Around the World in 223 Days

So neither¬†Phileas Fogg’s fictional feat, nor Michael Palin’s actual one, are in any danger of being eclipsed. But when Lindsay‘s flight lands in Boston later today she will have completed one whole trip around the world. We’ll count the high school trip to France, Spain, and Morocco, and her semester abroad in Uganda, as test flights, like the Mercury or Gemini projects were before the Apollo missions.

Except for eastern Canada and a week in Bermuda I have never been outside the United States. The moons of opportunity, capability, and inclination just haven’t come into alignment, but that hasn’t stopped us from experiencing some fascinating places vicariously. And at a safe distance from spiders.

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Once More….

Cathay Pacific B777*ceci n’est pas un avion

The photo above is not the actual Boeing 777 carrying Lindsay from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on her way to Thailand, at least as far as we know, but it might as well be. Three years ago we were waiting to hear that she had arrived safely in Africa. Now, after getting her messages that she had arrived in LA from Boston and boarded her flight for Hong Kong, we have to wait about another twelve hours before we can reasonably expect to hear from her again.

With all three of our girls away, either at school, or way away, as in Asia for the next six months, we officially have an empty nest (just don’t tell the cats). This opens a new chapter, some of which I don’t expect to be markedly different from the previous, but which presents some of its own opportunities. I suspect it will take a little while for us to establish a new rhythm, a new pattern of life with mostly just the two of us again after more than twenty years with children of various sizes in the house.

Meanwhile, Lindsay has picked up her blog again, and we can expect to hear all kinds of interesting things about life, work, and travels in Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia.

Strangers in a Not So Strange Land

After riding through the rain and mist, and escaping whatever ghosts there were (or weren’t) in the Haynesville Woods, crossing into New Brunswick and rewarding ourselves with a very nice German-style dinner, Don and I made our way up the eastern side of the St. John River. Our destination was Eagle Lake, Maine, home of legendary (in Maine, anyway) legislator John Martin.

We rode about 350 miles on the first day of our trip. Rolling out of bed the next morning I was reminded how much more physical riding a motorcycle is than driving a car. That I was probably a little more tense because of the rain most likely added to the muscle strain, but a little Tylenol and a little more Motrin took care of that. Some coffee and a hearty German-style breakfast (no beer, thanks), along with clearing skies got us ready for the day’s excursion tracing the northeast border of Maine and the St. John Valley.

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The Legend and The Reward

All you big and burly men who roll the trucks along
Better listen, you’ll be thankful when you hear my song
You have really got it made, if you’re haulin’ goods
Anyplace on earth but those Haynesville Woods

It’s a stretch of road up north in Maine
That’s never, ever, ever seen a smile
If they buried all the truckers lost in them Woods
There’d be a tombstone every mile
Count ’em off, there’d be a tombstone every mile

– “Tombstone Every Mile,” by Dick Curless

We weren’t loaded with potatoes or headed for Boston town and, fortunately, it wasn’t winter, so the road through the Haynesville Woods wasn’t a ribbon of ice. But it was one of the most memorable parts of our ride across Maine.

After making up some time by taking I-95 from Newport to Orono, we tooled up along the Penobscot River and through more towns I had only heard of or known from their exits on the highway – Milford, Greenbush, Passadumkeag, Enfield, Lincoln, Winn, Mattawamkeag, all on the way to Macwahoc, and the road through the Haynesville Woods. Route 2 doesn’t pass neatly through the center of most of these towns, so I can’t exactly say I’ve seen all there is to see, but riding it does give you a sense of, oh my, just how large Maine really is.

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