We had a fantasy of living in an RV while travelling the United States. The actualized dream, though, lasted only a couple of months after we arrived in Florida, where I got depressed. I knew I was heading down a rabbit hole when I couldn’t get up the energy to play bocce ball in an over-age 55 RV park. My travel fantasy disintegrated when I didn’t want to move from under the shade awning of our bus.

“How about going for a swim?” Pam would ask.

“Nah, I don’t really feel like it.”

“Well, we could go look for manatees.”

“Nah, I don’t really feel like it.”

“How about Dairy Queen?”

“Nah, I don’t really…Okay.”

A young couple parked their sizeable trailer next to us one day, and we learned they were FBI agents who lived in Florida. One morning they left in their car and returned perhaps three hours later. They noticed I still sat in my chair under the awning.

The man came over and said, “Mike, my wife wants to know if you are all right, sitting there by yourself for hours and hours.”

How embarrassing.

Maybe it was the constant Florida traffic congestion and noise, the lingering whiff of RV park sewage, or a rare tropical bird sighting — the most we saw were a pair of mourning doves who left early each day before the waves of heat and septic scent mixed.

I thought I just needed more time or take up golf. I tried both, but got worse.

It was a relief to see our FBI neighbors leave so new folks who parked there wouldn’t have knowledge of my depressive state.

We couldn’t head north soon enough.

We lived a total of ten years in several Maine locations — my wife and sons were born here — so we were familiar with tough Maine winters. Thus, we looked forward to heading south in our RV. But a winter in that over-55 RV park in Florida changed my mind.

The name of Saltwater Farm Campground in Cushing came up when we googled RV parks on the coast of Maine. The website showed a bucolic setting overlooking a field gently sloping down to the tidal St. George River. Above this field were sites for about twenty modest RVs, lived in by primarily seasonal folks.

From Florida, we called Linda and Bruce, the longtime owners, to secure our seasonal site, sent a check, and were one of the first to arrive on a miserable wet early spring morning. And the campground was exactly as we imagined: Bucolic.

At Saltwater Farms we watched nuthatches, gold finches, gulls, cardinals, and eagles, which were a shock to our system. The only noise came from Bruce’s tractor when he mowed the fields or “prang” — if the blades of his mower scarified the tip of a half-hidden boulder. One morning, I bought the Courier-Gazette to look at events happening in Rockland, Rockport, or Camden. I don’t remember which festival came up — Blues, Lobster, or Maine Boats, Homes and Harbor — as I looked for ticket information. While leafing through the pages, I came across the ubiquitous real estate section.

“Hey,” I said to Pam as we sat under the shade of the RV’s awning, drinking our iced tea, and scouting for ospreys flying over the river, “Look at this cute home in Thomaston.”

I always looked at local real estate ads wherever I went.

“Why don’t we drive by it?” I asked.

My wife gave a tiny squeak.

“Because we’re not looking for property.”

She had a good point.

“It’ll give us something to do,” I said.

It was a beautiful little home near the Lyman-Morse boatyard, in view of the water, and near downtown. But an offer was already on the table.

To my surprise, I was disappointed.

The broker called us days later about another old cape for sale in Thomaston.

While I knew my wife would be content to live in the RV in warm weather and not freezing her butt off in Maine again, there was one thing more attractive to her than a chorus line of Chippendales in full Monty: An old Maine Cape for sale.

Thus, the Thomaston cape became our full-time residence. We sold the RV and said goodbye to our friendly campground caretakers Linda and Bruce, who a couple of years later closed the Saltwater Farm Campground forever. And I gave a final farewell to the dream of living where there is no snow or bocce ball.

I applaud the Saltwater Farm Campground for tanking one dream and instigating another.

We were finally home.

Mike Skinner is a writer who lives in Tenants Harbor. Skinner was a medic in the U.S. Army, a hospital executive, and a college educator. He is the author of “My Life as a Non-Valedictorian,” available through Maine Authors Publishing.

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