Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The first highway

Gas: 2.48

We took the longer way south from Bar Harbor to Scarborough along route 1. Went through some great fishing towns and saw some amazing hidden harbors.

We were happy they built a new bridge in Bucksport - the old one looks a little suspect.

Along the edge of the bay in Bucksport, there was a huge fort - called Fort Knox (not the one with gold) - but we haven't looked up the history on that one yet, but impressive to see from the highway.

A couple of things we have noticed over the last month of driving around - don't fret a bad back - every town has a chiropractor no matter what the population, you can always fill up on a KFC box - they seem to be around every corner, the Jehovah's Witnesses have church everywhere in the small towns and the yards are immaculate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barrgghh Harbor

Odometer: 14051

Gas: 2.46

Obviously from the delay we have had crummy Internet recently. Our cell phones didn't even work at the camp site. - But, we made it to Bar Harbor Maine. Our most north and maybe most east point on the journey!! I'm also fed up with the formatting on blogspot, but oh well, it is what it is.

As I sit down now with great internet (good to be back at a KOA) it is hard to remember what we did even a few days ago with each day being packed with so much - but thanks to the pics and Missy's notes as we drive, we'll see what we can do.

Missy had been talking about Maine blueberries and lobster for a good week, though it seemed like a month. So of course we went and ordered lobster first chance - after getting a basket of blueberries at a roadside stand. What made it great was Missy not expecting the entire lobster on a plate. :) After some instructions, she was able to enjoy the feast being only a little disgusted as she avoided the liver and GI tract.

Our favorite restaurant in the area ended up being a roadside ice cream/hamburger stand. The reason being is they had a jumping castle and playground by the outside tables which allowed Missy and I to sit and eat for 10 minutes for the first time in a loooooong time while Zoe played close by.

The campground we stayed at had a great view of the ocean inland from bar harbor. And the pool was heated to about 90 degrees which was great because we only had sun about 1/4 of the time there.

We stayed a couple of days which allowed us to finally make it to the top of cadillac mountain for the great views. Very pretty place, must be horribly cold in the winter though - no large growth trees or shrubs at the top even though the elevation was not all that high.

There is only one road in and out of Mt Desert Island - so the traffic was actually really bad, even midweek. But this is all relative, we weren't sitting in it for an hour to drive to work. :)

We were very excited, especially Zoe, to take a whale watching and site seeing boat - but even though the sun broke through on our last day there, the seas were 7 feet. So against our wishes, the boat trip had to be canceled. Maybe as we head south we will get another chance. . .

As you drive in Maine - similar to Vermont, apparently all you have to do is fill out a form to get an official government sign with what ever you want on it. Example: XXX Restaurant, turn right, third light on left. Maine also posts signs for almost every driveway that isn't blatantly obvious. If I had a dollar for every "hidden driveway" sign.

a REEEAALLLLYYY tall indian

Odometer: 13961

Gas: 2.49

On our way to the Coast of Maine we stopped for the day in Skohegan/Canaan Maine. Pretty place, nice KOA, and the only thing to see is the world's tallest wooden indian behind the gas station. That and we ate KFC while Zoe played at the park. Oh ya - the Canaan KOA easily has the deepest campground pool we have come across at 8 feet deep and it is NOT heated - but Zoe didn't care and kept making me dive for her toys.

Another thing to add - when at the Canaan KOA - the power went out for maybe 2-3 hours. We had to run the trailer off of the battery the whole time :) - this meant the flat screen TV and microwave didn't waork. Thank goodness we had already zapped dinner. We went for a family walk in the dark which was very nice. And thank goodness the power came on before the bachelor finale ended for Missy!! And Zoe thought sponge bob and patrick had died - so it was nice to prove to her they were still alive and kicking before hitting the sack!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Live free or die? Or too lazy to change the state motto.

Odometer: 13824

Gas: 2.50

Yup, we made it New Hampshire. We are in the White Mountains - many tiny little towns. Everyone we meet is missing a tooth or two. Tons of Bed and Breakfasts - but Missy says they are all creepy" - and it is hard to argue with her - I don't think I want to walk down the street at night by myself. If one of the locals doesn't get you, one of the bears or moose will.

The KOA is a little on the rustic side, but it has a great playground and tons of kids for Zoe to run around with. People have been very nice, but it is clear we are in New Hampshire - take it for what it is. :)

Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln NH was quite the experience. The oldest "bear show" in the country. It started as a bear show in 1949 and has grown into a small amusement park. So of course we saw the bear show, nicely done. The bears they have live to be about 25-30 years old as opposed to in the wild in the area is only about 5 years old.

We rode their steam train and were harassed by the famous "wolfman" - very funny gig this guy has for a living. We then enjoyed some carnival type amusements before finally committing to the bumper boats - which every one is completely soaked after. Well, after the longest line of the day, its our turn. Huge problem though - kids have to sit on the sides of the adult, not in their lap. This means Zoe can't reach the steering wheel or squirt gun without standing - which is also against the rules. This, coupled with a recent ice cream and past nap time turned into a huge melt down which ended many many minutes later about half way back to the campground. Unfortunate punctuation on an otherwise very fun morning.

Zoe was back into her bubbly self though at the park after the nap! :)

When the next day came around, both Missy and Zoe asked me "for a day off" - so we just stayed at the camp and swam and relaxed.

Where's the coat factory?


Gas: 2.59

We left Lake Placid as the rain returned. A short drive to Port Kent for the ferry across lake Champlain to Burlington Vermont. We arrived early to make sure we got a ride on the RV 'friendly' ferry - but as we arrived to the dock, the regular ferry was still loading and they assured me they could get us on "no problem". And sure enough, with about 1 inch to spare in between the roof and the RV A/C we made it on. We then had a great ride across the lake, the water stayed calm and the rain stayed away. After getting set up just north of Burlington, we headed back into town to look around the outdoor walking/shopping area just north of the University. Pretty cool place, but it made us think of Telegraph avenue in Berkeley with all of the eccentric mixed in with the Gap and the tattooed locals asking for money as well as we walked by. Something about a tattooed 18 year old, with a skateboard and hundred dollar shoes asking me for money that makes me want to send in my next tax bill to Mr Obama.

Burlington was a very cool place none the less. Missy read about a special bagel shop that dips in honey before the final bake - anyway, the place is under construction - the pic with the blazer in front - but we found it and had some good bagels none the less.
Then we ventured down the street to Lake Champlain Chocolate factory for a tour and sample. Since it was only 9am, we had a private tour. The tour was actually a raised area above the retail shop with glass windows overlooking the production floor. But we did learn quite a bit about chocolate and its production - very similar to coffee actually. And the samples were amazing!

Of note randomly - we have never seen more jay-walkers or people walking against the light than in Burlington.

From the Chocolate factory to the Shelbourn museum we went. We had been hearing about this museum for at least a week and it was on every tourist handout or website for Burlington area. We still aren't completely sure, but it seems to be 45 acres of stuff collected by a wealthy family over about 70 years or so. It had everything from a full size ferry boat, classic and original chopper collection, classic french paintings - including Monets, original carousel (Zoe rode 4 times), to a collection of hats, perfumes, old train sets, and an old Vermont jail moved to the site to avoid demolition. Lots of fun, and plenty of room for Zoe to run and expel a little energy.

And of course, we had to go to the original Ben and Jerry's factory for the tour. It is off the freeway about 15 miles down the hill from Stowe ski area - these guys were onto more than just ice cream! Fun place, looks like the employees enjoy themselves. There is another plant an hour north and between the two they produce 80% of the US Ben&Jerry ice cream supply. The other US plant is in Henderson NV with the parent company having a few sits all over the US and world making up the rest.

We enjoyed a natella crape along the outdoor mall from the famous 'skinny pancake' - although Zoe refrained because she didn't want to share with Mom and Dad. :( Oh the horror.

Another random note - while in Vermont, do NOT miss your exit on the freeway - the next exit is at least 6 miles away, more likely 15-20 miles away!! And many only had on or off for one direction, not for both! Made for some unique tours of the area though. :)