9/23/00 - Getting to Deer Isle, Maine
Finally on the road by noon, winding my way up US 1, at times a two lane highway, at other times a crooked line through a picturesque town. Finally seeing prettier views of Maine - trees, cliffs, rocks, lakes, rivers, bays, ocean. Listening to music I could sing along to like Rosie Vela, Til Tuesday and Tori Amos.
Pulled off US 1 at East Orland to fix a quick lunch for me and the Berts (my nickname for the two chihuahuas, my constant companions). Arrived in Deer Isle after crossing the high arch of the Eggemoggin Bridge, snaking the gentle curves of a narrow road across water lined with large, white stones, and making a right into and through town in a blink of an eye.
Aunt Bunzy's house was a moment out of downtown Deer Isle, set back from the road with a long gravel drive. The house itself is gray with a reddish converted barn attached. She leaves the door unlocked and told me to go in and make myself at home as she was at a wedding that afternoon.
I layed some towels out on her sofas and the Berts, and they sat attentively, watching, listening. The living room where we sat had a big picture window overlooking the front yard, and it was filled with things: cermaic pots, jars, tea kettles, paintings, ceramic vases, figurines, plants, glass, stone, books, buckets, bronze statuettes, embroidered pillows, patterend rugs, newspapers, magazines in piles, wood, and a wood burning stove.
Bunzy came by the house and picked me up, taking me to the Haystack Academy, a crafts school where the wedding was taking place. She introduced me around as her "great-neice," and then we had a glass of champagne and danced.
The Start of Coincidences
One of the women I met, when I told her what I was doing (cross country drive with the two Chihuahuas), immediately said "Ah, 'Travels With Charley.'" Well, she was not the first person to mention 'Travels With Charley' which I had gathered was a book about a cross country drive.
"Not just any cross country drive," she explained, "It was written by John Steinbeck about his cross country drive with his dog." Then she told me something that was quite interesting. "He started his trip right here, in Deer Isle. In fact, the neice of the woman whose house he stayed out is..." and she proceeded to tell Bunzy the woman's name, and Bunzy knew her. It was decided that before I leave, I would have to see the house and here the whole story.
Back at the house, after a speedy, nighttime drive through the pitch black roads of Deer Isle, the Berts and I settled into the converted barn on a futon sofabed. It had been a long day.