Here’s how every day ends: the doors and windows of the van are open as we get ready for bed and get some air circulating. We climb into the rig, close the van doors, and spend time reading prior to sleep. We also work on Mosquito Abatement and Elimination. The mosquitoes enter through the open doors or windows and dive-bomb us with their high-pitched whining. They get theirs, however: Laura fwapps them with Olde Hickory, a rolled up newspaper. Inside of the van is the Ceiling of Death. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get everyone killed, and the rest of the evening is peaceful.
Until this morning.
The day begins unnaturally early when one mosquito soldier manages to avoid the previous evening’s assault. He dive-bombs us from 5am onward. He is elusive. He is wily. He appears to be fwapped by Olde Hickory only to rise again from the dead. Laura has decided this one is her Moby Mosquito; she will prevail. She hears him, Dudley hears him, Laura rises with Olde Hickory and a headlamp and while Dudley is trying to catch him with his bare hands, Laura tries to fwap him with Olde Hickory, and Moby heads back into the shadows. The attack continues for almost an hour. In the end, we win the battle. There are casualties on all sides: Moby is dead and one of us sacrificed his or her blood to bring him to his timely end. There are no winners in the Great Mosquito War.
Later in the morning, we head out towards Boothbay, ME to visit old family friends of Dudley’s: Jen, her husband, John and Jen’s parents, Joan and Nick. Nick and Dudley’s dad, Paul, met in college on Day 1 and the couples have stayed friends for 50+ years; Nick is also Dudley’s godfather. The family lives in a beautiful corner of the world, and we saw all the projects and undertakings that have been keeping them all busy. Jen serves us a fabulous lunch – a break from our usual almond butter & jelly. hurrah!–while we relax, laugh and tell stories.
We reluctantly say goodbye & head down the road to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, ME. It has been raining a lot of the day, so it’s a perfect activity. As we are getting closer, suddenly the car is in the middle of hundreds of (mostly) men carrying lunch pails and hurrying past the van. Dudley likened it to being stuck in a cattle drive: we just wait it out as all these people flow around the van. We come to find out that our van was at just the right place at just the right time: The Bath Iron Works (BIW) shift had just let out and 1000s of people were leaving work. BIW is one of the largest employers in the state, and they are currently building a ship for the military.
The Maine Maritime Museum is a fabulous history lesson, both past and present, of ship building in Maine. It has an actual ship-building school on campus, has a lighthouse exhibit, and has a terrific exhibit on Maine ships and trade both international and domestic, among others. In one exhibit on the history of ships in Maine, we learn a new word: rusticators. It’s a turn-of-the-20th-century term coined by Maine locals for vacationers who want a more rustic vacation experience and come to Maine to experience it. As you can see from one photo, there were also interactive exhibits: Laura tries her hand at the helm of a ship; she radios for help and promptly crashes.
One of the more compelling exhibits is a photography exhibit of current Bath Iron Works shipyard workers. Two local photographers/researchers set up a booth during the BIW 30 minute lunch break and interviewed & photographed any worker who was willing to talk with them. There are about 5500 BIW workers and the photographers simply wanted to find out the jobs and lives of the workers. The upclose photos and accompanying audio really showcase the gritty conditions, the pride the workers have for their work, and the brotherhood/sisterhood that exists among them.
The rain is worse now, and there is NO WAY that we are cooking in the rain at our campsite. We opt, instead, for a delicious Indian meal in Brunswick, ME (home to Bowdoin College). Full, we head to Bradbury Mountain State Park, our home for the night, and find the best site in the campground (protip: camp in the rain, on a Monday… there will be space available.)
We settle in, cozy and warm in our van, the rain drumming on our roof.