Day 11, October 21, 2003: Glen Cove, ME to Quoddy Head, ME to Ellsworth, ME

I opened yesterday's account with great expectations under frosty but clear blue skies. Today I awoke to heavy grey skies pouring heavy grey rain and my mood quickly headed in the same direction.

But even with the weather, today is the day—the day I make it to the north-easternmost point in the contiguous 48 states. My actual destination was a matter of a little personal debate but considering that one milepost on the original 1997 drive was Cape Flattery in Washington, the north-westernmost point, West Quoddy Head in Maine seemed an appropriate destination.

Part of the drive today was through vast stretches of wild blueberry. Really barren at this time of the year. In some ways they look like areas in Alaska where various low berry plants grow and that means that the climates are probably similar. That suggests that the wind-driven rain might switch over to wind-driven snow without warning. It is snowing in other areas of Maine right now and some higher elevation areas had a noticeable accumulation last night. So things could be worse I guess. Sometime during this stretch the Miata crossed the 100,000 mile mark which I had meant to note since it happens so infrequently but somehow the rollover wasn't noticed until 70 miles later.

Drove into a little town named Machias and noticed a sign pointing to the right showing the way to "Bad Little Falls Park" and I just had to see this. Indeed there were falls. And they did look pretty bad. But I didn't find out until much later what the connection was: the name Machias in the local aboriginal language means literally "bad little falls".

At about 3:00 I finally made it to the agreed destination, the West Quoddy Head Light on the Bay of Fundy. Appropriately the wind was blowing just short of a gale but fortunately the rain had slacked off to the barest drizzle allowing me to make the run from the designated parking area down to the lighthouse. The park itself was officially closed but nothing was going to stop me from recording the event. It turned out to be difficult to get a good snapshot of the scene. Not so much from the moisture in the air but because the buffeting winds made a steady exposure tricky. But I eventually got my proof and headed back to the car glad that it was over.

Just for sake of completeness and to say that I did make it to the extreme I crossed over into New Brunswick, Canada by crossing the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge from Lubec, ME. I drove quickly up the the nearest identifiable landmark with happened to be FDR's "cottage" at Campobello. Total time in Canada was 23 minutes by the car's clock. I had to undergo a regular inquisition crossing back into the USA though and was expecting to have to produce a passport, DNA sample, and a note from "dubya" before being allowed back in despite having been gone for less than a half-hour.

So, my self-imposed quest was done now and I could go home. But along the road back I had determined to stop at a few of the old Shaker communities along the way. And there was a place in Vermont that was purported to produce about the best aged cheddar in the USA. So, even though I'd be driving home on a faster route than the one that brought me here the trip wasn't quite finished.

The night was spend in Ellsworth, ME but during the drive there the rain which had slacked off at Quoddy Head came back with a vengeance. Huge wind driven drops sound just like flying pebbles when they hit the car and for a while it seemed but it must surely be hail. But no, it is just massive balls of water travelling who knows how fast splatting against the car's body. Just a few? more days to go now...

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