Thursday, July 27, 2006
Made it out of the traffic and back to St Pete safe and sound.
Final stats for trip
States: 15 (FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, PA, NY, CT, MA, NH, ME, VT, NJ, DE)
Homes visited: 10
Nights of mooched "hotel": 21
Nights in actual hotel: 0
Blue cheese burgers consumed: 4 (I think)
There's a "priceless" joke here but I don't know it. The trip was a blast. I'll start planning the next one in a few days.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Made it to DC in the early evening and had a blast with Charlie and Lisa at Tonic (where were you Patrice?) and Reef.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
After many "No Vacancy" sites among the NH state parks, I found "Sugarloaf 2" which was a great out of the way, primitive (by my standards - pit toilet, hand pumped water, no shower) campground. I had what I expected will be my last camp food of the trip :(
Spent today discovering some of the best of Mount Desert Island.
Gringo's is known to have the best burrito in town. Overstuffed with lots of creative combinations with a very cool decor.
I fell in love with the tiny Bar Harbor Brewery. There are only 2.5 employees, but the brew is fantastic. 90% of their stuff is sold on the Island, so you'll have to hope some of what I bought makes it to you.
The best display of boat models on the island is at Great Harbor Maritime Museum which opened tonight.
Reel Pizza is a fun place to see a flick and get some creative pies.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Matt and Sara regaled us with the stories of Agnes at the Bagel
Factory and her fantastic bagels. Luckily, we there were bagels for
sale today when we arrived. I can never return to chain bagels again.
The Queen Mary 2 landed in Bar Harbor for the day. I saw the
original back in 1984. This one looks newer (ha ha). I'm told that
there are around 100 cruise ships in Harbor every year, to the dismay
of local outfitters and the delight of t-shirt sellers.
Every time I've visited Vacationland i've swam in her colder than a
bathtub waters. Despite warnings from everyone that this was no
longer the 'warm' water of southern Maine, I chose to hop in at Sand
Beach. There were lots of folks on the beach and some folks playing
in the waves (I noticed later that none of them were deeper than
their knees). I waded determinedly to about mid-thigh, then dove
into an oncoming wave. The water literally takes your breath away. I
stayed in long enough to settle my breathing, got out, walked the
beach, then dove in again, just to prove to myself that I could. I'm
glad I didn't read until afterwards that water temps in the summer
are between 50 and 55. I found out later that my cousin gained some
celebrity by diving in here on January 1st - I feel a little less
bold about diving in on July 5th.
For my hikes today, I set about to go to Otter point and the Otter
cliffs. I really enjoyed myself and snapped lots of photos, but was
disappointed to see no otters ;)
Checked out the Great Harbor Maritime Museum and after emptying their
trash, saw some very nice boat models, and all before opening day.
The afternoon Fenway hike was to the top of Bald Mountain. I've
realized that Matt and Sara see this scenery so frequently that they
sometimes forget how unique it is.
Dinner tonight was at McKay's, a fantastic year-round establishment
in town. The risotto was awesome.
After my harrowing trip into Maine and short nap at a rest stop just
south of Bangor, I completed my drive to Bar Harbor at about 6:30 on
July 4th. Not wanting to be that guest who wakes his hosts, I set
out to explore town, since the sun was already high in the sky. I
discovered the Bar Harbor Shore Path and its lovely views of
Bar Harbor has lovely views, but I didn't spot the public restrooms,
so I did end up waking Matt and Sara around 7:30. After breakfast,
Sara took me into Acadia and we did a morning hike up Gorham Mtn for
more fantastic views.
We returned to town to find that the 4th of July parade goes down
their street, so we detoured to the town festival to bet on some
lobster races - the photo here doesn't do justice, i'll show you the video
All the excitement must have tuckered me out as I crashed in the
afternoon, but recovered for dinner and a very foggy fireworks display.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
So, this was easily the scariest drive I've ever been behind the wheel for. All was cool until about 3:00 AM when the first Moose sign appeared. I slowed down and turned on the brights. This may have caused issues for other drivers, except I was literally the only car on the road.
After stopping at a rest stop and reading the Maine DOT's warnings and advice about driving and wildlife, I only became more concerned. Apparently, deer eyes are roughly at headlight level and so reflect well, but moose are too tall and you don't see them until you are slamming into them. When I returned to the road, I drove even slower and began to wish i'd invested in one of those deer whistles.
At around 4:00, I was exhausted after another long Moose Alert zone, so I pulled over for a nap. I woke up at 5:00 to the sun already high in the sky - love those northern summers.
Never saw a moose.
I started the day at the annual Sousa show at the USCGA. Brian's band performed well. Although I gather this is not their favorite collection of music, the audience ate it up.
After a short side trip, we headed to the beach at Westbrook and the fantastic New Deal Steakplace. It doesn't really matter what they served, with that name and pictures of FDR all around, I was gonna love it.
Later, we enjoyed cold Genesse Ice on the beach, July 2nd fireworks (because Connecticut knows when that paper was signed) and a trip to the summer only Dairy Queen. After returning to Oakdale, Brian and I had a pitcher at Mugsy's, a fine local establishment, where we learned about the upcoming pig roast and demolition derby - Sadly, I will be rafting that day...
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
After a brief stay at a fading house party, Brian and I went up to
the Mohegan Sun Casino. I was definitely skeptical of Brian
enthusiasm, but WOW, what a place. We caught the encore of a TMBG
free show ("I Was Sad", "Istanbul" and a tune I couldn't place) and
walked around the facility. It struck me that there were many
similarities to the Atlantis in the non-gambling embellishments.
Incidentally, I think there is a commentary to be made about a WNBA
franchise that not only plays in a casino, but is named for it when
the league doesn't want to put a team in Vegas....I just don't know
what the commentary is....
So, I think Mark and Rochelle now hold the record for earliest
evacuation in a new town at just 7 days (or 6?). You'd never know by
seeing their place: I must say that I'm impressed how together it
looks after just a week - my apartment doesn't flow that well and
i've been there for 2 years.
For all the ribbing Mark does, WB seems like a nice place, and
apparently there are some great laundromats just across the river.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
These berries are growing all over on Little Round Top. I don't know
if they were here 143 years ago and I imagine that the men who
fought here weren't paying much notice.
This place is so serenely beautiful. As with any battlefield, it is
hard to envision the horror that touched these fields.