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Down the Road

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Down the Road
Down the Old Maine Road
But it stated something I found interesting, that all things in life turn out for the good, even though some things don't appear to be good while they're happening. So, I thought -- actually thought -- about my own life and things that have happened to me. Many of them turned out, if not good themselves, to be stepping stones to better circumstances. I didn't come to Maine in 1965 to work. I came to have fun, hike, canoe, ride boats from coastal towns, bird hunt, and otherwise enjoy myself. Once we live in Searsport, I'll have time with Dolores to do the things I came to Maine to do. And there is much to do not far from Searsport.
May 24, 2015 - 6:17:15 AM

Down the Road
State parks opening, a sign spring has arrived
I saw a letter to the editor today, encouraging us all to go up and visit Peaks Kenny State Park a few miles north of Dover Foxcroft. I've never been there, largely because it's pretty far from our home, about 70 miles I believe without measuring the miles in the Gazetteer. That map says we can picnic, camp, and otherwise enjoy the park alongside Sebec Lake, another place we haven't visited. In western Maine, we've never visited the tiny Range Pond State Park, but we've been to Sebago Lake State Park and even ridden the river boat there. When we lived in South Paris, we spent much time on the trails of the White Mountain National Forest, but that's not a state park.
May 17, 2015 - 8:35:17 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece -- with critters
In Acadia National Park, there are trails and paved walks where evidence of beaver action is all around. There are felled trees nearby, and if it's near water, their round homes are starting to be visible. I've stood and watched beaver, usually not at work but at swim. They come right along, as long as they are unaware of our presence. But when they learn we're watching, there is a quick, loud slap of their tales on the water, and they disappear.
May 9, 2015 - 9:28:10 PM

Down the Road
Down the muddy Road a Piece
I came to Maine to have fun, to enjoy places such as Baxter State Park. I've been there over a half-dozen times, climbed Katahdin (note: not Mt. Katahdin, as "Katahdin" means the greatest mountain) six times. The first time with a family I met just below timberline. I accompanied them to the summit and down again below tree line. It was a shocking revelation, that there is that much rock, open space, and cold air blowing around up there.
May 3, 2015 - 12:05:32 AM

Down the Road
Down the Religious Road a Piece
Martin Luther, 10 November 1483 -- 18 February 1546, was "a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his (Luther's) Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.
Apr 26, 2015 - 7:05:34 AM

Down the Road
"Putting them down"
I knew these pets loved us, but I never realized how deeply we loved them. Most of our cats were carried off by a neighborhood owl while outside. At least that's what we thought, because we had seen the owl hanging around in the trees. It's tough, opening the door and stepping out to find your pets and not find them.
Apr 19, 2015 - 6:18:51 PM

Down the Road
Getting ready for spring and some walks
A year or so after Dolores underwent two brain operations at Massachusetts General Hospital for a couple of brain aneurysms, one which was leaking and one which was about to leak, I took her for a walk at Great Head in Acadia. We were walking south and we came to a dozen-foot-high cliff we needed to go down. She had never done much trail hiking before I met her. I kind of guided her down, a new adventure for her. I had forgotten her limitations both from her lack of hiking experience and her still recovering from the brain operations. But she made it down okay, and we continued our walk to Sand Beach.
Apr 13, 2015 - 8:22:30 PM

Down the Road
Easter -- spring is here
The biblical Easter story is a wonderful story, especially for people like me who believe it. Jesus rising from the dead, communicating with his followers, and finally rising into the sky. As far as I know, Christianity is the only religion that has such an optimistic story.
Apr 6, 2015 - 9:04:34 AM

Down the Road
Walking/boat cruise adventure
We were waiting for the departure time of a Camden boat cruise, so to fill in the time we went out to Fernalds Neck Preserve near the northern end of Megunticook Lake where it meets Norton Pond. The preserves' neighbors, as you drive in to the preserve, didn't seem all that friendly. I recall one couple putting down their chores and staring at us as we drove past. I didn't think we were that funny looking. Perhaps funny looking folk on other occasions had driven past that house on the way to the preserve.
Apr 1, 2015 - 6:14:06 AM

Down the Road
Exploring Map 14* -- and a couple of others
We've paddled our canoe on Lake Megunticook in Camden, where we almost got turned around -- "turned around" in Maine, not "lost" -- and where I steered our electric-motor-driven 14-footer canoe against a rock that deflected us with no harm done. From now on, however, we'll be taking the ocean-going boat cruises, since last fall we gave our canoe, electric motor, and battery to my daughter and her husband in western Maine.
Mar 27, 2015 - 4:50:53 AM

Down the Road
Dover Foxcroft, to where we didn't drive
But we've learned a bit online about what was originally two towns, Dover and Foxcroft. "... separated by the Piscataquis River (Dover is on the south side, Foxcroft on the north). "Dover was purchased from Massachusetts by Boston merchants Charles Vaughan and John Merrick, both of whom had emigrated from England . It was first permanently settled in 1803 by Eli Towne from Temple, New Hampshire, then incorporated on January 19, 1822.
Mar 20, 2015 - 7:23:10 AM

Down the Road
Dogs that owned us
On a scale of something to something, I have to tell you the cats are a lot easier to care for....except maybe the six-month old, Stella, who is now victimizing us and our six-year-old male, Tom. (Tom seems like an appropriate name for a Tom cat. He was given us by a veterinarian, who said Tom has the kitty equivalent of HIV. We just have to keep him away from other critters, so he doesn't bite them.)
Mar 12, 2015 - 7:46:10 AM

Down the Road
Coming to Maine by train
"There" was my Great Aunt Amy's farm in Belgrade. We packed our clothes and took the train from Paoli, PA to New York's Penn Station. We then went to Grand Central Station and took a train to Boston. The Pullman car gave us a sad view of the people living in Harlem, and I still can't get those sights out of my memory. They were sitting on steps, hanging out windows, and on the streets. I took it all in with a kind of shock.
Mar 6, 2015 - 3:20:10 AM

Down the Road
Mud season is next
Doing Maine Appalachian Trail Club volunteering I've driven narrow roads near Monson that were either gravel, large stones that made me stop and move them, or some mud. The mud always scared me more, because I didn't know what was down in there where the tires would go or get stuck. On some of those volunteer trips, I've driven with one wheel in the grassy center of the road and the other on the tension-creating edge of the road. I never got stuck doing that, and I never got stuck in the mud that filled the normal place the tires would roll.
Feb 26, 2015 - 10:48:30 PM

Down the Road
Driving in snow
We headed west back through that New Hampshire town to visit friends who lived 20 miles west of there. When we left their house that evening, Route 2 was so awful with snow that we headed south on another road. After all, there was bound to be less snow south than where we were. But south took us over a mountain and down somewhere near Conway. We crossed into Maine and started driving north. Only to encounter a young couple, who were stuck in that snow.
Feb 15, 2015 - 1:20:07 AM

Down the Road
Global warming
"They" call it climate change, possibly for weather like we're now having that has brought us about 20 inches of white stuff over several days. I still call it global warming, because generally the weather is getting warmer. And I still know a few people, who want to drive those big cars, who don't believe in at all.
Feb 6, 2015 - 12:13:15 AM

Down the Road
Books for any year
On our sofa, I can be anywhere doing a variety of things via books. There are always at least two on the table in front of the sofa. My last book trip took me to George Washington and the Revolutionary War, the everyday experiences of those I met who lived back in the 1770s. The one I'm reading now is taking me to the far West, where railroads are being built and Custer is about to be in his last stand.
Dec 28, 2014 - 1:35:50 AM

Down the Road
The parts of Christmas
If your Christmas is centered on that first part, the birth of Jesus, feel free to let me know that. It would be nice to know that someone's actually is. The fourth part of Christmas is that the long, dark days also seem to bring difficulties, usually money problems. So Christmas sort-of becomes the day we can temporarily set aside those problems and concentrate on at least those two other parts of Christmas, the tree and the gifts, which form the memories of Christmases past. (Think about how many Christmas movies feature those tough times, fictionally lightened by Christmas Day.)
Dec 21, 2014 - 3:20:05 AM

Down the Road
Self survey
I hope the picture of the lawn that you are giving us with the retirement house you're offering us shows a much smaller lawn than ours. I haven't yet seen that picture you sent, but I'm sure the lawn is much too big. I don't mind if the rest of the yard is cluttered with trees and brush, but that lawn needs to be small.
Dec 14, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM

Down the Road
Snow/ice hiking and falling
One other time I fell "but good" was when I had been walking in the Birdsacre woods in Ellsworth. The ground was snow covered, and I stopped to rest a bit while leaning on a branch of a sapling. Suddenly, and I don't recommend this for practice at home, I was sitting down. The bottom part of my anatomy hurt, and my arm that was still clinging to the sapling hurt.
Dec 7, 2014 - 5:46:18 AM

Down the Road
The Beautiful Scenery of My Retirement
For your dreaming times, the Craignair Inn we occasionally visit down along the ocean. Milt Gross Photo

Dec 7, 2014 - 5:03:13 AM

Down the Road
After Thanksgiving -- or instead of it
Then there was this year's -- Thanksgiving without baking a turkey or going out to a nice restaurant for the meal. Thanksgiving at home with no electricity. When it came back on, electricity became our Thanksgiving. The next day, we still haven't dug out the car. We're too busy being thankful -- and enjoying the feeling of power, electric power that is.
Nov 30, 2014 - 12:20:45 AM

Down the Road
Tough spots in Maine's woods
My father and I once got turned around -- not lost -- on a fairly steep cliff on the other side of Tumbledown. We couldn't see where we'd climbed up, but we could see the mountaintop pond and other mountains in the distance. They gave us directions to climb safely back to the trail we had been following before we became adventuresome. Moral of that tale; if you feel adventuresome, spell "adventuresome" ten times and then don't do it.
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:27:54 AM

Down the Road
The Air Force Reserves
On the way home, one of the doors in our aircraft wouldn't stay shut while we were high above somewhere, so we tied it closed with some clothesline. And one of our engines began to lose oil, so our pilot was on the radio trying to find out where the nearest C119 gas station was located. Of course, the radio wasn't functioning correctly, which made the entire trip home kind of scary.
Nov 16, 2014 - 12:20:00 AM

Down the Road
Belfast has other advantages besides providing hide-out spots from insurance salesmen. It is not far from Bangor -- which may be an advantage -- or Camden if you like summer crowds or even Augusta if you like to watch politicians at nonwork. It is not near crowded-in-summer Acadia National Park, which is either an advantage or disadvantage depending on your view of Acadia. And it is not that far from Moody Mountain Road in Lincolnville, where there is a 12-foot-tall sign post bearing the names of a dozen places, some of which are even real towns.
Nov 9, 2014 - 3:53:31 AM

Down the Road
The woods
My father and I once wandered off a pasture into the edge of a woods over in Belgrade. We had been in familiar turf; we could see up the field to the road and even to the house. Suddenly we were in strange country, low trees and brush, the only paths those of cattle that had wandered there. Those hoof-made paths wound and zigzagged. A bit frightening, as now we had no idea where we were -- where the farmhouse was.
Nov 2, 2014 - 12:20:17 AM

Down the Road
Rambling while retired
But now I'm thinking about hikes I probably won't and will take in my future after the hip surgery. I probably won't tackle Katahdin again (six climbs are probably enough) but I will likely head up the much smaller Bald Peak in Acadia. It's got all the features of Maine's higher mountains, only in miniature. I probably won't trip on the north side of Baldpate again, but then once was enough. I can find much lower places to trip. There are lots of places we still plan to go, such as the state museum in Augusta and old Fort Western there. You can drive right up to them, and there are no steep, rocky trails inside.
Oct 26, 2014 - 6:35:13 AM

Down the Road
Fall or autumn
Even when they spoke of fall, they couldn't agree when, exactly, it took place. In the 17th and 18th centuries, dictionaries by both Thomas Blount and Samuel Johnson noted that some thought that fall began in August and ended in November, while others contested that it began in September (at the equinox) and ended in December (with the solstice)."
Oct 19, 2014 - 6:12:56 AM

Down the Road
On with retirement
I remember when I used to walk fast on the mountain trails, a nice memory which probably won't be repeated in the near future. I recall the Beehive in Acadia National Park, where I didn't fall hundreds of feet into the ocean but felt like I would; I remember climbing Katahdin six times, which I won't be doing again in the near future; I recall climbing Mount Washington, seeing snow in August and almost losing a teenager who left us at the top and legged it pretty fast for the bottom -- but got turned around until a ranger called us at the top to tell us where the kid was; I remember the slippery leaves on the trail up Mount Batti in Camden, where I slipped back in the day when slipping was no big deal.
Oct 12, 2014 - 12:17:12 AM

Down the Road
The narrow gauge choo choo ride continues
Boothbay Railway Village's narrow gauge property even has a village green, which is where children's activities are held these days. Years ago, most New England towns had greens where villagers could graze their animals and other activities occurred. Boothbay Railway Village also has a variety of buildings from the past, including an old school house, a chapel, a town hall used today by Boothbay residents for town meetings, and an antique auto museum.
Oct 5, 2014 - 12:23:31 AM

Down the Road
The narrow gauge railroad at Boothbay
According to the pamphlet, the standard four-foot 8.5-inches wide track had its origins in Roman soldiers driving two-horse carts. The two horses were a combined width of about four feet. The carts left tracks, and in order not to damage the carts it was important to keep the same width of the road. The standard gauge railroad developed from the width of those roads.
Sep 28, 2014 - 5:45:02 AM

Down the Road
I didn't move to Maine in 1965 to work. I came to enjoy the mountains, the trails, the lakes, the ocean, and the outdoors generally. Did I? No. I had to work to be able to live in the Pine Tree State. Been working all that time until now. The worst part about retirement is I won't see my friends on the bus each day. The best part is I won't have to get up at 4 a.m. to see my friends on the bus each day.
Sep 24, 2014 - 7:58:15 AM

Down the Road
Crazy things happen
If you have --or can make up -- the answers to any of these questions, please let me know. I have to dash off and don't have time to dream up the answers. But there must be answers.
Sep 14, 2014 - 12:25:35 AM

Down the Road
Sammy (Wicked) takes over
But her name got changed, when Dolores took her to the veterinarian for an exam. He found no problems, no worms, no fleas, just this four-pound tiger kitten looking up at him as he studied her. "The official prognosis is that she's wicked cute," the vet explained to Dolores.
Sep 7, 2014 - 12:27:48 AM

Down the Road
Sammy moves in
Every other cat or kitten we've taken in spent two or three days hiding somewhere out of sight and finally tiptoeing out to where he or she could keep a better eye on us. One "hid" on the hot water heater in the back kitchen, in plain sight but maybe out of sight in her mind. When she finally came out, she took over for awhile until we all got used to each other.
Aug 31, 2014 - 12:25:23 AM

Down the Road
Milt Gross Book Review: "Standing on Principal" by Frank Vetro
One outcome of what happened was clear in that by the end of the book, Vetro had still not been returned to his previous administration position and had excepted a teaching position that was on a much lower scale. I would not recommend Standing on Principal for its writing or literary value, but I do recommend it for its apparently true story of justice gone wrong. The writer was definitely wronged, according to the book.
Aug 31, 2014 - 12:05:40 AM

Down the Road
The old Twombly farm
How things change over the years! "Tom" e-mailed me recently that he had purchased the farm in Belgrade that had once belonged to the Twombly family. He also sent me photos of how the farm looked when he purchased it, run down and not at all like the Twombly farm I remembered from my childhood.
Aug 24, 2014 - 12:23:14 AM

Down the Road
A whole bunch of literary yesteryears
Guys, if you're open to some real adventure, encourage your spouse to go to the recycling center by herself. Mine did, the other day, and came back with 13 volumes dating from 1848 until I'm not sure when. I'll probably read all of them except the 1848 copy of Vanity Fair, which is in too tender a condition for actual reading. The print is very fine and the book cover in precarious condition.
Aug 17, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM

Down the Road
Trip to Maine long ago
A dozen or so miles out on a country road (Route 135) we came to her farmhouse, an old cape held up by a six-foot stone balanced on end in the center of the basement. (During our second or third year, my father and I found Katahdin on a map. We went there, camping, during Maine's frigid August evenings and seeing our first moose. It was that mountain, woods, and moose experience that locked me into loving the Pine Tree State.)
Aug 10, 2014 - 12:33:30 AM

Down the Road
Moose tales
I have found tales (not tails) about moose to be favorites of both Maine residents and visitors to our moose-populated state. My two most recent moose sightings were both in or bordering Acadia National Park, both from a road. So if you're scouting for the big, dumb beasties, my advice is to stay right on the roads, unless you enjoy puckerbrushing. (But puckerbrushing can be noisy, which tends to cause moose to puckerbrush away from where you're puckerbrushing.)
Aug 3, 2014 - 6:30:53 AM

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