Travels in Maine

Friday evening, Sarah came by, and after a lot of nervous dithering on my part (I felt like I was forgetting something important) we set off for Maine.

Along the way to Belfast, we stopped over briefly at Mike’s to drop off some things – I’ve been trying to somewhat optimize my posessions, so a lot of stuff has to go, and I figured Mike could make use of some of it, so I went down the list, and anything he wanted I put in my trunk. It was nice to drop them off, one batch of stuff gone.

It was late, so we didn’t stop at Mike’s for long, just said hi to Mike, Alice, and their Mom, they gave me a bag of fresh catnip for Trouble, then we were on our way again.

We got to Judy’s house pretty late, and fell asleep.

The next day, we all gathered: Judy, Dan, Ted (Judy’s Brother), Mary (Ted’s girlfriend), Sarah and me. We went to a train museum, which it turns out is just down the road from Judy’s. I’ve walked by it before, but didn’t realize it was a museum, just thought it was a train depot of some sort. The place is run by a retired train engineer, part of a family of train engineers, with trains in his blod, and trains in his heart. Over the years, since he was a teenager, any time he saw something interesting heading for the scrapheap, he would rescue it. So over time, he has built up a collection of parts, train cars, and even buildings.

more photos of the train museum

He can recount the history of each item in his museum. He points out the window to a large flagpole-like pole. “That obelisk I got for a case of beer. They were gonna tear it up, but I said if they took it down carefully and let me have it, I’d bring them a case of beer, and they were all to happy to.”

He talks about the decline of railroading in Maine, and it is more than just history, it is his life. It reminds me of the Fisher King, this man’s life is so intertwined in the railroad, that it’s almost as if when he dies, the railroad dies with him. But then another member of the train group came by, a younger guy with a rotund figure, and led us on a tour of the train cars. A new generation, just as excited about trains.

After the trains, we went to the co-op for lunch. The food there was yummy, and they were having a “customer appreciation day”, so there were tents in the parking lot with vendors giving out samples, local groups, and a used book tent. I bought 4 books for a quarter each. We sat on folding chairs and listened as David (my step-brother), Ezra Rugg (who I knew when I was little) and another guy played jazz.

It was sunny out, but dark clouds loomed on the horizon. Everyone watched as they got closer and closer, commenting on the approach, but just sitting and waiting. Then it turned to a heavy downpour. People scrambled for cover under the tents, and the wind got so strong people had to hold on to the tents to keep them from blowing away. The rain and wind was intense, but blew by quickly. 10 or 15 minutes later, it was sunny again.

After that we headed off for afternoon naps. I don’t normally take naps, but it was nice and relaxing (except for the times when the phone rang and I had to run downstairs)

That evening, we went to Havana restaurant in Bar Harbor, where Dan was playing jazz. There was a bit of a wait, we bided the time watching the bartender crank out mojitos assembly-line style, and a little girl dance while her parents drank. We finally got a seat, and the food was great. I got the filet mignon, and it was both melt-in-your-mouth delicious and well-presented.

We got back to Judy’s around midnight, so it was off to sleep again.

On Sunday, we went to a bakery for breakfast, then to Mildred’s house for cake. After that, Judy, Sarah and I went out to Ripley to see what was left of the old farmhouse.

Like some kind of fairy tale, it was surrounded by a wall of bamboo which seemed impenetrable, until we discovered that bamboo is really easy to get through, you just plow right through and it snaps down in front of you.

more pictures of the house

There wasn’t much left of the house. The roof had fallen in, and only my room and parts of a few other rooms remained.

After poking around in the rubble for a while, we headed down the road to Wally Warren’s place.

He had expanded since the last time I’d been there, in 2004 he added a house, and now has running water and electricity, new features to Wally World.

Wally’s an interesting guy, and fun to listen to, and his art is fantastic. Having been at it for years, nearly every surface of his cabin, house, and yard is covered in some kind of art.

Then it was back to Judy’s, and then home to my house. Sarah slept on the ride home, which is good, since once we got to my place, she had to drive another hour to get to her house.

All in all, it was a fun trip, but woo, a lot of driving. All told, I drove around 17 hours that weekend.