Bonjour de Montréal! We've been out on the road for nearly a month now, but the past few days have been more like "luxury camping", as we've been lucky enough to stay with my extremely hospitable cousin in Québec (thanks again, Louis!!)
Been awhile since my last post. After we took off from Acadia and Mount Desert Island, we headed into Bangor. The home of Stephen King is about as bleak as his books make it out to be, the city seems pretty depressed despite its extremely cute library. We spent a few days sleeping at the Indian Camp Stream Day Use Area (which actually allowed night use... weird, right?) in nearby Amherst. At one point I encountered a sign for a free 2 acre lot in small-town Maine! But it was too good to be true, the reality was that it was "free" if you built a house on the property within 6 months. Sad, I would've happily become a Maine landowner. We explored the city a bit more over the next few days, including checking out King's house:
Bats on the gate and everything. What a goon!
We got an amazing and cheap breakfast at this place called Judy's (seriously, if you're ever in the area, go to this place. It looks like a dive bar but the food is excellent and affordable as hell), and took a walk through the downtown. There was a pretty awesome knickknack shop that we spent a good while in...
A real sabretooth fossil, among so many others.
It even had a cute little art gallery!
We spent an evening in Starbucks to watch the debate (I'm not even going to comment on that absurdity, if you saw it you know how bad it was...), and the next morning checked out some more art at UMaine's Hudson Museum, as well as their gallery in downtown Bangor.
Handwoven basket from the 1800s. Look at that craftsmanship!
The Hudson Museum was largely native artifacts from the western US and Canada, as well as Mesoamerica and Pacific islands. I have to say, the whole "'collected' artifacts from destroyed native cultures" thing doesn't sit very well with me, and some of the descriptions of how items were "collected" seemed to imply that they were in fact looted from the natives. White people, man.
After that it was time to leave Bangor! We started heading for Katahdin, and the nearby town of Millinocket. We got going a little late, and it was starting to get dark as we passed through town. We happened upon a single lakeside campsite and decided to pitch camp right on the water. We were greeted by a pack of wolves shortly after, one of them was right across the lake when it first howled! Pretty awesome.
The next morning, by the lake. We even saw another bald eagle!
After some tasty breakfast by the lake, we continued north. Turns out Katahdin Mountain is inside Baxter State Park, which charges an entrance fee AND a hiking fee for climbing the mountain. "Fuck that," we decided. But it wasn't so simple. The Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is very new, as in "gravel road for over 10 miles" new. Unfortunately for us, we didn't take the short, 10 mile way in. We nearly got stranded traveling on snowmobile roads that were not marked as such, and even after navigating those spent a good half-hour on "abandoned logging roads" to get to the park. But it was worth the struggle!
Welcome to Katahdin Woods & Waters.
A pretty inaccurate map of the park
Again, the whole place was very underdeveloped. We stayed at the Sandbank Campsite - which was in decent shape - but every trail we walked down required some bushwhacking and nearly every one of them suddenly petered out into nothing. Despite that, it was beautiful and serene.
We traveled on the loop road, similar to the one in Acadia, only to find that--again--it was pretty much non-existent. I mean, the road existed... but there wasn't much on it. Although, there was one spot with an awesome overlook towards the mountain itself:
There were some cute little plaque carvings designating all the mountains nearby. Also grasshoppers galore!
We were hoping to meet with some of my Québecois family that evening, so took off from the Monument. There wasn't a whole lot to see yet, anyway, but we're hoping to get back sometime and see the (potential) progress!
It was a long and fairly uneventful drive to the border. We crossed at this tiny station in Coburn Gore, and the border cop was suspicious of the place we chose to cross at, but we got over just fine. We arrived at my cousin's house in Sainte-Catherine de Hatley late that evening, and he was so kind as to share a bottle of wine with us, let us shower, do laundry, and the works! So generous.
In the morning we had a nice breakfast of BAGUETTE (we meme-ified the hell out of that word during our stay) before visiting my uncle in his cottage just down the hill. I've never really had a good conversation with any members of this part of the family, so it was great to connect!
By the afternoon we were headed into Montréal. We caught some of the rush-hour traffic, but arrived in Le Plateau-de-Mont-Royal before sundown. The flat was awesome, by the way.
My camera lens is cracked, which sometimes allows it to see ghosts.
Jardin mignon, non?
We grabbed some groceries (and beer!), and cooked ourselves some dinner before drinking beer and chatting on the stoop. It was cool to be surrounded by French. I've never learned the language, but was working my translation muscle as much as possible! Thank goodness Spanish and French are so similar.
The next morning we made a mondo-breakfast (something we'd been missing for months!) and took a walk around the city.
One of many "petites bibliothèques" we saw in the nearby neighborhoods.
Most people in Montréal (or at least this part of the city) are very fashionable (and attractive), so we spent a good few hours people-watching before heading back to the flat to freshen up (and drink more beer). That evening we went out to a cute little restaurant and I blundered around using FrEnglish, which our waitress found pretty funny.
It was rainy and grey the next day, so we took use of our lovely static location to laze around and read. I worked on some beats, some of which you can check out here.
This morning (Monday) we woke up early to move my car (we got lucky with the parking, but the city is very particular about where you can park, when) and pack up. We took another little stroll around, and happened upon Cat Street (3 strays in about a minute's time!)
Observe the squirrel on the far right side. The little guy barely avoided being cat chow.
Then we were greeted by this talktative cutie!
This afternoon we are headed for Ottawa, and the nearby Parc de la Gatineau to camp! We're planning on spending tomorrow in the national capitol, then onward to Toronto, before crossing back into the States through Niagara!
Hoping to get a day like this!!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!
Weather: Clear, dry, windy, 65F
Currently listening to: Sophie Meiers