T R I P   J O U R N A L

W E E K   # 1 4

BEN & JERRY'S ICE CREAM ADVENTURE - Monday, October 4, 2004

After 6 days of intense travel writing I hit the road to Acadia National Park. Located on the Maine Coast, Acadia is supposedly the third most visited National Park in the country. On the way I stop off at Waterbury, VT, home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. The factory tour includes loads of information on the history of the company in addition to a bird's eye view of the factory floor. To top things off, I gorge myself with a triple scoop after the tour, having been inspired to do so by all the ice cream temptations that surround me.

After touring Ben & Jerry's I make my way eastward toward Maine. During the drive I stop at Vermont's State Capital, Montpelier and take in the sights, especially the architecture. I feel as if I have arrived in the early 1900's, the architecture is really quite striking.

As I continue my drive, I notice the pretty Vermont countryside periodically gives way to small towns, over and over again. So much so it's rather monotonous. This tedium continues on until I enter New Hampshire where I'm greeted with mountainous views. But photo opportunity time has run out for me, nightfall is now upon me. As I drive I sense good scenery is passing by unnoticed in the dark. Oh well, that's what I get for taking too long on the Ben & Jerry's Tour, but that's okay. It's all about the ice cream!

I eventually overnight in Ellsworth, ME, which is near Acadia National Park. I take my time to find a good place to park "on street", with hopes to be concealed enough to keep the cops at bay. But, I was to find out in the early morning hours, my efforts to maintain stealth are rewarded with a visit from the unwelcome.

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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - DAY #1 - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

I wake to a pseudo-sunrise which turns out to be the headlights of a cop car. Shortly thereafter I get rousted out of bed at 6am in the morning, only to be unceremoniously sent on my way. Ha! Looking on the bright side, at least I won't be wasting the morning loafing around in bed.

After my cop encounter I drive out of Ellsworth, ME and head east to Acadia National Park. Only a short drive away, I quickly find myself on Mount Desert Island and driving through the really cool resort town of Bar Harbor, ME. It's such a nice place I decide stick around for a bit. I tour the community, soaking up all of the sights and sounds that the place has to offer.

On the road once again, I drive to Blackwoods Campground and grab a campsite. After some consideration, I decide to go on a hike. The tallest feature on Mount Desert Island is Cadillac Mountain. Made of pink granite, the mountain reaches 1530 feet skyward and beckons to be climbed.

From my campsite I start my 7 mile hike in earnest. I can't wait to reach the top to see the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding area from on high. The hike up the mountain, while not hard, turns out to be rather cold. Portions of the mountainside exposed to the elements prove to be quite chilly. Regardless of my frigid settings, the scenery proves to be really eye-popping, so much so it warms my spirit and keeps me moving up the mountainside.

Near the top I make the acquaintance of Jonathan and Laura. Together we hike the rest of the way to the top, sharing stories of travel and the like. Once at the top, I walk around for a bit and snap many pictures. In the distance I spy Bar Harbor. The view really shows the community's harbor characteristics, something that I couldn't fully grasp given my earlier vantage point from within the town itself.

All tuckered out from all the sightseeing, I head back down the mountainside and in the process run into Jean, Celine, and their cute puppy Dingo. We pass the time together on our descent talking about work, science, politics, etc. Very interesting couple. Back at the trailhead I learn they are traveling in a killer van that was professionally converted into an RV. They give me the nickel tour which dishes up a tinge of jealously on my part, but that feeling is quickly mitigated with my guess at what it must have cost them.

I say my goodbyes then head to the campground for a shower. I eat dinner then work on the website for a while before hitting the hay.

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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - DAY #2 - Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The morning is chilly but sunny. I dawdle around at the campsite all morning, relaxing and just generally vegetating. Sufficiently inspired, I complete preparations for a road biking jaunt around Mount Desert Island and I make my start around noon.

The ride around the island takes me to a variety of interesting places. From the campgrounds I ride to Seal Harbor then on to Jordon Pond. From there I hit the heightened highlight of the day's ride, my struggle up and sprint down Cadillac Mountain. On my way down I get an eyefull of magestic Eagle Lake. On the flat once again, I quickly swing around the northern portion of the island then head due south on Ocean Avenue then on Schooner Head Road. I pass by Newport Cove, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cove.

As the ride winds down I find myself really cold, the late afternoon is now upon me. Glad to be back at the campsite once again, I warm myself in the van, then make preparations to drive to Bar Harbor for dinner. Upon arrival I select Testa's for dinner due to the large lobster sign that swings above its doorway. I order not one, but two Maine lobsters for dinner, and take time to revel in my seafood feast. After dinner I do a little window shopping then retire back at the campgrounds for the evening.

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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - DAY #3 - Thursday, October 7, 2004

Ahhh, the joys of bike riding. What a great way to get around and sightsee! One can cover a lot of ground and see so much in short order. Well, today is no exception, I'll be riding my mountain bike on Acadia's famous carriage roads. Cars are not allowed on the carriage roads which is a boon for bike riders, no worrying about getting run over.

From my campsite I drive to the southern tip of Jordan Pond then saddle up the mountain bike. I push off and ride around Pemetic Mountain to Bubble Pond. Unfortunately, Bubble Pond doesn't actually bubble to my disappointment. I then make my way around Eagle Lake then ride back to Jordon Pond. On the way I get a little lost but find my bearings soon enough.

When the dust finally settles, I realize the 20+ miles of biking up and down the carriage roads have taken their toll. I'm really feeling rather tired from all the exertion. I wrap up the day by cleaning up then driving to Bar Harbor to relax for a bit. Once evening arrives and I retire back to the campgrounds. I cook up some dinner then work on the website until bedtime.

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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - DAY #4 - Friday, October 8, 2004

Imagine this... You are the very first person standing in the United States to see the sunrise. Sorta weird huh? But, I guess someone always has to be the first, right? Well, today that person may very well be your's truly. You see, if you stand the tallest atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, you too can claim your sunrise prize!

I wake early to get a jump on the sun. Half asleep, I hop in the driver's seat, then race out of the campgrounds to Cadillac Mountain. I'm really running against the clock and find myself driving faster than I like. Who would have thought a sunrise would be so important? Upon arrival I beat the sun by about 5 minutes. I wait around with a flock of other folks, and while waiting, I take notice that I'm the tallest dude of the bunch! WOOOHOOO!!! So I guess I will claim the sunrise prize! Finally, the sun rises up from the multi-colored horizon and it proves to be a pretty one. I'm so glad I made the effort to make its early morning greeting.

After a little more gloating over my sunrise prize, I drive out of Adacia National Park then head due south. My destination today is Parsonsfield, ME which is where my friend Bill lives. I decide to drive south for a bit along the Atlantic Coast before heading inland when I reach Portland, ME.

The drive serves up a few interesting sights, the first being Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Supposedly one of the most photographed lighthouses on the east coast, the lighthouse holds firm to a rocky shoreline and proves to be quite picturesque indeed. The next point of interest I encounter is the Penobscot Narrows Crossing. Spanned by the famous Waldo-Handcock Bridge, I witness a flurry of activity to build a larger, wider bridge that attempts to emulate the Washington Momument's obelisk look-and-feel. The day's last point of interest is the town of Camden, ME. I find the town an interesting and busy place, seems they've got some kind of regatta going on today.

After reaching Portland, ME I head inland due west to Parsonsfield, ME. Upon arrival in the evening I am heartily greeted by my friend Bill. We spend the rest of the night catching up on things.

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HIKING MOUNT CHOCORUA - Saturday, October 9, 2004

After waking I start my day with an alarming discovery. I've been sleeping next to a spooky cemetery! Little did I know, the night before, that within a stone's throw of my van sits an old, long neglected cemetery plot.

Out of the van now, I concentrate my attention away from the graveyard towards Bill's log home. It's a beautiful structure of logs, stone and tin. An array of two story windows adorn the living room area, his place is postcard perfect.

Bill proposes that we go on a hike and I readily concur. The plan is to drive out to Chocorua Mountain in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest. We arrive at the trailhead midmorning then start out on our trek up 2600 feet to the mountain's top. We find the weather not at all cooperative, the mountain's dome is covered with wispy fog. Regardless, we press on up the mountainside and in 3 hours we surmount the peak.

After eating lunch and resting a bit, we head back down by a different route to spice things up a bit. Near the end Bill and I are really dragging, we can't wait for the hike to finish. We manage to survive the hike a little worse for wear, however, a subsequent satisfying meal coupled with good company lifts our spirits.

In the evening I finally meet Bill's girlfriend, Louise. All three of us settle in for the night at Bill's place.

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DAY OF REST - Sunday, October 10, 2004

Spend the entire day and evening hanging out with my friend Bill.

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Central Oregon Coast
Mean Streak, Cedar Point, OH
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Old Faithful Area, Yellowstone
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Rose Parade, Pasadena, CA
Pacific Beach, CA
Upper Falls, Canyon Area, Yellowstone
Pooped Surfer, Goochs Beach, Kennebunkport, ME
Natural Sand Art, Cannon Beach, OR
Central Oregon Coast
Bizarre Bicycle, Pacific Peach, CA
Otter Cove, Acadia National Park, ME
The Whitehouse, Washington, DC