October 10

The Hunt

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The squeaky floor at the Inn helped to wake us up in the early morning, and what a beautiful morning it was. Too bad the other mornings were nothing like it. We first headed for the local dock, where we saw the small barge leave the port, heading for one of the small islands in Moosehead Lake. From there we headed further north on HWY-6, which was of varying quality - ranging from pathetic (like US-101 in our home area) to brand new; "it's sleek like Randy," said Essan, referring to my project leader, who likes to wear smooth synthetic shirts.

There was no mistake about the quality of the foliage display: it was simply too much. The perfect light, the water, the colors. Oh, the colors. Any hue between deep green and bright red was present and screaming for attention. After a while, your senses numb under this bombardment of color. So far it has always taken us much longer than just a few days to arrive at a point where we merely acknowledge the beauty of the surroundings; Maine has given us a sensory overload.

Between foliage and more foliage we tried to sneak in lunch. However, in the remote areas that we were in this is easier said than done. Finally, we drove through Moscow, and there were a few sandwich joints to be seen. Unfortunately, Essan decreed them to be all too sketchy, just as the whole town, and so we headed further south. Soon we drove through North Anson, which featured a nice high school, with a football field and all the good stuff. Just no food. Three roads intersecting, two gas stations, but no food. Makes you wonder: given that you have a high school, chances are you have a few adolescents in town - yet there is not a single food joint? Maybe it was extremely well hidden, who knows, we at any rate didn't find it. What we did find was a reminder that a blind person must be living in a nearby house; I have seen many signs in my life, but this was a first.

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A few more miles south, in Madison, we discovered a Subway right next to a Chinese hole in the wall. Determined to get a known quantity and quality of food into the system, we stormed the Subway and both inhaled a sandwich. Now we had to backtrack a few miles north to get back on our way - but not so fast. While driving through Madison, I saw a flashback from the 80s: on a shirt rack on the sidewalk, in front of a hunting store, was a number of bright, neon orange shirts and fleece jackets. I immediately pulled over and Essan uttered a soft "oh my god". Minutes later I had a neon orange long sleeve shirt and a matching warm hat. While I don't really need to signal my presence to others, I am a child of the 80s and this is a warm hat for the moments when my genuine and unique yellow 80s hat is not applicable. The shirt just goes along.

After lunch the scenery was more of the same, this time I specialized in hunting for a driveway nicely covered with trees with ... well, the only thing that's available here: colored leaves. At least I was properly dressed for a hunt =) The perfect and haze free sky ended pretty abruptly as thick clouds rolled in and turned the day into a grim scene. No sunset, no moon, no more obscenely colored trees - just dark grey that gave way to complete darkness. So we headed to Lewiston (with the usual challenges of flipping a coin at an intersection which had no signs about which direction was which), and finally settled at the local Motel 6 - which was hands down the best motel we've had on this trip, heck, the best Motel 6 I have ever stayed at. To make things perfect we had a bite at BK, and thinking of my very good friend Brian I celebrated the successful trip with a large cup of Hi-C (with a lot of ice, of course, but unlike Brian not so much that I would have to regret it). While watching American Wedding on HBO (without censorship) I sorted the 30 panoramics that I shot today, and I apologize to our neighbors should my dorky loud laughter have awakened them.

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