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Maine: Best Worst Trip Ever

Last week, Rachel’s Table and I headed north to Freeport, Maine to visit Darla from She’s A Maineiac. I guess we were kind of excited.

Maine-Trip-Jan2014-yay

We were originally going to go Friday-Sunday, but decided to leave on Thursday afternoon so we’d have a full day with Darla while her two adorable kiddos were in school.

Without traffic, it’s a 6 hour drive from New Jersey.

We took Rachel’s car, agreeing to split the driving time. Did I mention her car is new? And if there’s a pothole, I’ll hit it?

Somewhere between New York and Connecticut, we (and by we I mean me) hit 37 potholes. And I’m not talking little divots in the pavement.

crater

Good job on 15 North, guys. Really. It’s impressive.

On Rachel’s high-tech dashboard, we watched the air pressure in the driver’s side tire plummet.

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By the time we reached Boxborough, Massachusetts, we had a flat. Rachel pulled over while I surreptitiously checked her fuel tank. Plenty to keep the car running and heated for at least an hour or two. Whew.

“I don’t know how to change a tire. Do you?” she asked with a laugh.

“I’m from New Jersey. I don’t even know how to pump my own gas,” I replied. “But I just renewed my AAA membership!”

Maine-trip-AAA

In under 30 minutes, a tow truck arrived. The driver got the spare out of the trunk and started rooting around while Rachel and I bounced up and down trying to keep warm.

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Rache “spares” a smile for this photo. *groan*

“I can’t find the key,” he announced.

It took us much longer than it should have to understand that tires have unique “keys” to unscrew the lug nuts so no one steals them. The spare in your car is supposed to come equipped with its matching key.

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We tore apart the car, but alas, no key. Thanks, Toyota.

Eventually, he said our only option was to go to the nearby dealership and have them change the tire – when they opened. In the morning.

Oh, did I mention Rache had 20-inch fancy rims?

This detail becomes important later.

This detail becomes important later.

“I’m so sorry I broke your car!” I wailed for the first of many times.

After the tow truck driver unloaded the car at the dealership, he said he could drive us to the nearest hotel. Nevermind that we had two non-refundable rooms waiting for us a mere two hours away in Maine.

“Do you have anywhere for us to put our luggage?” we asked.

“Just your laps.”

Our essentials were scattered between six bags, not including my swinging 1970s, fully-loaded cooler, which took up half the back seat. I grabbed my laptop and two bottles of champagne. “Screw it,” I said to Rachel. “This is all I need.”

When we arrived at the hotel, Rachel explained our predicament to the front desk. The man at the counter replied deliberately, “You have a coupon, riiight?” He nodded slowly.

“Um…yeeees,” Rachel said, catching on.

When we saw the receipt: 50% off! What’s more, our room overlooked a funky indoor pool, white lights and palm trees (you go on with your bad self, Holiday Inn), so we opened the balcony sliders, and more importantly, the champagne, and toasted to the kindness of strangers.

Holiday-inn-balcony-view-Maine

Maine-champagne-Jan-2014

Rachel called the dealership at 8am the next morning, and they finally got back to us with the verdict two hours later.

“It’s not just a flat. Your rim is damaged beyond repair.”

“Of course it is,” Rachel replied.

“And since you have 20-inch ones, we’d have to custom order a replacement. It wouldn’t be here until Monday.”

“So…my only options are to wait until Monday…or get 4 new 18-inch rims and tires?”

“Correct. And it’d probably cost the same either way.”

She covered the mouthpiece. “I knew. I knew when we got that car with those friggin’ rims…” She spoke into the receiver, “I guess I’ll have to get four new tires and rims, then. How long will that take? …Okay.”

“I’m so sorry!” I cried.

“Jules, it’s not your fault. I hit them, too,” Rachel reassured me, gracious as ever. (It was totally my fault.)

Turns out they had to order the ‘regular’ rims from a nearby dealer and couldn’t start work until 1pm.

They gave us a complimentary rental car, and we killed time at a local diner.

“There’s no lobster on this f&*&#% menu.”

"I haven't showered in 24 hours!"

“I’ve been in these clothes for 27 hours!”

At 3pm, they gave us the good news: “Almost done.”

At 4pm: “We just realized we have to put all of the tire censors back on. It’s going to be another hour.”

5pm: “Okay, just finishing the paperwork.”

5:02pm: “Our computers just froze.”

5:30pm: “Let me give you the damaged tire and rim. Oh, wait, it’s filthy, we need a bag. Hang on.”

5:35pm: “We can’t find any more bags.”

5:45pm: Finally, FINALLY on our way. “Good thing we left Thursday night.”

7:00pm: Reach Maine.

7:30pm: Darla texted. “I can’t get out of my driveway. It’s a sheet of ice.”

That’s right. At last we were in Maine, 24 hours behind schedule, and NO DARLA.

But there was lobster. Lots and lots of lobster.

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These were called “Lobsicles.” Heh.

Saturday morning, another text from Darla: “I still can’t get out!!”

So Rachel and I shuffled around the icy streets of Freeport alone, waiting for the temperature to climb above freezing.

At one point, it was so slippery, a gift shop owner reached out a hand while holding the door, towing us inside. Later, when we peered longingly into Freeport Chowder House, the man inside waved us in.

“Are you open?” we asked.

“Not for two hours, but I never turn down customers,” he replied. “I don’t have the fryer going yet, but what do you want? Lobster roll?”

Rachel and I looked at each other. “YES.”

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

It was noon on Saturday before we saw Darla, but she was worth the wait.

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The sun even came out…just in time for us to drive home.

Bartending for Rache and Darla from my favorite possession: My parents' 1970s cooler. Dude. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

The (in)famous swinging 1970s cooler, a.k.a. my favorite possession. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

Despite the many snafus, this li’l trip north had so many heart-warming moments, I wouldn’t trade it for anything would totally trade it for another 10am lobster roll.

IMG_5537 - Version 2

And they say chivalry is dead.

P.S. – I even learned how to pump my own gas!

Jules-pumps-gas-Maine-Jan2014

Since the word count on this post is already as atrocious as the potholes on Route 15, I hope you’ll head over to Rachel’s Table and She’s A Maineiac to read more about our adventures!

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Have you ever had any vacations that didn’t go, ah, according to plan?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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121 responses to “Maine: Best Worst Trip Ever

  1. Oh this is horrible (the situation) and amazing (your blog post) all in one. At least you got there in the end, ate lobster and learned how to pump gas. Sounds pretty successful :) X

    • The best part about having a blog is that you can put a positive spin on almost any debacle: “Welp. I may have lost my pinky toe and be covered in maple syrup*, but at least it’ll make a good story!”

      *This is the first hypothetical example that popped into my head. Don’t worry, I scare myself sometimes, too.

  2. Why yes! Yes, I have had a vacation that didn’t go according to plan. This one time, I was stuck in my icy driveway and couldn’t get out to see my blogger peeps. It was pure hell!

    I have only one question for you: are you sick of lobster yet?

    • Why, that DOES sound awful. Too awful to even be true. Stop telling lies, Darla.

      The day I get sick of lobster is the day… (Mad Libs moment… GO!)

      …Hell freezes over, and oh wait ,that’s not hell, it’s your driveway.

      …I leave a cooler full of booze out of arm’s reach, oh wait, I had to because APPARENTLY any time you need a car towed you’re also supposed to only have one passenger and no luggage.

      (But seriously. I will NEVER get sick of Maine lobstah. Or Maine. Or you.)

  3. Is it ironic that there’s a Chevy commercial underneath your post? Is the universe trying to tell me something?

    This truly WAS the best worst trip ever. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything, especially since THIS came special delivery yesterday with the following note: “…Needless to say, pigs will fly the day I manage to miss a pothole. I’m so sorry. And thank you for being so ridiculously gracious about my breaking your car. Love, Jules”

    Jules, you DID NOT break my car. I blame Connecticut.

  4. Only you Jules, only you. I’m glad you were able to make lobster rolls out of lemons. That’s the saying, right? I remember one time i went on a trip to meet new people and got blasted with gastrointestinal disease and couldn’t eat anything.

  5. Ugh, the flat tire sucks! I’m sorry you guys had a such a hitch in your grand girls getaway plan, but you really did make the best of it. Lobster rolls for breakfast do sound delightful.

    Perhaps if we have the midwest blogger summit, we should have it at my house. It could be equally blog worthy. My best friend and her boyfriend (who traveled from South Korea) stayed with us and our furnace and water heater went out in the same -18 degree night! It was a wonderful night of box heaters and blanket forts. We could do it again, I’m sure!

  6. I grabbed my laptop and two bottles of champagne. “Screw it,” I said to Rachel. “This is all I need.”

    Superior survival instincts like that make you a first-rate travel companion, and no doubt a fun one!

  7. Hey, the trip might not have gone as planned, but it was definitely better blog material

  8. Just read Darla’s account and now yours. Quite the adventure! Love the waddle on the icy sidewalk video! Glad you made it and had a great time. I want one of those coolers! :)

  9. Now I’m going to check my Toyota Highlander and see where the key is! I would imagine it’s in a really safe place like,,,. Hmmm….
    Next time, come to Colorado!

  10. Lobstah makes everything bettah. Even a crazy, fun adventure like this one!

    • Lobstah + buttah = Everything Bettah.

      That’s the bumper sticker I’m going to have made for Rache, because breaking her car wasn’t enough; I’d like to make it a target for ridicule and break her spirit, too.

  11. Hmmm, any vacations not go as planned, you ask? Nope. None. Never happened to me. My travel is ALWAYS flawless! ;)

    I love when everything goes tits up, but at least you can share the ridiculousness with an amazing friend. In that way, you were both really lucky. I, on the other hand, seem to suck at traveling ONLY when I’m alone. Then, I just get to share the crazy stories with all my friends (and the internet).

    And now I want a lobster roll!! Guess I’ll just have to appease my cravings with some cookies. Sigh. ;)

    • Oh, this message must be broadcasting live from…Philly, is it? No? Are you sure? Would you like another martini?

      And? Don’t even get me started on the Tollhouse pie I attempted to bring to Maine. Our power, and I’m not even exaggerating here, went out the SECOND I put it in the oven on Thursday morning.

      • By the way….did I ever tell you I NEVER got to eat one tiny piece of that tollhouse pie? The kids and Jim finished it off that night. And you left your pie plate here. Looks like you’ll have to come back up here to get it.

        • Ooooooh they DID? That’s awesome. Well, not for you. Although now I’m pissed that I wound up at home with 2 slices that I meant to feed to you, in bed, on Saturday night.

          Obviously the trick is having it sit in the oven for 2 hrs while the power is out, and then in the backseat of a broken car overnight in below freezing temperatures.

          P.S. – Oh. I’ll be back.

  12. This is great!! I love adventures that don’t quite go as planned (just call it an ADVENTURE and it will make you feel better) at least you got your lobster and your Darla. Perfection.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful road trip! I am cracking up here! Now I’m headed over to the other two blogs, stalker-style, and reading their versions heh

  14. Oh, you poor girls. So many mishaps, but you kept smiling(?). I loved every word of your trip. Thanks so much. I felt like I was with you the whole time. Great blog!

    • Thank you so much! You certainly have a fitting handle, because this comment made me feel sunshiny. And that’s good. Since I forgot what the sun looked like while in Maine.

  15. That sounds like such a fun trip. Not ‘fun’ like the time I thought driving to Vancouver BC with a trailer and a Polish boyfriend would be ‘fun’. Does
    fun stand for ‘fucked up nitwit’ because I should have known then what it took me two years with him to find out. Maybe if he could have been more lighthearted about the Denny’s omelet incident, or if he’d taken my advice about not approaching the elephant seals all over the beach near Hearst Castle it would have been a genuinely fun trip. Or if he hadn’t started loudly exclaiming about the horrors of the filthy rich while touring Hearst Castle, yes, we ALL know Randolph Hearst was a nitwit too, or if he’d chosen not to try and back the trailer up onto a sandy beach (seriously, Leszek? You couldn’t see how that was going to end?) maybe it would have been a fun trip. But me? No. I had to eventually go to Poland with him, fighting like the 82nd fucking Airborne, all across Europe and then freak out and break up with him in Spain, shoving him and his crap paintings out of my Ford Fiesta all the while screaming threats at him that he’d better not mess with my cat or my brother would etc etc…fun times. Great trip. I loved that car.

    • Laura Lynn. You just stop it right now. I read this comment on my phone while on an insufferable line at the grocery store this morning (really, cashier? Really? You don’t know what an eggplant is?), and thought they might need a clean up in aisle 6.

      Please tell me this boyfriend made the cut as a chapter in your memoir.

      • P.S. – Side note -no lie- I was actually buying frozen pierogies. They were on sale.

        • Oh yeah, Leszek gets a chapter or two. So does Mark (process server) Mike (Pro dirt bag, I mean dirt bike, rider) Tom (TV producer with a fantastic Scottish accent and absolutely no ability to hold his liquor. AND HE’S SCOTTISH i weep for him) Kevin (Millworker aka Cap’t Suspicious) Rollie (Retired Hells Angel who wouldn’t STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!) Gordon (fry cook-sloths had more ambition and were cuter too) and Larry (recording engineer/bad drug dealer with no judgement or people skills) and Joe (Chiropractor wanna be with a BAD Stalky ex wife who hated him and okay, yes, he also had a coke problem) among others…so yeah…I’ma write my next book and call it “Look OUT! A Guide to Weasel Nut Bastards-how to identify them and avoid them.” With Illustrations.
          Perogies are my go-to nosh when I don’t want to cook. So I eat them a lot. I have a recipe. Got it from Weasel Nut Leszek. He also cooked pig heads and trotters and weird shit from Poland but the perogies were good.

  16. Hurrah! I’d read Darla’s post first, so of course I knew you made it there in the end, but despite that I still read your account with a degree of anxious worry about whether you actually made it, THAT’S how good a storyteller you are. At least you had Rachel with you so the two of you got to have an adventure together before meeting up with Darla, it would have been awful if you’d been on your own wouldn’t it! And of course the lobster looks scrummy yummy for my tummy!

    • Ha! Thank you so much! That’s actually great to hear, because I was angst-ing over the [1,000+] word count. I kept cutting out more and more. It came down to: Swinging cooler: In or out?

      And you can understand how there was only one choice there.

  17. Once you’ve thawed out you’ll realize how great an adventure this trip was. I love road trips -especially the ones that don’t quite go as planned. Maybe I’ll post and link about some of my adventures.

  18. PS – Nova Scotia has crap-tons of lobster (suppliers of all over the damn world) and me……and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Jersey. ;P

  19. wow. that was some adventure, but perfect for three amazing, entertaining chicks. expect the unexpected… especially with you, right? and looking quite awesome in the pumping gas shot. nice.

  20. I love the Maine shuffle!! I totally remember doing that exact same move, except for that it often ended in a spectacular crash landing, when I was in college in the tundras of upstate NY (and those crashes had NOTHING to do with the fact that I was wearing inappropriately high heels for the weather and my steady diet of vodka and frozen yogurt. NOTHING).

    So glad y’all had an amazing weekend together and got such a hilarious story out of it.

  21. I think maybe if you weren’t a blogger, none of that craziness would’ve happened! That sucks, and at the same time, it’s totally awesome. Glad it was worth it in the end!

  22. now admit it, does this not make the best blog post ever–what if all had gone smoothly, then everyone would hate you, but instead we all love you because of what you went through!

  23. Yeah, so the craziest vacation I can remember was the one that didn’t happen. We were on our way to Tennessee to see friends of my parents’ – they had a lake house and a boat and skis. I was really looking forward to learning how to water-ski (which I became relatively OK at at some point… not so snow-skiing – methinks that needs to be the theme of my next blog).

    So 4 of us kids were lounging in the back of our Oldsmobile 98 about 1/2 way from VA to TN when we started to see and smell smoke. INside the car! Trip to the nearest repair shop reveals that exhaust is coming right into the car. You know, that cabon-monoxide stuff that KILLS YOU?! Next thing I know, the back seat has been taken out and turned around backwards. Seriously, who knew this could be done? We rode back to VA looking out of the rear window with all the other windows rolled down (no automatic windows in those days, eh?), and, having narrowly missed death, all I could think was, “Now I’ll never learn to water ski!” :)

    I hope one day to meet some of my bloggy friends. You guys ROCK!

  24. All it takes is good company to turn a fiasco of a trip that should have elicited nothing but “oh, F**********************CKs!” into a priceless adventure worthy of not one, not two, but three fab blogs.

    So insanely jealous my dentist ordered me a mouth-guard so I don’t do further damage from all the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  25. Wow, that really sucks that you totally ruined an expensive rim on Rachel’s brand new car. How fancy that it shows you that you’re fucked on the little tv dash thingy though. You don’t even have to get out of the car to see that the tires are flat? Amazing!

    Between this trip and a certain boat outing with Peppermeister that, if I recall correctly, nearly resulted in disaster at sea, I’ve made a mental note to avoid vacationing with my favorite New Jersey blonde ever.

    • I KNOW! I knowwww! I am the worst. *face palm* And now all of your other blonde New Jersey friends are gonna be after me.

      At least I can make a quick getaway. …Assuming I don’t have to take Route 15.

  26. Sometimes it’s the things that didn’t go right on the vacation that give you the best memories. I’ll try to remember my own logic next week on my family trip to Florida.

  27. I really hope you got Mr. Lobster Rolls’ number because he would make an excellent 5th (6th? I lost count) husband for you. I’m always interested in anyone who brings me lobster.

  28. First off, I’m sorry all those horrible things happened en route to Maine, but I love the instances of stranger kindness AND I must say that you look totally hot. Like super, totally hot.

    I can’t wait to meet my first non-local blogger. (Not dissing the local bloggers I’ve met, I just want to meet someone *FROM AMERICA*! <– said like a true Canadian, right?)

    • haaaaa Okay Dana so I think I accidentally sent an email reply intended for someone else to this blog comment. Wow, good to know THAT can happen if you accidentally reply to a comment alert in your email inbox.

      Sorry if you saw that and were totally confused!

      And to think I befuddled someone after they showered me with such love. Thank you!!!! (I want to come to Vancouver and be that [first American] blogger you meet!)

      The ‘kindness of strangers’ element to this trip was really, really amazing. I think it may have had something to do with traveling with Rache, the queen of all that is sexy and sweet.

      • Didn’t get the inadvertent e-mail, so no befuddlement here. :)

        And yes! Come to Vancouver (or Vancouver Island where I actually live!) Your dollar is getting stronger, so there’s more incentive to come up to Canada, and who doesn’t want to miss world class attractions like: rain, rainforests, cloudy skies, high humidity, and orca whales? (I could be missing a few of the top attractions here, but I think I’ve covered the main bases at least.)

  29. I love your big smile in every photo (minus one)! Sounds like an adventure! Hey, you can come visit me, you know. I’m in Florida! Much warmer. Much.

  30. Wow. WOW!!! Y’all have been having some crazy travel tales. We had that experience with the lug keys once too… reminds me, I don’t know what we did do with the key when we got one. This is going to bite me in the ass real soon, isn’t it? PS: that cooler? Amaze-balls, as you would say!

  31. Gee – Darla had a lobster hat on in the picture of the three of you on her site. Vacations not according to plan? How about the Bahamas for three days during a national strike in a hotel with no running water or services of any kind. and wasn’t that special…

  32. I’m sorry, I couldn’t focus on this post because I was distracted by how FABULOUS you look! Also, I need that The More You Know shot in a poster. Thanks.

  33. Usually when I trash someone’s car, I do it by leaving White Castle boxes and Taco Bell wrappers all over the place. You win.

  34. I’m so glad you finally made it! And that you finally got lots of lobster.

    When I was 16, I ended up with 2 flat tires within a month or so of each other. After that, my dad refused to let me drive anywhere till I knew how to change my own flat. It’s been about 14 years since I’ve changed a flat; I hope it’s just like riding a bike.

  35. Oh my gosh, Jules. This part of the story was YOURS for the writing. So sorry for all that. But really NOT sorry, because it was a great story. You can’t make that shit up, can you?

    You know, I built my first car — from scratch. I also know how to change a tire, and pump gas, and use the bobby pin from my hair to fix an alternator on the side of the highway. I’m also a blogger-meeting extraordinaire. If those credentials don’t win you over, I can always just bring a cooler full of champagne.

    So fun. And glad the ending was happy. Cheers, Jules!

    • Ha! Thank you, Shannon! I did feel almost guilty for getting the ‘epic disaster’ angle, because it was bloggy gold, but it’d have been hard to put a food spin on it (for Rache)!

      I’m on my way. Enough of this winter sh*t.

  36. That is one hell of a tale/lobster tail right there! Sheesh! I just had to say that I am always tempted to wrote “the more you know” in various blog posts, but fear nobody will visualize the rainbow! I laughed so hard when I saw your pic!

    • Ah! Lobster tail/tale! Why didn’t I think of that?!?!

      Thank you! I’m so glad people ‘got’ that pic. I knew I might be dating myself… When did they stop doing those?

  37. And you didn’t even visit Stephen King.

  38. 1. The public demands more full-body shots.
    2. How come the weather looks so pleasant in the photos? According to the news the east coast is a icy hellscape.
    3. Excellent visuals. The “more you know” and crater pics are especially impressive.
    4. Her car tells you each tire’s pressure? That’s pretty cool.

  39. as i continue to read about ur trip it seems that i was also a part of it

  40. Loved reading this and the pictures warmed my heart! Oh my goodness, I’m so jealous I could throw up a lobster roll (and then eat it because who could waste even a partially digested one). I imagine at some point the three of you cried out in unison, “The only thing that would make this trip better (besides a car with tires) is Angie!” But I also imagine unicorns that shoot rainbows from their horns so what do I know. Group hug!

  41. I feel weird that I have been to all the places in this post… I think I even ate in that diner once.

  42. Now I’m finally finding the story I was promised! I’m also happy that the Toyota dealership had some remnants of decency to not try to convince you to replace the car (“well, you know, the axle is probably shot, too, and it’s connected to transmission, so it can’t be safe to use it, and you’ll want to replace the engine, too, because all the bolts that connect it to transmission are unique and won’t fit with the new transmission, too, so it’ll come at about $35,000, plus the bag to hold all the parts.”)

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