Road Trip 2021: Baxter State Park & Mount Katahdin, Maine

When I last blogged about our road trip, we had traveled to Skowhegan, Maine to meet my long-time (40+ years!) pen pal and her husband. You can read about our visit HERE. We then left Skowhegan and journeyed to Millinocket, Maine where we stayed at the Wilderness Edge Campground which was an easy drive from Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. (My full review of the campground can be found HERE.)

Site 41 at Wilderness Edge Campground

At this point in our journey, we were still eagerly looking for moose. Wilderness Edge offered “moose tours” but all of their tours were full when we arrived. However, a local lodge offered moose tours via boat; the tours were early morning and early evening to coincide with the times the moose would come out of the woods to drink from the lake. We elected to take the early morning tour so we were on the water at 7am. While no moose were seen, we did see a lot of beautiful scenery. And did I mention that it was cold? The temps would have been fine on shore but once you’re on a boat, speeding over the lake, it feels much colder. Thankfully, the tour hosts provided blankets. By the end of the two-hour trip, I was bundled up in a blanket in addition to my own cold weather gear.

Just before launch
Just after launch

We spent most of the next two days exploring Baxter State Park, home of Mount Katahdin. Kenn has long had a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. We have done numerous day hikes on southern parts of the trail and Kenn has done a few section hikes, beginning at Springer Mountain, Georgia, the southern terminus of the AT. Even though aging knees and an aching back seem to have put an end to Kenn’s AT dreams, seeing Mount Katahdin, which marks the northern terminus of the AT was on his bucket list.

Oddly enough, once we were in the park, we never set foot on Mount Katahdin. The first day, the parking lot(s) at the base of the mountain were full so we had to visit a different section of the park. When we returned the next day, rain was threatening and we elected to continue exploring the section of the park that we had visited the day before since we had only seen a small part of it. (Don’t worry; it was Kenn’s choice. This part of the trip was all for him.) We picked a section of the park and drove through it stopping whenever we felt like it. We took a few short hikes and saw a lot of amazing scenery, but still no moose. (Darn moose, LOL.) We even got to see otters playing in one of the lakes! All in all, it was an enjoyable, relaxing couple of days.

It wasn’t prime leaf season, but the leaves were starting to change
Tiny fungi
Baxter State Park selfie

Until next time, happy trails and… take a moment to back up your important files. The SD card in my phone recently failed, taking a lot of my photos with it. Fortunately, I had copied all of my trip photos to Dropbox so they were safe. Phew!

Road Trip 2021: The Long Distance Relationship

We left Trenton, Maine and headed for the Farmington/Chesterville area. We wound up staying at the Skowhegan/Kennebec Valley KOA; it was further away from our destination than I would have liked but it was an amazing campground that we would gladly stay at again. (My review is available here.) Our first stops were near sites we wanted to see, so what drew us to this area? Friendship.

When I was in high school, I had several pen pals – up to 21 at one point. Over time, that number dwindled to just one and we have now been writing for over 40 years. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, my remaining pen pal lives in Maine. There was no way I was going to visit the state and not take advantage of the opportunity to meet. So, we exchanged (more) letters and phone numbers and I kept her apprised of when we would arrive. I have to admit, I was nervous. I’m shy and writing is easier for me than face-to-face interactions, but I shouldn’t have worried. Our meeting was… easy. You would think we had known each other for years, LOL.

Kenn and I spent a day with Ruth and her husband, John. We went out for lunch and then stopped for ice cream. We spent the remainder of our time just sitting around our campsite and talking. Ruth asked one of the campground employees to take our picture.

John, Ruth, Linda and Kenn

One of the souvenirs I collect when we travel is (are?) Christmas ornaments. Somehow, I got home from our trip without an ornament for Maine. I turned to Amazon (of course) in my search for a Maine ornament but wasn’t happy with the selection; many of them were too similar to ornaments that I already have. Then, inspiration struck and I turned to Shutterfly where I had the photo shown above printed on a metal ornament. I think it’s perfect and look forward to it gracing our tree in all the years to come.😊

Here’s hoping that it won’t take us another 40 years to get together again!

Until next time, here’s to friendships and happy trails!

Road Trip 2021: Acadia National Park, Maine

We had very few definite plans during our 2021 road trip; one of those was visiting Acadia National Park. Prior to our visit, Kenn had expressed some concerns about it. When I asked what he meant he said that he was afraid that he had put Acadia on such a mental pedestal that the actual park was going to be a disappointment. Little did we know how true this statement would turn out to be. Sadly, neither of us was blown away by Acadia.

Don’t get me wrong. Acadia National Park is beautiful, but we didn’t see anything in the park that we hadn’t seen during our drives along the highways and byways of Maine. It might have been different if we had made reservations for the Cadillac Summit Road or Sand Beach but we elected to skip those so we didn’t have to spend our day working around reservations.

Our favorite picture from Acadia

After visiting Glacier and Yellowstone in the month of July (2019), we intentionally scheduled our trip to Acadia for September, after Labor Day when the kiddos are back in school; we thought this would make for smaller crowds. We were wrong. According to one of the park rangers, up until a couple of years ago we would have been correct in our assumption. She said that she doesn’t know what has changed but that over the past couple of years, they no longer experience a lull in the number of visitors after Labor Day.

Due to COVID restrictions, masks were required in all park facilities and no more than five people were allowed inside at a time which meant that there were long lines at all visitor’s centers, etc. There were outdoor kiosks for the purchase of park tickets and the stamps for national park passports were also set up outside. (Acadia was the first stamp in our passport!) Since our schedule was flexible and we’d had a day of rain we discussed staying in the area longer so we could spend more time in Acadia but decided against it.

A very Dr. Seuss-ish tree

Whereas I have dozens of pictures from our visits to Glacier and Yellowstone I only have a handful from Acadia. We have no regrets about visiting Acadia; it would have been a shame to travel to Maine and not go. However, should we ever return to Maine, we’ll skip Acadia and visit places we missed this time around.

My next post will be about one of my favorite parts of the trip.😊 Until then, take care and happy trails!

Road Trip 2021: Bar Harbor, Maine

We left the Lubec, Maine area and headed to the Narrows Too Camping Resort in Trenton, Maine. The campground was an easy drive from both Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. (My review of the campground is available here.)

I have to admit that, in general, I’m not a fan of “touristy” towns like Bar Harbor; the sheer number of people everywhere overwhelms me. I’m not comfortable stopping to look at architecture (something I love) or anything else because stopping is a good way to get trampled. Of course, if we were going to be in Maine and within spitting distance of Bar Harbor, we had to go. (We actually went twice.🙄) It was every bit as stressful as I expected it to be. The roads were narrow with vehicles parked down both sides which meant a big truck like Ruby was practically in the middle of the road. Parking was difficult to find. We found a park at the far end of town and parked there during both of our visits.

We did stumble across a really cool restaurant in Bar Harbor – Route 66. Route 66 features a lot of things I love: old architecture, high ceilings, stained glass windows, and vintage tchotchkes. The food was pretty good too.😉 We sat in the loft area of the restaurant which wasn’t crowded at all and gave us a good vantage point from which to view everything. It was a great place to relax, refuel, and prepare to take on the crowds again.

Route 66 interior. So cool!
Vintage tchotckes at Route 66
Fried mac and cheese bites. Yum!

While I may not like touristy towns I did take advantage of our visits to Bar Harbor to buy souvenirs and a few Christmas gifts. When in Rome, right?🤷‍♀️

We only planned three nights, two full days in the area. It rained the first full day which gave us an unexpected but much needed down day. The second full day we reserved for Acadia National Park but I’ll save that post for next week.

Until next time, happy trails!

Road Trip 2021: Quoddy Head State Park

Quoddy Head State Park is located in Lubec, Maine and is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States; a lighthouse was constructed at the site in 1808.

It wouldn’t be a post without a bad selfie, LOL

A tiny visitor’s center and park ranger residence are located at the lighthouse and there are a couple of trails along the coast. This is where I got my first look at the rocky coast of Maine and it was love at first sight.🥰 At this point, I could overwhelm you with photos of the coast but I’ll try to limit myself to a few favorites.

Clouds moved in while we were on the trail but the overcast did nothing to hide the beauty

We returned the next morning to watch the sunrise. Now, I am not a morning person at the best of times so getting up at o dark thirty while on vacation wasn’t my idea of fun, it was definitely worth it. I mean, if you’re going to take a trip to the easternmost point in the US, you may as well make it a point to be one of the first people in the country to see the sunrise! On our way to the park I got my first glimpse of a porcupine when one waddled out into the road in front of us. (Don’t worry, we didn’t hit him.) It was pretty exciting for me; we don’t have porcupines in Georgia! There were about 6 others at the park (people, not porcupines) with the same idea. It was quiet as we all found the locations from which we would watch and wait. Did I mention that it was worth getting up so early?

The view of the Quoddy Head Lighthouse when we arrived to watch the sunrise

Now, one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me involves the above photo of the sunrise. I posted this photo on my Twitter account and got a message from the The Weather Channel asking for my permission to use it on the air! How cool is that? Of course I gave them the necessary permission. Now, I don’t know if they did use it because we hadn’t even bothered to set up our satellite dish and my Twitter account (@AuthorIzzy) is in the name of my writing persona so she is the one who would have been cited on the air, but I don’t care; I still know it was me.

The next day, our last in the Lubec area, we spent some time hiking one of the trails at the Cutler Preserve. We met a local couple, Nancy and Rowland, and had a good time chatting with them as we hiked a trail to the coast. The waters were much calmer and we were surprised to see it had a beautiful blue color now that it wasn’t so grumpy.

Cutler Preserve

It was also during this time that we got one of those reminders that life doesn’t stop just because of vacation. Our oldest son texted to tell us that his wife had been admitted to the hospital. I felt so helpless because we were over 2,000 miles away and unable to help him with their son. I was also assailing the gates of heaven with prayers for the safety of both our daughter-in-law and the twins she is carrying. After a few scary hours we received word that the babies were fine and daughter-in-law was going to be okay; she was diagnosed with gallstones and was hospitalized for a couple of days for observation. Thank you Jesus! (At the time of this writing, she is now 29 weeks pregnant and we look forward to welcoming the twins in the January/February 2022 time frame.)

Until next time, take care and happy trails!

Road Trip 2021: Lubec, Maine

Our 2021 road trip up the eastern coast of the United States served multiple purposes. First and foremost was for us to see areas of the country that we haven’t visited before. However, Maine was our ultimate destination and where we would spend the most time. We arrived at Sunset Point RV Park in the tiny town of Lubec, Maine on September 11th, two days earlier than scheduled; the staff was awesome and worked with us to accommodate our early arrival. I wondered why the park was named “Sunset Point”; my question was answered that evening.

So THIS is why it’s named Sunset Point!
Maggie belonged to one of our campground neighbors; she was a Very Good Girl

Lubec is a tiny town with a population less than 2,000 in the 2010 census; it is also the easternmost municipality in the contiguous United States. So, what made us choose Lubec as the location for the first extended stay of our trip? Kenn has friends who have spent a couple of summers in Lubec; they highly recommended both the area and the RV park. This was enough for us.

I love old, small towns and enjoy walking around and looking at the architecture, etc. Lubec did not disappoint. The “downtown” area is small, no more than two or three blocks.

An old building in downtown Lubec. I loved the silhouette of the roof line against the sky.

Someone had set up quite the wonderful hangout for this cat on the front porch of one of the buildings down town. S/he had easy access to food and water and even an insulated area for cold weather. Being the cat people that we are, we stopped to chat with the kitty but s/he could not be bothered to acknowledge our presence.😂

We could see Canada from Lubec. As a matter of fact, there is a bridge into Canada right next to the Lubec post office. Sadly, due to the pandemic, we did not attempt to cross the border.😢

Canada – so close and yet so far

Suffice it to say that there aren’t a plethora of restaurants in Lubec but we did enjoy Fisherman’s Wharf, the small restaurant located at The Inn on the Wharf. We had breakfast there after viewing the sunrise at West Quoddy Head. (I’ll write a separate post about this.) We may be the only people to have traveled to Maine and not eaten seafood.🤷‍♀️ (I don’t like seafood and crab/lobster makes Kenn sick.) However, I did indulge in pancakes loaded with fresh Maine blueberries. This guy kept us company (from a distance) while we ate.

I fell in love with the rocky Maine coast. Stay tuned for more posts containing oodles of pictures. Until then, happy trails!