Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cadillac Mountain

Back in the day when the missus of the time and I lived in New Brunswick we used to head down to Maine now and then, stay for the weekend, and then head back with our legally obtained tax-free alcohol and tobacco. Not to mention the extra alcohol and tobacco stuffed into the front and rear bumpers of the Oldsmobile Firenza that was our main transport at the time.

Bar Harbor was a happening destination at the time. You'd have your Harley crowd and your bicycle crowd. They'd pretty much frequent the same bars and restaurants, but the way you could tell them apart was the bicycle people wore helmets.

The Harley crowd didn't.

Then there was the Cadillac Mountain crowd. I'd almost call it  a cult.  Cadillac Mountain is the first place in America that the sun shines on every day. Cadillac Mountain is just outside Bar Harbor, and every morning it is besieged by folks from all over the USA and beyond who want the sun to shine on them first before it shines on anyone else. Don't take my word for it - drive up to Maine and see for yourself.

Cadillac Mountain was named after the same guy who the Cadillac car was named after. This was in an era where the Cadillac brand still had some call on it's motto; Standard of the World.

And arguably it was the standard of the world. Caddies were luxurious and fast.

I've never owned a Cadillac, but my dad had a couple back in the day.

He had a blue Fleetwood around '71 or so.  Had the 472 motor. It was big and heavy and the upholstery was rich and deep, and it wasn't hard to see why a guy who navigated his way out of refugee camps in Denmark might find it appealling.

That was followed up by the butter-yellow '76 Eldorado. Man was that a sweet car!

But back to Cadillac Mountain. One day back in the Iraq War times we headed up there, and while you can drive most of the way to the top, you still have to get out of the car and hike the last hundred feet or so. We're hiking, and suddenly, around a bend and over a ridge, there's a whole whack of Military vehicles just a sitting in the shrubbery, generators  running flat out and radar antenaes spinning round and round. A hike up a hill turns into Realpolitik 101 just like that. After all, Old George had his summer place just a hundred miles or so down the coast, and in those heady times the evil Saddam could have launched some of his WMDs onto the Maine Coast quicker than you can say "bullshit", so the forces of GOOD were right in protecting the vacationing President.

Dad was pretty good about loaning me the Caddies when I had an important date or something. Not that I made a habit of it. It wasn't like you could leave cigarette burns and used condoms in your wake. Well, you could have I suppose, but at the time I wasn't ready to push the boundaries of parental  indulgence quite that far. Funny thing was, when Dad got really comfy with his role as wheeler-dealer in the new world, when he was 100% confident that the bank was going to honor that $100,000 check even if the account was a couple of dollars short, he traded that last Caddie for a Subaru.

Which was the end of borrowing Dad's car for hot dates.

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