My workbench

My workbench

Friday, October 30, 2009


Playing around with different ways to post pictures...

Hanging out in Portland (the second time), I had the fortune to again stay with Steph.  Monument square, just down the street from her apartment, had this awesome jack-o-lantern festival thing going on.  It was pretty sweet!

This is the typical view of a hitch-hiker.  While catching a lift with the aformentioned Quebecois dude, I snapped this photo to play around with depth-of-field shots.

When I get more pics uploaded, and permission to post them from friends, I'll post some more

Sunrise over Cambridge

CanadaTrip 264
Originally uploaded by llipschutz
Just, y'know, playing with posting pictures and whatnot.

From Portland to...Meat Cove. Now with extra backpost-y goodness!

Now with bonus material after the break: The Missing Latvia file... (Click "Read More")

Hitching out of Portland was a piece of cake: I took the #7 bus to Falmouth, asked somewhere where the 295 onramp Northbound was, and walked over there. No sooner had I stuck out my thumb than a BIG GMC 2500 pulled over, and I was beckoned in. The driver, Kris, had hitch-hiked when he was growing up in northern Maine, as had his son over the more recent years occasionally. He thought it was complete nonsense that someone would be reasonably afraid of a hitch-hiker; furthermore, as a Mason, he felt obligated to help out his fellow man (I WISH more people thought that way), and gave me a ride halfway to my destination! He's held all sorts of jobs, and even took a slight detour so that I could grab some photos of the gorgeous Maine Coast.

Kris dropped me near Belfast, Maine, where I camped for the night under some very light rain, enjoying the feeling of being back on the road. I would have continued to hitch, but the light was fading fast, and I had a good campsite already with a nearby 24h truckstop (running water, toilet, food if necessary). I was in no hurry, and drifted off to sleep easily.

The next two days saw me hitch a number of rides north to Calais, Maine, where I crossed the border with some suspicion, slept for a night on a root, and in the morning hitched all the way to Antigonish. I hung out there for a day with Viera, staying for one night with a creepy acquaintance of Viera's, and afterward (I was not terribly thrilled with the experience), headed north for some scenery and enjoyment.

Hitching up to Cape Bretton and the Cabot Trail ( was a breeze, one single ride got me over the causeway. Two lifts later got me up to Cheticamp, where I had a quick hot cocoa and sat for a while to enjoy the blowing wind and rocky inland-facing coast. One LONG walk out of town lead me to a small grocery store approximately a kilometer from the entrance to the National Park. After perhaps a half hour of hitching, a young Quebecois dude picked me up and offered a lift. He had a military ruck in the back, and looked like he was in training. As it turned out, my driver friend was attending the Canadian Naval Academy in nearby Sydney, the 'capital' of Cape Bretton.

With my new Quebecois friend, I took a trip for a full 24 hours circling from Cheticamp up to Meat Cove (where we camped for a night), and back down to Cape Ann. Camping at Meat Cove was a HORRIBLE idea, mostly due to the wind, and compounded by the rain and snow which hit our unprotected selves. I managed to survive the night by thinking about the warm, warm sun which would break in the morning and remember that as wet and miserable as I might have felt, I was warm, and therefore the worst that I'd become would be sleep deprived. Eventually I was able to drift off to sleep, occasionally waking due to cold feet, repositioning myself, and returning to sleep.

The second half of the trip will be added with an update

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pictures from the road

NEVER a good sign to see while hitch-hiking...

a frost-covered flower, indication that it's time to head south.

not a bad way to end the day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Portland, Maine: What a wonderful town.

I write this sitting on the #7 bus from downtown Portland to 295 north. My first destination will be Bath, where I will pick up Route 1 for the rest of my journey.

Candi dropped the fourt of us off before rushing to work, a small of joy forming at the corner of her eye as we hugged goodbye. I took a quick picture, and we headed off. My memory of the area was a bit fuzzy, revealed to us when we were greeted not two minutes into our hike by a homebum and his dog on a bike. We explained that we had just dropped in to town, and he gave us a good bit of info on locations, a thrift store, offered his yard for camping, and gave us the atmosphere of the town. He also suggested an alternative route to downtown, as apparently walking the way I had suggested could have proven hazardous. We proceeded down Warren Ave, talking and joking with spirits high and full of optimism about the town. A quick stop at a thrift store netted Andy a new pair of Old Man Shoes, which while not a permanent solution, would certainly help to replace his badly worn and hole-y sneakers.
Walking past a gas station on Forest Ave, we were approached by a woman mentioning 'I think you might be part of my tribe.' She was quite friendly, and though not headed towards downtown, she gave us a lift for the remaining four miles directly to monument square. W didn't have quite enough space, so Andy ended up on my lap. Along the way, we were informed of the [only] local punk house, a few good places to get veggie/vegan food, some local thrift stores, and again given a feel of how portland folks may treat a few travelers. Eva (our lift) even told us about an anarcho-punk circus, which while appealing, won't happen until thursday night. She also invited us to camp at her house in progress, asking half-heartedly if we might be interested in helping she and her partner do some work, as they are building it themselves. I may keep in touch, as I will be returning to the area and it sounds interesting.
The four of us got dropped off at monument square in downtown Portland. I used Andy's phone to call Steph, my and Andy's couchsurfing host. I hoped to also ask if our other two travel partners could crash. A small energrtic Steph approached, gave us her keys, consented to the extra company, and hurried back to work. We spent a few hours cleaning up, unpacking, and exploring the old port for the afternoon. We ended up at Sebago brewhouse for some snacks and beer, leaving just in time to grab Steph (having just finished work) and head to a bar for a couchsurfing meetup.
The CS meetup started with the five of us meeting one other CS dude and ordering beers and some grub, ending with sixteen people and bluegrass music live from ten feet away. Steph and I returned to her place while Andy, accompanied by Adam and Jess, walked down to the old port to meet a friend. We went to sleep before they got home, but had some pretty awesome chats before that. Did I mention that Stephanie is an ECE (electrical/computer engineer)? She's a whole lot of fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Maine Primitive Gathering

The MPSS gathering was awesome. I walked from Wells up to the gathering, a short six mile hike out of town to a beautiful old farm. After registering and setting up my sleep area, I walked over and observed a guy skinning a fox which had been roadkill a few hours before. I walked over to the 'fire buddah' and learned how to make and use an Inuit strap drill, which I am now carrying around, y'know, just in case. I watched and learned a bit about flintknapping, starting with a piece of obsidian in my hand, leaving a nice little cut. That stuff is SHARP. My buddy Andy had shown up while I was working on the strap drill, and had introduced me to Other Andy, a friend of...Andrew's (of Florida). Too many Andys! I helped Other Andy rig his tarp.and we all hung out around the pit fire for the rest of the night, talking, swapping info, meeting new folks, etc.
Around 5am the rain started, and continued on and off all day. Despite this, my gear stayed mostly dry. I ate some communal breakfast, and spent Saturday 'networking', meeting friends, getting ideas, swapping stories.and learning. I picked up info on blacksmithing, edible foods, lactofermentation, trading, more flintknapping, how to build a hot propane forge, and a few other interesting skills. I also watched Bob butcher the alarm clock (whom I named Stew), a rooster which had been brought for that occasion. Stew was a good...chicken. And an even better Stew. There wa a potluck Saturday night, with some truly amazing meats (moose, elk, fox) as well as some spectacular food cooked over a fire. More hanging out around the fire, and I called in early, unable to find my flashlight or groundcloth. Naturally, I now have a leak in my Thermarest, but will be heading to EMS to get a patch.
Sunday saw the rain dissapear, and a mostly cloudy day turn to sun. Tomahawks, axes, knives, and the occasional child (kidding) were thrown at wooden targets, while I learned a lot more about flintknapping and cordage making. I helped out with a bit of the cleanup while grazing for hours on home made yoghurt, dumpstered sweet cake, fire cooked bacon, and other small nibble-able snacks.
Too soon came the closing circle. I picked up some good info about an Odwalla depot and a chocolate factory in RI, along with some open invites from folks to visit wherever. Everyone was super receptive to my method of travel, especially mixing technology, primitive skills, and sharing (hitching and couchsurfing). I c n't wait to return. I was also given some info on schools and possible apprentuce opportunities, which could be appealing when I want to learn and settle down a bit.
The four of us 'dirty travelers' (andy, myself, as well as adam and his girlfriend jess) were offered rides to portland the following morning (monday), with an offer to camp in Candi and Marks yard. Jess and Adam are travelling musicians, like Andy out on their first trip (adam has apparently traveled for a bit) and had fun entertraining the three children with music. Candi, Mark, Andy and I had a great disscussion on everything from politics to people, while we scarfed down pizza (perfect after a few days of camping). Mark showed me how to work a drystone, getting my knife razor sharp in the process. The following morning, among Numerous Thanks and apreciation, we got a lift to Portland, Maine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Wells, Maine.

I spent the day in Wells, walking around and waiting for the library to open (naturally, ONLY on Thirsdays, it opened late at 1pm). After seeing the poster for the New Hampshire Brew Festival, I had the inclination to call George and see if he wanted to meet me there on Saturday (Portsmouth). Well, initial plans fell art due to a prior comittment of his; fortunately, the MAINE Brew festival is going to be on the first week of November in Portland. I am going to see if I can perhaps get a small crew (mixing friends, family, and CS) together to enjoy the brews. I need to start making phoe calls (and posts) soon.

Otherwise, it got down to 43 or ao last night.right at the limit of my Switch bag. Without a pad under me, without thermals, I was on the very edge of discomfort. So, I'm pretty confident in my gear, as the flip side is rated to 25 degrees and I've got lots of other warm gear. Now, if someone could simply turn off the rain which is expwcted for next week...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Made it to Maine

Dad dropped me in some little town in western Mass, and my journey began. I walked slowly up RT 13, heading north towards Nashua, NH. The sun was out, with a slight chill in the air even for 9 in the morning. I walked perhaps a mile before my first ride pulled over. A VERY large guy, 380lbs at perhaps 6'5", sat in the drivers seat. "Where yah headed," he asked in that all-too-familiar NH accent. I told him that I was heading to Maine, but was trying to get up to Nashua or RT 3 for the moment. A many do, he told me that I was not on the right road to get picked up (...?), and gave me a lift slightly out of his way to RT 3. He was a fascinating guy, having recently switxhed professions from dealing pot to being a sculptor (he had been busted). He gave me the leftovers from his breakfast, half (cut) of a spinach omlette wrap and home fries. H smiled as we parted ways, saying that he would have given me a lift up to Maine, but he had to go to work.
After breakfast and some sign making, and perhaps a 45 minute wait, I caught a lift with an amateur photographer to downtown Manchester. We discussed the death of the profession of photography due to digital cameras, while acknowledging their usefullness in the field. After a stint at the library, I headed to RT 93, where I quickly picked up a lift with a Mauritanian guy studying at UNH Durham. W had a great chat on society and the differences between those whom have everything and yet cannot be happy (western culture), and poorer 3rd world nations where people have less, but almost always seem happier. Why is this?
I walked from UNH to RT4, briefly thinking about hitching north to North Conway, but kept on my original course. Quickly again I was picked up, this time by a farmer/traveler on his way home and to do errands. He bought me a beer when he stopped for a 6pack (dogfish head Midas Touch), and gave me a ride to Berwick, 15miles from wells at the Maine border. Unfortunately, I left my hat in his truck, but he expressed an interest in the primitive skills gathering, so I may yet get the hat back...
My final ride for the evening dropped me smack in 'downtown' wells, where I had some DQ for celebration and wandered off to camp.