We have been preparing for this trip all summer. We are experimenting with van camping. You'd think this would be pretty straightforward. Stuff all your crap in your beloved van and drive off into one of life's grand adventures. Well…let's just say traveling in a van is not all sugar & spice.
First, there's what to bring, and how to pack it. Lisa and I have different ideas about what constitutes a want and a need. She thinks I would pack nothing but a big hunting knife and three matches. I think she needs a caravan of elephants to carry all the baggage. Then, there's how to pack the ship, where we want to go, reservations, etc, etc. After a summer of experiments with different supplies and packing techniques, I believe we're getting to the point of equilibrium and harmony. Now for the trip.
Our destination was Campobello, the vacation home of the Roosevelt family. After watching all 14 hours of Ken Burns’ documentary "The Roosevelts", a movie our good friend Margaret worked on, we decided to make the trip. At this point we have negotiated, bartered, planned, begged and whined to van happiness. We would leave our midcoast home and travel downeast, meandering peacefully up the coast to stay at Cobscook State Park.
One hitch, our new born child, "The Flame”, is demanding time and energy. The vacation is planned though. We can't just leave the newest member of the family abandoned at the house to await our return. The book is not a cat to be left with a bowl of crunchies and water. Here we were wanting a romantic getaway as van traveling nomads, and now we are carrying an emotional fifth wheel. We had to make some accommodations in our plans to placate the wants of the book.
This is where Stephen King comes in. What would be more inspiring to a new book than to visit one of the most popular writers in the world? Stephen lives in Bangor, Maine which was right on our way. Why not? The well known home was only a few minutes out of our way. His beautiful wrought iron gates would make a great backdrop for a photograph with the newborn. Pointing the wheels northeast we started our voyage. Well, that is after some Thai food, checking our e-mails, and responding to facebook and twitter.
Our trusty I-pad navigated us right to Stephen's. The home is on a broad street lined with shade trees and old well maintained houses. At this point, I started getting a little nervous. We don't know Mr. King. Our van with attached cargo box could be viewed with suspicion. I had visions of large burly men waiting to repel us like college protesters. Perhaps law enforcement officers, all too familiar with unwanted fans, would take us away.
None of this came to pass. We quietly parked near the house and quickly took a few pictures in front of the impressive gate. Driving off, we were exhilarated to have accomplished our goal. It was humbling to be on the hallowed grounds of one of the great American authors. I can only hope a little bit of magic might rub off on "The Flame".