Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week Three - Wednesday October 13, 2010

Folk Art Dinosaur
Before we left home Alice had come across an article in the SF Chronicle about someone who had built a large folk art dinosaur at some airport in Post Hills, Vermont.  As we were in the area we decided to check it out.  We found it on a back road sitting in a field of green grass that was actually a small private airstrip for launching balloons. It was big and most definitely something that would have fit in nicely at Burning Man.  Underneath and to the front of the thing was a poster board where several articles from various newspaper and magazine were posted under glass.  I noticed the article from the Chronicle that we had was not among them.

Then, across the grass field, near a large building I saw a man on a cell phone pacing about.  I decided to walk over and talk to the man hoping he knew the dinosaur artist with the thought that perhaps he could give the article we had to him.  As it turned out the man on the phone was the artist himself, his name was Brian Boland.  And the large building that I thought was the airplane hanger or some such thing turned out to be his studio/museum. He invited us to roam around inside the place at our leisure.

Brian, besides being an artist, is also a professional balloon pilot.  He has been piloting balloons since 1970 and is one of the most experienced pilots in the world.  He has set numerous world records, won national championships, and has flown all over the world, including flights over the Alps and Andes. He also designs and builds balloons and balloon baskets.

Some of his funky balloon basket collection is in the museum along with what I consider to be some things that qualify for art car status.  One such thing is the “Picnic Table Ride”  It is a motorized picnic table that can seat six picnickers having lunch while traveling down the road.  Brian didn’t know anything about the art car parades in Houston and Berkeley, so I gave him Harrod Blank and The Orange Show’s web site address.  I sure hope he can get connected up with the art car people because it sure seems like a good fit.

Mt Washington 
Mt Washington, never heard of it, yet it has the oldest mountain hiking trail in America and is considered to have the worst weather in the world.  It has long held the world record for the highest wing gusts on the surface of the earth at 231 mph.  The day we were there the temperature was 25 degrees with a peak wind speed of 71.5 mph.  It was cooooold!  We felt like we were on another planet.  And the drive up the mountain on a narrow road….don’t ask!

Karen’s Café
We stopped for gas just outside of Bar Harbor in Ellsworth, Maine. It was time for lunch and the only thing we saw as we pulled out of the station  was a McDonald’s, ugh.  Then Alice noticed a sign across the way at the Maine Mall that said Karen’s Café.  We decided to go there rather than McDonald’s.  

We entered the mall and found that Karen’s Café was not a freestanding restaurant, but an eatery inside a store called Mr. Paperback.   We walked in, walked to the back, looked over the menu and made our decisions.  Then as I was ordering from the young lady (Karen) behind the counter she asked where I was from. (I get that a lot, its the cowboy hat) I said, “California.”  She said, “Oh, I lived there, in a place called Morro Bay.”  Well that was a surprise. Way back here in a small town, in a small mall, in the back of a store, in a tiny eatery, I find someone from my home town. What are the chances of that happening in a lifetime.  

We exchanged stories about the San Luis Obispo area.  We talked about health, art, and a number of other things. It was a chance meeting of kindred spirits, a very rare thing under the circumstances.  ……the food was excellent by the way! 

Bar Harbor, Maine
When we got to Bar Harbor we drove up Cadillac Mountain to get a view of the islands and harbor.  Two cruise ships were in the harbor unloading tourist onto small boats that ferried them into the quaint little town of Bar Harbor.  If they haven’t spent all their money on the cruise they can distribute whatever money they have left to the various shops and eateries on shore.  And the Bar Harbor businesses are waiting to squeeze every last bit of money they can out of these cruise ship tourist.  A local told us that after the last cruise ship leaves the harbor the town folds up like a circus tent and doesn’t open up again until the ships return next tourist season. 

We were here just a couple of days before this season ended so almost every store had their entire stock on sale at 50% off to get rid of it before the town folds up.  Everything was on sale, tee shirts, moose and lobster memorabilia, all sorts of nicky nackies - you name it, it was on sale.  These stores have such an array of trinkets it makes you wonder how China manages to find time to make these things on top of all the clothes, purses, shoes, belts and other stuff  that you find in every Macy’s, Target, and Walmart,  Even the several ice cream shops were unloading their freezers of ice cream.  $1.00 a scoop! (most flavors were already sold out)

Cousin Doug and Alice went out for a lobster dinner, which this town is famous for, I passed.  The thought of eating something scalded to death before your eyes ruins my appetite.

We took a historic lighthouse boat tour and saw about everything there was to see, had a good pizza, then left town so that they could roll up the streets.

Taking it as far east as possible.  Lubec, Maine
Lubec is a small town of around twelve hundred souls up on the tip if Maine.  It’s here where one can stand on the spot that is the farthest east on the continental United States.  
There is a granite marker right on the spot at the foot of a candy striped lighthouse.  We went there, took a number of photos, looked around a bit, then went back to our motel.  

That was it, I did it; I took it as far east as I could.  

Alice and Cousin Doug went out the next morning at 5:30 am to catch the sunrise. I stayed in the room and did a little watercolor painting in the motel’s guest book.  I wanted to leave a little something because this was the best motel we have had this entire trip.  It was a newly built motel in a converted sardine packing plant.  It was as big as a condo with two bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, dining room, living room and a balcony 25 feet from the water.  It was all new, reasonably priced, and tastefully done. …its also the only motel in town.

Oreo Cows?
I thought I knew cows but we came across a herd I have never heard of.  They are called Belted Galloway.  They look like Oreo cookies or ice cream sandwiches: black at both ends and white in the middle. 

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