Delivering T.S. Ferry

Portland, Maine to Larchmont, New York, August 2002

Saturday, August 17

8:15 a.m.

Paul and I meet in the Larchmont YC parking lot, where Paul parks his car and transfers his luggage into mine. I drive us the rest of the way to Lewis’s house in Norwalk. Lewis has Roger’s black Mercedes stationwagon ready to load in his driveway. We pile in our luggage and the food and drinks that I brought, then go through the process of getting on the road. Little Andrew wants to adopt Fish, whose tucked into my backpack for the trip. Lewis is finally torn away when Gay packs the kids into the car to take them to the pool. We’re on the road around 9:30 a.m.

The drive goes very fast up the Merritt to the Wilburcross, to 91, and onward on a diagonal across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and into Maine. We encounter very few traffic clogs. I study the car manual looking for the location of the gas cap. The inch-thick booklet does not include this seemingly basic piece of information. The car has buttons for everything — built-in cell phone, emergency service, cup holders, seat heaters. We look for a button on the dashboard to press to have a tanker come along side and fuel us up — apparently we aren’t supposed to have to stop at a gas station.

12:30 p.m.

Our first stop is at the New Hampshire border liquor store. We buy rum. About 30 minutes later traffic starts to clog up and we swing off the highway for lunch at a Burger King in a land of outlets.

T.S. Ferry's route from Rockland, Maine to
Larchmont, New York.

4:00 p.m.

We swing off the highway again for a stop in Freeport, Maine. We powershop at L.L. Bean, each carrying one of Paul’s "family" radios. "Great," I say, "we get to be those annoying people with the radios in the store. I hate those people."

6:00 p.m.

Our last stop is at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine (http://www.hollyeats.com/Reds.htm or http://wiscassetnewspaper.maine.com/1999-05-20/red_s_eats.html) . Paul had read reviews of this roadside food stand in the New York Times, among other publications. It’s a small, red building on a corner with a line of hungry patrons outside the service window and a few plastic tables and chairs behind it. Inside, two women work at a frenzied pace to fill orders for fish sandwiches, fried clams, French fries, lobster rolls, and crab rolls. Lewis and I order the "combo" roll: crab on the bottom and lobster on top in a split-top hotdog roll with a side of drawn butter. For $14.

7:30 p.m.

We roll into Rockland, Maine. We’re just about to turn on to the main drag when Lewis’s "family" radio burbles to life. It’s Roger. As he describes his location I see him standing on the next corner as Lewis makes a left turn. We circle around and meet him and the family outside the restaurant where they’ve just finished dinner.

Loading our luggage and provisions takes several dinghy rides. T.S. Ferry is on a mooring in the middle of Rockland’s large harbor. The dinghy docks are tucked in among industrial and commercial facilities. It isn’t very "yachty," but it is intensely real — in this land people make their living from the sea, they don’t just play in it.

Brandy, the King’s 5-month old retriever puppy is on board T.S. Ferry. Christine, Sara, and Julia have moved into the Navigator Inn on shore, but Brandy is not welcome there. I enjoy playing with her, even though she repeatedly steals my lip protector. She’s "paper trained" after a fashion — she uses the bow of the boat. Paul undertakes to deal with this upon our arrival. He had asked young Julia about it, and she’d said it was simple, let daddy take care of it. He opts for using a plastic bag to move the stuff overboard, then rinsing with salt water. Paul, Lewis, and I settle in on the boat and Roger joins us for the night.

Red's Eats -- the best lobster rolls in Maine.

Roger and Brandy wind down for the evening.

Copyright 2002 Mia's Mar Vista News. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction by permission only.