16 August 2006

Fishin' in Maine (a wicked long trip report)

With lots of pictures!

Last year, my roommate Josh and my buddy Nate accompanied me on a fishing trip to Maine where we spent a great deal of time in the woods, hung out at the Lobster Festival, and generally had a good time. So, the plan became to do the same thing this year, only Nate had to drop out roughly 2 weeks prior and Josh pinched a nerve in his neck, like so:

So I was on my own, and realizing that I wasn't in the mood to stay in Pittsburgh when I could be fishing, and since I'd recently given my car to charity, I decided my best course of action was to rent a car and ignore the costs. So that's what I did, handing Enterprise my credit card and heading east on that beautiful highway

a camera and a pile of CD's at my side and doing my best Neal Cassidy

Naturally, one of the most important parts of a solo road trip is the music selection. You have to strike that balance between songs that reflect the "zen of the road" and songs that basically help you drive faster. Personally, I like to accomplish the former with stuff like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson ("On the Road Again" is mandatory), Wilco, the Jayhawks, Red House Painters, and My Morning Jacket--stuff that you can almost zone out to and just drive, getting lost inside the experience. But, a steady diet of that is no good, as you may fall asleep, so I like to alternate that with Arcade Fire, the Danielson Famile, Architecture in Helsinki, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Broken Social Scene, and other such stuff.

With that in mind, I flew across Pennsylvania, making very good time in some sort of Chevy that seemed to be getting very good gas mileage. For the bulk of PA and NY, I dodged apocalyptic skies that constantly seemed like I was about to drive into "end of the world" weather, but somehow I avoided it all--a lucky bit of karma, I suppose--and hit my first real stop of Foxwoods in roughly nine hours.

This was my first trip to Foxwoods since they opened the new poker room, which is quite impressive. My first game--10/20 Hold 'Em--broke after a half hour, so I sat at 5/10 until a seat opened, where I then proceeded to play for 14 hours and left the next morning somewhat tired.

Not being smart enough to sleep for an hour in the Foxwoods parking garage, I got back on the road, only to have to sit in traffic for a half hour while the police cleaned up an accident. It quickly occurred to me that I was exhausted, so I stopped at a Starbucks and told them to "give me the drink with the most caffeine possible, regardless of how bad it may taste." That did the trick, and I was soon in New Hampshire, where in line for a toll booth I saw this car:

followed quickly by the most embarrassing sign on road for us Mainers:

An entire state reduced to one lane. Sigh.

It being summer, there were many more cars wanting to enter the state than leave it (this is reversed in the winter):

But I was soon over the bridge and into the Pine Tree State.

I drove home and collapsed on my parent's couch. The next day I went to my family reunion for the first time in maybe 10 years, and since very few people showed up, I fell asleep on a blanket and got burned to a crisp. But enough of that. Monday morning I headed north toward Aroostook County and my family's hunting camp deep in the woods, picking up my childhood friend Ben along the way. We drove in off the interstate to the quaint little camp built near a brook full of trout.

The camp has no running water or electricity and has been there for at least 40 years.

It operates as a quiet place where you can really unwind. A place where your major concerns are deciding when and where you want to fish, what type of beer you want to drink next, what time to eat, and how it might be possible to do all those things without getting up from your chair. It's a rough life.

We spent the first evening doing exactly that, downing a couple of beers each and cooking some chicken breasts over the fire. Here my buddy Ben works on building the fire:

The next morning we fished down the brook a bit. I caught 2 nice trout and a bunch I had to throw back and Ben drowned some worms and let some fish go.

But sadly all good things must come to an end and the third day we had to head back so Ben could attend to a family crisis situation. Not to be deterred, I went back to my hometown of Waldoboro, which is big enough to have it's own Information Center[1],

and got the keys to my parent's summer camp, so that I might resume my vacation in peace.

The camp is still under construction and should be a modest little place on an inlet to some lake who's name I can't remember.

I spent a couple of days there doing a little bit of writing, some kayaking around (I'd never done that before, and highly recommend it), listened to Red Sox games on the radio, accidentally caught a 14 inch bass while messing around with a fishing pole, and drank the Lobster Ale and Blueberry Wine I found in Waldoboro's new high(ish) class wine store.

As the week drew to an end, I got back in the car and headed west.

I saw no films and spent no time on the internet and pretty much did nothing all day, every day. We all need to do that from time to time, though, in order to keep our sanity.

Oh, and as I approached Pittsburgh, my brother called to tell me he had just gotten engaged mere hours after I'd last seen him. So now I can drink to that.

[1] Yeah, that's the sum total of the Information Center. Waldoboro is also the home to the somewhat famous Moody's Diner, where I worked during my formative years.


Matt Riviera said...

I love how your post reads like an American indie family reunion road-movie (Old Joy meets Junebug?), with great photography, picturesque locations and a great soundtrack.

No films and no internet. Sounds like heaven.

lucas said...

i kind of had Arlo Guthrie's voice in the back of my head as i wrote it.

i had to resist the urge to say "...but that's not what I came here to talk about. Came to talk about the draft."

levi said...

that "information center" is hilarious. i want to steal it and put it in my room.

Anonymous said...

Now, now we're very proud of our information center-what's in there anyway, Lucas?

lucas said...

the hell if i know, mom

johanna said...

it's always strange to see pictures of people's siblings, but that picture of your brother is especially startling

and what does the license plate on the used veggie oil car read, "ANYLESS?"