Off to Maine!

Off to Maine again!

This weekend I drove from Boston to Central Maine for my Niece’s 3rd birthday. Total miles were about 450 and I drove by my self. Usually driving that far by yourself sucks.

My knee has been bothering me, so I took this long drive as an opportunity to ice it. I loaded two cooler packs into the Igloo cooler and placed it on the passenger seat. I also loaded a growler of home-brew in the cooler for the party, for the adults!

maine, vacation, runner

I also brought along about a dozen CD’s as radio in Maine sucks. No two ways about it. You can hear new or old country music, or old rock music. God help me! No one in Maine is interested in new music? Only college stations play anything worth listening to up there?

So I listened to my own oldies that I don’t often get a chance to and iced my knee and leg most of the way up. I think I made pretty good use of my alone time.

At my nieces house I put my freezer packs in her freezer and sat on the floor and played with my grand-niece? Great Niece? Not sure how that works.

She was a total bundle of energy! She didn’t stop moving the entire time we played. I forget how much energy a 3-year old has. I know she sleeps 10 hours a night and takes a nap, but even that much sleep would not give me half of her energy!

To my niece, a party is not a party unless there is cake. No cake, no party. She had to show me the cake that Mom made. I got to hang with her for about an hour before everyone else showed up. And we had lunch together. Does it get any better than that! That was worth 8 hours in the car and 450 miles. Absolutely!

Slowly family and friends began to show up. I got to watch all the moms with young kids and remember what it was like. All the bags and car seats and temper tantrums. The good old days! I miss it, but I don’t.

It was interesting so see “kids” that I saw at my niece’s wedding now managing their own kids. I watched my own niece grow up and now she is a mom. We can relate as parents and adults now. It just seems so normal.

As 3:30 and then 4PM rolled around it got to be time to leave. I hated to leave this magic moment, but I knew I had four hours of driving ahead of me with good traffic. We were all rolling out, including my sister and brother-in-law.

I got my hug and kiss from my grand-niece, and before I left I got another hug and kiss because mom or dad did not see her give me a hug and kiss before. How could I refuse. It would have been rude! Totally worth 450 miles!

Road to Boston

We had weird weather. While setting up for the party in the yard it rained while we squinted in the bright sun light. Then it was sunny all afternoon. After being on 95 South for about 15 minutes I noticed the road ahead was smoking and two motorcycles had pulled over. I then smelled gasoline. I thought there had been an accident.

As I went under the bridge where the cyclist were pulled over I saw that there was a down pour on the other side of the bridge. The road was so hot that the rain turned into steam instantly. The drops were huge and the rain only lasted for the next 10 miles or so.

A little more excitement

As I approached the exit for home I noticed a bunch of dirt flying through the air and some smoke. I was back probably 200 yards from the action, but I saw a car bounce into the guard rail, spin around a few times and then slam into the guard rail before coming to a stop. We were all doing at least  70 mph.

I was so busy breaking and making sure no one was going to hit me, that I wasn’t even scared. As I went past the crashed car the driver’s side door popped open and I could see that the air bag had deployed and it looked like the driver was buckled in. Good thing.

About 10 cars pulled over to help. I don’t have any medical training and it looked like the guy was going to get all the help he needed, so I kept going. When I was home, I could hear all of the sirens heading out to the highway. I began to think about what could have happened if some one behind me had hit me at 70 mph. Or if the car that crashed had flown out into the highway. The four lane road was very busy and we were all going very fast.

It could have been bad.

Running

Yes, I ran this weekend! I managed 12.5 miles on Sunday at a pretty good clip and I even ran in the last two+ miles with negative splits! I think the icing worked! I’ll keep at it, but I think I have successfully managed my niggle. It was NOT an injury.

I managed to get in almost 21 miles last week and with my 12.5 miles on Sunday, I should be able to get close to 30 again this week. I feel so much better!

Run well my friends!

© Andrew Nagelin 2014

Downeast Magic

Downeast Magic occurred in Calais, Maine this weekend

Back in June I traveled with my sister to Lubec, Maine for The Bay of Fundy Marathon. This weekend we traveled to Calais for a little magic.

Lubec is right on the Canadian border with the main road, Rt 189, crossing into New Brunswick and onto Campobello Island. To get to Lubec we took US Rt. 1 which goes along the coast and through every little town along the way. The road to Calais is Rt. 95 from the Boston area up to Bangor. From Bangor we took Rt. 9 east to Calais.

downeast,airline route,maine

Rt. 9 is known as “The Airline Road.” It is the main east/west corridor from New Brunswick and Maritime Canada into Central Maine and Bangor. I have always been told that the road got its name from airline flights from Europe using the road as a visual navigation aid as they flew across the state on their way to Bangor International Airport. Bangor is the closest US airport for commercial jet liners. Bangor grew from a small local airport to an SAC Air Force base with a runway to land B-52s and KC-135s on.

With its many curves and turns, Rt. 9 travels east through the vast forest, swamps and bogs of Eastern Maine. In the old days the road carried many trucks and due to the turns, hills and steep banks it was known as a dangerous road to travel. Over the past twenty years the road has been widened in many spots and seemed much easier to drive than I recall from my youth.

I marked up the map above so you could easily see the roads I’m talking about. Round trip to Lubec was 876 miles. I did not record the miles to Calais, but it was probably about the same.

Why Calais, Mon Ami?

St. Croix, new brunswick,downeast,calaisMy niece was getting married in Calais, where her fiancé is from. The location was the unassuming International Motel. From the road this looks like any other motel in a rural location: comfortable but basic. The secret this motel hides is their vast lawn down to the St. Croix river.

This photo is at low tide before the wedding and doesn’t do the view justice. The motel has better photos on their website. During the ceremony the tide was as high as the spirit of the bride, groom and assembled family and friends. The bride and groom are both graduates of Maine Maritime Academy, so I’m sure they picked the date and time to have the tide just right.

James and Kim love to hunt and fish. Living in Alaska they fished and hunted

Ring Bearer
Ring Bearer

extensively and did very well. Their dog “Guy” accompanied them on these hunting and fishing trips and made the trip to Downeast Maine for their wedding. Guy wasn’t there just to look good, he was also the ring bearer! With a single command from James, Guy walked down the “aisle” with a birch branch in his mouth with both wedding rings tied to it.

A man has got to have a lot of trust in his dog to trust him with the wedding rings!

The ceremony was beautiful, and captured their personalities and values. The wedding party lasted until Midnight with much dancing and merry-making. A great time was had by all.

It was wonderful to spend time hanging out with my parents having drinks and talking and just being together. All of my immediate family was together. It was another magic moment in Downeast Maine.

I could write a novel length post on the evening. So many fun and memorable moments. But those are family moments best shared amongst ourselves. The wedding was beautiful, everyone had a great time and in so many ways it was a classic wedding and family get together.

 

Congratulations to Kim and James McPhee!

With Love,

Uncle Andy

Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

I’ve been totally out straight for weeks now. If I’m not doing something, I’m thinking and planning. It’s great, highly engaging and makes life interesting. But I would like to kick the shifta into neutral for a day, maybe a few hours?

post race

Memorial Day is the traditional kick off weekend for the summer. Hot dogs and pretzels and beer. The lazy, hazy days of summer. It’s also a time when we remember our veterans and departed family members.

When I was a kid my mother and grandmother would haul me to what seemed like dozens of cemeteries. From our yard, they would have fresh-cut tulips and lilacs to put on the graves of people I had never met. Sometimes they would have flowers from my grandmother’s cousins greenhouse, the O’loughlins. As an amateur genealogist I am getting to know these people now. Wonderful people lost to time, that dark shadow that stalks us all. I wish I had listened to the stories, I wish I could remember what I did hear.

As a grammar-school aged kid, I could not be bothered. The last thing I wanted to do was spend the day in the car with my grand mother and mother and drive from cemetery to cemetery for most of a day. It was something they did every year. It was ritual. It was family.

The living were looking after the dead. Somebody has a saying that as long as someone speaks your name you are not really dead. By tending to the graves of their cousins, uncles, parents and siblings they were breathing life into the memories of these departed souls. For a few brief moments, someone was thinking of this person and their life. They were alive in someone’s mind and they were important to someone for a few brief moments.

When I am doing genealogy research, sometimes I feel like I am dusting off the memory of the person I am researching. In a completely metaphysical way, I am dusting off their bones and breathing life into their memory. In my mind they are tilling the fields, getting married, tending the children, burying their children, going off to war. Falling in love. In a few minutes I can imagine someone’s entire life. It’s wonderful to have this ability to create a fantasy life of my ancestors from nothing more than a few dates and maybe a photo. Sometimes it is depressing to know they are all gone, every day of their lives has been completed. Sometimes I wonder how they felt in those last moments. We all know the joys and pains of life, but nothing of the end.

Going to the cemetery and placing flowers breathes life into the memory of those we have lost. Some that we never knew. Do we owe it to them, or to ourselves?

Live well my friends,

Andy