Bethel, ME to Groton State Forest, VT and on to Home

See photos from the entire trip here or from just his last post, through Maine, here

We stopped at the Bethel Adventure CG just outside Belfast, Maine (about ½ mile outside) late in the afternoon, they had Passport America rates and looked interesting. There were a lot of outdoors activities offered which included kayak shuttles where they take you in a van 10 miles upstream and you paddle and drift down the Androscoggin River back to the campground which sits right on the bank of the river. This sounded good to us until we awoke to 55 degrees and winds 10 to 15 mph. We asked for a moderately strenuous hike and the owner of the campground suggested Table Top which includes about a mile on the Appalachian Trail in it’s circuit. Since the trail would be mostly out of the wind it seemed like a good alternative. The climb started out with a steep ascent that essentially continued for the duration of the climb. It did sometimes get even steeper. We climbed and scrambled over rocks for over an hour to achieve the top which provided an incredible view of the valley (notch) and we met several interesting people during the ascent. We came down the easy (!) way which led back out on to the Appalachian Trail where we ran into a “through hiker” who had been on the trail for 5 ½ months and was in sight of Katahdin, the final summit on the trail. Having had enough fun for one day we went into Bethel for a look around and returned to Gee 2 for rest and clean up.

Wednesday we moved on to Vermont and set up camp in Groton State Forest, actually just outside the forest in a private campground with the very imaginative name of Groton Forest Road Campground. It is not special, but it is Passport America and thus half off and the scenery is wonderful. After setting up we retraced to St Johnsbury, VT for a bit of a tour. We were through here in our tenting days and have no memory of the town. It is the home of Fairbanks Morse Scales and was a major rail center for this part of the country. After our tour we returned to Gee 2 and relaxed. Thursday was to be our hiking day but it dawned cold and wet. Carol and I worked at our computers and got familiar with a photo management package called JAlbum which is open source and quite powerful for preparing photo albums for upload to the web. Some results should be available for viewing soon (now available see the link at the top of the page). Enough sitting around so we headed off to the Cabot Creamery, less than 20 miles from our campsite. There we enjoyed the tour of the manufacturing plant for cheddar cheese and cultured products. We also bought some cheese.

We returned to the coach for lunch and found the sun shining and the temperatures rising so we set off to find a trail to hike. After a bit of hemming and hawing we set out on the Peacham Bog Loop Trail. This turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for. From the description we thought about leaving our hiking sticks behind and taking a bottle of water. At the last minute wisdom prevailed and we loaded up our hydration backpacks and put on our hiking boots and grabbed our sticks. We returned to the car 3 hours and 45 minutes later having traversed a broad variety of terrain including steep rocky climbs, the bog and even a dirt road. We were hiking from one yellow over blue blaze to the next and we were so far in from the main road it got a bit tense a couple of times. But the blazes were faithful and made it back exhilarated and exhausted.

I got the bikes back on the car and the car hooked up for towing while Carol cleaned up the interior and began the preparation of dinner. We are both at our computers with little energy to do any other work. I suspect it will be an early night tonight so we can get up and find parking for Gee 2 near Montpelier so we can meet David (my sister Sandy’s husband) for lunch when there is a break in the Fairpoint-Verizon hearings of the Vermont Public Service Board.

All of the above worked out. We stopped at Mekkelsen RV on Route 2 on the way into Montpelier and they were gracious enough to permit us to disconnect and leave the coach on their sales lot for several hours as a courtesy. When we returned I found a stick on map of Canada in their parts department that was on our shopping list so I bought it there. They appear to be good people.

We had a wonderful, if too brief, visit with my sister and her husband and I now am sitting in my den in Rochester with Gee 2 in the back drive waiting to go into storage. I cannot wash it as it is raining all day.

Eastport Maine and some great characters

Pictures from the entire trip are here, and from this post here (not much)

We have had a day. Drove down from Fundy NP across the border with only a 30 minute delay. The Customs inspector asked about food products such as beef and citrus such as lemon. Told her I had eaten all the beef and there was probably a lemon or two on board. She did the briefest inspection in the refrigerator and announced she had seen no lemon and left us to go on our way with 2 ½ contraband lemons in our possession.

After setting up on the third site we tried in Seaview Campground, the second was ideal, but reserved for someone else, we got out the kayak for the first time this trip and carried it down to the shore where we launched it for an hour tour that took us all most to Eastport itself and, we learned later, just avoided the “Old Sow” a famous major whirlpool in the middle of the bay we are on. We cleaned up and headed into town with the idea that we might find a place for dinner, or return to the coach for more great home cooked food. The place was empty. It appears that everyone has taken Labor Day as a stay at home holiday, we know better as there are very few empty campsites to be found. We wandered into a couple of restaurants including Rosie’s a funky looking place off the main drag with a side room for music and the sale of antiques and other stuff. We were met at the door by Al who is the chef/owner Linda’s husband. We wandered through the place but there was no one else there eating and it was a bit early so we wandered on through town watching the few people about going about their business and in particular watching a man hanging from what must have been a modern adaptation of a Bosun’s Chair working on top of a sail on a tall two masted ship in harbor. It appeared that the block had jammed and we was dangling well above the deck to clear the jam.

We then wandered back to Rosie’s with the idea of eating there. It took a while. With our first round of beer we started to get acquainted with these transplanted New Jersey people who had uprooted overnight and moved to Eastport six years ago without ever visiting first. Linda is an antiques dealer and Al works construction for cash and deals antiques as well. They both run this very laid back restaurant together. He works the floor and she cooks. I will not replay the entire conversation. Suffice it to say we talked about a lot of things and in particular about the change in their lives that lead them to this. As the talk flowed dinner moved further into the recesses of our minds and it was the advent of the second beer, a rare occurrence in my life, that reawakened my interest in food. I had stir fried lobster and vegetables in a deep fried tortilla bowl with rice. Carol had the same minus the lobster. It was great. Various locals drifted in and out while we were there and we seemed to be included in the flow of chatter between the kitchen and bar. I suspect that on a busy Friday or Saturday night the experience would be very different, but the food would be just as good. The bread was beyond expectation and everything else was quite good.

Moving again tomorrow, destination for the day is undetermined, it could be as close as Belfast, ME, or someplace in New Hampshire.

Back to New Brunswick and Fundy National Park

For pictures from the entire trip click here from this post only here.

Fundy National Park in New Brunswick is where we spent Friday and Saturday of the Labor Day Weekend. Sunday, tomorrow as I write, we will be traveling about 150 miles to a different time zone and a different state of being. We have a spot in Eastport, ME for at least one and possibly two nights. But as always I am jumping the gun. The drive into Fundy was anything but boring, the descents were first gear and stay near the service brakes while swinging the wheel to meet the curves. Tomorrow, Carol will have the pleasure/pain of crawling back up those grades. I suspect that anyone caught behind us will time time for a round of Sudoku or a hand of bridge. We call them disciples, because they are following us for so long.

On our arrival day we walked down into the town of Alma, which claims to have the highest tides in the world. We saw the basin full to the bottom of the bridge and we saw it dry, with a rill of water in the middle. We saw boats high and dry, a long way from the water and the next time we came by they were floating in the same place. While there I bought some scallops to prepare myself. All the restaurants had wanted to cover them cream sauces and over cook them or deep fry them. At Carol’s suggestion I brought home a pound and prepared half by sauteeing them in olive oil and fresh garlic (too much garlic by most people’s standards). They were wonderful. Why do restaurants go out of their way to louse up fine foods?

In the middle of the night the wind came up and the awning I had left up to shelter us from rain started to make noise in the night. At 3 AM I got up and stowed it. Tonight I stowed it as soon was dinner was done. Today’s plan was predicated on a year out of date tide chart! We were given a brochure with a tide chart for Hopewell Rocks showing low tide at 12:51 We spent the morning on a lovely hike along the Salmon River. We arrived at Hopewell at 12:20 to find the tide already rising, low had been at 9:44 AM, and there was a very limited amount of time to play on the exposed seabed. Nevertheless, we paid our admission and took a shuttle to the stairs to the seabed and got out there before the tide had entirely returned. We could see that earlier one could have walked at least ¼ mile out from the fantastic Hopewell Rock formations, we could only just get a hundred feet or so out and that only for a few minutes as the rising tide was covering more and more or the sea bottom driving us back to the higher formations near the stairs we had descended. After we decided we had had enough and the tide decided the rest, we had our lunch at a picnic table and began the return trip. We made a turn off the back road onto a tertiary road to explore a protected shore bird area. At our first stop we met Dale and Norm who clearly were interested in the birds and were from the area. They showed us a walk that took us out to the point where the Spotted Sandpipers where flocking with Semi Palmated Plovers. After spending some time viewing and being eaten by the mosquitoes, we set out for Cape Enrage where there is a lighthouse and other facilities maintained and operated by a teacher from Moncton and 18 past and present high school students as their summer activity. As we got to the lighthouse, there was Dale up in light. He has a key as a member of the local Naturalist Organization and was headed there to give tours of the lighthouse. We had a very nice tour indeed.

Back to Gee 2 for dinner and preparation for travel in the morning.

Please note: if you read the previous posting when it first went up, there was a factual error. I did not find the batteries at the Perlmans “while touring.” While talking to David I mentioned that I could probably fix the lock and he told me I could find the batteries in the top drawer to the left of the large cabinet upon entering the kitchen and that a large white notebook containing instructions for all aspects of operating the house should be found in the bottom of that large cabinet. It was so. Took me three passes through the book to find the necessary brochure because it was on the second or third page and I went by it too fast. The facts have been updated in that posting!