|"They've lost it." Jax|
Tuesday (1.5) Dave was out riding and so Jax helped me mow the lawn, then we played a bit, mostly him barking at me and running around, but what ever. After that foolishness I took him on a walk to run some errands. It might be his age or the camping but he is so much better around people and other dogs, he is not an angel by any stretch of the imagination, well maybe if you think Buddy Cianci or Kwame Kilpatrick were or are innocent. He has improved greatly and just when I think we may be turning a corner he reminds me he is still crazy.
Wednesday (5.5) Ro and I opted to walk and not do the hill loop. I think she wanted to run. I can't run and talk at the same time and yes I'm still very insecure about my running. We aren't strolling but we aren't running, and really our pace is only a minute slower than my typical walk/run pace. Whatever.
|Carriage Road gate house|
We left for Acadia after I got home from work! The first destination: Cracker Barrel in Portsmouth ME. We were spending the night in the Cracker Barrel parking lot. I know it sounds a bit odd, but this is part of what we will need to experience on longer trips. Dave doesn't like to drive for more than 6 or 8 hours towing the trailer. I can't blame him and since he doesn't trust me to drive, it is all on him.
We pulled in to the CB parking lot about 10 p.m. made up Jax's bed, shifted some stuff around to half of Jax's bed so we could get into our bed. We keep the solar panels and the chairs on the "big bed" while traveling. Jax seems a bit miffed he had to share his bed. The dinette makes up into a twin sized bed, there was room to spare. As the CB is off the highway there was a bit (ok a lot) of road noise, plus we were in a parking lot. I got a bit paranoid someone would rob us, but then figured Jax would sound the alarms and he looks pretty ferocious when he's spazzing out barking.
Thursday (3) We weren't robbed although none of us slept all that great. Another RV arrived during the night, they were up walking their dog this was of great interest to Jax. Dave went to CB to order some breakfast, I mean we used their parking lot shouldn't we buy food there?
|Jordan Stream Bridge|
And we were off to Acadia! Check-in time at Blackwoods Campground was noon and we were there at the crack of noon. This was odd for both of us. We weren't sure exactly what to do. I took a walk around our side of the campground with Jax, help him get his bearings, and then we figured we'd take a walk down to the ocean, so we did that. OMG it was so beautiful, the teeniest tiniest bit of the shoreline we saw. I certainly didn't remember this from the last time we were here in 2000, for Kris and Brooke's wedding. After all that it was still early so we took a drive around the Park Loop Road to get our bearings.
|A bit of fall!|
We did the tourist thing of driving up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Jax can add this to his list of summits, right? We can't. I think the drive around the Park Loop Road was far more spectacular. Everything was spectacular but the drive was more so... if that can be a thing. Basically, the Park Loop Road gave me some clue about Mount Desert Island (MDI) as well as Arcadia, they aren't exactly one in the same Arcadia is in MDI. I knew we'd be there for a while so this was the first time I purchased a tour book specifically for the place. After scouring Amazon I came up with a lot of recommendations for "Acadia: The Complete Guide" by James Kaiser. I was dubious when I ordered it because usually these things are filled with shopping, hotel, and restaurant recommendations, NOT at all what we consider important. Food is just a thing we have to do, we had our own accommodations, and the thought of crawling through tourist town shops, when we live in one, isn't appealing either. This book was worth every penny I paid for it, there was maybe a page on shops and restaurants, the rest was on the island and the park and all the fun outdoorsy things to do as well as a little history, just enough to explain the geology, geography, and history, not enough to put a person to sleep. We both read it cover to cover on Thursday.
Friday (25 + 3) Dave kept telling me I needed to bring my gravel grinder (Dolly) that the carriage roads would be what I wanted to ride. I was mostly convinced. I'm still not happy with her shifting and breaks and seriously need a new chainring or cassette, I need lower gearing. From the tour book, I picked a few carriage roads I wanted to try out, and I read about the spectacular bridges, (yeah I too am getting sick of spectacular - I'm sounding like my FIL) and knew I'd see something even better than the drive on the Park Loop Road. I could ride down ME 3 to the Park Loop Road and then pick up the Carriage Roads at signpost #17.
Being my directionally challenged self, with no map I somehow managed to stumble upon a signpost and map that had, guess what, MAPS! Yeah. I decided I'd do the loop around Jordan Pond and Eagle Lake and then back to Sign Post 17 and sneak up the Park Loop Road going the wrong way and get back on ME 3 so I didn't have to deal with a gigungus hill on a curve (the curve had me more worried than the hill) on ME 3 heading back towards camp. Seems like a fine plan, no?
Well, I managed to get all turned around in the only area where bikes are prohibited and did a big loop. Then I was stopped reading the map and happened upon a chatty rider, from Ohio. We midwesterners will talk to just about anyone. Unfortunately, I've lost that gift after nearly 20 years in New England and come across as unfriendly. I am putting a conscious effort into being more affable and approachable or at least chatty. It is easier during high tourist season because the locals think I'm some stupid tourist and humor me. It's the blonde/red hair and blue eyes, clearly, I am not from around here. Anyhoodles, Mr. Ohio clued me into where I went wrong, he said, keep going to the right and keep the lake on your right but you can't really see the lake, and it is about a 10-minute climb (GAH! So Midwestern!!). He was dead on with his directions and time estimate.
|He finally sacked out in the canoe|
When I got up to the tip of Eagle Lake my eyeballs were floating and I needed a restroom, TMI, but work with me here, I found two restrooms and the line was the boys' track team ab0ut 20 of them. I hoped these were Men and Women rooms, nope unisex. OMG for teenage boys in wee tiny running short they took F-O-R-E-V-E-R in the bathroom. Finally, I got my chance and was oh so happy to continue on my journey on the east side of Eagle Lake. They were headding back from their warm up run as I was heading out on my return trip to Sign Post #17. That side was a bit dull, very flat. Beautiful, no doubt about it, just not as exciting as the other side.
I hit Sign Post #17 and out on the Park Loop Road, the wrong way. I ducked into the grass on the side until someone stopped, a park ranger, indicating I was clearly breaking the rules and had to turn around. I had maybe 1/4 of a mile to go. But no. I had to go with traffic, back up the hill I had been so joyfully coasting down. Damn it! When I screw up it's never on something easy, that is for damn sure. I ground my way back up that hill to the entrance/exit at Seal Harbor and then up that nasty stretch of ME 3, the hill on the curve was as I expected a bit dicey. But I made it and with tales to tell!
|Cliff Views from the Ocean Trail|
Dave went out that afternoon and had the benefit of my experience AND a map. He did a different section of Carriage Roads. In the morning he took Jax to Beech Mountain and they hiked up that. Jax was a bit pooped but still up for some exploring around the camp, so we did that.
|I can't get enough of this view|
Saturday (20 + 3) I went on a shorter adventure on the Carriage Roads. I did the loop he did. This time I left from the access path from camp to the Park Loop Road, then to signpost #17 and rode the same roads up to Sign Post #10 and took a switchback route along Sargent Mountain. The Carriage Roads were designed for horses to easily navigate so the uphill/down hill grade on the road is no more than 5% at the most and mostly a 2% - 3% grade, 5% where it needs to be that steep and only for a short time. They are ideal for biking and running and walking and horses! Rockefeller knew what he was doing!
There were a few people zooming down as I was grinding up, how could they just zip down while I was stopping and looking, in awe, at the sights. Rockefeller designed these roads purposefully to blend in with the mountains as well as frame the views. I haven't even touched on the bridges! Holy cow, these aren't some slapped together ways to cross a stream, they blend in with the geography and frame some spectacular natural sight (such as a waterfall or a view).
|Happy to be on the return trip.|
I studied the map a bit more and figured out I could hike my bike to ME 3 from the Day Mountain Trail. It totally worked too!!
Dave took Jax to Arcadia Mountain, they summited, and this was NOT a climb for dogs, Dave had to hoist Jax up and down some of the boulders. Jax was somewhat wiped out but ready for something else.
|He doesn't see many horses.|
We went canoeing in the afternoon. You can rent a canoe and a dog life vest so we did that. Of course, the vest didn't fit Jax, boxers have deep chests. We do have three life vests from when we would take Giz, Diesel, and Sage canoeing, all both times we took them. Yeah, three boxers in a canoe is a sight. They were better one at a time around Watchaug Pond and not all three in the canoe down the Pawcatuck River. Jax was a little bit unsure of this but he was a bit wiped out from his hike so he settled in about 40 minutes into our paddle around Echo Lake. I think he will do better in our canoe, there is more of a place for him to lay down in the middle. Perhaps we will finally get some use out of it after all these years? It was nice activity for all of us to do. When you have a dog this is kind of how it works. He would not do well if we left him alone in the camper.
|We aren't good at selfies|
Sunday (8) Dave was off to Camden and I planned to hike out to Otter Cove and then to Thunder Hole with Jax, this would be about 3 miles. I got a little turned around and didn't bring a map so we hiked Quarry Path till it met with a hard top road and I was lost. No kidding, me lost in the woods, ha ha. We hiked back and then went down to Otter Cove and found Ocean Drive Trail and hiked that to Thunder Hole. It was as advertised not so great, timing is everything, while we were there the desired 2 hours before high tide, the seas were calm so no excitement. Jax was decidedly unimpressed with the entire 4 miles we hiked. I liked it. We got back to camp and took a couple hour nap because we could!
On the way past the Ranger Station, I noticed there were books for sale so I took a quick peek. There was one "Mr. Rockefeller's Road" by Ann Rockefeller Roberts (2nd edition) I am really taken by these roads and wanted to learn more. It was worth every penny I spent. My mother is a book buyer and collector, I love books and reading, I don't need to have them, they can go back to the library and I am good with that. So for me to buy a book to then have is kind of a big deal to me. Did I really want to have this or not? Well if it wasn't something I liked I could donate it to the local library book sale or leave it at the book exchange at work (it will be staying with me, if you want to borrow it, let me know).
I wanted to explore more Carriage Roads but I was also kind of ready to not be on the bike. I took Jax for a hike up Day Mountain (the trailhead I found on Saturday) on the Carriage Roads, walking up, with Jax sulking because he was now bored, was slow but really gave me the opportunity to see the views and the design of the roads especially after devouring 3/4 of the book I bought. We hiked down the Day Mountain trail, single track, much steeper and far more exciting. He sprung back to life seeing the single track coupled with downhill, two of his favorite things next to treats and his chair.
|On the way home!|
All in this was a vacation not a getaway for the weekend, it actually felt like a vacation. Dave will say our last vacation was "The Stupid Cruise" in 2014. Ha! A week on a boat with his family a vacation... ok... I'd say our last vacation together was, hmmm before we were married? We've had separate vacations, not many together.
|A map so you can follow the numbers, maybe.|
Baby sweater progresses!
"Acadia: The Complete Guide: Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island"
by: James Kaiser
"Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia National Park"
by: Dolores Kong
Great resource, should have purchased a book with more hikes, but I wasn't sure.
"Mr. Rockefeller's Roads: The Story Behind Acadia's Carriage Roads"
by: Ann Rockefeller Roberts
Fantastic book! Interesting and great pictures.
Beth, can't wait to go back!