Acadia National Park, Maine

July 2009: We’re getting a ton of visits to this site for the Precipice trail from search engines. I feel we should add more than the two pictures I have here, so I will do a new post with more pictures. The trail is great! It’s not really that hard if you’re fit and not averse to a little exposure. The hike takes maybe an hour up and half-hour down. The views are fantastic, at least as good or better than the drive (or cycle as we did) to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

Twilight

Joining the crowds after road biking to the top of Cadillac Mountain, about a 1,000 ft climb. When we told curious tourists that we regularly cycle a mountain seven plus times that big in Tucson, their eyes said they thought we were full of it.

The parking lot from the top of the aptly named Precipice trail.

Claire on the Precipice trail; short but brutal.

After the Precipice, we mountain biked the carriage trails built by and for the wealthy. You can still ride a horse or carriage on the well maintained trails with numerous beautiful bridges.

Bar Harbor from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

Bar Harbor


Huge wild roses grow from sea to summit of Cadillac Mountain.

Thunder Hole. Not much compared to Oregon and Washington blow holes, but obviously very popular hereabouts.

Those darn artists. They make a nice quiet place look so inviting that they end up attracting so many people that the landscape is too full of people to paint anymore! The Hudson River School of painters discovered Mount Desert Island (a dry forsaken place, or a luscious sweet, nobody knows for sure) and took their paintings back to Boston and New York to sell. The rich bought the paintings, and decided it would be a lovely place to take their summer holiday. Soon the quiet farming and fishing villages played host to the “cottages” of the fabulously wealthy of the golden era of capitalism. Then the merely wealthy came to huge “rustic” hotels, and the place has never been the same. Changing antitrust laws, (that Teddy Roosevelt!) and a handful of preservationists, led to large donations to land, and eventually the Federal Government created the first National Park east of the Mississippi in 1919. It is a very heavily visited park, but you only have to walk a few hundred feet into the forest to get your little bit of silence, and it is even possible to have an unshared stretch of rugged shore to yourself as sea birds and lobstermen make for shore in the gathering night. From tidepool to sub alpine it is well worth the visit, if you’re ever Down East.

bob

Thanatopsis

When I made this image, I wondered why it touched me. Janee’s most recent post told me. They are in the late stages of a heroic battle with Michael’s brain tumor. Now the time has come to settle in for sundown. Too soon one chair will be empty.

Michael has willed many to love Janee and support her in her twilight of loss. We will.

Live Free or Die


Beauty and Beast


Steam engine in North Conway


Locals enjoying the river.

Early leaf.

We will be back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire by late September.

I love New Hampshire’s state slogan. It no doubt means different things to different people; therein lies its’ genius. They seem a bit laid back. We got to the Welcome Center coming in from Vermont in late afternoon, our preferred stopping time, and wanted to spend the night. We parked beside two big rigs settled in for the night. A very friendly Virginian, delivering Honda generators in the north country, told us he parks there weekly without problem. Claire hinted we wanted to stay to the Welcome Center staff, and he told her lots of people sleep there, even in cars. No worries. I remember traveling the East in college days, in my 1958 VW and (being both young and short), slept in the back seat in all kinds of places, some not so wise, like inner city Washington, D.C., but never had a problem. There is something undeniably pleasurable about sleeping in a public place; I’m sure it’s not so fun for people who have no other choice, or without the nice motorhome, but it’s fun for us.

The North Conway Chamber of Commerce visitors center was predictably more stuffy: “Definitely not.” was the answer about parking near the center-of-town playground/park. We did anyway, tucked in beside a 60’s hippie bus there for a craft fair the next day. Sometimes you just have to live free, despite the snooty minority.

The town of North Conway is chock-a-block with tourists, but we could tell there is a real town with real people raising families there. They came out on a hot Saturday in droves to splash in the innovative fountain pool and played tether ball and touch football. I thought of Moab Utah, the main street awash in tourist overload, but with quiet trails and parks and ball fields, and bucolic neighborhoods, tucked away from the noise and confusion, and as often the case with such towns, a fabulous library paid for with tourist taxes. Ah justice.

The Chamber of Commerce visitor center stirred up a topic: We have found in around 90,000 miles of away-from-home-base surface travel (bike and motorhome) in North America, that the state or provincial visitors centers are always very open and helpful, but the Chamber or Visitors and Convention Bureaus etc. seem to be only interested in directing you to their own members; any alternative or non-member queries are met with barely disguised disdain. The attitude makes us move on to a more friendly environment. It’s just business I guess; In my business, I worked on the premise that good business is being open and helpful to potential customers (everybody is a potential customer!) whether they appear to be immediately interested or not. I suppose I’m old-fashioned that way. It worked for me.

I have noticed that Wal*Mart associates are quick to tell you where to find a product that they don’t carry. That also applies to quite a few large stores like Ace Hardware. I think they have learned from Mom and Pop. The Chambers should give it a try.

Vermont

An evening on Joe’s Pond with Jim and Sue Paulsen.

We met Jim and Sue tandem touring in Nova Scotia in 1999. They had dinner with us in Turtle One several years ago in Tucson. We visited them in South Burlington, where we managed to get in two parties, and a bicycle ride that included a ferry ride, bicycles only. A day later, after we’d test driven and photographed a Roadtrek, we met them at the family camp on Joe’s Pond, VT, for dinner, a short paddle and after breakfast, a sun warmed morning on the porch, watching loons and comparing world-travel stories. They showed up at the library in St. Johnsbury, where we were desperately in need of a break, and we enjoyed tomato sandwiches with them on the front lawn. We were jealous that they could ride off into the sunshine, while we went back to the computers.

Two Bicycle ferries passing on Lake Champlain.

Jim and Sue at home in South Burlington


Vermont grown.

Vermonters fly the flag more than any place we’ve been.


A foggy morning at Cold Hollow Cider Mill. A wonderful boondock (ask first).

Watching the very early stages of the process at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory.


Library in St. Johnsbury, VT