Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, June 3, 2011

trucks and boats


This photo of a late-1955 Chevrolet 3100 is from our man on the South Coast, Chris Baker, a painter who works in Maine and California. He found this one in Carpinteria, CA. The 1955 model year was split between the previous design and the new "Task Force" series of trucks, in production through through 1959. Their styling hallmarks included the truck industry's first wraparound windshield: Chevrolet advertising called it a "Sweep-Sight Windshield".  
            I think of Chris Baker as more of a boat guy than a truck guy. He built houses for a while, and most Mainers would use that occupation as an excuse to drive an enormous truck, but somehow Chris made do with a slightly battered Subaru station wagon. He likes leaving a small footprint. One winter in Maine CB carved himself a new stem for his early 1900s Cape Cod catboat, Conjuror, from a slab of oak that he was given.  Now that he's wintering in Southern California I hope he will recycle a distinguished old car or truck, perhaps my late, lamented 1969 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon (see below) which would be a great machine for hauling canvasses. Not a small-footprint sort of car---it's like driving your living room--but it is a beautiful chunk of recycled metal.
            Speaking of boat guys, I have been working this week at Bill Grant’s boatyard in Sedgwick ME, where Scout, our Cape Dory 25 spends the winter. Early June is always a slightly stressful time, doing dozens of tasks required to get even a simple sailboat like Scout into the water. 

I’ve varnished the teak trim and yesterday applied a new coat of bottom paint. Earlier in the spring, our friend Greg Phillips installed a new anchor roller and did a bunch of other small fixes. With any luck she’ll be going in  the water early next week. BTW my piece on Scout, and learning to love sailing, is in the current (June 2011) issue of Maine magazine…there’s the link, but the website is still stuck on the May issue. So if you want to read my piece, rush to the newsstand, and buy a copy.
          I noticed yesterday that Bill Grant, who seems to know everything there is to know about boats, is also working on what looks like a completely original and unrestored 1939 Ford ½ ton pickup. I’m bringing my camera to the boatyard today and will get some imagery. I also plan to document the drive from No. Brooklin to the boatyard, which takes about 15 minutes along the Reach Road which, logically enough, following Eggemoggin Reach.  To me--and I’m a bit prejudiced--this may not be the most spectacular, but it is the mostly quietly beautiful (as opposed to merely scenic) drive in all Maine. Partly because it is so quiet and unexpected and down-home in it's delights. (e.g., there’s a used car lot on Reach Road with a million-dollar view out over the Reach, and Deer Isle. You'd think it would be trophy home site, but, no, it’s a used car lot.) Anyway, that’s a future post--once I get the boat in the water, the new novel started, and etc.

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