Taming the Rockland Beast

Friday, May 21, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 21:  Rockland, ME & St. George, ME.  In our continuing quest to visit Maine lighthouses, we had Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse on our list of places to visit today.  By the mid-1850s, the town of Rockland had become a major industrial port.  After a number of severe nor’easter storms caused considerable damage to waterfront structures and businesses and to ships in the harbor, it became clear that the port needed a protective breakwater and lighthouse.  In 1880, Congress approved funding for the Rockland Breakwater, a project that took 18 years and mre than 700,000 tons of granite to complete.

It sounded interesting. Plus there was a letterbox on the shore nearby! At seven-eighths of a mile long from the shore to the lighthouse, the breakwater sounded like a great place for a walk. We're thinking there will be guardrails and maybe a nice boardwalk on top.
Wrong!  No boardwalk.  No guardrail.  And nearly a mile long across water (photo above).  Dianne's worst nightmare.  But OK.  It looks pretty wide.  Just stick to the middle and everything should be fine, right?  Let's face our fear head-on and just do it.  (Of course, Ken had no fear.)
Those knees are knocking, for sure.
And by the way, it's not just that Dianne has an irrational fear of water (after a near drowning experience as a child and never being able to learn to swim despite repeated classes).  There's also that lifelong klutziness, which leads to innumerable stumblings over every other rock or root on hiking trails.  The breakwater's surface was anything but smooth, and this was not the place to stumble.
No room for error on this walking surface
Add to that the occasional gaping hole ("Maybe someone was standing on that rock and it fell!") and the constant sound of the water lapping against the rocks (sounding like "I'm coming to get you!").  It was quite a stressful situation, maybe more so for Ken because the fear stimulated a bad case of chattiness for him to listen to (the kind that makes you want to buy the "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up" t-shirt).

We finally made it to the end and got a good view of the lighthouse.  That's when Dianne was jolted with the realization that this adventuree was only half over!  But, but, but.....
Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
No, there's no place to spend the night and go back tomorrow.  Don't see any rescue boat sailing in.  The ferry definitely will not stop here.  Time to face the fear again and finish the journey.  Twenty heart-stopping minutes later, one last look at the beast that we had conquered.
FRIDAY, 21 MAY 2010

And the cutest post office award goes to Owls Head, Maine.
Road sign for the illiterate
Old headstones in pristine condition