Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Getting Ready for China

Well today is "the day before the day before."  Tomorrow we fly from Portland, Maine to JFK airport to meet Weina and William.  Friday we all fly to China for over a month.

We took the kitties over to the cat sitter's house today and helped them get used to their suite in their luxurious cat resort.  There are three open windows - one for each cat, and lots of comfy bed-type places for them to lounge.  AND a puppy to occupy their playtime.  Kathy's already going through withdrawal :)

Now we're packing, and readying the RV and truck for a month of storage.  Luckily, we have enough time to do all this that it's not too stressful.

This will be our last blog post until sometime in late September.  Chat atchya then!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paddling Scarborough Marsh

After taking a canoe tour of Scarborough Marsh yesterday, and because this is likely to be our last sunny day at Wild Duck Campground before we leave for China, we decided to rent kayaks and paddle up and down Dunstan River through the marsh today.  We started from the Audubon Center and spent almost 3 hours paddling - first upstream and against the outgoing tide, then back downstream with the outgoing tide.

Soon after we set off, we found three cormorants perched atop a directional sign.  We had seen them there yesterday, and they seemed like three sentinels watching over the marsh and keeping an eye on the human invaders.  They were unflappable, however, as we paddled up right next to them and they didn't fly away.

The Dunstan River meanders through the marsh as it heads toward the Atlantic Orchard at Pine Point just north of Old Orchard Beach.  This map shows the general layout, and marks many of the features we saw kayaking:

Kathy took a bird census and reports that, during the 3 hours we saw:

                                    14 cormorants
                                    18 snowy egrets, over a dozen in one flock
                                    4 great blue herons
                                    several sea gulls
                                    ...and one flying ibis!

Here's a photo of Kathy on the lookout for more birds while paddling upriver:

The river meandered so much, that as we got to the farthest upstream point, it wrapped around on itself, and we could see each other paddling opposite directions with the equivalent of only a little sandbar in between us:

As we paddled back to the Audubon Center, we ran into today's canoe tour, with a naturalist in the lead.  The canoers were paddling all over the river, disturbing all the birds with their noise.  Were we that loud yesterday?  We were glad that we started early today and had a chance to see all the birds before they were scared away.

Old Orchard Beach

Monday, August 13, 2012

We started the day at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center. This former clam shack now hosts a canoe and kayak rental center and a marsh education center. We signed up for the 10:00 a.m. tour with an environmentalist. We started our tour in the classroom meeting stuffed versions of all the birds would could see in the salt marsh, as well as all the fish, bugs and plants. We met fellow RVrs, Mike and Lori. They are planing to be full-timers, too. Dave's camera battery gave out right when we started, so Lori promised to send a link to her photos. When we get them, we'll update our blog with a photo or two. We did see a few birds and got to eat some bog lettuce. It was very tasty.

Yesterday we took a short bike ride on the Eastern Trail in the direction of South Portland. We noticed that one of Dave's spokes had broken away from the hub. When we got back to the RV, we did a little Google search and found a bike shop in Saco, just outside of Orchard Beach. Since we were planning to bike over to Orchard Beach anyway, we decided to go ahead and add on the extra couple of miles to get to and from the bike shop.

We figured we needed a good reward for all that extra biking, so we went to and found a really good beer-bar - Jimmy the Greek's. This place is beer heaven to a thirsty bike rider - over 150 beers from around the world, with 40 on tap. If you can't decide, they offer a sample - 4 four ounce glass. Kathy still could decide after her first sampler, so she had a second. Dave, on the other hand, went straight for the Allagash Black.

We needed the pick-me-up because after getting to the bike shop, we found out they don't carry our size spoke. Who knew it would be that difficult to get a spoke. So, after drowning our sorrows, it was time to hit the beach.

This was the first beach that reminded us of the Jersey Shore.  There was a nice wide sandy beach with amusement piers. Lots and lots of tourists, most of them speaking French. The first two weeks in August are a big shut down time in Quebec and they love Orchard Beach. We had soft-serve ice cream. It wasn't Kohr Brothers, but it still tasted good. We even stopped to have a squirt gun race. Here is Kathy collecting her prize.

As we biked back to Scarborough, we passed all of the Orchard Beach Campgrounds we looked at before booking with Wild Duck. Man-o-man did we make the right pick. We have never encountered campgrounds as large or crowded. These places were packed - 200, 400 and even 600 spaces, all full. We couldn't even image what traffic would be like in one of these mega-camps. Besides, we love Mr. Bill and his friends.

We are getting really excited for our trip to China. We've almost got the suitcases packed. We're working really hard to eat all the food in the fridge. There are only a few condiments left - anyone want a pickle sandwich?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Netherlands Redux

In our June 13, 2012 blog entry, we wrote about Phillipe and Suzanne, two young people from the Netherlands who were bicycling their way from New York City to Ottowa.  We really enjoyed talking with them.

We were happily surprised with an e-mail today from Suzanne, which reads in part:

"Back home, it seems like ages since we were cycling in the Catskills and the Adirondacks. We had a great trip. It took us 19 days to cycle the 700 miles from New York City to Ottawa. [Here is] a picture of us arriving at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

"We saw some beautiful wildlife (amongst which a Fisher Cat, apparently rare in the Adirondacks) and met many friendly people.

"After we arrived in Ottawa, we spent a week with Philippe's sister, relaxed and visited Philippe's relatives. After that we flew back to New York City. It was an amazing experience. Even though we live in the second largest city of the Netherlands, we felt like small town folks coming to the big city for the first time."

We're so jealous Phillipe and Suzanne saw a Fisher Cat!  They are indeed very shy and difficult to spot in the wild.

We think often about our young friends from the Netherlands.  The world becomes a smaller, friendlier place when you have a chance to get to know people from other countries.  We know that Europeans don't always have the most positive image of Americans, but we hope that Phillipe and Suzanne's bicycle trip forged some ties here in America for them and their family, and also with Europe for the various people they met in the United States and Canada.

We wish you many happy and rewarding travels, Suzanne and Phillipe!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Rainy Day That Wasn't

Today was the rainy day that wasn't.  Weather forecasts had it raining all morning, with a 30% chance of rain this afternoon, and then thunderstorms this evening.  Well, it did sprinkle this morning, but for the most part was cloudy.  The clouds remained in early afternoon.

Anticipating the rain, we did some computer work - trip planning and such.  We watched a Harry Potter film.  Finally, around 2pm, we decided to take a bicycle ride, seeing rain approaching on weather radar that wasn't to arrive until 5pm.

The other day, we had ridden our bikes south on the Eastern Trail, which is a 64-mile bike trail running from South Portland, down the coast of Maine to the state border.  Our ride south had been for only perhaps 5 miles each way, to check out our route to Old Orchard Beach.  Today we chose to ride north, toward Portland.  We stopped at the Audubon Society's information center for the Scarborough Marsh, which our campground is located on, and got what we needed to know about canoe tours of the marsh. We continued on the bike trail, north through the marsh:

We pedaled about 6 miles until David's bike sprang a broken spoke, and we decided to turn back, so we turned homeward for a total trip of about 12 miles.  After a warm dinner, we took a walk around the campground.

It appeared the Wild Ducks were on strike, because we found them milling about the campground road:

Another couple staying in the campground drove in and encountered the ducks, and we helped shoo them back into the pond so the car could pass.  Ended the evening watching another Harry Potter movie.

Don't say nothing exciting happens at RV campgrounds.

Another day in the life...

We realize in looking back over the blog entries that most folks think that all we do is hike, bike and paddle. However, there is more to full time RVing than recreation.

Here is Dave trying to restring the blinds.

Meanwhile, Baxter was in the bedroom folding the laundry.

Kathy was busy on the computer trying to come up with more exciting blog entries. Obviously, she didn't succeed.

Bring back Eddie and George and Mr. Bill!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eddie and George Wake Up in Wild Duck Campground

Today dawned misty and cooler after a night of periodic rain and thunderstorms, but George and Eddie are intrepid adventurers, and they trekked out to the duck pond at Wild Duck Campground to see what they could see.

Here they are, pondering the pond and the ducks:

When Eddie, George and we came down to the pond, all the ducks were on the opposite shore, just lolling about.  However, the moment the ducks saw us, they started a pilgrimage across the pond.  We actively debated whether we should get them some food to reward them for performing in our photos.  So Kathy ran back to the RV while David snapped the photo above.

Kathy almost got back to the pond too late.  Having arrived, seen that we had no food for them, and recognizing the rule that members of the DAG (Duck Actors Guild) do NOT perform if not paid, they all turned tail (so to speak) and paddled back from whence they came:

However, Kathy arrived soon after, and forgiving as they are, the ducks generously returned to relieve us of our bread crumbs.  It was at that moment that we realized the campground was misnamed; it should have been named, "Tame Duck Campground."  All the ducks were amply rewarded.

One duck immediately jumped up on the shore and waddled close to us, as if to say, "I'm not shy, you can feed me up close!"  We dropped him a few pieces of bread, and then noticed that something had injured his bill.  He had trouble picking up the bread crumbs in the normal way, and might not have been able to eat from the water because his upper bill was shorter than his lower bill:

We decided we liked him best, and we named him, "Mr. Bill."


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Acadia Mountain Hike

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - our last full day in Acadia National Park. We pretty much hit all the highlights on our bucket list. However, there are still many, many trails that we just didn't have time to hike. With just one day left, we decided to hike Acadia Mountain (the park's name sake).

We put together a loop hike that took us up and over Flying Mountain, along the shore of Valley Cove, up Acadia Mountain, over to Mt. St. Sauveur and down to Valley Peak and down to the parking area near Fernald Cove. To say this was an up and down hike is an understatement.  At times, we felt like we were on a hiking roller coaster. Here is Kathy atop one of the many, many ledges we encountered.

On our way around Valley Cove, we had to cross over several boulder slides. The blocks of granite were square. So, when they were laying flat, you could walk across them. Only, they weren't all laying flat. Kathy got a boo-boo on her knee from a particularly pointy boulder.

We learned from the park ranger on our boat ride, that the water in the cove is really deep - deep enough for lobsters. Here is a lobsterman checking his traps.

Here is the view from the top of Acadia Mountain. Along the right side of the photo is the Valley Cove and Flying Mounting. Our truck is parked on the other side of Flying Mountain.

We met lots of family groups doing a popular smaller loop hike up Acadia and back on a fire road. It was fun getting trail advice from the little ones. Here is the last view we saw as we came down from Valley Peak.

We had a wonderful time and hope to return to Acadia some day.


We wanted to attend a National Park ranger program on tidepools on the Maine coast, but the timing of the tides precluded a ranger program when we could attend.  So we chatted with a park ranger, who told us that the program is run right at Ship Harbor, which is a very short bicycle ride away from our campground.  We checked the tide charts and found that low tide this morning would be 9:50 am.  We headed over to the beach to look around.

We weren't disappointed!  There were many beautiful tidepools filled with colorful life - mainly types of seaweed and grasses, snails, barnacles and other mollusks.  However, another beachgoer pointed out to Kathy a starfish in the corner of one pool, and we were able to snap a photo:

The day was brilliant, and we also had some great views out to the ocean, as the following one of two sailboats bobbing offshore:

The tidepools provided their own color to the beaches.  The underlying rock is pink granite which, while it looks more black than pink when it's wet, carried such colorful plant life that sections of the beach were a riot of colors against a blue sea and a blue sky:

St. Sauveur/Valley Peak Social Hike

Today dawned foggy withal. After yesterday's island-long hike, we were ready for a little sleep-in and a slower paced day. We started off with lobster omelets and wonderful aromatic smooth delicious Bisetti coffee (thanks Hannah and David for roasting such wonderful beans and to Laird and Risa for transporting them). After breakfast, we gave each other hair cuts. Dave decided to go really short in preparation for the trip to China. Kathy opted for her standard buzz cut.

The fog started lifting around 11:00 a.m., so we drove over to the trailhead for Mt. St. Sauveur/Valley Peak. There was only one car in the otherwise usually crowded parking lot. Folks were scared away by the fog. Today's hike is what we call a lollipop loop hike. We took the Ledge Trail to the Mt. St. Sauveur Trail over Mt. St. Sauveur and on to to Valley Peak Loop. While yesterday's hike took us up to 1500 feet and 8 miles, Mt. St. Sauveur is only 500 feet and 2.5 miles, so this would just be a walk in the woods - or so we thought. Here's Dave scrambling through the large rock ledges.

On our way up, we were run over by a herd of stampeding young'uns whose parents needed to get them out of the house - fog or not. The seven year old told us there was no view, just a large open rocky area. However, by the time we got up there, we could get a little peak into the harbor.

It never ceases to amaze us how many tourists will go on a hike without really knowing where they are going or what direction they are traveling - no map (some don't even have water with them). We ended up pulling out our map three times - not because we needed it, but because we kept running into lost hikers. We also ran into a couple walking their two golden doodles. We must have spent 20 minutes talking about trekking poles, waterproof cameras, and favorite hikes in Acadia.

After passing over the summit for Mt. St. Sauveur, we continued south toward Valley Peak. The fog had lifted just enough to see across Somes Sound and down to Southwest Harbor.

On the way back around the loop, we ran into a couple from Boston. They were lost, too. We ended up talking to them for about 30 minutes on RVing, retirement, hiking, biking and all things Acadia, as well as their favorite places on Cape Cod, which is where we will move our RV after our China trip. We also got some good intel on Plymouth, Mass., the Berkshires and Martha's Vineyard.

A good part of the hike back across the summits was on granite ledges like this one.  If you look closely, you'll see David at the bottom of the rock ledge.

Despite all the socializing, we were home by 3:00. The reward for our efforts - a nice cold brew.

Until next time.

Arrived Wild Duck Campground, Scarborough, ME @ 3:00 pm

Sent from my iPhone

Departed Bass Harbor Campground @ 10:10 am

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thuya Gardens and Eliot Mountain

Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
                                                                                  -- T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Today we went back to Northeast Harbor to visit the Thuya Lodge and Gardens (and climb Mount Eliot). This 140-acre preserve is privately owned and sits just outside Acadia National Park. The really rich guy that owned this part of the island, Joseph Curtis, donated his estate to be held in trust for the residents of Mount Desert. The Trustees maintain the docks, trails, lodge and gardens and ask folks to donate $5.00 to visit to help cover the costs.

The weather was sunny and clear. Here is Kathy at one of the first ledges looking over the yachts in Northeast Harbor. Visitors can come by boat and tie up at the dock at the bottom of the trail.

The formal garden was well worth the price of admission. We've been to Biltmore and Longwood, but these gardens just popped with color and texture. Once we get better internet access at our next campground, we'll upload some more photos to Flickr. Here are just a few of photos we took.

After wandering around the gardens, we hiked up to the summit of Eliot Mountain, which inspired us to re-read the T.S. Eliot poem about a formal garden. Our hike took us over Eliot Mountain and down into Acadia. We headed back toward the parking lot along the Jordan Pond Trail. We ran into a family of five who were hiking over tot he Jordan Pond House for popovers. We assured them that it was definitely worth the 1.5 mile hike.

On the way back to the parking lot, we stopped at the Map House. The map on the wall is from 1959. The map on the table was a lot newer since it had a url for the printing company. It was fun comparing the older maps to the new one we just purchased for our visit. There is Dave reflected in the wall map taking a photo of Kathy in the Map House.

Upon our return to the campground, we got a chance to try out the pool. Our neighbor, Joe, got us a couple more lobsters for dinner. We also had a campfire and Kathy indulged in a couple of s'mores while talking with our new neighbors from Illinois.  (Apparently, there is nothing in Illinois to see, other than Chicago.) We ended the day watching the Olympics. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunset on Bernard Mountain

Today was supposed to be rainy, so we planned to do a lot of inside chores - fixing a blind, planning campground reservations, handling some other bills and items, and generally just hanging about the RV.  However, as it turned out, the weather was beautiful.  The rain that was supposed to arrive last night at 10pm and continue through this afternoon never arrived.  After a heavy morning fog, the day became sunny, cloudless and clear, with low humidity.

We finished our chores by dinner, and decided to use this evening to follow up on a suggestion by one of the National Park Service rangers.  We decided to hike up Bernard Mountain, on the west side of Mount Desert Island, to watch the sunset.

Great White lumbered up Seal Cove Road and around Bass Mountain, and we found our trailhead around 7pm.  We had a short but steep hike of about 1 mile up to a western-facing ledge, where we set out our camp chairs and enjoyed the sweeping views, nearly 180 degrees south to north, with the sun almost in the center of the picture.  We brought two small bottles of our favorite wine with us, and toasted the evening as it became rosier and rosier.

Here's a photo of the sunset over Bartlett Island:

There were enough clouds to make the sunset dramatic.  Here's a photo of the sun just as it walked out the door, leaving a pink hue on the clouds across the evening sky:

Here's a photo of David enjoying the scene --

-- and one of Kathy enjoying the rosy glow as well --

Once the quiet fireworks were done, we hiked down by the fading light, found the truck, and headed home, still with plenty of time to enjoy the evening Olympics highlights on TV.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cadillac Mountain Hike

Today we took our first day-long hike in Acadia National Park, and, fittingly enough, we decided to make it a traverse including the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest in the park, but also the highest coastal mountain on the Eastern seacoast.  Having said that, the summit is only 1530 feet above sea level, so this is not one of the highest mountains we've climbed by any stretch.  However, it was quite warm today (a high of 84F), and the sun was unrelenting.  Further, almost the entire hike was on flat, granite stone face, which reflected back the heat.  It took more out of us than we expected.

We decided to approach Cadillac's summit from the north on the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.  The shuttle bus let us off about a mile from the trailhead, and we walked the road to get to it.  Then up to the summit, about another 2 miles or so, for first lunch.  We hiked the summit loop and then, from the summit, our hike took us 2 more miles southward on the Cadillac South Ridge Trail to have second lunch at Eagles Crag, an outcropping with a view to the East, and a supplemental hike around the loop.  Finally, our walk took us another 2+ miles down to Blackwoods Campground near the southern shore of Mount Desert Island.  We hopped a shuttle bus back to the Village Green in Bar Harbor, got our (now traditional) shared scoop of ice cream, and transferred to another shuttle bus back to the campground.

Here's a photo of the two of us at the trailhead:

Almost immediately, we got amazing views around the island.  This photo is of the five Porcupine Islands, with Bar Harbor visible along the shore of the island below the islands:

In the photo above, you can get a sense for the rocky, alpine, almost desert-like environment on the mountain where we hiked.

While there had been many cars parked at the trailhead, suggesting lots of people on the trail, we only ran into perhaps half a dozen people as we climbed.  Of course, once we summited, it seemed the entire population of North America - and their vehicles - were up top.  We swam our way through the waves of humanity to look at the views, and then found a quiet picnic table up behind the snack stand to eat our trail lunch.  Kathy snapped a quick candid photo of the two of us finishing our lunch.  Note the still-red faces despite our having had 20 minutes to cool down.  Most of it was from the heat, although Kathy thought she got a little sunburn as well.

We did a quick cruise around the summit loop to see the views, but, really, we mostly navigated other tourists.  Having satisfied our curiosity on that score, we headed down the Cadillac South Ridge Trail.

Where the first two miles were constantly up, the remainder of the hike was constantly down.  Some sections were steeper than others.  Here's one point where the reach from top of the granite to the next level was so high that an iron step rung was added.  In this photo, David is demonstrating the proper technique for descending such ladder rungs:

The hike down was interesting for its sequence of perhaps five points or plateaus, each at a progressively lower level, but with magnificent views at the point.  One of the points had a huge cairn of rocks, and Kathy paused by it.  If you look carefully past Kathy between her and the large cairn, you'll see a couple examples of the unique "Bates" style cairns that are used to mark trails in the rocky portions of Acadia National Park:

About halfway down to Eagles Crag, we passed an interesting little pond called the "Featherbed," pictured below with the ocean to the South in the background.  A primitive wooden bench had been built next to the shore of the pond, and we relaxed there as several groups of French Canadians, obviously staying at the campground below, passed on their way back down from the summit to the campground.

On a later point, we passed a small pool which has its own unique micro-eco-system.  From the look of the plants in the pool, it appears that it may have water most of the time.

We stopped for lunch in the shade at Eagles Crag, and were treated to some fabulous views of Gorham Mountain and Halfway Mountain to the East.

As we descended the last 2 miles from Eagles Crag, the entire environment changes.  Instead of open rock face and alpine or desert-like flora, we were submerged in a damp forest environment, with soft, spongy soil.  We passed a major trail renovation project, where clearly entire sections were being completely reconstructed, including the construction of drainage beside the trail, large boulders to support the side of the trail, and deep troughs of rock and gravel overlaid with humus and dirt.

We made it to Blackwoods Campground just in time to catch a passing shuttle bus.  The bus trip back to Village Green in Bar Harbor was a treat because we passed parts of the island we hadn't seen before.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kayaking Great Long Pond

In our quest to experience everything Acadia, today we rented kayaks and paddled the entire length of Long Pond.  From North to South, the "pond" is four miles long. However, that's the direct route. We decided to poke into every inlet and cove on the way down. We had the kayaks for six hours, so we figured we'd have plenty of time to explore. The east side of the pond is private homes and the west side is part of Acadia National Park. We decided to visit the park side first.

As we paddled into the first cove, we could here an eagle calling. A couple other kayakers had binoculars and were able to spot the nest in the trees. We continued around the top of the cove and parked next to the shore for a quick in-boat break. The water was so clear, Dave could see lake trout hanging out under some overhanging trees. We then paddled our way down the cove toward a boat launch. Playing around the launch were a couple of kids taking lessons on how to use a paddle board. While it looked like fun, we decided we prefer to do our paddling sitting down.

Long Pond is situated between two mountains. Beech Mountain is on the east side and Mansell Mountain is on the west side.  Here is Dave looking back up the length of the pond. Beech is on the right and Mansell on the left.

Here are the mountains from the opposite side - Beech on the left and Mansell on the right. This photo was taken from a rock outcropping into the lake where we stopped and ate lunch.

While the water looks calm and peaceful in these photos, there is one point where the pond narrows between the two mountains and the wind whips up the pond creating waves and whitecaps in the narrows. While it wasn't as challenging as the ocean kayak, with its tides and currents and three foot swells, it was still exercise.

It took us four hours to paddle our way to the other end of the lake. That left us with two hours to get back. With the wind now at our backs, we put the kayaks on cruise control and just followed the east shore back up to the launch site. There were a number of cute little cottages dotting the shore, along with the occasional yuppie mansion. We saw every type of water toy you could image - motor boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks and a water tricycle with giant yellow inflated wheels. We actually got back with a 1/2 hour to spare. Which is good, because we're not sure we had another half hour worth of paddling in our arms.

Good thing we are planning a hike for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carriage Roads (and Lobsters) Part Deux

Today dawned foggy and somewhat chilly, with a threat of rain predicted, so we decided to go bicycling again.  We really enjoyed the carriage roads on Mount Desert Island, and had only done half of them the other day, so today we decided to do the other half!

As usual, we caught the Island Explorer shuttle bus just across the road from our campground.  We've begun to see some familiar faces on the bus ride.  Today there was a fellow who gets on at Southwest Harbor and rides the bus into Bar Harbor to work; we had seen him last Friday.  Similarly, a teenage girl got on in Southwest Harbor and was joined by some of her friends - clearly year-round residents on vacation from high school, off to some adventure.

But today we happened to sit across from a couple who are also full-time RV'ers.  Their names are Stan and Karen, and they come from northern Ontario.  They've been full-timing for 10 years and Stan had lots of pointers for us - things one only learns by experience.  We enjoyed talking with them as we headed in toward Bar Harbor.

Again, we got off the bus at Eagle Lake, but this time pedaled North toward the Acadia National Park Visitor Center.  One section was a very steep downhill - which, unfortunately, we knew we'd have to pedal back up as we headed back down from the Visitor Center.  On the way back, however, we circled around behind ponds we had passed on the way up, and found one of the many very striking stone bridges.  This one was very accessible, and we climbed down to the stream under it, poked around the stream, and then climbed back up over it before continuing our bike ride.

Many of the ponds north of Eagle Lake are beaver-made.  We must have passed eight different ponds.  Interestingly, while there were several "mature" ponds (that is, they had become full-fledged, healthy bodies of water with beaver dams and lodges, and little evidence of the trees that had once stood in the meadows and wetlands that were now inundated with water), we also saw several "ponds-in-the-making," ranging from meadows that had started to flood, killing all of the trees (with the dead trees still standing), to infant ponds with all the dead trees fallen but visible.

Interestingly, one pond had a beaver lodge that had a cap of wildflowers.  We couldn't determine whether the beavers still live in it, but the lodge certainly was decorated.

About halfway through our ride, we were once again alongside Eagle Lake.  We found a nice, sunny, flat spot with rocks along the shore that were large enough to sit on.  Here's Kathy enjoying our lunchtime rest:

After lunch, we continued South from Eagle Lake and began climbing a mountain.  It was a very long, steady, demanding climb, but the views were amply rewarding.  As we neared the top, we looked back and saw Eagle Lake - where we had so recently had lunch - in the distance looking small:

The uphill seemed to go on forever, but finally we started down on the leg toward Aunt Betty Pond.  As we neared the pond, we passed a marshy meadow that was striking for its greens and the clarity of its water.

We had another very long uphill to get from the watershed containing Aunt Betty Pond, back to the watershed of Eagle Lake, but then were rewarded with an equally long downhill, back to Eagle Lake, where we picked up the Biker Express bus into Bar Harbor.

At Village Green, we gave ourselves the same reward we have each other active day:  we shared a scoop of delicious ice cream while we waited for the shuttle bus back to our campground.

As we got back to our RV, Kathy ran next door to see our neighbor Joe, who (as described in an earlier blog entry) crews on a lobster boat and had promised to get us five big lobsters.  He had fulfilled his promise and Kathy gladly paid his "boat price" for them.

As those five lobsters sat in our kitchen, wiggling and oblivious to their impending fate, we decided we needed names for them.  The first three lobsters we got from Joe we dubbed the "Three Stooges."  These we dubbed the "Fab Five" in honor of the American women's Olympic gymnastic team.  All five lobsters made perfect scores vaulting into the lobster pot.  As a result, Kathy and David, as well as our (currently, just for dinner) best friends Baxter and Luckie the cats, enjoyed a scrumptious lobster dinner.

Joe dropped by just as we had boiled the Fab Five, and we asked Joe to pose with Kathy and the shellfish to memorialize the event.  Here they are:

So, having stuffed ourselves, we topped off the evening watching Gabby Douglas winning Gold in Olympic gymnastics, and cheering for Martha McCabe, of the Canada Olympic swimming team, who is the sister of Katie's college roommate Caroline, achieving a brilliant fifth in the women's 200 meter breaststroke!  Go, Martha!