“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild & precious life?” Mary Oliver, poet. On the board at PK Coffee in Stowe, VT
Our one wild and precious life spends time camping. We did about 3 weeks this summer, all told. Camping provides life at its most simple: where to sleep, what to eat, what to do next. Socialize with people. That’s it. No laundry, no current events, no watering the plants.
This trip was different from the others because it was so short: 1500 miles, 10 days. Even with this short of a trip, it always feels like we miss something. Laura tends to fret about what we miss; Dudley enjoys what we see. But this time we covered a small amount of geography, spent more days than we thought at Acadia and although we certainly did miss some spots, we felt like we spent time in places and got their flavor.
We aren’t home in CA, but in CT at Dudley’s Mom’s house. That’s us in CT along with the van and our Dodge Charger rental car. (We need to return the van to its home in NJ and getting back to CT is complex. We decided to rent a car—it’s actually cheaper than Ubering and the train. All the little compact economy cars were unavailable so we got a muscle car for a compact price. Score!). We are on the 5th load of laundry, are enjoying cocktails in real glasses, and will enjoy a dinner with a variety of food. The simple life of camping is great, but our more complicated wild and precious life is pretty great, too.
Thanks for sharing in our journey; it was fun writing for us and you.
PS. See below for the non-sentimental segment of The Last Blog. Spoiler: It’s the seedy underbelly of living in a van and traveling 1500+ miles with one other person.
The shadow blog isn’t too shadow-y this year. There’s not a lot because we are used to vanlife now and not too much surprises us. You want real shadow-y? Head to the first trip in the van. Oof. Below, there’s also a collection of what we heard and saw on our trip that didn’t make it into the blog.
- When her clothes got dirty, Laura laundered. When his clothes got dirty, Dudley bought new clothes.
- Always on the first night camping, Laura is worried we’ll get axe murdered by Bad Guys. We didn’t.
- Storing dirty laundry is a challenge. On Day 5, we just kept it outside the van in a Hefty bag. Peeee—ewww!
- If you know Laura, you know she plans dinner at breakfast. Can’t help it. Her whole professional teacher life has required advanced planning. The story in the family goes that Laura would arrive early for Kindergarten, sharpen her pencils, sit at her desk with her hands folded, and await the learning. Good things come to those who plan.
Dudley is not like this. He goes by instinct.
At the end of April when we were thinking about this trip, Dudley was concerned about camping in Acadia. Should we reserve a site? [We had never reserved a site in our lives.] He went online. There was one campsite left in the entire park for the time we were thinking about being there. Oh well: grab it and hope for the best!
And it was the best site.
During these trips, our individual life philosophies usually get tested: leave it to Dudley to have 1 camping site left, and it’s a great site. Laura would have booked it 10 months ago and it wouldn’t have been ½ as nice. Sigh.
- Dudley stopped using deodorant after Day 2.
- Dudley likes to get the van parked juuuuuust right. Sleeping is more enjoyable when the van is flat and level. Otherwise we end up rolled on top of each other on one side. This year was a banner year: one campsite required almost an hour (including a beer break) of back and forth.
- One of the toilets in the Acadia men’s room was clogged and the maintenance/ cleaning woman was waiting for everyone to exit so she could go in and deal with it. As the last guy exited, she stepped in front of his path, shook a finger and said, “I’m somebody’s grandmother. Would you want your grandmother doing this?!” He wandered off, perplexed.
- Not shadow-y, but signs we saw:
- On a Baptist church near New Haven, VT: “Pessimists need a kick in the can’ts.”
- Name of an ice cream shop: “Pete’s Pretty Good Ice Cream”
- Sign on an auto garage: “When DYI becomes OMG”
- Sometimes a house will have a name on it: Passing Wind B and B
- Name of various shops that sell lobster rolls: Lobstore, Mainely Lobster, Mainiac Lobster.
- Name of a company that makes prepared foods for a grocery store: Chow Maine
- There are an endless number of hair salons, all with fabulous names: Hair It Is! Hair City. The Great Hair Emporium. Hairetic. A Cut Above. Maine-ly Manes. Shear Delight. Maine-ly Hair. Beyond Beauty. Natural or Not? Live Free or Dye. And many more that we didn’t write down.