. It really was a great set-up despite the crowds and we would have stayed longer if we could have. But, we decided it was time to turn in our vehicle hang tag at Bayley’s and head north to Oldfield. The drive was about 160 miles and took us around 3 and 1/2 hours. We took 295 through Portland, Freeport (we were tempted to stop and see if there was a LL Bean outlet or something but didn’t), and up to Augusta. From there we got off the four lane highway and onto state route 3, a two-lane highway that cuts it’s way east towards Penobscot bay. We passed antique stores set up in people’s old barns/garages, ice cream stands, rocky fields and big white wooden farmhouses. We cruised through dark evergreen trees with hundreds of huge ferns growing underneath them and would occasionally pass beautiful jet black glassy ponds. Finally we came across the Penobscot Narrows bridge and Fort Knox right outside of Bucksport. We took the kids 4 years ago, when MC was 9 months old and William was 3, but haven’t been back since. I’m a sucker for forts and especially old stone forts. My favorite is Fort Jefferson on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park. But that’s not saying much as I’ve only been to four or so in my life anyway. We didn’t go through the fort this time because it takes an hour or more and we were getting a little antsy to get to the house, put some roots down and unpack for a few days. We did, however, take the one minute elevator trip 400 feet to the top of the new Penobscot Narrows bridge observatory
. There are only two other bridges like this one in the US and it is the highest bridge observatory in the world. The view from up there is amazing. We drove through the cute town of Bucksport and the remaining 45 minutes to get to Sargentville, Maine. I talked Will into stopping at the top of Caterpillar Hill, about 1 mile away from the house to take a few pictures since the weather was so beautiful. We picked a few blueberries and ate them - yes, they are just growing there on the side of the road. We parked Chanel in a neighbor’s driveway and unloaded our hefty plastic wardrobe boxes at the house to stay for the next 4 days.
By the way, I forgot an important event that happened when we were driving through Boston. It’s actually the exact type of thing one would blog about, but I didn’t take a picture when it happened (Will and I considered a re-enactment in order to snap a pic but didn’t), and I forgot to talk about it (I feel like I failed some sort of blogger’s pop quiz). I guess I should start by saying that while we were driving it was hard not to notice the differences in road quality. Chanel makes us hyper-aware since every time we cross even an interstate bridge she starts bucking around behind the Tahoe. NYC roads were pretty shabby as were DC’s. When we drove through Boston some guy in a truck started honking at us and I rolled down the window. He screamed, “Yeh abou’ ta loose ya spah tie-ya!” We pulled over and the frame that usually holds the spare tire on the back of the camper with 4 bolts was hanging by only one bolt. It had been bouncing behind Chanel like tin cans behind a newlywed car. Luckily, we think it had to have happened moments before the guy told us, since the cover was hardly even ripped. Our theory is that the integrity of the camper where the bolts were attached was compromised when some previous owner shut the kitchen up improperly. It was not because Will was driving too fast. We threw the tire in the back of the Tahoe and bought some duct tape later to cover up the holes.
Day 4 - We woke up the next day and ate breakfast quickly so we could rectify the tease at Rocky Neck by taking the kids to the beach for a while. Pretty much all of the shoreline in Maine is very rocky and covered in seaweed. It’s great for beach combing and it is really beautiful, but it isn’t conducive to any sort of “traditional” beach activities. Geologists must love it. The beach at Scarborough/Old Orchard is miles long and sandy. (I know of one other sandy beach in Maine’s Acadia National Park that is pretty small, aptly named Sand Beach.) The ocean water is still as frosty as it is in the rest of the state, but the kids and some well insulated people still get in. We got there at 9 am and at 11 am when we left the beach was packed. Packed with very white Maine residents, under a rainbow of umbrellas so closely crammed together on the narrow beach that it was practically impossible to see the sand. A few steps up a little boardwalk (the dunes aren’t really that wide or hilly) there was a large building that had clean public bathrooms and a restaurant offering coney island dogs, french fries, ice cream, drinks and fried dough