It’s possible to think that you are at the end of Maine when you pass all the normal signposts coming from the south such as Portland, Camden, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor and even tiny Lubec, with Canada oh so close.

Welcome

Welcome

But Maine stretches on for what seems like endless miles due north to French speaking Aroostook County, which touches Quebec and where potatoes are king. US Route 1 takes you there, all the way from Key West, Florida.

As we left the Atlantic coastal region, the weather grew warmer and the trees took on more color. At times we travelled along high ridges which allowed us broad views over the countryside. Clearly autumn color was on the way.

Mt. Katahdin in the background at 5268 feet

Mt. Katahdin in the background at 5268 feet, end of the Appalachian Trail

There was no end of glacier formed lakes along the way, and marshes where we understood moose were to be found.

Lakes drain into the St. John River.

Lakes drain into the St. John River.

Color coming

Color coming

In one small town along Route 1 we were lucky enough to see one small herd of moose. Here they are.

Moose aren't usually found in herds. We were lucky.

Moose aren’t usually found in herds. We were lucky.

For whatever reason, the retreating glaciers, which so formed the topography of Maine, left ridges of fine topsoil which are perfect for growing potatoes. Here was the only place in Maine where we saw actual planted fields of any size. Big trucks zoomed to and fro filled with potatoes heading to market, or storage. We often saw potatoes for sale along the road in small stands. Payment was by the honor system.

Potatoes for sale

Potatoes for sale

potatoes bagged and ready to go. Drop your dollars in the slot.

Potatoes bagged and ready to go. Drop your dollars in the slot.

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Rather like our staying in Lubec because of it’s association with Eva’s home town in Germany, we ferreted out Martin’s Motel in Madawaska for a few days stay. It was a good choice.

Martin's Motel

Martin’s Motel

Along the way, in the next town of Fort Kent, we found a perfect place for breakfast, a down-home diner catering to old French speaking locals with time on their hands.

Small town cafe

Small town cafe

Directly across the street was a monument declaring this to be the very beginning of US Route 1, that wends its way all the way to Florida. I bet lots of local folks drive all that distance every winter. We talked with people who do.

Beginning of US Route 1.

Beginning of US Route 1.

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The time came to leave the town stuff behind and head out into the countryside, heading eventually to Brunswick, and home. We followed the only other north-south route in the state, State Route 11.

Typical townscape, unfortunately.

Typical townscape, unfortunately.

Goodbye

Goodbye Fort Kent

As soon as we were away from the settlements right along the Canadian border, we were immediately out of French speaking territory. The Acadians here, though, are very proud of their heritage and cling to their traditions. The younger generations are not so willing to follow.

Into the countryside

Into the countryside

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We spot another moose.

We spot another moose.

We find some byways.

We find some byways.

More temptation

More temptation

Leaves are definitely turning.

Leaves are definitely turning.

Eva is busy shooting, without a license to kill.

Eva is busy shooting, without a license to kill.

We are cautioned - big game country.

We are cautioned – big game country.

Brilliant colors everywhere

Brilliant colors everywhere

Even fallen leave are brilliant.

Even fallen leave are brilliant.

What a splash of color. We are at the peak.

What a splash of color. We are at the peak.

Now we must say goodbye to Maine. In the north we caught the peak of autumn color. Just the goal of intrepid leaf peepers.

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