Maine 2003

Family Vacation

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Maine 2003 >


Monday, June 23

We’re still at home, going crazy, compulsing about having everything for the trip (at least John is).  Having 3 days to pack for vacation is way too much time.  The car gets packed in the evening, then John finishes his paper that he’s presenting at a conference in September.  He emails it to the coordinator about 1:45am.  It was ‘due’ June 15.

Tuesday, June 24

8:00 a.m. EDT.  Leave the house for Jenna’s follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  Everything looks great and he gives her the OK to lose the crutches and the leg brace.

9:52 a.m.  On the road from Durham.  Take I-85 to Petersburg, VA, then hit I-95.  Take the inner Beltway (I-495) around D.C. to the west, then straight through Baltimore.  What’s up with $4 toll in Maryland?  Pass briefly through Delaware then hit the N.J. Turnpike.

Approx. 5:00.  Take I-287 around N.Y. City since it’s rush hour but still hit some stop-and-go traffic.  Pretty area though.  I don’t know if the extra miles were worth it or not.  Hook back up with I-95 at the Connecticut border.

7:45 p.m.  Stop in Milford, CT around but can’t find a room.  Get a reservation in New London, about 60 miles up the road, but have a sit down supper first.

10:00 p.m.  New London, CT.  702 miles.  Fairfield ‘Suites’ serves the purpose.  Had some slow going thru construction along the way.

Wednesday, June 25

9:20 a.m.  Hit the road.  Got going a little late, but got far enough yesterday that I wasn’t too worried about it.  Take I-395 North through Connecticut and Massachusetts to miss Providence and Boston.  Take I-290 to I-495 and back on I-95 North of Boston.  Pretty countryside and rolling hills along the way.

Lunchtime.  Stop for lunch in Portland and find the Hershey Kissmobile in the parking lot.  Jenna asked for Kisses, but they didn’t have any!  Take I-95 through Portland and up through Bangor, then Alt U.S. 1 to Mt. Desert Island.  Stop in Ellsworth for some perishables.  Traffic coming into Ellsworth from the other direction was backed up for miles.

5:15 p.m.  Arrive at Mount Desert Campground, Somesville, ME.  397 miles today, 1099 for the trip.

Set up camp and have mac & cheese with tuna dinner.  Very nice campground, caters to tenters, well spaced sites, wooden tent platforms, and beautiful water front sites.  We were on the backside in the woods, however.  Apparently you need to reserve the waterfront sites well in advance.  It was quieter where we were though.  Skeeters got to Laura’s ankle quick and it swelled up very nicely.  DEET keeps them tolerable.

Thursday, June 26

The sun comes up early, about 5:30.  Have pancakes for breakfast.  Do the auto tour of Acadia after checking out the visitor’s center.  Sausage, cheese and crackers make a picnic lunch along the way.  Drive down to Southwest Harbor and check out Maine State Sea Kayaking that I had found on the web.  Make reservations for kayaking on Saturday.  John’s hamburger stuff on rice for supper.  Drive up to the top of Cadillac Mt. to watch the sunset (1600 ft high).

Friday, June 27

The “Gathering Place” at the campground opens for the season today.  Unfortunately, the golf cart wakes us up at 5:30 as they’re going to get ready.  Hard to fall back asleep with the sun up, but we manage for a little while.  They have coffee and cinnamon rolls there, but we stick with hot cereal for breakfast. 

Today is Bar Harbor day.  The girls spend all their money downtown.  Nice patio lunch at a downtown restaurant.  Girls love the hemp store.  Buy t-shirts at Cool as a Moose.  Walked out on the bar at low tide.  John hikes up the island a little bit.

Drive down to Northeast Harbor along the scenic road on the shore of Somes Sound.  Everyone likes the town.  Laura likes the boy in the Harbor Master’s office.  We were going to have lobster for supper there, but decided to head over to Bernard instead and find the place we ate 10 years ago.  It’s on the harbor, literally—you look down through the deck floor into the water—don’t drop your fork!  The name’s Thurston’s.  Laura and Jenna can’t figure out the fuss about lobster.  After we get back to the campground, Sherri and Jenna decide to go back to Cadillac Mountain for the sunset.

Saturday, June 28

Pancakes for breakfast.  Head down to Southwest Harbor late morning.  Visit the Oceanarium and hold starfish and sea cucumbers.   Get to the outfitters early, planning to eat lunch on their lawn, but the guide suggests a little park down the road.  Beautiful  little park in someone’s back yard.   Throw some mayo into some chicken in a pouch and slop it on mushed bread—whalla!  chicken sandwiches for lunch.

1:00 p.m.  Back to the kayaking outfitters and sign the forms, get the gear, etc. for our 1:30 trip.  Short drive in the van to Pretty Marsh where we put in.  7 or 8 other people are on the trip with us.  John has problems pushing the correct foot pedal to get the rudder to go in the direction he wants.  Guide says that's common for sailors and pilots for some reason.  I could get into this (as opposed to canoeing), so long as there's no portages.  Jenna and Laura did great together.  John and Sherri didn't do too bad either.  Paddle to Seal Harbor where we take out.  Didn’t see any wildlife, but it seemed the guide was more disappointed than the rest of us.  We did paddle out to some salmon pens and got to watch the fish being fed.  Get back to camp around 6:00.  Hamburger helper for supper.

Sunday, June 29

Hot cereal for breakfast.  Because of Jenna’s inability to hike, we had checked out the carriage rides through the park, but they were booked through the weekend.  They had said to call back Sunday morning to see if there’s any cancellations, so we did, but no luck.  So plan B goes into effect and we drive over to the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia, about 60 miles.  Drive up the Schoodic Head; Laura and Dad hike the mile or so down (Jenna and Sherri did wait for them at the bottom).  Pretty shoreline drive with less people.  After the 3rd time around the one-way loop, we find a nice rock for another sausage and cheese lunch.  Get things repacked and organized in the afternoon, then pizza in Bar Harbor since we decided to pack the cooking gear instead of dirtying it.   Jenna and Laura are checking out the guys—Mom and Dad are trying to guess which ones are considered hot (or not).  Drove back through Northeast Harbor (again) and played Frisbee in the park by the harbor.

Monday, June 30

Break camp.

8:35 a.m.  On the road.  Breakfast courtesy of Burger King in Ellsworth.  Take Hwy 1 to Rockland.  Another pretty drive along the coast of Maine.

11:15 a.m.  Arrive in Rockland, 83 miles.  Find the boat first, then grab sandwiches at the Brown Bag Café.  Back at the boat dock around 1:15.

2:00 p.m.  The Wendameen sails, with eight other passengers, Captain, mate, deckhand, and cook on board.  Captain Neal is not sure where we’re going yet, as the starting point of the Great Schooner Yacht Race has yet to be determined.  He sets a course based on rumor and turns out it’s in the right direction.  Great sailing in 20+ kt winds.  Had a thunderstorm with a nice 180 degree wind shift and winds 30+ kts.  Captain did a very nicely timed 270 degree tack/jibe and we were whipping along at 10+ kts on a broad reach with the rail down (not quite in the water).  What a rush!!!!  Sherri and the girls missed it down below.  After things calmed down a bit the Captain hollers "Whale" to those who wimped out down below.  Laura takes the bait and comes charging up the companionway!  The storm passes and we anchor with 20 other schooners that night.  The storm has cleared and we’re treated to a gorgeous sunset.

Tuesday, July 1

10:00 a.m.  The race starts with the Coaster class--Captains are on shore and row out to their boats as they're raising anchor.  We start about 10:40 with the 3rd (last) class off the hook.  We had a great start, but are last out of the anchorage due to our position and the fact we didn't use our engine to get under way.  The larger schooners have to use either their engines or a push boat to maneuver in tight quarters.  I later figure out that Capt. Neal anchored where we did so he could pass all the other boats.  What a sight to be sailing with that many big boats.  Winds were light and fluky, leading to some close sailing as we start to overtake the other boats.  We had periods of light winds and calms for several hours before the breeze set in the afternoon.  As luck would have it, it's a little too strong (about 20 kts) and we aren't able to overtake the last boat (the Mary Day), which is quite a bit larger and has a distinct waterline advantage.  It was a gas on the upwind legs, crossing just boatlengths in front of these huge vessels!  We tried to spear the Captain of another vessel (the Heritage) with our bowsprit at one point when they forced us into a tack, we got a windshift, and our boat didn't come around quite as well as we might have liked.  But a quick tossing off of the mainsheet by the Capt brought us around to the cheers of the passengers on the other boat.  When it's clear that we're not going to catch the leading boat we skip the last leg that's in the wrong direction of where we need to go and head for our anchorage for the night.

Wednesday, July 2

Sailing.  Reading.  Relaxing.  A very nice comfortable sailing day.  John chills out, standing on the boom and leaning back on the mainsail when the wind picks up enough to heel the boat some.  Later he crawls to the end of the bowsprit on the foot rope.  It was a rush so long as I didn't think about slipping and getting run over by 56 tons of wood and lead!  We anchor in Rockland Harbor that night.  Laura is the only one on the boat brave enough to take a dip that evening.

Thursday, July 3

8:00 a.m.  Motor across Rockland Harbor to the dock.  Say our goodbyes to the Captain, crew, and fellow passengers and head for home.

9:00 a.m.  Hit the road.  Take U.S. 1 to I-95, then catch U.S. 202 outside of Portland towards Rochester, NH.  Go through Concord and take Hwy 9 to Keene, NH and across Vermont to Bennington.  Changes to Hwy 7 in N.Y.   Hit I-87 outside Albany, along with rush hour traffic.  South on I-87, then West on I-90 to I-88.

7:30 p.m.  Arrive in Binghamton, NY, 456 miles.  Had called ahead for reservations which was probably a good move.  There isn’t much between Albany and Binghamton, but it is scenic and a nice drive.

Friday, July 4

Take I-81 from Binghamton, NY to Staunton, VA, then I-64 to US 29 to Danville.  On the cut-off between 64 and 29, we go through Afton, VA and notice an “Ingersoll” on a mailbox. Jenna drives about 2 hours.  Take Hwy 86 south of Danville to Hillsborough.  Arrive home around 6:00 after picking up some milk and Subway sandwiches.  Forgot to record the mileage, of course, but it was awfully close to 1100 again.  Jenna and Laura go into Chapel Hill for the fireworks.