You Cant’ Get There From Here

Here in Maine, it is of no surprise to anyone, that we have a lot of un-adventured land to see. It is also no secret that you learn to go home on a full tank of gas and a bag full of groceries… because once you are there, you are not want to go to the closest general store that just happens to be 45 minutes away when you realize you ran out of milk and the store closes in 15 minutes sending you another 30 minutes past your initial idea of a destination. . That’s really the problem with most of Maine. Its hours from one town to the next in places. You might drive literal hours and never see another single car. Now granted, don’t get me wrong, we have cities just like you. Stores upon stores, and people upon people, but its not the “norm” . You have your big cities like Portland, Kittery, Bangor and for the summer months you have Bar Harbor. But Maine is a big place, full of a shit ton of smaller cities. Cities that I still find I have never heard of. Anyways I am getting off track a bit, but we have this saying… “You can’t get there from here.” Albeit it would be said something more like “yaaa caaant get theeeyaaaahhhh from heeeaaahhhhh bub.” So back to me getting off track….

I come from a place we call “The County”. To give you an idea…. a tractor on the road is as common as a horse… EVERYONE and I literally mean every single person waves to every single other person. With no exaggeration, once I was driving to my grandparents house and randomly happened to catch, out of the corner of my eye, a guy down in his driveway by the wood pile waving as I drove by. Well at least I think it was a guy, but I have been two years figuring out how in the hell he even heard me coming as he must have been a good 1/8th mile away from the main road. That is literally, how the people are. That being said… when your closest neighbor is a half hour drive away… maybe you learn to appreciate a little company. Even if it is going by at 60 mph. Whats that saying? “Roads? Where we are going we don’t need roads!”. Well, whoever said that is an idiot and has never been to where I come from. Because if you don’t have roads… well…. YOU CANT GET THERE FROM HERE! The point is… we are pretty secluded.

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Now you have an idea of our country, I will give you an idea of the “roads”. They suck. They are absolute shit. They are filled with pot holes, frost heaves, and narrow shoulders. They lack guard rails, sidewalks and street lights. They are dust covered, missing lines, and the gps does not pick them up. As a matter of fact, in my current town in coastal Maine, they do road maintenance every two years. Less filling the one and a half foot deep pot hole now and again. This year, they painted the lines. On my drive home, I almost went off the road while using the lines as a guide because the people who painted them decided to paint around the wash out …. Here is this beautiful straight line and all of a sudden it jumps towards the center of the road almost 3 feet to go around the part of the road that had gone missing in a rain storm over the year. Its ridiculous really but we learn to love it. Granted we set aside a mortgage for wheel barrings, alignments and blown tires, but we love it.

Why do we love it? Because when you tourists come up, you wont be able to get there (where we are) from here (where you are). And if you think you can, we will whole heartedyly enjoy watching you while you are running your $100k Lexus up and over a rock pile, through a culvert, while trying to fit all of its 6 feet of width down a 4′ trail that grew in through spring. Oh did i mention, after all that…. we just came out here to pick some blueberries real fast, but the real road is another 49 miles in, all of the same terrain? Maine is not for the pretentious. If you are standing out on a back woods road needing help changing a tire…. I have a tip for you…. light the car on fire to stay warm, nobody has been down that road in 25 years. If they had, they blew by you in a drunken oblivion at 50 mph and although they waved, they were not aware enough to see you needed help. Hey, look at the bright sides though… at least your warm and you can keep the mosquitoes off while your plush upholstery burns.

So what am I getting at ? You know when you walk out in to the woods, get turned around a bit, and all of a sudden everything looks the same? Well that’s the same feeling you get when you pull into many of the cities in Maine. Road signs? hahaha you ┬ámean fire routes! The numbers designated to specific plots of land and certain routes. Most of them unattended dirt. They are numbered not named. Try driving down a main road at forty miles and hour trying to read the sign that instead of “Such and Such Drive”, it says “FR-165048961”. Oh and the next one doesnt end in a two… it is its own number likely. Basically, Maine is a super huge grid of trees, backcountry, dirt roads, free flowing water and the occasional signs of civilization. “You can’t get there from here” is a way of saying… “you’re going to have to go around.” or “sorry roads don’t go there” or it might even mean… “get ya shit kickers on bub, cause you gonna have to do some trekkin if you wanna get over there…and yous aint’ gon’ like it.” Point is… the roads go in their own direction… the city grid is unorthodox version of a cats cradle move. All the road signs that have “intriguing” names have been stolen. You might have to get to the house you see from your car, by going around to the next town a half hour over just to pass the river or a wash out. Its ridiculous really, but again we love it. So when you come to Maine… just know…that in fact… you might to be able to “get theyah from heyah”.