July 29, 07 Maine

Hi All,

I know you think being retired is soooo easy, just kicking back, lieing in the sun. But this week we have been busy, busy, busy.

First I had my one year post-Lasik check up due. The closest TLC associated optometrist we could find was in Rockland, about a hundred miles down the coast on US Highway 1. So we made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon. We headed out around 9 am and trundled down the road. I say trundled because highway 1 is a ragged, twisty two lane road with a ton of traffic on it. A three mile section just north of Ellsworth is under construction, and there it is a ragged twisty one lane gravel road with a long wait for your turn to bounce down it. After you get south of Ellsworth, the road becomes one long tourist trap. You can’t throw a stone without hitting an antique shop or a bed and breakfast. And the maximum speed is a sedate 35 mph most of the rest of the way to Rockland. After a three and half hour drive, we arrived in Rockland.

In Rockland we visited the Lighthouse Museum, which houses a fine collection of Fresnel lenses rescued from abandoned or destroyed lighthouses. The largest is a second order lens about 6 feet tall and weighing in around 3500 pounds. After admiring the artifacts we had lunch at a little cafe catty-wumpus across the street from the museum. Then we drove a couple miles down to Owl’s Head to see the lighthouse there. Then it was time for my eye exam. Dr. Coppola checked out my eyes and said that I have the beginning haziness of cataracts, but that it won’t be an issue for many more years. Ah, another joy of growing old to look forward to!! Other than that, I’m good for another 12 months. So we climbed into the Jeep and embarked on our three and a half hour trip home.

That was Tuesday. Wednesday was laundry day. The only nice thing about that is that the laundromat is on a hill by the highway, and the hillside has . . . (can you guess?) . . . wild blueberries. 🙂 So I got to munch on blueberries while the clothes went roundy-round.

Thursday we had tickets for a puffin and whale watching tour out of Bar Harbor. We left at 7 am for a 9 am boat because, of course, we had to go down highway 1 to Ellsworth and then turn down to Bar Harbor. The boat was an inboard catamaran that can scoot over all the lobster floats without cutting their lines to the traps. That’s important, because the bay is littered with lobster traps and if they had to weave their way through them, it would take forever to get out into the open ocean. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a medium haze on the water. While the people on shore were sweltering in upper 80s (a heat wave in Maine) we were nice and cool. So cool Richard actually put on his jacket, and was glad to have it!!!

We saw lots of sea birds: terns, storm-petrels, guillemots, and of course, puffins.We got good views of two lighthouses. And the highlight was seeing a whale. We saw a fin back whale. He surfaced and took three of four breaths and then dove down for several minutes then resurfaced. The naturalist said that was a typical feeding pattern. Each time the whale resurfaced our boat would head over to him, then wait to spot him again. We saw the same whale several times; our naturalist said he looked to be at least 60 feet long. Fin backs don’t throw their tail in the air like the humpbacks do, darn! But it was impressive, nevertheless. We also saw a seal trying to eat a fish while two birds tried to steal it from him. All in all, we spent over four hours on our tour. Afterwards, we dropped some prescriptions off at the Ellsworth Wal-Mart. We expected to be able to pick them up after we ate, but they were too busy, and said they would be ready Friday. So we trundled back home through the construction.

I had been wanting to go antiqueing for some time, so I decided to wander down to Ellsworth checking out antique shops along the way, and pick up the prescriptions. Richard was perfectly happy to stay home and not see the insides of a bunch of antique stores. I got to inhale the scent of old stuff. You know what I mean. There is a special scent that is a mingling of old books, leather, and wood, that speaks to you of age. I saw lots of interesting things, but nothing that I couldn’t live without. I came across a Windows98 for Dummies in one store. I’m not sure if that is a sad commentary on Windows, or on what is considered an antique. :->

While I was in Ellsworth I had the Jeep’s oil changed and tires rotated. On the way back I decided to try bypassing the construction on Highway 1 and followed the signs for an alternate route. It was two lane, but had nine miles of construction! They had peeled off the top layer of pavement, and in several stretches they had removed all the pavement! It wasn’t any faster than Highway 1 and actually had a longer stretch of torn up road!!

Friday evening we lit a campfire and toasted marshmallows. I love toasted marshmallows. While I toasted a marshmallow the moon rose behind the apple tree. And it reminded me of a poem I wrote a long long time ago.

Moonbeam Love

The silver moon is rising,
Shining through a tree.
It’s shining down on you
And it’s shining down on me.
But moonlight’s a reflection
Of sunlight so they say.
I think I’ll try that trick myself
To send some love your way.
I’ll open up my heart
And send the moon my love,
So it can bounce back down on you
With moonbeams from above.

Now the next time you see a full moon, you’ll remember that I love you.

I know, you’re thinking that was a pretty full week for a couple of laid back retirees, but wait there’s more! Oh, yeah. Other lesser folk would have called it quits after all that to-ing and fro-ing, but not us. On Saturday, we headed up the coast to Lubec, the easternmost point in the continental United States. The town where the sun comes up first. But the sun didn’t actually come up Saturday. It peaked out now and then, but trust me the fog was way to thick for the sun to come up. We saw the West Quoddy Head lighthouse through the mist.

Then we drove over the bridge into New Brunswick to the island of Campobello and toured FDRs summer home there. It is the world’s only International Park. (I know because they told us so.) Admission was free. FDR’s “cottage” was mansion sized. They told us it didn’t have electricity in FDR’s time and the only light came from the fireplaces and oil lamps. I guess we were supposed to be impressed by that. But they also showed us the servant’s quarters and it looks to me like they had at least a half dozen people to lug the firewood for the fireplaces and the kitchen stove, and keep the lamps full of oil and clean the lamp chimneys, and crank the hand operated washing machine and wringer doing laundry for FDR, Eleanor and their five kids, so I don’t feel like the Roosevelts were unduly suffering the lack of electricity. Their hired help might have been a little happier if they’d had electricity, though.

Anyway, after admiring the life of the rich and famous, we stopped for lunch at little cafe and bakery. We had delicious strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. Yummy.

Next on our excursion was a trip to the very tip of the island to see East Quoddy Head lighthouse. The sun was out pretty good there, and we even caught a glimpse of a whale surfacing near some ships in the bay. About halfway back down the island the fog moved back in, and we drove home going in and out of fog.

Well, Th-th-that’s all, Folks!