Portland Maine
Home Up Day at Sea

New England Home Who Went? 1 Salem Village 2 Martha's Vineyard 3 Bar Harbor Acadia 4 Halifax Nova Scotia
5 St John New Brunswick 6 Portland Maine 7 Day at Sea Curse of the Jewel The Artwork of Jane Wooster Scott


I suppose you were hoping for some information on Portland, Maine.   Well, I don't know anything more than you do so I will visit my friend Mr. Wikipedia on the Internet.

Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maine, with a 2004 population of 63,882. Portland is Maine's cultural, social and economic capital. Tourists are drawn to Portland's historic Old Port district along Portland Harbor, which is at the mouth of the Fore River and part of Casco Bay. Portland Head Light in nearby Cape Elizabeth is also a popular tourist draw.

Portland is the tough luck city of the country. It has been destroyed seven times!  Twice by Indians, once by the British during the Revolutionary War, and four times by fire.

As a result, the city motto is "Resurgam," Latin for "I will rise again", in reference to Portland's recoveries from four devastating fires.    Now for some pictures.

I didn't take a single picture in Portland, so we are again in debt
to our friends Jess and Pat Carnes.

Looking at their pictures, I developed a hunch that maybe
they took the lighthouse sightseeing trip.

This was a World War II Memorial, but I don't know the details

Another hunch - Jess and Pat stopped by in NY on their way back

Judging by how gray the day was, why weren't the lights on?
I suppose this was considered a clear day by New Englanders.

Finally!  Something taller than Jess.   Now you know why no one
gives me any pictures - they end up getting teased.


The Bus Trip to Mount Washington

Marla discovered a two hour bus trip that went from Portland to Mt. Washington, the tallest mountain on the east coast.  Mt Washington is located in the White Mountains, a national park in New Hampshire right across the border from Maine.  Apparently waiting for us was a delightful cog train that takes you up to the top of the mountain.  From there you could see practically all of New England!

That sounded good to me.  However we learned a small detail along the way: Mt. Washington is considered the home of the worst weather in the world!  This mountain boasts some of the planet's most severe weather, and retains the world record for wind speed, 231 MPH.  And you know what?  Based on my own experience, they are not exaggerating. I doubt the top of Mt. Everest could be much worse than this place.

One thing I learned is to read between the lines on all tour advertising.  If it discourages you like the Bay of Fundy Frolics, by all means take it.  But if it sounds wonderful, then be utterly suspicious.

After all is said and done, I am glad I took the trip because I got to see the beautiful mountains and forest of the White Mountain National Park.  But I could easily have skipped the Cog Ride up the side of Mt Washington. The train looked cute, but the slow ride (90 minutes) in bitter cold turned out to be a huge ordeal.

Now that I was trapped on the Cog train watching it inch up the mountain, the higher we got, the more I noticed how bad the weather getting.  The windows in the train clouded up so completely, you could not see a thing.   So the man assigned to guide our train opened the front door to give us some visibility.  Marla and I were right in front and we started to freeze. 

As miserable as I was, I couldn't figure out why the young man was sitting outside the car peering intently ahead.  Curious, I asked him why he was sitting outside in such freezing cold.

The young man replied he was keeping an eye on the track for signs of sabotage (I kid you not).  He said some jerk spiked the cog rail back in the 60s, which caused an accident and killed people. Now it is his job to make sure we live.  I stared at him in stupefied horror.

He added that this horrible weather is normal. In fact, Mt. Washington averages only one clear day in six and most of those nice days are in the summer.  The rest of the time the place is miserable. 

I had no trouble believing every word he said.  

On this trip, I took some truly horrible pictures.  However they capture the bleakness of this place perfectly.  I have offered up many beautiful pictures so far.  Now how about some ugly ones? 


I was determined to take some good pictures.
So Marla and I got seats right in front.

Aren't these the worst pictures
you have ever seen?

Here is our engineer.  He looked like an extra from Deliverance

Here is my best picture of our guide.

He told me he was looking for problems.

Look how steep it is!  This ride was scary.

The worst accident they ever had was caused by someone sabotaging the cog rail.

The windows soon fogged up. The only way to take pictures was through the doorway.

It is impossible to describe just how miserable this ride was. Take my word for it.

The problem with taking pictures through the doorway was that it let in the cold air.

Poor Marla was freezing next to me. I explained I was perfecting my photo skills.

She didn't appreciate my quest for
excellence.  She continued to shiver.

I guess there is no way explain just how cold it was.  Then it started to rain!

 I have seen snails move faster than that stupid cog train to Mt. Frigid.

Did I forget to mention the moon probably has more interesting landscape than here?

As we drove to New Hampshire, Marla and I were so excited to see the Fall leaves for the first time on this trip!  Finally!
The leaves were simply beautiful!

I asked my tour guide if we could stop & let us take a couple pictures. She said no.
So I took pictures thru the bus window.
Don't you think they turned out well?

What kind of moron tour guide won't stop for ten minutes and let people take pictures?
There were several stunning shots I wanted
to show you, but oh no, gotta go.

Later after seeing the results of my day's camera work, I was very disappointed.

It dawned on me I might be the worst photographer in history.

Some people are born photographers.
I think I am going to stick to dancing.

Due to my rugged good looks, people
ask me to take their picture all the time.

 After seeing my skills, it is my hope that if you ever go on a trip with me....

you will know better than to
ask me to take a picture of you.


Pictures of New Hampshire & White Mountain National Park

Quite a few people from the SSQQ Cruise group took the trip to Mt Washington.  Here is a group picture.  The reason they are smiling is because the picture was taken before the cog train ride ordeal.  Little do they know what is ahead.

Sol Eisenbaum, Leeann Parkinson, Rebecca Thayer, Joe Pikas, Larry and Roz Weinstein, Marla, Brenda and Chuck Morton, and me.

When they tell you Mount Washington has the worst weather in the world, believe them.   But for sheer misery, that cog ride cannot be beat.  I would have to go back to a sub-zero sleigh ride in the snow many years back to come close to equaling the suffering from the cog train trip.  For an hour and a half, we shivered as the cold wind whistled through the open door.  But I never imagined things would get worse at the top. 

The never-ending misery of that pitifully slow, ice-cold cattle car was capped by a frozen rain which attacked us at the top of Mt. Washington.  That rain was whipped into a frenzy by a near monsoon level wind.  Racing 30 yards from the train to the Observatory took an act of courage.  And let us not forget the impenetrable fog.  The total absence of any view was the last straw.  We were on top of the world, but there was nothing to see.  The fog was so thick we couldn't see three feet past our noses.

Adding to my humiliation, when I got home, I received this cruel email.

-----Original Message-----
From: WorldMCMLXVI
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 1:52 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Leroy Ginzel

Mr. Archer, How are you?

I got a chance to watch the Mountain Lion himself (Leroy Ginzel) climbing Mount Washington the highest and nastiest peak on the East Coast of the United States. He picked a terrible day to climb it too. Normally it's cold as ice (which is the way I'm used to climbing it), but that day was hotter than all hell.

Leroy just finished climbing a mountain called Katahdin in Maine the day before, and the day after I met him he was going to climb Mount Marcy the highest mountain in New York State.

Leroy is definitely tougher than stone.

He mentioned going around with your crew dancing as another thing he loves to do.

Anyway I tried emailing him a few times since I got back from Mont Blanc, but I haven't heard from him. It would be great if you could let him know that Enzo was looking for him to say hi.

Ciao, Enzo Simone

 I went up Mt. Washington sitting on my butt in a train.  I complained bitterly about how miserable I was the whole time to anyone who would listen. 

Then I came home and found out that Leroy climbed the same mountain on foot and was tougher than stone in the process!  The guy is closing in on 80 and he climbs a different mountain each day!

For the record, Leroy is 20 years older than me. After I read that email, I never felt more like a wimp in my entire life.

Oh well, the trip to Mt. Washington was a tough day all around.  At least I got to see the beauty of the leaves.  It turns out that in the higher elevation, it had been cold enough to convince the leaves to do their thing.  However, seeing the leaves turn red and yellow led to further frustration!

Now that I had finally witnessed the Holy Grail of the Trip - Fall Leaves - I was angry over to my lack of opportunity (and skill) to take any good pictures.  That stupid tour guide wouldn't stop the bus for even one picture on the trip up and the trip back.  And believe me, we got to both destinations with plenty of time to spare.

After suffering through my horrible pictures above, now you get to see some truly beautiful pictures.  Mind you, I was tempted to lie and say I took these pictures, but I knew my wife would find a way to get the truth out.  Instead, through the magic of spending lots of money, I was able to obtain commercial pictures to bring back home.


Covered Bridge

North Conway

Mount Washington seen from Conway

Presidential Range

Franconia Notch

Mount Washington Observatory

Old Man of the Mountain

Jackson Falls at Jackson


The Flume

Eaton Lake

Franconia Ridge Trail

Mount Washington seen from Conway

Great Gulf Wilderness

Mount Washington seen from Square Ledge

Above timberline, Mount Washington

Mount Washington seen from Wildcat Mountain

Mount Washington sunrise at the summit

Crawford Path, Mount Washington

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Presidential Range seen from Mount Washington

Mount Washington Hotel at dusk

Jackson Covered Bridge

Mount Chocorua

Crawford Notch seen from Mount Willard

Mount Washington seen from Jefferson

White Mountain National Park

White Mountain National Park

Flume Covered Bridge

Tuckerman Ravine


Swift River

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New England Home Who Went? 1 Salem Village 2 Martha's Vineyard 3 Bar Harbor Acadia 4 Halifax Nova Scotia
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