HANCOCK COUNTY – A lighted sign outside of Ruth & Wimpy’s Restaurant in Hancock went rolling away during Thursday’s storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in Maine.
“We couldn’t believe the lights still worked,” said owner Ruth Wilbur. “We figured for sure it blew the light bulbs out. They rolled it back over, put it back in place and it works.”
The restaurant didn’t lose power, but the phones and internet went down so the credit card machines didn’t work. Wilbur got creative and had her grandson run a 150-foot internet cord to the house next door.
“He ran it across the dooryard, into my truck so the rain couldn’t get it, back out of my truck through the back door to a credit card machine so we could run credit cards for the day,” she said Friday.
Cindy Tracey, who helps her family with the restaurant’s books, described the set up as “The red neck internet. That’s what it was.”
“We made it work,” she added.
“We did the best we could,” Wilbur added. “We got through.”
Others in the area had to close entirely.
“We lost power from whatever time it went off and it was off till about 2 in the afternoon and we were closed,” said Scott Holtz, co-owner of the Dunbar Store in Sullivan. “We couldn’t sell anything.”
The Dunbar Store opened in July next to the scenic turnout along Route 1. Holtz said his next move will be to get a backup generator.
By Friday evening, the number of people without power had dropped, but more than 73,000 customers remained without service.
“We now have more than 100 line and tree crews working with the majority of them in Washington and Hancock counties,” Judy Long, Emera Maine spokeswoman, said Friday morning. “They’re going to continue working until all customers are restored.”
That work could stretch well into the weekend, she said. Central Maine Power reported similar news on Friday evening with most of their nearly 60,000 outages in southern Maine.
Power crews could be seen all over Maine working to repair the damage. Other crews are working on removing debris from private properties.
“This was the worst one. Most of the other ones are not blocking driveways,” Andy Haft, a Hancock Homes employee, said of downed trees he and fellow employee, Mack McElwain, worked to remove on Friday. “We’ll just clean up as we need to.”
He added, “We’ll have a few days of work.”
The two spent five hours Friday morning cutting apart a couple huge trees that fell across the driveway of one of the 40 or so properties Hancock Homes maintains in Sorrento.
“That dump truck has been full already,” McElwain said to demonstrate how much work the two had already done.