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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23
In Florida and Maryland where I grew up, the climate was -- respectively -- tropical and temperate. In tropical and temperate climates, snow -- the idea of it, the merest hint of it, any manifestation of it whatsoever -- is acknowledged with fear and joy:  Fear ("A flake! A flake! Shelter in Place!") and Joy ("A flake! A flake! No school this week!").

And so it was, that this morning when I woke in a winter wonderland, I went forth into the day to share the fear and joy with the good people of Massachusetts. Fear and joy. Not. No one seemed to notice the snow -- much less be inclined to discuss our mutual feelings about it (fear, joy...and indifference?).

Drove through snow-turning-to-rain-turning-to-snow all day, determined to get to the coast before dealing with the fact that it is October 22nd and SNOWING. Just before leaving Maryland, I bought Bette Midler's new CD -- The Rosemary Clooney Songbook. Played it approximately 5,349 times (it's the only CD I have with me). But once I return the rental car, I'll have no CD player and -- as we all know -- CDs are deceptively heavy. I'll be mailing it home. (M: Enjoy it while I'm gone!) All this by way of saying that the last song on the CD is "White Christmas." I feel like I was away a week and lost three months!

Just at dark, we made it to Sargentville. The dogs played on the beach under the Deer Isle bridge. The beach is entirely covered by shells of an incrediblly brilliant blue -- so beautiful that I picked up my first souvenir of the trip. (How much can a shell weigh?) (Maybe I'll mail it home with the CD.)

Jolene, this one's for you:
As some of you know, I went to Sargentville because it is the home of one of my favorite authors, Doris Grumbach. Even though it was nearly 5 p.m. (closing time in Maine), I went by the bookstore she owns, Wayward Books. She was there. We chatted. It was the most saftisfying stalking EVER!

Tonight we're in Rockland -- a summer resort town battened down for the winter. Visiting summer resorts in the winter is a little like going backstage at a play. You get to see the shabbier side of make-believe, but it doesn't make you love the play any less.

It's kind of sweet: The phone book in Rockland reminds callers that they need to dial ALL SEVEN digits to place local calls.

Tomorrow, we go car-less. I think the dogs sense it's starting all over again -- they slept the entire drive up here and are eating everything in site.
Posted by Linda on Thursday, October 23, 2003 at 22:54 Comments (1)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22

OK, the new computer is way cool. The screen rotates and folds back over the keyboard so you can write on it like a tablet. Don't know why I'd need that, but I like it.

Took the dogs swimming at Supplee Lakeay to get them in the mood for a 14-hour drive.  Heath, Brice, Chad: Supplee Lake is the place we ended up that time where we spent the WHOLE day driving around the state of Maryland looking for a place for the dogs to swim.  MTM: Supplee Lake is the place where Monty and Gwyn first met :)

Didn't get on the road until 6 p.m. but didn't hit the usual three-hour rush in NYC so made good time. Stopped for the night in Putnam, CT, about 1 a.m.

The chariot benefited from our "recess" -- reinforcements welded on the front wheels, courtesy of the Blue Sky Company. I also got some clothes repaired (courtesy of my mother) so feeling like we're in good shape.

The weather prediction for tomorrow suggests snow. I had said I would come home if it started to snow. Or if Buster started to limp. Honestly, I thought the limping would come first...

Still, until we actually see the white stuff, we're headed north.

Posted by Linda on Thursday, October 23, 2003 at 22:28 Comments (0)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21

Let's forget about the two days of my life I'll never get back. Let's forget about the two days I spent on the phone with tech support not being supported. The fact is, this morning, I am the proud owner of a brand new computer that promises -- well, what doesn't it promise?  I'm headed north -- where I'm imagining I'll find several feet of snow on the ground.  Have I really been away that long?

Here's the good news: I got to spend Sunday afternoon with Lynn and Jolene catching up on the last 10 years or so.  We brunched on the terrace at Sequoia where the service was lousy, the food was ok, the view was great, and the company was perfect.  (Not that I didn't miss being holed up in a tent with two farting dogs while it sleeted on my head...)

Sunday night, had dinner with Mike, Kate, Chrisi, Mary, Andrea, Rhonda, Beth Ann, and Kristie.  It had only been a few weeks since I'd seen them, but we still had a lot of catching up to do -- which we did over a delightful dinner at Lauriol Plaza.  The service was lousy, the food was good, the view was...dark -- but again, the company was perfect!

Someone should call Maine to warn them: We're on our way back!

Posted by Linda on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 at 11:23 Comments (2)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17

Buster woke up in a very lovey mood.  He's so tired that he can't open his eyes, but every time I stop petting him he swats me with one of his big paws. 

 

This camping thing has completely disturbed my natural rhythm of going to sleep around 1 a.m. and waking up as late as possible...Instead, I'm asleep by 9 p.m. and wide-awake by 6 a.m. -- the horror!  What if when this trek is over I can't reset my clock and I am forever a "morning person."  (Shudder...)

 

And now, an apology to the entire New England region: Clearly, it was my fault.  The moment I declared my support for the Red Sox, they lost the ALCS.  I am SO sorry.  I promise never to root for the BoSox again in the hopes that this will bring a world championship to their long-sufferring fans.

 

Caught a ride to the airport with an interesting gentleman named Victor.  We discussed the tourism industry on MDI (the times they are a-changin -- with cruise ships coming to town through the end of October, Bar Harbor is being forced to rethink its Everything-Closes-On-Columbus-Day policy), the Kennedy assasinations (the Federal Reserve Bank did it), and the oxygen content of the air (there's a reason we all feel this bad).

 

Picked up my rental car.  Drove home.  The dogs slept.  Yes, that's right -- all 14 hours.  We got to my mom's house just after midnight, and then we all slept -- yes, in a bed!

Posted by Linda on Sunday, October 19, 2003 at 10:33 Comments (5)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16

I don't actually have a thermometer with me -- those things can weigh a couple of ounces, you know.  So the only way I can judge temperature is by how many layers of clothes I'm wearing to stay warm.  Today was my first three-layer day.  I've had three-layer nights -- but never a three-layer day.  And of course, every night is a two-dog night, but I haven't yet had a three-dog night (OK, I'm making me laugh.)  You're probably wondering just how many layers are possible.  Seven.  I brought enough clothes to go seven layers deep.  And if I ever need eight layers, I'm coming home.

 

Last night's wind storm stripped much of the color from the trees so today we are walking through a decidedly more winterish landscape.  Apparently, the storm did more than de-color my world -- parts of Maine were declared federal emergency areas and many people are still without power this morning.

 

Left Southwest Harbor and took a sweet little road around to Bass Harbor.  Maine's commitment to shouldering their roads remains sketchy.  Because of the hills and turns, I can only hear oncoming traffic -- cannot usually see it until the last minute.  When it is as windy as it is today, I can't hear cars coming at all.  It makes for some exciting moments.  Buster and Mitchel are becoming adept at the leap to the side of the road -- I'm hoping they'll hear the cars I don't!  All of this is to answer the question, am I using the iPod.  Nope.  That's going to have to wait for flatter ground.

 

 I did stop -- along with all the other tourists -- to take a picture at Seawall Point.  I didn't want to do it, felt kind of silly, but it's hard to resist -- it's just so darn purdy...

 

 

 

The famed lighthouse at Bass Harbor was...uh oh, it's happened.  I've become impervious to the charms of lighthouses.  I knew it would happen, but I thought I'd at least make it out of Maine first...

 

Tremont was a not-so-quaint-seaside village with a lot of industrial traffic (by my standards, more than one car per hour).  I did stop by the town hall to ask if they had a library -- I'm such an Internet addict!  They said they didn't but the next town over did -- and after much discussion about what day it was and what time it was, decided that "she" was probably open.  In the tradition of naming boats as women, I at first assumed that they named their libraries after the same fashion.... but then realized that the library was a one-woman operation and that "she" was not likely to welcome strangers at her door late in the day who had no intention of sampling the fine collection of reading materials which she had so carefully collected...I kept walking.

 

One of the joys of rogue camping -- ok, let's face it, THE joy -- is the thrill of potential discovery, that in the dark of night, Johnny Law (or Smokey The Bear) might come a tappin' on your rain fly and say, "You can't camp here!"  The downside of rogue camping, of course, is that to avoid discovery and accidental conflagrations, you can't build yourself a big ol' cheerful campfire.

 

And so it was, on this day, just as darkness was falling and Buster was getting that Fletcher Christian look in his eye, we chanced upon the Quietside Campgrounds and decided to stay the night.  As I write, we are warming by the fire, ensuring that if nothing else, we'll smell of wood smoke instead of whatever it is that we usually smell of.  Now, I'm sure right about now you're asking, "How is it that the campground is open after Columbus Day?"  It's not.  There's just a sign on the locked door of the camp office saying to pick yourself a campsite and leave $15 in the box that sits on the porch.

 

"Quietside" is the description the MDIers use for this side of the island -- comparing it to the Bar Harbor side.  It seems to me a bit of protestething too much.  It's not like Bar Harbor is Manhattan at rush hour -- and after Columbus Day, it turns downright ghostly.  So what we're really talking about is quieter than quiet -- and really there's not much room to get quieter before the place will simply cease to exist altogether...

 

A faithful visitor to the WOML site has expressed concern that the dogs don't look happy in the pictures I've uploaded.  I woke them to ask about this and they assured me that they will try to look happier.  Apparently, they thought they were supposed to look fiercely protective (Mitchel used the term, "Dobermanish") so as to assuage worries for my safety.  I assured them that trying to impress anyone with their ferocity was a waste of time and they agreed to start smiling for the camera.

 

The stove-that-rarely-works has chosen to grace us tonight with a performance so I managed to heat water to pour over the dogs' food concentrate.  Then, an hour later, when it was time to heat water for MY soup...no go.  The trick seems to be that the burner must be free of ALL moisture -- for instance, I cannot let it sit outside in the "dews and damps" overnight.  Now that I know the trick...I'm going to get a new stove.  Who needs a stove you have to trick into working?

 

A word about dog-food concentrate: the beasts have been going through four pounds of their regular dry food per day.  This may not seem like a lot but when you're pushing it up a hill, four pounds weighs...like...four pounds!  This is why, whenever possible, I supplement their diet with stuff I don't have to carry.  (Yesterday' they had a pack of hot dogs from the Texaco -- yummy!)  So the idea of a food concentrate is very appealing -- except that I've learned the food continues to expand AFTER the dogs have eaten it.  I won't go into details -- let's just say I woke up in the middle of the night convinced we had been skunked...New plan: the dogs will eat their concentrated food in the MORNING.

 

Tonight I have foregone the pinata ceremony, sleeping with the food in the tent instead.  It's not just that I feel utterly silly roaming the woods in search of a likely branch from which to lynch our ramen noodles and fig newtons, it is that nothing and no one is mentioning bears.  Lots about raccoons, nothing about bears.  When you go to the Shenandoah, there are bear warnings aplenty.  I think if bears were a problem in Acadia, someone would have mentioned it in the week I've been here.

 

Speaking of the week I've been here, Acadia has got to be the most beautiful spot in the world to ride a bike.  Mara, you guys have got to make a trip up here!

 

Tomorrow I pick up a rental car at the Bar Harbor Airport (conveniently located NOT in Bar Harbor) for a mad dash home to see a friend from High School who I haven't seen in 20 years -- well worth a 28-hour drive!

 

It's so sad to watch a candle burn out.  I have replacement candles, but still it summons some ancestral fear to watch a flame flicker and then die.  Clearly a sign that it is time for bed.

Posted by Linda on Sunday, October 19, 2003 at 10:31 Comments (0)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15

Woke up last night to the howl of wind and rain -- and woke up this morning to sleet.  I could stand the cold, I could stand the rain, but the wind is gusting up to 60 mph and I don't think I can stand UP.  We're going to spend another night in Southwest Harbor.

Tried the Chamber of Commerce.  By "Internet access" they mean a 38k dial-up connection on a machine that was bottom-of-the-barrel when they bought it 10 years ago.  After spending 40 minutes to open three e-mails, I moved down the street to the library.

Will try to hear the weather prediction before deciding next steps.

Stopped by the little grocery store -- the town doesn't have a gas station but they stock almond-stuffed olives.  Allese (Weasel) introduced me to this particular delight and I've become obsessed, searching for it wherever I roam.  Good to know that in a pinch, I can always rely on Sawyer's Market in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

 

Back for dinner to the same place as last night...lobster.... lobster...lobster...blah...blah...blah...At the restaurant, they had the game on.  I'm not a big baseball fan but I am absolutely rooting for the Red Sox now -- it's so much fun to see how excited everyone here is about their team.  New York only has half a city rooting for it.  The BoSox are carrying the hopes of several states!

Posted by Linda on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at 12:37 Comments (3)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14

Made good time in the morning and was on the road by 8.  Walked first through Seal Harbor, a small peninsula surrounded on three sides by Acadia National Park and on the fourth by the Atlantic.  This is one of the few privately own-able bits of land on MDI -- and priced accordingly.  Passed a series of palaces with landscaping that gilded the lilly in some instances and in others, made magnificent use of the unparalleled views out over the water.  From there, walked around to Northeast Harbor, yet-another-charming-seaside-village with the distinction of being the site the Rockefellers chose to build their home when they owned the entire island.

My plan had been to take the ferry to Grand Cranberry Island and from there, another ferry to Southwest Harbor -- thereby bypassing Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the US but two day's walk away from the Atlantic.  Unfortunately, Columbus Day is the end of "the season" on MDI and the world comes to a screeching halt.  The ferry from Great Cranberry to Southwest Harbor stopped running on the 13th.  No problem, I would take the water taxi, except that stopped running on the 13th.  No problem, I would take one of the free island buses (sponsored by LL Bean), except those stopped running on the 13th.  No problem, I would rent a car, except Northeast Harbor doesn't have a car rental agency.  No problem, I would call a cab...

There actually is cab service on MDI -- but apparently, just the one cab.  It took almost an hour and a half for the cab to get there and another half hour to get to Southwest Harbor -- by which time it was dark and too late to look for a camping spot.  So we're ensconced in the Harbor View Motel for the night.  The weather is supposed to be awful tomorrow so we may just linger in town -- there's a place at the Chamber of Commerce where I can get online.  I'm sure it won't offer the atmosphere of the Opera House Cafe in Bar Harbor, but it has the advantage of being three days closer!

Posted by Linda on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at 12:34 Comments (2)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13
Last night, went back to the same restaurant, ordered the same thing: TWO lobsters. They were just as good as I remembered. As I was leaving, the staff gave me a temporary tattoo with the Island Charter House logo. They're going to miss me.

Hated to leave Bar Harbor, but helped along by it being another spectacular day -- clear, sunny. Last night was cold and rainy and I was glad we were not tenting.

The stove-that-does-not-work had leaked gasoline all over the cardboard box I was using to transport it in so I managed to create a little chemical hazard situation in the room. Now, I've got "starter paste" and this morning went by the gas station for eight cents worth of gas to replace the stuff that leaked out. I also discovered a grocery store so the dogs got a breakfast of eggs and turkey and we got some fig newtons and cheese to supplement our road food. I'm going to miss lobster...

The road out of town was delightful and I got to the park entrance by mid-morning. Taking Barbara H's advice, I bought the national parks pass and will see how many park entry stamps I can collect on this trek.

Just past the park entrance was the imaginatively named "Sand Beach."

A lovely French woman stopped to meet the dogs and asked me (pointing at the chariot) "ess ther eh bee-bee in ther?!" I ended up telling her all about the trek. She was very enthusiastic about the idea of seeing the world on foot -- some people just get it. When we were done talking, she went to her car and brought me back a Bartlett pear, saying she was sure I wasn't carrying much fresh fruit!

I stopped at the payphone (just because I can't pass those up anymore) and called a few people at NRTC. No one answered and I'm thinking today might be services for a lovely woman, Maureen, who worked there until her passing last week. She had battled cancer for years and always with an unbelievably positive attitude. I know everyone there is glad her suffering is over, but they will miss her.

Spent the day on the park loop, not much traffic and only a few heartbreaking hills. Most people gave me wide berth on the one-way, two-lane road, with only a few who wouldn't yield a lane to me. The way some people slow down to stare, I'm worried I'll cause an accident. People who wouldn't dream of stopping and staring if they were walking past somehow think their cars give them a cloak of invisibility when driving past. I just wave.

There are only two camping areas on this side of Acadia -- neither near the water. We passed the first too early in the day to stop and were nowhwere near the second as dark was falling, so once again, we are rogue campers. Left the park loop and took a side road, then a trail toward Hunters Beach. WOuld have loved to stay right on the water, but the trail wasn't chariotable. Instead, made camp then walked down to the sea. Hunters Beach is a tiny cove where a stream feeds in from Day Mountain and the waves come in very gently from the Eastern Way channel. Blue and pink tinted rocks cover the shore, giving the cove a lavender glow. We spotted a photographer with tripod and all sorts of equipment headed down there -- and after seeing the cove, could understand why.
Posted by Lind on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at 12:24 Comments (0)

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