Space fascinates me. When I was younger I was determined to be an astronaut because I really wanted see the Earth from the moon. I've spent many nights stargazing and I try to be on the lookout for cool space phenomena. Naturally, when I saw that Maine had a scale model of the Solar System along U.S. Route 1 I had to see it for myself.
I think I stopped to reload Google Maps and get better directions for the actual location of the Solar System, or something. I pulled in to the Visitor Center that was nearby just because I felt like it (thank you Universe). I went inside, and while I was looking around I found Pluto! Which made me instantly happy because, 1. I was on the right track to finding the rest of the planets, and 2. if Pluto was here that meant they still counted it as a planet! Yay! (I always feel bad about poor Pluto's reclassification as a Dwarf Planet.)Later, I found out that while they have Pluto in the Model, they added the other Dwarf planets as well, so technically Pluto's inclusion in the Model is as a Dwarf Planet. I also learned that there are two Plutos in the model. The one at the Visitor Center marks Pluto's average distance from the sun. Another Pluto, about seven miles closer to the Sun, shows Pluto's present distance from the Sun. They have two Plutos to show how much Pluto's orbit changes its distance from the Sun.
I got back in my car and drove about eleven miles until I spotted Uranus. There was a building behind Uranus, so I actually got to pull in and park to take pictures. Uranus is comparable in size to Neptune. At this point I thought, I think I'm learning more about the Solar System now than I ever remembered in school. I'm such a visual learner. Also, this would be a sweet, field trip. Though it'd be super annoying for teachers.
I won't even tell you how long it took me to get a picture with myself and Saturn and Titus...
I nearly missed Mars. It was super small compared to all the other planets, except Pluto. In fact, Mars seemed barely bigger than Pluto. It was four miles down the road from Jupiter. No fancy pull-in spot for Mars. Just another quick slam on the brakes, reverse, put the hazards on, and jump out to take a picture stop.
With the help of the brochure I got at the Student Center I managed to find Venus and the Earth without much trouble.
Finally, about an hour and a half later than I meant to, I completed my tour of the Solar System along U.S. Route 1. Next, I planned to drive all the way to the top of Maine to see where U.S. Route 1, the first road in America, started. I was just barely going to have time to stop and take a picture before heading back to Portland so I could go to Free Admission Night at the Portland Museum of Art, but I knew I had to see it, so I did. It was pretty cool. I'm glad I went.Next, I flew down and around Route 11, which was like a beautiful scenic roller coaster ride. I'm not even going to show you the pictures I took because they really don't do it justice. I only wish there had been more fall colors. Though, that might have brought me to tears, so perhaps it's good the trees were still mostly green.
I made it back to Portland in time for one hour of Free Admission night at the Portland Museum of Art so I did a speed through of the top two floors. I thought that was the end of the museum, so I went back through them slower. They had a few big names: Lichtenstein, Degas, Monet, Turner etc. I was impressed considering how small the museum was. As I was leaving, I stopped to use the restroom and then realized there was a whole back section of exhibits I'd missed! With only about ten minutes until closing, I super sped through the back areas, just glimpsing everything to get a feel for what was back there. In the end, I'd say I saw everything I wanted to see, though I wish I had known about the back section earlier so I could've spent more time there instead of going back over the top levels a second time. Oh, and my camera ran out of memory, so sorry there are no pictures from the museum.