Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sea Kayaking Trip in Bartlett Narrows

Today we decided to take a sea kayak tour along the West coast of Mount Desert Island.  This particular tour emphasizes the naturalist side:  flora, fauna and geology to be found right along the coast.  The entire trip was about 3.5 hours.  There were 10 participants, along with Corky, our guide (fourth from the right in the back row below), and Kat, his friend (third from the right in the back row, next to Kathy).  The participants were from all over the country, and with a wide variety of experience and skill with kayaks.  One participant did not know how to swim and is afraid of the water, but she agreed to come along with her daughter.  The trip was so skillfully guided, and the skills so well taught, by Corky that the woman was able to participate fully and enjoy the entire trip.   The rest of us enjoyed ourselves equally!

Here's a photo of some of the kayaks as we set off on our voyage.  We paired up in double kayaks.  We had not used sea kayaks before, so we learned about spray skirts and rudders, and we had a chance to put it all together in some brisk winds, currents and waves.

Our trip was approximately 6 miles, starting in Bartlett Narrows (the bottom of the red track shown on the chart below).  The outfitters drove the kayaks and us to our embarkation point at Bartlett's Landing.  Generally, we paddled up the coast, close to the shoreline, for several reasons.  First, close to the shore the wind, current and waves weren't as strong.  But perhaps more importantly, most of the things Corky wanted to show us were along the shore, and we obviously wanted to be where the attractions were!

Near the end of our paddle (toward the top of the red path in the chart below), we stopped for a rest and a snack on the beach at Indian Point (where the track turns into the shoreline).  After that refreshing stop, we paddled back out into deeper water and made straight across beyond Northwest Cove, toward and into Clark Cove, where we beached the kayaks and reboarded our van back to the outfitters' shop.

It wasn't long before our paddling efforts were rewarded!  Here is a photo of one of perhaps a dozen or more harbor seals we saw.  This fellow was sunning himself on the large rock on the right in the photo below.  If you look carefully, you'll see seal pups in the background on the left, in an area of the harbor the seals use as a nursery.  Twice along our route, seals swam up curiously to within perhaps 100 yards of us, and it was exciting to see their little heads (Corky describes them as looking like cocker spaniels without ears) popping out of the water.

Not all the spectacle was animate, however.  We passed a number of small islands that were apparently pristine, containing their own small ecosystems:

Further along, we spied a bald eagle, swooping from behind us, around a point to its nest in some high tree.  We couldn't spot its nest, but we did then catch sight of a regal looking osprey, perched high in a fir tree with a commanding view of the cove that must have been its territory:

Here is another photo of a small island we passed, this time with Corky paddling his kayak in the foreground:

As we described above, we took a short rest on the beach at Indian Point, and then Corky had us paddle a straight heading into Clark Cove.  This took us through brisker winds and waves, and, as we approached the beach, we actually were able to surf some of the waves past sailboats anchored offshore.  Here's a photo of our group after arriving in Clark Cove, as we packed up our gear and readied the kayaks for reloading on the trailer for the trip back to the outfitters' shop:

Back at the shop, Corky asked us to each consider one thing that either inspired, surprised, challenged or touched us during the kayak trip.  We both agreed that the entire trip has inspired us to try more sea kayaking, and to use kayaking more as a means of learning about our natural surroundings.

On our walk back to the shuttle bus, we stopped for some ice cream.  As it turned out, several people who had taken the same kayak trip, as well as an earlier one that day hosted by the same outfitters, were on our bus, and the trip back to the campground was made pleasant and short as we chatted with the other kayakers about our experiences.

Expect more kayak entries on this blog in the future! 

Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park

There are certain things every tourist needs to do when visiting Acadia National Park. On Monday, we accomplished two of them - bicycle the carriage roads and have popovers at Jordan Pond House. 

Before becoming a National Park, a good part of Mount Desert Island was owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. From 1913 to 1940, John Jr. oversaw the construction of 45 miles of rustic carriage roads, where he and his rich friends would travel all over the island by horse and buggy - no autos allowed. The roads travel up and down mountains, along several ponds and out by the ocean. Centrally located along the trail system is the Jordan Pond House, which serves lunch, dinner and high tea. Their specialty is the "popover," which is a light hollow roll made from an egg batter baked in muffin tins. As the batter rises, it pops over the rim.

We started our bicycle adventure by taking the bus to Eagle Lake.

We then biked over to Bubble Pond. We then climbed high up the mountain overlooking Jordan Pond.

We learned the hard way that not all the carriage roads are open to bikes; those on private property are not. We ended up going downhill for about a mile before we learned we could not continue on the route we planned and had to bike back up the mountain. We cycled 10 miles before stopping for lunch at the Jordan Pond House.

We were a little nervous when we saw the line of cars trying to find a place to park and the hundreds of bikes chained up in the front yard. However, the place is really large and run very efficiently. They seated us right away.  Since we still had more biking ahead of us, we both opted for salads. Kathy had a small crab cake added to her salad, but Dave wanted a second popover. After lunch, we decided to walk around Jordan Pond to let lunch digest. Here is Kathy picking some blueberries for dessert.

The two mountains at the far end of Jordan Pond are the Bubble Mountains - North Bubble and South Bubble.  A combined name for them of "Boob Mountain" just didn't make the cut.

After lunch, we set out to complete the second half of our loop.  On the way back to Bubble Pond, we passed the entrance road to Day Mountain. We checked our map. It was only 1.5 miles to the summit. Come on - how bad could it be? Well, it wasn't easy, but we didn't walk our bikes like some of the other tourists did. We made it up with plenty of energy and leg strength to spare, although we appreciated the rest at the top.  Here Kathy places a stone by the summit marker to celebrate our victory over the mountain.

As you can see, the views were amazing.  We could see for miles out into the ocean.

I wish I could say it was all downhill from there, but that is not the case with these carriage roads. Rockefeller loved to have the roads go up and down, up and down, sort of like a roller coaster. Before we knew it, we were back at Eagle Lake.

The biker shuttle van picked us up and took us to Bar Harbor to catch the bus for Bass Harbor. There was a 20 minute layover in downtown Bar Harbor. Can you say "ice cream"? Today's flavor was peanut butter!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exploring the Quietside

On Saturday, we ran errands.  We tried to find a Farmers Market but, despite advertising that it operated on Saturdays, it was nowhere to be found.  We stopped and bought replacement headlamps for the truck and then swapped out one of them for a defunct headlight.  On our way home from errands, we decided to stop at Atlantic Brewing Company in Southwest Harbor, where we could taste their scrumptious beers and then partake of "Manly Men Barbeque."  We could have had "all you can eat," but discretion was the better part of valor and we shared a Sampler Dish with pulled pork, BBQ chicken, ribs, smoked sausage, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans and cornbread.  Even sharing a dish was plenty - and we had to consider not violating the weight limit on our RV :)  Oh, yes, and we also had one of the best big beers we've ever tried:  Brother Adam's Bragget Honey Ale (Barley Wine Style), which, as it happens, we had found at a beer store in Bennington, VT, but this tasted even better on tap.

Then it was playtime.  We decided to bicycle around our part of the island between Bass Harbor and Southwest Harbor, which is called "Quietside" because all of the crazy Bar Harbor tourists aren't here.

We decided to pedal to three scenic spots in Acadia National Park:  the Natural Seawall, Wonder Land, and Ship Harbor.

The Natural Seawall is exactly what its name implies.  Boulders and stones piled up on ledges of granite form a natural seawall, and there is more rock hopping that you can throw a frog at.  Here is a photo looking landward from the seawall, across a sea of bleached, rounded stones:

Looking seaward, the view is slightly different.  The small, rounded stones give way to larger boulders, and then flat granite shelves against which the sea crashes instead of a sandy beach.  Here's a photo of Kathy making friends with one of the many Inuksuk figures that have somehow mysteriously grown up among the stones on these beaches:

Just to prove that the Inuksuks come in all shapes and sizes, here's a photo of David making friends with three more.  Some of the little figures appeared to be so off-balance we wondered how they stayed upright:

It's hard to capture the quiet, rhythmic drama of waves crashing onto the rocks, using just photographs and words.  So we took short videos of some wave action at each beach we visited.  We'll post those videos on the next blog entry as we're able to achieve enough bandwidth to get them uploaded.

Bicycling on to Wonder Land, we had a hike of about 1 mile out to the beach, which, again, was just rocks, boulders and granite ledges on which the waves crashed.  Here, however, there were many tide pools formed in the hollows of the granite ledges, and some of the tide pools were a riot of color and shapes:

Looking toward the ocean, we could see seaweed-encrusted ledges taking taking a pummeling from the incessant waves, right at our feet.  Once in a while, we looked up from photo-taking to realize our feet were about to be flooded by an incoming tidal wave.

As we hiked back to the parking lot from the point at Wonder Land, we encountered a family walking our direction.  There were five of them:  two parents, three kids.  Oh, yes, and two standard bred poodles - one was an older white female named Mia, and a three-month-old copper-colored puppy named Layla.  The mom said that she and her family had been taking this same hike every year when they visited Mount Desert Island, continuously since she was three years old.  Each year, they took a photo at the same, small gnarled tree along the trail.  It reminded us of our traditions of the "rock photo" during Rug Rat Camping each year, and "bookshelf photo" on every visit to Laird and Risa's house in Albany.  We obliged them by taking their photo.  The only trouble was, Layla the puppy is not fully trained and did everything except follow instruction to join them in posing for the photo!

As beautiful as the Natural Seawall and Wonder Land were, Ship Harbor gave us the best at the last.  We hiked a figure-8 trail about a mile out along the harbor shore toward the point.  Each of the four sides of the figure-8 passed through a different eco-system, including, alternately, an drier, sandier inland environment with large outcroppings of flat granite; a dense rain-forest environment with moss-covered forest floor; a walk along an estuarial bay with views of waterfowl; and, utlimately, the seacoast with all the beauty we've described.  As we got out near the point, the trail took us along a small cliff of spectacular pink granite slabs.  The sound of waves crashing against them was a constant companion.  Here's a photo looking out at the point across the cliffs of granite:

As we approached the point, a sailboat came into view and, as it crossed in front of us, we snapped a photo of it beyond the granite ledges of the point at Ship Harbor.

We hiked our way back around the other side of the figure-8 trail to our bicycles, and happily pedalled home to our cozy little RV at Bass Harbor Campground.  Dinner was easy:  warmed-over rabbit chili and one of the big beers we purchased at Oak Pond Brewery in Skowhegan.  The beers we selected this day at Atlantic Brewing Company are to be saved and savored some future day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bar Harbor and Ocean Path

Today we decided to get to know Mount Desert Island a little better before focusing on specific activities in specific areas.  We decided to hop the Island Explorer shuttle bus, which passes right in front of our campground.  Our bus's route took us up the Eastern side of our half (the "Quietside" of Mount Desert Island, up through Southwest Harbor, around Somes Sound, and across the Eastern half of Mount Desert Island to the Village Green in Bar Harbor.

We stopped in to purchase our National Parks Pass and got some good hiking suggestions from the park rangers there.  After doing a little touristy walking around Bar Harbor itself, we stopped for a tasty lunch and some local microbrew.  After that, we decided to hop the Loop Bus to take a scenic ride around the Eastern half of Mount Desert Island.  We decided to hop off at Sand Beach and take the Ocean Walk from there to Otter Point.

Sand Beach is very popular with the tourists, and it was quite a mob scene with the beach-goers as well as hikers and other tourists.  We set off on the cliffside path, Southward past the beach, and got a good photo of the great sweep of Sand Beach:

The colors of pink in the granite boulders, yellow in the sand, and richly varied greens in the trees and other vegetation were indescribable.

We continued on along Ocean Walk to Thunder Hole, an inlet in the pink granite cliffs into which the surf thunders and occasionally reverberates so loudly that it sounds like thunder.

The crowds at Thunder Hole were significant, as they had been at Sand Beach, but as we continued along the cliff path beyond Thunder Hole, we left most people behind, and had an isolated walk on to Otter Cliffs and Otter Point.

Otter Point was striking, again, for the large, flat, pink granite boulders.  If one wanted to, one could have almost hopped the boulders all the way down to the edge of the surf.  Occasionally there appeared coves that might have been outlets for streams or landing areas for great waterfalls, in which were deposited thousands of smooth, round, bleached white boulders, contrasting sharply with the squarish, flattish, pink granite boulders around them.

After enjoying Otter Point, we reboarded the Loop Bus to continue our survey of the Eastern half of Mount Desert Island.  We got glimpses of the carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller and which we anticipate bicycling in the next week or so.  The bus stopped briefly at Jordan Pond, where the Jordan Pond House famously serves its piping hot popovers (again, to be saved for lunch on that bicycle trip).  The bus driver finally let us off at a road intersection where we flagged down yet another Island Explorer bus to make our way back into Bar Harbor.  The buses on the island are notable for being free, hop-on-hop-off, with passengers not limited to hopping on or off at the regular stations - but anywhere along the routes.

Back at the Village Green in Bar Harbor, we finally succumbed to our ice cream fantasies while we waited for our bus.  Curiously, while a casual tourist in Bar Harbor would think that everyone there buys tourist items and eats in restaurants - and when they're not doing either of those things, they're contributing to gridlock in the town by driving around and around - nevertheless, we peeked into some of the trash cans, and we found the truth about what EVERYONE in Bar Harbor does, far in excess of all other activities:

That's right.  The trash cans are full of - and only of - discarded ice cream dishes.  It seems the true secret of Bar Harbor is the ice cream.  Sure enough, we looked carefully around, and all the tourists in the park were eating ice cream.  All the tourists on the benches in front of stores were eating ice cream.  All of the tourists crossing the street were licking ice cream.  In fact, we couldn't find even one person who wasn't partaking of ice cream.  Thank goodness we shared that special experience of Bar Harbor!

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Thursday evening, after we arrived at our campbground in Bass Harbor, we learned that the Bass Harbor Lighthouse is only a 10 minute walk away.  So, toward sunset, we ambled down the road to take a look.

The lighthouse was built in the mid-1800's and has a resident lighthouseman who managed the light.  It was always a red light, but while it started as an oil lamp, in recent decades it was changed to an automated electric light.  The lighthouse is now part of Acadia National Park, and a ranger still lives at the residence to manage the property, but the light runs itself now.  In times of fog, there is also a buoy with a bell to warn off ships.

The walk led down right to the light itself:

However, there was also another path that led East past the lighthouse and gradually down the cliff.  It leads through wind-twisted fir trees standing on deep, green, moist, moss-covered forest floor.  The cliff itself is comprised of many huge, pink granite boulders, which are so common all along the coast of Mount Desert Island.  Here's a photo of Kathy on the path down the cliff...

...and here's a photo of David on the other side of the lighthouse, with the pink granite boulders underfoot:

We began to understand what a feast for our senses this Acadia National Park is going to be!

Eddie and George Wake Up in Bass Harbor, Maine

Eddie and George were so excited about the lobster dinner our neighbor Joe provided us that they decided to get up early and go out "lobsta fishin" on their own.  Here they are preparing their lobsta traps:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bass Harbor Lobster!

Hi Blog! We made it to the coast.  According to the Mainers, we are "Down East."  To the rest of the world, we are on Mount Desert Island, near Bass Harbor, just south of Bar Harbor. Home of Acadia National Park!  It was the first time we encountered traffic in Maine. We were beginning to think that we were the only tourists in the state.  However, we found them all, including a motorhome that followed us all the way from Bangor. The other rig ended up passing us, but we caught up with them at the entrance to the campground. That's when we ran into the first snafu.

The other rig was blocking the entrance to the campground because the person in their site was still there - flat tire.  So, we had to wait in the road until they found a place to put their motorhome, while the other campers changed the tire. Kathy ended up standing out in the street directing traffic around our trailer.

Wait, it gets better!  Once the motorhome was out of the way, it was time for us to checkin. The site we reserved was a pull through site. However, another camper didn't pull far enough forward to allow us to pull-through. His back end was blocking the front of our site. So, the campground put us in another site. We started to get settled in and unhitched the truck, only to have the owner come out and tell us that we couldn't stay there.  We had to get into the original site we booked even though it was blocked.  They were trying to reach the owner of the rig blocking our site, but he didn't answer, so we waited.

After waiting around for over an hour, Dave decided to just back our rig into the site.  The road was wide enough, so the rig went straight back. However, all our utilities are on the opposite side. We were able to run everything under the rig. It took a little longer to get set up, but on the bright side, we met our next door neighbor, Joe. Joe is a lobster fisherman. Joe just got back from a lobstering trip. Turns out he takes orders from folks in the campground, goes fishing and them comes back and settles up. He had three extra lobsters today. He charged us $3.50 a lobster (not $3.50 a pound, but a piece!).  One of Kathy's bucket list items was to get a Maine lobster right off the boat. Well, they came off Joe's boat, so that's good enough for us!

All's well that ends well. So, our silver lining ended up being fresh lobster!

Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moosehead Lake

Hi Blog.  We got a chance to see some more of Maine today.  We drove up north to see one of Maine's biggest attractions - Moosehead Lake.  The drive was along country roads that took us through rolling hills of timber country.  We searched high and low every time we passed a marsh or swampy area, but we still haven't see a live moose.  There are plenty of moose logos, moose decals, stuffed moose, wood cut out moose, moose shaped mailboxes, moose mugs, moose t-shirts, moose droppings, but to date, no live moose sightings.

We arrived at the southernmost point of Moosehead Lake where the town of Greenville is located. We stopped at the marina and history museum, where we bought our tickets for the boat tour of the lake.  We watched a couple real cool videos on the history of the lake and the logging industry.  After the videos we found a local pub to have lunch.  We boarded the USS Katahdin (named after Maine's highest mountain, made famous as the terminus of the Appalachian Trail).  This Katahdin is a 98 year old steamship (now run by two 300 hp diesel engines). It started its career ferrying passengers and cargo up and down the lake.  During the Depression, the Katahdin pulled lumber barges. It is now part of the history museum and gives tourist rides up and down the lake.

Moosehead Lake was formed when the glaciers receded.  It is 40 miles long and 20 miles across at its widest point.  There are lots of islands, some of which are privately owned.  You can buy one for around $147,000 (we know because we looked at the real estate listings on the way back from lunch).  The lake freezes solid in the winter and folks love to ice fish and drive their snowmobiles back and forth across the lake.

If you look really hard in this photo, you can see the ghostly shape of Mount Katahdin off in the distance.

Here is a photo of Mount Kineo. It is famous for its flint deposits.  Indians from miles around would come to Kineo to gather flint to make tools.

We enjoyed chatting with some Mainers from Bath. They were very proud that the ship Katahdin was built in Bath. Before we knew it, the three hour tour was over.  The ride back produced no moose sighting either.  It is probably not meant to be.

Chat at you later!

The Other Lake George

On Tuesday, we decided to stretch our legs finally, after nearly a week of David recuperating from his allergic reaction to the mystery weeds.  We drove several miles up the road to Lake George - not THE Lake George, but a small community lake in the heart of Maine, northwest of Skowhegan.  

Here's a photo of Kathy admiring the calm, still lake:

The lake is in a park, which has some miles of trails, and we climbed one long trail to The Pinnacle.  While there was a view - it was just barely so, with the trees growing up in the way.

No sooner had we completed our climb than Kathy spotted some blueberry bushes!  She started picking them, and then realized that she was actually eating real, wild Maine blueberries!  We had to memorialize the event:

The little berries were no bigger than little peas, but they were very sweet.  It would have taken hundreds to fill a breakfast cereal bowl.  We decided to leave some for the next hikers and satisfied ourselves with just some tastes.

We got back to the truck just ahead of a thunderstorm, drove back to the RV, and waited out the rain.  As we had hoped, once the storm passed, the sky cleared, the sun came out, and we had a beautiful two hours to kayak upstream on the Kennebec River toward the town of Skowhegan.  We got as far as the Great Eddy, where the downstream current was so strong that, as hard as we paddled upstream, we kept slipping backward.  Finally we just gave in, circled around, and paddled back downstream to the campground.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Visiting the Skowhegan Farmers Market

Today, with David's leg on the mend, we decided to head into the farmers market in downtown Skowhegan, just about 2 miles away.  We had been there last Saturday and enjoyed the fresh organic produce and fresh-squeezed lemonade with pretzels and ginger scones at a little outdoor cafe there.

Kathy picked up some lamb, and RABBIT, and lots of fresh veggies, including daikon radish.  David picked up some really fresh oatmeal molasses bread.  When we were done with our shopping, we ambled over to the cafe and sat at a shaded table in the bright sunny morning and sipped coffees while watching all the shopping and bibbling.

A young musician was busking.  His guitar playing was original and entertaining, and he performed his own songs.  A sample partial lyric:

"Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. 
 Never drive a car when you're dead."

Well, you had to be there.

Some beautiful purple flowers were growing by our table and we couldn't help photographing them from all angles:

As we sat there, a couple of older ladies clearly not from the town sat beside us for the shade we had, and we got to talking.  They were in town with a larger group - the entire board of trustees of the local Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and they were touring the facility and the farmers market and related community facilities.  They were all from Manhattan and had driven up for the meeting.  Two of the ladies were focused intently on finding local maple syrup.  One bought a "Skowhegan Farmers Market" t-shirt for her husband.

Kids were everywhere.  We saw at least four infants in little backpacks or snugli chest carriers, and two toddlers being introduced.  Petted a black dog being squired by two pre-teen girls.  Watched some vendors doing some ad hoc farmer market yoga.

The sky was a beautiful blue, with one or two very dramatic cumulus clouds.  We even spotted one cloud over the city "skyline" with we named the "Holey Cloud!"

Back at the RV, David continued wrestling with how to import e-mails from an outmoded e-mail application to a newer one, while Kathy sat at her laptop dreaming up exotic crockpot recipes for the ground lamb and the rabbit, meanwhile listening to the golden tones of Denis DiBlasio's saxophone and jazz group on the iPod.  Quite a mellow Saturday afternoon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Patty's Positively Productive!

We're enjoying the fruits of her labor.



Awaking from
a hiking dream
(How green the woods!)
(but I digress)
– how dark the room.
I breathe a breath
and move the bed.
It also moves
from your breathing.
The morning air
from the window
whispers over
us who are warm
under covers.
Our female cat
kneads my pillow -
normally so
annoying, now
as soothing as
a cradle, and
rocking to the
same rhythm as
our drifting breaths.
I feel your warm
arm near me, and
another warmth
in my small back:
our other cat.
I move and he
adjusts to stay
close. How do I
not drift back to
deepest sleep, so
lulled by five soft
spirits breathing?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hanging Ten

Hi Blog - we spent the day just hanging out in the RV. Dave is re-couperating from his allergic reaction. We sat outside in our camp chairs and Dave elevated his leg on the picnic table.  Baxter came out to join us. He chose to hang his legs off the picnic table. Our next door neighbors are also from Pennsylvania and drive a Freightliner truck - small world. Patty, the patio tomato plant, has produced three red ripe tomatoes.  Boy were they good.  Keep 'em coming.

Chat at you later.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Attack of the Killer Weeds

Hi Blog!  It's Kathy.  I know it has been days since I posted, but I have been pre-occupied taking care of my patient. 

You see Dave had a little run in with the local flora. Of course, we didn't know that at the time he spiked a fever. After two days, the rash appeared and it was off to the ER for some antibiotics and steriods. Never mind that since we retired, we've backpacked in the Smokey Mountains, Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains, and never once encountered anything dangerous or life threatening - no lions, no tigers, no bears.  Never saw a moose, or fox, or coyote. We never even came across a deranged chipmunk or rabid squirrel. Our retirement has been put on hold because of a weed! We don't even know which weed it was. We just know that it is not something Dave ever wants to encounter again in life. Until the swelling goes down, Dave has been ordered to stay off his feet and keep his leg elevated. At least this campground has cable. Can you say CSI Marathon.

Dave here.  It's all a big lie.  That's just a mosquito bite that Kathy then photoshopped.

Chat at you later!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Ramble in Skowhegan

Today was our first day in Skowhegan, and we decided to talk a walk to get to know the immediate neighborhood.  Our campground sits on beautiful Kennebec River --

-- about 2.5 miles from the town of Skowhegan.  We walked into town along the river.  The town itself is an old factory mill town, and you can still see that in some of the old buildings on the river.  There is an old electric power generation plant that we could see from a former railroad bridge that has been converted to a pedestrian bridge spanning the entire river:

The main street of historic downtown Skowhegan is Water Street.  It presents a number of quaint shops, many of which are oriented toward tourists, but there are also vacant store fronts aplenty.  One of the most unusual was this business known as "Leakos Auction":

We weren't quite sure what the business was, but the mural on the front was definitely unique.  The left side of the mural reads:

on how to make the
"Hap Gotcha Fly"
Use a red tip frill
Attach Snell #10 hook
and a
black feather with
white painted dots
all held
on by red thread.

Across the bottom of the mural are the following words:

If ya going to fisher the Kennebec look up "Hap" in Bingham
Maine He'l show ya where.  Using his "Gotcha Fly" you catch
lots of fish like the kings of Manhattan pictured here.
P.S. "Hap" has been arrested for showing people where to fish
without a license and also using dynamite.  (This story is not
true.  Just a little bit of Maine humor).

We heard that New Balance's factory is in Skowhegan and that a factory store was near the center of town.  We found a sign and headed over there for a little discount shopping on some quality active wear!

After shopping we headed over to the Old Mill Pub, situated overlooking the river.  

The day was very hot and by now we had walked perhaps 4 or 5 miles.  We had a cool beer and some lunch to bring us back, and then headed back toward our campground.

Exhausted after 7 miles of hot pavement, we took a refreshing dip in the campground pool, then headed back to our site to start dinner.  Here's a photo of our rig parked in the Two Rivers Campground.  It's Friday and everyone was flocking in to spend the weekend camping by the river.  In fact, the campground is more crowded than almost any we've seen so far.  Nearly every site is occupied.

This didn't stop us from celebrating.  We started a campfire, grilled rosemary chicken with onions and pablano-soaked garlic over the campfire and paired it with cole slaw.  YUM!  Kathy then demonstrated the proper way to roast a marshmallow to a perfect golden brown, and then eat it without getting as much as a spot of marshmallow on her lips, chin or fingers.

We chatted with a neighbor and have retired inside after sundown to watch "Ice Age" on the campground's cable TV.  Some campgrounds offer cable TV and some don't.  Tonight we take advantage of it and just relax with a few laughs.

Eddie and George Wake Up in Skowhegan!