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PJ's Travel Notes

PJ Tour Notes #5

July 30 - August 9, 1996 The Forests of Maine

Maine is one of those States where one can inevitably find a nice place to camp. Using our Maine Atlas and Gazetteer by DeLorme Mapping (we should have bought stock in that company), we've found some of the quietest, peaceful spots on the planet.

We have also developed a lot of friends over the years who always seem to be glad to see us. One such friend is Jackson Gilman. Jackson is a great storyteller (second time featured performer at Jonesborough this September), who lives on Mount Desert Island in the Summer and Portland, ME in the Winter. Only thing is that he's rarely home when I'm there.

He does a lot of adult shows, mixing stand up and storytelling. Sometimes he breaks into an old folk song, other times recites the messages he leaves on his answering machine (He's even got some those on an audio tape). Lots of fun, Jackson's Shows. On Wednesday nights, he rents space in a restaurant in the center of Bar Harbor. One of the biggest tourist towns in America (Mt. Desert sees more visitors than any other US National Park except Yellowstone). He puts on his show to a paying audience, usually a full house. Admission was $8 I think. As his guest I didn't pay.

He is a great supporter of the Arts. The Acadian Repertory Theater has him listed at the door as a patron. One of the nights I stayed at his Somesville residence, he called the box office for free tickets for me to see the play. He works a lot. But mostly stays around the Islands in the Summer. He was telling me (in one of those minutes of both of us being in the same place at the same time, excluding watching each other's shows) that some day he was going to take a Summer off. I just smiled. :)

Actually, the only time Jackson and I really get to talk is when we both get invited to the same festival. Once at Three Apples, Once at Yankee Yarns, and a couple of times at Sharing the Fire. I told him the only reason he has me stay at his place is 'cause he doesn't want a midnight call from the Park Rangers when they finally find our campsite in the forest. In tourist season, it seems like those poor rangers and the local police do nothing a night, but say, "Sorry! You can't camp here. This is private property (or a day use area or a restricted area or...)."

Did I say campsites were easy to find in Maine? Well, not around the coast. Luckily, no one seems to mind seeing the Vardo parked. Although, with the paint job it has, maybe no one dares to knock. I've also found the nicest and most out of the way places on the island to camp. Where? Sorry, that's a secret. But if any of you get to the island, look up Jackson. I'm sure he'll put you up. Even if he won't be home.

Another of my favorite places in Maine is the Airline. That's the truckers' death road, Route between Bangor, Maine and St. Stephens, New Brunswick. Know that country song? There's a road in Maine... If they buried the truckers that died on those curves, there'd be a tomb stone every mile. Airline, it's a good name for it. People fly on that road. There aren't really any towns there. The townships have names like T40ND (which means Township number0 in the North Division). Gotta love it. Most of the land is owned by the paper companies. Tragic story of how they got it. But the government makes them keep large tracts open for public use and you can lease a piece of it if you want for just a few hundred a year. But they keep control. Oh ya! Watch out for the logging trucks out on those access roads and the bears.

Make sure you don't miss blueberry season. We drove through America's Blueberry Capital, a town by the name of Cherryfield. Didn't see any cherries there, but there were enough blueberries to last me my lifetime. Too bad I couldn't eat them all. I love Blueberries. Did I even tell you the story "Blueberry Pooh".

Most of our campsites are on the water (lake, pond, or river). Great for a refreshing bath in the morning. One of the best campsites is in T31MD BPP (Township1 in the Middle Division of Bingham's Penobscot Purchase) on the Machias River. Sues & I found it on our first tour together. It's a State Forestry Campground so it has an outhouse. :)

There were two young children at one of the sites. They kept coming over to our site and singing for us. Unfortunately, they only knew one song, "Jingle Bells". Fortunately, I told them a story in hopes that they might be satisfied. Sues said that that was like giving milk to a stray cat. Unfortunately, she was right. Fortunately, their mother came and told them to leave us alone. Unfortunately, they came back. Fortunately, we had to head for the next show.

Unfortunately, I have to end this post. Fortunately, I'll post again. Or is that an unfortunate thing <smile>


Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

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