Day 31: recap Maine

So…what to do? Maine for me (having never been there before this trip) equaled salty lobstermen on clean seas, and moose in beautiful wild woods .
so portland was kinda dirty. we saw a real live fistfight, gave 50 cents to one of a few wandering homeless dudes, and inhaled fumes of fuel and sewage while eating lunch on the back deck of Becky’s Diner near the docks. We spent most of our time holed up in St. Luke’s on the internet trying to discover our aim in Maine.

When we discovered that Poland Springs had parked upriver of a few towns, sucking fresh water from streams and bottling it for profit, and that there were several Papermills in Maine also situated on rivers and polluting everything downstream, we decided to point our focus to water issues in Maine. And if we got some lobstermen talking about lobstah on the side, then super.

We wandered into Portland, listened to a couple of fishermen and some tourists. We ate lobster rolls for way too many ducats, but were allowed to have our supper served to us in our own tupperware and were buoyed by the waitress washing it out at the end of the meal, unsolicited.

We marrieds had a bit of pointy hurt feelings due to my being a fragile flower and lack of privacy and space, Ben spent Monday night with no sleep working his ass off putting together the next pod while Mark and I interviewed two of Portland’s city councilmen, Kevin Donaghue and Dave Marshall (whom I forgot to photograph but who will appear in a couple weeks in video format), Mark got only three hours of sleep dealing with logistics, and YERT got the first hotel room of the trip (all 3 of us in the same room – which didn’t help the crunch).

On Tuesday we headed to a little town called Wiscasset, where one of our potential interviewees told us about a 500kw diesel generator being proposed to replace a nuclear power plant…a generator that would run on liquid coal and biomass. I found a website that said a town meeting was going to be held on tuesday at 6 at the Wiscasset High School. We were suddenly so psyched! We could actually make it to a public meeting and could tape the whole thing! We arrived at the high school with 15 minutes to set up equipment. The boys got out of the car con gusto, although we were all perplexed by the dearth of cars in the parking lot.
Aside from a few runners on the track and some moms dropping off kids to a coach, there didn’t seem to be anybody much there. Ben and Mark took the walkie talkies and set off to get the skinny. I waited in the car. and waited. Until Ben came back and said, “Can we check that webpage again? They think it was last week…”
And it was. I had successfully steered us to a meeting that happened last Tuesday. I am, by far, the best navigator.
But, on the bright side, we had possibly the best pie any of us have ever eaten, a strawberry / nectarine pie that we split three ways, and could have died after and been alright.

We bought an extra pie for the intentional community house of peace activists we stayed with in Bath (nice! i will write more later) and then moved on to the capital (Augusta) and met with some people at the National Resources Council of Maine, hoping that they could shed some insight on the Poland Springs water cases. Surprisingly, they said that they knew very little about it, so we talked about other things. They sent us on our way with a mission to find Tubby’s ice cream where we discovered and enjoyed their flavor called Treehugger. oh yeah. oatmeal and maple syrup. yes.

And we finished this day by taping the sun going down over totally disgusting-looking brown fountains at New Page Papermill in Rumford, ME, and the deceptively lovely river that runs into and out of the plant.

Mark runs most days but my knees do not allow that kind of effective exercise. I am not losing weight on this trip so far. But my brain is getting totally wrinkled.

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