The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
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Portland Maine

I drove during the days and spent the evenings tucked between semis at truck stops. Except for another trailer tire blow-out outside of Cleveland, the drive back to Maine was uneventful. The blow-out blew out the black and gray plumbing and exhaust valves, and of course, the body was damaged, so it was major repair work again. I scrambled for a few days to get the trailer into the Jackson Center manufacturing plant for the repairs and investigated the Airstream forums for info about these tires, and tires in general. Airstreamers seem to agree that the Firestones are not very good tires. Seems to me that trailer tires overall are not very good tires, and a future upgrade to LT (light truck) tires might be a good idea if I plan to put a lot of highway miles on my little Snail. There are certainly many pros and cons to this debate, and it's on my list of things to consider before I embark on another long journey.

So I made the drive to Portland with nothing in tow and had a week and a half to move out and pack my stuff into a storage unit. It was great to be back and strange to be back. Portland felt like a big city and I didn't feel like I could live the urban life again. At least, not like I had - in a fourth-floor walk-up apartment smack in the center of it all. I wanted to stay longer after I finished the move-out, but I needed to head back to Ohio to get my home back.

I spent a few days in Jackson Center to be sure everything was working properly. Since my warranty was expiring on August 29, it was my last chance for free service. It all looked good, so I towed it back to Cleveland to spend some quality time with the fam again.

I'd been half-heartedly looking on and visiting local animal shelters in an attempt to make Riley's absence easier to live with. It usually back-fired, though and made me miss him even more because I couldn't find a spark or a connection in any of the dogs I met. But when I happened to see a craigslist ad in Cleveland for a "puppy" that was half golden-lab (like Riley) and half husky, with pictures and a story that expressed how much he was loved, I had to go meet him. When I got there, Harley came up the stairs and bounded towards me with a huge happy smile and kisses as if he was waiting for me and he'd missed me so much. It was love at first sight. Shannah and Dan were wonderful people whose situation was becoming increasingly problematic for Harley to get the kind of attention and outside-time a healthy dog needed. It was obvious that they loved him very much and treated him well and they were looking out for Harley's best interest. We all agreed that we had found a solution and on August 25, Harley officially came to live with me and Peyote. I knew he was already a cat-friendly dog, but I wasn't sure how Peyote would take to him. As soon as he came home, she walked right up to him and touched noses, even walked under him and through his legs. Without hesitation, she knew he was a friend. And what a great dog he is - gentle, respectful, smart and funny. An old soul, I think. Thank you so much Shannah and Dan.


The drive back to Maine went very smoothly and Harley proved to be a natural traveling dog. He's great in the car and adjusted to the trailer accommodations pretty well, but as a one-and-a-half year old dog, he was pretty fidgety in the small space. Once in Maine, we planted ourselves at Recompence Shores in Freeport for a few weeks while I thought about what to do for the winter. I originally planned to head south and stay in the trailer for the winter months, but with Harley around now, I didn't think that was the best idea. He was very young and energetic and we were new to each other, so I thought a bigger living space in familiar, dog-friendly Maine might be better for us in the long run. If I could find a nice winter house rental that was affordable, I'd take it. Maine is a dog's paradise, and I wanted Harley to have some freedom to be a dog and run off-leash on trails and beaches. Not only that, socializing him with friends, other dogs and various environments would be really beneficial for him at his age too.

I found our winter paradise in Edgecomb, Maine and settled into a modest cottage on a spectacularly large piece of waterfront property. Harley has acres and acres to explore and chase squirrels and I have a tremendous view of the Damariscotta River. I could not have dreamed of a better place to land, to close one volume of my life and to begin another.


The End
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