Caterpillars and Borders


September 3 and 4, Maine and Annie

It’s Thursday, and I’m sitting on the steps of the Barnet Public Library. It doesn’t open until noon, but hey, it has wireless whereas everywhere else I’ve been doesn’t seem to, and I need to be on the road to Ottawa before then, so I’ll make this a bit short.

To back up, where were we? Ah, Saint John. Well, I finally left there about 10:30 (comme d’habitude) and made it up to St. Stephens, NB. I bought a carton of Benson and Hedges ultralight regulars for my friend Annie in Maine because they didn’t have any Virginia Slims ultra light menthols. Cost C$45.50, so under the US$50 limit she mentioned as the price in the US. Big mistake. She only smokes the Virginia slims, not the Cravens I got, nor the B&H. I’ve theoretically given up smoking — can’t smoke more than one a day before I get nauseous. Hmm. Deal with it later.

Also, got a bottle of Tanqueray for C$19.50, good deal for Canada. Crossed the border, which was actually fairly easy. He wanted to know how long I’d be gone. I said “this trip into the U.S, only four days or so, then back into Canada for the long haul across the continent.” He only asked about cigarettes and alcohol, which I said I’d gotten for my friend in Brunswick. He wanted to see the receipt. Good thing I’d just gotten them, so I could show him. Then he peeked in my back window and said “You’re sleeping in your car?” I said, “only for snooze breaks — in case I get tired on the road.” So we were cool. I did have my U.S. passport, so the only other thing he asked about was a framed photograph in the back seat. Don’t know why. (I’d brought along a collection of my photographs to offer to hosts along the way.)¬†

Saw this sign at the border. Your guess is as good as mine. [I just googled it and it refers to Trucks that are refrigerated for the transportation of temperature-sensitive cargo.]

(Did I mention that the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia accepted four of five of my photographs for their Sales and Rental Gallery? Hooray! I’m now an official Nova Scotia artist. They can work for me while I’m gone. They accepted¬†The Dao of Driftwood, Eel Grass at Home, The Path, and Pan’s Pool. (see 3 of them below. They are also available for purchase in the Photography Gallery)

Dao of Driftwood

photographed on the Lone Ranch Beach in Oregon

Eel Grass at Home

taken at the Lone Ranch Beach in Oregon

The Lone Shieling

Photographed on the way to the Lone Shieling in the Cape Breton Highlands(aScottish word for rough hut where Shepards sleep)

Then into Calais, Maine, where I promptly unknowingly got totally lost trying to follow my CAA Triptik, which advised I travel on Route 1. I usually go on Route 9 to Bangor, but followed the sign for Route 1 instead and went North. Gad. Didn’t realize I was lost until I got to a choice between Route 169 and 171 with no reference to Route 1. Took a nice pic of a tent caterpillar web, which I’d been seeing on trees, that were dying around it. Seems to be an infestation of them in the north piney forests.

Got to a spot in the road on 169 where cars were parked for about a quarter mile on each side. It was Labour Day and a Labour Day Fair was in progress. Stopped a likely couple walking up the road and asked if they knew how I could get to Bangor. I knew I was lost when they didn’t seem to have heard of Bangor or it’s relevance to that part of Maine. “There a crossroads down the way, you can go to Lincoln,” they said helpfully. Gad. Got there and decided to check the map. I’d tried to find 169 on the CAA map, but it was nowhere in sight. Turned right onto Route 6 which led to I95, turned South and was 40 miles from Bangor. Took me a bit to get down the road to the exit for Brunswick. Took the ramp and promptly ran out of gas and gently coasted to a stop right in the middle of the exit. Good thing I got CAA. First time in my 40-plus-year driving career that I’ve run out of gas. Now I know that when that little yellow light comes on, I’d best immediately look for a gas station. Even better would be to stop at half way down the gauge.

They made me a priority since I was in the middle of the exit (though cars could pass me) — don’t forget this was Labour Day heading into the evening. A policeman stopped to inquire, found out CAA was coming with gas and left saying he’d check back, but since it wasn’t dark yet, he wouldn’t stay.

Got all gassed up and got lost again wandering around in Brunswick to get to my friend Annie’s . . . finally found her place. We shared some T and T’s (Tanqueray and Tonics) with fresh lime I’d found on the way.

That brings me up to posting time for my last post. Stayed at Annie’s (or Georgia’s as she’s now calling herself. When I first met her it was Georgiann). She just had hip surgery and needs to get the other one done so is using a walker or two canes and I must say she’s quite spry about it. Much better than my mom, who had so much pride that she’d rather my brother waited on her than use it, but did change her mind when he went walkabout (another story for another time).

We had a nice restful day the next day. I found and bought books two and three in the Russian Vampire series I’m reading. We ate out at a Tavern where they had a good Ruben for Annie and a steak for me, And a good Irish Coffee for each. We went there partly because it was the only place in town that allowed smoking in a covered outdoor area filled with biker types, who all seemed to know Annie.

Annie’s roommate, Foley, mapped out the route for me to get to Barnet, Vermont, where I’d set up to stay with my friend Suzann Duquette and her (relatively) new husbaqnd Jan (pronounced Yan, he’s nordic). I’ll write about that tomorrow (or whenever I can again find wireless).