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9/26/00 - Back Down the Coast of Maine

Woke up early, had decaf with Bunzy, and got organized. Bunzy went out shopping and meanwhile, found out the RV was ready. Sheila, Dave Sr.'s wife, drove by the house to pick me up and brought me to the shop. Turns out the last mechanic - Holiday on Wheels - left bolts loose which cause the gasket to blow again. So that was repaired and Dave put a new coil on because the reason the coil wire wasn't fitting properly was because the coil was the wrong size. He also replaced the coil wire which had been bent from trying to mash it on.

Then he told me the brakes were bad. What next? And that the engine was way too small to carry the weight of the RV. But could I make it safely back down US 1 with bad brakes? Not exactly the kind of vehicle trouble you want to mess with. His wife suggested driving slowly, not tailgating and not stopping and starting a lot.

Drove it back to the house and got familiar with the brakes to see how they'd handle. Packed up the RV, Bunzy came home from shopping and gave me some spaghetti sauce and bananas, and I was on my way around 2:30pm.

I decided to drive no more than three hours, taking it easy, being constantly aware of speed and stopping. I had made a list of about eight campgrounds along the coast, between one and a half and three hours' drive, and round 5:00pm, I approached the Megunticook by the Sea campground, which was one of two campgrounds in Maine with modem hookups. By the time I pulled in, however, the site phone hookups were taken, so I took the nearest site and set up camp.

Walked the Berts around the campground and noticed water between the dense treeds, but thought I'd explore it in the morning. Made my usual spaghetti dinner, organized, read and slept under the big feather comforter with the Berts.

9/27/00 - On to Portland, Maine

Woke up early to a bracing cold morning and walked quickly down to the ocean. Sunlight flared up from the water and I could hear the soft swooshing of water against the rocks. It would have been amazing to have a camp site by the ocean, but the only sounds lulling me to sleep last night were occasional cars swooshing across the highway, which did sound oddly similar to the ocean.

On the road by 8:30am so I wouldn't have to rush and worry about the brakes too much. Stopped at WalMart for a few things along the way. Had a lunch scheduled with women entrepreneurs from the Portland area at the Stone Coast restaurant.

Got lost on the way because the directions I was given by the restaurant were for if I was driving from the south into Portland instead of from the north down through Portland. So as I headed out of Portland toward New Hampshire, I realized I'd better turn around and suddenly their directions made sense. I always seem to have an interesting experience with directions - most people give them to you leaving out all the crucial details because they figure you must know them.

Arrived at the restaurant parking lot in time to get a good parking spot, and to make some phone calls, to change my clothes out of my trusty black running suit which I had purchased back in Richmond, Virginia at Target when visiting my sister - the same time I purchased the RV.

The lunch was great, talking about entrepreneurship with six women with interesting points of view. The whole thing had been arranged by a woman named Christina Merrill who worked at a company called ViA who I had met through a reporter in Boston who upon hearing that I was headed toward Maine said "You must meet Christina - she knows everyone in Maine." And she does!

Got the Berts out of the RV after lunch and headed to Christina's office up the block, did email, interviewed another woman entrepreneur - Meredith Burges - who is also a breast cancer survivor and very active in the awareness community. Then returned to the RV to find that the battery was dead.

Dead battery. My fault. I had been thinking all day "Remember to turn off the headlights. Remember to turn off the headlights." I was planning on making little stickers to put at strategic locations around the dash and door to remind me because when I would leave the headlights on, there was no alarm pinging like in the cars I've rented over the years. So inevitably, a nice person outside would say "Your lights are on." Then they'd probably look at my license plate and thing "Those folks from 'away' sure are dumb." ("Away" is the term those in Maine use to refer to anyone not from Maine.)

Anyway, I sure am dumb. I left the headlights on all afternoon and the battery was truly dead. So Christina took me to her house where I met her husband Christopher who took me back to the parking lot where he jumped the RV (with my spanking new jumper cables ordered from Then we drove back to the house where he happened to have a charger which he used to charge up the battery some more. Then he noticed my right headlight was out and ran to a parts store before it closed, returning with a new halogen bulb to fix the headlight. Wow!

With my limited cooking skills, honed by camping in the RV, I made spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner and the Berts had some of the meat mixed with barley, zucchinni and yellow squash. Oh right, I haven't yet mentioned what the Berts eat - not just on the road, but all the time. Grains, ground meat, and grated vegetables with powdered vitamin and mineral supplements. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't cook at all, but cooking for them has motivated me to cook for myself. And besides, they don't have delivery anywhere else like they do in New York City.

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