Month: October 2010

  • Finally ready to share some vacation photos.

    We were both wiped out when we first got home – we didn’t even get unpacked until the weekend.  Then, I had a couple of bad pain days and although I’d uploaded all our photos onto my computer right away, we both used cameras and it was a bit of a daunting task to sort 500 photos for 3 days’ travel and come up with a few short stories to tell!  :) But finally I got through enough for a couple of stories so here we are. 

    Between the two of us, only one photo was taken that first day when we drove from here to Ellsworth, Maine.  (Ellsworth is directly inland on Route 3 from Bar Harbor/Acadia, about 15 miles or so.)  The address on our motel’s website was “Routes 1 & 3, Ellsworth, Maine.”  I programed that into the GPS we borrowed from Jason, and we got up there in very good time – well before dinner time.  Sometime after we’d entered Connecticut, I’d realized that we didn’t grab even one of my jackets – a hooded sweatshirt or my heavy winter coat! – from the doorknob where I’d hung them next to where my bags waited for Faron to carry them out. So before dinner, we planned to go looking for a WalMart to get a couple of sweatshirts or something for me to wear up Cadillac Mountain at sunrise the next day, and on the cruises we planned.  We noticed very quickly that in Maine, and New England in general, you are welcomed to a town a full five miles before you see anything looking like a town.  We knew Ellsworth was no great metropolis but we did expect more than the occasional barn!  :)

    But Madame Le GPS had gotten us this far with no hitches so we turned when told to, and turned again, and followed this road to the end.  About the third turn of Route 3, we ended up leaving paved roads.  This didn’t sound right but we went along. That is until we approached a private house on a private lake.  I’d just been telling Faron we were in Stephen King country, and we passed a couple of creepy, empty houses behind brambly shrubs before we came to The Estate.  We half expected Cujo to come tearing around the house, ripping our tiny car to shreds but we were able to turn around and get outta there without attracting any attention that we could see.  We did see a pretty little area near a spillway from the lake.  Faron jumped out and snapped a photo or two:

    We ended up backtracking and driving from one end of town to the other before we finally asked and found our motel.  We dumped our stuff then went back to where we’d seen the WallyWorld and did our shopping, then, as it was getting to be near 8pm and none of the restaurants I could see sounded like any of the ones I’d read about, we settled for a boring ol’ Friendly’s and went back and settled in for our first night of torture. 

    We haven’t shared a bed since Faron shattered his ankle.  Our room was only large enough for a double bed and four legs – three of which are more than a bit sensitive, are about 2 too many for a double bed!  Well, the room I’d reserved said “2 Queen”.  I expected 2 queen beds.  No – it was Room 2, queen bed.  :)   Faron said I hit him all night.  Well, he snores.  (So do I, ok??)

    One thing about sleeping so poorly, it makes getting up at 4:30 to get to the top of Cadillac mountain for sunrise quite doable. 

    We threw on some clothes and Faron brewed himself a mug of coffee and I grabbed a bottle of water and we were off.  Our first glimpses of Acadia National Park were of the carved with signs with their glow-white letters in pitch darkness.  We didn’t know what to do about paying admission for the park at that hour – they do – you don’t.  It took a bit for us to find the right road up but we were guided by a determined runner (a guy from Kansas, on vacation, running at 4:30 am.  And he was 60-something.) and found our way up.  And up.  And the “upper” we went, the mistier it got.  And it was foggy at the motel. 

    We got to the place that was labled “Summit” and we parked.  Faron got out and walked around – he was the first to climb to the top that day.  He came back reporting that there are accessible paths all the way to the top, not too steep and with plenty of spots I could rest if needed.  We waited in the car for about 20 mnutes.  Until 5:30 I think.  Sunrise was at 6:27.  We had the forethought to grab the blanket we’d tossed in the car, and that’s the only thing that kept me from fleeing back to the car.  The wind was blowing HARD – at least 35 miles per hour, and it was dark and maybe about 50 degrees or colder.  The fog was a thick, wet mist that had my hooded sweatshirt and pants wet in minutes.  I sat in the seat on my walker and Faron tucked the blanket around me before he went off exploring in the dark.

    Here’s a photo he tried to shoot in one of the brief seconds of the mist clearing, when he could see the lights of Bar Harbor below us:

    It was too brief.

    But here he is, happy as a clam to be up there, even though we never did see the sun:

    You can see he’s about as cold as he can stand to be.    I headed down the mountain at this point.  He stayed to scramble around some more.  There are paths leading down from nearly every direction.  By the time it was as “full” light as it was to get that morning, we’d been joined by about 40 other stupi…um, hearty souls.  The thing is, Cadillac Mountain, being the highest peak on the eastern coast of the US, and maybe North America??, is the first to get the sun as it rises.  If there’s no mist. We’d read that you can’t MISS sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.  Well, we did. 

    We went on down into Bar Harbor after that, to find breakfast.  We went to the Jordan Cafe and had wild Maine blueberry pancakes.  They were fantastic.  Surprisingly filling considering there were only two of them, and of course overpriced but they were good.  And there was no grumbling when we ordered hot tea, and it was LIPTON! 

    After breakfast we got back in the car (we’d been fortunate to find a parking place a door down from the restaurant) and tooled around Bar Harbor.  We ended up down at Town Pier, where Faron parked and I told him to beat it – I wasn’t about to go trudging around a hilly little town in the rain after a filling breakfast when i was already damp.  “I’ve got a book, my sketchbook and a bottle of water.  Go!”  He was gone for perhaps 5 pages (maybe 5 minutes?) when he came back to say that they were selling tickets for the whale watch’s morning run and should we get ours.  We’d already decided to wait and see if Tuesday was more promising weather but I could tell he really wanted to go so we did. 

    A quick shot from the gangwalk looking out over the harbor:

    Not a promising day, eh?  This next shot is of one of the privately owned islands just off the coast, Jordan Island, showing a rich expanse of beautiful pink granite:

    We had a great whale watch – saw 6 whales, including the nearly extinct Northern Right whale.  The one decent photo I got of a whale was of that whale’s tail – even though it was taken at distance and through the width of the boat:

    Faron had a ball.  Here are some shots of him enjoying the sight of so many whales and so many unusual, especially to us landlubbers!, seabirds. 

    We were warned if we were wearing ball caps to turn them backwards as they go quite fast and they won’t turn around for ballcaps.  I thought Faron was adorable with his hat like that. 

    I kept encouraging him to go and be on deck – he was getting seasick when there were no whales and he’d go but then he’d worry about me on my own and gravitate back. 

    He got sick on the way out and on the way back.  I think it’ll be a long time before I can talk him into another boat trip of any kind.  He got sick on the flight to Las Vegas last year but he didn’t any of the other times he’s flown.  We’d planned another cruise for the next day, around Mt Desert Island, but after his adventures, even though he loved the whale parts, we skipped that.  He said I should go on my own, but that’s a lot to ask of a crew – an unattended person with a walker attracts a lot of their attention, needed or not.  I just didn’t feel it was necessary. 

    After that, we headed back to the motel for a nap.  After riding all day Sunday, sleeping poorly Sunday night, and getting up before even a half-crazed rooster would consider it on Monday morning, we were tuckered out.  

    The nap did its work and we drove back to Bar Harbor to the restaurant at the pier where we left from for the whale watch.  Our trip that day entitled us to a 10% discount, on top of the early bird special, which we were more than ready for, having skipped lunch.  The Fish House is a nice restaurant with fresh everything.  :)   I got a lobster roll so Faron could try it before committing himself and he got fresh haddock.  Both were fantastic.  And I had a cup of the BEST clam chowdah evah!  The restaurant is on the lower level of the building that houses the ticketing agent for the boat trips, as well as a couple of gift shops and an adventuring place.  There’s a long ramp from street level down to the pier level. 

    By the time we navigated that and got back to the car, it was dark and it was obvious that Bar Harbor in September rolls its streets up pretty early.  Back to the motel for some rare television time.  No cable at our house!

    Note the moose on top of the shop in the center of the photo.  We got a big kick out of all the moose crossing signs, and looked diligently for moose, but alas, the only moose I’ve seen since my parents took Kim and me to Yellowstone in 1968 are the two legged kind.  (Hazel’s brother-in-law Moose, and my friends, the Moosebugs!)