So Paul and I will drive and drive and drive, meandering north and east over roads that will become progressively emptier. Sometimes the power lines will disappear from the roadsides; then suddenly we'll find ourselves in a papermill town bustling with strip malls and gas stations. Then it, too, will vanish and we will be back to empty roads lined with empty lakes, a crooked trailer, a log skidder idling in a woodyard, an ancient roof-caved house. We'll drive through Indian Township, part of the Passamaquoddy reservation, dilapidated like all else but with a strange momentary aura of housing project. And then, at long last, we'll arrive at Grand Lake Stream, a tidy, poky, thriving, little fishing resort, which seems to have been dropped by cyclone into the midst of loneliness. It sits on the edge of the Grand Lake system, and far out into this system is the base-camp island where my boy will begin his three weeks of Allagash fun. But first he and I will buy sandwiches at the store and then sit on the dock in the hot sunshine and eat them. This year I will not accidentally drop half of my sandwich into the lake. Meanwhile, tourists who don't really know how to operate power boats will come and go, and a few chunky fifth graders will plop off the dock into the water. I will worry about sunburn. Eventually other laden campers will begin arriving; eventually the camp boat will appear far out in the lake; and the kids will huddle into their life jackets and off they will go, down the lake, around the bend of the cove, gone. And then I will get back into my car and drive away.