. Then it got worse – I worked straight through from October 2008 until I retired in the summer of 2010; 22 months of unrelenting toil.

witlessThe 2008 trip was to Newfoundland and back from our home in Florida – like I said, we were trying to escape, so we headed northeast until it was nothing but the north Atlantic in front of us and the breeze smelling of cold, salty things coming in off the ocean. Fiona delighted in looking out over the ocean from the headlands we were camping on.

The Viking settlement at L'Anse Aux Meadows

The Viking settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows

After a wonderful week exploring Newfoundland, whose scenery is magnificent and whose people are unsurpassed in hospitality and just general common human decency, we headed back to what I knew in my heart was going to be a long grind through to the end of my glorious *cough* career with the state. And I felt the burden of that grind with every mile I drove back toward Florida.

basques

The ferry to Newfoundland

We had crossed the border from New Brunswick back into the States just before dusk, and I kept driving down US 1 through Maine until it became too late to push on. We started looking for a place to spend the night, and saw a sign – Pleasant River RV Park. This was in the days when our Roadtrek was pretty much stock, so we didn’t have a lot of boondocking capability – we hit the commercial parks when driving so we could get water and electricity.  I followed a truly narrow and winding road down to this RV park, and we grabbed an empty spot- the office was long closed by the time we arrived.

Pleasant River RV Park, October 2008

Pleasant River RV Park, October 2008

And then magic happened – I woke up at dawn to a beautiful scene. We were in the tiny (population 1000) town of Addison, Maine on a tidal river, and the lobster boats were heading out to sea through the morning mist. Fall was in the air, the leaves were glorious, apples were hanging from the trees all around us, and I had to be back to work in three days. I was seized by a longing to just stay here and never go back to my sorry job. I made myself a promise that one day I would return here, to this spot, and stay as long as I wanted to.

Pleasant River RV Park, 2010

Pleasant River RV Park, October 2010

Fast forward  two years to October 2010 – I’ve been retired two months,  and we’re exploring the northern Maine coast, driving along US 1.  And there’s this sign – Pleasant River RV Park. I think we’ll turn down this narrow and winding road and take it to the end, to where the lobster boats go out at dawn.

We stayed a month. I would just lie there in the hammock on warm sunny afternoons and smile a little smile to myself.