Maine, New Hampshire, NASCAR, sunburn, and shopping – Part 1

Day 1 – Drive to Freeport, Maine

We dropped Monty off at the board kennel on Friday and head out for Maine! We debated which way we should go, so we settled on crossing at Houlton and taking the I-95 to Freeport and cross at the Calais/St. Stephen crossing on the way back.

My Personal Chauffeur
My Personal Chauffeur
Driving through New Brunswick
Driving through New Brunswick
Uh oh, a line at the border!
Uh oh, a line at the border!
Almost over the border! I see the border marker!
Almost over the border! I see the border marker!
This is going to take awhile, but at least I can see the front of the line now!
This is going to take awhile, but at least I can see the front of the line now!

I don’t know how long we waited to get across, maybe close to an hour. It was HOT out. I remember days like this with my old Chevy S10, waiting at a border crossing, watching my temperature gauge, terrified my truck was going to overheat before I made it. Luckily Jeff’s F150 is much more reliable 🙂

These were the trash cans at the Maine rest areas. How thoughtful!
These were the trash cans at the Maine rest areas. How thoughtful!

Friday night we made it to Freeport, Maine. We tried to use the handy coupons in the hotel coupon book from the tourist information centre, but didn’t have any luck finding a hotel who wanted to give us a discount. We ended up at the Super 8. The electric supply seemed a little flakey and the A/C kept kicking out. Oddly enough the lady at the front desk when we checked out the next day asked if there were any blown lights in our room. Hmmmmmm….

We went to L.L. Bean and had a fabulous dinner outside on the patio at the Jameson Tavern across the side street from L.L. Bean. Jeff had a humongous slab of meat – rare prime rib. I stuck with the chicken.

We didn’t buy much at L.L. Bean. I found a sale on a fleece jacket and bought a couple $17 pairs of padded wool-mix hiking socks that I love!

Saturday – Mount Washington, New Hampshire

On Saturday we headed across Maine into New Hampshire to go to Mount Washington. I was there as a kid for a summer vacation. I remembered that driving up wasn’t a great idea for your brakes, but they had cargo vans.

That was the plan until I heard there was a TRAIN!  I love trains 🙂

And a train that goes UP A MOUNTAIN? Sure why not!

Cog Railway

Mount Washington Cog Railway
Looking up, see the train track go to the top?
Looking up, see the train track go to the top?

How does a train go up hill you ask? Well it is a cog railway! That means you have the normal train track, but in the middle there is a 3rd track that a cog on the train puts its teeth into.

The old fashioned steam driven train goes up once a day, in the morning. It was just coming back down when we got there. It takes 1,000 gallons of water to get up the mountain!
The old fashioned steam driven train goes up once a day, in the morning. It was just coming back down when we got there. It takes 1,000 gallons of water to get up the mountain!

It takes 1,000 gallons of water to get that steam engine up the mountain!

Our engine was a John Deere bio-diesel that only takes about 18 gallons of fuel if I remember correctly.

The Peppersass is the original wood driven, steam engine that went up the track a hundred years ago.
The Peppersass is the original wood driven, steam engine that went up the track a hundred years ago.

Here is our brakeman going up. He gave us a running commentary of the climb and the history of the train.

Uh oh, what did we sign up for? This feels like the Minebuster at Canada's Wonderland!
Uh oh, what did we sign up for? This feels like the Minebuster at Canada’s Wonderland!
The track splits part way up so you can pass the train going the opposite way.
The track splits part way up so you can pass the train going the opposite way.
Half way to the top!
Half way to the top!
Above the treeline, almost to the top!
Above the treeline, almost to the top!
Mount Washington State Park
Mount Washington State Park
Made it!
Made it!

I carried a sweater to the top, thinking it would be windy and freezing, but it was still hot and humid at the top too.

Me on top of Mount Washington
Me on top of Mount Washington
Cabin with thick wall covered in stones to survive the winter.
Cabin with thick wall covered in stones to survive the winter.
"I'm not in it Jeff, point it down!" "You're always in it, trust me!"
“I’m not in it Jeff, point it down!” “You’re always in it, stop it!”
The view
The view
Jeff on top of Mount Washington
Jeff on top of Mount Washington – ne never seems to be amused with iPhone photography!
The view
The view – you can see some hikers on their way up
Jeff squishing people in the parking lot.
Jeff squishing people in the parking lot.

It was incredible how many people hiked to the top instead of driving, taking the cargo vans, or taking the train. The Appalachian Trail goes across the peak too.

I’d say there was as many hikers at the top as people who sat down on their way up.

Big variety of interesting bugs at the top! Some lady was screaming because of all the bugs.
Big variety of interesting bugs at the top! Some lady was screaming because of all the bugs.
Mount Washington State Park
Mount Washington State Park

On the way down, the car isn’t even attached to the engine. It just bumps up and rests on it and the engine does the work. The seats were all switched around and we managed to score the front seat.

The brakeman uses these to stop certain death on the way down.

The brakeman uses these to stop certain death on the way down.

It was a little spooky at first going down, but once you realize the train car is just thin wood, and if something happened it would splinter into a bazillion pieces and so would we, so then there was no reason to be nervous anymore because I’m sure we wouldn’t feel a thing 🙂

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

One Reply to “Maine, New Hampshire, NASCAR, sunburn, and shopping – Part 1”

  1. I went to Mt. Washington a lifetime ago. Don’t recall the cog railway, but I had my dog with me so maybe that’s why I drove up. Wonderful view.

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