Friday, May 22, 1992...

A very full day on the road. Route 1 ends near the northern tip of Maine, but takes the longest possible path getting there: it follows the coast all the way to the Canadian border, then turns almost due north through logging country. Started before 8:00, didn't reach my motel until 9:20 PM, and still haven't reached the end...

But for a change, Route 1 remained a delight almost all day: sometimes within sight of the ocean, sometimes crossing a river, sometimes passing through hills or forests, but (except for a short stretch in Ellsworth) never bogged down in the traffic which plagues the route from Massachusetts through Virginia.

Scuttled hull of shipwreck at Wicasset, ME

The only real tourist trap was Perry's Nut House, north of Belfast, where the owners don't understand the distinction between "preserving an old-fashioned look: and "performing no maintenance for 25 years." In its heyday during the Eisenhower Adminstration, when the life-sized wood elephants out front were carved, its collections of nuts and stuffed wild animals enticed thousands of Acadia-bound tourists into Perry's Down East version of Stuckey's. Now the nuts have disintegrated, the animals are rotting, and management doesn't seem to care. [Perry's subsequently closed, only to reopen in a much less interesting form.]

Stopped at a wonderful used-book store outside Ellsworth, then swung south to Acadia National Park. At this time of year I had been expecting a brisk spring day, with highs lucky to reach 70; instead I got a major heat wave which sent the entire state of Maine well into the 90s, shattering records. A bank thermometer in downtown Ellsworth read 95 degrees as I turned for Acadia. Even at the summit of 1,530' Cadillac Mountain, highest point on the Atlantic coast, I broke a sweat just climbing out of the car. The Sand Beach, normally uninhabitable until late June, was packed; some people even braved water which couldn't have been much above 40 degrees.

West Quoddy Head lighthouse -- easternmost point of land in the United States

When I reached the southeastern corner of Maine, where 1 turns northwest for its final 250 miles, I detoured still further southeast to Roosevelt-Campobello Park just across the border in New Brunswick. Unfortunately the visitor center and house had closed when I arrived at about 4:30, but I was able to walk the grounds of the immense "cottage" in which FDR was stricken with polio. Tried to visit the easternmost point of land in the US, in Maine's Quoddy Head State Park, but the road was blocked. Oh well... As the sun began to set, 1 surrounded itself with 200 miles of forest that all looked the same -- I knew I wasn't missing any photo opportunities by continuing to drive after dark...

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