Day 4: Wednesday May 17


1: Orford Quebec
2: Sugarloaf, (Carrabassett Valley) Maine
3: Kingfield, Maine

On this day we crossed into Maine. As we left Orford there was a continuous drizzle. This drizzle lingered with us until well passed Sherbrooke, where it reinforced its presence by changing to a shower. However, as we approached the boarder, our nemesis relinquished its position and the sky became noticeably brighter. At four kilometers from the boarder the rain had stopped. As we crossed the boarder patches of blue were visible. What a great state!

Unlike the burley officers at the US Customs posts I am most familiar with (at Pearson Airport) this crossing was protected by a slight mid-fifties woman. Her grandmotherly demeanor seemed in contradiction to the iron she was packing on her hip. I was quite certain she knew how to use it. I had a faint sense of crossing Checkpoint Charlie, the outpost just blocks away from Unter der Linden Strasse in Berlin so frequently referred to by le Carre, Deighton and others of that ilk. I’m sure backing up grandma was a platoon of trained guardsmen and equipment.

But all these images evaporated as we were officially welcomed to the state. So simply put.

After arriving at the hotel and unpacking we drove around the area, first to the golf course ostensibly for some lunch, but after we hit some balls. We then drove up the mountain to a new housing development. Like so many other popular ski areas, Sugarloaf is being built up with condos and some not-so-cottage-like cottages. We calculated that by the route we took, these cottages were probably less than 10 hours away from our home in Thornhill (5 hours to Montreal + 1.5 hours to Orford + 3.5 hours to Sugarloaf). Not a weekend trip; but not the end of the world either.

Later we drove down the road through Carrabassett Valley to a town called Kingfield. In town we came along an old school house that had been converted into a bakery. Built in 1875, it was in use as a single-room school until 1979. Inside, the school room was replaced with baking equipment, a small general store and an eating area with a simple menu (e.g., a peanut butter sandwich—$2.75—was on the menu).

There are a couple of things to note: Black Flies and Internet Connections. Too many of one and not enough of the other. Living in the city, insects are rarely seen or heard. Being dive-bombed by swarming black flies takes a bit of getting used to; it’s been a long time. It makes me wonder what happened to them. The woman in the pro-shop assured us that they are not biting yet.

Since Sunday, I have not had access usable internet connection. Dialup is available in the hotel here at Sugarloaf but I don’t consider it usable. To make it usable would require me to do several things, which I expect will result in some frustration, and I don’t have the urge to make the effort to make it so.



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