Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Down East and the Maritimes: Day Five (Part 1)

We started our day at the early time of 3:00 AM. Our campground is about 40 minutes from the Cadillac Mt. turn within Acadia National Park so we figured to give ourselves plenty of time to get to the summit for the 4:59 sunrise. Well, as should have been expected, there was no traffic at 3:15 in the morning and we zoomed right along arriving at the summit at about 3:45. We weren't first, but we were in the first dozen cars in the lot. That would continue to change as the minutes ticked away.

We found ourselves a comfortable rock with some plant growth directly in front of us--thus giving no one a chance to block our view--and settled down in a chill breeze to wait.

Color began to appear in the sky quite early as a low bank of clouds began to reflect pink, purple and orange from the approaching Sun.
Lightening sky to the northeast at 0425
Minute by minute the color became more intense.
Color to the northeast at 0428.
And the crowd began to swell. The parking lot filled and folks parked on the road and/or in the middle of the parking lot blocking everything.
The sun was scheduled to appear over the horizon at 0459 and it seemed it was going to wait to the last second. But meanwhile it would tease.
Still no Sun at 0457
And then...MAGIC!

The first sliver peeped above the horizon right on schedule. (Some people did not. They were late to the party.)
First sliver of sun at 0458 and a smidge.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Down East and the Maritimes: Day Four

We puttered around downtown Bar Harbor for a couple of hours on an overcast and drizzly day on Sunday.
Sailing vessels at Bar Harbor

Lobster boats at Bar Harbor
Monday was a different story! We got there bright and early so we could hog glob find one of the few free, all-day-if-you-want parking spots on West Street. (That's the street that runs right along the harbor front.) Although we got there around 7:45 AM we were still over a quarter mile from the trolley depot. We were early enough to go get a cuppa and sit on one of the benches overlooking the harbor before making our way to the depot.

Four-master at Bar Harbor--in the sun!
Our tour departed at 10 AM sharp and we had a marvelously entertaining and informative tour of Mt. Desert Island that included stops at the top of Cadillac Mountain, the Wild Gardens of Acadia and Thunder Hole. We only stopped for 15 minutes at each, but it was enough to give you a taste.

Dorr and Cadillac Mountains from the Loop Road
The Atlantic from atop Cadillac Mountain
Bar Island and the Porcupine islands from the Loop Road
Thunder Hole

While Terry and I have been to two of those places many, many years ago, this was our first stop at the Gardens where we were enthralled. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. is labeled and identified for you.(We went back in the afternoon to take a more leisurely look around.)

Tomorrow we will be going up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the first rays of the sun strike the US. That sunrise takes place at 4:59 AM but to find parking at the top we were told we should plan on being there no later than 4:15 with 4:00 being even better.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Down East and the Maritimes: Day Three

Sunday: Day 3

We took the long, slow path from Biddeford, ME to Trenton, ME today. It was raining so we decided to delay our arrival at the Timberland Acres Campground as long as possible. Besides, we wanted to see some small villages/towns along US Route 1 that we would have missed if we had hopped the interstate. It was worth it as we passed through several very picturesque little towns founded in the late 1700s and early 1800s with their very Victorian homes and downtowns. Some very impressive painted ladies!

We still got to the campground around 1:30 PM which afforded us time to look at the handouts provided by the campground staff over a quick sandwich and then head down to Bar Harbor. Once there, we purchased some warm outerwear, booked a trolley tour of Acadia National Park with Oli's Trolley for Monday morning and a nature cruise with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. for Tuesday afternoon. It's a two hour cruise so I'm pretty sure we'll be okay.

We stopped and had a drink and an appetizer at Paddy's near the town dock. It's a beauty of an Irish pub and we sat in the bar where everyone else was glued to the TVs watching Portugal vs France in soccer.

On the way back to the campground we picked up a boiled lobster at one of the many lobster pounds along route 3. The lobster was to supplement the left over french fries, fried shrimp and fried clams from last night's dinner.

We also stopped at the campground office and got one of our propane tanks refilled as it had run empty during the cold of Saturday night. It did it's job of taking the chill out of the trailer and, with the windows closed and an extra blanket, that was all we needed. Thankfully, the trailer comes with two 20 pound tanks--the same size as those used on your gas grill. I was able to switch over to the second tank this morning so we could have coffee and tea. That's the first tank I've had to refill--and that's after the long cross country trip to the west coast last year. I really need to get out on the road more often.

(BTW, the stupid low tire pressure light was on for the first ten miles of today's trip and then--poof!--it disappeared.)

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Down East and the Maritimes: Days One and Two

Friday: Day One

We left the Aerie on Friday morning and enjoyed an uneventful drive up to Woodford, VT where we stayed at the Greenwood Lodge & Campground on state highway 9. Nice folks, pleasant setting (next to a ski run) and, if we had been so inclined several activities (nature hikes with plenty of birds, canoeing in a fairly large mill pond, etc.). The owners felt it necessary to appologize saying they usually didn't have many children in the campground, but Bennington was hosting a national motocross(?) race this weekend and they had reservations from several families who were planning on attending. From what we saw, some of them must have decided NOT to show up because of the iffy weather. (drizzle and some solid rain fell during the night.)

There was a nice country store across the street (half mile walk) that sold pretty near everything we needed and more including homemade salads, chocolates and pastries. We spent some money and enjoyed the edible portions of our purchases immensely.


Saturday: Day Two
The short trip from Greenwood Lodge & Campground in Woodford, VT to Old Orchard Beach Campground in, well, Old Orchard Beach, ME was somewhat eventful. 
1- Immediately after leaving the gas station across the street from the campground, the low tire pressure indicator light came on. Try finding a place to pull over a pickup hauling a 31' travel trailer in rural Vermont on a two lane state road. I finally found such a spot and hauled out the little Slime air compressor and a tire guage. Pressure seemed fine in all four truck tires but I put in a pound or two iin each just for good measure. The warning light was still on. I shrugged my shoujlders, uttered a few well chosed four-letter words of encouragement and drove on. Some 10 miles later, the damn light went off and stayed off for the rest of the trip.
2- It drizzled off and on the entire day. We roads are slick roads especially when hauling a 31' travel trailer up and down 8% grades with many, many s-curves--and stop lights in every little hamlet and at every corner of the larger towns. Cautious is not the word for how carefully I was driving.
3- MapQuest directions proved very vague and sometimes down right inaccurate. The restaurant at one corner, DiAngelo's had moved a 1/4 mile from the intersection. And wasn't on any corner anymore. Luckily it was in the direction from which we were coming so we had a warning that something was afoot. There was no "ramp" for the turn I was supposed to make when US 202 turned left, so I missed that. That led to a gas and lunch stop further down the (wrong) road where we got our bearings and made corrections.

We did eventually get to the campground and only added a few minutes and a couple of miles to our travel.

It's still drizzling, however, and just about 60 degrees. So we will not be visiting the beach or the pool today. Now the Lobster Trap restaurant up the road is another story.

Tomorrow it's off to Ellsworth/Trenton, ME and the Timberland Acres RV Park just up the road from Acadia National Park. We'll be there for a couple of nights as we get to explore the park and nearby Bar Harbor.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Of Mice and Meandering

As I mentioned in the last post, I detest mice in the trailer, shed or cabin. To that end, I scattered mothballs in the shed and have seen the amount of mouse activity decline.

And Monday, I set five traps in the trailer. Tuesday I found two trapped mice and one sprung but empty trap. Wednesday I found two more trapped mice and two sprung but empty traps. My quest for a mouse free trailer continues!


In preparation of our meander into New England and the Maritime Provinces, I made the final calls to several campgrounds today to make reservations for our trip that starts Friday. Had to change my planned destination for the Bay of Fundy are when I found out the campground is now a drive-in movie theater. All the other stops have been successfully booked so we're good to go.

I've printed out directions to each campground and Terry got a bunch of Nova Scotia booklets, maps and brochures from a friend of hers who just returned from there. All we need to do is pack the trailer, check and correct the trailer tire pressure, and hitch her up to the Tundra on Thursday evening.

Oh, and our cat/house sitter has confirmed her acceptance of responsibilities for the duration.

We're really looking forward to this little trip. We've not been to Nova Scotia since the big blackout hit NYC in 1977. (We had also honeymooned in the vicinity of Acadia National Park back in 1972.)


I cut the grass this afternoon using the mower that AJ's cleaned the mouse nest out of. It ran perfectly. And ran out of gas just as I finished the last little bit of "lawn."

Monday, July 04, 2016

I Hates Meeses to Pieces! (Mostly)

Oh, mice are okay--in their place. Which, for me, is outdoors in the woods and fields. They do NOT belong indoors! Whether it's in the house (never here at the Aerie, but a regular occurance when we owned the Bolt Hole), in the shed, or in the trailer.

If it wasn't for the White-footed Deer Mouse I wouldn't have earned my Master's Degree. (Trying to find out if the little guys traveled across the interstate highways of NJ I spent two years trapping, marking and retrapping mice on I-287 and I-78. There were plenty of mice on the median and in the adjacent "mainland" woods, but I only caught one brave enough to cross three lanes--includes the shoulder--of wide open spaces. Doesn't mean they don't cross the road, I would have to do a lot more live trapping to make a definitive finding.)

Up north, I would set four traps in likely places throughout the Bolt Hole and capture--read"kill"--three to six mice a night for the first week I was there after a long absence. Then things might quiet down and I'd only get 1 or 2 every other night.

I had some problems starting my lawn mower the day before I was to go to Quebec. I cleaned the airfilter of some debris but the darn thing would run for a second or two and then die. Being in a hurry toget the grass cut, I took it down to AJ's Outdoor Power to get it repaired and then went to Lowe's to purchase another push mower so I could get the job done.

I got a call from AJ's upon my return to learn that they had removed a mouse nest and the mower was running fine. Cost me the price of a new mower (about $200) and repairs (about $45) but I've now got two mowers that work. And a shed sprinkled with moth balls. Hey! They're supposed to keep mice away, too.

Terry and I spent some time last Saturday cleaning up mouse droppings, pee and nesting material from various spots in the travel trailer. I used duct tape, aluminum screen and foam insulation to close all the gaps I could find. Today we found more droppings and, opening a cabinet we had overlooked, a missed nest along with two desicated mouse bodies--one in a plastic trash can that must have been too tall for the mouse to climb out of once it fell in.

I set some traps inside and one in each of the storage bays. Hopefully we'll have no hitchhikers when we hit the road on Friday.