Even More Unusual Signs

It’s been about fourteen months since I posted an installment of odd signs that I’d encountered during my travels. I like unusual things whether they’re geo-oddities or other mundane things that seem out of whack. Occasionally I feel compelled to share them even if nobody else can summon the same level of amusement. If they cause you to smile then feel free to examine the earlier posts, Bad Signs and More Strange Signs.

I’ve added a map link for each photograph, attempting to place it as close to the exact spot as I can remember.

Maine Lobster Festival
Maine’s Rich Thai Heritage

I’ll bet this is the first time this sentence has ever been uttered: "Nothing represents Maine waterman culture like Thai food." Seriously though, I noticed this unusual juxtaposition at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland during the summer of 2009.

The festival centerpiece included a dining area covered by a huge tent. It featured a buffet line with lobsters pulled from local waters and dumped straight from trawlers into boiling kettles only moments earlier. Nonetheless the Thai food pavilion seemed to be doing a steady business. I suppose someone who happens to eat lobster every day might want to try something a bit different, something more exotic. I love Thai food and I find it it refreshing to witness the rich mosaic of cultures as it spreads throughout the nation but I still selected the lobster.

Rockland, Maine [map].

Only One Way Out -- Down
Going Down?

I took the elevator to the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory later that same summer. The observatory is a fairly small rectangular area. It has two doors. One opens onto an elevator and the other a stairwell. With that in mind, this has to be the most useless emergency exit sign ever. The elevator would shut down in a fire so what other option would possibly exist besides the stairwell? Jump?

Near Bucksport, Maine [map]

Also see my Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory page.

Birds Sanctuary
Humans Not Welcome

"Birds Only Beyond The Rope" wins my award for the most imaginative "Keep Off The Grass" sign ever written. It’s nice when bureaucrats show a sense of humor.

Fort C.F. Smith, Virginia [map]

Also see my Fort C.F. Smith page.

New Orleans Needs More Ferrys
New Orleans Needs Lots of Things

This one is a repeat from my trip down south earlier this year as presented in Deep South Epilogue. I spotted the poster at the in-town brewpub of the Abita Brewery. It pretty much speaks for itself.

Abita Springs, Louisiana [map]

Mold at Distillery
Maybe Just a Really Bad Mildew

I found myself at the Jack Daniel Distillery during that same southern trip. Distilling apparently creates the perfect environment for a dark mold that covers all exterior surfaces. Who knew? I suppose they felt compelled to explain the mold instead of looking like slobs. That wouldn’t do their image much good.

Lynchburg, TN [map]

Also see my Jack Daniel Distillery page.

Maintain the Speed Limit
My All-Time Favorite Road Sign

I loved this Alaska highway sign. It’s too bad the RV’s filled with clueless tourists ignored this and all similar signs. I would have loved to have seen one of them getting a ticket for going twenty miles below the speed limit leading a mile-long train of impatient drivers behind them in their wake.

Seward Highway, Kenai Peninsula, AK [map]

Tsunami Danger Warning
When You See a Big Wave — Run!

I also saw this one in Alaska. It’s posted in Seward. The city was hit by a tsunami after the famous 1964 earthquake. Eleven people died. Believe me, if suddenly the water begins to recede it’s time to run for the hills. The sign is absolutely accurate and appropriate.

Seward, AK [map]

Tree Grows Entirely Around a Wire
Stringing a New Wire Would Have Been Too Much Trouble

I’m allowed to post one photograph that isn’t a sign, right? I found this situation absolutely hilarious. A tree branch grew around a power line. The electric company removed the tree but left the chunk with the wire hanging in the air!

Nauck Neighborhood, Arlington, VA [map]

A Week in Maine, Part I

The Twelve Mile Circle has a split personality, part travelogue part geo-oddity freak show. I’m in Maine at the moment so I will be focusing on the former. Those of you who enjoy the trivia better than the travel may want to check back in about a week. I’m about to embark on a series of posts focused on southeastern coastal Maine. As is usually the case I will put more emphasis on photos than text, and will elaborate further at some later date on the permanent site.

Hartford Connecticut at Dawn

No, this isn’t Maine. Actually it’s downtown Hartford, Connecticut. We’re on a driving vacation and Hartford was about the halfway point where we stopped overnight. It’s dawn and we’re about to embark on the second leg of our drive up the northeastern corridor of the United States. Venus appears near the top, just right of center, in this image.

The previous evening we met Steve of the Connecticut Museum Quest in person. I’ve noted my interest in Steve’s CTMQ several times on my site, and he has commented many times on various posts here so his name is probably familiar to you if you’ve been reading Twelve Mile Circle for awhile. It’s always fascinating to meet Internet people in person, and our respective families had a nice dinner at a local brewpub (I can’t imagine how we came up with that choice). My kids were on their very rare best behavior so I breathed a sign of relief that Steve didn’t feel compelled to call Child Welfare on me.

Steve also reminded me that we’d driven within a couple miles of the New Jersey highpoint earlier in the day, and that it’s one of those rare highpoints that doesn’t require a climb. I’ve already warned the family that we might, ahem, have to take a slight detour on the way back. We’ll see. Their limit is usually one geo-oddity per trip. I’m not sure they would accept both the Southwick Jog and the New Jersey highpoint so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Blueberry Cluster on a Bush

On to Maine we drove, along with everyone else in New England. This leg should take a tad under five hours under optimal circumstances. It took us about seven and a half. The highway around Boston froze into absolute gridlock. The map geek in me started coming out after it took us an hour to move ten miles. I’d rather be moving between points than sitting in place even if that ultimately takes more time. There had to be a better way, and between the GPS, a paper road atlas and some common sense we forged into the rural hinterlands.

We bailed from the highway, cut up into New Hampshire and attacked Maine from the west. Ultimately it was like taking two sides of the triangle rather than the hypotenuse. This seemed totally natural to me but apparently to nobody else. While we had to slow down to 35 mph at every little town we experienced no further traffic for the remainder of our trip and certainly experienced the countryside from a vastly different perspective than the Interstate Highway System.

We arrived at our home for the week and we were invited to take as many blueberries as we liked from the garden in the backyard. Maine is famous for its blueberries and this is the time of the year when they ripen. This was a nice touch.

Steamed Lobsters Ready for Eating

The Maine Lobster Festival is taking place in nearby Rockland this week, and I was ready for some lobster after that long drive. Lobsters met their fate in industrial-sized steaming vats nearby and went straight into the festival tent for serving. Earlier that day they’d been swimming in the Atlantic Ocean oblivious to their staring role a festival named in their honor. Now that’s what I’d call "fresh to the table."

My younger son had never seen a real lobster before. He thought it was a land animal and he kept warning me that lobsters were trying to run across the road as we drove along. Lobsters only go into the water to be cooked according to the logic of a 3-year-old.

Rockland Maine Lobster Festival

The festival featured the usual carnival foods (if for some odd reason one didn’t want lobster pulled fresh from the sea), in other words, fried everything. Carnies hawked their games of chance and manned the rides of dubious safety. The sun set on Rockland and its lobster festival, as the lights of the carnival rides twinkled along the waterfront. All was well.