Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An Odd Sight

After eight straight days of clouds and rain, we finally saw a very strange sight..it was bright and up in the sky. Could it possibly be the SUN??

I will admit, such a straight run of lousy weather was making me a tad on the crabby side. We haven't had a run of such bad weather since we hit the road. At least I was keeping myself amused, learning the ins and outs of our computer reservation system, DigiRez. I think I'll have it down pat, oh, say about October when we leave ;-)! I had it pretty good, at least in that I was mostly able to stay dry, working inside. Al, on the other hand, was pretty wet by the end of each day, even with the guys trying to find as much inside work as possible. I tell you, the bath houses were cleaned within an inch of their lives, and are as sparkling as possible for the old buildings that they are.

We did go out last Tuesday, on our day off, and purchased our annual pass for Acadia National Park. We picked up a couple of books on the hiking and carriage trails, and had a nice talk with a couple who are volunteering at the Hull's Cove Visitor Center for the season. We also drove the Park Loop Road, getting an idea of the lay of the land for future expeditions. There are miles and miles of hiking trails all over the island, and additional miles of carriage roads, which are multi-use trails (walking, biking, horses). It was very drizzly and foggy, so no pictures that day. We then worked Wednesday through Sunday over Memorial Day weekend. This isn't a huge holiday for us, as it is a little early for tourists, but we did have quite a few more than I would have expected with the lousy weather forecast we had.

Yesterday, Monday, was a day off and that's when we finally saw the sun! We did take advantage of it, and headed out in our hiking boots and fortified with maps, to take a couple of walks. And pictures!
Our destination was a town called Southwest Harbor, on the "other Lobster claw" of the island.

The island is split in the middle by Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the United States. If you use your imagination, it looks like two lobster claws.

Our first destination was a few miles south of town, at Seawall, The Ship Harbor Trail. It's an easy 1.3 mile walk through woodland to the mouth of Ship Harbor. It used to be an interpretive nature trail with signposts matching a descriptive brochure, but all that is left is this...

and this sign isn't even standing any more :-)!

The trail loops close to the edge of the harbor

and heads for the open mouth of the harbor. Ship Harbor got it's name from a legendary tale that during the Revolutionary War an American ship was fleeing from a British gunboat and became stuck in the mud flats at low tide.

Spring plant life is evident along the walk, with these fiddlehead ferns coming up (locally they make soup with these)

and these pretty purple wildflowers.

The granite cliffs loom over the mouth of the harbor

and small waves break over the rocks on our side. One of the Cranberry Islands are seen in the distance. You can head over there via a mail boat for day trips.

The trail headed back inland...did I mention it was wet?

We drove back to Southwest Harbor for some lunch. We stopped at The Little Notch bakery as they advertised lots of sandwiches, pizza, and of course baked goods. We were going to try their paninis, but they didn't have any yet! The owner explained they had just opened, their chef had been delayed, so all they had was pizza. Ok, twist my arm, we'll have pizza. It was, I have to say, probably the best pizza we've had outside of New York so far. We parked here looking over the harbor and ate lunch, simply delightful. I also tried the blueberry soda, which I liked very much, and picked up a blueberry danish, which we shared later on...oh, was that good!

Back on the trail...the Wonderland Trail this time. Its a 1.4 mile easy walk along an old road that brings you to granite outcroppings along the shore which form tide pools at low tide. 

I loved this "tunnel of trees" we passed through. I can't wait to see it fully leaf'ed out!

A nice spot to sit and watch a sailboat go peacefully by.

Some tidal pools

Sea life

Seaweed

Back through the forest and I found some interesting mosses

Last stop of the day...geocaching at Bass Harbor Lighthouse...we got our first Maine cache and souvenir!

Bass Harbor Lighthouse is the only lighthouse physically on Mt. Desert Island

A climb down the rocks shows us the backside view of the lighthouse. I bet it'll be pretty at sunset.

Final shot of the day.

So we finally got some sun, and some pictures to show...besides food :-). Now its back to work, we actually have "orientation" this Saturday to go to...after working three weeks :-)! We missed the first one by arriving late, so we have to "catch up" with the second group of workampers this Saturday. Well, at least I'll know what they're talking about in regards to the reservation program! We're thinking if the weather will be nice on our next days off we may take a drive to Roosevelt Campobello International Park in New Brunswick, Canada. And I foresee a puffin cruise in my not too distant future as well :-).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma

Praying for Moore, OK & Surrounding Communities!
Photo: Copyright © 2013 The Horse Mafia.
Photo and artwork in its entirety: Copyright © 2013 The Horse Mafia.

I have family in Oklahoma, thank goodness they are all ok. So many are not. We should be thankful for every day we have as you never know what the next day will bring.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh My!

It's a cold, rainy day today here in Bar Harbor, but we had expected it and did not have any plans beyond daily chores and errands. Al has gone off to Bangor to have the truck serviced and do the prescription run to WalMart. The dogs and I stayed back here at the campground to do some laundry and make up the grocery list for tomorrow, so that if the weather clears in the morning we can take our first drive into Acadia N.P. So nothing earth-shattering is going on, but I DO want to fill you in on a great little restaurant we found last night!

We've decided with the multitude of dining opportunities in the area it would be an absolute crime not to investigate at least some of them. So we've bumped up our dining out budget a bit, and decided our night out each week would be our last night of the work week (too tired to cook by then!). I've been using TripAdvisor ratings quite a bit, and last night we went to Side Street Cafe, Bar Harbor. It is ranked #2 out of 103 eateries in Bar Harbor, and it did not disappoint! It's on the small side, and is housed in a former home on Rodick St. There is a small but lively bar area, and dining tables scattered in different "rooms". We started out with soups:
Tomato basil bisque for me

Clam chowder for Al...and I understand that up here, there is only ONE type of Clam chowder....the right one :-)

Al's entree was a special for the night...curried lobster and strip steak with veggies and sauce over couscous...second time for lobster for him in less than two weeks :-)

and I had to try their famous "build your own" macaroni and cheese...I had onions, peppers and philly steak added to my mac n'cheese with fresh parmesan chips on top...oh my I think I've found a new favorite dish!!

We were disappointed that the chocolate bread pudding for dessert was no longer available, so we "made do" with sharing a brownie sundae....we have to do what we have to do, right?

We VERY much enjoyed our dinner here, service was great, and it didn't completely kill our wallets, so we definitely plan on making return trips here. I do think next week will be a trip to Rosalie's Pizza, though, as the pizza in the window looker awesome as we walked by! I had a free movie rental coupon from Redbox, so we stopped at Hannaford's (grocery store) on the way home and rented the movie "Jack Reacher". I'm a fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, but wasn't quite sure if I was going to like Tom Cruise in the part. I did like it better than I thought I would, and it was an enjoyable action packed movie to watch. I also finished a book a couple days ago that I enjoyed, "11.22.63" by Stephen King. I haven't read one of his books in a long time, but I did enjoy this one. It's not his typical bloody spooky type of book, but a time travel tale of what if you could go back in time and prevent the assassination of JFK. If you like reading fiction, I would recommend it. 

We hope to get out to Acadia tomorrow as I stated before, so I will hopefully have something other than food to write about soon :-). Although I do think food is a topic many folks are interested in ;-).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Getting Acclimated and Learning

Time flies when you're learning a new computer program!

Well, not really, but we're working on it...or I am anyway. We've been put to work right away, as the campground opened this past Wednesday and there was a lot to get done. Al has been busy outside on the grounds with the other two men, Cliff and Mark. This is a very large campground, with lots of grass to be mowed, weed-wacked, leaves to be raked, and generally getting the sites ready for occupancy. The bath houses also needed a really good cleaning after being closed up for the winter. In the office, not only do I need to learn a new reservation system, but all the past season's inventory needed to be counted and verified, and then the store re-stocked. And they carry a lot of merchandise here! I'm quite impressed with the amount of camping supplies they carry here, and there is a lot of really nice fleeces and jackets :-). I'm very grateful that one of last season's workampers, Flo Anne, has returned and has been very informative as to the workings of the reservation system and the general running of the office. We use DigiRez software here, and I don't find it as user-friendly as Campground Manager, the system we used last year.

We did go into the town of Bar Harbor on our day off, and we really liked it. It's very picturesque, and I will go back on a warmer, sunnier day and take some pictures. There's a lot of your typical tourist shops, with  nautical items and souvenirs, the obligatory tee shirt shops, and many many places to eat! That may be our downfall this summer :-). We've already sampled the frozen custard (black raspberry) at Adelmann's Deli (very good!), lobster rolls at Downtown Deli ( Al says very good), pizza at Pat's Pizza in Trenton (finally, great pizza!) and dinner one night at The Ale House in Trenton (enjoyed this too!).

We did go to the Hull's Cove Visitor Center for Acadia N.P. to find out about a season pass to the park, but due to "sequestration" the Center doesn't open until tomorrow. So that will wait until next week on our days off, if it's nice...we do have a pretty rainy forecast starting Monday for several days. Can't change the weather!

The sun did come out after work yesterday, so I got out and took a few pictures of the campground.
Our campsite for the summer. 

Workamper row: we're in the middle, Cliff and Flo Anne are in the motorhome, and Debi and Mark are in the trailer to the left of us. Two more couple are arriving for peak season, June July and August. The six of us are here from May until Columbus Day when the campground closes for the season.

The view from our screen room. We have also seen hummingbirds already, and plenty of  goldfinches and chipping sparrows have visited my feeders :-)!

This is the waterfront row of sites. Water and electric only here, but beautiful views!

The road leading from the waterfront sites up to the front of the campground. We have several rows of sites off each side, kind of tiered like theater seating so most sites have a view of the water. These sites are all full hook-ups. For Al's cousin Billy....your site is the one that the white pick-up towing the fifth wheel is in on the right side.

Water front tent sites...awesome spot!

The tides are very extreme here. Thomas Bay can be right up to the forest line at high tide, and then mud flats way out at low tide.

I've been told we have beautiful sunsets here...sure looks like it :-)!

Well, that's it for now. I'm quite looking forward to some warmer weather (remind of that when it gets hot!) and Acadia N.P. fully opening for exploration. It doesn't look like we'll have far to go for hiking, kayaking, geocaching, and bird-watching! :-). 




Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Busy Week!!

At long last, we have arrived at Mount Desert Narrows Campground, in Bar Harbor Maine :-).

Last Wednesday morning we said our good-byes, and headed north with the truck and our u-haul trailer full of our stuff tagging behind. We had initially planned on having me drive our Chevy Trailblazer behind, with our kayaks loaded on the roof, but with all of our issues we decided this wasn't the summer for a grand experiment. So the kayaks and the blazer stayed behind. Of course, that meant some re-packing of stuff in the u-haul, but we did manage to get it all in there, and didn't even hurt ourselves opening the back of it :-). Do you know how much stuff shifts around inside one of those?? We found out :-).

Our first night was a long drive, we made it from Homosassa all the way to Murfreesboro TN. Sorry, Murfreesboro, but I was not excited with the area :-(. We got a decent enough night's sleep, for a motel on the highway. Times like that really make you miss your trailer! The next morning we hit a bit of traffic around Nashville, not too bad, but I didn't realize it was the morning of the funeral of that famous singer in Nashville, and I don't know if that was snarling things at all. After Nashville it was pretty easy up to our destination for the night, Shipshewana Indiana. We had selected Shipshewana because it had the closest campground we could find to the Keystone factory, and we were planning on dropping off the u-haul trailer at the campground before heading over to take possession of our repaired fiver. The folks at Shipshewana Campground South were so nice, and had us take the u-haul trailer right to our campsite and drop it at 9:00AM before going to get our unit.

It was about a twenty minute ride to the Keystone factory, and we were taken care of right away. We were taken to walk through our trailer by one of the customer service reps, who went over all the repairs done, including a few things that we didn't know were broken :-)! It was also still inside, so it hadn't even been put outside to deal with all the horrid winter weather they had. We seriously can't say enough good things about the service we have received by the Keystone folks. Being that the trailer was no longer under the one year warranty, I had never expected them to step up and take care of things. They certainly did, and we were not charged a dime for any work that was done. We asked what the cause of the crack was, and they said a couple of welds had broken overhead from the flexing. I'm still astonished that they replaced the entire side wall, and looking at it, you would never know. I can say that so far, we are satisfied Keystone customers.

Once we got the trailer back to the campground, it was time to start moving back in! It actually went faster than we thought it would, even going slow and taking breaks because it was quite warm, in the 80's, which I don't think is really normal for this time of year? I must of done a decent job of clearing out unused items as well, as I seem to have a lot more closet and cupboard space :-). Saturday we finished the last bit of putting stuff away, and went down to Shipshewana to see the MayFest parade. We also sampled the local restaurants, and we give our seal of approval to the Blue Gate Restaurant for some really good Amish comfort food :-). We also had to bring back some baked goods to the trailer, and refilled our freezer with meat from the butcher shop :-). We really liked Shipshewana, it was a very pretty town and friendly as well.

Sunday was departure day from Shipshewana headed to Bar Harbor. We had broken the trip down into three segments: Shipshewana to Rochester NY; Rochester NY to Boston MA; Boston MA to Bar Harbor ME. We really don't care to travel that fast, but in this instance we really had no choice, we were late reporting in to Mt. Desert Narrows as it was. They were nice enough to be understanding of the situation, and hold our spots for us, so we didn't dilly-dally getting there :-). The first leg of the trip was fine, totally uneventful. The weather was sunny and warm, and not much traffic anywhere on the interstates as we traveled through Ohio, and up the Lake Erie coast towards Buffalo, and ended at a KOA just on the east side of Rochester.

Monday, however, was not so uneventful. It was going to be a shorter riding day, so we didn't sweat leaving super early. Weather again was great, traffic light, even as we passed around Albany NY and headed towards the Massachusetts Turnpike. About 3 miles short of the border came an event I had always dreaded....a tire blew out on the trailer. What else can happen to us?? We pulled as far off to the side as we could, and Al inspected the damage as I got on the phone with CoachNet. We are SO fortunate that the damage to the trailer is all cosmetic, nothing penetrated the floor and no lines, pipes plumbing or electrical was damaged.
The shredded tire on the spare tire mount

Exterior damage to the trailer

We were also fortunate that the repair truck showed up quite quickly, and had us going about an hour after we had come to a stop. I was not enjoying being on the side of a major interstate at all! Close examination of the remaining tires made us decide it was time to change them all out, and so I also have a story of great service that we received at the Chichester NH Camping World. I called them to see 1. if they had a set of tires that we needed and 2. would they be able to install them on our trailer the next day. I spoke with Jim in the service department who kindly got everything set up for us, and gave us an appointment the next day at 12:00 to have the work done. Being that this is "crunch" season for getting rigs ready to go, I was very happy that they would be able to accommodate us. 

So, on Tuesday, we arrived promptly, they whisked our trailer away, and about three hours later we had new tires, bearings re-packed and brakes adjusted. Ready to continue on our way :-)! It was too late to make it all the way to Bar Harbor, but we got within two hours and stopped for the night. I really hate pulling into campgrounds after dark, and try to avoid it at all costs. So Wednesday ended up being our actual arrival day at Mt. Desert Narrows!

We've been busy setting up, meeting our co-workers and met with our managers Wednesday afternoon. And we started work today, Thursday! Might as well jump right in :-). So I should have pictures soon, and start exploring the area as well. There seems like a lot of stuff to do, and eat :-), (we have already sampled the ice cream pleasures of Blueberry Hill Dairy Barn). So stay tuned for a wicked good summer of activities!!