11: Becoming Mainers
Road Trips & Redemption Centers

Road Trips & Redemption Centers

I remember when I was little sometimes my mom would let me keep all of the aluminum can deposit money if I rounded up all of the cans, cleaned them out, and took them to Farmer Jack’s (well, she would take me to Farmer Jack’s since I couldn’t drive). At the front of the Farmer Jack’s stood a wall of can-sucker machines – mouths the diameter of a coke can – patiently waiting to be fed. Place a Bud Light in the mouth, watch it get sucked in on a little conveyor belt, rotated around, scanned, and then…wait for it…you get the 10 cent credit on screen (score!) or you hear the sound of the can hit the reject bin (but why?).


In Maine, you get 5 cents per can and a whopping 15 cents per wine bottle. But you don’t return your cans to your local grocery store. Here, you go to a redemption center.

First trip to our local redemption center.


So redemption centers work pretty much the same way as the Farmer Jack’s in Michigan except each redemption center has its own little personality and theme.

The theme of the Brewer Redemption Center? Seventh-grade girl doodles?


No machines to feed at the redemption center – instead, there’s REAL PEOPLE!


A display showing items the redemption center does not take.


The weather in Maine hasn’t been all that great since we moved here so we’ve had to get creative about staying active. Between racquetball and yoga / spinning classes at the gym, an indoor climbing wall at the University of Maine, and cardio / pilates / kickboxing sessions at home in our upstairs “workout studio”, we’ve done all right.

Have you ever been to a climbing gym? It’s fun and if you’ve never been, you can go and get instruction on how to climb! See the different-colored tape all over the wall? Those represent different routes you can take to the top. So if you are following the “brown route”, then you can only touch the holds that have brown tape next to them – this is a fun way to challenge yourself.


(or you can just use whatever hand / foot hold you want, like I’m doing here – it’s much easier and a good way to warm up).
Stephane demonstrating “T-Rex arms” (super tired, pumped out arms after climbing) and our friend Kevin. Lorry and Kevin just moved out to Maine too. Stephane knew them from back in the day in Montrose – small world!



It seems we “take our gear for a walk” more often than not lately. What this means is that we get dressed / packed to ice and/or rock climb, then we hike with our backpack and gear to the area, but for whatever reason – usually conditions, we don’t end up actually climbing. On this particular day at the local climbing area, Eagle’s Bluff, the granite was just super wet (read: not safe to climb).


Stephane’s enjoying the work at LifeFlight of Maine. He spends a lot more time flying out here! In Colorado, there were quite a few other helicopter company / bases and so – competition / less flying. In Maine, there is ONLY LifeFlight of Maine – they are non-profit and no one can compete – so with two helicopters to service the entire state, they are in the air a lot.


A few weeks back we took a trip to southern Maine to check out the Sanford area. LifeFlight is potentially opening another base here and so we wanted to see what Sanford was like. I made Stephane stop and pose for a photo here because it was one of the very few areas that actually opened up and a little view. Mostly you are swallowed by the trees out here in Maine.


Of course Myra came with us on our little road trip. We were even able to find a pet-friendly hotel.


Best buds.

DSC_0121Sanford doesn’t have much going for it but it does have a pretty sweet street name…NEARLY SPELLED CORRECTLY…

The Sanford area seemed pretty similar to Bangor – lots of trees, not much open space… we drove an hour north and into New Hampshire to check out White Mountain National Park. Here we are driving through the quaint (but super touristy) town of Conway, NH, with Mount Washington looming in the background.


The slogan on the bus at the Mt. Washington Visitor’s Center – GET OUTDOORS! We were surprised by how many people were at the visitor’s center and/or getting ready to hike/climb or getting back from a hike/climb. Even though it was COLD and WINDY out, the people of New Hampshire were getting after it!
Wintry hike near Mount Washington. Stephane pushing his luck.


A real mountain! (Mt. Washington)


Sweet little covered bridge in Jackson, NH.


Back at the homestead, another awesome meal prepared by Chef Hefti – mushroom risotto-stuffed bell peppers. Amazing. To those of you who are willing to make the trip to come visit us in Maine this spring/summer, we will make it worth your while!! Come hungry!


Parting shot: family hike up to the summit of Chick Hill – another one of our local “mountains”. In the background are the mountains of Acadia National Park. Chick Hill is a great spot to get above the trees, get some distant views, enjoy the open feeling, and breathe deep.

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