2015 Mainely T Tour

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2015 Mainely T Tour

Post by oldcarfudd » Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:48 pm

I would have posted this story of my first Mainely T tour on the Model T Ford Club of America website, but after many hours of frustration I gave up trying to post pictures. So here it is, and I'll post a link on the other site. Several HCCA members participated.

The Mainely T tour is the MTFCA Down East Chapter’s annual 5-day (Wednesday through Saturday) affair, and it’s been happening for 30 years. What started with a handful of cars has grown to where this year’s tour had 53 cars registered. And tourmaster John Anderson has been running it to great acclaim since day one, which may be some sort of record.

We stayed on the fringes of Boothbay Harbor, on one of the many peninsulas on the south, or “Down East”, coast of Maine. There was an adequate restaurant just across the parking lot for those too tired at the end of the day to go into town for something better. There was an excellent ice cream stand an easy walk away.

Along this coast there are plenty of sights within 5 miles of each other that require 20 miles of driving to reach, since tentacles of a wee obstruction called the Atlantic Ocean keep getting in the way. This makes “getting there” more than half the fun, since the scenery ranges from merely pleasant to utterly spectacular.

Maine undulates, and so do its roads. Along the shore the undulations are mostly left to right; go inland a bit and they add up and down to the mix. There are no straight lines, and many of the inland intersections have no road markings. This tour’s narrative-style instructions sometimes gave precise mileages, sometimes gave none, and sometimes gave hints like “in about five miles”. It was strongly recommended to carry a big DeLorme Atlas of Maine to help stay oriented; I can attest to the fact that this $21 purchase was essential, even though I used only four of its 69 pages of very detailed maps. With it, I could look at the instructions the night before, and see where the route was likely to get tricky. I still managed a couple of off-course excursions. I tour alone; in some of the cars with navigators, the discussions got a bit heated. But no one was in a hurry, no one filed for divorce, and we all got where we were going after a while, having driven some really nice back roads.

Early arrivals Wednesday could opt to drive along the beach one peninsula to the east. I think the two best ways to see the Maine coast are in brilliant sunshine or light fog. We had some of each; today was the fog. An oil-painting club had dispersed among the rocks to record the scenery, and they added to the atmosphere.
IMG_1922 - Version 2.jpg
Painting the lightly fogged scenery - - -
- - - while ignoring the Model T
There were a number of recommended eateries. This was Bet's Famous Fish Fry, a take-out place popular with the locals.
Bet's Famous Fish Fry
Later in the afternoon we visited the Boothbay Railway Museum, where we explored (there’s quite a good car collection, among other attractions), took narrow-gauge train rides, had our welcoming lasagna dinner, and still (barely!) managed to get back to the hotel before it got really dark. This was about the only time all the Ts were parked together, and it made an impressive sight.
Lotsa Ts at the Boothbay Railway Museum
Thursday was our long day – over 120 miles round trip to the renowned Owl’s Head Transportation Museum by a very circuitous route. I saw a moose! The museum had brought out some of its treasures, including a factory-built replica of the first Benz gasoline car of 1886.
Firing up an 1886 Benz replica
Some folks got rides in a single-cylinder REO and a big brass Maxwell. On the other hand, the museum's offer of Model T rides got few takers! There are some fascinating cars and airplanes in this museum.
A Model T cutaway chassis with a manifold cooker - very popular among these T tourists!
A World War I vintage airplane - I'd love a ride in that!
Some folks went on to the Sail, Power and Steam Museum, which is small but well laid out and informative; I’d been there a couple of times, and the weather looked iffy, so I just bailed and came home.

Friday’s tour was to the town of Wiscasset. Over two centuries ago this was a major seaport, but went into decline following the Embargo of 1807. There are some interesting old but well-preserved homes, good walking tours with available explanatory maps, good restaurants, and (bless them!) good public toilets. On the other hand U.S. 1 goes through it, and the traffic tie-ups can be humongous. I’d rather drive TO Wisconsin than THROUGH Wiscasset. I hate to think of what it’s like in the height of summer, or in leaf-peeper season. After lunch we toured on back roads. Some got lost. Some went antiquing. Some did both. Some did neither. All had a good ride.

Saturday we went west one peninsula and explored along the coast. Many of us went to Reid State Park, where there was a stretch of beautiful sandy beach along with outcroppings of the storied rockbound coast of Maine. We also drove to Five Islands, where there’s a commercial lobster fishery, and to Robinhood, where there’s a traditional boatyard and a great waterside place for lunch.
Parked at the lobster fishery
There are plenty of worse places to stop and stretch your legs!
Parked for lunch at Robinhood
We had to go through Wiscasset in each direction. Going out in the morning it was benign. Coming back in the afternoon it was malignant: over half an hour to go two miles, and not because Model Ts were holding up traffic!

That evening we went back to the Railway Museum for our farewell lobster banquet. I sat next to Susan Yaeger, MTFCA’s new Executive Director. She doesn’t come from a car background, but she did a potful of the organizing and coordination for the Centennial Party; after that, I imagine she can handle anything. She’d never seen, let alone eaten, a whole lobster; she overcame the learning curve in fine fashion. MTFCA Chief Guru Jay Klefoth said he and Barbara had chosen to bring Susan here for her first Model T chapter tour so she’d see the best the club had to offer. Also the biggest – Down East is now the biggest chapter in the club. There were lots of door prizes and raffle drawings. Many of us had come modern, since we’d be going home at night, but I was impressed with how many Ts showed up with working lights – often very good ones.
Jay and Barbara Klefoth tucking into lobstah!

A lot of people went home Sunday, since the weather forecast didn’t sound good. We got a few sprinkles, but nothing unpleasant or dangerous. On the morning run we had a choice of paved or primitive. The primitive road started out paved, became dirt, became washed-out ruts, became a sand/mud track, and then slowly improved back to paved. It was a hoot! One driver said his car felt young again.
There were plenty of worse places, but I didn't dare get out to take a picture!
Want to live on some prime Maine real estate with a well-marked prestigious address? How ‘bout Cowshit Corner? I kid you not – that’s what the sign says!
Cowshit Corner, Maine
The next stop was at a Baptist church with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Damariscotta. We had a hymn sing. This is a tradition for the Mainely T tour and even I, an unrepentant sinner, enjoyed it even if I didn’t know most of the songs.
Parked at the church
Across the street from the church, overlooking the lake
Soon to sing
Then we went on to a catered lunch, at which some of us arrived late due to getting lost. No matter – so many people had gone home early that there was a ton of food. Afterwards we went to see John Harris’s eclectic collection, stopped for very good locally-made ice cream, and went back to our trailers.

Next year’s Mainely T tour will be in Belfast (the one in Maine, not the one in Ireland). If you’ve never done one of these, think about going – as a newbie, you’ll be warmly welcomed, and the scenery and destinations are great. I don’t expect to go every year, since it’s a long haul from New Jersey. But in anticipation of the next time I do go, I’m hanging on to my DeLorme Atlas!

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

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Re: 2015 Mainely T Tour

Post by Tall » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:45 am

Thanks for the wonderful story and pictures!
Do you want a real tomahawk or a rubber tomahawk?

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Location: Grass Valley, CA

Re: 2015 Mainely T Tour

Post by FullerMetz » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:26 pm

Again, Thank You GFtE for the wonderful tour report! I always look forward to reading your posts.
Drive carefully, and enjoy! W2

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Re: 2015 Mainely T Tour

Post by romanze7 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:13 pm

Nice pic and art
goldclub slot

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