Archive for May, 2009

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S AROOSTOOK VACATION: PT II!

Posted in Mundane Events on May 25, 2009 by butthorn

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a very uninteresting motion picture; so much so that it’s driving me to actually compose a new blog entry less than 2 weeks after my last one.  That’s some powerful filmmaking. So without further ado, here’s the second half of our Aroostook County trip.  There’s a few more pictures in this one, mostly of old store signs that I found intriguing.  The end of the journal really peters out, as we took a different route home, one that turned out to have even fewer sights of note.  Either that or I was just sick of observing and reporting.  Anyway, don’t rent “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

9:13:  On to “Dazed and Confused” soundtrack.  Still enjoying the shoe tree afterglow.  Vacation officially validated by shoe tree.

9:18: Enter Houlton: Where the Action Is.  Woman stumbling around driveway in a Raggedy Ann sweatshirt.  

9:20: Houlton the most civilized community we’ve encountered yet on this trip.  Nearly every house is for sale, though.  Thinking we’ll eat at Elm Tree Diner unless it looks too horrifying.  Hope toilet not too grotesque.

9:23: Find Elm Tree.  Looks fine.  Back in a few.

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10:00: Done.  Food perfectly fine.  Each got breakfast specials: eggs, bacon, toast, home fries, coffee for $4.99.  Can’t beat that w/stick.  Got pumpkin cream cheese muffin instead of toast, proved wise decision.  Waitress difficult to read, friendlier at cash register than at table.  Bathroom very clean, however could not seem to poop.  In spite of this, a contraption called a “Niloder” sprayed something at me.  Could not help but take offense.  Certainly worth the $13, all in all.  

10:09: Get gas.  Fuel prices again approaching cornholing levels.  Annie: “I frigging love maps!”

10:10: Pass “Tourist Information Station”.  Annie’s impersonation of what that might entail: “We got a Sears, ya know!”

10:13: Enter Littleton.  Potato fields becoming apparent and copious.  One in back of cemetary.  Yum, dead body taters.  Now playing a game called “Count the Potato Fields”.  Up to six.  Vacation!

10:15: Pass sign: “Trav & Mel’s Wedding”.

10:17: Spouse inexplicably excited by seated bovines.  “I never get to see cows sit!”

10:18: Mutual decision reached to don sunglasses.  Should write story with protagonist named “Don Sunglasses”.  Wocka x 3.

10:20: Enter Monticello.  13 potato fields so far, give or take.  

10:28: Enter Bridgewater.  Reeeeealllly big potato field almost instantly.  Then another one.  And another.  Tired just looking at them.

10:31: “McCain/Palin” spraypainted on shed.  “Tuesday’s Gone” ideal soundtrack for downtown Bridgewater.

10:34: Now surrounded on all sides by potato field.  Very few trees, feels like Montana almost.

10:36: Enter Blaine.  Didn’t even take him out to dinnah!

10:40: Enter Mars Hill.  Suddenly lots of buildings.  Pretty decent Main St in a rickety, paint-chipped kind of way.  Turning off towards Caribou now.  Now have “Malibu” by Hole stuck in head but “Caribou” instead.  Weird Al, take note.

10:47: What appears to be model of Saturn suspended on pole out of nowhere.

10:52: OK, now we just passed Jupiter.  This is some kind of thing.  Also, entered Presque Isle.

11:00: Main St of Presque Isle bricky and mildly compelling. 

11:02: Brief excitement upon spying “Bonanza” sign, but no dice, it’s a Chinese place now.  Pooey of them to keep the sign up.  

11:08: Massive karate dojo in middle of field.

11:10: Entering Caribou.  Thankfully that’s still legal in Maine.  Fa fa fa!

11:12: Very little in Caribou thus far except a wreath store and a “disc golf” course and a closed restaurant called “Farzi’s”.

11:22: Continuing on Rte 1 w/no agenda.  Beautiful day.

11:38: Enter Cyr Plantation.  Precious little to remark upon. 

11:45: Enter Van Buren.

11:51: Pass restaurant called “Tasty Food”.  Really wish I was even remotely hungry.  Actually looks like several good places to eat in Van Buren.  

12:02: Enter Grand Isle.

12:12: Possibly enter Madawaska.

12:14: Yup.  Madawaska.  Several years ago wrote sappy but well-meaning song about this town but have never been here.  Just liked the name.  Interested to check it out.

12:18: Adorable septuagenarian on tractor spotted.

12:19: Lawnmower store/motel called “Roland’s Rendez-vous”!

12:20: Sign advertising: “BBQ, Onions, Cow Manure”.

12:21: Man asleep in van in front of Madawaska Police Dept.

12:23: Madawaska main drag quite visually appealing.  A lot of signs that look from the ’60s.  Sadly most of this stuff is closed down from the looks of things.  Get out, walk around, take some pictures. 

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(I swear I turned this picture right side up on some stupid program or other, but clearly it didn’t take; fart on a cock.)

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(Sorry these two are so huge, but they can’t be fully appreciated any smaller.)

12:40: Enter Frenchville.

12:53: Enter Fort Kent.  It’s green, brown + white.

1:04: This seems to be the town proper of Fort Kent.  McD’s, “Jan’s Primitive Treasures”, “Jazz It Up Dance Studio”, “Quigley’s Building Supply”.

1:07: Get out on main drag and walk around.  Decide to get a lite-ish lunch @ “Rock’s Family Diner”.  Choice is between that and “Bee-Jay’s”.

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(Rock’s)

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(In hindsight, I sort of regret that we did not patronize “Bee-Jay’s”.  Any testimonials out there?  For the restaurant, please, not the sexual act?)

1:17: Each get hot dogs.  I get footlong.  Ketchup + mustard are under hot dog.  Disapprove of this.  Also, waaaaaay too much K + M in general.  Otherwise good, bun especially.

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1:32: Then go to Miller’s.  V. similar to Reny’s.  Annie buys spiral-bound sudoku book.  I buy nothing.

1:43: Happen upon Good Samaritan Thrift Shop.  Two old ladies happily gabbing in French.  I recognize the word “hat” at one point.  I buy 2 VHS: “Switchblade Sisters” and some marital arts revenge chick flick called “Fighting Mad”.  Woman doesn’t know how much they cost.  “Is it too much to ask for a dollar?” No, it is not.

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(We kept seeing these guys alongside the road at various points in the Fort Kent area.  They’re recycling bins.  Extremely awesome recycling bins.)

2:04: Back on the road.  Taking Rte 11 in the opposite direction.  Listening to Wood’s Tea Company.  Pleasant Irish music.

2:16: Hilly!

2:21: Enter Eagle Lake.  Lake itself is quite nice.

2:24: Big hand-lettered sign on someone’s porch reads simply “Potato”.

2:45: Zzzz…

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2:46: Entered Porter.

2:48: Entered Portage Lake.

2:54: Entered Nashville, surprisingly enough.

3:00: Enter Ashland.  Vividly burping mustard.

3:10: Ashland both vast and dull.

3:11: Entering Masardis.  Sounds oddly promising.  (It isn’t.)

3:29: Entered TWP 9RS.  

3:52: Enter Mt. Chase.  Listening to The Turtles.  Sleepy.

3:54: Bigass hill.

3:55: Enter Patton.  When you put your hand in pile of goo that used to be face etc.

3:59: Patton very rustic.  General store actually looks like it’s made out of dirt.

4:08: Now in Sherman.  Going to get on I-95 in a bit and that will be that for our relaxing day of deserted townships.

So, in essence, we drove four hundred and seventy-six miles to look at a tree covered in shoes and a street of abandoned storefronts, then buy hot dogs and a sudoku book.  Doesn’t look like much on paper, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves throughout.    

Get in the car and go somewhere sometime!  Places are cool and fun!

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AROOSTOOK COUNTY: THE VACATION OF A LIFETIME!

Posted in Mundane Events on May 21, 2009 by butthorn

Hi everybody!  Sorry I haven’t written anything in eight years!  I guess I just don’t give a shit!  Nah, that isn’t true, please like me. 

I done took me a little vacation last week, and it was great.  Completely by accident I picked the perfect week to take off weatherwise.  Every day was super nice out.  In the weeks leading up to this little mini-vacay, we had off and on tried to come up with somewhere interesting to travel to.  Somewhere nearby, but not too nearby, that we hadn’t been to, yet wasn’t too unfamiliar.  Those are difficult criteria to assign an ideal destination to, and needless to say we still had no idea where we were going two days before my vacation was to start.  Finally we decided rather randomly to try driving to Pennsylvania.  To my knowledge I’ve never been there (although the fact that I couldn’t remember if I’d ever been there or not frankly didn’t make the state seem like a promising contender for a luxuriant getaway), and we understood there to be Amish people there, and wouldn’t that be interesting?  On top of that excitement, there’s a pretty tasty/intriguing restaurant detailed in my beloved “Roadfood” book called Dutch Kitchen which looked like a promising place to stop and eat some weird beet salads amongst mustacheless bearded strangers.  Reasonably excited about our decision, we declared that to be the plan, took some Advil PM, and resolved to depart the next morning as early as possible. 

Well, you can thank this woman for the fact that you will be seeing zero pictures of Amish people in this blog:

fucking suze

For the lucky few who may not know, this is Suze Orman.  It’s pronounced “Susie”, but I like to call her “Sooze”.  She just feels more like a Sooze.  Anyway, I hate Sooze.  But not for any terribly intelligent reason.  In fact, she gives what is from what I can tell very sensible financial advice on her CNBC program, in which people call in to try to get her permission to buy fun things, and are immediately and sassily shot down.  “You are denied, girlfriend!” Sooze will tell you when you inform her that you would like to buy a paddleboat to use at your camp to have fun with your children.  And Sooze will be correct in telling you this, because you are awash in credit card debt and have failed to save any money for your retirement.  Putting aside her psychotic demeanor, she is promoting common sense, an invaluable trait infrequently championed.  But if there are two types of people I hate (in both cases because I invariably surrender to them), it’s people who tell you what to do and people who tell it like it is.  I want to do what I want, and lie about it thereafter.  Sooze will have none of that, girlfriend.  Keep your money in your 401k until you’re in your sixties; otherwise the government is going to take almost half of it.  Girlfriend. 

Even recounting it is killing me, but Sooze haunted my dreams the night before we were to embark.  “Why spend money you don’t have on a vacation you’re not all that jazzed about?”  “You’re going to fund this entirely on your credit card, aren’t you?  Well, fine, then I assume you’re going to pay it all back immediately after you get back?  WHAT?!  You are denied, boyfriend!  DENIED!” 

The alarm clock went off, and after some bleary-eyed lying around I tentatively and reluctantly voiced my Sooze-inspired concerns to my groggy wife.  I was pleased and relieved to find that she felt much the same way, though whether or not her new opinion was the result of a hypnagogic Suze Orman remains unclear.  Anyway, in shockingly short order, we both came to the conclusion that instead of going to Pennsylvania and murmuring unkind things about the hardworking Mennonites under our breath, we would instead drive to Aroostook County.  The fact that we would likely find nothing of striking interest was not an issue.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, we had never been there, the car was full of gas, the CD book was full of classic rock, and I had an unspoken-for week stretching long and lean out in front of me like the open arms of a long lost buddy.  We would drive to Fort Kent, languidly regard the barren potato fields that no doubt awaited us there, and drive back. 

As I am occasionally wont to do on road trips to pass the time and record fleeting minutiae for prosperity, I decided to take a pen and notebook along to record items and events of ostensible interest/amusement, while Annie drove and made comments throughout.  I usually try to be funny in the course of this activity, but my wife was in rare form and stole my thunder throughout, God love her.  Anyway, here are some notes and pictures of our journey to a notoriously featureless region of Maine.  In a nutshell, more words and fewer pictures than you would probably like.  Enjoy, poopfarts!

ALL TIMES APPROXIMATE.

5:41: Embark.  Add coolant to car.  Car leaks coolant.  Hear what I think is owl in background.  Pleasantly drizzly.

5:42: Run red light.  Impersonation of police siren not appreciated, per usual.

5:43: “Do not put that I ran a red light!”

5:46: Enter Bradley, a town I like for no particular reason.  Surprising amt of general activity/traffic.  Could easily be 2 PM right now.  Annie expresses interest in hearing “L.A. Confidential” soundtrack.  Locate CD and put in player.

5:48: Tracphone taking inordinately long time to accept minutes I’m trying to add.  Need to spring into 2001 and get cellphone.

5:52: Beginning trip listening to “Accentuate the Positive” by Dean Martin.  Can’t help but be a good omen.  Or a cruelly ironic joke.

5:57: Going east on route nine.  Means absolutely nothing to me but figure I should record the information.  Still raining half-assedly.  Seem to be a lot of Quonset huts in this neck of the woods.  Eddington.  Dog shitting on lawn.

6:02: There seem to be a lot of different genuses of trees in Eddington.  Much more than the usual pines/spruces. Annie asks what I’m laughing at, reply “nothing, just being dumb”; do not want to tell her I’m laughing at the word “genuses”.  Sign advertising “breakfast buffet” stationed in front of what would appear to the untrained eye to be a toolshed.  Huh.

6:05: Extremely pleasant residential area of Eddington.  Happy with trip already.  Happiness comes to abrupt halt upon entering town of Clinton.  Now hate trip. 

6:08: Woman on cellphone wearing camouflage repairing mailbox.

6:09: One of those light-up arrow signs in front of vibrantly blue home reads “Beware of Dogs” and lists a phone number under this message.  Should’ve written it down.  “So, I understand you have some pretty scary dogs?”

6:14: Not sure what town we’re in now but it smells like perm.  Ah, it’s Amherst.  Amherst smells like perm.  Lotsa trees n’ trucks.  Must be perm trucks.  Have not seen one home yet in this town.

6:19: Signs of life.  Homes are ramshackle, not quaintly so.  Amherst General Store sign: “ATM, Breakfast, Lunch, Lotto, Dinner”.  People like to tailgate in Amherst. 

6:22: Enter Aurora.  Change CD to “Queen’s Greatest Hits Vol II”.  May have just passed a restaurant called “Wakka’s”.  So that’s where he ended up after helping to defeat Jecht. 

6:28: Unfamiliar late-period Queen songs good accompaniment for nondescript woodland area.  Guitarist in Queen better than I’d realized.  Flawless Fred M. vocals tend to overshadow the other dudes.  “Under Pressure” now comes on.  Never a bad thing to hear.  Excited for the “give ourselves one more chance” part.

6:31: Enter Osborn Plantation.

6:31: Enter Twp 22 and then Twp 28 seconds thereafter.  They better stop pulling this shit, I can’t write that fast.

6:33: This is gonna be a funny trip.

6:34: Somehow we’re back in Twp 22.  The fuck?

6:35: Man, I don’t think I can adequately express my fondness for “Radio Ga Ga”.

6:36 Seriously, I don’t want it to ever end.  Pass horrifically eviscerated porcupine corpse.

6:37: Mutual satisfaction of destination selection expressed.  “Radio goo-goo” makes me chuckle every time he sings it.  Wah: it ended.  “I Want It All” now playing.  Fondly recall a time when this song did not make us think of trucks.  Enter Beddington and with it Washington County. 

6:40: Car clearly not psyched about the hilly terrain.  Car deserves it for the constant problems it has given us ever since we purchased it.  Would hire elephant to do car up ass if I could.  Enter Twp 29.  People do not live here.

6:42: Other people are getting up to go to work while we’re in Twp 29.  Suckers!

6:45: Motorists comfortable passing us over double line.  Annie: “I hate it when people feel the need to double-break the law when I’m not breaking the law fast enough”.  Enter Twp 30.

6:47: Twp 24!  Annie: “These trees are like abstract trucker porn!” (?!?)

6:50: Back in Twp 30 again!  Did they forget they already made this “town”?  Belies distinct lack of savvy in zoning dept.

6:53: Enter Twp 31.  Consecutiveness appreciated.  Bears striking resemblance to Twp 30.  All very Maine-looking.  Trees up the ying-yang. 

6:58: Annie: “This song makes me want to angrily jog in place!” (“Breakthru”)

7:00: “Cloud 9” motel in no way reminiscent of its imagined namesake.  Enter Wesley.  Hyuk yuk.  

7:02: The Wesley “mini-mall” aptly described by wife as “dilapidated crackhouse”.  It really is that bad, I assure you; worse than you’re imagining.

7:04: Kind of a lot of stuff in Wesley.  A big blueberry establishment.  Houses.  Some green dome thing.  Weird towers.  Big pile of rocks.

7:07: Enter Twp-26.  Back to trees.

7:08: Enter Crawford.  Still trees.

7:15: Crawford is huge.  Sign reads “Ducks beware” in front of house.

7:21: Signs seem to indicate we’re in Alexander though no town line sign was noticed.  See two instances of trucks perched atop posts to serve as a sign for a mechanic business.  A “City Cab” passes us.  Seems unlikely.  Informed by wife, apropos of seemingly nothing, that one can pop a lot of trouble with the popomatic bubble.  

7:24: Entering Baileyville, which sign declares is “Village of Woodland”.  Not seeing how that distinguishes it from neighboring towns.  Pass “Nook & Cranny Restaurant”.  Suppose “Animal Crossing” theme too much to hope for.

7:28: Hitchhiker!  Sorry, dude.

7:29: Getting on route one now.  Orkin truck in our way and making left turn unreasonably difficult.  Pass “Holy Moses Heavy Equipment”.  Forgot that fine exclamation existed.  Someone has a “Kerry/Edwards” sign still hanging on their barn.  Word travels slowly out here.

7:32: Woodland Shopping Center pretty depressing but does have a video store called “Video 2000”.  Sounds like my kind of place.  Apparently we’re in Woodland then.  A green metal Quonset hut is evidently an establishment called “Stitch-It with Peggy”.  

7:38: Entering Princeton.  Queen CD over.  Follow late Queen with early Billy Joel but skip “Piano Man” due to no one wanting to hear it.  Too early for harmonica.  Always too early for harmonica.

7:43: Have never actually heard “Captain Jack”.  Did not realize it was about whacking off and picking nose.  No wonder he got Christie Brinkley to go out with him.

7:45: Very weird series of brick homes passed.  “White Keep” spraypainted on deserted trailer.  Odd cozy threat prevalent.  Homes are all perfectly rectangular, even the brick ones.  Pass “Telephone Road”.

7:50: Video game noises in “The Entertainer” hurting brain.  Surprising how many BJ songs I’m unfamilar with.  Associate him primarily with “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.  Probably wasn’t ideal introduction.

7:53: Entering Waite.  Celebrate this by chewing strawberry Bubblicious.  Haven’t chewed bubble gum in awhile.  Jaw immediately fatigued.

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7:57: Enter Talmadge.  Likely would never have known about Talmadge were it not for this trip.  Fairly certain I would have carried on somehow.  Pass unbelievable pile of metallic junk in front of three hollow out school buses.

7:59: Enter Topsfield.  My dad taught school out here.  Pretty desolate.  Lots of siding issues.  Neatly stacked woodpiles though.  I’m guessing Dagget’s General Store is routinely referred to as “Faggot’s”.  Town not completely without charm.  Lots of horses, all of which look like they get a lot of attention groomingwise.  Have seen 2 four-wheelers w/antlers mounted on the front.

8:06: Road starting to look like something out of “Excitetruck”.

8:10: Enter Brookton.  Abnormally friendly graffiti on rock reads “Welcome to Brookton!”

8:12: Sunlight hitting Brookton favorably.  Really pretty.

8:14: Heart attack ack ack ack ack ack.

8:16: Brookton maybe a bit too reliant on forked branches to hold up sagging power lines.

8:17: Entering Danforth.  Dad taught here too.  He never had much good to say about it, though I think it was more the long drive than the town itself or the people in it.  Still I’m sure he would laugh in my face if he knew we drove here on vacation.

8:26: Billy Joel thankfully through singing to us.  Downtown Danforth fairly diverting, so much so that we take wrong turn.  Or did we?  Bewildering layout.  Route designation sketchy at best.  Realize with dismay that I have to piss and shit.

8:30: Atlas consulted since signs nonexistent.  Park by church sign that reads “You Are Already Blessed”; good to know.  Listening to “That Thing You Do!” soundtrack.  Blackflies swarming car all of a sudden.

8:33: Enter Aroostook County.

8:37: Stop briefly at “scenic turnout”.  Scenic = trees.

8:40: Appears we’re in Weston.  Find much better “scenic turnout” and take some dumb pictures.

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8:47: Back in car.  Fart somehow goes undetected by spouse despite smelling like low tide with hint of ham.

8:48: Enter Orient.  Nothing even vaguely Asian about it.  Encounter construction situation.  Flagger instructs us to slow down by performing the opposite of the “raise the roof” dance, otherwise known as the “verify the sturdiness of the flooring” dance.  He’s a natural.  In retrospect it’s hard to see why this means “decrease your speed”, and yet we knew exactly what he was trying to get across. 

9:02: Enter Cary.  Weather getting much nicer.  Farting starting to get problematic.  Weiner keen to expel urine.  Decision not to make water at scenic turn clearly wrongheaded. 

9:06: Enter Hodgdon.

9:09: WHOA!!!  SHOE TREE!!!

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Boy, this is long.  Part two to come!