Portland Maine is a nice town, even in the rain. Having realized that we hardy campers failed to pack a tent, the early evening was spent wandering the cobble stone streets, happily wasting time. We had no tent but we did have time. And Portland has plenty of pubs and eateries. Our kind of pubs.
As the night wore on, we wore out, and the rain persisted. We found a rest stop a few miles north of town and considered the last parking spot, the one farthest from the street light, our camp. As I turned off the ignition Dr. Chadwick happily said, “Well. I forgot to bring a rain jacket, but I remembered my ear plugs.” After which he promptly curled up on the back seat and slept. I looked over at the were-bear as he reclined the passenger seat, not yet knowing his nocturnal secret. I would soon find out. It must have been a full moon because not long after that seat laid back I was amazed as this docile furniture designer transformed into an aggressively grunting and snorting beast.
At about 7am the next morning, on the shore of a foggy inlet, the beast was quickly forgiven. Were-bears are apparently great hunters because this one produced 2 lbs of butcher cut apple smoked bacon. Good bear. We ate, I sipped mate and watched fog roll across the water, and by 8am we were back in the car looking blankly at each other.
Around 9:30, with no destination, not really knowing where we were, Kaleo’s face hit the window like a kid spotting Disney world and ordered us to pull over. Fortunate happenstance, serendipity, or maybe fate. We happened upon Lie-Nielson Tool Works.
In 1981 Thomas Lie-Nielson left his job at a NY based company that made hand tools, moved to Maine, and started making hand planes himself. What was once a small one man shop, is now a 13,000 square foot world renowned producer of woodworking tools. So much so that when three wanderers arrived in the middle of no where and wanted to take a tour, they were not just prepared for us, but were obviously used to visitors.
Wandering through the warehouse, watching people toil at machines, I half expected everyone to break out into a seven dwarves sort of song and dance number. These were laborers, craftsmen and women, one with a tattoo of a spider on his bald head, and they looked as if they -wait for it- liked their jobs.
Whether that is true or not, people love their tools.
North some more.