Sunday, September 30, 2012

Living Life at an Angle

Acadia National Park, ME – September 27-30, 2012  Our Current Location

We had an early start on Thursday because we had an appointment at CMD Performance to get the Onan generator serviced. Fortunately the Pumpkin Patch Campground was only about 3 miles from CMD so we were at the front door at about 5 'til 8 waiting for the service department to show up. They told us to go have breakfast and they'd have it wrapped up in about an hour. So we used this as an excuse to head off to Tim Horton’s again as it's becoming our favorite breakfast place.

We arrived back at CMD after a couple hours. We wanted to give them plenty of time to wrap things up and they were ready for us.  We're good for another 150 hours.  Frank gave the repairs a thorough going over and found no leaks or other problems so we were on our way.

35th (26)

We drove straight to Acadia National Park and arrived about noon. We saw lots of neat stuff we wanted to  investigate, but decided we better do it later.  We had checked the park website one last time at breakfast to make sure they still had sites available and we snagged the last site that was open for 4 days in a row. 

Although Acadia is a beautiful park whoever designed the campground must of been having a real bad day. Or, they had a bad experience with an RV and this was their way of getting even.

We tried just about everything to find a level spot on our campsite with no luck.  We finally got twisted in at about a forty five degree angle and declared that was as good as it was gonna get. Still if you were on a pair of roller skates and started out in the bedroom, by the time you got to the front seats you'd be doing about 30 miles per hour. And we got one of the more level sites.

After we struggled with getting Big Guy set up we went back to the entrance station to get some information. While we were there they filled the last spot available for RVs. That was close.

It was still early enough in the day that there was time for a hike to the top of Gorham Mountain. A moderate uphill climb, once at the top it afforded great views of Bar Harbor and the surrounding waters.

35th (5)35th (8)35th (7)

After that hike, we were still feeling pretty energetic so we walked along the shore to Thunder Hole. Although, at the time, we thought it should have been named Grumble Hole instead. The tide wasn’t right for it to make any thunderous noises. But we could still see how it worked and our timing was pretty good as there were no tour buses in sight. That meant there were only 8 to 10 of us on the little walkway looking at the hole instead of 50 or 100 people trying to cram into the same space.

35th (01)35th (1)35th (3)35th (2)

The sun was getting low in the sky so it was time to head back to Big Guy for the evening.

35th (9)

The next day was cold and windy with light rain predicted but we decided to chance it and head over to the Jordan Pond Shore Trail to hike around it and to explore Jordan Pond House. We were lucky that the rain held off. The trail was a 3.3 mile loop complete with bridges and wooden paths through the forest.

35th (10)35th (14)35th (11)35th (16)35th (18)35th (19)35th (17)

Along the way, there was plenty of evidence of beavers that had been hard at work.

35th (12)35th (13)

Our luck ran out and the rain started, actually more of a miserable drizzle, but we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain and walked around anyway.  The views were great, but not so clear. We found out we weren’t the only foolish people there and others were walking around in the wind and rain just like us.

35th (22)35th (24)35th (23)

Saturday there was 90% chance of rain. It looked like it was going to be dark and wet all day. It slacked up a little later in the day, so we took off to investigate Bar Harbor. We made one circle through the downtown area and found the rain hadn’t hampered the tourists one bit.  There were no available parking spots, so we found a side street several blocks from the hub of activity and started out from there. One interesting store had a Rambler imbedded in the wall. It is a quaint little town and EJ had a great time shopping. We got a window seat at one of the Pubs on the main drag. Time for a little clam chowder, fish & chips, and some Irish coffee to warm us. 

35th (27)35th (28)35th (30)

Rain, rain and more rain. On our final full day at Acadia, we decided to venture out and explore the lesser traveled part of the Island, the Mt. Desert area. There we found a jewel, the Seal Cove Auto Museum.  This is another one of the great little museums tucked inside a metal building out in the middle of nowhere that we’ve come across this summer. This museum specialized in automobiles of the Brass Era (pre 1914) known for their brass bright work. It also had an excellent history of transportation starting with the bicycle. We spent over 2 hours enjoying all they had to offer.

35th (38)35th (32)35th (33)35th (34)35th (35)35th (36)

35th (39)

When we came out it had stopped raining. We continued our journey and found an operating lighthouse at Bass Harbor.


35th (40)

We hiked the Wonderland Trail. It was pretty soggy, but had plenty of rocky shores at the end.

35th (42)35th (43)35th (44)

Of course there was the occasional picturesque cove and daunting landscapes.

35th (31)35th (37)

Acadia really is a beautiful park with much to see and do, but tomorrow we head off to Freeport, Maine to check out LL Bean’s flagship store.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Back in the USA, Now What?

Lincoln, Maine – September 20 to 21, 2012

On our last morning in Canada, we drove the Element into St. Stephens where we had breakfast and found a money changer to get rid of our remaining Canadian money.  I think we had $19 left. 

You never know what’s going to happen as you cross the border. We elected to take the lesser used border crossing in downtown St. Stephens,NB/Calais,ME as opposed to the major highway Canadian 3/US 9. And it was tight.  If the RV had been any bigger we wouldn’t have fit into the drive lanes.

34th34th (1)

This time, was the first time we have ever had a border agent ask to see the inside of Big Guy. We figured our luck had run out, this being our 6th crossing in the last 2 two years, and they were going to inspect everything. Instead, he goes straight to the fridge, and not finding anything he needed, proceeded to chat us up about our electronics.  He wanted to know about the navigation software we were using, the Brake Buddy and the tire pressure monitor. He asked about firearms, but not about booze, firewood or what we brought back.  He acknowledged that we were traveling with two cats and that was it. Satisfied that we weren’t nefarious criminals, he bid us a good day and we were on our way.

Just as we cross into Calais, EJ finally got to see some moose!

34th (2)

That out of the way, still left us with the decision of which way to point now.  I convinced EJ that since we were already in Maine, and I’d never live long enough to hike the entire Appalachian Trail at 30 to 40 miles a year, that this would the perfect opportunity to for me to see the northern end of the Trail. She concurred ,so we point towards Baxter State Park, home of MT. Katahdin.

We stopped in Lincoln, ME to establish a base camp at the local Walmart.  Baxter Park was still over an hour drive away but we opted to leave Big Guy and drive the Element instead.

Once again the weather dictated our schedule. We had only one good day of weather left, so our assault on the end of the AT would have to take place tomorrow.

 34th (3)We got an early start fortified by a Tim Horton’s breakfast.  We wanted to get there while there was still parking available. That’s the limiting factor in the park, the lack of parking spots. We got our parking pass and suggested day hikes then made a beeline for the Mt. Baxter parking area.

We geared up (lots of layers as it was cold), signed the trail log, and began our trek.  Along the way, we pass the last privy on the trail. We cross over a creek and see a nice waterfall.

34th (4)34th (5)34th (6)34th (7)34th (8)34th (9)34th (10)34th (11)34th (12)

You just never know what you will run into along the trail. We passed this tree and EJ turns around and starts staring at it. What do you see???

34th (16)

Although I didn’t expect to be able to hike up to the top, I did at least expect to be able to see it. EJ decided to wait for me part way up by a waterfall while I continued on.  The trail continued on up over a boulder strewn path. Trees continued to block my view but I finally reached a point where I could see it.  EJ was worried because I was gone for almost an hour.

34th (15)34th (13)34th (14)

We made it back down and took off for another part of the park to hike where more waterfalls were reported to be. On this hike we met several through hikers. And how do you know they’re through hikers? From the aroma. They are in definite need of showers.

34th (17)34th (18)34th (19)

It was a great time and our five miles on the AT were really invigorating. EJ learned the she is a walk and gawk kind of hiker while Frank is a head down and go type, but we made it work. Time to head back to Lincoln. It was around 8pm when we got back to BG, tired, but happy puppies, although the cats were very vocal about the lateness of their supper.

Lincoln, Maine