Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to travel to the extremes of Maine, from the bridge in Kittery on Interstate 95 to its end in Houlton and then a left on Route 1 north.

That trip was not all on the same day and for that I was glad. I used to make the trip both north and south on a more regular basis but had forgotten just how far apart the extremes are.

We have all heard the discussion of the “two Maines,” but unless you drive it, you do not get a true appreciation for the differences and the vastness. I could even argue the case for maybe three or four Maines. Take the trip along Route 2 west or up and down the coast and you get an additional perspective on just how different the regions of Maine are.

A few short miles out of Bangor and you notice immediate changes. Traffic is almost nonexistent. What traffic there is seems to travel at a quickened pace.

Spring came early this year and the snow was gone already. Scattered along the 120 miles were deer foraging for food. Or maybe they were just curious about those traveling the interstate on this particular day.

Cell service must be good, though. Almost everyone was talking on a phone. Perhaps radios were on as well. It is a lonely stretch of highway with very few signs of life, other than wildlife.

A car had pulled off to the side of the road with a flat tire. My guess is it was going to be there for awhile.

In contrast, a trip south is very different. More traffic moves along just as fast. There are frequent places to stop or exit. People appear to shout at each other as they pass. Heading north, they just wave. While one has no trouble merging onto the highway in T2R9, it is a very different story in the Augusta area.

As diverse as the landscape is, so are the people and their needs. It must truly present some difficult challenges in governing. Laws and legislation can not be a “one size fits all’ approach.

Maine is more than a city like Portland or a town like Patten. I would not say it costs more in some areas than others. What I would say is that the costs are different. I would sincerely hope that the leadership in Augusta realizes that.

These are financially challenging times. There is a need to find ways to become more efficient and effective in providing needed services.

Unless someone rips up the pavement between Kittery and Fort Fairfield, the ride is still going to be 350-plus miles long.

Warmer weather is coming. Take the ride up Interstate 95. It could be a real trip.


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