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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, July 30, 2012

East-west slow-way

Getting across the state of Maine is difficult, if you define "difficulty" in terms of miles per hour. We traveled to our friends' house on Kezar Lake, nearly in New Hampshire, and getting to and fro consumed much of the weekend. Kezar's only 125 miles away but it took nearly 3 hours to reach, a laughable rate of speed. To my mind, of course, this is not a bad thing.

More progressive people have long wanted to build a better route at various latitudes across the state, and their latest incarnation, somewhat north of my route (see boondoggle), seems to make progress only for Canadian truckers wanting to cut Maine off at the hump, thus shortening the distance between New Brunswick and Quebec. (The existing east-west rail line is apparently considered to be so 20th-century.) The 70-mph crowd gets where it's going fast, and blind.

Here's some of what I saw, driving with my Maine Atlas close to hand, following at least a dozen different numbered state roads of the minor variety:

  • Farm stands by the dozen
  • Papoose Lake Camps and Resort
  • Beautiful highlands farms, only some of whose land was dedicated to growing the kind of money crop falling out of the pockets of men in yellow pants and golf carts
  • A great variety of small towns, from well-to-do (Wayne) to nearly abandoned (Bucksfield)
  • Views of New Hampshire's White Mountains
  • A family reunion (or an Olympics party), at a small camp, on a pond, in the rain
  • Curvy roads (and their snake-shaped warning signs)
  • Magnificent old mill buildings, run-down chicken barns
  • Lots of cars towing campers and boats
  • At the end of a driveway, what appeared to be (I should have been going even slower) a fresh pig's head on a stake
  • Some miles later, signs advertising the Stoneham Pig Roast for August 4 - perhaps related to the item above
  • Large lakes, clear rushing streams, lovely hills
  • A small public bazaar featuring pies for sale
  • No toll booths, few fast-food joints, no overpasses or off-ramps or wasted medians. No stress.  No semis. No passing. No Audis.

Isn't this a better way to be transported?

1 comment:

Jeff Boatright said...

Just had the same experince in Bavaria. Autobahn seemed to be under construction everywhere, so took small roads through small towns. It was great.