September 30, 2011

Acadian Reflections

We checked out of the Blackwoods Campground this morning, but had decided yesterday that we were not yet ready to leave Acadia National Park.  Blackwoods Campground was beautiful, and we enjoyed our stay, but we decided to check into a private campground on the other side of the island.  Maybe I’m becoming soft, but three days without electric and water hookups is about my maximum.

Our Campsite at Blackwoods Campground
With the computer, phones, microwave, etc., it’s much more convenient to be able to hook up.  Yes, we have a generator, which we used very sparingly in the park, and, yes, we can charge our electronics as we drive, but it’s just not as convenient.

Having to conserve our fresh water supply can also be trying.  Plus, we wanted a cell phone signal, Wi-Fi or a Mi-Fi signal, cable TV for Tim, showers and a laundry.  The campground in the park had none of those, so I was not able to make blog postings while there.  I prefer to do my postings at night so as not to take time away from daytime activities.

So we moved to the Smuggler’s Den Campground in Southwest Harbor and now have all the comforts of home.  We are spoiled.

In order to truly experience Acadia, you need to get out on the water.  This afternoon we took a cruise on the Sea Princess from Northeast Harbor to Little Cranberry Island.  The weather was perfect as we headed out to sea.  We sailed past Bear Island Lighthouse, saw an osprey nest, took in the views of Cadillac Mountain and docked at Islesford.

Bear Island Lighthouse

A Working Lobster Boat and Lobster Buoy

Islesford Harbor
Islesford is an unspoiled island community with simple Victorian buildings, a general store with yummy gingerbread and a National Park Service museum that unfortunately had closed for the season.

Church in Islesford

Tim In Front Of a Typical Victorian House in Islesford

Too Bad the Museum Was Closed

The Sea Princess Departing the Islesford Harbor
On the return trip we sailed into Somes Sound for wonderful views of Eagle Cliffs.  My favorite part, however, was cruising past the nineteenth century “cottages” along the coastline.  These cottages, which were occupied for only two months during the year, were built by the wealthy “rusticators” who called Mount Desert Island their summer home.  It was these individuals who were responsible for donating the land that created Acadia National Park.

Sailing Away

Along the Shore

I'll Take This Cottage

This One Would Also Do

The Entrance to Somes Sound

Photo Opportunity In Somesville, the Oldest Town on Mount Desert Island
I’ve been amazed at how many Class B RVs I’ve seen during the past week or so.  Especially Sprinter vans.  We’ve been waving at the ones that we pass on the road but have not been able to talk to and compare notes yet with any of the owners.

September 29, 2011

Acadia On My Mind, And Stomach

This morning we slept, and slept and slept.  Sleeping late was pure indulgence for both of us, and we didn’t feel the least bit guilty. 

We decided to explore the quiet side of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island and headed toward Southwest Harbor.  As we drove south from there, I began my search for one of the lobster pounds that I remembered from previous trips.

I found it – Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard, near the tip of the island.  We looked at the lobsters swimming in the tanks and then placed our order for crab and lobster rolls.  I happen to love crab as much as lobster, and savored every mouthful.  Have you noticed that we are placing quite an emphasis on food so far?  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Get That Paw Back In the Tank

By Law, Maine Lobstermen Are Allowed To Set No More Than 800 Lobster Traps

Bass Harbor

A Foggy Harbor
On our way back to camp, the rain that had been threatening finally started, and the temperature dropped, but we are snug in the RV.

September 28, 2011

The Promise of Acadia

Tim and I arrived in Acadia National Park yesterday afternoon.  Acadia is what we consider to be the true start of our big adventure.  The weather was perfect, and we settled into our campsite at Blackwoods Campground in the park.  Linda, you would love this campground – lots of trees, good separation between sites and very natural.  It’s a huge campground, but its size is cleverly disguised.

Tim accused me of having spoiled the cat during the three weeks I was on the road.  HA!  He turned around and insisted on taking her for the longest walks she has had to date.  Kitty is really getting the hang of walking on a leash.  Of course, she is usually the one leading the way.  Kitty has also forgiven Tim for abandoning her to three virtual strangers and is now sleeping on his legs at night.

Is This Table for Me To Sit On?
Today we began our exploration of the park.  I’ve been to the park on several occasions, and I was looking forward to touring one of my favorite parks with Tim.

Tim Puts On His Best Interpretive Pose
The views from the Park Loop Road are glorious – the rocky coast and leaves just starting to turn shades of orange and red.  There were no crashing waves today; the surf was amazingly calm.  We were able to take our time, sit out on the rocks and enjoy the warm sun, gentle breeze and view of the waterfowl dipping for their lunch.

The Rocky, Blocky Granite Coastline of Acadia

Interesting Rock Formations

Tim Enjoying the View and the Sunny Day

Will I Fit?
Tim suggested visiting the Abbe Museum, an early collection of archeological artifacts from Maine’s Native Americans.  It was interesting to hear Tim’s take on the exhibits.  His specialty is western archeology, but he pointed out some similarities, and differences, between Native Americans of both regions.  For example, several projectile point styles look similar.  And of course here there was a heavy reliance on sea resources that are not available in the intermountain west.

Sarah At the Abbe Museum

Tim At the Reproduction Wigwam Made Of Birch Bark
Applied With the Inside of the Bark Facing the Outside of the Wigwam
Afternoon tea at the Jordan Pond House was as good as I remembered.  The restaurant is known for its popovers served with butter and strawberry jam.  The popovers were to die for, warm and melt-in-your-mouth.  I easily could have eaten more than the two that came with tea, but I restrained myself.

Enjoying Afternoon Tea at Jordan Pond House

Tea and Popovers

Jordan Pond With The Bubbles in the Background
Tonight we entertained company.  Jane’s youngest sister Lizz and her husband Paul happened to be camping in Acadia in the same campground where we are, and we asked them to join us for happy hour.  Lizz is the third Caporelli I’ve seen on this trip.  First Jane, then Mary, now Lizz.  Who would have thought?  Good conversation was enhanced by wine, local blueberry soda, Cabot Creamery cheese and fig and pecan dip.  We do eat well.

Tim, Lizz and Paul

September 26, 2011

Tim's Here

Tim is here.  All’s right with the world.

Tim Arriving at the Bangor Airport

September 24, 2011

A Little R&R

I said a fond farewell to Kevin and Mary this morning, grateful for the time I was able to spend with them.  Linda, Jane and Kevin came through for me, as I knew they would, and got me safely from Colorado to Maine.  I can relax now.  Tim can relax.  I made it.  We had fun.  I didn’t lose the cat.  The RV is in one piece.  I have driven 3,375 miles in three weeks.  It will probably take Tim and me three months to drive as many miles.

Although I was sad to see Kevin go, I am grateful for the next few days before I have to drive the short distance to Bangor, Maine, to meet Tim on Monday.  I am tired and have been more stressed than I ever thought I would be.  I need a break, a little time by myself, to rest, catch up on the blog and chores, and prepare myself for the true journey with Tim.  I can't wait for him to arrive.

I’m staying at the Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough, Maine, just outside Portland.  My campsite is in the woods directly on a small lake.  It’s quiet and peaceful here and is perfect for me right now.

The View From My Campsite

September 23, 2011

Pancakes and A Party

Today is Tim’s last day of work.  I can’t imagine what must be going through his mind, knowing that for the first time in his career he will be off for nine months.  We’ll be together soon when he flies to Bangor on Monday.

Polly’s Pancake Parlour in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, was the first stop for Kevin and me this morning.  The restaurant has been featured in Roadfood and other publications, and its reputation is well-deserved.  There were so many choices, and that was just the pancakes – buckwheat, cornmeal, oatmeal-buttermilk and whole wheat batter with fillings like blueberries, pecans and coconut.  We decided on sampler platters, and I picked buckwheat with blueberries, cornmeal and oatmeal-buttermilk, all with pure maple syrup.  Fabulous!

Pancakes at Polly's
One of the most famous fall foliage drives in New Hampshire is the Kancamagus Highway over the White Mountains.  Fall colors are just starting to turn, but I love the early mix of reds, oranges and greens.

Streeter Pond in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Fall Color

Fall Has Arrived

On the Kancamagus Highway

The White Mountains
Kevin and I made our way to Portland, Maine, this afternoon, where Jane’s sister Mary will join us tonight.  She arrived in the evening with enough food to feed the entire campground – wonderful Italian breads and cheeses, calzones and spinach pie, accompanied by Kevin’s wine selections.  The weather finally cooperated, and we could actually sit outside and enjoy ourselves.  Kevin leaves with Mary tomorrow, but tonight we party.

September 22, 2011

Cheese, Bridges and Cogs

Kevin and I planned a stop this morning at Cabot Creamery, a farm-family owned cooperative since 1919.  Vermont produces wonderful cheeses, particularly cheddars, and we wanted to taste a few.  As we were waiting in the parking lot for the visitor center to open, we started to chat with an interesting couple from Moscow, Idaho.  The woman commented on the RV and was intrigued that I travel with a cat.  She also travels with her cat, but in a car, and had never considered the possibility of owning an RV. 

Cabot Creamery
Kevin and I were the only two people on the tour at Cabot Creamery.  Thank goodness the tour bus was late.  During the tour, Kevin asked the guide, “What if one of your cheese tasters becomes lactose intolerant?  Do they get disability?”  Without batting an eye, the guide smugly pointed to one of the brochures in the rack that read, “Our Cheese Is Lactose Free.”  Touché!

We made a quick detour to the north to visit a concentration of covered bridges.  Mosquitos were vicious, but the locals were friendly.  One gentleman who had lived in the Northeast Kingdom all his life offered to take our photograph and pointed us in the direction of another bridge.  Another man called to us from his truck, commented on my Colorado license plate and noted that his daughter lives in Colorado.  We found three of the bridges and even drove the RV through the last one.

School House Bridge

Chamberlin Bridge

Sarah and Kevin at the Chamberlin Bridge

Miller's Run Bridge
Every day the autumn colors become more and more pronounced, and driving the back roads is glorious.  As we crossed into New Hampshire, however, it started to rain.  We had hoped to ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway this afternoon and headed that way just in case the weather cleared.  The rain never stopped, but it wasn’t too bad, and we decided to take the train anyway.  This is the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway, and has operated continuously since 1869.  It climbs steeply to the summit of Mount Washington, elevation 6,288 feet.

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Our Train
Kevin is a train nut, and was in his element.  The weather deteriorated as we climbed, and the visibility at the top was only 50 feet.  That was fitting for Mount Washington, however, home of the world’s worst weather.  We had a great time anyway and enjoyed the ride.

Climbing Through the Raindrops

The View On the Way Down
Tonight we parked the RV in front of the ski house that belongs to Jane’s sister Mary.  Located in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, the house was just a short drive from the Cog Railway.  Thanks, Mary.

September 21, 2011

Through the Adirondacks to the Northeast Kingdom

What started out as a foggy morning evolved into brilliant blue skies and a gorgeous autumn day.  A detour to Lake Placid, New York, along scenic byways seemed in order.  The higher in elevation we climbed, the more color we saw.  The town of Lake Placid is just as charming as I remember, and Kevin and I walked throughout the downtown area and bought multiple flavors of popcorn.

On the Way to Lake Placid

In the Adirondacks

Mirror Lake in Lake Placid
Kevin’s request for the day was a crossing from New York to Vermont on the Lake Champlain ferry.  On the way to the dock, we stopped at Ausable Chasm, an early tourist attraction featuring a deep gorge with waterfalls. 

Ausable Chasm
We arrived at the ferry dock with plenty of time to wander around and chat with fellow passengers.  The Kat Karrier continues to garner plenty of attention.  Her first boat ride was a total success.

Waiting for the Ferry

On the Water

I'm Not Seasick

Kevin on the Ferry

After docking in Burlington, Vermont, we had time for only a quick overview of the downtown area.  When Kevin got out to take photographs, several college students on the sidewalk where I stopped began to drool over the Kat Karrier.  They asked me, “Is this a personal vehicle?  Are you on the road?” and commented “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”  I continue to marvel at the reaction of most men to the RV.  If I were single, I would have no trouble meeting men in this thing.  Thankfully, though, I’m not.

We couldn’t travel in northern Vermont without stopping at Ben and Jerry’s.  It was amusing to see all of the flavors that never hit the stores, and we took with us “Late Night Snack,” which is vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chip clusters.  Yum.

Ben and Jerry's Cowmobile

Who's Ben, Who's Jerry?

After a stop in Montpelier to photograph the Vermont State House, it was time to find a campground.  We pulled into an iffy one adjacent to an RV sales lots.  If we had stayed, Kevin was certain that we would have been sold by morning as we were the nicest RV on the lot.

Vermont's State House at Montpelier

A bit farther north in the middle of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom was a much more suitable choice, the Groton Forest Road Campground.  For a change, there were no mosquitos, and we could enjoy a bit of time outside.  Kevin even had a chance to bond with Kitty.  I think Kitty misses a man’s voice and has been very affectionate with Kevin, who’s not a cat person at all.  Kevin says that she has her “purr motor” on when she’s with him.  Don’t you just love his “Kevinisms”?

Kevin and Kitty

An Apple a Day