Thursday, August 30, 2018

Maine - Day 29 - Portland

Yellowstone Park Campground
Wednesday, 29 August 2018

On the news today, I heard that some Mainers are incensed because they’ve learned that the governor, who no longer appears to be ailing, recently (and apparently quietly) joined other governors and attorneys general (including Texas’s I think) in an appeal from a court ruling in Michigan that said employers couldn’t fire somebody just because they fell into an LBGTQ bracket.  Local LGBTQ folks are saying, he’s only got a few months left in his term and he really wants to spend it saying people should get fired?  Business people are noting Maine’s 3% unemployment rate and saying it’s already hard for them to find workers without making Maine look less inclusive.  (How did this guy get elected in the first place?)
today's fuzzy route
Today I’d hoped to spend a little time in Portland, Maine’s largest city by far, but as has often happened in the large cities I’ve visited, I got shoved out by the traffic and lack of parking.

I found on the online map of the town that the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House was only a block from Monument Square, the center of town, where there would be a Farmer’s Market today.  So great, I thought, I could visit both and hoped that by getting there around 9:00 I might be able to find a parking place.  But it didn’t happen like that.

First, because I wanted to take a rural route rather than the interstate, it took me a lot longer to get to town than I’d hoped, though it was a pretty ride.  Second, I actually did not get lost (almost unheard of) but it’s an old town so the streets are narrow, which made maneuvering a chore.  Plus, that farmer’s market used up a lot of parking spaces I might otherwise have been able to take.  And most deadly, the parking isn’t with regular meters but with meters you pay online, which I’m unable to do, not having a smart phone.  There were parking lots, but they don’t like letting vehicles like mine in and, of course, parking garages are completely out because of the height limit.

So I drove around downtown a bit – it looks like a nice place and I’m sorry I couldn’t visit – and then aimed for the harbor.  Which I also found with no problem and drove along there looking at all the shipping businesses and ferry terminals and restaurants and so forth – a bustling area, it seemed.  And still without getting lost (unbelievable) I found the bridge across the bay to South Portland.
Casco Bay Bridge

I’ve included an online photo of the bridge mainly because it turns out to be a drawbridge, and the bridge was in the middle of drawing when I got there.  But I didn’t have to wait long, though there was a long line, and got across and found the laundromat I was aiming for, again with no problem.

Nice laundromat, staffed, well maintained.  But not an inch of shade in the parking area where I had no choice but to leave the critters, though I walked the dogs a couple of times, and the RV being nothing more than a metal box, after all, it got really hot and stuffy.  The second I got the laundry done, I drove across the street to the grocery store and managed to find a tree we could park in the shade of.  And I sat with the AC on for a bit, trying to cool things down to something that wouldn’t kill my babies while I went in to get some supplies.

I also ducked into a vet’s office by the groc store to get some pills for Gracie’s arthritis, but they didn’t have the same brand and she’s so picky about what she eats I was afraid to experiment.

We drove down the road a little way to Cape Elizabeth to see the Portland Head Lighthouse, that marks the entrance to Portland harbor. Built in 1791, it’s Maine’s oldest lighthouse.
Once again we were fighting huge crowds – who’d have thought? - so I walked the dogs and took this photo off the internet.

During the day I passed a towing company called Anything Tows.  And another business called Probably Auto Inc.  I swear.  I have no idea what their business is.  And a coffee shop called Brewed Awakenings.

And I got behind a car with a bumper sticker that said: I’m not lost. I’m exploring.  Which I should probably take as my motto for this whole trip.

And somewhere along the way I learned that Poland Spring bottled water comes from Poland, ME – that’s where I was at the Range Pond Campground a few days ago.  And it still comes from there. I had no idea. 

Driving down Route 1 on the way back to the campground, I was looking for veterinary offices.  I found one, parked in their lot (just barely big enough for me), left the engine/AC running for the critters, and went in still on a quest for Gracie’s pills.  Nope.  They too have similar but not the same products.

I saw another office but not until I was too far along to be able to stop safely.  And then I spotted another, missed their parking lot but pulled into what I thought was a driveway that went around the building and back to the parking lot.  It didn’t.  It was just a driveway, and a short one at that.  And it was right at a busy intersection with lots of traffic.

So I did my usual backing and forthing, trying to get myself at an angle where I could back onto the highway easily without holding up traffic too much, only to find a car had seen my antics and stopped up his whole lane of traffic while I maneuvered my way out of there.  Extremely nice of that person – I don’t know how I’d have gotten out safely otherwise.

After all this trauma, I decided to make a side trip before I went to the campground and got some more of that really good Shaker Pond ice cream.  I’ve been getting the plain ordinary chocolate and it’s really wonderful.  I figured I deserved it.

And while I was in the ice cream parlor, the heavens totally opened up and rain absolutely poured down in sheets and the wind blew it sideways.  There was a couple about my age inside who had ridden one of those 3-wheeled motorcycles there – but we all figured there were much worse places to get stuck.  I didn’t want to wait it out, with the critters out there and Gracie terrified of thunder and lightning (having learned they’re connected), so I raced back to the RV and got completely drenched in the 15 seconds it took.

And 5 minutes later it was over.

I got back to the campground, only to find that while I was gone someone had taken my water hose that I'd left on the picnic table.  I'd done that every day I was here, and also left the dogs' long leashes and a trash bag of dog poop.  I checked with the campground owner but nobody had mentioned it to her (they might have thought it was a lost and found, you see), but her husband brought me a substitute that someone else had left a while back. 

Then later in the evening the owner drove up with my very own water hose.  She said one of the seasonals had decided, for some reason, that I'd abandoned all that stuff and walked off with my hose.  They were apparently apologetic (as well they should be) and the owner said I'd asked her why they didn't take the trash with them.  What on earth could they have been thinking?  With all that other stuff there I'd have just driven off and wasn't planning to come back?  But all's well that end's well.

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