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Published: July 27th 2017
Well here we go once again. It has been a year since our last road trip, and we are off for another adventure that will take us north to Cape Cod and to Maine, further north to Huntsville, Ontario, south along the Mississippi River, west across Colorado and all the way to Washington State, back up to Banff and Calgary and then, well, who knows at this point. We shall see what comes to be.
As is true of every road trip, I set out with hesitation and trepidation. It is not easy to spend 24/7 together, most of it in the closed quarters of a car and a motel room. But so far, in all of our prior trips, we still have not killed each other, so I have confidence that we will return no worse for wear one more time.
As I do every year, I give myself a pep talk:
- to keep my senses keen in seeking the new, the beautiful, the interesting and the unexpected;
- to keep my mind open to learning and to having new experiences;
- to remain relaxed and enjoy each day for what it brings;
- to keep my emotions in check;
- and to have a good time.
So, with Poinciana again in our rear-view mirror, we set off with Beamer for parts unknown. Our first stop was Raleigh for a few days with granddaughters Danielle and Natalie. Then we spend a day with friends, the Brooks, in DC. Chatham, MA was our third stop where Steve played in the member guest golf tournament with Scott at Eastward Ho, as he does every year, and I spent some quality time with grandson Max. The weather was incredible and Cape Cod was wonderful, as always. We then made our way to Maine, our old stomping ground, where we visited with our two 90-year-old aunts (gotta love ‘em) and then spent a couple of days with our great friends Bob and Gloria in Poland Springs. This is one of my favorite stops. We got to catch up on old news and new, boat on Lower Range Pond, drink a little wine, and just plain relax in the comfort of good company. Thanks Bob and Gloria for a wonderful time.
Today we set our compass toward Canada. We left at 7:40 AM and 59
chilly degrees and pointed the car NW. We drove through the mountains of western Maine, through small towns…Bethel, Oxford, Norway, South Paris…and past Sunday River, renown for its popular ski resort. The roads were bumpity bump bump, badly cracked by the never ending winter frost heaves. It was difficult to take notes that were legible enough to read later in the day. The speed limits are minimal on these two-lane country roads and the going was slow, but the views were a feast for the eyes that have since left the state to live in a warmer climate. The roads weave lazily through the countryside, with tall, mature, hardwood trees creating luscious green lanes through the woods. And we saw a man filling jugs of water at a public spring by the side of the road…a common element found on these pathways through the mountains. We drove through Grafton Notch State Park in New Hampshire and we saw the Moose Muck Coffee House in Colebrook, NH. And we drove through Dixfield Notch, famous for their long-standing tradition of midnight voting in presidential elections. The residents of this tiny town gather at 12 PM on the eve of the election and
cast their votes within a minute of midnight and close the polls, the first to turn in their voting results for the rest of the country to see.
Unlike last year, our stop at the border was uneventful and we headed for Sherbrooke, Quebec. I am told that this is where my grandmother spent her tender years before immigrating to Lewiston, Maine with her mother and siblings after the untimely death of her father. The town of Sherbrooke is quaint and old. It sits on a hillside and the spires of various churches jet high into the skyline, a sign that faith was an important part of it’s culture. We drove around and stopped at the church St-Jean-Batiste (Saint John the Baptist) which is closed and appears to be awaiting some sort of renovation. My attempt to research this has come up empty. However, the signs outside the church appear to be requesting funds to save it. This church is over 130 years old, and so it was there when my grandmother was a child. It is a beautiful example of neo-gothic architecture and reminds me of the St. Peter and Paul Basilica in my home town of Lewiston,
Onward we went through rolling farmlands with iconic red barns and neat white farm houses adorned by tall, sometimes rusty, silos. The fields were ripe with corn, bush beans and other various vegetables, creating a patchwork of green leaves, yellow hay and green grass expanding across the horizon.
We passed through Montreal and viewed the city skyline from a distant highway and we stalled our way through rush hour traffic crossing through Ottawa to the western side of the city, positioning ourselves for the next day’s long drive to Huntsville, Ontario. We landed at our hotel after 5 PM, tired, but satisfied with having seen the home of my ancestors and enjoying the landscapes of my own.
Tomorrow, an early start up to Huntsville to spend a few days with our Canadian friends, Robin and Pat.
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