Updated: Jul 25, 2020
And We Met Chad and Tara of Changing Lanes!!
Our landing spot for a week and a half was Moorings Oceanfront Campground; a small, private wedge of Maine coastline with a couple of handfuls of ocean view RV spots. We had booked this reservation nearly 6 months in advance, and as Covid-19 threatened Maine and RV-ers dropped off the reservation list, we were able to shift around our site number and snag an ocean front spot for the entire stay.
Driving in, staring at the ocean, the road takes you to the left where you pull up to a stop sign and place a phone call to the gracious staff inside in the main building. They tell us about the paperwork someone is going to come out and hand us, and warned us about the highly invasive "brown-tail moth" situation; a pesky caterpillar with dangerous hairs that was causing poison-ivy-like reactions to people across Maine. (Apparently they are a huge deal from May-July! Hooray!)
Moorings has sites of all sizes, accommodating rigs as long as 44' from what we could tell. (Most of the RVs that stayed at Moorings throughout our stay were HUGE Class A and Class C types, and many incredible fifth wheels, all of which were head turners as they drove in and located their site.)
We backed into Site 8, our tail-end to the ocean, and our camper-door-side to a small, sandy, gravel lot and a treeline which bordered vacation cabins on the opposing side. We felt private, secure, and safe, and the kids couldn't believe we were ON the ocean!
After Mike got us unpacked, unloaded, and hooked up (and he could pull the kids and me away from from staring at the ocean and listening to the waves), we headed out to dinner: Young's Lobster Pound, which was roughly a mile or so away from our site. We debated riding our bikes but with drizzle imminent and starving bellies to feed, we opted to drive.
Driving down the road to Young's Lobster Pound, you arrive at a large, red, barn-type structure at the entrance to a pier. The menu is on a board above the doorway, and walking in, the walls are lined with rows of holding tanks of lobsters. Maybe, like, thousands of lobsters! Water is moving, tanks are bubbling, fresh seafood smells are punching you in the face, your mouth is drooling, your brain is amazed, and by the time you get to the counter you may have completely forgotten what it was you were going to order in the first place! We settled on a couple of lobster rolls, sauteed scallops, lobster stew, a couple of clam chowders, hot-dogs, some sides and drinks. I think one of my biggest regrets about our stay in Maine is that we didn't get a chance to go back for a second meal at Young's; one of the best lobster rolls we had in Maine during our Belfast-Acadia trip!
Seating was outdoors, behind the building, and on the ocean. It was drizzly and gray but we didn't mind. We were blown away by the huge, head-height pipelines cutting across the outdoor seating area, pumping ocean water into or out of the building, listening to the seagulls beg for food, and watching families bring bottles of wine and other fun treats to accompany their lobster dinner. We studied the locals as they picked tables socially distanced from everyone else, uncorking their wine, and cheers-ing to whatever they were celebrating at the time... maybe just a toast to life, in general. Such a crazy time in the world right now...
Not a typical lobster roll on a hot dog bun, this lobster roll uses the softest hamburger bun with a buttered/crispy inside bread part (nailed it!!) and HUGE chunks of lobster, some whole claw and meat parts, lots of tail meat with lettuce and goodness inside. The lobster stew was flavorful, as was the white, clam chowder, but what surprisingly stole the show for us were the sauteed scallops! They were so fresh, so tasty, so tender, we didn't even get a chance to take a picture before Mike and I inhaled them (lying to the kids they wouldn't like them because we didn't want to share). I don't think I've ever had a scallop that fresh and flavorful, ever, maybe?
We spent a couple of days enjoying life at the campground before we went out and started pinning more adventures to our map. Some of my favorite memories from Moorings that are etched into my soul forever are those of Mike spending an hour teaching the kids how to find **the perfect** skipping rock to masterfully release across the surface of the ocean for maximum skip counts.... and the kids spending hours searching for just those perfect rocks, eager to out-skip the other brother... the boys exclaiming at each of the tiny crabs side-walking across the rocky shore as the tide receded... the four of us huddled over a single spot in low tide, ankle deep in water, spending 20 minutes watching a full out brawl between two hermit crabs competing over territory... Finn successfully flying a kite for the first time by himself, for 15 amazing minutes, before it went straight into a tree (a tree that we studied for the coming days and through a ferocious storm, Mike and I placing bets on whether the wind would release the tree's hold on that kite -- and it never moved!)... and chuckling as the boys used their sand buckets to dump water on each other while they played in the ocean (but because I'm paranoid, they couldn't go deeper than their "waist" before I called them closer to the shore, even though I distinctly remember being their ages and being FAR over my head trying to find the perfect waves to surf in Narragansett, RI - scoffing at my grandmother as she yelled the same thing at me from the shore). Parenthood changes you. I even downloaded a shark-finding-app 6 months prior to our Maine arrival, just so I could study the habits of the tagged sharks and keep an eye on them! Although I am quite certain sharks were not in the ocean AT ALL when I was kid... shhhh, just let me have that. :)
The nights gave us incredible moonlight reflecting across rippling ocean waves; tranquility at its best. This campground didn't have incessant barking dogs or screaming kids. It didn't have party people or music being played too loudly. Campers weren't up all hours of the night making noise... it was just beautiful silence. And when I would take a moment to peek around the camper to see what others might be doing while we watched the moon, I found that others were doing much the same --- sitting around a campfire with loved ones, just as amazed as I by the reflection and glow of the moon on the water. So many campers stargazing in silence. It was a beautiful thing.
Despite being on vacation, I still had a day or two of work to do for Font Fixation. Mike packed my essential stamping supplies and stamping post, and I received the overnight UPS box from Brian at the main office. Reluctant to work at first, I realized it wasn't so bad having to work if you got to be outside and staring at the ocean! I was worried my hammering would be loud and offensive to my neighbors, but being on the ground my hammering wasn't louder than a "tink". I finished quickly, paranoid about ruining the serenity for others, even though my concerns were needless in the privacy of our spot. The moment I was finished we packed up the post and the rest of the supplies and went back to relaxing in front of the ocean, and planning the next adventure.
Incredible RVs and campers arrived, set up, and left over the 9 days we spent at Moorings. We would drool and fantasize what their lives must be like in such incredible homes.
One day as we were driving out of the campground to go on an adventure, Mike and I saw a set up we had recognized from watching one of our favorite youtube channels. The back of a blonde woman wearing a ball cap as she entered her fifth-wheel toy hauler, and the back of a man setting up his pipes and hoses with a motorcycle between our view and their RV... and just as Mike and I were saying the words in synchronicity aloud to one another "HEY, THAT LOOKS LIKE -" the man looked up, and it was Chad from Changing Lanes! It was SO obvious that Mike had near stopped at the back of his trailer so we could stare in disbelief, that when this man made eye-contact with me, my excitement and embarrassment caused me to wave feverishly at him like a silly fan-girl. Then we tried our best to casually drive away and pretend like that experience really didn't happen while our boys were yelling "THAT IS CHANGING LANES! WE ARE AT THE SAME PLACE AS CHANGING LANES! YOU GUYS WATCH THEM! OMGOSH! FAMOUS PEOPLE ARE AT OUR CAMPGROUND!"
You know what I don't remember? Whatever it was we did the rest of the day. No clue. We went somewhere, ate something amazing, had an adventure... I'll check my notes and the time stamps on the pictures at some point. All I remember about that day was seeing Chad and Tara, and having a brief chat with them as they walked by our trailer, back to their RV after having filmed something amazing, I'm sure! I can't wait to watch that video!
Chad and Tara could not have been nicer people. And while I'm sure our inner nerd was showing, they were kind, sweet, and friendly. Mike gave Chad a Chief's coin from the Coast Guard, a perfect gesture and representation of our family as we chatted at the base of our waving Coast Guard flag beside our truck (with license plate PRATUS - for Semper Paratus). I SO wanted to be "that guy" who took a selfie with these people we have spent the last year(s) admiring and learning from online. But Mike was cool, and reminded me that even though this moment was exciting, we could just experience it and not document it. Chad came by the next day while we were bike riding in town and left us some stickers and coozies with their Changing Lanes brand, and we were on our best behavior and didn't bug them. Although, full honesty, I think I begged Mike 117 times to go up there and ask for a picture with me, and he had FULL control of his excitement when I did not. The night before we left Moorings, Mike and I posted a video on youtube about our Harvest Host trips up to Maine, and I sent the link to Changing Lanes on Facebook to show them who we were.
We spent most of our time in Belfast taking trips over to Acadia and Bar Harbor, searching for property we could one day purchase and build a 5-star RV setup for two rigs of passersby (or ourselves). We went on adventures and pinned our map- all of which I'll write about in future blog posts -- but this special post is just for Moorings.
When we were all packed up to leave I stood and stared at the ocean, my heart whispering goodbye, and thank you. My eyes welled with tears, sad to leave such a beautiful place, and I tucked away memories into safe corners of my mind and soul. Mike hugged me and told me we'd come back again soon... I hope so. And as we drove up the exit lane to leave Moorings, we passed the Changing Lanes RV -- glancing one last time at their incredible setup -- to see Chad and Tara actively emerge from their RV to wave at us and say goodbye. She yelled, "Happy 33rd birthday!" (she had WATCHED OUR VIDEO!!) as we drove away, tears streaming down my face from the heartache of leaving heaven, mixed with excitement that these people who we admire so much stopped their morning to say goodbye to us. Another memory burned into my brain and heart for life, and an absolutely perfect ending for an already memorable trip.
(Chad and Tara, thank you for that. That small gesture meant SO much to all four of us!)
And while I absolutely want to keep this little slice of heaven close and not share a moment of it with anyone, who am I to deprive others of this incredible RV experience? I hope you DO pin this place to your map, and I hope you leave with your soul rejuvenated, positive memories bursting from the walls of your brain cells, and tears streaming down your face as you drive away. Onward to the next adventure.