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Tour Life: Portlandmania

Aside from being genuinely wonderful people, my friends Chris and Katrina Holm are impeccable hosts.

Location: Saco, Maine

Miles: 558

Morale: Great! Except I think I'm battling some kind of stomach sickness.

Munchies: Fire-roasted chicken salad, tuna wrap

Lucy and I started our second day on the road in Dexter, Maine. I suspect we were both pretty wiped out from the previous day as we slept like logs, and neither one of us wanted to get out of bed in the morning.

It was 1000hrs by the time we hit the road, but we had a pretty quick and easy drive ahead of us; only 115 miles to Portland, assuming we took the most direct route.

Obviously, we didn't.

Our first stop was the town of Waterville, where I stoked up on healthy groceries and then ambled us down to the Pan Am Railways sorting yard to see if we could find any foam.

The train gods were on my side; a trio of classic locomotives was switching in the yard, and I snapped off a couple of shots of them before we continued on our way.

It was a warm day, pushing twenty celsius, but the light was dull and flat and aside from the switchers, there wasn't much action, so I wasn't too concerned about getting many shots.

We pressed on to Lewiston, where I looked in vain for more trains, and then turned south toward Freeport, where we were to meet Chris and Katrina at the celebrated Maine Brewing Company.

Chris and Katrina are as passionate about craft beer as I am, if not more so, and they'd very generously offered to show me around some of the highlights of Portland's very robust beer scene.

(They also insisted on paying for everything, but luckily they'll be in Vancouver next year, so I can play them with pints of Bomber, Parallel 49 and 33 Acres in repayment.)

Portland seems a lot like Vancouver in a few ways. The beer scene. The food scene. The coffee scene. The tattoos. The dog-friendliness. The sense of social responsibility.

Everywhere we went welcomed Lucy, from breweries to restaurant patios to Print: A Bookstore, where Chris was set to host me in a conversation about GALE FORCE that evening.

It might have been the beer we drank, or it might have just been that I really, really like Chris and Katrina and thus felt quite comfortable, but I thought the event went very well, even if Lucy was a little concerned when I stood up and started reading aloud and she couldn't come investigate!

One of the owners of the store, Josh Christie, was on hand, and he's a fantastic, beer-loving, outdoorsman kind of guy, so needless to say we got along famously.

I walked out with a copy of his book about Maine beer and, obviously, a few other books as souvenirs. And more than a handful of local readers walked out with signed copies of GALE FORCE, and pictures of Lucy. So the event was a success.

My hotel was in Saco, Maine, about twenty minutes south of Portland, and so after bidding Chris and Katrina a fond farewell, Lucy and I hit the road. We stayed at a Ramada that was a little hard to find and kind of smelled like dank, but was cozy and comfortable where it mattered (ie the bed).

Today, I set out on another quick drive down to West Acton, Massachusetts, outside Boston, for an evening event at The Silver Unicorn.

It's a brand-new bookstore, and I've been meaning to visit Boston for years, so this should be a fun event, and if you're reading this and you're in the Boston area, I hope you'll come out!

And even if you can't make it, I'm sure they'll have some signed copies of GALE FORCE available for order after the event is through...

See you on the road!

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