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9/22/00 - The First Day of Fall (Old Orchard Beach, ME)

Got an early start, by 8am, and stopped off at Random Harvest in Hillsdale for some fruit and vegetables, then on my way out of Hillsdale by 8:40am. But after having trouble starting the RV in the cold and hearing a few other strange sounds that I couldn't pinpoint as I went up hills, I decided to stop at a gas station before getting on I-90 and calling Holiday on Wheels about it.

They said it could be the timing, so instead of getting onto I-90 right then, I drove another 15 minutes north on 22 to New Lebanon, NY to Godfroy's where I had gotten the emergency fix on the power steering line a few weeks back. I had been leaking power steering fluid, pointed out to me by a nice airplane mechanic who was staying at the Woodland Hills campground in Austerlitz, NY, where I stayed on one of my "practice" runs.

Anyway, Bud Godfory recognized me and greeted me warmly. "I wish I could say I just stopped by on a social visit," I said to him, "But I think I need your help again!" I told him what Holiday on Wheels had told me and he listened to the engine. He said he'd be with me in a bit so I sat in the RV with the chihuahuas, organizing and reading.

A few hours later, he removed the cover from the engine between the driver and passenger's seat and proceeded to give me the best crash course on carburetors around. He pointed out a few things wrong and mentioned that he was seeing these things because he had grown up fixing carburetors.

"If you see another mechanic, make sure they are old enough to know what carburetors," he advised, "They have to be at least my age. These days, younger mechanics know more about computers than carburetors." We joked that I would have to ask "How old are you?" when I called up mechanics.

Just a Few Engine Problems

The choke pin was disconnected from the butterfly and the clip that secured it was missing so he replaced it; the choke spring was rusted and crumbling away which would need to be fixed; the coil wire cap had electrical tape around it that when removed revealed cracks so he replaced it with a temporary fix; and a gasket in the exhaust manifold had blown AGAIN.

Rather than getting it fixed then - which would have taken at least a day or two to get parts - he said I could drive it to Maine then find a mechanic there.

Since I wanted to get to my Aunt Bunzy's by 6pm on Saturday (she had arranged her whole schedule to spend 2 days with me), I decided to drive it and see if she knew a good mechanic. If I had to be stranded for a few days, I'd much rather it be in Maine, where I'd never been in my life, than New York.

Interstate Driving

Got onto I-90 and really loved it - very lush and green with rolling hills in the Massachusetts section, even though it was a four lane major interstate. Then took 290 to 495 which ended up being really congested and unpleasant to drive. Luckily, I was playing some Abba on the radio and belting out the songs, so I didn't mind. Finally on I-95, which was typically non-descript, out of Massachusetts, into New Hampshire which was a little nicer, if you can call I-95 nice. Then into Maine.

I was waiting for some major explosion of beauty to erupt the moment I crossed the state line, but again, I was on I-95. Still, I think the trees were denser and closer to the highway than before, or maybe that was my imagination.

Followed the directions from my AAA Campground book to the nearest campground off Exit 5, and although my destination was Paradise Resorts, I saw Old Orchard Beach Campgrounds the moment I got off the highway. So instead of driving around a little more, I decided to make camp.

Settled into the site after setting everything up. Had a spaghetti dinner, made some calls, read my Reader's Digest (my preferred RV reading material) and got to sleep before 10pm.

Haven't seen anything of Maine yet, but have a drive up US 1 tomorrow, so we'll see what I see then.

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