Prius in Blueberry Land
Conquest of Maine
By Remy Chevalier
- Westport to Eastport -

The Mission was three fold. Test the 2004 Prius, spread copies of Electrifying Times, and find a home for the Environmental Library Fund. On June 19, Marshall Houston and I headed straight North from Westport Connecticut landing on Rye Beach in New Hampshire. We settled at the Dunes Motor Inn on the Atlantic ocean, then headed out in thick fog for some seafood at Petey's.

At the crisp of dawn we took the road again, this time cruising slowly along Route 1, the Intercoastal Highway, driving through dozens of cute little harbor villages along the way, with charming shops, colorful wood signs with gold leaf, mom & pop health food stores, funky coffeeshops and independent bookstores, like the Greenstore in Damariscotta. We saw at least a dozen other Prius on our weekend long trip. We made lots of notes about the car, but instead of crowding this page with them, you can read our report here. In Booth Bay Harbor we arrived just in time to witness fast & furious lobster boat drag racing, I kid you not!
Tucked at the end of a designated National Scenic Byways off US1 is Prospect Harbor, home of the hundred year old Beach Cliff sardine canning factory. It's also where Leon Harrington, a Pacific Northwest transplant, opened his Downeast Deli. After a long day's drive we booked ourselves into the Machias Motor Inn. It had poured with rain the whole way, but Sunday morning the sun was shining. We'd been urged to visit Eastport, even further north, the first place the sun rises in the USA. Nestled at the end of a peninsula, you must first pass through the Passamaquoddy reservation.

Tourists love to have their picture taken alongside the carnivalesque statue of a fisherman left behind on the harbor by a reality TV production. Eastport is experiencing a small economic revival brought about by a Coast Guard Station and Tex-Shield, the makers of biological warfare protective gear for our military. Dozens of buildings with breathtaking views are available for song! The only drawback, the heating bills in the winter.

We drove back to Machias for a real maple syrup pancake breakfast at Helen's Restaurant. Then we headed south to Machiasport, where in the distance, you can see the HAARP-like antenna array of the Cutler Naval Base. We kicked our feet up on a friend's porch, sitting in rocking chairs, watching town's folk entering a little white church. It was a scene right out of a Steven King novel. The only thing missing was the spittoon and the shotgun! Evil rays and mind control. It was already well into the afternoon and Marshall had to get back to work on Monday, so we knew we had to boogey. One last picture of the Prius parked in front of a closed for the season giant Buckydome Blueberry, and off in the mountains we went to head off 1-95 in Bangor, a rather depressed post-industrial New England town.
There is a sharp contrast between the affluent lifestyle along the coast and inland depression. As with many Connecticut towns like Bridgeport or Waterbury, Bangor's once strong manufacturing base left the building to Asia. Without the sea breeze to attract the dot com crowd, there's little left to boost inland economy beside farming.  Just one quick look at the Bangor website and you can see why these halfhearted urban renewal attempts are doomed to failure. A real sense of despair, desolation and helplessness looms over that city. The only thing that can bring it back is for Americans to start building things with their own hands again!

We made good time heading south and made it back to Connecticut to eat a big plate of super Nachos at Rosy Tomorrow's, a restaurant filled with artifacts from the old Danbury Fair grounds. Would you believe there are 238 restaurants in Danbury? The Marcus Dairy Diner has been home to thousands of bikers each Sunday since the late 60's. In three days we put nearly 2000 miles on the media fleet Prius, while meeting lots of new hybrid fans along the way. We'd like to thank Wade Hoyt at Toyota for making it all possible, and can't wait to do it again next year with the hybrid Lexus. Maybe we'll take it as far north as Nova Scotia where you can still buy a house for $10.000! If only we could find a cheap, clean and bountiful energy source to withstands the 20 below winter months! [more pictures]