The Maine Trip

This page was last edited 10/21/02

September 10th-26th, 1999


We're leaving for Scarborough, ME (Bayley's RV Camping) on the 10th, where some good friends (Roger and Jackie Schramm) of ours are work camping.  On the way... we're taking our good friends Daryl and Connie with us and going to see what the chocolate is like in Hershey, PA (Hershey's Chocolate World) on the way, along with some BBQ (Muddy River BBQ) in Portsmouth, NH.  Going to visit friends and relatives in Geneseo, IL.(Geneseo Campground) then come back through Indian Cave State Park, NE.  We're obviously not going to be around for the September 191 campout.  But we'll be the same place a week later.    And now the whole story...

Started late on the 10th for our trip to Maine.  Daryl and Connie had come over in the AM and the motorhome was loaded and ready to go by Carol, Connie, and Daryl.  We traveled to Geneseo, IL the first night and got in late since I had worked 'til 3 PM.   Had our site ready and waiting at Geneseo Campground.  The sites were laid out excellently and we had full hookups available with 50 Amp available.  An oddity I had not seen but would soon see a lot of was the power meter on the individual box.

Site Meter

Even the dog has a day!

Meters Long Term Stays

Have you seen it all yet?

Apparently folks that stay a long time get a better rate when they pay for the electricity as used.  Short term people still get a base rate with services included.   And things got a little doggy next door.  The dogs, as you can see, had their own cabana.  They also had a pen area with steps up into the storage area of their 5th wheel.  That led to a 'flap' type door for them to enter the 5th wheel.
We decided to spend two nights there so we could visit my cousin Dave Rash, a Geneseo Veterinarian and his wife Louise.  Went to the city cemetery and visited the grave of Dave's sister Helen Madge, and father Milton Rash.  Ate dinner Saturday evening at 'The Cellar', a fine restaurant in Geneseo.  Being a small town, everyone knows everyone.  It is pleasant to visit such a place.  Not sure I'd want to live under the watchful eye of 'everyone'. <grin>
We left Geneseo on Sunday and drove to just north of Cleveland, Ohio.  We stayed the night at Heritage Hills Campgrounds, Thompson, Ohio.  There was a gate to let us in and the campground had several lakes.  It was one of the biggest individual sites we stayed in.  Had full hookups and everyone was nice.  Had a lot of permanent residents in the park.   There were many 'full-timbers' interspersed with what was supposed to be the RV daily campers.  (A pet-peeve of mine.)  Let me clarify that by saying that there are folks that have a nice clean rig and perhaps a couple of lawn chairs who are full-timbers... and then there are the folks that are trying to take a run at the 'trash king' title by having every kind of crap they can find around their RV..
Next area of interest was Erie, PA and Presque Isle State Park.  We drove around the Isle and saw the sites, including a lighthouse beach.  In Erie we went to the bi-centennial tower and up to the top of it.  Quite a view of the lake.  The Maritime Museum was right there with the US Brig Niagara docked.  Work was in progress for winterization and moving to Philadelphia for the next years' display.  We learned a lot about the War of 1812 and the battles that took place on Lake Erie.
Our next big stop was a late one at Niagara Falls... and after my wife kept telling me it was only the mist from the falls that I was feeling, I convinced her it was actually a downpour.  We got soaking wet but enjoyed seeing the falls at night and getting wet.   We should have taken the 180 freeway into the Falls rather than following the signs to Niagara Falls and going 280 and then through town.  What a mess.  I was not impressed with the area.  It was built up to excess for the tourist.  What is it my daughters say?... gag me with a spoon!  Here's a little extra info on the falls. <Niagara Falls>
Stayed the night at Timberline Lake Park Camping, Leroy, NY.  The owners were nice enough.  It was late when we got there and the directions to a site were virtually non-existent.  There were no night registration forms since "it was raining and they just get all wet".  Met the owners in the morning when we checked in and out at the same time.  Hooked up to their electric only.  Showers were coin-operated and pretty much a homemade deal.  Not my pick for keeping customers.  And certainly not a value.  We passed.  Campsites were virtually unimproved field settings with a power box and a water line sticking up here and there.   The power boxes were in a state of disrepair and some had damaged plug-ins.   There were a spattering of obviously more permanent dwellers with the attendant trash.
Next on the agenda was of course Scarborough, Maine...  where we pulled in around 8 PM after a long day's drive.  We were immediately able to go to our site next to Roger and Jackie.  What a nice campground we were in.  Bayley's RV Camping was well equipped with three swimming pools, three hot tubs, a game room, double-decker tour bus for the area and a little store to keep you up on necessities.  A mile east and you're in the Atlantic Ocean and a mile west and you're in a very beautiful heritage filled area.  A little travel up and down the coast between Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME and we had all anyone could expect to see in the time available.  The girls liked the antique stores we found.  There were more than any normal human could ever stop and see in a month... let alone 5 days.
One of the highlights was the stop at Kennebunkport, ME.    We went out to Walker's Point (Kennebunkport) and saw the Bush home.    A really majestic setting to say the least.  We had an excellent seafood medley for dinner at Allison's Restaurant in Kennebunkport.  Came back another day to hit all the shops when it wasn't quite so rainy and it was getting late.  We travel off-season and there were quite a few 'bargains' to be had in the shops.  A little later and many will be closing for the winter.
Spent a lot of time on the beachfront.  Pine Point, Old Orchard Beach, Ferry Park, Ocean Park,  Scarborough Beach Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth and Portland Harbor were among the stops.  We ate lobster at the Dunstan School Buffet (I've linked the Maine Restaurant Association).
Antiques were a sure bet for the girls to get some shopping in.  Got a list of 30 antique stores on US 1 in the area that we were visiting.  Wonderful thing is that you can't buy much to take home when you've got a limited space. <grin>  Centervale Farm Antiques was one fine example of Scarborough antiques.
The cities of Portland, ME and Portsmouth, NH are both quite exciting in their content and we all enjoyed the variety and diversity of the shops.  Particularly Portland had a beautiful indoor 'city market'.  We shopped for fresh vegetables and had some ice cream.  Brought home some blueberries for the morning pancakes.
We left on Saturday morning and headed west.  The computer said the shortest route was down through New York City but common sense said that I should add a via to the route and avoid New York City.  Common sense computed out to a route down I-95 to I-495 to I-290 to I-90 across to I-87 and down to I-84.  We ended the day at Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania off State Road 390.
The Pocono's and we were in heaven...  the state park was really neat.  We were back in a forest road atmosphere and wondering if we would get a spot in the dark, along with not knowing whether the park had camping sites but hoping.  The park camping sites turned out to be really neat.  Had a double wide asphalt covered site.   Brand new 50 amp service boxes everywhere in the trailer/motorhome area.  Nice showers and lots of wildlife.  Skunks at night.  In the morning had lots of wild turkey in the area.  Drove around and passed more wild turkey and deer.  The lakes were beautiful and serene.  There were no motors (electric excepted) allowed on them.  Lots of canoes around.  After seeing the area we packed up and headed out south on 390.  Reported to be a 'scenic highway' we were not disappointed.   Drove some rather slow speeds but saw a lot of natural beauty.  Only traveled 155 miles that day and ended up at about 5:30 PM in Hershey, PA.
We stayed at the Hershey Highmeadow Campground.   Close to all the sites in Hershey, we kicked back and enjoyed a calm evening.  The girls did the wash while Daryl and I cooked dinner.  Went to bed early and got up to see the sights.  First stop was the Hershey's Chocolate World where we toured the simulated factory (tours are no longer available in the factory itself).  The history of the Hershey world was given and we rode an open car on a track through the presentation.  We then were routed through the Hershey store for the usual memorabilia offering.  This time there was a lot of choices for eats also.   Many Hershey products were not common to our home area.  The most popular product sold by Hershey is the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and the Reese's company was only purchased by Hershey in 1986.  We were told that the Reese's pieces in ET were there only after M&M had turned down the place in the movie because of a fear of the perception of the alien would give the product.
We took the trolley ride around the area and got to see all the valuable contributions that Milton Hershey had given us.  It was quite a show.  The Hershey Park area had closed the weekend before we were there so it's a wait to next season to ride the 8 roller coasters and other fun things.
It's off to I-76 to I-80 and toward Geneseo.  We stopped at a campground called Pittsburgh North Campground for the evening.  Welcome to the another bit of our camping education.   Two things we learned here...
Never seen this before but it appears that these folks seem to think that it makes a difference whether you get 20 Amp or 30 Amp service.  Is this brain-dead or what?   I've got a modern unit that has a 50 Amp plug.  The fact that it is 50 Amp or in the case of some other folks it might be 30 Amp makes little difference in the electricity that I use.  If I didn't need A/C or an electric heater then I'm only using 15/20 amp power but my plug is bigger.  I must admit that I much more agree with a reasonable charge for the stay and a bump if I'm using the A/C or an electric heater.  A 20/30/50 amp plug is not a guide for my use or anyone else that I know of that camps.
And here's the other kick... we're a member of Good Sam Club.  This campground advertised that they were a 'Good Sam' Park.  I offered them my Good Sam membership card and a Visa card and was informed that they would not give me the Good Sam discount if I used a credit card.  Funny, I thought that taking credit cards was just a part of doing business these days.  Apparently the 50 cents that it would have cost them to take the card was a back breaker.  Had we have known of another site close (and we weren't so tired) we wouldn't have stayed another 30 seconds in this place.
We stayed as briefly as we could here (and I suggest you skip it altogether) and were on the road back to Geneseo.  Visited with my cousin and stayed overnight.  Went on to the Amana Colonies on Thursday for a short visit.  Stayed at a beautiful campground just off of I-80 at exit 225.  Sleepy Hollow Campground (link seems to be broken on Go Camping America site) was large and had tiered campsites along the side of a hill.  There were some flat campsites but most were on the hill.
We went up to Amana and checked out the shops.  The furniture store was having a sale and as usual there were lots of good eats around.  I liked the Christmas stores also.   Kind of gets you in the holiday mood.  We shopped 'til things started closing up for the day and then went back to the motorhome.  Nice sunset and a good dinner.
Got up and headed for Indian Cave State Park, NE near Brownville, NE.  Brownville is on the state line and had one heck of a big flea market going on.  They apparently have two each year and are quite a show.  We spent Friday night at the park and had a cookout with the club members that were there.  Saturday it was mandatory that we go to the flea market and see what we could find.  Didn't buy much but did get a couple of bargains.  Went back to the campground and had an excellent pot luck supper.  The theme this time was Mexican food so you can imagine what we had.  We sat around and roasted marshmallows... going on to bed early.  Several of the group had to get up early Sunday morning and get things going for the group breakfast.  Everyone was stuffed and enjoyed the fun.  The Coachmen 121 club had a meeting and adjourned after making some suggestions for next year's camping.  Everyone went on a tour around the park and we saw the pioneer homes and such things as a blacksmith shop, school, and candle maker, along with the cave itself.  The park is located just up from the Missouri River and that in itself was quite a site to see.  On home for a much needed rest from the 17 days of travel.
We're ready to go again...

Travel notes:
Take lots of money for the highway tolls if you live out west.  We found that it took over $150 to get the motorhome/Jeep combination from Kansas City to Scarborough and back.
Plan for your gas/diesel needs.  The gas companies that you are used to in your area (and have credit cards for) may not be what you find in the area that you are traveling.   My gas cards were worthless.  Visa/MasterCard and other such major cards are of course options to avoid this problem (if you have them)