Monday, August 3, 2009

We Concerted

Or rather, we went to a concert. Not any concert, though. A free, friendly, LL Bean sponsored, outdoors-on-the-most-gorgeous-day-ever, Blues Traveller concert.
Along with a few thousand other people.
We arrived at Freedom Park, in the center of the LL Bean smoke-free campus to discover that people had been staking out places to sit since Wednesday. We happened to arrive just after a set of bleachers had been opened up right next to the park, so we left a couple tee-shirts and wound up with a great view.

Chairs were neatly arranged and left for days with no fear that any would be stolen or moved.

Because this was BLUES TRAVELLER, a giant video screen, chairs and additional bleachers were also set up in the parking lot just behind the park.

Check out the imaginative housing for the video projector (it's a dog crate). A fellow MacGyver in our midst.

Here's what it looked like around 6pm as many people were coming to claim their seats or look for places to stand.

Bean's even decorated the trees and provided a lovely sunset.

The opening act was really good, and the headliners were fantastic. They gave a real show, too, not a take-what-you-get-it's-free show. Here's the big guy blowing away on that harmonica. He threw at least four of them into the crowd by the end of the night.

And here's what it looked like less than 24 hours later from the retail store looking across toward where we sat.

Concert? What concert?

We Shopped

This is what our debit transaction list looked like for August 1st and 2nd:





Mexicalli Blues



We like Bean's. We love Beans bargains!

We Biked

Someone gave us a bike carrier years ago that we'd never used and one of us had the bright idea to actually strap it on the car and load up the bikes and ride into Freeport from our campsite to further enhance our weekend experience.

It sounded great in theory until I started thinking about how un-athletic I am and until Alan actually tried to mount the rack on the van. One of the clips was missing and, after vainly checking every store we could think of that might have the right sort of thing, Alan was at a loss and we briefly thought perhaps it would be better to bag the idea.

But to me the missing strap was a puzzle to be solved. So I got creative and improvised with a plastic clip, some strapping, and a toy rolling pin the kids use for play-doh and I proudly presented my MacGyver-like contraption to Alan proclaiming that "If this works, I'm a genius!".

Well, it did work, but I suddenly thought "Genius?!? I'm an IDIOT!" I had thrown away a perfectly good excuse not to go on a really gruelling bikeride!
Ah...the high price of brilliance....

So we managed to get our bikes to Freeport in the appropriate number of pieces, and the weather was gorgeous, and the road looked pretty good and not too long and so my excuses all washed away with the previous night's rain.

And we were prepared. We had water bottles and snacks and sunscreen and helmets and cell phones and a spare tire tube and a toolset. We had an amazingly brilliant clear beautiful day. We were in no hurry and we walked up most of the hills without shame. We saw rambling farmsteads and quaint cottages, rolling vistas and a cool wind sculpture, gardens and guinea hens (at least, I think that's what those birds were that stopped traffic to usher their fluffy chicks across the road).

Here I am before we embarked on our 9 mile round trip looking confident...

or not [double-click the picture to see the look on my face]!

It was an hour before we arrived in Freeport's downtown, dripping with sweat. Fortunately we discovered that the new outlet village has luxurious, air-conditioned restrooms, where I changed into a clean tee and practically took a bath in the sink.

Then we shopped [see future post on the subject].

Here I am in Freeport looking pathetic because it's time to get back on the bike for the return trip:

Here's Alan contemplating the view--we're almost back to our campsite at this point, enjoying the breeze and the reasonable assumption that we'll make it back alive:

And here I am back at the start proving that I really did it (right before I basically fell over):

It was actually fun at times, and Alan never even needed to call the paramedics for me.

And eventually he even admitted that I am, in fact, a genius (at least in this case), so it was all worthwhile!

We Coleman Camped

Our weekend featured more than a few items from a certain prominent brand of camping gear, spanning decades of purchase dates, from "seasoned" items handed down to us from our parents to new items acquired via E-bay and

We slept in Coleman flannel sleeping bags on a Coleman king-sized airbed, inflated with a Coleman battery powered air pump...

under a Coleman battery powered fan/overhead light...

inside a (you guessed it) Coleman 8-person tent.

We looked for our stuff with a Coleman wide-beam flashlight...

We set up our camp by the light of a Coleman lantern...

We kept our perishables in a Coleman cooler...

and cooked part of our breakfast on a Coleman camp stove (although the rest of our cooking was done properly on the fire, thank you very much!)

Hey Coleman guys! We like your stuff!!

We Camped

James spent a week at Camp Roosevelt with the Boy Scouts. He returned boggy and bugbitten but cheerful and chatty. He earned merit badges in fishing, swimming, and basketry.

Madeline spent a week at Camp Natarswi, the Girl Scout camp I attended for something like 9 years running "back in the day" (I'm refusing to do the math). We caught a mere glimpse of Katahdin on the way to pick her up but she did have some good weather while she was there. She passed her swim test, braved the tippy test (intentionally swamping a canoe so you know how to deal with it), tied a fly, got a bullseye, and earned her canoeing and archery pins.
[I'm telling you, Katahdin is right behind her.]

Jeremy spent a few days at Nana and Gumpy's camp in Hancock, learning about blueberry fields and collecting rocks.

And Alan and I camped, too. By ourselves. Just the two of us.
We drove to Freeport on Friday from Orono via Millinocket [we weren't lost, we had to pick up Madeline at camp first and then leave the kids with Nana Mary]. We arrived at Recompense Shore Campground at 11pm and set the tent up by the car headlights. We were fortunate to be so late because that's how we missed doing it in the pouring rain. Which would have been very bad.
By light of day our campsite looked like this:

Breakfast Saturday featured fried purple potatoes with onions and red peppers, bacon, and french toast:
After our Saturday adventures (see next few blogs) we enjoyed a peaceful campfire.
Yup, summer has truly arrived for the Marks Family.