Another early morning and with nothing left to do at camp we were gone before 5:30 am and facing another cloudy morning. Breakfast is at the border at this little known place called ‘the back of the car cooler with sandwich supplies in it’. Now we are feeling excited – a new province and a language we don’t speak; though we are having luck guessing the directions est and ouest and the common sign sortie that lead to off-ramps.
We were bienvenue’d through Ottawa and through most of Montreal. We would’ve missed it had it not been for the near empty gas tank. We stopped in Brossard on the east side of the St Lawrence River. Caleb recognized the shaped street lights from the YouTube show Epic Meal Time and was thrilled. Then we get our chance to share a conversation with someone – a gas station attendant. Luckily I knew the routine – pump then pay or come inside, show your card or leave it with the attendant, pump gas, then return inside for card – because the exchange was hilarious.
Caleb walks up, “I need gas.” And the lady replies, “French only, but perhaps I know English. Ha ha.” And I start laughing. I can’t contain myself. Caleb says something else just to check her response and she squeezes her hand together like pumping gas. I told Caleb to go. Then we watched him pump gas. She might’ve been able to read English because she wanted me to write something on receipt paper, but I wasn’t able to understand.
Caleb wanted to give the poor lady a hard time (not to her face) but for not knowing English when she lives less than an hour from the States. I told him it’s just like us living five minutes away from Mexico and not fully understanding the full Spanish language yet; though it is easier to read and write than to speak. We see a large store across the parking lot that reminds us of REI. This one is called SAIL. I’m anxious to get inside and meet more of the locals and Caleb says we need to shop – so over we go to wait for them to open.
While doing so I admire their store hours and think about how close the French words for the days of the week, ending in di, resemble the Spanish words for the same, ending in es. We look at a tiny basket that has been left outside and think of the fun and pain we could have standing in it, but I’m just as quickly distracted by the beautiful flowers they have growing near the building. The doors open and I am all smiles. The store is four times the size of the outdoor outfitters we have.
There are mostly sleeping mats, sleeping bags, hiking bags, coats and tights, kayaks, fishing poles, and shoes. There were plenty of people working there to help us bilingually – it just flows from their mouth so naturally – damn cheap public American schools. We have no problems checking out and are soon back to enjoying road signs – a car and a tractor colliding, a car sign and a deer sign colliding, a man strutting sign, and the most confusing of all but most honest – what looks to be a beaten child left for dead with the words ‘attention and infant’; it means if you don’t slow down you will kill a child.
Amongst all the signs we pass one worth stopping for – Parc national de la Yamaska, with a no sign for shooting and picking up turtles. Something else they should add to that sign is their no pet on park grounds, in vehicle or not, policy. We try another park and they turn us away too. And to cheer us up we buy pickled cheese noodles from a local farmer that sells random things in a roadside shack. Yum. And we are just in time for crossing back into the States at the Coburn Gore border inspection station.
We forgot the stamp coming in so I don’t want to forget it leaving. The inspection officer lady makes fun of us, in kindness, and I’m happy to have my second cancellation. Now to drive across the state, skip Bangor now so I can bang him later, and get to Acadia National Park to the Seawall Campground at the south end of Mt Desert Island. We see an American flag on every other power-line pole near Eustis, but that doesn’t help with the language barrier – though mine was a sign error. I walked into a bank thinking it was a visitor center with a toilette, but was able to find one at the grocery store down the road.
We stopped in Kingfield for the simple Main St. and stayed to look at the Herbert Grand Hotel, the colorful buildings across the street, and the old church across town. We reach the island before 6:00 pm and are lucky enough to get a spot in the woods for $14 – Loop D, site 61 by 6:30 pm. We are glad to have made it this year as a walk in because next season will be reservation only. We head just out of the campgrounds looking at Cranberry Isles to the east and the sunset to the west.
Back at camp I heat up some soup while Caleb sets up the tent. The ranger told us earlier that due to our distance from Cadillac Mountain, the one lots of people visit annually to watch the sunrise at 1,531 feet (the highest point on the east coast), that we should leave camp at 4:30 am to get to the top in time with all the traffic expected. Even so, I wanted to enjoy the rest of the evening. We went to the parking lot, a better view, to watch the moon and stars – romantic and educational – Caleb had a telescope as a child with a sky map.