The Adventures of Lauri and Rose on the Road in America
June 2005 Trip Day 8, June 20, 2005
We breakfasted on Belgium waffles at our motel in Augusta this morning. They were good. Mother had used her accumulated Econolodge stamps to get $50 off the price of our room, so the bill was less than $10 with taxes plus a free breakfast. I think that is a pretty good bargain.
We headed down Western Avenue to the state capitol building. I had no trouble finding it and pulled into reserved handicapped parking adjacent to the building. We were about 20 minutes early for our tour. We walked into the building and chatted with the young woman at the information desk. Mother explained that we had not been able to get to Augusta on Saturday to check on the museum gift shop for postcards. I told her what happened, and her eyes got like saucers. She volunteered to get a couple of cards and just send them to Mother. We thought that was very considerate.
We went downstairs to look at four dioramas of Maine animals while we waited for our tour guide. We took the elevator back to the main floor and sat on a bench until the guide came. He turned out to be an elderly man (Mother’s generation plus a few more years). He took us to the third floor where the House and Senate chambers are located. He gave us a little history of the building. In the Senate, Mother was delighted to see the scrolling message board say “Welcome Lillestol (Mother’s last name) family.” We took pictures of it. What a neat thing to do! Mother also took a photo of the state seal in the carpeting on the floor. That was the extent of the guided tour. We sat a chatted with the guide a bit. He is originally from California, but “lost his heart to a girl from Maine after World War II,” he told us. Isn’t that sweet? Another employee was straightening desks for the adjourned legislators. He told us he was from Texas originally. I forget how he ended up in Maine. He told us our guide named Bob was probably well into his 80s.
Mother decided she wanted to see the Vietnam Memorial in the park across from the capitol. I managed to find it and a parking place in a nearby lot. We walked over to the memorial and sat on a bench for a few minutes. The weather is beautiful – not too warm, sunny with a little breeze. Finally, Mother decided to take a few pictures. She sat down next to me and said she had finished the roll of film.
We walked back to the car and Mother, figuring her camera had rewound the film, opened the camera back to remove the film. That’s when she realized the film had not rewound. Then, instead of just slamming the camera closed, she pulled out the film. She was ready to weep when she realized she had just lost 36 photos she had taken, most of them on the trip. This was yet another bad omen. I am losing count.
I got my camera out and went and took photos of the war memorial for her.
Then we headed to a CVS drug store to see if they had postcards of the state capitol. They did not. But, the clerk sent us to a Made in Maine store not too far away. There we found the postcards Mother needed and a Maine magnet she liked better than the one she bought in Bar Harbor. This is just the kind of shop we would like to find in every state.
It was time to meet Peg Grey for lunch at Applebee’s. She was there waiting for us when we arrived. It was great to see her. We exchanged stories and family news, pictures of grandchildren (her four and my one) and her vacation to Mexico. The three of us chatted amiably for almost 2 hours. It was wonderful.
After lunch, Mother and I returned to the capitol where I took more photos for her. We told the woman at the information desk that we found postcards and about the shop where she could send people for Maine souvenirs. We finally left and headed for Manchester using Mapquest directions I found online the night before. We were doing fine until we questioned the exit number in New Hampshire and ended up on the wrong road. One more stop for directions and we were going the right direction again.
We stopped at a rest area and Mother took over the driving. We were doing fine until she was in the wrong lane as we went around Manchester. It is not fun trying to find the right route in rush hour traffic and when you need a bathroom. We finally pulled into a McDonald’s. While Mother used the restroom, I got more directions. It turned out we were just a few minutes from the Econolodge where we had a reservation.
We got into the room and collapsed for an hour or so. Finally, Mother decided it was time for supper. We asked the man at the front desk for a recommendation and directions. He suggested the Hanson House, not too far away. His directions were good and we found it easily. We had two versions of a 1/3 pound hamburger and split sides of French fries and onion rings. We also shared a “frappe” – an ice cream, milk and flavor concoction that was like a thin milk shake. Not too bad.
We are back in the motel, dead-dog tired as usual. Tomorrow we head for Concord to see the capitol and then to Boston for two nights. I just pray we can manage to get there and to the motel without too much trouble. From there, we plan to rely on public transportation. That will leave Providence, RI, and Hartford, Conn., and then we head into NY and make the turn for home. I can hardly wait.
"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.