October 24, 2018
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August means it’s time to panic about looming end of summer

Emmet Meara


The mornings are getting colder. The sun is setting earlier. Chief Al swears that he has seen the geese heading south. But he always says that. He loves to quote that Otis Lewis observation that after the Union Fair, it’s time to pull down the storm windows.

It’s August.

You know those plans you made when you were shoulder-deep in snow last winter? Camping at Cobscook Bay State Park. Pedaling at least 20 miles on the Machias bike trail, with the obligatory stop at the rebuilt Helen’s for strawberry pie. No summer is complete without the popovers at the Jordan Pond House, after a ride on the fabulous, traffic-free carriage trails. Maybe a concert or two in Portland with the required stops at their legendary restaurants.

How’s that working out for you?

My fabulous L.L. Bean tent is unused, save for a party demonstration, intended as a joke. Truth be told, I would rather sleep indoors, on a bed.

Let’s face it. We spend the entire winter (especially last year) planning our idyllic summer vacation. It keeps us from hanging ourselves or moving to South Carolina in the middle of the night. We have been dismal failures. At least I have.

It’s time for new plans.

I have always been crazy about the Moosehead Lake area. It was always the assembly point for our heroic Allagash trips. When you drive back to Moosehead after seven or eight days in the woods, it looks like Times Square. They have restaurants with hot food. Their men’s rooms have hot water and soap. It is time to examine the lakeside cabins and campgrounds around Moosehead Lake for a kayak visit.

The last time I went camping at Rangeley Lake, I forgot the tent and got a decade’s worth of grief from Vermont Jon. I could make a return visit with my tent (hopefully) and cook a few meals with my modern Coleman stove and take a few paddles around the lake. I will jam the folding chaise lounge into the Honda for those sunset reading sessions.

For 20 years, I have been planning a motor trip around the Gaspe Peninsula, or Prince Edward Island. Never got there. This could be the year. Wait. That damned passport has expired. I understand the border guards are quite insistent on the document these days. Do I look like a terrorist? Put that on the back burner.

It’s August.

There is a rumor that a bike trip exists around Aroostook County, where you stop at a motel every night, with a bed and a shower. I have never been to “The County” enough in my long Maine life and that will be added to the list. Florida, with its dedicated bike trails free from traffic, has spoiled me. But I will take a chance that County drivers will avoid me. I have noticed that cyclists have become bolder each summer and now ride down the middle of Route 1, acting like a car. I saw one bicyclist pull up to Down East Magazine on Route 1, then make a left hand turn from the middle of the road. It reminded me of the suicide-by-cop syndrome where you decide that your life is over, but you don’t want to do it yourself. This is the new “dominate your lane” philosophy by bicyclists. I say, once you get hit by that semi, the argument about right of way is moot.

Labor Day is like, three weeks away. Make your plans … now.


Emmet Meara lives in Camden in blissful retirement after working as a reporter for the BDN in Rockland for 30 years.


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