10/01/2004 – Geneseo

We spent the morning getting things ready for our alumni visitors. The reunion began at 3:30 when we went to seminar. Dave Marchetti had agreed to give a talk on his dissertation work – at the urging of Dick Young. Amy, who is in charge of seminar, had originally scheduled Amanda Brill Colosimo for a presentation, but she got bumped by Marchetti – he was coming from UT and Amanda is up at MCC – farthest traveled wins. Jessica Barone, also at MCC, had planned to come down for Amanda’s talk, and when she got bumped, they decided to come down anyway. Jessica overlapped with Dave, so it was a reunion for them. Plus, all three of them got to meet the newbies: Scott and Dori.

 

Dave’s talk was super. He took a very complicated topic and rendered it not only understandable but interesting as well. Of course, the present majors thought it was w-a-y over their heads – after all, it was Dave Marchetti and not Dave Matthews. Whatever, I thought it was very good … AND Dave even got to reference Joe Licciardi’s work – not once, but twice. There was alumni stuff all around.

 

We followed tradition and went to the Idle for symposium after Dave’s talk. The students had all fled the scene before we finished talking about Dave’s presentation and looking at his maps. Dori had errands to run, but Scott agreed to join us for a beer. The six of us took up residence at a long table in the SE corner of the Idle where we managed to work our way through a pitcher of Perfect Porter with a pitcher of Blue as a chaser. Dave was glad that a chaser didn’t come after him to enforce the “ban for life” Dave had incurred in the Idle many years ago.

 

The conversation was animated. It turns out Scott knows someone Dave knows, so they had that in common. I talked to the MCC girls about their jobs. This is Barone’s fourth year, and she kept mentioning things like seniority. Barone now has seniority AND hands. She had no hands the whole time she was at Geneseo, then she goes to Ball State and a miracle happens; she now has hands.

 

Maybe I should explain the no hands thing. Jess always wore oversized sweatshirts and sweaters, the sleeves of which completely covered her hands. I used to kid her about having no hands. After doing her MS at Ball U (gotta love that), she got a job at MCC and viola, she now has hands. Jess is a great person doing very good work – and paving the way for Amanda … not that she needs it ;-) Believe it or not, 4 of the 6 people interviewed for the MCC position Amanda now holds were female Geneseo graduates! But that shouldn’t be surprising, considering 1. the quality of Geneseo grads and 2. the number of female Geneseo grads, even in Geology.

 

After we finished our pitchers, we headed to Naweedna for some quality time on the porch … and more beer … and Wegman’s pizza. Unfortunately, Scott had to go home to the little woman, so neither he nor Dori have been to Naweedna yet. The five of us sat on the porch chewing over old times until eleven or so when they all decided to head back to Rachacha. Our Friday reunion was over all too soon. But tomorrow … JenO, Erin, AJ, & Karen come to town.

 

10/02/2004 – Geneseo

Jess, Amanda, and Dave were replaced by JenO (O’Reilly) and her sister, Erin, who arrived shortly after noon . We continued the tradition of sitting on the porch and talking about old times. However, this time we had ham/salami sandwiches washed down with tea. Erin , at JenO’s urging, had brought a large travel binder full of her favorite CDs, so she and I eventually sequestered ourselves in the computer (music) room. Music talk is always better with beer, so we all started sipping shortly after lunch.

 

Before JenO and Erin arrived, I was working on a way to remember Erin ’s name – getting old, you know. There is a Nat King Cole tune called “I’m an Errand Boy for Rhythm” and Diana Krall covered it but changed the “Boy” to “Girl.” Sooooo, I kept playing “I’m an Errand Girl for Rhythm” in my head until they arrived. It turns out that Erin is a fan of Diana Krall, so it was all very appropriate. She had two Diana CDs I didn’t and I had two she didn’t. Pretty good exchange, eh? She also had the newest Nora Jones, so I ripped that one two. She also had lots of other stuff I didn’t know about – including a large collection of Dave Matthews – so I let her select some of her favorites. I did the same with JenO’s travel CD collection. All in all, I ended up with over 300 new tracks. As thanks, I dumped a bunch of female jazz singers, Mose Allison, the Northern Exposure CDs, and some other odds and ends on a couple MP3 CDs. The beat goes on.

 

Around five, we got a call from AJ Romanelli. He and Karen were in town for homecoming. It was Karen’s ten year event and a bunch of her college friends and their significant others were all ensconced in Oak Valley Inn B&B , out on NY20A. We packed up and headed to town to meet up with them at … the Idle. I duplicated last night’s beer offering, and we sat around another long table getting caught up on each other’s happenings. AJ and Karen are the clear winners in the happenings department – they are moving from Ft Collins to Hawaii .

 

AJ, Karen, and her cronies were planning to continue bar- and restaurant-hopping for the rest of the evening. JenO, Erin, Janie, & I opted for dinner at Mill’s Race in Mt Morris. Of course, Kathryn, was our waitress. She remembers me from the time I wore Jason’s (now my) Trojan Magnum Condoms hat. Yeah, I suppose that is kinda unforgettable. I prefer to call her Kathleen, and she doesn’t seem to mind a bit – as long as there is a big tip. She’s pregnant and the kid is due in January. Maybe it will hold off until the 31st, Janie’s birthday.

 

We had a nice dinner and JenO beat me to the check. I just can’t get used to being “kept” by my former students. Anyway, she had brought two six-pack samplers of PA beer, a whole bunch of music, and now she’s picking up the tab for dinner. Oh well, it was money well spent – we had leftovers for the next two nights, so that makes three dinners on JenO’s dime. We headed home after dinner for a nightcap and early bed time. JenO and Erin were kinda poohed out from their long drive and Janie & I were poohed from an active 2 days of debauching with persons well below our age, so we all turned in at a respectable time for persons of our age.

 

10/03/2004 – Geneseo

We arose at an appropriate time for a Sunday and had our morning beverages on the porch. Around eleven, Janie headed for the kitchen to mix up a batch of blueberry pancakes. We had just finished the first serving when AJ and Karen pulled in. They had already eaten, so we finished up our brunch and then commenced to talking ‘bout things … again.

 

20041003-ErinJanieJenO.jpg (59720 bytes)

Erin, Janie and Jen look like they are waiting for breakfast or lunch or dinner, but Bog only asked us to say "cheese", not eat it!

20041003-AJ&Karen.jpg (65654 bytes)

AJ really knows how to say "cheese"! Or perhaps Karen's right foot is in a delicate place?

20041003-JenO&Erin.jpg (74720 bytes)

Jen and Erin aren't mirror images, but the O'Reilly family resemblance is evident!

 

Eventually, the sun dried the dew and we were able to take a walk around the grounds. This was Karen and Erin’s first visit, so it was kind of a tour. AJ picked an almost ripe hazelnut and, later, cracked and ate it. That was the first hazelnut we had ever gotten from our hazelnut trees (shrubs, whatever) – the squirrels always beat us to ‘em. AJ is tall enough to reach the nuts on the tree – we have to wait till they fall, which is usually too late.

 

After the tour, we took up residence on the sunny, warm deck for an hour or so before JenO decided it was time for her and little sis to start heading for PA. JenO had wanted to get an Aunt Cookie’s, so the two O’Reilly’s, AJ, & Karen packed up headed out to do that very thing. There we stood watching two pair of taillights disappear down the drive. Another alumni gathering has come and gone. What a great bunch of kids … well, they are fledged and fully employed adults now. We are fortunate to have them – and the rest of you – as friends. Thanks ;-)

 

10/04/2004 – Geneseo to Sacandaga CG, Wells NY

Now it was time for us to leave. We got up, finished packing RVan, and headed down the drive ourselves. We were starting our last trip of the season – heading out for New England . It was another of those gorgeous days – until late afternoon when it started to cloud up a bit. There was plenty of fall color on the hills and a gentle breeze to our backs. We were on the road again.

 

We stopped for lunch at a pullout on the north shore of Lake Oneida, Cleveland, NY. After that, we continued east into the ‘Dacks, and tonight we are encamped at Sacandaga CG, just south of Wells NY, in a hemlock glade on the bank of the babbling Sacandaga River. Exactly three of the 140 campsites are occupied – just the way we like it. Also, there were no attendants at the gate and no pay envelopes, so we are camping free (not counting all the taxes we pay to the state of New York anyway). That’s the way we like it, too ;-)

 

10/05/2004 – Sacandaga CG, Wells NY to Passaconaway CG, Kancamaugus Hwy NH

We got up early and were on the road at first light, around seven. Alas, there was no attendant to take our money, so we got off with a freebie – thanks, Gov Pataki, for understaffing the parks. We had a lovely drive through the ‘Dacks. There was very little traffic, the weather was clear & crisp, and the scenery was spectacular. Yay!

 

We navigated our way to the Chimney (or Crown) Point Bridge over Champlain. Once in VT, we poked around a wildlife area looking for rare geese and birds of prey. Oh, I forgot to mention that there was a bald eagle perched on top of the center span of the bridge. Our route was eagle approved. Unfortunately, that was the most exotic thing we saw. There were plenty of Canada geese and house sparrows, but that was about all. Except … for the six turkey we saw along the road earlier in the morning … and six more later that evening. We see more turkey every year … and eagles, too. But there were no rare Brants or Hawk Owls to be seen … by us.

 

We made our necessary pilgrimage to Sugarbush Farm to stock up on cheese and maple syrup: 3 lbs smoked cheddar, 0.5 lb bleu, and a gallon of grade B syrup – the dark, maple-y kind. All for eighty some bucks. Then it was off to NH and Kancamaugus Highway through the White Mtn NF. The highway was packed with leaf peepers. There were several of those big-windowed tour buses, a bunch of huge RVs, and even more cars – most with two occupants. Yep, leaf peepers for sure.

 

We were a little concerned about getting a campsite, but, not to fear, only four of the forty-some sites in Passaconaway were occupied, and one of them is us. It has been very cold today, so we are expecting a frost tonight. We brought one of our remote temperature gauges and hung it on the passenger-side mirror last night. It was 35 when we got up. I expect it to be closer to 30 in the morning. We may have to run the furnace just to generate enough heat to keep our pipes from freezing. Yeah, and keep us toasty warm to boot ;-)

 

10/06/2004 – Passaconaway CG, Kancamaugus Hwy NH to Somes Sound CG, Acadia ME

Okay, if you read the above, you know that I predicted a low of maybe 30. Well, try 24, because that was the reading on our outdoor sensor this morning – ten degrees lower than yesterday morning. We were very lucky none of our plumbing froze. It came very close, even with the furnace running – set on 50. How do I know? I could tell when I turned the water on in the morning. There was a cavitation sort of sound – a harsh gurgling – that I assume was the result of ice starting to form in the line. It happened when I first turned on the sink faucet and it happened when we first tried to flush the toilet. Fortunately, it quickly went away and the water flowed normally thereafter. Bob, we just love the new quiet pump. Hell, with the old pump, we wouldn’t have been able to hear the water at all. Thanks again for the suggestion – it was a well spent $125.

 

We got another early start – on the road by seven. Although we were about on the latitude of Acadia, all of the N-S estuaries and coastal population centers forced us to go north and then drop down to get there. We ended up going right through Wayne, Maine where our old OSU buddy, Woody Thompson, lives on the moraine. Woody is a glacial geologist, so living on the moraine in Wayne, Maine is most appropriate, eh?

 

We were just knitting together as many small roads as possible while trying to get to Acadia, or very near, by the end of the day. As it turned out, we arrived on the island around three and had plenty of time to seek a campsite. We usually go to the Seawall CG, which is part of Acadia NP. It is on the western part of the island – the quiet side they call it. There are 3 reasons we aren’t now encamped there: 1) you have to pay a camping fee AND a $20 entrance free for the NP, 2) it’s closed, and 3) it does not have showers. All 3 reasons are equally significant.

 

Once before, when both the NP campgrounds were full, we were forced to stay in a private thingy. We paid a considerable sum to set up our tent on the edge of an open field surrounded by several hundred of our soon to be worst enemies. Thus, we had a kinda bad taste for the private campgrounds in the area. We spent the rest of the afternoon checking out ALL the possible private campgrounds on the quiet side.

 

We had only a few criteria to meet: we needed to dump, we needed a shower, and we needed a reasonable price for a quiet parking place. Two of the campgrounds satisfied our needs except for the $30 fee. One was cheap ($16) but didn’t have a dump station that we could use (our dump hose comes out the left front of the vehicle, not the back like regular RVs). Another one looked really good and had all the amenities. However, when we went to the office to see what the price might be, we saw that the entire enterprise was for sale. I suppose we could have bought the whole thing, but that might have been a bit extravagant.

 

The one we settled on had an easily accessible dump station, nice level sites, and a note that said someone would be around tomorrow at 9 AM to collect our fee. Hmmm, we don’t plan on being here at 9 AM , so maybe we’ll get another freebie. Oh, the pay showers are the only negative, but fifty cents buys all the hot water you need, so that wasn’t so bad either. Yeah, I’ll pay fifty cents to camp anytime – especially when we are one of maybe three or four campers.

 

This morning we saw the now traditional flock of turkey, and this afternoon, Janie saw a bald eagle. We had lunch alongside a tidal estuary and got to see some peeps – those very difficult to identify shore birds that go along the shore and constantly stick their bill in the mud looking for who knows what – and cormorants sitting on every exposed rock in the bay. Yeah, each cormorant-adorned rock had the requisite white cormorant racing stripe. They are not attractive birds.

 

10/07/2004 – Somes Sound CG, Acadia ME

So I’m sitting here in the same campsite as last night drinking a 22 oz Thunder Hole Ale from Bar Harbor Brewery. Janie is working on a 22 oz Blueberry Ale from Atlantic Brewery. Both are brewed on the island, and both are award winners. Mine is a ’97 World Ale Champion. We are celebrating seven hours on the carriage roads in Acadia . Only four of the seven hours was actually spent biking for a total of 25 miles. Let’s see, we can do the math. That works out to four hours of biking at the blistering rate of 6.25 mph. Then there were three hours of doing … nothing. Well, there were a few things to look at.

 

What did we see? Well, we didn’t see any turkey. We did see a loon, hermit thrush, junco, wood ducks, several mallards, and an osprey. The osprey was the replacement for the daily eagle. We also saw a porcupine (live!) and some lovely fall scenery. We biked over several of the remarkable bridges, but only took a glancing shot of one. We have other pictures from previous trips. You can check ‘em out here:  

[ME 2003 Text] Link to trip log and pictures from ME2003 trip

 

 

20041007-BubblePond.jpg (97554 bytes)

Bubbles Pond in Acadia National Park  

20041007-BubblePondLoon.jpg (50586 bytes)

A common loon looks uncommonly sparkly on Bubbles Pond.

20041007-FallColorFromTrail.jpg (78420 bytes)

Fall foliage looks breathtakingly beautiful on Eagle Lake Trail. Yeah, that's why I'm having trouble breathing, the scenery!

20041007-Porcupine.jpg (82967 bytes)

South end of a porcupine going north on Parkman Mountain trail.

20041007-BogBridge.jpg (63145 bytes)

Bog checks the Carriage Road Trail Map - Yep, we're at Duck Brook Bridge heading west on the trail to Witch Hole Pond.

20041007-SealHarbor.jpg (50348 bytes)

From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam ... No, wait, prairies were a previous trip.

 

The carriage roads are truly remarkable. They are extremely well maintained and the surrounding countryside looks as though a landscape architect had designed every square inch of it. Of course, it is the other way around. Landscape architects learn to mimic the natural beauty of natural places like this. It is remarkable that the place is so clean and neat given the heavy use it gets. Later, we learned that Rockefeller did indeed employ a landscape architect. Although she (imagine a female designer c. 1927!) did not design every square inch of the carriage roads, she did landscape around the bridges.

 

This is my favorite biking spot of all. The terrain is varied; the views are spectacular; and the trails are perfect. The only problem is: people. We were on the trail by eight, well before most others. However, by noon , there were several bikers and hikers sharing our wonderful scenery. There were not nearly as many as during the height of the season, but still more than we would have liked. Alas, we cannot have Acadia to ourselves.

 

10/08/2004 – Somes Sound CG, Acadia ME

Again, we rose early and got out of the campground before the money collectors showed up. Today, we drove over to a little-used road that we had discovered last year. It has access to the carriage roads and exactly ten parking spaces. We were anxious to get there early. Although we arrived by 7:30, we did not have the place to ourselves: there was one other car parked there already. We drank our morning beverages leisurely and prepared for another day on the carriage roads.

 

Today was almost a carbon copy (there’s an out-of-date term) of yesterday: 7:30 hours, 24 miles, 3:40 bike time, 6.5 mph average speed. The weather was equally spectacular. Last night I looked at the trip log from last year and discovered that we had similar weather then; but it was nearly a month earlier. This has been a remarkable fall for sure. We hope the great weather continues for at least the remainder of our trip.

 

I noticed something today that I don’t recall seeing before. The moon is 24 days old, so it is only visible long after sunset and for a few hours after sunrise. Or so I thought. We could see the moon well into the early afternoon. I don’t recall being able to see the moon during bright sunlight, but we sure could today. Maybe one of you Earth Science teachers can explain it to me.

 

Speaking of last year’s trip log, we are pretty much duplicating that trip, so I am writing and documenting this year’s trip less. Please refer to last year’s trip log for additional detail and picture [ME 2003 Text]. Here are some pictures I took today, however.

 

20041008-ParkmanMtnView.jpg (76446 bytes)

Janie surveys the splendors of Acadia from a rocky knob on the side of Parkman Mountain. This view is to the northwest ...

20041008-SomesvilleView.jpg (72607 bytes)

View of Somesville from Parkman Mountain.

20041008-EagleLakeScene.jpg (108482 bytes)

Eagle Lake from north end of Sargent Mountain 

20041008-WoodDucks.jpg (115293 bytes)

A male wood duck in his colorful feathery finery surveys the lily pads on Witch Hole Pond.

 

As luck would have it, we pulled into the “free” campground just as the attendant was leaving the office. We, being the honest, noble, and not so bold people that we are, ‘fessed up to staying three nights – in a tent site. Well, that will be $20 a night, which comes to $60 and $4.60 for the Governor. Sure, we could have just driven on by. The guy left after taking our money. Or we could have told him we were staying just one night. That’s not the way we do things. Just to show how little he knows about what’s going on, in this campground, he assigned us to a “choice” spot down on the "watah" (Downeast accent). We drove down – after he left – and discovered that it was already occupied. He didn’t even know. So we are back, for the third night, in old #42, which is level and easy to get in and out of. It’s Friday of the Columbus Day weekend, and there are twice as many campers tonight. That would make it all of six.

 

10/09/2004 – Somes Sound CG, Acadia ME to Cobscook SP ME

We rose early and tried to get to the Seawall picnic area before sunrise. It never pays to race the sun – the sun always wins. We pulled in, got out the camera, and snapped a quick shot of the already risen sun as it cuts through the morning haze over the Atlantic . We enjoyed the morning glow … and our morning beverages. Then we were off to points east. Acadia was gearing up for the last holiday weekend and the end of the season, and we opted to escape the ever-growing throng.

 

20041009-SeawallSunrise.jpg (26452 bytes)

Sunrise at Seawall Picnic Area, Acadia National Park, Maine

 

There is another part of Acadia NP on the Schoodic Peninsula to the east, across Frenchman Bay. We discovered this part of the park years ago. Since that time, others have also discovered it, so it is not nearly as empty as it was, but it is still less crowded than Acadia. Last year we biked it, but the road is one way and you have to ride two miles or so on a busy state road to complete the loop. We opted to just do the drive and take a hike along the rocky shore – and check out the birds.

 

Since I am decidedly an inland person (not much oceanfront in Ohio or western NY), walking along the beach is always a pleasant diversion for me. The rocky coast of ME is particularly interesting. There were lots of little tidal pools teaming with sea-things, about which I know almost nothing. The living things that inhabit these pools are colorful if not active, and I love looking down into the seemingly perfectly clear water and imagining I know what all these things are. The weather was very pleasant, although maybe a bit windy. It all made for a great experience – landlubber or not.

 

Whenever I get close to a coast, I seem to develop a taste for seafood. We were walking over barnacles, mussels, and snails, and we could see the remains of clams, crabs and sea urchins that had been consumed by the birds. I started wanting some of that kind of thing myself. We decided to head up US-1 toward Cobscook Bay SP, which is off in the far eastern part of ME. US-1 is not exactly the back road we would have preferred to take, but it is the only through road, so we were forced to take it. Janie remembered a Road Food restaurant, Helen’s, along the way. We’d been telling other people about Helen’s for years, but never made it there ourselves, so we decided to stop in for a late afternoon snack. Good idea for Janie; big mistake for me.

 

Well, stopping at Helen’s wasn’t necessarily a big mistake for me. Getting a plateful of fried clams was. No matter how much I want to eat seafood, my system just can’t seem to tolerate it. I knew that, so I ordered a small portion of clams. Good lord, a small portion turned out to be a dinner plate heaped high with stringy, crispy clams. I wonder how big a regular serving is. The first two or three clams were good. The fourth and fifth started to make my lips quiver, and the sixth and seventh made me say, “Nada Mas”. I shoved the rest of the plate over to Janie’s side and worked on the fries and coleslaw. I must have some allergic reaction to seafood. Odd, I can tolerate canned tuna and salmon – I even like it – but I can’t eat the fresh stuff. I can’t remember the last time I tried to eat seafood, but you can be sure it will be a longer time before I try again.

 

So getting the clams was a big DON’T. So were the first two campsites I picked at Cobscook. The first one turned out not to be a campsite at all but rather a parking area for clamming – one peck per person limit. I certainly didn’t want to clam, but the parking area looked like a really nice place to camp. It even had a fire ring. The only thing missing was a campsite number.

 

The second site I picked turned out to be a walk-in campsite for tenters. Hmmm, that must be why I had so much trouble backing RVan into the rather tight entrance. The two sites on either side are regular campsites, but they didn’t have as good a view. We ended up with a site on top of a little hill where we had a great view of the stars. I spent the rest of the night trying to keep my clams down. After a bit, my queasy stomach gave way to mild abdominal cramps, which later turned into gas. Ah, relief – finally, at least for me. Sorry, Janie ;-)

 

10/10/2004 – Cobscook Bay SP ME

It was Sunday morning in every respect. I was over my gastric distress and was working on a profound hunger – not for seafood. We had slept long and hard and neither of us was up for doing much. Although it was fairly warm (55/62 out/in), the sky was overcast and the air was amazingly calm. Although not low to the ground, the clouds were like a thick soft blanket that muffled the air, sound, water, & feeling. Everything oozed peace and quiet. We lolled around having our morning beverages and reading until around nine when Janie stirred up a batch of French toast – with good ol’ grade B dark maple syrup from Sugarbush VT. Then we unracked the bikes and took a tour around the park.

 

During our tour, we discovered that the campers we saw leaving while we were lolling had vacated some choice sites overlooking the bay. We moved RVan to the best of their leavings and headed to the office to register. On the way, we biked through the other camping loops. Holy crap, there are 125 sites and fewer than ten are occupied – on a long holiday weekend. We sure did the right thing leaving crowded Acadia and coming here.

 

We ended up at the other end of the park, on the south side of the bay. There is a picnic area there with pavilions right on the crags overhanging the shore. We stopped at some of the most remote ones and spent a couple hours sitting on the rocks and scanning the water and shore for wildlife. There was no wind and the water was perfectly smooth – the only disturbances were the birds, fish, and seals. That made finding the wildlife a lot easier. We saw lots of loons, cormorants, gulls, terns, and a few seals – including a life bird: surf scoter. All of the animals were in a quiet Sunday mode also. We normally don’t spend much time looking at cormorants or gulls, but these were so relaxed and quiet, it was entertaining to watch them.

 

20041010-CampSiteCobscook.jpg (98391 bytes)

The rocky coast of Cobscook Bay blends nicely with the fall foliage of New England and the greenery of sea stuff at low tide.

20041010-RockCobscook.jpg (246312 bytes)

The rocky coast of Maine near and far, although this boulder was probably brought by the glaciers from even farther.

20041010-JanieCobscookSPView.jpg (153342 bytes)

Janie casts a sidelong glance at the photographer - "are you through, yet"? She should have been focused on the scenery.

 

We eventually got to the registration building, registered, and deposited a postcard in the handy mail box. Hey, it’s time for lunch, so we headed back to our new campsite. The combination of the weather, lack of people, beautiful scenery, and abundance of wildlife made the campsite very appealing. While Janie whipped up some toasted salami-and-cheese-wiches, I set up our folding chairs right on the edge of the rock ledge overlooking the bay. We had a great view of the same things we had been watching from the other side … AND … two other novelties: a great blue heron and a bald eagle.

 

I had noticed the GBH while exploring around the edge of the campsite. It seemed totally odd to have a GBH in ME on October 10, but there s/he was, standing tall and proud with both feet firmly planted in a tidal mudflat. Hey, maybe that’s why s/he is still here. Whatever, I called for Janie to come see. Just as she was coming out of RVan, I heard a bunch of crows raising a ruckus. That usually means they are mobbing a bird of prey, so I looked over their way. Sure enough, they were chasing a bald eagle and the whole group was headed our way. The eagle swooped to the left and landed in the top of a smallish pine on a little island across the bay.  Ah ha, this campsite is eagle approved.

 

20041010-EagleCobscook.jpg (133773 bytes)

Bald Eagle Alert - Janie's ready with binoculars and spotting scope, but distracted by the computer in her lap. Ah, roughing it!

 

The whole Cobscook experience reminded me of AK. Of course we don’t have the spectacular backdrop of mountains laced with glaciers, but the quiet bays, rocky shores, and piney woods are very reminiscent of the places B’n’C took us in AK. Today, the quiet water made Rorschach reflections of the rocky shore, similar to Hidey Hole on PWS. Hey, Janie even has a print of our Hidey Hole picture on the cover of her log book. Okay, so Cobscook isn’t as nice as Hidey Hole, but if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, eh?

 

Aside from the minor inconvenience of the seafood reaction, the last two days have been every bit as good as the two in Acadia . The experience has been different, but just as enjoyable. Acadia is spectacularly beautiful, which is the only thing that makes dealing with all the people worthwhile. It is more difficult to find equally beautiful coastal environments outside Acadia , but when you do, you have them more to yourself. So it becomes a trade off. Wall to wall beautiful scenery that you have to share with people you don’t know and probably wouldn’t like if you did … OR … Less densely packed pleasures that are more intensely person and private. We certainly favor the latter, but we are finding it increasingly difficult to find them.

 

10/11/2004 – Cobscook Bay SP ME to Hadley Point CG Bar Harbor ME

Well, today was everything yesterday was not. We woke to a busy breeze and ponderous clouds, which persisted the entire day. The wind made the water choppy and kept all but the hungriest birds hidden in protected areas. We later learned that a small tropical depression was providing the clouds and wind. Later, it was supposed to provide a steady downpour – I’ll let you know tomorrow.

 

We decided to take our time getting back to Acadia, so we headed north to Eastport. We had never been to Eastport before. Last year we went to Lubec and found it to be very interesting. Maybe Eastport would be also. It was not. Not that there is anything wrong with it, just that it wasn’t as impressive as Lubec. Now we know.

 

We had breakfast on the Eastport causeway where we watched boats dredging for scallops. At least that’s what the information sign said they were doing. There were several boats just dredging away along the same channel. The channel was very close to Eastport, and I’d think it would be pretty much played out, but they were working at it with great diligence, so there must be some profit in it.

 

We then took ME-9 away from the coast and back toward Acadia . It is supposed to be a quiet back road with beautiful scenery: large blueberry fields mixed with woodlots displaying full fall colors. The scenery was as advertised, but we didn’t find the road to be quiet. The road connects Bangor to Calais, which is the gateway to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Apparently, it is also a major truck and tourist route. The N-S little roads that connect ME-9 and US-1 are quiet – and beautiful – but both of the E-W roads are busy – and beautiful.

 

Last year we discovered a nice little road that parallels US-1 for about twenty miles, so we took off on that. It was a bit like ME-9: beautiful but busy. It winds its way between a series of lakes, one of which we stopped at last year for lunch. We did the same thing this year. The pullout is a little spur road that leads to a boat launch. There is a parking area beside the boat launch. I decided to be “pushy” and park in the parking area right next to the boat launch road. That provided us a nice view of the lake but didn’t block the boat launch completely. Well, I hadn’t even turned off the engine before a carload of leaf-peepers pulled up and parked next to me – completely blocking the boat launch. It was four blue-haired old ladies with disposable cameras. They milled around looking for just the right picture, took it (their flashes went off – for what purpose I don’t know), and then got back in the car and drove off. I had a smoked cheddar-mayo-horseradish-onion-wich and Janie just had cheese, mustard and bread. We spent about an hour looking at the water and trees.  Two other cars of leaf-peepers came and went. A car pulled in right after them, parked right in the boat launch and a young girl with two large dogs got out. The car license plate was PAWS II, but there were Paws VIII on these pups (and two leashes). They pulled her around the lake for a walk; then they sat on the shore for awhile and barked at us. Well, the dogs did; if she was barking, too, we couldn’t hear her.

 

We got back to Acadia around 4:00. This time we decided to try a private campground on the north end of the island – better access to the carriage road parking place we prefer and closer to the exit for when we leave the island. This is a full-blown RV park that also has several tent sites mixed in. The tent areas are nicely wooded and only cost $20 – and there are showers and a dump station. We don’t need either tonight, but if we bike tomorrow …

 

Right now it isn’t looking too promising for tomorrow. The lady at the reservation desk said it was supposed to start raining around midnight and continue through tomorrow morning. We will just have to see what happens.

 

10/12/2004 – Hadley Point CG Bar Harbor ME

Just as predicted, it rained off and on most of the night and the morning dawned misty with steely-gray clouds and blustery wind – even more so than yesterday. Hmmm, to bike or not to bike, that is the question of the morning. We decided to go over to the parking area at the Duck Brook Bridge and have our morning beverages while assessing the situation. Hey, we came all this way to bike Acadia . It isn’t raining. If we keep to the trails that are protected by trees, then we should be able to deal with the wind. We’re not wimps, let’s hit the trail. That is exactly what we did. And, in retrospect, we are very glad we did.

 

We biked around the east side of Eagle Lake, up to Bubble Pond, and down Jordan Pond. Then we headed across to the Amphitheater Bridge and on to Hadlock Lake, where we stopped and had a snack of good ol’ smoky cheddar from Sugarbush on Ritz with a dollop of Nance’s on top – ummm, good. Then it was on around the north end of Sargent Mountain (that’s how they spell it, folks), down to Aunt Betty Pond, up around Witch Hole Pond, and back to Duck Brook Bridge. All for a total of 24 miles in six hours of real time and 3:30 bike time (6.8 mph average). Yeah, we went a little faster than before … had to keep warm you know.

 

There wasn’t much wildlife out on this particular day. We did see several thrushes, probably hermit, and lots of juncos. The juncos looked perfectly at home in this weather. They must be on their way south after spending the summer in northern Canada.

 

On this trip, we have biked something like 75 miles in Acadia. There are only 45 miles of bikable trails, so we obviously did some of them a couple times – make that three or four times. Nonetheless, it was very enjoyable and well worth the effort to get here. All of the biking and two days of exploring Maine’s rocky sore – it has been a most rewarding visit.

 

We now know what it takes to keep other people off the trails: bad weather. We only saw ten people the whole time we were out – only two of them on bikes, the rest afoot and all near enough to parking areas that we suspect they weren’t going far or staying out long. It really wasn’t that bad; I’d guess the air temp was in the mid to low fifties and the wind chill ten or so below that. We were wearing four layers: long sleeve polypro, over-shirt, fleece, and rain/wind jacket. It wasn’t bad at all. Next March, this will feel like a balmy day.

 

After we got back to RVan, we decided to take a final lap around the island. We found an ocean overlook and made a couple cups of hot chocolate to wash down some chocolate-chip cookies. Yeah, we are on a chocolate high. Then we drove on around to Seawall to look at sea ducks and seals. After that, we returned to Hadley Point CG and signed up for another night – in a different campsite. Last night we were in C20 (Janie’s choice). Tonight is C35 – my choice. So which do you like best ;-)

 

20041012-SWHarbor&MargaretTodd.jpg (140213 bytes)

Southwest Harbor and the Margaret Todd, which is more impressive when her blood red sails are unfurled, but it was too windy for sailing. (Maybe that should say when the sails are "furled". Remember, we're landlubbers and don't speak boat). 

 

Tomorrow we will shower and dump RVan and head out of Acadia. We are homeward bound. There is always a bittersweet taste to returning. I suppose it is good to want to stay out longer, and it is good to want to get back home. We tend to travel to break the homebound routines, and we go home to break the traveling routines. It is all about change, which serves to enhance your appreciation of wherever you are whenever you are there.

 

We will be stopping at LL Bean tomorrow and then Vermont Country Store the next day. Someone has to keep the economy going, you know. We can’t count on you work-a-day people having enough time to spend money, so we’ll have to do it for you ;-)

 

10/13/2004 – Hadley Point CG Bar Harbor ME to Bradbury Mtn SP ME

Whoa! If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day. The day dawned cloudy but cleared quickly to reveal one of those glorious blue Canadian skies. What a day to spend driving and shopping … that’s what we did, folks. I’m not complaining at all. Yesterday was just fine. The blustery weather kept the other tourists at bay, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We hope THEY are all outside today and NOT shopping. Fat chance.

 

We dumped RVan, showered, and left the island around eight. We were forced to take US-1 because of bridge issues, but once across the bridge, Janie pieced together a string of back roads that were just what the doctor ordered. Trust me, I’m a doctor; the very doctor what ordered back roads in fact!

 

We found ourselves in Freeport just before noon. You all know what’s in Freeport, right? LL Bean. Janie had bought a pair of pocket binoculars last year and decided she doesn’t really like ‘em, so we exercised Bean’s guarantee and returned them. She turned around and bought five pairs of slacks, a shirt for me, some postcards, and a bike seat for less than the amount of the refund. Pretty good trade off. If we timed it right, we could go back and buy the binos back for a fraction of the original cost! But we don’t want them at any price.

 

We then went to the main store and rummaged around for an hour or so. How can they have so much stuff and so little you would actually want? The only thing we bought was a pair of black light-weight cargo pants for me ($39). It is hard to find dark colors for this style of pant, so I was induced to pay the full price. Plus, this was the only pair in my size, so I guess I fell prey to “purchaser’s fear”. We would have bought some shoes, but the shoe department was the busiest spot in the store and we couldn’t get anyone to wait on us, so we quit waiting on them.

 

We got back to RVan around three. Janie whipped up a couple cheese & tomato sandwiches for our l-a-t-e lunch and we were off to a nearby state park to set up housekeeping for the night. Bradbury Mountain SP is only about ten miles from Freeport . It is a cute little campground with 40 some sites, three of which are occupied, including us and the campground host. We are sitting here under a collection of large oak, white pine, and maple all awash in the setting sun. I’m having a beer while we wait for the ranger to come and collect our $13.

 

The ground around the campsite is alive with juncos. There must be fifty hopping around on the ground just beyond our campsite. Oh, now they have entered the campground itself. I can see twenty or so working the leaves at the campsite across the way. They are really working things over. Any bugs trying to hide in the leaf litter better watch out!

 

10/14/2004 – Bradbury Mtn SP ME to Lake St Catherine’s SP VT

We were awakened by the beep, beep, beep, clang, crash, roaring engine of a garbage truck emptying the park dumpster – at 4:18 AM for chrissake. Fortunately, we were able to get back to sleep. Unfortunately, neither of us was able to get back into a good sleep cycle, so we got up before first light and prepared for early take off. We were on the road just as the sun was turning the eastern sky into flaming crimson. There were a few scattered, high clouds that took their turn glowing first brilliant red then bright pink and finally light rose. Pretty neat. And the ranger never came to collect, either, so our last night of camping in Maine was free.

 

We stopped at the Loon Center on the north end of Lake Winnipesaukee. We’ve been to the southern end at Wolfesboro, which is where we first ate Pop’s Old Fashioned Handcut Donuts. Unfortunately, Pop’s is no longer, and Wolfesboro is a tourist mecca and traveling nightmare for us. The north end is a little better, but still too congested in our estimation.

 

The Loon Center opened at nine, and we arrived at 9:02. Janie did a survey of The Feather Gift Shop for Loon-y items to purchase, and then we took the 1.7 mile trail along the shore of the lake. Upon our return, Janie went in and purchased her goods; then we had our granola and headed on to VT.

 

We reached our objective, the Vermont Country Store in Weston, around 2:30. After a couple orbits of the store, and tasting all the free samples, we started loading up on things we had come for, like cream drops, Yorkshire tea, balsam-filled moose-decorated draft stoppers, winter gloves, Dr. Scholl’s sandals, and a bag of horehound for mom. There were many more things we had marked in the catalog to look for, but we didn’t find them, couldn’t find them, or gave up without trying to find them. The place was a zoo, full of people, mostly fat, and mostly old. I figure Janie was the youngest shopper in the place. We can’t remember having been to the store in Weston since 1990 when we were there with Mikey and Beth, and it’s likely to be another 14 years before we go back. Let’s see, I’ll be 75; Janie, 67, so we’ll fit in better with the other shoppers.

 

It had started to sprinkle by the time we left with our loot; the first rain we’d driven in. The mountainsides were still spectacularly colored with rust and gold leaves and we finally got on some roads without much traffic.

 

Tonight we are parked on the shore of Lake St Catherine VT. There are over fifty sites and just two campers. Last night, the ranger never came to get our money, and the same will likely be true tonight. Most of the state parks close on 10/15, which is tomorrow. I suppose they don’t think it is cost effective to have someone come around to do the collection. Last night, Janie had the money ready to fork over if anyone showed up, so they didn’t. Tonight, the money stays in the wallet, which is getting rather empty with all these shopping expeditions.

 

While we were waiting for the ranger to show up last night, I developed a little theory for ensuring the campground is quiet. Most rangers are so polite that they will not disturb you if it looks like you’ve gone to bed. Certainly, they won’t come banging on your door if all the lights are out. So if they post a notice that the fees will be collected by a ranger, all the campers hurry to get their lights out before the ranger comes around. It certainly worked that way last night. The campground was completely dark by a little after eight.

 

10/15/2004 Lake St Catherine’s SP VT to Geneseo

I got up around 5:30 – I had to pee. At that point, I decided to just stay up – what the heck; I can read for a bit. Anyway, we had been in bed since nine, so I guess it was just time, eh? It was an overcast day, so the sun was slow to rise and when it did, there wasn’t any color like yesterday. We had a bit of difficulty getting out of the campground. Somehow we managed to go down every wrong road there was. Hey, it was dark. Nonetheless, we managed to find the exit about 7:00 , and we were headed down the road.

 

Oh, the ranger never showed, so that’s two consecutive nights FREE!!!! Wow! We saved a total of $29 plus applicable taxes. Maybe we should have bought more at the stores ;-)

 

Janie found some really nice roads along the southern part of the ‘Daks, so we just motored along enjoying the just-past-peak scenery. The roads eventually emptied us out in Herkimer, where, horror of horrors, we got on I-90. A couple hours of that found us just north of Canandaigua. We exited, gave the nice tollbooth man a couple bucks and a whole bunch of nickels – here, this is so you don’t blow away. We stopped at Wendy’s in Canandaigua for our lunch and we were parked in our garage by 3:00 . Holy cow, that was a fast return – for us ;-)

 

Another trip is in the books – the last for this RVan traveling year.