October 01, 2003

The Kank

Today saw us driving back across Maine and into central New Hampshire.

We started at Bucksport on highway 1 west, then 3 then I-495 at Augusta and wiggled about west of Lewiston (202 to 122 to 26 to 11 to 302 into Conway), then 112, which is the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain National Forest. From there we took I-93 south to Plymouth, NH.

Frankly it's all a blur.

I know that we saw some fine forested coastal areas in Eastern Maine.

I recall Becky marvelling over the innovation at the paper mill that keeps it from being at all smelly such that you'd never guess there was a paper mill there.

We stopped at one antique tool store in Maine that was sadly only open Thursday through Sunday, and another that was open and having a sale, but didn't offer up anything I couldn't live without.

We drove back and forth and back and forth through the town of Conway looking for a place that wanted us to eat there, and miraculously ended up in probably the most convivial place we could have. The Chinook Cafe is named not for the Northwest Indian tribe of that name or the salmon species named for the indians, but instead for Chinook the dog who belonged to Admiral Byrd. This dog was brought to their attention due to the fact that some highway in New Hampshire is named after the dog. Or something like that. This is all from Becky's sketchy, low blood sugar recollection of the story on the menu. In any event, the cafe is a place with unique natural food and an extensive tea and coffee menu. Their molasses ginger and oatmeal raisin cookies are world class. On the minus side, they have established to Becky's satisfaction that a shot of espresso introduced to a quantity of steamed chocolate milk is not a mocha.

They had a poster for an upcoming performance in the area by David Wilcox. We saw Wilcox at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle this summer as the opener for Suzanne Vega, and while that was decidedly not the ideal venue for his performance style, it was enough to show us that we'd like to see him in a more intimate setting. But anyway, the poster pointed out that the show was co-sponsored by the Chinook Cafe and the local radio station, WMWV whose signal we invited into our vehicle with considerable enjoyment as we departed on the next leg of the day's journey.

Conway is the gateway to the Kancamagus Highway (referred to as "The Kank" by locals if the woman who told us that is to be believed ;-) which runs through the White Mountain National Forest. It is a notorious locale for observing "the foliage", and, indeed, many "leaf peepers" were in evidence. Unfortunately it seemed like "the peak" has not yet occurred, so while there are quite a lot of trees with bright reds and oranges and yellows, the overall effect on distant hillsides is more subdued than the endless postcards and posters lead one to expect. Color along the KancamagusBut as I've said before and will undoubtedly say again, we didn't come for the color, but for the experience of areas we've not seen before. The Kank is a beautiful drive regardless of the color of the leaves. It parallels a mountain river that rushes over granite boulders between wooded banks. There are many camp grounds, hiking trails, and viewing points along the way. We stopped to hike a quarter mile through light rain showers to Sabbaday Falls (named for its discoverers' habit of returning to visit on the Sabbath). We tried to take a picture of the two of us kissing in front of these falls as requested by Becky's sister Rachel, but as they were not especially wide or tall in extent, and as my arms are not long enough to hold the camera far enough away to keep our heads from completely filling the frame, our success was limited.

kiss picture attempt #1 kiss picture attempt #2 kiss picture attempt #3 kiss picture attempt #4

Plymouth, New Hampshire is the home of the aptly named Plymouth State University, a fact we became aware of when we found ourselves driving through the campus on our nightly rambling search for suitable lodging. The campus looks agreeable, and they're playing host to a show by David Sedaris, one of the funniest people alive, on Saturday.

We're in a cottage at the Pilgrim Inn and Cottages, and once again are without a phone. (Last night's place had phones but also had dire warnings about the phone system being incompatible with use by computers with modems.) I am now so far behind on posting these missives to the blog that I will never die.

Posted by jeffy at October 1, 2003 09:35 PM

Hm. A worthy effort, but I'm not entirely sure that she's kissing you and not Kevin Smith.

Posted by: Rachel at October 4, 2003 07:46 PM
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