So it was around the end of March that the house sold and we moved into an apartment in Ridgefield near the fairgrounds. The people above us were horribly loud and stomped where ever they went. We got to calling them the McStompersons. I had just landed a gig at Intel testing Ethernet drivers for enterprise hardware. Not bad since I had been out of work for nine months. But now I have an hour long commute either way and in a big diesel truck no less.
Steph was still at HP and hating life. The work load was punishing as they kept dumping more and more on a never expanding team. Most of the people I had managed were now gone and their jobs sent to India. Times were not good for people at HP, contractor or not.
After much discussion, we decided to take a plane to Maine and see it first hand. We flew out the first half of May and stayed for three days. Flying into Portland late at night, we grabbed our rental car and got to the hotel. Everything seemed fine and all went fairly smoothly. I had forgotten which hotel the reservation was for and drove to the wrong one at first. But ten minutes later and we were at the right one.
The next morning we piled into the car and headed north. Interstate 95 runs most of the length of Maine north to south. There are still tolls in the area of Augusta, so we took back streets through small towns till popping out farther north and now free of the highway robbery booths. The drive from there, through Bangor, all the way to Houlton, just before the Canadian border, was picturesque and uneventful. So many trees and slightly changing in type the farther north we drove.
We wanted to see Aroostook County, or The County as it’s referred to by Mainers. A slightly economically depressed area that is ripe with agriculture, logging and country living. Being the largest county in Maine (ten times the size of Clark County WA in land area) there were lots of land parcels and low cost housing available. With the help of a realtor out of Bangor, we looked at a few and centered on one northwest of Caribou that had over fifty acres and an old house on it.
We drove around and went through Caribou and Presque Isle, the largest towns in the area. They had pretty much anything one could want. Restaurants, Walmart, JcPentty, Harbor Freight, Tractor Supply Co, multiple domestic car dealerships, etc. So there was stuff here and you wouldn’t be caught without local sources of food and household goods. Turns out that the entire county is only 70K people and the Caribou/Presque Isle area is about 18K of that.