Thursday, January 06, 2005

Cup 18: End of Civilization

Originally uploaded by matt_leclair.
Location: Route 9, Eddington, ME & points east
When: January 6th, 2005, 7:30AM,
Present: just me
Coffee: Green Mountain Breakfast Blend
Mood: waking

There's a Citgo on Rt. 9 that is marks the end of civilization. It is a stopping point for me on the way to Pembroke where I work as an educational technology consultant. The Citgo station is about half an hour into my drive. Two hours more to go before reaching Pembroke, if I drive the speed limit. It has two things going for it. First, gas is about ten cents a gallon cheaper than it is in Orono. This day it was $1.73 a gallon. Prices steadily rise at the few remaining filling stations between here and the end of the USA until in Pembroke they'll be at least 20 cents more a gallon. So I always stop and fill 'er up at that station. The other plus is the place has Green Mountain Coffee. I have a nostalgic fondness for Green Mountain Coffee. It was the first gourmet coffee to hit Maine. Before then it was the wretched Mountain Grown Folgers, and that Heavenly coffee, Chock Full O' Nuts. Back when I was in high school, Green Mountain Coffee was mythical. Down in Portland there was a Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee shop that was the only place you could get the stuff. Kids would come back from their trip to the Big City with tales of it. "It was coffee, but it tasted good. You could drink it!" and then they'd try to explain the whole idea of a place that just sold coffee and things to eat while drinking coffee. But you really had to go there to understand. And then some adventurous friend would drive us down there and we'd feel oh so grown up drinking our hazelnut coffee with lots and lots of cream, without our parents around. Then Green Mountain Coffee started distributing their coffee all over the state and it was a big deal. Filling stations would put up big signs saying, "Proudly Serving Green Mountain Coffee," when they started carrying it. Now it is ubiquitous, and the coffee shop in Portland is gone. Green Mountain is the baseline for palatability now that there are so many better coffees available here. I still have a fondness for "back in the day" when Green Mountain seemed so good!

Today it revived me enough to keep moving, and make it through the remainder of the long drive to Pembroke. After that Citgo it is half an hour to an hour between filling stations, and every once in a while it dawns on you how long it has been since last you saw a house or a vehicle, that wasn't a logging truck and how totally screwed you'd be if you broke down. There are areas that have numbers and letters for names, like T-28 because there aren't enough people who live there to warrant giving it a real name. And there is a stretch called (I'm not making this up) The Unorganized Territories. I want to move there. Many people in Pembroke avoid Rt. 9 altogether when they travel to their big city, Bangor. Not enough population. Too many logging trucks. No police. It feels dangerous. So they spend the extra hour it takes to go on Rt. 1. I don't mind it though, but I do try to make that final cup of coffee last the whole trip. Until I return home, it will be the last decent cup of coffee I drink.

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