Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
77Trip End Feb 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart (Woodsville, NH)
I made do by driving back and attempting to take a couple more shots of the Bath Bridge and spent a little time browsing the shelves at the "Brick Store" general store. It claimed to be the oldest in the country still standing and it had products from all the previous decades gathering dust on the upper shelves, while modern goods were at eye level and below. Sort of a neat little quaint country store.
For the next few hours I drove around the surrounding area taking in the occasionally snow-covered scenery and asking around to see if any maple sugaring houses might still be in operation (the official season had ended a couple weeks ago). I didn't manage to find any that were still in production but most have shops that are open year round and I stopped in at one to view their products and chat for a while with the shop-keeper
I decided to start making my way towards Maine because my time in New Hampshire was up, so I hopped onto the Kancamagus Scenic Highway that runs through the center of the White Mountain National Forest. It actually was a very scenic drive that ran alongside a small rushing river. I stopped at one point called "Rocky Gorge" and walked around the path for a while before stopping to take a few photos. It was a very attractive area, and it also had a very interesting story associated with it. I won't write out everything on the sign, but basically a young girl was trapped beneath the rapids and falls of the gorge for about three hours and fifteen minutes. From what was visible on the sign, I gathered that she only survived because of the way the force of the falling water created an air pocket where her face was. For the entire time she was submerged rescuers attempted in vain to find any sign of her; it wasn't until they sandbagged the river and redirected its flow that they could see a body through the murky water. The rescuers managed to get a pole with a looped rope around her wrist to pull her free and raise her up onto the rocks
After making my way through the rest of New Hampshire, I made my way through Maine until I reached the city of Portland. There was a McDonald's across the street from the Wal-Mart I was going to park at, so I took the opportunity to park there and use their wi-fi for a couple of hours. I noticed the lights starting to turn off inside, so I began wrapping up what I was writing when a police car pulled up next to me. It didn't take a lot of mental gymnastics to figure out what he was there for, but I decided to go with the standard approach of asking the officer if there was a problem. He actually responded that there was not. Quite simply, the employees of the McDonald's were closing up, noticed I was parked outside, and probably got a little paranoid so they called the cops. Better safe than sorry, you know, just in case Al Quaeda has taken up a vendetta against the western establishment of the fast-food industry, maybe they just thought I was a crackhead. The fact that I was visibly using a laptop and had South Dakota plates might have tipped off anyone with a fifth grade education on what I might be doing out there, and they didn't even bother to communicate with me on their own...just ran to daddy
So, that was my first direct encounter with law enforcement so far on this trip. Actually, I'm surprised it took as long as it did. I am sleeping in parking lots, and I've sat in countless McDonald's parking lots in the same fashion. I guess other areas must be more used to seeing people park to use their internet. Ironically, when I parked across the street at the Wal-Mart for the night, I was able to pick up a different wireless internet signal that proved to be much better than McDonald's was.