"Okay." The ladies at the Paul Bunyon campground in Bangor, Maine stood behind a computer, typing in our information. "And, which car out there is yours?"
These ladies, along with the born-again christian who'd picked my friends up and tried pushing conversion on them, were already the worst part of Johnny Seipp-Williams' first day of hitchhiking. They treated us like dirt, and they charged us like royalty.
Johnny said, "Oh, we don't have a car. We hitchhiked here."
A befuddled lady turned to her friend. "Well, what should I write under 'vehicle?"
"Why don't you just put 'tent'?" she responded. And the two shrews cackled themselves to near-hysteric death right in front of an unamused Johnny.
The ladies eventually settled on: 'on foot.' Johnny and Adam and I were happy to get out of that place the following morning. Even if we were driving our tents.
No. Actually, we got picked up from Bangor by Johnny's cousin, Bruce.
A smily, cherry-faced nurse with round glasses, Bruce was a heck of a guy. He treated us like royalty, even though he barely knew Johnny. He didn't know Adam or I at all. Adam and I practically didn't even know each other. And none of us knew Paul Bunyon, personally. Yet, we stayed at Bruce's house for three nights.
Bruce and his wife, Suzanne, served us large dinners that included excellent salads with tomato balls and pecans and raisins and homemade dressing. Bruce had us sample local Maine lagers. He enjoyed a card game called "Oh, hell!" with us late until his wife had to remind him he had work in the morning - like he was a little kid. And his white, two-story, hundred-and-sixty year-old ranch house was awesome. Its aging wood made it spooky, and inward-slanting upstairs walls threated to ram into you at each corner.
Bruce's seventeen year-old daughter, Elian, even lent us her car to tour around the area. Maine hospitality was rampantly out-of-control at Bruce's. We were the poor victims.
But, what was there to tour while in Maine? My brother had gone to college in Maine, so he called Adam's cell-phone to make a suggestion. He told me to eat a lobster.
But, I couldn't. "I only have a hundred-and-ninety dollars," I said.
"O-or:..." said my brother, "You have a hundred-and-seventy-five dollars, and a lobster!"
Maine schooling had taught my brother good reasoning skills. However, I've heard of lobsters growing to 336 lbs., and I wouldn't want one of those to clomp its pinchers on me and eat me while I'm snorkelling. So, I guess, I'll do the same for those scary freak-lobsters' little relatives.
One good thing to see in Maine is Acadia National Park. We drove the twenty minutes from Bruce's place to the park on two straight days. The park is on large Mt. Desert Island. We hiked around and came to some great views. From a high fire patrol station, we could see out to a sea of conquering violet-blue and its round fingers that pried the island deep. Harbor towns shone white near sailboats crawling toward green islands. Thin, green or orange pine trees swarmed out from us, up and down hills, and to the edges of the stretching dark lakes of the park.
Hiking through the mossy, rooty, gray forest, the Canada-trekkers got to know each other better. I spoke of my theology that we are all one and need to care about each other, and of how I'm thus a celibate and communist. Johnny argued that everyone in the world has a right to knowledge from his government; he strongly distrusts American media, and he also made a good point that Castro's death sentence penalties aren't the best way to calm the chattering voices that threaten his leadership.
And, we all learned that Adam feels strongly for drinking beers on the beach and redheads.
The nicest place we hiked to was a swimming spot on Acadia National Park's black Long Pond. A round mountain rose from the lake's opposite side, and rocks and pine trees everywhere tiptoed to shore to feel the water. The lake's cold chilled you like deep space around Mars. But, we leapt off of a twenty-foot rock into the glacier-carved pool. Our bodies plummeted crazily and with total loss of control. Johnny had to overcome an initial fear of the fall. Adam was the most daring. He dove off - which must've really slammed his head - to impress girls and the camera.
We had one last night at Bruce's house, and Bruce drove us in the morning to catch our ferry. As Adam would say, Bruce was "too good to us." He caused us to love Maine.
But, alas, we did board the $49 ferry. Johnny and Adam's first steps in Canada were only three queasy nautical hours away!
"One small step for man; now, let's find some redheads."
See you. Modern Oddyseus.
with Johnny and Adam
Much thanks to Bruce, Suzanne, Elian, and Avery for the place to stay!