Week 11: Address – Gettysburg

After getting our fill of bagels, pizza, and herds of tourists in NYC, we packed up our RV and began the quickest part of our trip: getting to San Antonio for our friends’ wedding.  Like the plot of a bad movie, we had exactly one month to make it to Texas, and we were about 2,100 miles away (as the RV drives).

These constraints required us to come up with an actual travel itinerary, which was a challenge.  For those who might not know, we are more or less incapable of planning ahead.  We were engaged for over three years before we finally had a wedding because it just seemed like it would be so much work.  (We were right!)  Well, although we grumbled a bit (read: a lot), and procrastinated a bit (ditto), we did eventually manage to pick a route to San Antonio. It consisted of 10 stops in cities, mountains, and beaches, and – spoiler alert – it worked! We made it to the wedding on time.

This blog post is about our first stop on this route: Dover, Pennsylvania.

Farm Country

Heather’s friend from college, Trisha, and her husband Greg graciously agreed to put us up for 2 nights at their house in Dover.  Dover is south of Harrisburg, in southern-central Pennsylvania, and relatively near to Amish farm country.  Trish and Greg live in a cool old farm house that Greg has been renovating beautifully over the years, situated on a plot of land big enough to amaze your humble recently-Manhattan-dwelling correspondents.

Our favorite part?  We met the friendly women who live next door, who were tossing some wicked Frisbee – hard, fast, accurate forehands and backhands, even a hammer, all the while running and jumping gracefully to snag the disc out of the air.  Here’s the fun part:  they were Mennonites, wearing traditional garb!  (Like this.)  Guess they’ve had a lot of time to practice while waiting for the crops to come in.

Speaking of crops:  Trish and Greg’s house is in some of the world’s greatest farmland, and although we visited a little after the summer peak, Trish’s garden was overflowing.   There were more tomatoes than any set of humans can eat, and Trish provided us with (required we take) a pint of some good ones when we left.  She also had approximately one gazillion jars of delicious homemade pickles in the fridge, which we were happy to help eat.

Their toddler-age daughter Kyla is following in her mother’s culinary footsteps, and at the time of our visit was baking a “cake” in the living room.  Sure, it was made of straws and popsicle sticks, but we’re confident the cake is going to turn out great.  At least once it’s finished baking – Kyla had been preventing anyone from touching it, or even going near it, for the previous several months.

Side note: the cake is in the exact center of the living room.

Four Score and Several Months Ago

We didn’t have much time to spend in the Dover area, but we did take a short drive down to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to explore some history for a day.  We really enjoyed it.  The new national museum at Gettysburg is a top-notch facility, featuring a gajillion artifacts from the battle, along with a film narrated by Morgan Freeman.  He should really narrate everything.

Our favorite part was the “Cyclorama” – a gigantic, 360-degree painting of the Battle of Gettysburg.  You stand inside of the Cyclorama on a raised platform, while they make sound effects and flashing lights to simulate musket fire.  It sounds much cheesier than it is.  The painting is beautiful, and tremendously, extraordinarily detailed; it’s the sort of thing you can stare at for a month and still find something new.

Apparently this style of painting used to be all the rage in the late 1800s, before there were movies and television sets and iPads.  On the one hand, it’s hard not to feel a certain nostalgia for the “simpler” days of giant circular paintings that take four years to create; on the other hand, you can’t even play Angry Birds on it, so, you know.  Kind of useless.

We also enjoyed the museum itself.  It was full of lots of interesting quotations, many along the lines of, “Yes, the Civil War was in fact about slavery.”  The negative reviews of the Gettysburg Address were also pretty entertaining:

Not everyone was a fan of the Gettysburg Address, apparently.

A photo posted by Jake and Heather (@nothingmundane) on

We also drove around the town and Gettysburg battlefield.  It’s definitely cool to stand in the same fields and hills where the battle took place, and the battlefield is absolutely studded with monuments to every group that fought there, both Union and Confederate.  There is something hard to capture about the experience.  “Pickett’s Charge” is famous as a heroic, doomed infantry march, but we couldn’t really understand it until we stood where it happened.

Turns out the Confederate army just walked across a mile-long, empty field, directly into the teeth of Union defenses and cannon fire.  “Charge” is misleading, since they weren’t even running (!), and it worked out about as well as you might expect.  Which is to say, the Confederate army was utterly crushed.

Next time, maybe a light jog would be in order?


What’s next:  Currently, we are still at Jake’s mom’s house in El Paso, Texas.  We replaced the floor of our RV! We’re working on the counters, faucets, and sinks next.

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Week 10: Hitting the Brakes in New York & New Jersey

The White and Green Mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont are quiet places, with lots of nature but not a lot of people.  For our next stop, we headed towards the complete opposite: New York City.  We made it in one piece, but the trip there was anything but easy.

All Hail the Storm King

Our first destination was the Storm King Art Center, a sculpture park about an hour north of New York City.  The drive was pretty rough, as the bucolic rolling hills of Vermont transitioned quickly into the construction zones and potholes of Troy and Albany, New York.  If you’ve never been to Troy, it’s basically the crackhead younger brother of Albany, which is not so nice to begin with.  The roads in Troy were in terrible condition, but if you need to pawn something or get a payday loan, we recommend checking it out.

Storm King was extremely cool, however.  It’s a huge park with numerous installations, including some truly gigantic pieces set in grassy fields.

It was a little less intimate than the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, but the scope is vast, and it features works by famous artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Maya Lin, Isamu Noguchi, Richard Serra, and many more.  Unfortunately, it was punishingly hot when we were there, but the upside is that almost nobody was around.  We may have seen more animals than people.

We’ve got pictures of some of our favorites below.  If you’re in the New York area, Storm King is well worth a look – it’s really spectacular, and you can take a bus from the city or drive in.  If we did it again, we would probably rent bikes (which you can do on-site), as the park is so big that we barely got to scratch the surface.

Also, we could have watched this sculpture do its thing all day long.

An Unexpected Side Trip

We left Storm King, which incidentally is the name of the town and not the local deity, and headed to a nearby Wal-Mart to stay for the evening – the same one we stayed at on our first night in our RV, in fact.  But when we got there, we found that our tow car smelled overwhelmingly of burned brakes – and to our amateur eyes, it seemed like the front brakes had been completely destroyed.

We’re still not completely sure what happened, but most likely there was a malfunction with the supplemental brake system installed in our tow car.  This is a big plastic box that sits in front of the driver’s seat in the tow car, and clamps onto the brakes.  When we push the brakes in the RV, the brake system is signaled to physically and proportionately push the brakes down in the tow car.  Considering the relative sizes and weights of the vehicles, this is kind of unnecessary, but we are required to have it installed under New York law.

The weird part of the brake system is that it’s not attached to anything.  It just sits in the driver’s side in front of the seat.  So what we think happened is that it rode slightly forward somehow and ended up pushing down on the brakes continuously, just a little tiny unnoticeable bit, maybe even for just the 13 miles we drove from Storm King to Wal-Mart.  This created enough heat to totally destroy the brakes – as the mechanic who replaced them said, “It’s not that your brakes were ground down.  It’s that they were burned to death in a pit of fire.”

Basically what happened to our brakes. (via GIPHY)

But the story of how we got to that mechanic is pretty crazy.   While examining the brakes, we found out the battery in the tow car was also dead, from the daytime running lights being on while the car was towed (we later disabled those).  Lacking jumper cables, we called for roadside assistance and asked the friendly responder about the brakes.  He agreed they seemed to be destroyed.  Then, without asking, he called a mechanic he knew who does auto repair work and had him buy replacement brakes, then told us to follow him over to get them fixed.  Now, it was dusk and we had had a long day, plus we were already at a place that fixes brakes (Wal-Mart).  Also, according to Google Maps, the place was 45 minutes away – but the responder insisted it would be only 15 minutes, and peer-pressured us into following him there.

Of course, it actually was 45 minutes away, through deep darkness on actual mountain roads – the route went around the peak of Bear Mountain.  It was terrifying driving, especially since we were pretty new to driving with the tow car.  Driving the RV at night is always scary anyway – it just doesn’t have the ability to stop like a normal car, so the lack of visibility is stressful.  When you’re hauling a car with no brakes up and around steep, curvy, and completely unfamiliar roads, to an unknown mechanic who you are starting to worry may be planning to rob you, the stress level is… heightened.

Even our cool hat didn’t make us feel better. (via GIPHY)

But we did eventually make it!  At 9 p.m.  And the mechanic was good, cheap, and fast, and he didn’t try to rob us even once – although he only accepted cash, and was located in a locked, gated business park in an extremely sketchy area.  He actually offered to let us sleep in the RV outside his shop overnight, but we saw a few too many “ladies of the night” around for that to be an attractive offer.  Although, according to the mechanic, it was safe because “the cops drive down here constantly…”

Alone at Last

After staying at a different Wal-Mart than the one we intended, we finally made it to our campground for the week – Voorhees State Park in New Jersey.  Because these were apparently our unluckiest 24 hours, this park – right near the interstate – turned out to be basically on top of a mountain.  After twisting and turning our way up there, Google Maps attempted to send us under a very low bridge that would have ripped off our roof.  Luckily we noticed and turned off in time, and the path we then took happened to be the only reasonable way there.

Narrowly avoided this fate.

The campground itself was nothing special, but there was something special about it:  it was totally deserted.  The bathrooms were closed for construction and there were no other hookups, and apparently, everyone else just stayed away.   At times, we were the only people in the entire park, which has at least 80 camp sites.  Of course, staying by ourselves in a place which shares a name with the killer from Friday the 13th – and which has active bear warnings – was a little unsettling, but frankly, we weren’t really staying there either.  We just needed a quiet place to park our RV while we headed in to “The City” for Labor Day weekend, and Voorhees was great for that.  No hockey mask required.

You can see our motorhome in the back if you look closely, and… nothing else.

Eating Our Way Through The Big Apple

As former New York City residents, we didn’t do much touristy stuff while we were there, instead taking the chance to see friends and eat some great food.  Our friend Brian and his girlfriend Kim put us up, and put up with us, for the weekend, and we got to revel in the decadence of 24 hour grocery stores and Seamless.com.  We even made the trek all the way to Brooklyn for Smorgasburg, a giant weekly food fair, which is always horribly crowded but incredibly delicious.  We ate way too much, way too fast, and paid way too much for it (lousy NYC…), but it was awesome.

We also had lunch with Jake’s Dad, and met up with a lot of old friends and some old co-workers.  We also got to have some wholesome family fun with the Browns again (of Maine fame).  We rode the carousel with Kaia (and our friend, Alex), and smashed some blocks with Captain Rhea.  All in all, it felt a little bit more like home than we expected – although we’re still unsure whether it will be our next home.

Penultimate Bits

Speaking of old friends, on our last night in New Jersey we stopped by to visit Jake’s college roommate, Mike, and his wife and two young kids.  They were cute!  But we forgot to take pictures.

We also got lost in a strip mall parking lot where almost none of the roads actually lead out – the New Jersey version of a hedge maze.  The legends say that on a moonless night, you can still see the ghosts of dead shoppers trying to make their way out at Christmas.

This is probably what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.


What’s next:  Currently, we are staying at Jake’s mom’s house in El Paso, Texas, where the wifi flows like water, which incidentally also flows freely.  There are some benefits to houses that never move!  We are doing some heavy renovations to the interior of our RV, so stay tuned.

Obligatory social media self-promotion:  If you want to follow along and you haven’t yet, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@NothingMundane) and/or Instagram (NothingMundane) to make sure you get all the updates.  We literally feed on your love.

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Week 9.5: Taking Vermont In

We had such a good time in New Hampshire’s White Mountains that we decided to head to Vermont’s Green Mountains next, in the southwestern corner of the state.  Whereas the White Mountains felt remote, the Green Mountains were merely quiet, with working cell towers and a demographic best described as “technocratic hippie brewers.”  It was as delightful as that sounds (at least to us), and there was even a tiny house manufacturer right outside our campground!

The campground we stayed at was run by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is kind of cool, but the campground was really just a giant field with RVs parked in it. A nicely manicured, well maintained field, but a field nonetheless, and it offered zero privacy from our neighbors.

During our stay, we decided to do some RV maintenance; namely, checking out the condition of the roof, and sealing some small cracks along a few wall seams with silicon.  While Jake was outside prepping, he was approached by one of our older neighbors, and had our first conversation with a seasoned, full time RVer!  He told us about the stuff we should have bought for the cracks, and then just started listing all of his ailments and their accompanying medical treatment (this was lengthy). Overall the conversation was a 10/10; would have again.

Although, as introverts, of course we haven’t.

West River Trail

After accomplishing “interact with another camper,” it seemed like a good time to go on a quiet hike. And it was quiet; we only ran into one other person during the three hours we were hiking. The hike was on the West River Trail, which follows, you guessed it, the West River.

The hike was beautiful,with a rocky river, colorful meadows, and, as advertised, green mountains. We also saw some of the first signs on autumn on a few trees.

The trial was flanked by insanely tall pine trees, which we tried to capture in the picture below. Deep into the woods, we also spotted a wild barrel, far from its natural habitat.

Jake went in to investigate the barrel closer. It was labeled “gasoline,” but all we could think of was the below clip from the Simpsons. Now, we’re not saying that a leaking toxic barrel is the reason that the trees are so tall, but we will say that the closest nuclear power plant is only about 40 miles away.

No laser-eyed squirrels were seen on our hike, unfortunately.  Also, we learned how to make gifs!

After contemplating the contents of the barrel, we continued on our hike to Angel Falls, where we stopped to have a little picnic before heading back to the campground.

Mmm… Beer

We spent our final day in Vermont exploring the nearby town of Manchester.  Manchester is a cute, historic town near the Bromley and Stratton Ski Resorts, and it was full of shops and restaurants wishing desperately that it was tourist season.  Since we are suckers for clever names, we stopped for some appetizers and drinks at The Other Woman Tavern, directly above The Perfect Wife Restaurant. They had a delicious Hot Indian Curry and Goat Cheese Dip with eggplant fries, which really hit the spot for our Indian food craving.  (God, we miss you Bhatti!)

They also had a special beer by Long Trail, only available at this restaurant, called “That’s What She Said.”

It certainly left us satisfied and smiling.

After leaving Manchester, we made a quick stop at Grandma Miller’s Pies, and by quick stop we mean Heather abruptly turned in as soon as she saw the sign like she was in a Cathy cartoon. After filling up with strawberry rhubarb pies and peanut butter squares, we headed back to the campground to prepare for our next stop, New York City and the Deep Wilds of New Jersey.


What’s next:  Currently, we are on our last night in Marfa, Texas, looking at art and recovering from a beautiful but dehydrating trip to Big Bend National Park.  Tomorrow we head to El Paso, where we’ll be for a while.

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Week 9: Old Friends, New Hampshire

After escaping the beautiful, boot-ravaged state of Maine, we headed to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  This area, which is in the northern part of New Hampshire, is serenely beautiful, exceedingly mountainous, and adverbly remote.  It was a great place to meet up with some friends and curse the lack of cell service.

Tow Town

Our first stop in New Hampshire was a Camping World located in Conway, New Hampshire.  If you’re not familiar with Camping World, they sell everything relating to RVs, including all sorts of nifty RV gadgets, and they also sell and service RVs themselves.  We had an 8 a.m. appointment at Camping World to get the tow equipment we bought online installed on our tow car.  Basically, there is a plate that attaches under the front of the car, with hooks for the tow bar to grab onto, and then there is wiring to make sure that the brake lights in the car light up when you press on the brakes in the motorhome, etc.

We knew it would be a long job, so we wanted to get there right on time.  Unfortunately, the road to Conway stopped being a road about 15 miles outside the town:  construction crews were resurfacing the roadway, which meant they had removed the entire road surface, and so a fairly major state highway became a one-lane dirt path composed, entirely, of potholes.

No time to worry about that:  we had a schedule to keep.  Jake plowed ahead in the RV as quickly as he dared, and Heather got to watch from the car behind as the entire motorhome was shaken like a Polaroid picture.  It was a little like riding a mechanical bull while wearing a backpack full of your pint glasses, and the second-most harrowing drive we’ve had on our trip so far.  (We’ll get to the worst in about 3 more blog posts.)

But we made it in the end, nearly all breakable items intact, and the cheerfully incompetent Camping World employees were able to get our tow equipment installed in only 4 hours more than they estimated.  Boom!  Tow car activated.

Friendly Fire

It was twilight by the time we finally made it out from Camping World, and we headed to our home for the weekend, Dry River Campground.  We met up at the campground with friends of ours from Boston, Kate and Matt, the only people so far brave enough to meet us somewhere dark and secluded.  Being outdoorsy, at least for former Manhattan residents, they slept in a tent outside while we stayed in our RV.  Now, one of the Kate and Matt duo is pregnant; we won’t tell you which one, but yes, that person slept in a sleeping bag on the ground while we cuddled up in our comfortable bed in our RV, which also has a bathroom and a refrigerator.

We have no regrets about this, which we assume toughened up the baby somehow.  We just thought you should know.

Anyway, we had a great time hanging out despite the inequality (check your sleep privileges, America!), and got to enjoy a pretty beautiful part of the United States for the weekend.  We hiked up Mt. Washington, except replace “hiked” with “drove,” and the views from the top were spectacular.  It’s so ridgy!

Here’s some trivia:  Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast, and infamous for it’s erratic and dangerous weather – the official record low is −50 °F.  The winds are insane; until very recently, the weather station at the top of Mt. Washington held the record for the highest wind speed ever recorded (231 mph).  According to the “Extreme Mount Washington Museum,” during the winter, researchers have to continuously clear off supercooled rime ice from the instruments, which actually is super cool unless you’re the one doing it.

In other words, don’t go to Mt. Washington in the winter.  During our visit in late August, it was mostly clear, with bright blue skies and a temperature of about 60 degrees.  As the clouds started to roll in, we made a hasty retreat.

We ended up on a short hike somewhere with a lower altitude: the lovely and lush Thompson Falls.  Brace yourself for lots of pictures of climbing on rocks.

After we got our fill of scrambling over rocks and tromping through nature, we headed back to our campsite. Unfortunately, the guys had to leave our evening campfire, for an extremely important and legitimate reason:  Fantasy Football.  You see, Dry River Campground is located in the middle of a national forest, in the mountains, in a remote part of New Hampshire.  We have been able to get cellular service through our Verizon hotspot or AT&T phone in literally every other place we’ve ever stayed.  But the one time we actually needed it, we couldn’t get even the whisper of a signal, which meant that instead of drinking beers and drafting around a campfire, Jake and Matt had to drive to a ski resort hotel, where they still drank beer but which had no campfire.   (We’re pretty sure the vacationing teenage girls at the hotel were impressed by the two bearded 30-somethings with stacks of paper and multiple electronic devices each, though.)   The draft was bizarrely held at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, so some camping time was missed, but at least they still made it back in time for some s’mores.

Meanwhile, the girls stayed behind to tend to the fire, and had the pleasure of listening in to our neighbors’ extremely loud conversations.  The neighbors were on a “mancation” (“sausage weekend” must have been taken), and built themselves a gigantic bonfire so they could see while they played the card game Asshole.  They also cursed like… well, like assholes.

Way to represent the gender, fellas.

That was it for our short but sweet adventures in New Hampshire, and the next morning, we packed up to head to Vermont.  Matt and Kate, ever the outdoorspersons, went hiking before they headed back to Boston.  We… did not.


What’s next:  Currently, we are in Marfa, Texas, a desert town with a population of 2,000, taking a weeklong break from travel and cranking out some blog posts.  Next up is El Paso, where we look forward to mooching off of Jake’s mom.

Obligatory social media self-promotion:  If you want to follow along and you haven’t yet, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@NothingMundane) and/or Instagram (NothingMundane) to make sure you get all the updates.  9 out of 10 social media doctors recommend it!

Shamefully missed a prior post?  You can check them out below, but be warned:  we can’t keep coddling you forever.


Week 8.2: Maine, Part 2: The ReMaineder

Hey friends!  We’re back with the rest of our trip through Maine, or as some prefer to call it, “The L.L. Bean State.”  After parting company with the Browns, we headed up the coast towards Acadia National Park.  Acadia is ridiculously photogenic, so brace yourself: a million photos are loading. We hope you have a decent internet speed.

The Road to Acadia

Before we get to the eye candy, let’s talk about the drive through Maine and RV driving routes.  We quickly discovered on our trip that while we all know and love Google Maps, it isn’t that great for RV driving. Google always wants to send us down impossibly narrow or hilly roads instead of major highways, just to save about 16 seconds.  It also has no mode or understanding of RV- (and truck-) specific problems like restricted roads, and once attempted to send us under a railroad bridge that would have sheared the top off of our motorhome.  Luckily, we noticed the low height of the bridge in time, and were able to quickly change course.  (If you’re curious, our RV is 11’6″, which is fine for almost all bridges.)

Losing the roof to our motorhome would obviously not be ideal, especially since that’s where the air conditioner lives.  We frequently use an alternative app called RV Smart Route, which has a database of low bridges, restricted roadways, and even narrow or hilly roads, so it plots safe courses.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t route around traffic, and it can sometimes be way too conservative – it will make you drive 2 hours out of the way to avoid 30 seconds of unpleasantness, for example.  So if the RV route looks absurd, we’ll switch to Google Maps.

All of this is a lead-up to how we found ourselves ignoring RV Smart Route and listening to Google Maps on the way to Acadia, a decision which directly contributed to hurtling around narrow, twisting, mountainous 1-lane roads in the rain.  In retrospect, maybe we should have taken the much safer recommended route – but hey, we saved sixteen seconds!

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has been one of the coolest places we’ve seen on our trip so far. Acadia is a huge park built on land donated by the Rockefellers, and it is like a ski resort for hiking and biking – there are trails everywhere, heading up some of the numerous small mountains or through pristine wilderness, and they all connect to each other. There is also a parkway which goes around the edge of the park, with beautiful vistas and picnic areas to pull off.  We were confused by this at the time, but have since found quite a few “national parks” that are really just roads; it’s such a good thing America doesn’t have a problem with obesity.

We stayed on Mt. Desert Island, where Acadia is located, at Seawall Campground, which is on the very southern edge of the island.  It is near an eponymous sea wall, which could be pretty except for the fact that it is almost always shrouded in fog.  Of course, the only time the fog lifted was when we were headed somewhere else and had no time to stop.  Ah well – at least we were able to take some album cover style pictures!  Now we just need to figure out how to make an album…

Acadia Loop Road

The weather was glorious for our first full day in Acadia, which we mostly spent driving around on the loop road and taking in all the sights.  There are miles and miles of (extremely rocky) coastline, mountains, a nature center, a carriage house (?), and just so many pretty views.  We took about 400 pictures, but Heather heroically narrowed them down to just the below gallery for your viewing pleasure.

Jordan Pond

After driving the loop road, we went hiking around the crazily picturesque Jordan Pond. Although the Jordan Pond hike is pretty flat, there was a long portion of it that was simply scrambling over rocks, maybe just for the challenge. The other portion of the hike required balancing on a narrow, raised wood platform, which was pretty simple, until you had to pass  hikers coming from the other direction. Our athletic balance beam walking, combined with the sunny, warm weather, resulted in us being pretty sweaty when we finished the 3.3 mile hike, which is perfect because the end of the trail leads to a swanky restaurant.

Now, everything we ever saw about this restaurant, the Jordan Pond Tea House, indicated that there would be popovers and that we could eat them.  So that was our plan: hike trail, eat popovers.  Ingenious in its simplicity, really.  Unfortunately, the popovers were a lie.  Worse, the restaurant was way too fancy for the likes of us, and we and the other gross folks were shooed away to a gift shop selling trail mix and candy bars, and no popovers.

Whatever – we didn’t need your food anyway, Jordan Pond restaurant! (Except the trail mix and candy bars. We bought all of those immediately.)  Jordan Pond pond, you were pretty, so we’re still bros.

The Beehive

On our second day, we decided to tackle the Beehive Trail, which is a moderate-level hike that goes up a mountain using iron rungs, ladders, and even a metal walkway. That was a pretty awesome hike!  Unfortunately, it was insanely foggy, so the normally picturesque views looked like the inside of a cloud. Here’s what it could have looked like, courtesy of Flickr user tourtrophy:

Beehive View

And here’s what it actually looked like:

At least we got some cool action shots (see gallery below).  Incidentally, this all felt pretty badass at the time, until, at the top, we encountered people from the other direction coming down the trail with their dog.  Bringing a dog backwards down the trail definitely seemed like a terrible idea to us given all the metal ladders and rails, but as we watched, the dog trotted past us, casually leaped down about 8 feet onto a narrow rock walkway without slowing down, and then just kept going, around the bend and out of sight.  Well played, dog – THAT was badass.

The Beehive Trail at Acadia – leaving the path is not recommended! #acadia A photo posted by Jake and Heather (@nothingmundane) on

Miscellaneous Acadia Adventures

Included here for the sake of thoroughness, but these items don’t really deserve their own headings.  They were subheading-level adventures, at best.

Bar Harbor The weather was awful again on our third and final day in Acadia, so we traveled into Bar Harbor, the town next to Acadia. Bar Harbor is a cute town, and we had the most incredible lobster bisque of our lives at a local gastropub, the Finback Alehouse. We’re still daydreaming about it. (Their blue label burger and clam chowder were pretty damn good too). We relaxed, drank some beers, and cranked out a blog post. (This one.) There are many worse ways to spend an afternoon.

A Crappy Lighthouse Bass Lighthouse near our campground seemed totally legit:  it was marked on the map, had a big parking lot, and even had restroom facilities.  But it turned out just to be a lighthouse.  You can’t even go inside!  All you can do there is walk up, say some version of “is this it?”, and then wander back to your car, slightly angrier than before.


The kind of day that lighthouses live for. #acadia


A photo posted by Jake and Heather (@nothingmundane) on

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain is actually pretty great.  Cadillac is the tallest point in the area, and you can drive or hike up for amazing sunsets.  We drove up, and the view was great, and the sunset as glorious as advertised.  Unfortunately, because we were taking photos directly into the sun, none of our pictures captured it as well as we’d hoped.  Guess you’ll just have to trust us that this was cool.


Acadia marked the easternmost point of our epic road trip.  (The northernmost point was a Chipotle we stopped at in Bangor, Maine.) After Acadia, the “real” trip began, where we started traveling to a lot of different places, quickly. We were headed to New Hampshire next, so we stopped for the night in Freeport, Maine, home of the famous and inexplicably huge L.L. Bean Store, which Heather had never seen.

How to describe the Bean store?  Well, first off, imagine a lot of flannel.  No, no, MUCH more than that.  No matter how much you love flannel, you do not love it as much as L.L. Bean does.  Now add in ugly but functional winter boots, a mix of high-end camping and hunting, taxidermied animals, and a trout pond, and make it as big as 5 Wal-Marts.  Then place it in a state so barren of people that the store itself becomes the most interesting thing within 100 miles.

The economics of all of this are highly questionable, but it seems to work for them.  Oh, and there’s a rather large boot.

After paying our respects to the boot, we headed off to meet our friends Matt and Kate for some hiking in New Hampshire.  Stay tuned.

Last Bits

What’s next:  Currently, we are in San Antonio, Texas, hanging out with some friends and rehabbing Jake’s recently (and inexplicably) sprained knee.  We’re headed west to El Paso, with stops currently scheduled for the Caverns at Sonora, Texas, the crazy art town of Marfa, and Big Bend National Park (knee permitting).

Obligatory social media self-promotion:  If you want to follow along and you haven’t yet, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@NothingMundane) and/or Instagram (NothingMundane) to make sure you get all the updates.  We are happy to report that doing so is now less likely than ever to result in placement on the no-fly list.

Shamefully missed a prior post?  You can check them out below, as long as you feel appropriately guilty.



Week 8.1: Maine, Part 1

Hey friends!  We are writing this from Austin, Texas, which is pretty entertaining since the blog post is about Maine.  We may be slightly behind on our writing. Since our adventures in Maine, we have driven the RV something like 3,000 miles.  The RV gets an extremely efficient 7.5 mpg, so the gas cost was… not something we are going to calculate.  It’s been pretty busy, at least for people who don’t have jobs.

While we may be behind on our blog posts, there is no need to fear, dear reader.  We are still committed to delivering high-quality, low-punctuality travel blogging. We were just feeling a little burned out.  Like Jack Donaghy, we needed a vacation from our vacation.  (We’re sure your sympathy levels are high.)  Luckily, we’ve now crossed off the one and only item on our schedule – the lovely wedding of Danny and Rose! So now we are about to slow our roll.  The many, many people who have told us to write more blog posts can expect a slight uptick in blogging productivity as a result.

OK, enough from Texas.  Back to Maine.

Tired Out

So there I was (I = Jake), driving from Massachusetts to Maine in the motor home all by myself.  Heather drove behind me in our car, since we didn’t have the towing equipment for our car yet.  We had just sailed through New Hampshire and crossed into Maine, and I was blasting out some tunes, as four hours of being cut off by Massholes that have no idea I could COMPLETELY CRUSH THEIR CAR takes its toll.  At some point, the back right tire of the RV goes flat, and I am completely oblivious.  Note there are two rear tires on each side of the RV, so it’s not as obvious one is flat as it would be in a car.

Of course, the flat is obvious to Heather, as she can see all of this happening.  She flicks her lights at me, but it was the middle of the day, and I can’t really see behind me anyway.  She honks, but my windows are closed, and please see above re: tune-blasting.  She calls several times, but my phone is on vibrate and does not alert me.  This could be bad.

Luckily, I happened to decide at this moment pull off at a rest stop. Heather thought I finally caught one of her signals, but I just wanted to get some lunch.  Specifically Popeye’s, which usually makes me instantly regret my life choices.  But not this time!  Like an extremely salty fried chicken lighthouse, Popeye’s guided me to safety before any serious damage was done.  

Then we had this conversation:

Me, hopping out of the RV:  “Hey, looks like the tire is flat.  Why didn’t you tell me??”


The tire was destroyed, but we had a spare.  However, it turned out the spare was unremovable, even by the roadside assistance guy, since it had essentially rusted to the frame of the motorhome.  So we carefully drove over to a nearby tire place, and we learned that the spare was the original spare tire from June 2001.

Since I prefer my spare tires to be a little newer than the date of my high school graduation, we ended up with two new tires.  We purchased the “unnecessary extended warranty” on these under the theory that Murphy’s Law guarantees they will now never, ever have issues – so far, so good.

On to the Brown Compound!

Brown Compound

Our flat tire adventure set us back a few hours, but we made it to our destination, the Brown Compound, just after the sun had set.  We were headed to the main house, which is on a private road off of a semi-remote cul-de-sac, with only handmade signs to mark the correct road.  Being idiots, we of course drove down a road that “felt right” rather than bothering to read all the signs with a flashlight.  This decision worked out beautifully, assuming “beautifully” means “frantically and repeatedly turning around an RV in a narrow forest road owned by strangers in the dark.”  Which, come to think of it, it usually does not.

The Brown Compound is so called (informally) because our friends and their family, the Browns, own a group of summer houses in the area right next to one another.  The legend goes that the first and biggest house was won in a classic fiddle duel with the devil.  The rest were won in a less-classic recorder duel with the devil’s young nephew, but hey, fair is fair.  Of course, we made all of that up, but they’re pretty sweet legends, so think about it, Browns!

Anyway, we had a great time hanging out at the Compound, and the Browns were fantastic hosts.  It was our first time sleeping in a real bed since we started our trip, and we even got some surprisingly good cheesesteaks from a man in a trailer at the end of their road.  (Not as shady as it sounds.)  We played shuffleboard, which was possibly improved by the fact that their dog Reggie kept trying to bite the pucks as we slid them – only got hit once! – and Jake even made friends with a dragonfly.

The highlight of the visit was heading out on the Browns’ boat, Todaro, which to our knowledge has no devil-related acquisition backstory.  Captain Rhea and First Mate Dan were steady hands at the helm, and we saw live lobsters in a tank, followed by about a million seals on the aptly-named “Seal Island.”

We finished the outing off with some lobstah rolls overlooking the bay.  It’s the kind of day that we could happily repeat many times, especially since we didn’t pay for any of the gasoline for the trip.

Oh, and we also saw this amazingly-named boat.

It was a great time with the Browns.  Thanks guys!!


Sorry about that pun.  Not to make promises we don’t intend on keeping, although that is exactly what this is, we promise our post covering the rest of Maine will be available soon.  It is mostly just about Acadia, but there will also be Chipotle and a giant boot, so please be prepared appropriately.

Last Bits

What’s next:  Currently, we are in Austin, Texas, keeping weird and working on shamefully old blog posts.  Next up:  Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Obligatory social media self-promotion:  If you want to follow along and you haven’t yet, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@NothingMundane) and/or Instagram (NothingMundane) to make sure you get all the updates.  Do you hear us?  All.


Week 8: Womp, Womp


When we last left off, we were at Scusset Beach near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, complaining about Plymouth Rock.  Well, the following week, we headed to Wompatuck, another state park just south of Boston. Wompatuck is an interesting place – it used to be an World War II munitions factory and storage area, but most of the buildings were since torn down, and a forest arose in its place.

Wompatuck today is heavily wooded, but there are echoes of its former life scattered throughout the park:  heavy gates in front of roads to nowhere, an abandoned train transfer station, and the occasional fire hydrant in the middle of the woods.  In places, even the campground itself was abandoned – we found many neglected campsites and bathhouses being slowly overtaken by the forest.

Perhaps it was built too large, or perhaps it has something to do with what we just discovered while writing this post – Wompatuck is an active Superfund  site with potentially unexploded ordnance in the soil.  That would have been good information to known before we went exploring!  Nonetheless, the park was quite beautiful in some places, and hopefully disarmed.

Though the park was lovely, what we will remember most from Wompatuck are the bunkers.  Made of heavy concrete and built into the hills, there were bunkers sprinkled throughout the park and all along the hiking trails.  Always, the concrete exterior was covered with graffiti, sometimes quite artistically, sometimes much less so.  Given the number of empty beer bottles and condom wrappers at these sites, one might charitably call these bunkers “multi-use.”

The exception to the graffiti-clad bunkers was Bunker N-9, which is locked and painted a pristine eggshell white by local Boy Scouts.  The accompanying plaque suggests the bunker used to hold anti-submarine nuclear depth charges, which… first of all, the concept is preposterous (we actually first learned about these at the Groton Sub Museum), and second of all, Wompatuck seems pretty freaking close to Boston to be holding nuclear weapons.  Oh well – no harm, no foul?

Also, we found a beer bottle Christmas tree thing someone apparently set up in the woods, which is one great reason to only hike during the daytime.

World’s End

After a few hikes, Wompatuck State Park was starting to feel a little bombed out, so we headed to a nearby park called World’s End.  Located in Hingham, Massachusetts, World’s End is right on the water and features beautiful views of the Boston skyline.  It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who famously designed Central Park.  Fun fact:  once you start paying attention, you will see that FLO (as he preferred to be known) also apparently designed every other damn park on the East Coast, and possibly the world.

Either way, the park was pretty, and also it was very, very hot.  Friends, don’t start your road trip adventures in the middle of summer.

[New Orleans]

While we were staying at Wompatuck, Jake flew to New Orleans for a bachelor party.  There are only two shareable photos from that particular event – a real-life bar wench serving absinthe, and an interesting real estate marketing pitch.  We’ll “officially” be in New Orleans soon, though, so more pictures will certainly be forthcoming.

Happily, Heather was able to make friends with a dragonfly while Jake was gone.  She also reupholstered our couch, which will feature in our RV video tour as soon as we get around to making it.  (Given our current pace of updates, that should be no later than 2018.)


Just kidding!  We never actually got to see downtown Boston, although we’ve both been there before.  We did visit some friends in the area, and we did curse at the crazy Masshole driving, but we had to scrap our scheduled sightseeing to do something much more fun:  visit the DMV.

You may recall that we recently purchased a new car.  Well, it wasn’t the fastest process, starting with insurance: we were rejected by our existing insurance company (which insures the RV) because they could not “verify our identity.”  Apparently not an issue before!  We ended up getting different insurance, but because we bought the car in Rhode Island and are New York residents, we had to drive 3.5 hours across the state of Massachusetts to register the car in New York.

OK, fine.  It’s not like we have jobs we have to go to.  However, once we got to the New York DMV, we found out that the dealership had not actually given us any of the paperwork we needed, or even properly transferred the title!  So we had to drive back to the dealership in Rhode Island, drive half an hour away, discover they still hadn’t given us the proper paperwork, return to the dealership, and then drive back to Wompatuck.  And the next day, instead of sightseeing in Boston and dinner with our friends, we had to drive another 3.5 hours to New York State and back, bringing the grand total to something like 15 hours of driving across Massachusetts in two days.

Womp, womp.

If that explanation confused you, which it probably did since it even confuses us, here’s the short version:  it took forever.  And if we sound bitter at the dealership, it’s only because we hate them.

Last Bits

What’s next:  Currently, we are in Charleston, South Carolina, enjoying some Southern hospitality (and air conditioning) and celebrating Heather’s birthday!  Next up:  Savannah, Georgia.

Obligatory social media self-promotion:  If you want to follow along and you haven’t yet, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@NothingMundane) and/or Instagram (NothingMundane) to make sure you get all the updates.  Remember:  only social media followers are eligible for our super-secret, totally-real special prizes!