The day dawns damp and dark. We peer outside: our flip flops have puddles in them. But there is no rest for the weary traveler! Laura, because she works as a college counselor, is gettin’ her full college geek on: she has a 9:30 appointment at Bowdoin College for a campus tour and info session. She puts on her only clean clothes, fluffs her hair, dusts off her business cards, and Dudley drops her off. He heads to the big antique mall in town—no, no purchases—the slim farmers’ market, and cruises town. He overhears someone in a store mention she’s from Pacifica (next town to where we live in CA). Turns out, she & her family are thinking about moving to Maine because it’s too crowded and expensive in CA. This is getting to be a familiar story.
Since we’re so close, we head to Freeport, ME to the LLBean flagship store. We have purchases in mind. But it’s overwhelming. They practically didn’t have any men’s large clothing. They don’t make women’s chammy shirts anymore. We eat a quick lunch and bid Freeport adieu.
This is our last full day on the road: tomorrow we head home to Connecticut. We decide to drive to New Hampshire. We find a campsite at the Pawtuckaway State Park. Once again, the park is run entirely by teens, mostly teen girls. We find a site and pull on hiking gear, load up with water and put together quick snack packs. There’s just enough daylight left for a quick 5 mile up to the fire tower.
No sooner do we start, then: Good grief! The mosquitos in New Hampshire are treacherous! They follow you. They wear you down. They probably hope you trip so they can chew your arm off. Dudley, who never gets bit anywhere we travel, is swarmed. We are swatting ourselves, hoping they disappear. They do let up.
We eventually get to the fire tower. The views are lovely— vast, 360 degrees of tree-filled mountains as far as the eye can see. The tower itself looks like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog: a lovely fog-gray color and clear, big windows. Crazy.
We head down, ready for mosquito battle. They are waiting for us. We’ll say it again: there are no winners in the Great Mosquito War.
We get back to the site, get changed, get dinner prepared, but there have been delays and we’re eating in the dark, with headlamps. The day has been a bit silly and at one point earlier we were thinking of heading straight back to CT. There was a bunch of indecision today. But no: we’re glad we stayed out here, despite the mosquitoes and despite not having a destination in NH. We got to see what a fire tower would look like if Pottery Barn carried it. There have been porcupine sightings. Laura got to meet the most hilarious child in the bathroom tonight. [“Do you have teeth?” asks the 5 year old. She follows it up with: “Why is your hair so messy?” and as a parting comment: “Tell your husband, Dugley, that I can swim underwater.”] We cleaned our dinner dishes with paper towels. We had nothing to do but be here in this pretty, dark forest on a Tuesday night.