Up to the Top of Maine

I’m checking in this morning from a campground outside Kennebunk Maine. I last posted from Camden State Park.

From Camden, after 2 nights, I moved about 100 miles further NE to to another State Park Campground at Cobscook Bay. This area of Maine has incredible tidal variance, with some of the back bays seeing a 30ft rise and fall of tide depth each day. I was camped right on the edge of the water with a beautiful view of the bay.

Upon arriving at Cobscook I started off on a hike but was soon caught in a heavy rain storm. I took shelter in toilet house to wait it out. But checking the weather app, it was not going to let up soon. So after pondering my 2 choices (stay or run), I made a run for it back to the van. I didn’t get too drenched, but it turned out to be a “rainout” stay spent mostly in the van.

The next morning I headed to my ultimate “for no particular reason” point of this trip, Madawaska Maine, at the Canadian border, which is purported to be the furthest Northeast town of the United States.

My first stop was a Historic Park at St Croix Bay. St Croix Island was one of the earliest European settlements in North America, colonized in 1604 by the French. Like most of those early efforts, the newbies froze, starved, and over half of them died the first year.

But this was nevertheless the start of Acadia, New France and the French legacy still present in this region today. All of the placards at this site are written in both English and French. Most people in North Maine and along the Canadian border speak French, which I found interesting.

I next came through Calais, Maine, where I stopped at a coffee shop. The menu in English and French. Next I continued up Rt 1 north, which took me along the “Million Dollar Scenic Byway”, which was beautiful, with distance views and sweeping landscapes.

Most of Maine’s 1.3M population (Austin Metro is 2 million by comparison) live in the coastal areas. The vast majority of the state is actually uninhabited wilderness woodland, which Maine people call “The Country”. There are a few small communities that I passed through, but many are dotted with dilapidated abandoned homes and businesses, now just rotting along the backroads and byways. Many looked like they were once nice farm houses.

I think the economy is hurting in the rural areas and younger people leave and want to live in urban cores. I wondered to myself if beautiful but struggling areas like These could someday find favor again, if broadband becomes more widespread to rural areas, and remote working takes hold as a permanent thing.

I finally rolled into Madawaska. I had read that a plaque of some kind marked the “NE Corner” of the United States but was pleased to find a granite monument at a small park celebrating the geographic location.

Turns out this corner of the country is a popular biker destination, and the biker aesthetic was in full bloom. I met the operator and his gal, both of whom spoke with French accents, and we had a great chat about the place.

Bikers have a “4 corners” ride they can do, which must be completed within 21 days. Riders receive a certificate at each corner and, upon completion of all 4, earn a patch to mark the achievement. Anyone can get the certificate though. I declined mine as I didn’t want a piece of paper to keep track of, and felt that a photo would suffice.

Unfortunately, Madawaska itself didn’t offer any other reason for me to hang out on this particular day, and the Canadian Border remains closed, so I could not venture across and over towards Quebec. I got pizza at a quaint Country Store in a neighboring town, then headed back south toward Bangor.

I have been trying to find an RV place that will squeeze me in for a minor electrical repair. I make calls about that whenever I’m near an RV place. Webb RV in Bangor is the first one that told me to come on in. I had failed to properly store my shore power cord and it fell out and got dragged and run over by my rear tire, smashing the prongs of the plug and giving a lot of road rash to the plug. I had bent the prongs back into shape with pliers, and the cord worked, but I thought it would be prudent to replace it.

I spent that next night in a Walmart parking lot in Bangor, where I purchase proper bedding and a three inch foam topper for my sofa couch. My hips were starting to cry Uncle. While in Bangor I also did some laundry. My first trip into a Laundry mat in 30+ years. It’s an interesting environment and I actually found it relaxing and chill.

The next morning after the repair, I headed to Branch Lake Campground for 2 nights. This was a great spot right on the water and I was finally able to drop the paddle board in and go for a paddle. It’s just outside Ellsworth Maine, where my new favorite Diner is located, Riverside Cafe, at which I had stopped prior on the journey northbound.

Branch Lake was mostly leisure relaxation, as it rained part of the time. But I loved the campground and plan to return. I departed yesterday morning, refilled my propane tank at Hammond Lumber in Ellsworth, then ventured back down Rt 1 along the coast to Red Apple Campground.

Along the way south I made my first “Lobster Shack” visit where I lunched on a fresh cooked lobster (apologies to my Vegan Friends and Family). I have no idea how to eat these things when presented whole, and had a time of it cracking it apart and getting to the meat. I think I ate some parts that are not meant for eating, but overall I quite enjoyed the experience and will try it again.

Today I’ll go poke around Kennebunk, then keep heading south out of Maine. Next up Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the three New England States I have yet to set foot in.

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