Kingsburg to Portland, Maine

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Things did not start well. Originally, we had planned to take the ferry from Digby to St John on November 1st. And then:

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So the ferry was cancelled, and we somehow had to make it to Portland, Maine by November 2nd. We decided, in the end, that we would drive it, but conditions were pretty treacherous, and we had to stop in Amherst, Nova Scotia when greeted with a giant sign saying that small trucks were forbidden from driving on the highway through the Tantramar Marsh because of high winds. This was the parking lot of the place where we stayed:

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Also, there was no power. So we stopped, and it was probably a good idea because the storm ended overnight and when we left the next morning the highway was scattered with upside-down trucks and fallen hydro pylons. This made some of us anxious, while others took it in stride.

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Anyway, it meant a really long drive and it took us 11 hours to get from Amherst to Portland. Fortunately the drive was pretty beautiful.

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(not my photo, it’s from a postcard of Camden, Maine, which we passed … but it really did look like this the whole way).

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St. Croix Island

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Bar Harbor, where we stopped en route

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Exercise is important.

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And we kept going, and going and going. Ten hours on the road and we landed in Wiscasset. By this time, I was starving, like really, really, really jumping out of my skin, plotting to distract the people next to us so I could steal a piece of their pizza, hungry. And then this cheesy fish burger came my way and I can honestly say that this was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. I think I devoured it in 2 minutes flat. For the record, Tim managed to eat a lot more peanut butter en route and thus had picture taking energy. He ate crab cakes. I’m sure they were delicious, but I wasn’t watching.

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We finally made it to Portland well after dark. We ended up staying in the Inn at St John, which is basically a faded Victorian grandeur hotel that caters to hipsters, giant families looking for a cheap place to crash, and serious drunks, one of whom put his head through the front window on our second night here, and was escorted out by the police. Which made these signs all over town pretty funny:

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If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that a hotel that accepts dogs but doesn’t have specified pet friendly rooms is going to be full of characters. Just for the record, I felt pretty bad for the drunk guy – his dad had died and he’s gone out on a major bender. He probably didn’t intend to put his head through the front window.

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Lucy taking the stairs like a champion. A giant feat,as anyone who knows Lucy will know. Definitely worthy of a photo op.

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Portland is pretty awesome.

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It has great flea markets.

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Good breakfast.

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Great bookstores.

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Delicious coffee.

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Beautiful autumn leaves.

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My new house (you’re all welcome to stay).

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Strange Maine.

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Fabulous used-tarpaulin fence decoration.

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Mysterious Google barges.

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Anti tar-sands activism (because Portland Port might become a depot for the delivery of tar sands crude).

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Gorgeous lighthouses.

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But best of all, Portland has the International Cryptozoology Museum, which was really why we came to town.

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So good! The world’s only cyptozoology museum, the Portland one was founded a decade ago, and is really the vanity project of cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who is the world’s leading expert on Bigfoot, Yeti, the Lochness Monster and all sorts of other beasties and oddities.

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This is my absolute favourite kind of museum – full of bizarre artefacts, off-the-book curatorial decisions, earnest labeling, over-the-top exhibits, all done on a shoestring budget. They are so much fun! I also learned that Maine and Massachusetts are really beast-filled places. Don’t go walking in the woods without looking for giant footprints. Although you might find a lover-man like this one.

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That thing at the front is a carefully-crafted model of a sea serpent that was found in the belly of a sperm whale, in case you were wondering.

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The museum disputed the veracity of having a Sasquatch and a UFO in the same image, but the artist is famous, so, you know….

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I completely and totally loved it. Goodbye Portland! Tomorrow we head for New Hampshire.

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