So Much Mystic, So Little Time

Posted August 9, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
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What’s Mystic? An old fishing village in Connecticut. Why is it called Mystic? No idea, but they say the kayaking is good. Okay, let’s go.

That’s how the conversation went in Maumee Bay, Ohio, as we sketched a plan for what we’ll always remember as “that crazy hot July on the East Coast.

So far, August is a relief. From the first day, she came in as cool and dry as a Catskills comic. But she’s still young. Sure hope she isn’t toying with us.

Is only one week in a new place better than passing it by?

Still, the heat is on to try to see too many East Coast places in too little time. Out-Running the weather has up-ended the 4-3-2 Rule.

We’re 4-3- r1ing now and the pace is a challenge because life: the daily workout, groceries, rig maintenance, laundry …

And these days, that one bad sleepless night can throw me off for two precious days. But there’s at least one rainy day a week and we make use of that to catch up.

When life moves too fast, I find breath in cherishing moments.

When we were kids traveling in the backseat of the family station wagon, my sister taught me a neat trick. If I focused on objects as they zipped past I could – for a fleeting moment – put the blur on pause. This little miracle of focus happens naturally in moments of trauma, but with some discipline it can be commandeered through emotions like love and joy.

Our circuitous 193-mile route from Jersey City to Mystic, Connecticut could have been accomplished in a day, but since we have a Harvest Host membership – we stopped fifty miles short of Mystic at Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery.

After Jim checked in with the manager, we found a lovely grassy hillside spot that delivered an evening breeze from the lake.

… We agreed to postpone concern about the beer-weight we’d put on in Jersey City. I made a refreshing caprese salad and after the sunset we watched Mystic Pizza – a film we sidelined during our parenting years – and researched things to do.

Mystic Pizza

The campground near Mystic wasn’t what we expected for a Sun Community, but it was our only option. Once again, on the East Coast, we settled for a great location – only three miles from downtown – with low-touch services.

But at least the Verizon cell signal was good enough for Jim to spend the next day on an 8-hour conference call to San Diego. The electrical hook-up was in good condition so we went to town, leaving Pico in the air-conditioned trailer.


Walking and cycling are both good ways to see Mystic.

Due to the heat, we drove the three miles into town and found parking on a side street in the beautiful historical neighborhood.

It was 98-degrees with high humidity, but we admired the shop windows …

Strolled in the park along the shoreline and watched a squirrel take down an entire sunflower head to devour the seeds.

Along the way we observed how much love and care the residents and business communities invest in this old port village.


But, walking was hot work, so we tried cycling, which was only a slight improvement …


…that didn’t last very long.

Even the bees were taking the day off.

Bees sleep in flowers when they need a break, but we saw this one napping beside the brewery, so … ?

Later, we had a cold supper at The Treehouse where from the deck overlooking the Mystic, I spied a place to launch my kayak.


The best way to view this place is from the water.

Mystic is a confluence of lands, towns and cultures brought together by the water, or missituk, the native Pequot word for estuary.

Mystic is a beautiful mess where the lines between different kinds of land and different kinds of water are in constant flux – not even the old bridge is static.

But the next day, Jim would be saving the world on his conference call with a healthcare committee he still serves. I used my alone time to wash the Hocking Hills off the trailer.

The following day, it rained from midday through the night.

Poured like a busted pipe from Mount Olympus – straight down, no wind – for an hour or so. In San Diego that’s at least fifty-nine minutes over the annual average. Three minutes of downpour like that in SoCal and the locals drop to their knees in prayer, houses slide, coyotes sprout gills.

But Jim and I like it. We’ll do The Tiki Room at Disneyland three times in a row just for the rainstorm part of the show. So, in Mystic, we sat outside soaking up the cool air, lightening and thunder and looked up famous people from Connecticut.

More Mystic, tomorrow …

I love how the sky wakes up grinning ear-to-ear after an all-night storm. What a perfect day to take in this bucket-list village that no less than a dozen people and followers have recommended we see.


So, I spent three hours on my kayak – and I would love to post the pictures I took while paddling beneath that beautiful blue sky, but I can’t because I dropped my iPhone in the river.

I don’t know what possessed me to just drop it in like that. Was I overheated? I can’t say … Ah well, the lesson had to be learned.

I’d gotten careless on the Hudson, taking photos without  protection and … there it went with a sickening wet plunk sound. Goodbye, iPhone.

Oh, I did my very best to recover it …


Jim did too …


No luck.

My sweet, forgiving husband took me out for a consolation dinner at the Oyster Club and ordered me a new phone and a new little iPhone life-jacket to put it in.

The next day – chastised, repentant, and with Jim’s phone safely strapped on …


I launched again. Compared to the previous day, the weather was blissfully cool.

Though the wind and sky demonstrated potential for another storm, I enjoyed that second day on the water seeing Mystic in a completely different light.

I’m still sorting this out, but maybe I unconsciously leave things in places I love? That would explain the things that are probably still out in the world where I left them – my keys in a meadow in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, sunglasses on a rooftop in Italy, and another pair of prescription sunglasses on the bottom of Curry Hammock Florida

… and, now, my iPhone – the device that knows everything about me – somewhere in The Mystic.

Does that mean I’m kinda still there?

18 thoughts on “So Much Mystic, So Little Time

  1. Love your blog as usual! I love Mystic, it’s been 30 years since I was there last. My favorite scene in the Mystic Pizza movie was when Julia Roberts dumped drums of fish in her boyfriend’s porsche! Sorry to hear about your phone! Jim to the rescue, what a guy. You two are the best couple! Great pics!

    1. Hey Lula! So lovely to have you with us. It was a fun film and I had forgotten that Julia Roberts started her career in that film – that was a fun scene with the fish – being in the area puts that scene in context and probably makes it more believable. Julia was good, but it was really Annabeth Gish’s film (and Dennis D’Onofrio!!) and she was fabulous. All great actors.

      Yes, Jim is a rescuer – he saves my day, everyday.



      1. Oh I agree wholeheartedly about Annabelle Gish’s role – it was great! And Dennis D’Onofrio. Such a good film!

  2. So…I was alone quietly reading and hear David bust out laughing. He has tears running trying to read your blog to me! The part that made him laugh hardest wasn’t your explanation of HOW you lost yet another phone/glasses/camera, it was when you described how sweet and understanding Jim was. He is still laughing. Says he can’t wait to hear Jim tell him the story when you and I aren’t around.
    Love y’all. Deb

    1. Hey Deb! It made my day to hear that David got such a kick out of that. Oh, the memories of that hundred mile-turn-around trip … David probably still asks me in his sleep if I have my phone. No, Jim was very understanding throughout the entire event. Starting Medicare in a couple of months must be making him relax a bit more about expenses.

      I wish I could hold your hand though the next blog while you’re looking at the seafood. I miss you every time we eat – you’d enjoy it ten times as much as I do.


      Love and miss you, Sis

  3. Never enough time!!! Sorry about your phone:-( It’s so easy to get mad at ourselves and I’m glad Jim eased the situation. Beautiful pictures and even better story to follow. Safe travels, friends!

    1. Hey Christina! Thank you for the phone condolences. I’m sure my phone is in good company. All of the Mystic phones probably have a reunion somewhere on the river, exchange info and take selfies and such. I hope my phone is having a good time.

      Thank you so much for being with us and confirming through your travels with your husband that this lifestyle is not just for seniors. We wish we’d done this in our youth – even for just a year.

      Be well, be safe and continue in your happiness on the McMillan Express – and keep on vlogging.


      Carmen & Jim

  4. Carmen and Jim, What a lovely post and great pictures from your time in Mystic, CT! Perhaps you might recall that I stopped to talk with you on my way back from the shower at the Mystic RV Resort on the day you arrived. That sure was a hot and humid week! We had a wonderful conversation then and I’ve been enjoying your blogs ever since. I’d look forward to seeing a pic of your new phone in its life jacket! Happy travels and hope to meet up with you again sometime! If you are still roaming around the northeast in early September may I suggest that you check out Eastbound Throwdown 2019 at The Irwin Farm in Salem, NY. Some great bands will be there. My favorites are The Mallett Brothers from Maine and The Ghost of Paul Revere. My family and I are planning on going in our Winnie.

    1. Hello again, Cat! It was a pleasure to meet you and wish we’d had more time to visit with you and meet your husband. I think we were intending to do that before the rain storm hit…?

      We’d love to meet up – but we will be in the Vermont are during the Eastbound Throwdown – but we will certainly plan to be there on our next East Coast adventure. We love music and were SO lucky to arrive in Newport for the Folk Festival (we got tickets online the day before!!!) and, just the other night we saw Kat Edmonson – one of Jim’s favorites – in a private concert. You make a very good point that we’re just now learning – culture is the best reason to be here in the summer – that and the seafood!!!

      Thank you for being with us, Cat, and please let us know if we’re nearby. We’d love to meet you. You can always contact us via our LIB email address.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen & Jim

  5. I was just there on Tuesday last week! I parked at a state park on the other side of New London. In Massachusetts now. 🤟🏼

  6. If it makes you feel any better, I just bought a new iPhone 3 months ago and this past weekend, I noticed there’s a scratch on the screen. You know – the “gorilla glass” that is impossible to damage? Yup…. I damaged it… in just 3 months. And no, I didn’t get the “apple care” because: “Who me?? I never damage my phones!!” Whoops!

    Anyway, glad you survived the heat and the rain and the phone debacle. I swear, the east coast is never easy! Glad you enjoyed Mystic.

    1. Hey Laura!

      So good to hear from you! That’s way too bad about your gorilla glass. I hate cracks in my glass and I had one on my lost phone that looked like a hair and I was always trying to brush it away … so I don’t have that to contend with anymore. But, yikes! The responsibility for a new phone that costs more than an entire year’s rent when we first got married is a constant anxiety that I’ll just have to get over.

      We’re having a fabulous East Coast adventure (except for the campgrounds) and are grateful for being well enough to wake up every morning in sight-seeing condition.

      You two travel safely, hear? Enjoy your youth!!!


      Carmen & Jim

  7. I do enjoy reading about your adventures! Makes me feel like I’m on the road with you. Mystic sounds like a fabulous place! Carmen, you have such a gift for writing. Have you ever thought about writing a book about your adventures? My husband & I own a 2008 Airstream classic. We have done a bit of traveling with it, mostly to western states. Would love to make it north to Alaska & the eastern states someday. I’m a retired teacher. My husband still working for Bell & Howell. Hoping to hit the road in a year or two.❤️

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