Monday, August 29, 2011

We made it to Maine

It has been an exciting stay in Bangor Maine. Our main (no pun intended) objective was to eat lobster, lots of lobster.  We are staying at a very nice campground, Paul Bunyan. The folks here are very helpful so we took all their recommendations for where we could find good lobster.  Captain Nick’s was our first stop.

2011-08-22_19-01-15_51Our first night in Bangor Captain Nick’s had a special, $9.95 each for these dinners of 1 1/2 pound lobsters, baked potato, and cold slaw.
Day 1 we drove to Bucksport, Maine to see the impressive new bridge over the Penobscot River.  The old bridge became unsafe due to rusting cables so the new bridge was built in record time.
The 2 bridges sit side by side.  The east tower  has an elevator that we went to the top, 460 feet in 17 seconds.
The view from the top looking down on the 2 bridges was great.
In looking down from the top of the bridge tower we could see Fort Knox. Not the one that holds lots of gold.  This Fort Knox was built in 1844 through 1864 but never completed. During the Civil War a few troupes were housed outside the Fort as it was not done.  After the Civil War it was abandoned.
One of the most interesting parts of the Fort for Tom was the cut granite arches. Just look at the intricate workmanship.
The next day we drove to Bar Harbor – that’s Baa Haa Baa.  We could not have a day without lobster so we had our first lobster rolls in Maine.  Delicious! That is a lot of lobster.
Then we drove through Acadia National Park on our way to Bar Harbor.
We passed by a bay where the rangers were directing traffic. We stopped to see what was going on. A Minke whale had washed ashore on Sand Beach, a popular swimming area in the park.  The rangers had towed the whale to this cove and the students from the Whale Institute were cutting it up and taking it to the Institute to see if they could determine the cause of death of the whale.  The ranger said this was very unusual.
Bar Harbor was so crowded.  We did get some real good ice cream to finish off our lobster rolls though.
Day 3 was a rainy day. We started with another lobster roll at the Eagle’s Nest in Brewer. It was so small and crowded that we shared a table with a couple from Nova Scotia.  What a delightful time we had talking about the RV lifestyle with them.  We thought the last one had lots of lobster, but this on was huge. There was so much lobster it just spilled over everything.

It was looking pretty wet outside so we decided on an indoor experience, the Cole Transportation Museum.  We were very surprised at what a fabulous museum this was.  It was advertised as the museum with the most snow plows on display, but it was so much more.  These pictures will give you a idea of the extent of the very well displayed articles.

Friday we did some geocaching and went down to the Folk Festival Grounds down by the Penobscot River.  We ate a delicious lunch of grilled crab sandwich that we ate so fast I didn’t even get a picture.  I did however get a good shot of our shared desert, blueberry upside down cake with cinnamon ice cream.  Our view on the patio was nice, too.
Saturday, we expected Hurricane Irene to come right over the top of us, so we planned on staying inside all day.  We had originally thought about driving west to Burlington or New York, but it just did not feel right.  That was an excellent decision as Bangor was one of the few areas that did not get too much damage from Irene.  We started our day with our big slide in and we were cozy in the heavy rain and wind that came in waves, but did not last long.  I did cook breakfast for a change: seafood Tuscan sausage, cob smoked maple cured sausage, eggs, and bagette with Maine blueberry jam. 
This is the view out the bedroom window looking at the lake behind us.  The water came up to within about 4 feet from us then started draining so we were not in any danger of flooding.
Pansy took it all in stride – what a traveler.
Tomorrow we move south to visit Augusta, the capitol, and Delorme, my GPS factory, and maybe some more caching.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Hampshire–Mostly Caching

(Continuing to watch Hurricane Irene in Bangor, Maine.  It looks like it is going to pass us to the west and we will get a little more rain and wind, but not real bad.)

We stayed at another Elks Lodge in Littleton, NH. They are on the honor system, meaning you can donate $10-$15 per night to the lodge if you want; so we did.  We had a very nice 50 amp hookup in a huge parking lot.  We had rain each of the 3 days we stayed.  The funny part of this weather was the rain came in very fast and very heavy, but did not stay very long.  Unfortunately we usually went into a restaurant or the store when it was not raining and when we came out we got totally drenched running to the car.  We finally decided to take an umbrella with us even when it was sunny.


We drove into the small town of Littleton to have a delicious Thai dinner and found a small storm had just come through town and tore up all the flowers in the planters along the street and left lots of hail. The store owners said this had never happened before,


We did some geocaching each day.  There was a category D-5, meaning the hardest in difficulty, although it was a T-1, meaning the easiest terrain.   This was located on a beautiful covered walking bridge over the Ammonoosuc River.  Day 1 we did not find it but enjoyed the view. 





There was an interesting place where a cache was placed called Emandemandem.  We found a cemetery, not the usual cemetery, a horse cemetery.  There were 3 horses buried here, Maud, Mollie, and Maggie.  This was established in 1919 and has been cared for ever since.  What we didn’t find here was the cache.  Darn, 2 DNF’s (did not find’s) in a row!!!  We think the cache at the cemetery was taken as there was not a lot of places to look and all 3 of our GPS’s were within 5 feet of the area where we think it was.  The ‘find’ we think is most important is the interesting history that the local cachers bring us to.


It was suggested that cachers leave a penny and a stone on the graves so we did.

Before we left for Bangor, Maine, finally got a cache. This was a pitiful D1 T1, but it still counts. Confused smile


This a short blog, but 2 in one day is a record for us.

Vermont-Food, Forts, Flowers, and lots of Granite

I’m writing this from Bangor, Maine, about 350 miles east of Burlington where we were parked at the Elks Lodge.  As I look out our front window (big slide pulled in) the rain is coming down in sheets and the wind is gusting. Hurricane Irene is coming to town.  We anticipate 2.5” of rain and wind about 45 mph.  In Burlington right now they anticipate 5-9” rain and wind about 65 mph.  The reason I begin our blog with this bit of information is that yesterday we very seriously considered moving further west to Burlington to avoid the brunt of Irene.  We just did not get a good ‘feeling’ about moving (thank you, God) so we decided to stay.  Good plan!

Back to a week ago.  We headed to Vermont, turning right instead of going into Canada only 500 yards to the north.  This was the closest we have come to Canada.

Vermont has a lot of things going for it for a very small state.  If you like maple syrup, blueberries and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, this could be your favorite state.  Every day while we were here we take day trips, traveling about 50 miles a day away from our beautiful spot at the Elks in Burlington.  By the way, if any of our Elk RV’ing friends have an opportunity to park here, do not miss the fabulous lunch that is served 6 days a week for $6.95 a plate.  I had the best Haddock sandwich, coleslaw and fries and Tom had a huge BLT with potato salad and fries and drinks for less than $15.  Nice.

Our first day trip was to check out the Ethan Allen homestead.  All I ever knew about Ethan Allen was that he made real good furniture… just joking.  He was the hero of Vermont, but more of a redneck. He was one of the Green Mountain Boys who rebelled against New York when they tried to tax the residents of Vermont who had been given title to their land by New Hampshire.  Neither New Hampshire nor Vermont were part of the original 13 colonies.   Can you imagine living through the Vermont winter in this little house with a wife, 8 children, and 2 servants?
Our next day trip was to Fort Ticonderoga that strategically guards portage between Lake Champlain and Lake George.  This Fort played a very important role in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars.  It is a living history site with Fife and Drum Corps, Long Rifle demonstrations, and even a soldier making leather leggings.



The gardens at the Fort were worth the trip even if we had not gotten to tour the Fort itself. The flowers were just beautiful and the docents in the garden were very informative.
We took the ferry over and back from Vermont where we were parked and New York where Fort Ticonderoga is located.

Next day, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream tour.  Sorry no pictures allowed.  They think Haagen Dazs might steal.  So this is as good as it gets for pictures.
Our final adventure was to see the Capitol, Montpelier, the nearby granite quarry and Hope Cemetery.
We noticed all the curbs in Vermont were made out of granite. When talking to some Vermonters we were told it was much cheaper to cut the curbs out of granite and replace them when the ice heaves move them around rather than pour more cement curbs.
So we headed for the incredible Hope Cemetery to see what granite workers can do in the cemetery closest to the quarry.
Well, it’s still raining and windy so I’m going to take a break and maybe post the next blog, New Hampshire.