Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Road Trip/Sketchbook Journal: DownEast (Part 8)

A few random, final observations on the main Maine leg of this summer's travels.

First, and most importantly, what a true joy it is to fulfill the goal of countless youngsters across America who are playing the license plate game.

I should also add that the title of my big, hardcover biography will be formally titled "Getting Out of the Country."

Meanwhile, in Bar Harbor, what at first I took as an advertising blitz on the part of L.L. Bean at seeing their logo plastered over all every bus and shuttle ,was actually because they foot the bill for a propane-powered fleet that circulate around the island every hour. This has the benefit of lessening traffic congestion and provides visitors with a great way to throw bikes on the trailers and enjoy an easy coast down the many winding hills. One of the best and funniest conversations I had during my visit was with one of the shuttle-bus drivers: like many a bartender, these folks have quite the unique perspective on events and possess encyclopedic knowledge of the area. Good folks to know, and can offer sage advice, except when trying to talk to them while they navigate between seaside cliffs and senile motor-home drivers. How it is possible or legal for some people who have trouble managing to simply walk unaided to have a license to pilot their massive land-yachts is a complete mystery terrifying concept.

If and when I ever do draw a Maine gag panel I'll have to go with "Happy Campers" as the title, though based on my experience in Alaska, making fun of the cash cow is sometimes risky business, even if it is funny as hell (see below panel). Maybe "Hidden drive" will be a runner-up instead.

And as for Plan A to open up a combination studio/comic shop somewhere in Bar Harbor: it'll either be called "Secret Harbor" or "Innsmouth Outlet." Plan B would be to have the audacious gumption to open up an Alaskan seafood restaurant, hopefully catering to any Mainiacs weary of the usual (but super tasty) lobster fare. Personally I can't ever seem to get enough of fresh, deep-fried clam strips.

Speaking of chowder, there was some irony in finding the best damn pizza I've had in years at the Finelli Pizzeria: reawoke memories of growing up in New York folding up and eating great greasy, gooey slabs. Also a sublime pleasure in discovering Gifford's ice-cream in the land of corporate sellouts Ben & Jerry's. And as you can probably guess from between all things butter-slathered, deep-fried, put on pizza and dripping with hot-fudge, after this outing there's a new big bear waddling through the woods in Fairbanks.

After being invaded by this sweaty barbarian from the northern hinterland (wearing a "Homesick Alaskan" tshirt no less) I must sincerely apologize for accidentally littering: still feeling guilty over losing some Sharpies while exploring thrashing around some deep pine thickets (outside of Alaska I think they call it "being lost").

But now I have many new experiences to draw from, a host of iconic images added to the mental toolbox: keep an eye out for some cryptic regional influences cropping up in Nuggets that'll no doubt confuse regular readers unaware of the temporary relocation. for example, the penultimate panel below illustrates all the coastal elements coalesced into one jam-packed doodle:

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