Seashore Striders take a break and RV it to Maine

July 12, 2013
Coach B Tim Bamforth morphs into RV Park campfire man.

It’s Wednesday evening, July 10. Time to crank out 1,000 words for my weekly running and racing column. The great thing about working for the Cape Gazette is that no matter where you are or what you're doing – the staff seems to get it done and the popular paper hits the streets on Tuesday and Friday. Whether you're Dennis Forney reporting from his bike trek across the country or Dave Frederick who could be sideline reporting at any lax tourney, field hockey game, college or pro football game, the job seems to get done.

This week I write to you in front of a campfire at Hadley’s Point Campground in Bay Harbor, Maine, as the Strider Series took a weekend off and I spend a 10-day vacation with my wife on the East Coast. We started early last Sunday morning following the Seashore Strider 5K & Woman’s Distance Festival event, as we headed for Woodward, Pa., where we dropped our boys off at a weeklong skate camp called Camp Woodward. We then pointed toward my home state of Massachusetts, home of the Boston Marathon, which is still very much on all runners’ minds. We wrapped up the long day in Marlboro, Mass., and drove a total of 620 miles in 13 hours. For not being a big long-distance driver, I was pretty impressed with the day I put in.

What is making the trip to New England interesting, exciting, occasionally nerve-racking and fun is the fact that we are making the trip in a 2012 Four Winds Class C 31-foot RV that we rented from the good people at Parkview RV in Smyrna. We have officially become RV’ers and are learning new things every day. I have to give thanks to Mike and Maryellen Morris, the Cape RV professionals, for their week of prepping me for the trip and making sure I fully understand things like electric hookups, water hookups, the slide outs, the awning, when to use gas and when to use electric, leveling the rig, the AC, 30 amp or 50 amp, the dos and don’ts of the generator, and the ever-important gray tank, and the even more important black tank – oh, and the latex gloves to wear.

It has been an adventure and I cannot stop thinking about all the Chevy Chase Vacation episodes that I don’t want to be compared to or the RV movie featuring Robin Williams.

Monday we got an early start and, in no time, we were in New Hampshire and then into the great state of Maine. We made camp at a place called Moody Beach, just over the line and just short of Portland, home to the great Portland Marathon.

My first time driving into a campground in something larger than a car and I learned that there are sites you pull into, sites you back into, and sites you pull through, which are soon to be my favorite. I listened as the park registration lady told me that I was to just drive around the campground and take whichever site I think I can fit into. I thought to myself,  “Wait a minute, what happened to assigning me a number to go to?” Off we went and within five minutes we lucked out and came upon a pull-through site right off the road and in one try I was able to pull in, line up all the hookups, and not one veteran camper on each side of me started laughing or pointing. It was like I won a 5K.

Tuesday we headed north to beautiful Bay Harbor and Acadia National Park, where we are spending a few days seeing one of the top 10 places in the United States to visit. Today we took a tour of the park, which was loaded with cyclists and hikers all taking different paths mostly to the top of several mountains. We also took a 3.5-mile hike around Jordan's Pond, climbing over narrow rocks along the way and walking on a mile-long boardwalk made out of tree timbers sliced in half. Our puppy, Little Mac, also made the hike and loved every bit of the adventure. The one thing we both commented on was the lack of runners in the area. The park has a 27-mile loop that would make for one of the hardest marathons ever run, but I am sure there is not a marathon on the park loop. There are a few popular races throughout the year in the area, like the big three: The Bar Harbor Half Marathon & 5K, The Mount Desert Island Marathon, and the Acadia National Park Half Marathon. One nice service in the Bay Harbor area is that they have a public transportation system that is free and supported by LL Bean. Five different routes run through the whole island taking visitors anywhere they want to go with buses running every 30 minutes. It was a great service and the whole system gets everyone around safely and keeps traffic to a minimum.

Maine is a state I have not been to since I was in elementary school and living in Watertown, Mass. It is the home to one of my favorite female distance runners, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic Marathon held back in 1984 in Los Angeles and the winner of the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983. I can still see Joan entering the stadium with her machine-like form and her little white hat.

We are not ready to purchase a new RV, but it’s been a fun trip and nice to see some beautiful parts of New England.

Upcoming races

8 a.m., Saturday, July 13, Fourth Kelly J. Fritchman Memorial 5K & Kiddie K, Lewes.

8 a.m., Sunday, July 14, 11th Jimmy’s Grille 5K, Dewey Beach.

7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 20, Sixth Race for the Ribbon 5K, Greene Turtle/Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach.

7:30 a.m., Sunday, July 21, 31st YMCA 5-Miler; Deauville Beach, Rehoboth Beach.