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Day 12: Slow Roll

06 Jul

Because we had nothing truly planned today except for an overnight in Peabody, MA, only about 150 miles south, our exit from Maine was a decidedly slow roll. I had done a great deal of the packing and departure prep last night. In fact, coupling the amount of work I had to do with my crippling procrastination, I ended up staying awake until at least 2am. Which would have been fine, because I had plenty of time to sleep in and still have us on the road before our mandatory check-out time. A really great plan. Except that there was apparently a raucous seagull convention scheduled for this morning that I had been previously unaware of. It was full of noisy, lively debate, and the flock of seagulls show started at approximately 5:45am. Oof. Awake and out of bed that early, I really had time on my side. Our check-out time was 11am, and we milked it almost to the final minute.

I had the typical departure stuff to do. Had to pack the kids sheets after they woke and stripped their beds. Wash the queen sheets we borrowed. Wash, dry, and put away dishes. Empty trash cans. Walk down on the beach a final time to play rock hound to collect new specimens to put in our souvenir lamp. (I have a clear base lamp that I am slowly filling with rocks from our Maine vacations. This area is different geologically-speaking from Kennebunkport, so I got some great chunks of stone that will make a really interesting layer.) And, of course, I also needed to log some more porch time. In fact, after rising before 6am and putting my sheets in the washer, that is the very next thing I did. I am in the process of re-reading the Harry Potter series, and am now into Year 4: The Goblet of Fire. Sigh. This is some very good reading, made even better by the view and a refreshing Maine sea breeze.

After forcing the kids into obligatory pictures in front of the cottage and on the porch, we said a fond farewell to the Nezinscott cottage. We then enjoyed an insanely picturesque drive back through Bailey Island/Orr’s Island/Harpswell, on the first day of the Southbound Leg of CMRT 2019: US History Edition. That’s right, it time to get back to the history lessons. But today was simply our slow roll away, a gentle extraction from my beloved state of Maine. It started with a return trip to the Bull Moose store in Portland. Beau is fairly obsessed with music, and more specifically with his burgeoning vinyl collection. It doesn’t really surprise me that there is a healthy selection of vinyl at the Bull Moose locations, seeing as they are mostly in rather hipster towns. Beau did intimate that the selection at our local Saint Augustine Tone Vendor store was actually superior, but Bull Moose is rather a multi-sensory experience unto itself. And Beau has been very happy about some of the rare finds he has been acquiring. Side note: Be on the lookout for his Go Fund Me, as he is racking up quite the vinyl debt to me, having already blown through his CMRT spending money from Mimi.

Our next stop: Kennebunkport. Sadly, this also seemed to be the next stop of every. single. person. in. the. world! Wow, was it crowded. First time past the free parking lot, and it was totally full with several sharks already circling looking for unsuspecting prey walking back to their car. I figure no big deal, I’m willing to pay for parking, and crossed my fingers that the pay lot in Dock Square would have some availability. Nope. Not a single space in sight. Sigh. Fight some more traffic and get back to the free lot for another look. Luckily, we found a space, and bonus, it was in the shade! Yeah, not only was it insanely crowded in town, it was also one of the hotter days I’ve ever experienced in Kennebunkport. I imagine the locals were melting. The big draw to KPT, and the reason I was willing to fight the crowds, has to do with my favorite art galleries. When I first started visiting Kennebunkport some 18 years ago, I stumbled across a gallery named Northlight Gallery, located on Ocean Avenue, just off of the Dock Square area. I was immediately entranced with the incredibly detailed watercolor works by Jack Standish. I can’t even begin to describe them in words, but I vowed that one day I would own one. (It still hasn’t happened yet!) But I was also enamored with the exceedingly friendly, but laid back gallery owner, Harry Thompson. We struck up a conversation all those years ago and I discovered that he was originally from, of all places, Gainesville, Florida! Over the years I have kept coming back to salivate over the works in Northlight, and enjoy a chat with Harry, who produces his own magnificent oil paintings. Though Northlight Gallery is still in the same location at 33 Ocean Ave, there have been many changes over the years, the most significant of which is the addition of the equally delightful, and also laid back cool, Jill Previti Thompson, and additional gallery space (True North) down in Dock Square. Over the years I have made it a point to always visit both Harry and Jill’s galleries. Jill is an amazingly talented painter in her own right, and it is always a breath of fresh air to talk with her. In the past year they have added an additional gallery space – with more of a focus on photography and jewelry – and Jill’s gallery has been renamed Thompson & Company. Two years ago this September, I took Beau to Maine for his 13th birthday. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday that year, his only response was, “To wake up in Maine.” So, despite the trip having some major ups and downs, I made that happen for him. One of the ups of that trip involved being in Jill’s gallery on Beau’s birthday. Jill really talked to Beau about art and what he liked, asked him questions about himself and listened to the answers. I think she was mostly impressed that he was such a self-possessed 13 year old (who, of course, seemed more like a 63 year old). Just before we left, she took Beau over to a collection of a few of her small abstract landscapes and asked him which one he liked the most. He considered his choice, and talked it out with her, and then chose. What happened next astounded me. She took that beautifully framed painting off the wall, handed it to him, and said, “Happy Birthday!” I was gobsmacked. She then said to me, “And that’s how you make a collector.” Indeed. This year our first stop in Kennebunkport was Jill’s gallery (Thompson & Company) where I recounted the story to her and again expressed my gratitude for her generosity. We had a really nice chat, and then I headed off to Harry’s gallery (Northlight). I was positively salivating over the majority of the work in the gallery, while also having a pleasant chat with Harry. But then my eyes locked on one of Jill’s paintings in the second room of the gallery. Similar in composition to the smaller seascape given to Beau, but with an even richer palatte. It was again the sea, but this sky was a deep, bruised plum color. It was gorgeous, and my eye kept coming back to it. Just as I was about to leave, I walked back over to it and made a decision. Sometimes, it’s Mommy’s turn to get what she wants. So I bought it. I bought a painting today. As if it’s the sort of thing I do every day. It isn’t large, but it’s mine. I’d say Jill’s investment in Beau is already paying off. Maybe I’m the collector she was making.

I was alerted by my very dear Kennebunk-dwelling friend, that the turnpike was backed up for at least 20 miles headed south from Kennebunkport, and I had absolutely zero desire to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate. So, incredibly grateful for Mandy’s heads-up, I asked Waze to route us the back way. Slower speed limits, but prettier sights. There were a few patches of traffic even on the back roads, but it was actually an enjoyable drive filled with picturesque farms and quaint little town centers. We were on our way to a brief stop in Portsmouth, NH, because Beau wanted to visit, where else, yet another Bull Moose location! But first we visited the exceedingly irreverent gift shop that we had discovered during his birthday weekend, called Off Piste. And it was worth a return visit. Many people might consider the store’s merchandise offensive, as there are several “grown-up words” featured on things as diverse as tea towels to pencils to magnets to socks. Personally, I think they are f-ing hysterical. Perhaps my favorite thing in the store are the extensive selection of pencils stamped with hysterically irreverent sayings. I would love to stock the pencil cup on my desk with these and watch kids faces when they ask to borrow a pencil. But I enjoy being employed, so I didn’t purchase any at all. After laughing our butts off and pining to purchase things I can’t really show off to their full potential because I’m a public servant, we headed across the street to Bull Moose. Beau picked up yet more vinyl – seriously, please send this kid cash for his upcoming birthday, as I need him to pay me back! I took a flyer on a sealed bag labeled “15 Classical CDs” for $1.97. How could I possibly go wrong? Turns out there is some fun stuff in there – I do love classical piano music. After finding free parking in Kennebunkport, I ended up having to pay for parking in Portsmouth. Well, I should have paid for parking. But I didn’t. And I ended up getting a parking ticket. Ironically, in approximately the same amount I would have had to pay for parking in Kennebunkport in that Dock Square lot. I have no idea how I happened to miss the large parking kiosk located just a couple of spaces down, and why I didn’t immediately look for one, knowing that all parking in these New England towns is somehow metered Mon-Sat. But I didn’t. I think pulling in diagonally like I did put me in mind of San Marco back home. And I just blithely took my spot, and didn’t even think about it being anything other than free parking. Oops! But I’ve already paid my ticket online, and like I said, a fairly equivalent parking assessment to having paid for it on the front end, so no true loss other than feeling vaguely like an idiot.

Overall, today has been a weird mix of emotions. It feels like we left the cottage months ago, or perhaps that the entire thing was just a lovely dream, something fictionalized that never truly happened. I am sad to leave that respite from the world, from reality. But I am also eager to have more new experiences, and ultimately, to return home (though we have 10 days before we’re doing that!) I think today was a nice transition from our life of ultimate ease back into our “road trip” mentality. Tonight we are in Peabody, MA, simply a way-station to our full day of sightseeing tomorrow. For tomorrow we take on the witches of Salem…

 

Day 12 – By the numbers:

Odometer: 128,643 – 128,801 (158  miles)

Total travel time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

States traveled in/through: 3 - ME, NH, MA

Gas stop: $2.85/gal – Wells, ME

Current standings in the CMRT 2019 Lottery Project: $38 in/ $11 out (- $27 loss) –> It’s not a good year for gambling.

Number of states found in our license plate-palooza: –> Total of 46/51 –> Only missing Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and, of course, North Dakota!

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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim