The Adventures of Lauri and Rose on the Road in America
June 2005 Trip Day 7, June 19
The Highbrook Motel where we spent the night does not offer breakfast so, after loading the car I headed down the road into Bar Harbor to find a place to eat. We ended up at a tiny deli on the Main Street. Mother was complaining that her stomach did not feel well and all she wanted was a muffin and coffee. We sat on cut log stools at the only available table at the busy little restaurant. She requested a blueberry muffin. I ordered French toast and bacon and a bottle of cranberry juice. Mother was halfway through her muffin when my breakfast arrived. It did not take long to eat. After we were done, I drove back down toward the water front, turned around in a parking lot and headed back up hill on Main Street. I found a place to park in front of one of several cute shops where we hoped to find some Maine souvenirs. Since I was parking on a sharp uphill grade, I turned the steering wheel so the tires were headed back toward the curb as I was taught to do. This turned out to lock the steering wheel so that you could not get the key into the ignition, a situation we did not realize until an hour and a half later.
We went into one shop and Mother found some of the souvenir items she was looking for. I found a Christmas ornament from Maine – a tiny blueberry pie. We went into the shop next door where we met a charming man who was very helpful in helping us selected some more “just have to have” items. He urged us to come back if there was anything he could help us with while we were in Bar Harbor. Mother has problems getting into the shops as they all have at least a couple of steps that are frequently steep and uneven. Her back was bothering her already. We had all the Maine items we were looking for except for postcards of the state capitol. Mother is hoping to find those in Augusta.
She sat in the car while I checked out a shop called My Maine Bag. I knew she was looking for a little gift for several of her friends at home and spotted three ounce cans of Maine blueberries for $1.25. It was just what she needed, I thought. I went back to the car to get her. She liked the idea of canned berries, made her purchase and we headed back to the car. That’s when I discovered the problem with the ignition. We tried both of her keys, but neither one would work. The steering wheel would not move. We had no idea what the problem was or how to fix it.
Mother started to dig her car book out of the glove compartment. I figured we were going to need professional help. I headed back to the nice man in the gift shop figuring we could get help from an AAA service station. He interrupted a Father’s Day call from his daughter to help me. When he could not find the AAA number in the phone book, he called home and got it from his wife. He punched in the number and handed me the phone. I told the service person what the problem was. He asked where we were, so I handed the phone back to the store owner. He told them where we were parked and gave the phone back to me. I was told someone would be there in 10 or 15 minutes.
I went back to the car. In the time I was gone, Mother had found instructions in the car book on what to do, and soon had the wheel freed and the car started. I hurried back to the guy in the shop and we recalled the towing company to cancel the call. We were soon on the road to Acadia National Park where Mother wanted to drive the loop road, something she did with Dad many years ago. We pulled into what we thought was the visitor’s center lot only to learn that there were 52 steps to climb to reach the Visitor’s Center. Directions on a sign sent us to another small lot for those with handicap parking permits. I parked the car, got out and rummaged in the back seat until I found my National Parks passport book. Mother also found hers. Then she decided she wanted her walker. I shut the back door of the car and went around in order to help her get the walker out of the back seat.
I pushed the button on the car key ring to lock the doors and heard the car beep at me telling me the doors were locked. That did not mean they were shut I discovered later. We walked the path up to the Visitors’ Center, used the restroom inside the door and then took the elevator to the main level. We watched a short film about the park, and then bought 2005 stamps for our passport books and a park pin. We did a little more looking around before heading back to the car. As we exited the building and headed down the path, I noticed the front car door was wide open. Oh, my God, I thought. I hurried over to the car and checked to make sure nothing was missing. Laptop was in the trunk and everything else was just as we left it. However, it sure seemed like one more negative omen.
I drove into the park, missed the left turn for the one-way loop road, and had to backtrack about a mile to pick it up. I drove the one-way route and we relaxed at 25 mph. We stopped at one picnic area to have a little lunch. Mother made a sandwich with bread we saved from one of our motel breakfast bars and ham and cheese I brought along. I ate the other half of my chicken salad sandwich from the restaurant in Bethel and the rest of my morning cranberry juice. Mother drank part of one of her juice blends that she brought along. We both had some of the sea salt and vinegar potato chips that I brought along.
We finished our tour of the park and headed toward Elsworth. We needed gas, so that was the first stop. Mother had checked the map and picked out the Route 3 road to Augusta where we would spend the night. We missed the left turn in Elsworth and backtracked one block. Then we were on our way. It was a scenic drive through the Maine countryside, but it looks a lot like northern Minnesota or Wisconsin with the exception of the colorful lupines blooming almost everywhere you look.
We have seen some interesting signs along the roads on this trip. One read “Tourist Trap” and another advertised “Stuff.” At least some of the residents up here have a sense of humor.
We arrived in Augusta but had no idea where the road was that we needed to take to our motel. I pulled into a gas station and asked for directions. The nice guy behind the counter gave me directions that were perfect. In just a few minutes we were at the Econolodge and checking in. We were both pretty tired. We debated about what to do for supper. The front desk woman had suggested a barbecue restaurant downtown, but I was not too enthused about trying drive around on more unfamiliar streets. We called the Mexican restaurant next to our motel. I asked if they did take out and was told they did. We ordered a chicken chimichanga dinner. I went to pick it up, and we shared supper in the room. The food was really good. I called my friend Peg Grey who lives in Pittsfield, just north of Augusta and we made arrangements to meet her for lunch the next day. It will be fun to see Peg again. It has been three years since we were last together in Myrtle Beach.
I got on-line with a dial-up connection here, so I cleaned out my e-mail mailbox, sent a couple of day’s reports to family and friends and checked on two breast cancer support boards. I even found time to play a couple of games of Pogo’s pinochle with my on-line friend Ann. It was good to touch base with here and relax a little.
Tomorrow we have a appointment to tour the Maine state capitol. Then it is on to Manchester, NH. Lordy, lordy, I am tired.
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.