After another good night’s rest I hitched up the car and headed for the highway. Saturday morning traffic on the I-495 by-pass around Boston was reasonably light and I made good time. The 495 rejoins I-95 just a few miles south of the New Hampshire border. Less than half an hour after that I was crossing into Maine. Traffic stayed a little congested until I passed the beach exits around Ogunquit and Kennebunkport on the southeastern Maine coast then thinned out considerably. A couple of miles in I saw the first of what would become many warnings to watch for moose on the roadway. Once north of Portland it became hard to believe that I was driving on an interstate ~ most of the time there were only a handful of other vehicles on the highway. The scenery improved also. For the next 230 miles the road rolled through hilly farm country, flanked by the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. The roadside scenery included evergreen and hardwood trees; wildflowers in bright hues of purple, white and yellow; meadows, streams, marshes and babbling brooks with frothy white cascades tumbling over hard rock falls. And bugs. Big bugs. Bugs so big that, when they hit the windshield, they sounded like hail and left splatter the size of silver dollars. By the time I arrived at the campground in Houlton I could barely see to drive.
At mile marker 252 ~ 50 miles south of the Houlton exit ~ is a scenic overlook worth stopping for. The view is of Mt. Katahdin across the Penobscot River. Today the mountain was veiled with a rain shower but it was still an impressive view and a welcome rest stop.
It is common knowledge that Northeasterners are folks of few words. The campground manager here is a classic example. Barely a greeting at the check-in desk ~ he just stood there sucking on his pipe waiting for me to tell him why I was there. After paying for the site he gave me a map of the campground and showed me how to get to my assigned space. When I negotiate my way around and turn into the site he is standing there, having already arrived by golf cart. It is customary in these situations for the person to guide you into the site, using hand signals to help you line up in the space and position your rig close to the utility hookups. Not this guy. He just stood there, arms crossed over his chest, puffing on his pipe. I can’t decide if he is there to help or just curious to check out my driving skills. Finally, with an almost imperceptible nod of the head, he indicates that I am in a good spot. After checking things out myself, I find that I need to move forward about five feet. Once that is accomplished, he takes another puff on his pipe, gives another slight nod of the head and disappears in his golf cart. Gotta love these folks! ;b
After setting up and cleaning the front of the bus I took a walk on the park’s nature trail to unwind. The path led to a series of forested meadows and ponds. As the sun set and the evening turned to dusk I had hopes of spotting some wildlife along the path; however, the only wild things I encountered were mosquitoes the size of small helicopters. That was my cue to head back to the campsite and shut things down for the night.
In spite of all the warnings, nary a moose has been seen ~ not on the road, not in a meadow, nor drinking at a stream. Before this journey is over I’m going to find me a moose.
Tomorrow ~ Canada!!!!