Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boring Day in Bangor? NOT!

Bar Harbor, ME   High:  79  Low:  61

We pulled out of Mount Desert Narrows this morning around 9:15. People are coming in our site today for four days. We really didn't want to move to a different site for such a short time, so we decided to head over to Abbot, ME to be closer to moose action for a few days. THEN we'll come back to Mount Desert Narrows for another ten days before heading out to Michigan.

We needed an oil change and a 30,000 mile checkup for our Tiffin Phaeton, so we headed to the Freightliner dealership in Bangor. Sparky got Eldo backed into the bay without any trouble. The tech guy was impressed! Nice job, he says. Snug as a bug in a rug.

There wasn't much of a waiting room, so Sparky and Eldo set up shop outside in a nice shady corner of the dealership by the office in their two camp chairs. Sparky got on her computer with the portable mi-fi card and Eldy played on his phone. After awhile, an office lady came by from Freightliner, and asked if we would like some free tickets to the museum across the street. We said, sure!

Sparky went and checked it out....Five dollars admission for seniors, kids are free. It didn't look like much from the outside, but the minute you stepped inside, WOW! This museum is NOT to be missed if you are in Bangor. It's the Cole Land Transportation Museum.  

It's open every day 9-5, May 1-Nov. 11. It's filled with vintage Maine land transportation vehicles, the largest snow removal equipment collection in the United States, over 2,000 photos of early life in Maine, trains, quite a few vintage fire trucks that are just absolutely unique, over 200 vehicles that are related to Maine's history, and military weapons and uniforms from the Civil War to Desert Storm. There's everything from roller skates to diesel locomotives! The exhibits are well marked, well explained and beautifully set up to maximize the museum space. Also on the grounds is the State of Maine WWII Veteran's Memorial and the Maine Military Order of Purple Heart Monument.

This is the dream of a Galen Cole, the founder of the museum, who was a 19 year old combat infantryman who was the sole survivor of a German tank hit on his squad in WWII. He made a pledge if he survived, "I would do my best to leave my community and fellow man better than when I found them." His mission and vision is to show visitors how people plowed snow, fought fires, planted crops, hauled freight and harvested the forest in the harsh Maine environmental challenges. Here's an excerpt from the museum's statement of purpose, which really resonated with Sparky:

"To inspire patriotism in young people and help build their aspirations--after seeing what these Maine pioneers accomplished with hard work, honest endeavor, and primitive tools--to believe that with today's improved knowledge, advanced equipment, and similar efforts, they can also become creative doers and builders of a bright future for themselves, their communities, and their fellow man."

When Sparky walked into the museum, the first thing she saw, was a memorial exhibit to the founder's sister. Galen's sister had a nutritional disease back in the thirties and forties that robbed her bones of calcium. She never grew any taller than about four feet, and she was never able to walk. It was a very touching exhibit, full of love...there were motor powered little cars that her dad built for her so she could get around, and other adapted furniture pieces. There was a recording of her singing at her dad's birthday party. Sparky pushed the button and listened to it. When it was finished, as she turned to go on exploring the museum, an elderly gentleman came out and said, "I just wanted to come out and meet the visitor who wanted to get to know my sister better." It was Galen Cole, 86 years young, the founder of the museum! We had a wonderful chat about his sister, Jackie. She was inspirational to everyone who met her and a shining light in everyone's life who met her. He asked about our traveling, mentioned that he used to own the Freightliner dealership where our rig was being serviced, and we talked for a bit longer. A very nice man with a wonderful vision and a wonderful museum. I hope you can see the photos. They are showing up in my preview, but Eldy says he can't see them. Not sure what's happening if they don't, but just know it was a wonderful place to see! I'll throw one of my favorite pieces at the side here, the "bone shaker" bike--believed to be the oldest bike in New England, just in case the rest of you can't see the video either.

There were some special items that had meaning to of the items was a stroller from the fifties. Sparky has a photo buried in storage of her at two years old sitting in the exact same stroller. Aw-w-w-w....that make her pretty vintage...sigh!

This trip to the museum and meeting the founder, Mr. Cole, was one of those instances where you stumble upon something marvelous, wonderful, and unplanned. It made an ordinary day extra special......

Everything checked out ok at the dealership, and off we went to Abbot, Maine, about twenty miles south of Moosehead Lake. See you soon at Balsam Woods Campground....


  1. Oh I loved the visit you shared about the Museum in Bangor and meeting Galen Cole ...... What a delight !!!! So true how unplanned events can be special !!!! Thanks for sharing, I loved the whole story .......


  2. Oh I loved the visit you shared about the Museum in Bangor and meeting Galen Cole ...... What a delight !!!! So true how unplanned events can be special !!!! Thanks for sharing, I loved the whole story .......

  3. Unplanned events are the BEST!!! You have no preconceived expectation and therefore you can't be disappoint;o))

  4. What a great story and how nice that the folks at the freightliner place gave you free tickets.

  5. Very cool! I really loved the old bike! The video did not show up for me either :(

  6. No video for me either. It sounds like one of those places I would really like to see. And to meet Mr. Cole just makes it that much for special.

    1. Well, phooey! Wish I could get this little video thing to work! Rick, are you out there? HEL-L-L-P! Just kidding. I'll work on it some more...maybe next time it will. Darn Picasa or Blogger, or me!

  7. is never boring in Bangor!
    Sounds like a super museum. No boredom there.

  8. No video. I did see the photo of the Bone Shaker bike.

    So cool you got to meet Mr. Cole.