Pemaquid Point Lighthouse - Bristol, Maine (Boothbay Harbor region). The lighthouse was commissioned by President John Quincy Adams, in 1827.
Some friends say my life has been such a continual series of Seinfeldian’ moments, bizarre stories, and amazing wilderness experiences, that I should write a book. So, I’m going to occasionally post pieces here, for your enjoyment …and my humiliation…
Last month, I was planning on going to Acadia for a few days, with a stop at Boothbay Harbor along the way. I opened my gallery as usual for a 1/2 day on Sunday, and left by midday for Maine. After driving a few hours, and pulling into Boothbay Harbor, I came to the conclusion that my healing rotator cuff, and consequently my shoulders/back weren’t quite up to long distance travel yet. So I decided to cut my trip short, and focus on Boothbay and Pemaquid Point, turning around tomorrow, rather than drive another 2-3 hours to Acadia, and another 5+ home.
After arriving in Boothbay, I found a quiet motel on the outskirts of town. The location had three separate buildings, and I asked the nice woman at the front desk, for the quietest room/location possible. She placed me in the farthest building, in the very end uint. Perfect. Being a Sunday in June, it was slow and there were only two or three other cars in the whole place.
After unpacking, I headed to the village to scout possible shots, and to have some lunch. I enjoyed a yummy clam boat, with the best tarter sauce ever, but found only one or two weak compositions. I decided instead to drive the apx hour to Pemaquid Point (It was only about 4-5 miles away, as the crow flies, but almost an hour to drive up and down the peninsula to get to it) to shoot the evening sunset, and more importantly, to scout the location for the next morning, which provides better directional lighting.
I spent the rest of the evening at Pemaquid Point, relaxing, scouting, eating my picnic dinner, I had bought at a deli in Boothbay. I chatted with another photographer, and sat on the ocean’s edge enjoying the view, and sounds of waves crashing along the shore. A wonderful tranquil evening on the coast, but alas, the sun set, and there were no strong images to be had. So I headed back to my motel, arriving around 10:30.
I knew I needed to get up at 3am, to be out the door by 3:30, so I could be set up for the first moments of predawn light at 4:30. So I read for a bit, and prepared for bed, knowing I’d only get 4 hours of sleep or so, if I’m lucky. I finally put my book down, shut the lights off, and attempted to get some sleep around a quarter past eleven. After lying down for 10 minutes or so, I mentally debated wether I needed my own pillow or not, to get to sleep ( I know, fussy as I am:). As I was pondering that thought, I heard another car pull into the space and unit beside me, apparently checking in late. I thought to myself, the place was completely empty, with more than a dozen units open, and the manager put this late night guest right next to me, what? Really? Lying there, I thought “yes now, at the very least, I’m going to need my own pillow”. Realizing my narrow window for sleep, was continuing to shrink.
The walls weren’t exactly sound proof, and after it seemed the person had settled in, I decide to quickly sneak out to my car to attain my pillow. It’s 11:30pm, and my car is parked 10 feet from my door, so I simply venture out in the dark, in my boxers, thinking who’s going to see me. Just as I pulled the pillow out of my car, and headed back to the room, the neighbor opened her front door, to get to her car too. We both awkwardly acknowledge each other with soft “good evenings”. My words feeling slightly more awkward, standing there in nothing but my boxers, with a pillow under my arm, trying unsuccessfully to casually cover that fact, with it by my side (what are the odds of us both coming out at the very same moment, at 11:30 at night!).
Then, in front of my door, it dawned on me, that I had left my key in the room….and the door had automatically locked behind me. Ugh. I stood there looking dumbfounded at the door, mumbling to myself something about “what an idiot I was”, trying to think how I could get back in. Maybe I would try to remove the screen and crawl through the small vent window to the bathroom? Nope, too high and narrow. Even if I made it up and through, I would likely hurt myself more from the drop to the other side, likely head first. Drive to the front desk, or elsewhere to solve it? Nope, ALL my clothes were in the room. Call someone? Nope, my phone was in the room too.
In the middle of my thoughts and soft mumblings, my new neighbor looked over and said, “lock yourself out?”. I sheepishly answered with a long sigh of a “yes”. “What are you going to do”, she said?. I replied “I’m not really sure, I guess I’ll have to walk back to the front desk and get some help”, thinking how ‘fun’ that would be, walking in nothing but boxers to the front property, roadside, to pound on the door and someone’s attention. “I don’t think you’ll find anyone there, the place was dark when I went by”, she added. Great. But then she had a wonderful epiphany, and offered to call the desk for me. Yay.
Thankfully, she reached the front desk manager directly, and handed the phone to me. I humbly apologized to the manager, for waking her and bothering her to come let me in. She graciously let me off the hook, mentioning how may others had done the same, and that she’d be right over. I thankfully handed the phone back to my new neighbor, and waited in the dark, on the stoop. She arrived a few minutes later, key in hand, to let me in. Again, the awkward exchange of pleasantries, while standing shirtless and shoeless in my boxer shorts, with a pillow tucked under my arm.
I finally settled back into bed, with my soft pillow to lull me to sleep, knowing it would only be for few hours. Ahhhhh. But no. I had no sooner put my head to pillow, when I heard the shower come on in the bathroom next door. The thin walls offering little escape from the noise. Great. Well, I’m sure she’ll be taking a quick one, I thought, as It’s almost midnight. Nope. She obviously had this wonderful nightly bedtime routine……that took over an hour. The shower or sink ran the entire time. Nice. Ok, any decent sleep was likely out.
As much as I tried, I slept at best only for an hour, before my alarm woke me up. I woke, grabbed my camera gear and some snacks, and headed out the door, driving away in the dark. I arrived around 4:30, and walked along the rocky cliff edge using my headlamp, quickly setting up my tripod and camera. I composed the shot, I had scouted just hours ago in the evening, and waited. I was greeted with a beautiful soft sky, and wonderful reflection. Ahhhh, some reward for my efforts. I shot and recomposed until the sky lost it’s color. Then headed back for breakfast and possible additional shooting in Boothbay. Once again I had a great meal, but no solid photo opportunities. Well, at least I was able to get the shot of Pemaquid I wanted.
I packed up the car, and instead of continuing further to Acadia as planned, headed toward home. I figured I would go to Portland on the way, and shoot a night scene of the city I had in mind for a while now. Thinking I might possibly spend the night, and then go home. I enjoyed the nice sunny ride towards home, feeling slightly melancholy about not getting to Acadia, but happy with my Boothbay excursion.
I was driving along Rte. 295, seeing signs for my exit coming up, when suddenly my speedometer started racing, and my car started to sporadically buck back and forth. Great. I immediately pulled into the far right lane, put it in neutral, and threw my flashers on. My car then died, as I saw my exit approached. I slowly drove through the exit, and could even see a parking lot I could coast into, when I abruptly come to a four way stop sign, with traffic. I had no choice but to come to a complete stop, my car now motionless. Surprisingly however, I become lucky when it restarted just long enough for me do drive through the intersection, before it died again, as I coasted into a parking space at the Maine Mall. Well, I thought to myself, there are worse places to be broken down.
I have never felt the need to have AAA in the past, as I have always had newer cars. Oddly enough, less than two months prior, for the first time in my life, I thought it might be a good idea, since I was now driving a car with 175K on it, and had purchased it…..with the extra distance towing option too. How fortuitous I thought, as I sat there waiting for the tow driver. A southern baptist recently moved to Maine, he hooked up the vehicle, and we rode the two hours back home. He was quite nice, and we enjoyed some pleasant conversation, on the way home.
Would I go through this all again, knowing I would be rewarded with this fine image. Boy, it wouldn’t be easy, but I’d have to say yes, it was worth it. What do you think?
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