This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maine - Isle au Haut - a Sociological Study

Societies isolated on islands often develop customs and culture that differ from the mainland where there is more interaction.  An example is Tangier Island, located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.  On Tangier, the locals still speak a style of Old English that the first settlers brought to the island in the 1700's.  This is not a study of language, it is an examination of the cars on the island, an appropriate research strategy for a gearhead.

It is difficult and expensive to ship a car to the island, and with the main road only being 12 miles long, cars tend to remain on the island.  Note that this lobsterman's vehicle has no license plate.  None of the cars on the island do.  While there is that one state road, the residents do not believe a state registration is necessary to operate a car.

The summer people bring cars to the island, which rack up few miles on the tiny island during a short summer season.  So, the first cars they ever transported to the island are still running and serving as their main transportation.  This Model A Ford is in original condition, with the exception of a long ago applied coat of blue paint.

The older vehicles get the job done and become somewhat the expected norm, or even a status symbol.  The Model A Ford pickup on the town dock.

A Model A with custom bodywork.  Not the type of customization that makes cars shows, but one that brings practicality to meeting island needs.

A 1954 Chevy pickup that has been on the island many years.  One of the summer residents donated it to the community fundraiser as an auction item, with the caveat that in addition to no auto tag, it also had no title.  It could only be an island vehicle.  Winning bid was $6000.

A Willy-Overland Jeepster, c. 1949.

Studebaker pickup, c. 1951.

If you have a 1961 Rambler Classic but really need the hauling capacity of a pickup, just build a rooftop carrier.  Island people can improvise.

It appeared that this Chevy was being painted black and white with red and blue roof-mounted lights in preparation as a police car.  Puzzling, since there is no law enforcement presence on the island, save the park rangers.  Later it was spotted under the control of some teens, with a bit more paint.  They were creating a Blues Brothers vehicle as their budgets allowed them to purchase more cans of spray paint.

With no repair facilities or even parts availability, repairs can be difficult. So, when repairs are required, just park the vehicle on the portion of the main road that is paved, run it up on ramps, and a fine work location is achieved.

Transportation on an island has some different needs and challenges.  The solutions are often different.  Just sitting by the town dock or the store can result in a car show.