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Entry date: 10-8-2023 - Trip Update - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

It's wet in Rangeley. At this exact moment, the sun is trying to tear a hole in the clouds, but for most of yesterday and a good amount of this morning, it has been wet. I don't mind at all, though.

It's also cold. Well, I'm guessing people from here do not think it is cold, but I do. I walked outside this morning without a shirt on to let Bailey go outside and find a good spot to defecate in the rain and the fact that I was not in Phoenix hit me pretty quickly. What a way to wake up.

The trip up was long and nice (and long). Our plan was late so we missed the first bus to Portland. No biggie, though. Teresa and I had a good time sitting on a bench waiting and laughing. She passed out as soon as we were on the bus but I looked at my tablet and watched Groundhog Day without sound.

I've seen that movie so many times it was perfectly understandable without hearing the dialogue. The irony was not lost on me that the experience of riding on a bus from Boston to Portland or vice versa is a bit like the film itself. Life is nothing if not repetitive. Well... sometimes.

After Rhondi and Bailey picked us up, we headed to Cousin Charlie's house in Harpswell. It's a really pretty place and Cousin Charlie doesn't actually live there anymore. Now, his son David and his awesome wife, Robbie, live there. We got to see Charlie, though, who I adore, and his daughters, Nancy and Betsy, as well as Betsy's husband, John. We had a good time hanging out with them and I hope we can do that again next year.

I was a bit reserved in my excitement about this visit because Charlie has Alzheimer's and I didn't know what to expect, but he was having a good day and even though I don't think he knew who I was, he was happy to see us all. It's also nice to know his family a bit more, too. Really smart and lovely people. Again, here's to our paths crossing in the future.

From there we went to see Sylvia in Portland and that was a treat, as usual. I adore Sylvia, too. She's such an awesome host and she had some nice, cold beers ready for us. Considering that I was on about three hours sleep, I knew a couple of beers would do me in for the ride up the mountain, but Doug was great about letting me nap while he drove. Rhondi and Teresa zipped along in Rhondi's car.

On Friday, we went to Farmington and Sugarloaf. Farmington was kind of a bust...nothing good in the thrift store, but I got some new guitar picks for the new guitar Rhondi surprised me with on Thursday night. Now we have two acoustics in Rangeley, so jamming can happen.

Sugarloaf was an opportunity to see Will, who was working up there. The place he works is a Mexican food restaurant, but they have a pretty unique menu. I liked the food, although it is heavy on the salt. Rhondi and Teresa didn't dig their meals as much, but they both thought the chips and dips were great. Will also made me one of the best margarita's I've had in a long time. Always good to see him and hopefully we'll see him again before we go.

Yesterday was a nice family gathering with Ned, Ellen, John, Debbie, and Kristen. We made pizzas and talked and laughed. Perfectly good rainy day. Bailey and Gertie played and Rhondi, Teresa, Doug, and I just enjoyed the company. After everyone left, we got a surprise visit from Doug's friend, Leslie, and her son, Keith. I think it made Doug happy to see her.

Rhondi, Teresa, and I went into town to meet up with a new friend, Ethan, who knows Doug, too, and have a few beers. It was a good time. We went to two different places (since Rhondi thought Ethan would be working at one) and had some nice conversations with local folks. Someday we will spend way more time here, so it is good to know a few people. Small towns can be really isolating if you are an outsider.

Today we are going to see Stop Making Sense at the small theater in town. I'm so excited about it. I'm also excited to eat more of the bean soup Rhondi made. It's sofa king good.

See you tomorrow.

Colors are starting to change. No rain in the picture. Happy birthday to Aunt Julie, too.

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