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Entry date: 10-26-2022 - Trip Notes Part 2 - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I’m hoping the random thoughts from yesterday weren’t too terribly hard to follow. I tried something new with dictating my thoughts into the tablet while driving and I’m learning that even under very good circumstances, the transcription is pretty flawed. I spent more time deciphering it than I would have if I had just written it out. Live and learn, correct?

We got to Portland and had a little time to kill on the 13th as Rhondi ran into some traffic coming down the hill. We say going up or down the hill in Maine because it is accurate. Rangeley is about 1600 feet above sea level, so you climb a bit from the coast.

Mark and I had time to clean up in the bathroom at the bus station which was very clean and tidy. I can’t recommend the bus line up there, Concord, enough. It’s only $35 from the airport to Portland and really makes the trip very easy. After a red eye flight, it is nice to have someone else do the driving when you are getting out of Boston. If you’ve driven there, you know what I am talking about.

When Rhondi got there, I got about a million kisses from Bailey. She was very excited to see me and she warmed up to Mark pretty quickly, too. We headed over to a couple of local breweries, Rising Tide and Austin Street are right next to each other, so we had to sample them both. I think Austin Street was much better, but the food at Rising Tide was tasty and welcome.

Afterwards, we drove around a bit and showed Mark the harbor area and the small, but cool downtown in Portland. On the ride up the mountain, we both drifted off a bit, but we did stop at Coo’s Canyon, which is between Rumford and Rangeley. Crud, I forgot about the stop in Rumford, too. We stopped at Walmart to get our road munchy supplies, and also hit a few other places for some necessities, as well. I grabbed a few four-packs of Green State Lager (my new favorite beer) from Zero Gravity, which is a Vermont brewery. Good stuff!

Coo’s Canyon looked great. The fall colors were popping to my weary eyes, and we walked around a bit checking things out. I think Mark was pretty amazed, as well. It was very grey and kind of rainy, so the ground was slick and damp. Coo’s is a really neat spot in the summer with water that is refreshing but warm enough to enjoy getting into and getting wet. It’s also got some fun rock formations to climb around and over to get further into the small canyon.

When we got to Doug’s house, Ned and Ellen were there and Ned was whipping up a fantastic scallop and lobster meal. We ate so well that we conked out pretty quickly that night after a visit from Cousin Will. He brought over some great beers, and they pretty much did me in. Mark went to bed before Will got there, but he got to meet him later. We got all settled in and it was really nice. I can’t say enough about how good it felt to be back there.

The next morning, we hit the dump because I had to check out the bargain barn. Unfortunately, some kids from the area had busted it up the night before and it was in bad shape. I’ve found some great stuff there over the years. It was raining pretty steadily all day on Friday (which was the 14th) so visibility was low, but Mark got to see the town and such.

We hit Haley Pond before the rain really started pissing down, but it was still very cold for us desert and west coast dudes. It was around 40 degrees, I think. After the pond, we drove over to Mooselookmeguntic Lake and I showed Mark around on that side of the area while listening to my Travel Music mix. I remember this clearly because we were listening to “Sam Stone” by John Prine which has the lyric, “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes…” that seemed to really set the mood on a rainy day.

We got our first lunch of the day at the OG (Oquossic Grocery) and then headed back to Doug’s. Rhondi was working so we switched vehicles and drove up to Saddleback to help Ellen and Ned with their new mattress. Once we got settled there, the four of us went to the Saddleback Lodge for some pizza and beer. I started off with a Voodoo Ranger IPA but joined Mark in having a Switchback Ale out of Vermont. It’s a really nice amber ale. (Sadly, I was only able to find a 4-pack on the way home.)

Our first pizza was burnt pretty badly, but the second one was perfect. Mark and I were getting taken care of really well by Ned and Ellen and it was awesome. After we left the Lodge, we headed down to Parkside and Main to have a few beers with Will.

This is where things took a bit of a turn.

We had fun and met a very interesting guy named James. Good conversation was had, and our buzz was growing rapidly. Will had some nice Italian Pilsners on tap and I was feeling good. Then Will offered us some prime rib, which was the special that day. It was really good, but it was too much rich food, I think, for Mark. Rhondi had dinner cooking at home, some delightful fish, and we ended up overdoing it on the food and drink.

This ended up costing Mark a good day the next day as he was up feeling sick for most of Friday night. We had a pre-birthday celebration planned for the next day and I felt really badly that Mark was not enjoying himself for a bit.

See you tomorrow.

A super nice pale ale that Will brought over on October 13th. This one was really good and I would love to have a few more.

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