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Friday, August 12, 2011

Fringeville Edition #22, August 12 2011

Vacation, Day Two:
The GPS doesn't lie. It just doesn't tell the whole truth. I'll get to that shortly, but first...

For our second day in Maine, we went on a day trip in the trusty Dodge Neon. We were looking for moose. Our first stop was at Coos Canyon. Lots of rushing water, but no Bullwinkle.

Mooseless swimming hole

Next stop on the Bullwinkle-spotting mission was high up on the mountain overlooking the lake near Rangeley, Maine. We spotted a wild dog, but no Bullwinkle. The scenery was breathtaking (and I'm sorry I'm a crappy photographer, a sin made all the worse by my pictures being taken by my phone).

Not even a moose-pie to be found

Up to this point, we'd pretty much kept to the directions we had for the driving tour. But we realized there wasn't time to finish the whole drive, and we still hadn't seen a moose.

I had a brainstorm.

"Hey, how about we go back a different way? I'll find an alternate route in the GPS."

The plan got a thumbs-up from my wife and daugher. Off we went looking for "Crosstown Road", which promised to cut across the countryside through sparsely inhabited country.

We left asphalt and started down a dirt road bordering a lake. Crosstown Road was just a short drive further, and it was yet another dirt road. We took the turn.

The road was a little rough. There were ruts and rocks that we had to dodge. After several bone-and-kidney-jarring minutes, the missus asked: "How much longer are we on this *&^% road?"

"GPS says another 6.5 miles. Hopefully it doesn't get worse than this."

In the woods nearby, the moose were snickering.

The road, as it turns out, is a logging road. After we nudged the Neon up a difficult hill, wheels spinning in loose gravel, I realized we were committed. I'd been lucky to get up the hill. I didn't want to try going back down.

It took an hour to creep all the way down Crosstown Road. There were holes and ruts. There was an area where half the road was washed away. There were makeshift bridges, one consisting of parallel slabs of concrete that were almost too far apart for the Neon's wheelbase.

I had white knuckles most of the time. My heart was pounding. One wrong move, and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, surrounded, no doubt, by herds of moose enjoying our misadventure. Sure, we could get help. But we'd need a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter to get the Neon out.

Finally ...miraculously ...we found ourselves back on paved road. We passed the same wild dog. He'd made his way nearly 2 miles west since we'd last seen him. But no moose (or evidence of moose, unless I count the moose antlers I saw on occasional mailboxes).

The GPS lesson? Absolutely accurate. But it needs a feature that flashes logging roads bright red, and a voice that says: "Don't be an idiot, Jimbo."  A number for the local Skycrane operator would be a plus, too.

Here we come, nimrod...
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