Unfortunately, the exhaust system weld job we got in New York did not hold up. As we trolled our way through these quaint little seaside towns it sounded like I was riding the fifth horse of the apocalypse—the one that sounds like one of those pickup trucks with a smokestack and flags for a candidate that lost their political bid some time ago. But as I round the corner into one of these towns and everyone’s expecting a cloud of black diesel smoke and some tattered propaganda flags, they get Adie instead. A relief to (statistically) most people. Needless to say it was embarrassing and needed to be fixed.
As luck would have it, Westbrook, Maine, is home to a fairly famous VW garage, cleverly titled The VW Garage. The owner, Cory Sterling, is a bit of a celebrity as well. (Google his name and you’ll see that he’s been on shows and featured in prominent auto magazines.) Even though his parking lot was jammed-packed (apparently he is really well known), he took pity on me. “Maine’s a beautiful state,” he assured me as Miracle and I began to realize we would be waylaid in Portland for a few days. He gave us some pointers on where to go over the longer-than-planned weekend.
Portland, Maine, is fun. It’s nice. Really. It’s fine. But it is crowded, guys. And so incredibly expensive. Parking alone will eat up a day’s worth of budget. Eating will eat up two days worth of budget. So we drank the ciders of Portland and walked the streets. We ate at High Roller Lobster Company and learned that it was more reputation than quality. Had Portland been, let’s say, 50% cheaper, it might have been worth it.
In an effort to contain costs, we headed nearby Freeport—home to LL Bean and its giant statue of a boot. Here’s the thing about Freeport: it’s got better seafood. They have cheaper, better lobster rolls. You still can’t see the ocean without paying a fee like the bulk of New England (you’ll need to continue going northward to see the ocean for free), but it’s still nice.
We stayed at a campground about 35 minutes out of town. (Again, everything closer was quite pricey.) The campground was a state park campground called Bradbury Mountain (take every opportunity to fund state parks, folks; they are some of the best accessible lands where you live and the camping is still affordable.) The trails were magnificent and the shower house was cleaner than most hotel room showers. Add in that the campground is down the street from a fabulous little cider called Portersfield Cidery—and it was a perfect place to stay.
We had a chance to talk to David, the proprietor of the cidery and he was great. He told us how he only does small batches of foraged apples and doesn’t add any sugars. These are traditional ciders that taste like their ingredients. I ended up buying his book, Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter. When I read it in the coming weeks, I’ll post my review.
After the weekend of hiking and seafood eating and cider drinking, we got Adie to The VW Garage where Cory’s friend, Bill, did a top notch weld job to get us through this leg of our journey. (And, stay tuned folks because we got both Bill and Cory to do an interview with us. That should be coming in Season Four.)