Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘October, 2016’

Leaving Acadia

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50℉ and raining at 4:00

Friday, October 21, 2016

With the campground closing, we packed up and headed out to Naples in the southwest corner of Maine. Our Airstream neighbor said he always checks the wheel lugs before starting out, a great suggestion. I checked the trailer wheels last night and they were fine, but the truck’s were a bit loose. Then I checked all the tires for pressure, adding a bit of air here and there. From Maryland, our Airstream neighbor bought his 2004 27’ for $17,000, an incredible price. They said they were driving and passed it. The owner had just put it in the yard with a for sale sign. In perfect condition, he wrote a check on the spot. They have had a little hard luck lately. He forgot to put the hitch jack up and broke it. Ordering a new one, he had to cut out the old one. Then a tree fell on his classic sports car during the recent hurricane. Yikes!

Driving through Poland, we looked at one campground that was terrible and another that was probably a horse camp, so we made 98 turns on little streets winding around these two giant lakes. It looks like Smith Mountain Lake. You can tell thousands of people come here in the summer. With all the water along the coast and all the lakes in Maine, you would think you could find a quiet place to yourself. I find it very depressing when I think of an overpopulated world using up all Earth’s resources. When we arrived at the campground, We went in to check in, finding a very nice office and nice lady, Debbie, at the desk. She told us to go and look at several sites, choose what we liked, and come back and tell her. Perfect! 

Three Hikes and a Lobster Roll

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High of 74℉. Hiked in shorts

Thursday, October 20, 2016

After doing some laundry, we decided to explore the southern side of the Quietside of Acadia National Park. We walked the “Wonderland Trail”, a short hike to the coast. The tide was out, which was best for this hike. Park signs told us to explore the pools around the rocks to find Periwinkle (snails) of two varieties, sea urchins and seaweeds. As we walked around the rocks, Periwinkles were everywhere. It would be easy to gather a meal here. Seaweed with little pods on them were just like the ones we saw at Hopewell Rocks where the tour guide told us it could be used as a facial conditioner. I popped a little pod open and applied the clear cream under my eyes and on my forehead. Now I look 30 years younger! 

It was a very short drive to the second hike, “Ship’s Harbor Nature Trail”. It’s so crazy that two hikes very close together could be so different. The forest was different, more boreal with mosses and mushrooms. We saw a beautiful pumpkin-colored bird we have never seen before. Then you come out to a beautiful cove, which at high tide would surely hide a small ship, maybe a smuggler. The tide was coming in strong, looking like a river rushing downhill. Several ducks rested in the protected area.

Coming back out, we wanted what might be the last lobster roll, so we went to Charlotte’s Lobster Pound for lunch. With picnic tables all around and a busy parking lot, we placed our order, sharing a lobster roll, two ears of corn on the cob boiled in the lobster pot and a piece of blueberry pie with ice cream. This is a happening place with a goat to pet while you watch the cook working outdoors. 

After lunch we walked through a park campground to get to a short carriage trail. Only two miles one way, we decided to walk it. It isn’t as pretty as yesterday’s trail, but still a lovely, quiet walk in the woods where we didn’t see a soul. Somewhere along the walk, Martha said she didn’t know why she thought she might be able to walk that famous trail in Spain. 

Stopping at the grocery store, we stocked up on a few things. We have had incredible weather in this great park. Still after a week we have left many things undone. Every time we explored one thing, we discovered two more. So many little side roads to drive, hikes to take and wonderful seafood to eat. I think I have had enough lobster for a while, but I love the fish sandwiches, fish and chips, and I never did get a crab roll which Andrea said was great. We’ll just have to come back after winning the lottery and buy a Hinkley Picnic boat.

Acadia National Park Carriage Road

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45℉ at 5:00 with high of 74℉

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It rained all night and didn’t clear up till mid-morning, but once it did, it was a perfectly beautiful day. We biked the “Around The Mountain” Carriage Road in the park. Between 1013 and 1940 John D. Rockefeller, Jr financed and directed construction of 57 miles of Carriage Roads for use of hikers, bikers, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages. 16 beautiful granite bridges cross streams and crevasses. Fine crushed gravel covers the roads that are wide and smooth. I walked some of these four years ago that I remember being grass. I can’t imagine more beautiful bike roads, where no cars are allowed. Having ridden horses most of my life, I can only dream of driving a carriage through these beautiful forests. The pictures speak for themselves.

We had lunch on a bench in Northeast Harbor, imagining life on one of these beautiful sailboats. Martha wanted to see the “Thunder Hole” on the eastern edge of the island where waves crash through a trough in the rocky coast. The views along the coast are spectacular and are part of the Park Loop Road. Thunder Hole wasn’t crashing on this spectacularly beautiful day, but we enjoyed the walk and scenery.

Martha wanted one more seafood dinner before leaving the area, but most of the restaurants are closed for the season. After researching and calling, we decided on “Coda”, which turned out to be very good. The treat was having Cindy Bubble join us. In 2012 Martha took a bike tour here and Cindy was one of the leaders. I was healing from shoulder surgery and couldn’t ride, but every day Cindy mapped out a plan for me, mostly hikes. She told me to go see the Gilley Museum and the Hinkley boatyard and take certain drives. She was great, so it was so nice to be able to reconnect with her and hear her stories. She had just returned from hiking in Baxter State Park for nine days. Soon she will go to Aspen, where she is a ski instructor. It was a pretty perfect day!

Acadia National Park Loop Drive

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

After lunch it was cloudy, a little breezy and felt cool although it was 57 degrees. We decided to first drive through Northeast Harbor. The road along Northeast Harbor is so pretty! We stopped several times to take pictures on this little, narrow road. The iconic tree lives here. You see graphics of it on T-shirts and other things. We stopped at the harbor for a few more pictures and then walked through the little town. An expresso and a cookie helped recharge us. We drove the neighborhoods looking at incredible houses right on the water. We also drove by Asticou Gardens. We didn’t go in because we have been there before and we didn’t have enough time to go back, but it is a beautiful garden!

We found our way to the Park Loop Drive. I’ve run out of words to describe the beauty of leaves now in their peak, beautiful bays and rocky coasts. It was raining off and on. Fog covered the mountaintops, but there were holes where the sun shone through, lighting up the colorful trees. I love shooting pictures in the fog. It silhouettes trees and pops them to the foreground. Martha has been very patient letting me stop and take pictures, but I can tell when it’s time to get on with it. 

We took about an hour and 15 minutes to drive the loop. You could take all day if you hike or picnic. We passed a photography group at work. I can’t wait to bike the trails tomorrow!

Wendell Gilley Art Museum

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47℉ at 6:30 am, cloudy, high 57℉

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

We spent the better part of the morning doing laundry and cleaning up inside the trailer. A visit to the Wendell Gilley Museum was the next order of the day. I spent a lot of time there in 2012 while Martha took a bike tour in the park. I love this place! Mr. Gilley was a plumber for most of his life. He had a very successful business on the island, having four employees. In his mid-50’s he began carving birds as a hobby. The museum has a great film interview of him 35 years ago. The young girl who interviewed him for the film still works at the museum, and came up to talk to us after watching it. You can see his soft manner and speech, telling how he got started and how it progressed. He gave his first tiny decoy to a secretary of a local business. Years later, after he had become famous, she gave it back to him, saying he should have his original carving. He made her a new one in exchange. He said he could work with drills and sanders, but holding the wood in his hands, he could feel the bird as it developed, and feel what he needed to change. Working for a special client, he tried hard to make a great carving and kept failing. He said his best work came when he just carved, letting the work flow. He had a great little shop to work in, saying he enjoyed the quiet hours alone. He finally sold his plumbing business and spent all his time carving.

One room of the museum has his original workbench and tools. A very nice gentleman, Steven Valleau,  carves at another table. He has been carving for 30 years or more and teaches classes. In the winter there is a 6-month course, but there are also 1-day or multiple-day courses (http://www.wendellgilleymuseum.org/education/workshops.html). The museum is an active place where artists come to see or practice or show their work. A cabinet holds work of some of the students. A man talked with Steven about his own carvings, what he was doing and what he needed help with.

We spent an hour or so marveling at Mr. Gilley’s many carvings. I have often thought of carving, so I bought his book and Martha bought some placemats. I love this active museum. Mr. Valleau said it was well worth a trip to visit Mr. Gilley’s cousin, who also carves. We saw a sign for his house on our drive yesterday. If we pass it again, we will go in.

Bar Harbor and Acadia Mountain

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47℉ at 6:00, high 72℉

Monday, October 17, 2016

We had to move sites in the campground in order to stay a couple of more nights, but the weather is looking good for the rest of the week and there is so much to see here. We drove to the Hinkley Boatyard to drool over the prettiest boats I have seen. Then we took the loop drive around the southern tip of the western side of the island, or what is known as the Quiet Side. There is a beautiful coastal view at the bottom after which the road takes you to Bass Harbor.

Then we drove over to meet Diego, Andrea and Isaac for lunch, more great food and company. We drove them to the airport for their connector flight to Boston. It is bigger and nicer than the Abaco airport in Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, but similar. We watched with great amusement as the little 9-seat plane was loaded. They put the luggage in the nose of the plane with little room to spare. Then the very overweight pilot comes out, checks everything and boards. Passengers must give their weights so the plane can be evenly distributed. Isaac got in the back and had very little headroom. We stayed to watch the takeoff just to be sure. Fortunately all went well and we later found out everyone reached their destinations fine. Whew! As we watched all this, a mid-sized jet came in. Only two passengers got off and the plane stayed put while they took a taxi somewhere. It was a couple, maybe in their 40’s. Wonder who that was.

We hiked Acadia Mountain on the way back. There are lots of steps climbing up giant rocks, but it is only a mile to the top from which the view is spectacular. Looking south, you can see Southwest Harbor and the Hinkley boatyard. Fall colors dotted the forests all around. We sat and soaked it all up for 20 minutes before heading back down. Martha grumbled something about walking flat trails from now on. I admit all the fallen pine needles make you cautious about slipping. A fall here would not be good, but this is a beautiful, very cool trail to a spectacular view. 

Mount Desert Island Marathon

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45℉ at 6:00 and high of 67

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We took a bike ride in Acadia National Park for an hour and 15 minutes, came back and showered and went just two miles to Southwest Harbor to catch our friends at the finish line of the marathon. Isaac was shooting for 3:20 and we were late, but we did not find him. Martha checked the desk and he crossed the half at 1 hour 45, so he was right on schedule. We were getting worried as we waited, but at 4:03 he came across. He was tired and said it was tough. We walked to pick up his race bag, then went back to look for Diego and Andrea. It was Andrea’s first marathon, though she has done half marathons. She came smiling across the finish at 4:20. She said, “There was no pain!” So happy to have finished and to still be fresh, she was dancing and smiling! Everyone else crossing was cramped up, limping and looking quite tired. Diego came across at 4:54. He said he walked some and enjoyed the scenery, but the hills and wind got him a bit.  Although the first half of the marathon was without cars, the last seven miles there was normal traffic, and the running lane was narrow. There are only 1500 runners and most of those are half marathons or 10K, so they can’t stop all the traffic on a very busy island for so long. We wondered why they didn’t run through the park more. 

There were a lot of people around the finish line, cheering runners along. It was cool to hear the announcer call our friends names saying they came all the way from Mexico City. After a little rest and some drinks, our guys recovered well. There were a number of bands that played, and I thought they were all good. Walking down the street, we went into “Quietside Cafe” for lunch. Lobster rolls, crab rolls, fish sandwiches, clam chowder and blueberry pies were enjoyed by all. This is a happening place where the owner, Francis, talked to every customer, especially locals she knew well, hugging everyone. The food was excellent and so was the hand dipped ice cream. 

I was surprised at these marathoners as we then walked the streets of Southwest Harbor and into the neighborhoods, then the 2 miles back to the truck. They had walked all day yesterday in Bar Harbor, ran a marathon and now we were still walking! But they all gave a big sigh of relief when they sat down in the truck and drove back over to Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor

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33℉ at 6:00, but colder on top of Cadillac Mountain, high of 68

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Martha, Diego and drove up Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun rise. Everyone else was there, as it is the “thing” to do here. We parked in a bus parking spot, because there was nowhere else to go. People lined the crest of the rocky mountain top and down the other side, everyone jockeying for a clear picture. I don’t know what the temperature was at the top, but it was cold. Our hands were the coldest, trying to take pictures without gloves on. It was all worth it though, as it is a beautiful view of a beautiful place. A big cruise ship was approaching the harbor as the sun rose. They would all be shopping and eating later.

Fortunately our bus parking spot was toward the front of the line and we were able to slowly start down the mountain. We woke Andrea up, and Isaac was ready for breakfast. Walking to the opposite side of Bar Harbor to the recommended breakfast place, “Two Cats”. The restaurant next door had a line waiting to get in. Two Cats had a line, but it was much shorter. The lady asked if we would like to sit on the plastic-enclosed porch, and Andrea said yes. There was a big heater, so it was a good spot. I ordered strawberry and banana pancakes and they were the best pancakes I have ever had in a restaurant. Freshly squeezed orange juice was great, and they had good coffee. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

We spent the rest of the morning cruising Bar Harbor’s many shops. I am not a shopper, but I did enjoy the Patagonia store. A very nice guy worked the counter as I admired a sea kayak hanging on the wall. It weighs #25 and folds up so you can easily store it, being made of the same opaque plastic used to make boxes and shipping boxes. They also had an inflatable paddle board I liked. Of course their clothes are great quality. Andrea bought a nice fleece vest. 

We spent a lot of time in a very nice outdoor store across the street and a couple of blocks up the street. We all went our separate ways and met for lunch at Paddy’s Irish Pub for lunch. Lobster rolls, fish sandwich, salads and soups were all great. The only thing about Bar Harbor is the crowds. Our group from Mexico City thought nothing of it, and you do get used to it after a while. Lines of people waited to get into restaurants, and they of course want to turn the tables over, while we wanted to sit and talk.

At low tide, we walked across a sandbar to Bar Island. We had seen this at high tide, wondering what it would look like. Pretty amazing to walk across the harbor while that cruise ship is still floating. Shuttle boats looked like they had to choose their routes to the ship. It is a nice view hiking to the top of the little island. Walking back to Paddy’s, our runners didn’t want a heavy meal before tomorrow’s race. Blueberry pie with ice cream seemed to do the trick. Martha and I kept eating like them, but we were not going to burn the calories off like them!

 

 

Driving to Southwest Harbor, Maine

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Driving south from St. Andrews, we crossed the border at Saint Steven. A thorough, but nice border guard asked us all the usual questions, like how long have you been in Canada, what were you doing, so you have fruits or vegetables, firewood, liquor. Then he looked at our firewood in the back seat, determining it was in a bag and decontaminated, so it was OK. Then he went into the trailer, looking in the bedroom, refrigerator and some cabinets. He was a good guy, just doing a good job and sent us on our way. Those of you who know of our crossing at Niagara Falls will understand, but I was quite happy to be past the border. 

I passed on the coastal Rt 1 and took the GPS route to Bar Harbor. On many small, bumpy roads I expected to avoid, it would have been better to take the scenic, coastal route. By the time we got to Southwest Harbor and the campground, I was whupped. I relaxed a bit while Martha went for a little walk in Acadia National Park.

Our friends, Diego, Andrea and Isaac arrived from Mexico City, and we met at The Chart House for dinner. The restaurant closes tomorrow and it was packed. Once we were seated, however, all was fine. The food and the company were great. Isaac had his first lobster dinner, but I think the hit of the night was blueberry cobbler desert. How we got everyone in the truck to drive them back to their hotel, I don’t know. We have so much stuff in the back seat of the truck! It was a great evening.

Driving Lighthouse Route to St. Andrews

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Thursday, October 12, 2016

We left Fundy National Park and drove the Lighthouse Route along the coast, pulling the Airstream. It was not worth it. Well, the leaves were spectacular, and the little mountains that look very much like the Southwest Mountain range in Virginia, green farmland climbing up the sides of the hills. Otherwise, this is a small, very rough road with no views of the Bay until you get to Saint Martins where the Fundy Trail Parkway begins. Trying to figure out where to go, we parked next to a bunch of shops. Martha went into one to get the scoop, and the lady said a cruise ship was in, so the little seafood restaurant would be packed. As I sat in the truck waiting, there must have been 15 tour buses going past. Martha made great chicken salad sandwiches as tourists swarmed all around us. We decided to drive on, skipping the highly-touted Fundy Parkway – too many people! 

Setting the GPS for St. Andrews, we finally got on Rt. 1, a beautiful 4-lane highway with very little traffic. Big fences ran along both sides of the highway, obviously to keep the moose off the highway. We crossed some beautiful rivers and saw more great salt marshes and a couple of beautiful lakes with bike trails alongside. 

Driving through the very pretty town of St. Andrews, we arrived at Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping right on the tip of the peninsula jutting into Fundy Sound. Two girls working the shop were giddy with excitement. It was Friday and they were off in an hour, and the campground closes tomorrow. I think you could still camp here, but there wouldn’t be power or water or bathrooms. It was a bit cool with the wind, but still 55 degrees. We got a glass of wine and sat out at our picnic table enjoying the great views. Although there are a lot of permanent campers here, they are all empty. Only seven traveling campers are in the campground. Two sites down, a lady stepped out of her camper and I waved. She came over to say hi, and I offered her a glass of wine. She said, “Well I’ll just go get the one I was drinking”.  Terry is from Vancouver and is traveling by herself. After running a food truck for 23 years, mostly serving the film industry that is so active in Vancouver, she needed a break. She sold the business, rented her house and bought a camper, a Mini Winnie Winnebago. She visited family she hadn’t seen in a long time in Ontario and then started touring and has been at this campground for a week. She talked about all the cool things to see and do in St. Andrews and where to eat, suggesting The Red Herring Pub for dinner. We asked if she wanted to join us, and she was happy to do so. We drove to town, but we could have easily walked. Terry has been riding her bike everywhere. She said the fish and chips and lobster rolls were great at the Red Herring, so Martha ordered one and I the other. Then we shared, and both were excellent.

The ladies at the campground office told us about a video store that also had great ice cream. As if we hadn’t had enough to eat, we had to go. A young man worked the counter, saying his favorite was a vanilla with caramel, sea salt and chocolate. It was to  die for.  While we ate, we reviewed and commented on the videos, but didn’t really find anything terribly appealing. We enjoyed the evening with Terry and her interesting story, saying good night as a full moon lit the bay.