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Post #99 - Maine-ly Done / June 26 through August 7

Post #99

We’ve been in Bradley, Maine since May 16th and it is time to get back on the road! We’re leaving Maine on Wednesday, August 8th and expect to be in the Midwest around Labor Day.

The weather in Maine this summer was warmer and more humid than we expected and with no electricity to run the air conditioner it’s been a little challenging.

Our weekly routine has been laundry and groceries on Monday, exploring on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and opening the gift shop and museum buildings on Thursday through Sunday.

Entering Atlantic Time Zone
On Tuesday, 6/26, we took a drive to New Brunswick, Canada. We visited the Ganong Chocolate Museum in St. Stephens. We drove thru St. Stephens about 10 years ago and stopped at the chocolate store (imagine that) but didn’t have time to stop at the museum. Ganong is Canada’s oldest chocolate and candy company. They are family owned (for six generations) and have been in business since 1873. As we were walking thru the museum and looking at the conveyor belts we couldn’t help but think of the “I Love Lucy” episode - do you remember the one I’m talking about? When we came to the end of our tour they had a chocolate packing game so we channeled our inner Lucy and Ethel and gave it an unsuccessful try.

From St. Stephens we continued down the road to the very cute town of St. Andrews which is located on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay. We visited a campground right on the waterfront which we’ll stay at if we come back this way. We ate lunch at Olde Tyme Pizza and had a nice meal out on the deck overlooking the water. Marty had fish and chips and I had a calzone with donair meat. Donair is a local specialty, the Donair sauce is very tasty with a weird combination of ingredients:

Donair Sauce
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
(strange but really good!)

Dining al fresco in Canada

Going to Camp
On Tuesday, 7/10, we went to camp - The Crosby Family Camp. One of the volunteers at MFLM (and the president of the board) is Herb Crosby. He invited us over to visit his family’s camp which was about an 1/2 hour drive from the museum. What we in the Midwest would call a cottage people in Maine call a camp. Also, what we call lakes they call ponds. Herb’s grandparents built the camp back in the 50’s and he and his four siblings share it. They have lots of kayaks but the weather was too choppy so we just visited for a little while. The upstairs of the cottage was exactly what I pictured a Maine camp would be - unfinished with 5 single beds, 3 on one side and two on the other. There were a few bookcases with old books and games. I found a book that I remembered from my childhood, “Five Little Peppers and How They Grew” and Herb was kind enough to let me borrow it.

Ahhhhh, life is good!

Bangor is the closest "big" town to Bradley with a population of about 32,000. It’s a nice town with a older downtown area and another area with your usual chain restaurants and stores. There is also a City Forest with lots of walking trails. On Thursday, 7/11, we drove over and took a hike on the boardwalk to the Orono Bog. It’s about a mile long, with signs along the way explaining what you’re seeing. From the boardwalk we hiked for a little bit in the forest; it was a nice shady place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Strolling the boardwalk at the Orono Bog
My friend, Chris,  took a train ride with her mom, Cathy, from Chicago to Springfield, MA. From there they rented a car and visited some of the east coast states (MA, ME, NH, VT, CT & RI). Her goal is to stay overnight in every state and after this trip she has only six more including Oregon and Washington so I’m pretty sure we’ll get to see her again next year when we go back out west. They stayed overnight in Kennebunkport so we drove south and met them for a late lunch. It was a little chilly but we ate outside and had a delicious meal at Mabel’s Lobster Claw. It was nice catching up with our Chicago visitors.

Big Chicken
I bet that got your attention. On Monday, 7/16, we drove to Ellsworth and visited the Big Chicken Barn Books and Antiques. We didn’t run into any chickens but the building was a chicken barn in its earlier days. This place is HUGE - 21,000 SF! The 1st floor was all antiques and the 2nd floor had all the books. It was very organized and very overwhelming. We did buy a couple books and I even found some Cubs baseball cards that I can use in a world series shadowbox that I’m thinking of making (one of these days).


Checking out the Competition
We love to visit museums and on Wednesday, 7/18, we took a drive north to visit the Patten Lumberman’s Museum. The museum consists of nine buildings that you can wander through. The reception center is where you enter and pay your admission fee; there are photo exhibits, a gift shop and a 1/2 hour original movie from the early-mid 1900’s that is well worth viewing before viewing all the out-buildings (bunkhouse, cookhouse, blacksmith shop, etc.)

They used "caulk" boots in the northeast too

Logging Bunkhouse
One of the many "ponds" in Baxter State Park
From the museum we grabbed a quick lunch and then drove to Baxter State Park to see the start of the Appalachian Train and Mt. Katahdin (the highest point in Maine). Before we got to the park we saw a Visitor Center and stopped to pick up some information. As we were getting out of our truck a ranger was getting out of her car and asked if we planned to visit the park. We said yes and she told us our truck was too wide; they don’t allow anything over 7’ wide on the park road. She walked with us into the center and gave us a map which showed us a couple places where we could park our car, so we drove in as far as we could and walked around a little along a lake with a view of Mt. Katahdin.

Say Cheese!

On Saturday, 7/21 and Sunday, 7/22 Marty led some photography classes. There were 5-7 people each day and they seemed to enjoy it (I know Marty did).  Here's a link to a youtube video of "Professor" Marty:

Day 1 Photography Group

Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal Days at the museum was on Saturday, 7/28. There were blacksmithing demonstrations and hands on learning, Lombard Log Hauler Rides, smelting demonstrations. We had live music and bean hole beans, biscuits, lemonade and strawberry shortcake. It was a very busy day, we had over 100 visitors and they all seemed to really enjoy everything. I worked in the gift shop, and Marty wandered around helping where needed and taking pictures.

Lombard Log Hauler Crew
Blacksmith Ian


A little logging music

Bean hole beans are a big deal in Maine.  A visitor to our gift shop asked if we had the recipe.  We didn't but now, thanks to Marty's creative photography, we have postcards for sale with the recipe.

They look done to me

Yum - homemade strawberry shortcake

Biking in Acadia
Once we decided to spend the summer in Maine I knew we had to take our bikes on the carriage roads at Acadia National Park. We finally did that on Tuesday, July 31. No cars are allowed on these roads, only hikers, bikers and horses. The surface is a fine gravel and they are nice and wide. We did a loop and rode along two ponds (Bubble Pond and Jordan Pond). They were a little hillier than we expected (or maybe we’re just getting old). It was a perfect day for riding. When we got back into the car we drove the 27 mile park loop road. It’s a nice drive, partly along the ocean and there is a nice beach which was very crowded.

Bubble Pond

Share the road

We drove back to Acadia on Sunday, 8/5 to pick up Marty's Senior National Park Pass - woohoo!  Now we're free getting into any National Park and their campgrounds along with all COE campgrounds are half-price!  From the Visitor Center we drove over to Schoodic Point to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean.
Proud Senior

Goodbye ocean :(

Sherry, Mary and Ruth
On our last day at the Museum (8/7) they had a cookout.  We said goodbye to all the wonderful volunteers and our boss, Sherry. The people that we’ve met and worked with have been  incredibly nice and we’ll really miss them. We may be back in this area some day but now we know to come later in the season after bug season and hopefully after the heat - who knew Maine could be so hot.

Now we’re off to visit a place that I’ve always wanted to see. Here’s a hint, it’s in New York - can you guess?

Post #98 - Maine - May 17 through June 25, 2018

We have survived our first six weeks in Maine and are settled into our summer site. We arrived on Thursday, May 17th and the black flies were HORRENDOUS; I was trying to direct Marty into our spot but had to constantly wave bugs out of my face, we’re lucky he didn’t land in the creek! We had been warned but nothing can really prepare you for how bad they are. Luckily, we had our head nets from our adventure on the Mississippi River back in 2014 and they helped a little. The black flies lasted about three weeks and then it was mosquito season - yikes! We seriously wondered what we had gotten into and considered leaving but as I write this on June 23rd, the bugs have died down.

Our summer spot and the empty caretakers cabin
Raising the 1790's Flag

The grounds here are beautiful, we are parked behind the empty caretakers house (which we have the use of). Down the road from us are the water hand pump, the smoke-house and settlers cabin. Across the covered bridge over Blackman’s Creek are the water powered sawmill, the blacksmith shop, the sawyer’s house (used for spinning wheel demonstrations) and other “old-timey” buildings. Up the hill is the gift shop (where I work), the machine shop, and the saw mill complex. The parking lot is at the top of the hill and there is a gate that is kept closed so there are no cars except our truck. It’s very peaceful and now that the worst of the bugs are gone it’s a pretty nice place to be.
The sawmill (shot in infrared)
Night sky over Blackman's Creek
We are roughing it this summer. We are not connected to electricity but we do have solar panels and the use of a generator. We turn the generator on for about 1/2 hour in the morning to make coffee and then turn it on again in the evening for another hour to watch the news and Jeopardy and to make dinner. It hasn't been too hot yet so we're ok without A/C for now. We aren’t connected to sewer but the museum did buy a “blue-boy” portable tank that we can use to dump our waste into and then Marty loads it into the truck and dumps it into an outhouse. We also have the use of the caretaker cabins bathroom and 6 outhouses (TMI?). We get our water from a well which is electronically (generator) pumped into a cistern which is located on the second floor of the cabin. We then fill our tanks from the cistern. It seemed a bit overwhelming when we first arrived but we’ve settled into a regular routine. We have no internet or cell service but we can get a signal at the top of the hill. We have also found a spot that we can drive to about 1/2 mile down the road which has a decent signal. Our boss, Sherry, has an office in the Forest Service building and we can go in their to plug in and catch up (Monday- Friday). I think not having internet and cell service in our rig has been the hardest adjustment. You don’t realize how much you use the internet until you don’t have it at your fingertips.

Our view (osprey net) as we sit in our truck downloading
We are near Bangor and do most of our shopping and dining our there. Our first purchase at Walmart was a Bug-Zapper! The mosquitoes have gotten into the rig and are very annoying! The bug zapper didn’t work so it was returned and we bought a dust buster. The dust buster works pretty well for sucking up mosquitoes. We also use a fly swatter and I’ve killed quite a few with my hands - whatever it takes!

The Maine Forest and Logging Museum
The museum has five main events and we’re here for four of them. Children’s Days were May 23 -25; three days of school groups (about 300 kids a day). All the buildings were open with activities and demonstrations for the kids. They could make necklaces with a tin punch, bookmarks with quills and stencils, and catch alewives with their hands and move them over to the fish ladder. There were old fashioned games set out that they could play (checkers, tic-tac-toe, tug of war), wooden stilts to try walking with. There were horse drawn wagon rides available, with two beautiful Percheron horses, Amos and Andy. It was a very busy three days, the kids all seemed to have a really good time and we’ve even had a few come back with their parents.

The next event was Alewife Day on Saturday, May 26th. There were over a million alewives swimming upstream this season and they were pretty easy to catch. On Thursday Marty helped set up the smokehouse and then tended it. On Saturday smoked alewife samples were available for tasting.

Alewives, swimming upstream
Catching alewives with nets
Preparing smokehouse for the alewives
48 hours of smoking and they're ready for human consumption (or lobster bait)

The next big event was a cross country run held on June 16th. That was also the day we had the “Axe Women of Maine” here for three shows. The run was 3.8 miles down a logging road and thru the forest. The museum complex is on over 400 acres of the 4000 +/- Penobscot Experimental Forest.

The Axe Women show was pretty cool. They did log rolling with a “peavy” (log rolling stick), demonstrations of log chopping with axes, and showed off their axe throwing skills.

The Axe Women of Maine

Showing off their chopping skills
Beanhole beans are very popular in Maine and were served all day along with biscuits to all who wanted them. The beans were soaked and then the pots were buried overnight in hot coals. They are cooked with molasses, onions and salt pork. The biscuits were also cooked outside.

Preparing the beans
Tending the fire

Lowering the beans into the fire pit for overnight cooking
Here's a link to the beanhole cooking process as shared by our boss, Sherry (double-click):

I worked in the gift shop all day with Ruth; Marty spent the day hanging out with the guys giving rides on the steam powered Lombard Log Hauler.  The Lombard Log Hauler was used in the woods of Maine in the early 1900's.  The museum has two steam powered log haulers, one is operable and it's quite a big deal when it's operating.  They run it maybe four times a year and we got to see it running on June 16th.  Marty even got to drive it and took me for a ride! Here's a link to the Lombard Log Hauler running:

Riding in the Lombard Log Hauler

Our Day Trips
We drove through Acadia National Park on Monday, May 21st. We took the loop road up to Cadillac Mountain and drove past some of the famous carriage roads.  We will be back with our bicycles to check them out.

At the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
A gull enjoying the view from Cadillac Mountain

On Sunday, May 28th we took a drive to the coast. We stopped at West Quoddy State Park which is the eastern most point in the continental United States. We took some pictures of the lighthouse and did a little bit of hiking. There are no bugs along the coast!

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine
On the following Sunday (6/3) we drove south to Freeport, Maine to check out the LL Bean Flagship store. It’s quite a complex with the flagship store, the bikes and boats store, home supply store and an outlet store. There’s even an outlet mall of other stores across the street. I found two nice flannel shirts on the clearance rack in the main store for 10.00 each, I think that’s a pretty good deal!

Our next sightseeing day was on Monday, 6/11 (Happy Birthday Rick and Derek). We drove to Fort Knox State Park and Observatory. The observatory is 400’ high with windows on all four sides overlooking the Penobscot River -- beautiful views. The observatory is actually part of the bridge structure. After the observatory we took a stroll thru Fort Knox State Park. It seems like we’ve seen quite a few forts this year - I liked this one because they have overnights there in October; “fright at the fort”, what a fun idea for kids (very brave kids).

Looking out over the Penobscot River from inside the observatory

Inside Fort Knox State Park
Which way should we go?
We had a nice drive west to Moosehead Lake on Sunday, June 17th. On our way there, we stopped at the Appalachian Trail and hiked a bit of it (a very little bit). Once we got near Moosehead Lake (largest lake in Maine) we stopped at the visitor center and the young woman working there suggested we take a loop drive. We drove along the lake and then turned west (and south) and drove along the Kennebac river. Moxie Falls looked like a nice hike so we stopped there and hiked the mile trail to the falls. Once back in the car we discovered the Kennebac River Brewery and stopped for a late lunch
Getting up close and personal

Moxie Falls


Campobello Island, summer home of the Franklin Roosevelt Family
On Wednesday, 6/20, we drove 2 1/2 hours back to the coast to Campobello Island. Campobello Island was the summer home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s a 34 room “cottage” on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Campobello Island is actually in New Brunswick, Canada but since it’s considered an international park half of the employees are American and the other half are Canadian. We took a tour of the amazing cottage and then had lunch on the porch of an adjoining cottage.

Megaphone used by Eleanor to call in her five children

On the shore of Campobello Island

We don’t always go sightseeing on our days off, sometimes we have local adventures. On Tuesday, 6/19, we got our bikes out and took a ride on the logging road. Unfortunately it had rained the day before so there were very large puddles. Rather than turn around and ride the 4.5 miles back on the logging road we decided when we got to the end to take paved roads back. We ended up doing a 15 mile loop road on somewhat hilly roads. It was a good ride but next time we’ll be dressed more appropriately and we’ll bring water.

Well that's it for the first six weeks of our Maine adventure.  We still have lots of exploring to do so stay tuned!