Thursday, September 05, 2013

September 3, 2013 - Part 2

We took our time heading back home today.  Tracy laughed when he saw the name of this bank...he told me people from Aroostook County, which makes up about half the state of Maine (the northern half), consider Aroostook County, or "The County," as it's known locally, to be completely separate from the rest of the state, and they like it that way.  I feel sorry for them, because they have nothing of what the state is known for (lobsters, blueberries, coast, etc.), but Tracy told me I was wasting my time feeling sorry for them, because they like it that way and you couldn't pay them to live in the southern half of the state.  I find that hard to believe, but he knows more people who live here than I do.

There's a war memorial park on Route 1 which features this impressive-looking missile.

We were really surprised by the landscape of northeastern reminded us a lot of the Midwest, only prettier and hillier.  There were wind turbines scattered about even, though not much activity on this still day.

This is what northeastern Maine is known for - potatoes.  Acres and acres of potatoes.  We brought some home as souvenirs.  :)

We came across an interesting roadside attraction during this drive...planets from our solar system.  They're located on a 40 mile stretch of Route 1 from Houlton to Presque Isle, and were installed by the Northern Maine Museum of Science located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  Supposedly all eight planets are visible from the road, but we could only find Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.  We were too busy looking at beautiful farmland and wind turbines, I guess.

Wind turbines on top of Mars Hill Mountain, known as the Mars Hill Wind Project.
Part of Mars Hill Mountain covered in a low cloud.

Not long after this last picture was taken, we took a detour from Route 1 onto Route 2A from  Houlton down to Bangor.  This stretch of highway is known as the Haynesville Highway, made famous in a song by Dick Curless called "A Tombstone Every Mile," which tells the story of a treacherous stretch of highway through the mountain range of the Haynesville Woods, where so many truckers have died in winter-time accidents.  From a contributor on AnswerBag: 
It was a shorter but more remote run from Houlton to Kingman than Route 2 (back before I-95). In the wintertime, this crowned two lane road was a nightmare. Many a Canadian southbound traveler would select this route to reduce the travel distance, but in a heavy northern Maine snowstorm, a routine occurrence, the only way to keep your vehicle on the road was to straddle the center of the road. My dad experienced what so many truckers did. As he was northbound and straddling the center line, he met another vehicle. His only choice was to steer right. But the crown of the road pulled him toward the ditch. He had two choices: 1. Pull back to the left and have his rig roll down into the ditch, or 2. Let it slide down into the ditch, a less damaging experience. The boulders in the ditch would demolish any vehicle upon contact. But a rig rolling into the ditch would probably result in death to the driver (long before seat belts and air bags).
Thankfully we didn't meet up with any northern Maine snowstorms this trip.  No sunrises, moose, or Northern Lights either.  But a bad day in Maine is still better than a good day anywhere else.

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