8th May 2008 – Rutland, VT to Lewiston, ME

Beautiful Maine Countryside Photo

We left Rutland and Vermont behind us the next morning and drove briefly through New Hampshire and then into Maine (our fourth and fifth states respectively) and headed towards a place called Lewiston.

Since we had passed through New Hampshire but were not going to be staying there, here’s a little information about the Granite State, so that it doesn’t feel left out:

It is one of the smallest states in America (the fifth smallest to be precise) and has a population of around 1.3 million. It was named after Hampshire in England and the first potato ever planted in America was planted there. That really does just about cover it.

We passed through some lovely scenery along the way: forests, rivers and mountains. All good stuff unless you’re into heavy industry like me. We stopped at the Old Cog Railroad, which winds up to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest point in New England.

It was the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway and was built by a guy called Sylvester Marsh, who came up with the bright idea whilst hiking up the mountain. Presumably he thought that climbing on foot was too much like hard work. It’s that old American chestnut of not wanting to make any physical effort unless there is a burger as a reward. Now, old Sylvester wasn’t stupid. He knew that there wasn’t a burger waiting for him at the top, so he got the railway built so that he could take his burger up with him next time.

Anyway, it was something we were both looking forward to riding on. Shame then, that the bloody thing wasn’t running when we arrived. We did manage to get some nice views from the bottom, but I’m guessing the views from the top would have been better.

It had been another long day of driving, but good things come to those who wait and we arrived in Lewiston and managed to book a room in a Motel 6. Even better, the guy on reception looked like a 14 year old girl and had an awesome wispy bum-fluff moustache. He was called Derek and was definitely the kind of kid who would have no hesitation in shooting up a school. Man, what a guy!

Lewiston is the second largest city in the state of Maine. That’s not saying a whole lot though because only about 35,000 people live there. It’s located in south-central Maine between the state capital, Augusta, and the state’s biggest city, Portland. With that in mind, we thought it would be rude not to go out and find what Lewiston had to offer.

Conveniently, we found a bar right next door to the motel, and asked the barmaid where we could find a good place to drink, which automatically and correctly implied that we didn’t like her bar and would rather be somewhere else. She told us there were two places in town: Grid Iron and Fast Breaks, both of which were about “2 miles away” and “definitely not walk-able”.

So we called a cab and while we waited, we decided that the barmaid was the very, very best that a munter can look, without actually being remotely attractive. Our cab arrived and we jumped in. About one minute later, the hillbilly driver pulled to a stop. Initially we thought there must have been a problem. We assumed that perhaps he’d run out of tobacco to chew, but nope, we had actually arrived at our destination, and just to prove the point he charged us 8 bucks!

As usual, we played lots of pool and drank a load of beer. It was a real redneck joint full of overweight men and ugly white-trash women talking about guns, pigs and Bud, so we felt pretty comfortable there.

We also spotted our favourite arcade game in the bar – Big Buck Dear Hunter – seemingly the most popular game around these parts. When the locals aren’t out in the woods shooting real animals, they are doing it virtually instead.

I got ID’d for the fourth time on the trip, which was starting to get rather annoying by this point. Mass also got ID’d for the first time, which helped ease the humiliation a little.

At the end of the night, we bit the bullet and walked the “unwalkable” journey back to the motel. 7 minutes and half a mile later, we were back.

Mark Jackman is one half of the Jackman Brothers, who have written a trilogy of humour books set in the fictional town of Old Liston. He has also written a number of travel diaries, including the Mass and Peahead series about his road trips through America with his buddy Mass.