Road Tripping

Bangor Maine shop window

Summer slipped by quickly – so quickly – and autumn was threatening to do the same. Greg and I each had one to-do on our bucket lists that we weren’t willing to let go of.
Mine – to hike to the top of Jay Peak in northern Vermont
Greg’s – to visit Fort Kent, Maine
And so – we needed to hit the road – two people, one dog, a few hastily made reservations, and a very loose agenda.

sign at the top of Jay Peak

A short few miles from the Canadian border, we hiked, climbed, and scrambled to the top of Jay Peak.

looking over my hiking boots at the top of Jay Peak

If only the vista were better 😉

Looking down Jay Peak

We scheduled our trip around a visit to Derby Line, Vermont where I had an appointment with Border Patrol to complete my application for Global Entry.

The flower pots make for a charming international border with Canada, and though I was tempted step on the other side for a shot – border patrol was watching. And while he remained firm on the border crossing rules, he was pleasant to chat with.

To satisfy my urge to straddle the border, I entered the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. Built back in the days when the residents of Derby Line were allowed to be friends with their Canadian neighbors, the library was purposely built right on top of the U.S.-Canada border. And yes, I stood with one foot on either side of this line, just because.

Bangor Maine shop window

Bangor, Maine made for a fun stop. With an awesome coffee shop and walk along the river – we spent a morning meandering –

Bangor Maine river walk

and happened upon an enormous Paul Bunyan – but then, according to folklore, he was a giant. No Babe the Blue Ox sighting, though.

Paul Bunyan

Steven King’s home was… well – I guess…

Steven King's home

not completely surprising. Unfortunately, we seeing the “Duck of Justice” – but – well, I guess we can save that for another day.

We ventured off the main roads as often as possible. When a sign read “scenic overlook”,

view of Mount Katahdin

we stopped and looked. This one offered a breathtaking view of Mount Katahdin – the highest peak in Maine and the end of the northbound Appalachian Trail. It was only a few years ago that we drove up here to pick up our daughter after she completed the 2,100-plus mile hike.

Fort Kent

Fort Kent, Maine was everything we hoped for (and more). Yes – there was a fort – and an old train station –

trunks at Fort Kent train station

and the real reason for the trip – the marker for the beginning of U.S. route 1. And really, what would a vacation be without the obligatory sun-in-the-face-squinty-eyed photo with a dog who refuses to pose?

Fort Kent, Maine US Route 1 mile marker

And so – with our mission accomplished, it was time to ramble on home – taking the back roads of Quebec.

ramshackle home in Quebec

where the scenery never disappoints – and the gps is reliably unreliable…

Quebec countrysideBack home, we’re still turning “Away” into “Home” with numerous projects and endless amounts of minimizing, organizing, rearranging, and shuffling. We’re getting there. This road trip feels a bit like a metaphor for the direction of my retirement. Now that I have allowed myself a few months of aimless wandering, I am working towards formulating goals and a loose agenda for myself – one with loads of flexibility for detours and “scenic overlooks”. And, although we purchased our ski passes for the season, I am pretty sure that “ski bum” is not my ultimate goal for this winter.

This is uncharted territory for me, so I am curious is there a trick to finding that perfect balance? Is that even possible?


8 responses to “Road Tripping”

  1. Helen Avatar

    Sounds like a fantastic road trip. Looking forward to hearing about many more along! And have fun weekday skiing too!

  2. Sarah Avatar

    Love the opening shot of you and Chessie. Although I think she needs to hang out with Findley and Atticus to work on her posing in group photos. Global entry sounds impressive. The vista view was a bit weak. Love all those buildings in Fort Kent. I really need to get back to Maine someday. Hopefully as Atticus gets older we can do some longer trips. He does great in the car, and is really well behaved out and about.

    I think Glen has read all of Stephen King’s books now. He get stuck on an author and reads them all.

    I have no worries about you finding things to do through this next season 🙂

  3. Beatrice P. Boyd Avatar

    Unscheduled road trips or even ones hastily scheduled are the best. And, that’s why we’re taking one this week with a destination of the Vermont Teddy Bear Co. to guy gifts for 3 new family babies (here or on the way). We have been to Bangor and that Bunyan statue is amazing as is King’s home, but I’m too am not a horror story fan, except for some Edgar Allen Poe tales in my youthful days. I wasn’t familiar with Global Entry so did some looking up. Is this something that will make entry into Canada (and other places) much easier when you take off meandering? And I too would have stepped on both sides of that line in the library, just because it was there and I could! Nice to see the three-some photo at Fort Kent, which is a place we’ve not visited but it may be on a future road trip.

  4. Debbue Avatar

    oh karen, i am so happy you took these 2 trips, both sound fabulous!! sometimes i find that spur of the moment trips, those with less planning are often the best. even day trips or half day trips…if the sun is shinning, we try to just up and go!! you captured some really beautiful pictures, never, ever drive past a scenic overlook, they are the best!!

  5. Barb Avatar

    I love road trips when they take me off the beaten path. I like seeing ordinary people living their lives. I enjoy rambling in small towns. I like being in nature. You did all that in this trip and – I like the randomness of the photos. I’ll be disappointed if Chessie ever learns to face the camera. She always brings a smile when I see her facing you. Good Girl! I hate to tell you, but there is never a perfect balance. I live life day by day and try to find meaning even in the mundane. – but I’m old and this is just where I’ve landed…

  6. lynne Avatar

    gingham notebook . ..
    filled with
    thank you

  7. Carola Bartz Avatar

    Your road trip looks a lot like road trips we take – a loose agenda, lots of space for spontaneous detours and scenic overlooks. This kind of open mind has so many possibilities and opportunities.
    I like how you “deal” with your retirement – the wandering and slowly getting to finding goals or purpose or however you might call it. I’m certain you will make the most of the time that is given to you.

  8. Debbie Avatar

    on my second visit, i enjoyed everything, again, but noticed i had not mentioned how i enjoyed the picture of you and greg!!

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