A Snug Harbor
Camden in the winter of 1954 was a bleak place. It is difficult to see it this way if you’ve only been there in the summer, but most of Maine can be dismal, especially along the coast, during the long nights and short days. Once the colorful leaves have fallen from the majestic maple trees, and the last tourist has gone home, things become grim. So it was, during that cold January day, when I was on the road hoping to get a ride to New Jersey. On the radio, the weather forecasters predicted an overnight blizzard, but here it was only late afternoon and snow was already accumulating on the road. This would be my last opportunity to get home to see my family and friends, before cruising back on down to the Caribbean. I had really hoped to get an earlier start, to get far enough south to miss the brunt of the storm. Maine is known for this kind of weather, and the snowplows and sanders were ready. In fact, I didn’t see many other vehicles on the road any longer. Schools had let out early and most businesses were closed in anticipation of the storm.
My last ride dropped me off in Belfast, telling me that he was trying to get as far as Augusta, before State Road 3 became impassable. Standing alongside the two-lane coastal highway with darkness not far off, I was half thinking that I should turn back. My mind was made up for me when I stepped back off the road, making room for a big State DOT dump truck with a huge yellow snowplow. His airbrakes wheezed as he braked, coming to a stop, at the same time lifting his plow to keep from burying me. The driver couldn’t believe that I was out hitchhiking in a blizzard. This kind of weather in Maine is no joke! The driver told me that the year before a body had been found under a snow bank during the spring thaw. Never mind, I was invincible and nothing like that could happen to me, or so I thought. He got me as far as Camden and suggested that I get a room. “This storm is only going to get worse,” he cautioned as I got off. I waved as he drove off. Nevertheless, still hoping that things would improve, I was determined to continue…
To be continued….
State of Maine DOT snow plow
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