Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Map Freeport to Recompence

Map to West Bay portion of Recompence Campground, Wolfe's Neck Farm, Freeport, ME

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Time for Recompence


Who: North-East Truck Campers andfriends

What: Fall Dry Camping to close outour camping year
When: Thursday, November 8, 2012 -Sunday, November 11, 2012
Where:  Recompence Shore Campground, Wolfe's NeckFarm, Burnett Road, Freeport, Maine        

            N43°49.45'  W70° 4.47'
Why: To enjoy a late fall gatheringby the ocean

Our informalTruck Camper gathering at Recompence Shore Campground, Freeport, Maine is setfor  Thursday, November 8 - Sunday,November 11, 2012. The views off of the bay front are just spectacular - Maineat its best.  The web site is http://www.freeportcamping.com/.This is a total dry camp for those of you wanting to test your solar power andgenerators. You will be able to run generators occasionally to keep thebatteries topped off. There is a dump station by the office and a pit toiletnear where we camp.  
Thecampground manager has agreed to a rate of $15 per night ($16.05 with statetax). The campground is closed except for walk ins and those who wish to wintercamp. You may pre-register on line if you wish but not necessary. We will have signin forms at the campsite and will take your check/cash as a group to themanager who lives on site.  If your dogcomes (they are welcome), bring a copy of your rabies certificate. Dogs must beleashed at all times. We still charge the $10 per rig (not person) fee to coverwood and other expenses.
RecompenseShore is only 5.17 miles from LL Bean plus about 100 shops, pubs, restaurants,etc. in Freeport. We'll do a pot luck on Saturday night and do our usualsharing of drinks and appetizers on Thursday and Friday. Xtreme Campers issponsoring our group breakfast on Sunday morning. Mikeee has graciously agreedto bring  tent s and space heaters so wewill have a shelter if needed. We will provide firewood. DO NOT bringwood with you as imported wood is no longer allowed in Maine.

Thisgathering is low key with no planned seminars. There will be a $5 per ticket rafflewith one winner taking the whole New England bag of goodies. We spend lots oftime sitting around the campfire, swapping tales of places we've been and wantto go.  Bring your winter coat and bootsas it can get a bit nippy and rain gear in case. We'll keep our fingers crossedfor a late Indian Summer. Beautiful place, good TC friends and any of theircamper friends - a great way to close out the North East camping season formost of us.
In order toplan breakfast, please email me if you are coming.  More details back to those who email.  Hope to see you!        

Anne and Joe Brown      email: TwoMaineiacs2@yahoo.com    

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

When we aren't travelling......

When we aren't on the road we work in the gardens all around the house. Originally 11 years ago, we'd planned on a few perennial gardens since the house was so sunny. To say they have grown in both size and number over the years would be a vast understatement.  The original day lily purchase was a 100 bare bulb assortment from White Flower Farm in CT. The colors were mixed, didn't know what you were getting but the following year they were twice as good as we'd hoped for. Over the years these have been split, moved, given away, put in new gardens. Then there was the year that a local day lily farm was going out of business and we must have bought dozens of exotic colors and then went back for more when they got down to $1 a bag, all you could stuff in. The mixed color leaf hosta hav been split numerous times and gifted back and forth with gardening friends.

Time again to split, give away or -   aaaacccckkkkk put in a couple of new areas. Where the driveway meets the town road has always been a pain as the angle next to a large, steep ditch was dangerous to mow. Off we go to the vacant land across the road to find wall rocks. Most of the good rocks have already been moved throughout the neighborhood. Most of what is left is round rock but a lot of those are large and easily trigged to form a wall. We'd moved over enough for two areas - we thought - plus what we were taking from already built walls on our land.

Hot for Maine at 85F, high humidity but we soldiered on and started the walls over a couple of days. Four yards of screened loam was delivered this morning and it was a gorgeous 72F with low sweat percent.

Dig out the grass, set the rocks, trig and rocks, move the rocks, drop rock on hand (ouch), sweat, drink about a gallon of water. Stand back and look and say not bad! Fill with five full wheelbarrows of loam, tamp down, add another two loads. It doesn't look large or much work in the photo below but it will give us a great space for perennnials.

We've now used almost all of the rock brought over for both sides with only this remaining for the left side of the drive. There is a much steeper drop off there so will have to build a wall face before we can dig out the area. Another search and find mission looms.

We sure could use a long gentle rain but for the most part the gardens look great this year. We do take time to enjoy them and take walks around the property - and don't weed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Up Up and Away - The Balloon Fest Rally

It's been a great year for meeting up with camping friends. The North East Truck Camper group does go some interesting places.
The 34th Annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival was held on the athletic fields of the University of Rhode Island in West Kingston, RI July 20-22. Twenty five truck campers, a 42’ foot A and a small travel trailer gathered on what was less than level ground. This section of the fields had been used for a mud bowl truck pull and the divots, holes and hillocks left behind when it dried were a bit disconcerting. No ankles were twisted or broken but a great deal of staggering was done.

During last year’s Balloon Festival the temperature hit 104F. This year after light rain on Friday morning, all enjoyed a high 70s weekend with sunshine. The four new to the group campers were treated to the sight of a very well coordinated tent lifting akin to an Amish barn raising. By noon a long line of pop ups had been added on and appetizers and adult beverages were enjoyed out of the rain. It’s amazing how many pop up tents, tables and chairs can come out of truck campers.

Mike Tassinari surprised the group with an old fashioned ice cream social. He brought 9 gallons of ice creams, bananas for splits, fruit, sprinkles, whipped cream and bowls/spoons to use.

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band played by the flying field while the balloons were lit so they glowed in the night.
Saturday morning many campers were awakened by a WOOOSSSHHHH – the sound hot air balloons gas burners make as they take off. The balloons were right over the campers at low altitude as they climbed off. This balloon was directly over our Heiki hatch.

This year there was a large craft show, a wild animal show and kid’s rides area by the balloon moorings. The Kansas City Barbeque Society held a cook-off with barbeque pork, chicken and beef. These folk travel around the country from event to event and compete. Most sold the results as very tasty meals. The “Cannon Lady” had her cannon mounted on a F450 with low body utility compartments, a bit of an envy for a lot in the group.  There was an exhibit of model airplanes, not the kind  built out of balsa wood but seriously large, powered planes. They were flying out of a field beside the campers and the aerobatics were fun to watch. Many of the TCers went to see the Revolutionary War Encampment and returned grateful for the luxury of a truck camper.

Our truck campers looked pretty cool lined up in two rows with the tents in between. We got a lot of visits from nearby campers in huge A sizes who wanted to see our small rigs compared to theirs. Lots of campers were shown and cards for dealers passed out. Mike Olesnevich from Xtreme Campers attended as a camper and finally got to eat some of the Sunday morning breakfast he sponsors. Every time someone walked by his camper, he was sitting on his back porch eating lobster! Well - almost every time.

A late afternoon potluck was enjoyed, leaving time for the traditional raffle before the balloon “glow” and fireworks.  Mike T always has the new folks to the group introduce themselves and share why they got into truck camping. Lots of tips and tricks on where and how to camp and best handle the rigs were shared as always.
Sunday – tents down, tables folded and we all lurched over the broken field headed back home or on to other adventures. The balloons, planes and BBQ really were fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tall Ships, Newport, RI July 5-8, 2012

North East Truck Camping Jamboree Tall Ships, Newport, RI July 5-8, 2012

We joined a gathering of 40 truck campers for a pirate themed jamboree celebrating the arrival of the Tall Ships in Newport, RI. Ocean StatesTall Ships Wagon master Geraldine Roy secured berthing for the hearty crew at Oak Embers Campground in West Greenwich, RI.   Event tents were set up, fire rings secured and pirate campers arrived from as far away as Quebec and Maryland.  At registration, Geraldine gifted each rig with a bag filled with chocolate doubloons, eye patches, and various booty.

Around an overflowing appetizer and drink table, instructions were given on how the van shuttle would work on Friday to get everyone into Newport. Even though truck campers are not large, Newport is very small with narrow, winding roads and huge crowds for the ships. On Friday, Geraldine and Dave "sailed" the 15 passenger van back and forth the 30 miles many times during the day. No campers were lost in the shuffle and all enjoyed the ships, old Newport and a perfect, though hot, weather day.

Mike Tassinari provided hamburgers for dinner and the cooking was done by a hot crew who needed to stay well hydrated with adult beverages.
On Saturday morning, Mike T gave a demonstration of installing an hour meter in a Honda generator. This was followed by Geraldine’s talk on the life of a pirate in RI. Who would have thought that pirates were very welcome as they brought both income and employment to the area?  24 lucky ladies got to take an afternoon craft class on dying a silk scarf with plants, fruit, spices and vegetables. The hard pounding noise was from rocks smashing the juicy pulp inside layers of silk.

One of the most popular events at the North East rallies is Bingo. Cathie Tassinari always comes up with awesome cards and "chips". Often participants munched away on their chips -  Necco wavers, Goldfish, etc in the past. This year the chips were pennies! No munching but lots of fun and great prizes.

Saturday night pot luck always brings out fabulous food and drinks and this feast was no exception. It is amazing what the small ovens, stoves and grills contained in truck campers can produce. The tables looked like a hungry hoard of pirates had pillaged by the time the meal was over. 

The raffle draw was called by Nik Rende who lent a lot of humor to the event. The final raffle was drawing small bags out of a treasure chest. The bags could then be cashed in or traded with another bag holder. Surprise inside? Susan B Anthony gold looking dollar coins, the pirate treasure for real.
Each evening Mike showed a movie and fired up a pop corn machine for those watching. Mike also got "arrested" by the Gendarms but didn't have to walk the plank.

Tom and Pam came up to visit. They are temporarily TCless but won't be for long. Pam looked quite dashing in a pirate hat.

Joe Z won the pirate costume!

Sunday is always sad at a rally as camper friends are once again scattering. The men cook breakfast on Sunday and the ladies do no work, just enjoy a feast. Mike Olesnevich of  Xtreme Campers  sponsored the breakfast and it was enjoyed by all. Tent take down goes fast with a lot of helping hands and the area was policed so it was cleaner than when we all arrived.

In between all the planned events, there was time to sit and visit with old friends and meet new ones. There were many brand new truck campers and/or trucks to tour and discuss. As usual, trips were retold and new places to see discovered. There were many shared photos of sites seen and "gotta go theres" found.  Truck campers might be a small market, small footprint but mighty in spirit and adventure.

Note: This was originally written for Angela of Truck Camper Magazine as they had to leave early for a family emergency.

NH to Salem for the 4th of July

June 29 - July 4 NH to Salem - On The Road Again! It's hard to do yard and house work when the out doors calls especially here in New England with so many beautiful places to see.

We met up with Jayne/Rob, Jimmy/Cathie, Phil and his new lady friend, Tracy, up in the mountains of NH to see Jayne's new Eagle Cap. Wow! No wonder she keeps saying "I love my camper". It's the new EC 1160 with rear couch, huge bathroom with full shower, tons of storage closets and easy in/out on the dinette. No wonder they love it. Rob's made peace with his tool and gear storage and Jayne just "Love my camper".

This was a perfect friend, weather, place, time to just simply relax. We talked, played blongo, knit, cooked, ate, drank and just enjoyed no events other than relaxing. Joe and Cathy kept switching from penny poker to Blongo.

Jennie, Phil's spaniel, kept us all busy throwing her ball. If we didn't she would bring us large rocks! Thanks McCulloughs for having us up and especially for the boiled dinner we all enjoyed Sunday night.

Monday the 2nd we drove over to Truck Camper Warehouse to talk to Bill about swapping out our microwave/convection oven for a regular gas oven. He had taken a few well deserved days off to Long Island to fish. We always meet prospective truck campers when at Bill's and enjoy showing off our Chalet. Thought we might see the McCullough's short bed Eagle Cap that they had traded in but it was already sold.
Cut through back roads especially Route 12 in MA down to Salem, MA to join up with a few TC friends for the 4th celebration. Rain of course that evening but it always rains when we camp at Winter Island. It's a very busy time for that campground and we were sandwiched in between two massive A size campers that first night. It just reminded us that even though our truck camper is huge by truck camper standards, we're a small camper.

Mid morning on the 3rd, Lee/Beth from PA arrived with good dog Chopper. It's such fun to catch up with those met before on the road. Gordon/Angela of Truck Camper Magazine had been at Mike's as he was giving them lessons in beach sand driving. We ended up with 8 campers including Kevin's new to him 42 foot A. Kevin bought a jewel and has finished resurfacing all the cabinets, flooring, etc. He's using it to go to NASCAR races and still has his truck camper for the beach.

Mike cooked an awesome 22 pound beef beast for our July 4th party. Do truck campers know how to eat or what?

It was a race that evening to see which was more spectacular, the fireworks or a pretty ferocious lighting storm. We stayed for the start of the fireworks over Salem harbor but chose to come back to the camper before getting soaked. Age, wisdom or chicken? One of the benefits/drawbacks of having an IPhone with NOAA radar is that you can see the size of what is bearing down on you. After our tornado adventure last year, I'll err on the side of caution.

Wonderful Recompence by the Ocean

June 9, 2012 - Wonderful Recompence by the Ocean

What's better than a truck camper and a spur of the moment trip? It had been raining for a week solid and we were crazy to get outside in some sun. Saturday AM - sun out, 75F - called Recompence Shore Campground at Wolfe Neck Farm in Freeport and yes they had openings in West Bay on the ocean. Since we keep the camper pretty well packed and stocked, it was just a matter of a few clothes and fresh food thrown in and off we go. 
All the water front sites were taken but the sites on the pasture side of the dirt road have ocean views and full sun. I'm driving and stupidly make that last turn of the wheel to get us in a better view spot. Like the whole place is a view spot. Of course I got us stuck on long grass and mud.

After the farm truck gave us a gentle pull, we moved over one site and all was well. We watched two others get stuck over the course of two perfect weather days. We are blessed to have such a serene camping spot so close to where we live. Perfect weather, long walks by the community veggie gardens, past the cattle, sheep, and shoreline.

This is where we sponsor a camper gathering in mid November. Never had snow yet, sometimes mud, always an awesome place to gather.

May 2012 Spring Rally in Salisbury, MA

May 16-19, 2012

What better way to start off one of the North East Truck Camper rallies than to have truck camper friends at your house first. Pam and Tom were seeing a bit of Maine and stopped by at Camp Brown. Well we had actually stalked them down in the LL Bean parking lot and captured them but all in fun. Tom had a great time with Joe's power washer getting some of that Maine mud off.

Fun to see two big Chalet campers side by side. Had a great evening cooking, yakking, having a few rum drinks and deciding to caravan to the rally in Salisbury, MA. Poor Tom said he'd follow us, never knowing that my usual turnpike speed is 62-64 mph.

We "rafted" the campers up near Jayne/Rob and Toni/Ron and Jayne's daughter and two grandsons. What delightful kids they were. Toni held a wine tasting to try to introduce me to the joys of good quality wine. Enjoyable but I'll watch the girls from the safety of my scotch. We had a special treat when Guy's wife, Louise Anne joined us and told a few Guy tales.

Mike Tassinari had his usual superb slate of events. We learned new ways to clean a camper, took part in Torklift's North East treasure hunt, cooked hot dogs, enjoyed a schedule of camper showings, a fabulous lobster feast, Bingo, 50/50 and raffle with great prizes plus the Sunday morning men cook/women eat breakfast. Unfortunately I didn't take photos as I was just having too much fun. You can see extensive pictures of this rally on Truck Camper Magazine's article called Lobstah Bash

Here is Guy resting up from all that breakfast cooking.

There was a lot of time at this gathering to socialize, visit other campers, talk about trips done and planned. Weather couldn't have been any more perfect - 65-70F and sunny. Mike has also planned several more summer gatherings.

Wonder if Cabela's realizes that every time we stop to dump the tanks headed home that we actually do go in and shop? There is always something in the back bargain bin. If you do stop at Cabela's (exit 42 on I-95 headed north), the pizza and salads at Portland Pie across the parking lot are excellent.

May 6 - 9 West VA to Maine

May 6, 2012 - Our travel folder of places to go is filled with sites in West Virginia. I'd read quite a while ago about the New River Gorge  and we planned the travel to go by there. I had visions of hiking down into the gorge to be able to look up at the bridge. It is the Western Hemisphere's longest arch bridge.

I/we did not walk down to the bottom of the gorge. The getting down would have been okay. The getting up would not have been as we aren't in shape for that type of hike.

The visitor center had exhibits on the bridge building and reason it was built. This whole area has a long history of coal mining and this bridge allowed better access travelling for the miners and support staff.

This was also a  travel day from I-40 to Knoxville, TN  and then I-81 to Marion, VA. There are still a LOT of farms in these mountains, cattle and horses plus a lot more sheep than I expected. Why I don't know since I often buy yarn from the Shendoah region of VA and most of it is locally spun and dyed. We stopped for diesel as we were entering Marion and found Farctic Ox's favorite beer.

It is as good as he says but unfortunately not available yet in the North East. Will just have to get by with some of Maine's micro brews.

Hungry Mother State Park was a welcome stop with very clean grounds, hot showers and supposedly wi-fi. Why is it every time we stop at a place to get wi-fi it has always "just gone down?". The IPad works where ever I can get a Verizon signal so was able to keep up with emails. I know - camping is supposed to be a wilderness adventure but we're on the phone call and email alert for Joe's mom all the time.

May 7, 2012 - Mostly interstate travelling over huge hills and dales but kept the 11.2mph on the F350. We'd stayed before at Confluence, PA Corp of Engineers park and did so again. Love those $4-8 a night fees for level, clean and power when you are tired. We do stealth camping as much as possible at the beginning of a trip but find towards the end, full power is a luxury so you aren't watching the solar battery level indicator.

May 8-9th - PA to ME Travel days with heavy rain and wind and the good old East Coast 18 wheeler traffic. Sat for an hour with engine off at Newburg, NY due to a huge wreck with no fatalities (checked internet later). So nice to have your own bath and kitchen with you. Do you ever get the urge to sell sandwiches or bathroom breaks?

We limped into Maine early evening, tired but exhilarated from all the new sites seen.

I'm catching up this blog in July and now, with some time passed, the highlight for this spring beach was Vicksburg. The wealth of history and ease of getting to it was worth every mile. Best in Vicksburg? The "Cairo" exhibit in the national park. Next best would be Ocracoke. We'd like to return there and camp for a few days and really explore those beaches. We age each day as all of us do but hopefully there is time in our lives left for many more trips.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

May 4 and 5 - Wandering from Corps of Engineers to Corps of Engineers

It's hot! and it is only early May.

Of course Mississippi and Tennessee are not Maine but still it is hot. The locals say they wonder what July and August will be like this year. We left the Tombigbee Corp of Engineers park and headed roughly north east.

Several more stops along the Natzhez Trace including walking way back in the woods to find that an early pit mine isn't anymore. At least no snakes along the way. We've followed quite a few miles on this road and would highly recommend it for a very leisurly drive. You don't take this road to make time but to enjoy a bit of history and a quiet pace.

We've been travelling, touring, walking and taking in a lot of history sites for the last three weeks and decided to take a down day. Leaving the Trace just north of the monument to Meriweather Lewis, we kept to small roads sout of Memphis. Shocking to get onto I-65 briefly and once again be amongst the 18 wheelers. Luck was with us again or is all that good, clean living? :) and we got a waterfront camp site at the Corps of Engineers Ragland Bottom CG on the Caney Fork River. There was a cancellation and we decided to stay two nights just to rest up and get the camper/truck cleaned up a bit. The dam is being worked on so the river was quite low but not enough to stop a fascinating parade of fishing boats, party boats and canoes/kayaks. Nice neighbors shared fresh caught fish and sweet potato with us. We gave back some smoked salmon.

Relaxing day today. Caught up on laundry, cleaning the inside of the camper and just resting by the river. Neighbors brought over some smoked pork BBQ saying they knew northerners never got it that good. I'm afraid they were right! Again we have a 5th wheel group who travels with a smoker on wheels like you would see at a fair. Big, ugly and cooks fabulous meat.

We are so fortunate to have a truck camper. Easy to manuver, large enough for our needs, small enough to get into places the 5ths and TTs and As will never go. Yes I know our camper is one of the bigger ones but we can still fit down a lot of our country's small spaces.

Tomorrow we will head east, braving the traffic through Knoxville and ending up somewhere in far western VA or northern TN. There are National Forest campsites, more COEs and who knows where we will end up. We're pretty well headed home but surely will find more to see and do along the way.
May 1 to 3 Natchez, Vicksburg and CoE Waterway

Up early and into Natchez before the heat hits. Downtown Natchez is actually quite small and easy to walk around. There are many small side streets where the truck camper easily fit so we moved from area to area.

A lot of the town buildings near the waterfront had balconies like New Orleans with cafe tables for that first morning cup of coffee. The flowers were plentiful, smelled like the south  and even the magnolia was in bloom.

We drove by many of the old mansions on the bluff. Chosing not to take a carriage ride or visit the many casinos, we started off on our trek up the Natchez Trace. This route was originally used by the Chokataw Indians for trade routes, then used by early settlers to move goods from Natchez to Memphis.

Inns and small towns grew up along the way and finally the road was abandoned for wider roads through towns. The depth of this old trace is amazing as it was worn down by foot and wagon traffic.

The Trace is now under National Park management and is a very well maintained two lane road with many turnouts to see historical or natural sights. No commercial vehicles are allowed, speed limit is 45-50 mph and it is very relaxing to drive. There are also three free campgrounds along the route as well as roads off it to get to diesel or other services. We cruised through one of the campgrounds just to see what they were like. Paved, level, boondock, well spaced and a bath house. It's early season and the one we went through had one camper.

The NPS has a brochure with every stop along the Trace marked by mile marker. You can look ahead and pick out the ones that interest you the most. We stopped at several Indian mounds and many of the natural sites such as swamps and old growth forests. That made good walks and travel breaks.

Arriving in Vicksburg, we went to a campground where it would be easier to take the camper off and feel safe about leaving it while we explored. Not a lot of choices and the one we were in was tight quarters. Very nice couple next door from Michigan who were camped for months for his work on a nuclear power plant rebuild. They were in a very old travel trailer and they spent a lot of time examining the truck camper and how it worked. TCs are pretty impressive aren't they?

May 2 - Vicksburg tour

Up early again - you think it might be the time zone change? Camper off the truck and over to start the day with a tour through the Vicksburg National Military Park Museum. We watched the film made on the battle for and siege of Vicksburg.

I'd never realized the length of the siege, how many died and that the surrender at Vicksburg and Gettysburg were on the same weekend. The campground had provided us with a narrative CD for the 16 mile long driving tour through the park. Learned a lot, walked a lot of paths to see memorials, views out over battlefields and several houses of civilians who lived in the middle of the battle.

We spent a long time walking around and through the USS Cairo, a gun ship sunk by the Confederates using a wired mine. It was found and raised 100 years later and been as restored as it can be. It'd thought it would be quite small but it wasn't. As interesting as the ship was, the museum at the ship site was more so with all the artifacts brought up and restored. The ship sank in 12 minutes with no loss of life but everything was left behind. The cemetary for the war dead was quite sobering.

Huge thunderstorm with very dark clouds came and we got the camper situated between two tall hills in the park hoping not to have a repeat of a tornado sighting. Torrential quick rain but no funnel thank you very much. We did a drive through of downtown Vicksburg, being too tired for more walking. The Mississippi is quite impressive in width. We did find this flood gauge down on the riverfront. 

May 3 - Natchez Trace and Corps of Engineers Piney Grove CG

Today was a travel day northward along the Natchez Trace. Took a half hour walk on a boardwalk back into a cypress swamp and later walked to what was supposed to be a beaver lodge - not.

Tonight we are camped in Piney Grove Corp of Engineers Park again on the Tombigbee Waterway. $10 - lake on three sides of us, paved level spot, water, power, utter quiet except for the small waves coming in from passing barges. Unfortunately the site is reserved for the weekend or we would be here a few days. Might move to another one further back and take some time to clean up this road weary camper and couple.