On to Maine… Mayville, NY

We pack up, secure loose objects and breakables, empty tanks, pull in slides and jacks and unplug. We’re off on our real first adventure to Acadia National Park. Our first stop as we leave Ohio is Mayville, NY just inside the southwest border from PA. We have a reservation at Camp Chautauqua Lakefront Resort and we arrive tired and hungry around 5:00. It’s a nice place for family camping as there are many activities planned for teens and children.

camp chautauqua roadtrippers.com

Double-wide trailer cottages border the campsite roads. They seem to be privately owned and most are shut down for the summer season. I think it is rather expensive, $50 for a full hookup overnight stay, but we do use their laundry facilities and take hot showers in the morning.

camp chautauqua 2 campchautauqua.com

I contact Verizon about setting up more data coverage and using my hot spot for Wi-Fi. This entails a 20 minute drive the next morning to the nearest Verizon store in Jamestown.


About Lake Chautauqua

The lake has the same geological structure of the Finger Lakes, which is a very long and narrow valley, however it is not one of the Finger Lakes. Chautauqua runs perpendicular to the westernmost Finger Lake and lies in a different watershed. Its name comes from an original set of words of the Seneca Indian tribe and has various translations, such as, Bag Tied in the Middle, referring to the narrow portion between shores in the middle of its length of 17 miles.

chautauqua image   chaut-lakebassmasters.com

Other translations include Place Where Fish are Taken and Place of Easy Death. The area is famous for the Chautauqua Institution, a non-profit adult education center and a summer resort. Founded in 1874 by a Methodist bishop and his inventor friend, the institution served as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers. The park surroundings were used to teach the geography of the Holy Land. Today the institute offers programs in the arts, recreation, education and religion and sponsors ballets, symphonies, operas, theater performances, and art exhibits. An intensive residential professional music program is available among its schools of fine and performing arts. (from en.m.wikepedia.com)

On to Maine… Ithaca, NY

We get off to a late start today because of my detour to the Jamestown Verizon store. I end up buying an iPad for my hotspot connection. Don’t ask, it made sense at the time. I have to wait so long till it is my turn in the queue that I forget to find out how to actually use my hotspot with my laptop. I will deal with that later and as my son, Brian, advised me, just go for it and cancel the service later if it proves unnecessary. We finally leave Camp Chautauqua in the pouring rain at 1:30. Poor Jeff has to attach the tow dolly and the car in a downpour! Because of our late start we opt to spend the night near Ithaca, NY instead of driving through to Watertown. We find a place to stay at Pinecreek Campground, a beautiful and peaceful setting in the Finger Lakes region. Yes, we choose to skip the major cities and drive a more scenic route.

map newfield pinecreek pinecreekcampground.com

pinecreek pond travel.camping.com

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About the Finger Lakes

This is a group of eleven long and narrow lakes running more or less north and south in central New York. Early mapmakers thought they resembled fingers on the hand, hence the name. Cayuga and Seneca are among the deepest lakes in the United States. The region was most likely first inhabited by native pre-Iroquois peoples who built the pre-historic Bluff Point Stoneworks. Later, the Finger Lakes region was home to the Iroquois nation whose tribes included the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. During colonial times other tribes moved to this area to seek the protection from the powerful Iroquois who successfully prevented the Europeans from settling in the Finger Lakes region. By the late 1700s, however, the Iroquois Confederacy was politically eroding. During the Revolutionary War some Iroquois sided with the British and some with the Americans creating their own civil war among themselves. After the Revolutionary War the remaining Iroquois and other Indians of the region were assigned to live on reservations. (from en.m.wikepedia.org)

fingerlakes_tp anna-and-zan.com


About Ithaca

The Cayuga Indians controlled this area at the time the first Europeans came to visit this land. The Cayuga’s were one of the powerful Five Nations of the Iroquois League or Haudenosaunee. In 1657 Jesuit missionaries travelled to this region from Quebec which was called New France at that time. Later Algonquin speaking Saponi and Tutelo Indians settled at the southern end of what is now Lake Cayuga. Remnants of these tribes had been forced out of North Carolina by European settlers. The Tuscarora people also migrated here from the Carolinas and settled with the Oneida people creating the Sixth Nation of the Haudenosaunee in 1722. Around 1791 the land on what is now downtown Ithaca was surveyed, divided into lots and sold. A grist mill came next, followed by the first frame house, a post office and a tavern. Ithaca became a transshipping point for salt from curing beds in Salina, New York. Salt was shipped to buyers in the south and east. After the War of 1812 Ithaca became the trade center for gypsum used for fertilizer. After the Civil War Ezra Cornell financed the building of railroads from Ithaca to surrounding cities. In the late 1800s the Ithaca Gun Company was established where a nearby waterfall supplied the main source of energy for its operation. John Philip Sousa and Annie Oakley favored Ithaca guns. By 1937 the company’s 12-gauge shotguns were standard issue used by the NYPD and LAPD. (from en.m.wikepedia.org)

ithaca geo.cornell.edu

Other Interesting Factoids:

  • Ithaca claims to be the home of the first ice cream sundae created in 1891.
  • There are 758 graduate-degree-holders per square mile.
  • There is a Tibetan monastery here.
  • There is a 50,000 watt solar system station.
  • There’s a brewery that grows its own hops.
  • There’s a deli that raises its own pork.
  • There’s a bar that mixes cocktails based on what’s fresh from the local farmers’ market.
  • It is the site of the world’s largest human peace sign.
  • It is home to Cornell University, an Ivy League institution.
  • There are over 100 waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown.
    (from Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau booklet)

ithaca sundae google.com

ithaca tibetan monastery ithacajournal.com

Human_peace_sign topworldrecords.blogspot.com

cornell 2 ithacadiaries.com

ithaca waterfall visitithaca.com

On to Maine… The Adirondacks and Lake Placid

We spend another long day on the road driving through Lake Placid and the Adirondack Mountains. We enjoy watching the scenery change and seeing remnants of the venues for the Winter Olympics. Pine trees begin to dot the landscape.

lake placid sign

lake placid my pic

adirondacks on road

lake placid olympic

The Garmin doesn’t prove to be as helpful as we need, or maybe we just aren’t using it correctly, so we also rely on our cell phones to find RV sites for the night. We choose a place in North Hudson, NY called the Blue Ridge Campground. There it is, just off a narrow winding road where we have to partially park upon to register our stay. The road to our campsite is a harrowing, steep, and one-way incline. Have I forgotten to mention how adept Jeff’s RV driving skills have become? Notice, I have not taken the wheel yet! Our site is only 30 amps and our 30 amp receptacle does not fit. We have to borrow an adapter from the campground owner who resembles Larry David. His dry humor is a perfect match also. We mutilate his adapter because our newer adapter and cord are just too heavy. So, we have electricity for a few minutes and then we come unplugged. Oh well, we still have water. Also in our favor is the next door bath house. For 25 cents Jeff and I can take 5 minute showers!

blue ridge camp 2

blue ridge camp


About the Adirondack Mountains

Situated in the northeast of upstate New York, the rocks of these mountains began forming 2 billion years ago as the sediment at the bottom of a sea near the equator. Continental drift caused the sediment to collide in what is now North America and a mountain formed. The sedimentary rock became metamorphic rock. This process created proterozoic rocks such as wollastonite, magnetite, hematite, graphite, garnet, anorthosite, marble, zinc, and titanium. Six hundred million years ago this area drifted apart and what is now North America and Europe formed the Atlantic Ocean. Faults formed valleys and lakes and eventually the mountains eroded into a shallow sea, accumulating several thousand feet of sediment. Some 10 million years ago this same region began to be uplifted to its present height of 7,000 feet. This uplifting continues, for some mysterious reason, at a rate of about 2 millimeters per year. Geologists theorize that the uplift is caused by a hot spot in the earth’s crust. The earliest written use of the name Adirondacks was Rontaks in 1724 by a French missionary. His translation was tree-eaters. In the Mohawk language Adirondack means porcupine, an animal that may eat bark. A map from 1761 labels the mountains Deer Hunting Country. In 1837 the mountains were officially named Adirondacks. (from en.m.wikepedia.org)

adirondacks mapsof.net


About Lake Placid

In the early 1800s Lake Placid was founded to develop an iron ore mining operation. By 1840 six families lived here. In 1845, Gerrit Smith bought a great deal of land here and granted large tracts to former slaves, demonstrating his support of abolitionism. When John Brown, the famous abolitionist from Kansas heard about Smith’s reforms, he purchased 244 acres and moved here. This parcel later became known as the Freed Slave Utopian Experiment or Timbucto. John Brown requested to be buried on his land and after his execution in 1859 the site was preserved as the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. By the late 1800s the rich and famous used Lake Placid as a leisure time resort. Melvil Dewey of the famous library classification system, designed the Placid Park Club in 1895 and inspired the village to change its name to Lake Placid. By keeping Dewey’s club open during the winter, winter sports became popular here as well as tuberculosis sanitariums. In 1929, Melvil’s son, Dr. Godfrey Dewey convinced the International Olympic Committee that Lake Placid had the best winter sports facilities in the U.S. The Lake Placid Club hosted the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics. (from en.m.wikepedia.org)

lake placid pinterest.com

On to Maine… York Beach

Setting up a campsite and packing it up takes us anywhere between 1 ½ hours and 2 hours. We have our own checklist of some 20 steps just for the RV only. The car and tow dolly are another set of even more time-consuming steps. Today is the day we decide to make a checklist for this process as well.

Yep, another foible occurs in our RV adventures! There’s this black pin on the tow dolly. When the dolly is being towed without the car attached, the black pin locks the dolly wheels in place so that the empty tow works as a tow and the wheels stay straight. When the car is attached, however, the black pin needs to be removed so that the trailer wheels can steer. As we begin descending the steep road of the campground exit and entrance, Jeff suddenly remembers that we forgot to remove the black pin! He now has to detach the car completely from the tow dolly in order to remove the black pin. Jeff further discovers that the black pin is bent all out of shape ha, ha, and unusable! The good news is that we don’t need it to tow the car. The bad news is another car is coming up the hill and we are blocking its way.

Finally, on our way, we head southeast through Vermont and New Hampshire to York Beach just within the southeast border of Maine.

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We spend the night at Flaggs Resort which we find with the help of our cell phones. The Garmin is not much help. I read some of the nasty reviews about the campground host, but I only experience a very accommodating and helpful person who actually wants to see the dogs’ vaccination records. There are a lot of rules at this campground which specializes in family summer vacations, but none of them are overly ridiculous. We plan on staying here again for a night or two when we leave Acadia National Park for Washington D.C.

Flaggs loopnet.com

On to Maine… Acadia National Park

Before we leave Flagg’s we meet two children, their father and their grandmother, Chris. Chris reminds me of my Aunt Mary and we become instant friends. She is another reason for us to go back to Flagg’s when we leave Acadia. I would love to hang out with her!

We drive north in Maine through Bangor then south towards Southwest Harbor, the closest city to our campsite in Seawall Campground in Acadia National Park. We pull into the campground to register our arrival and I purchase my Senior National Park Pass for only $10. Good things come with age! But I also discover that I should have purchased this sooner because we could have saved 50% on our campsite. Who knew? This is our learning curve to our RV adventures. We have no electricity here and campers are asked to run their generators sparingly between 8 AM and 7 PM. Potable water and a dump station is nearby as are spotless restrooms. No showers or laundry facilities though. It is comfortably cool and sleeping with the windows open in the park among the fragrant pine trees is heavenly!

senior pass store.usgs.com

About Acadia National Park

Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island.

mount deser island visit maine visitmaine.net

Some 25,000 years ago this island was part of the mainland continent buried under a massive sheet of ice. As the ice melted and recede a fjord was carved out and a 14 ton rock known as a glacial erratic moved 19 miles. Today this fjord is Somes Sound and the rock is Bubble Rock.

somes sound acadiamagic.com

bubble-rock tripadvisor.com.au

Melting ice flowed from the flattened mountain tops filling in the lake beds and the rising sea levels eventually created the island.

The first people to live here were the Wabenaki, People of the Dawn. They named the island Pemetic, meaning sloping land. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic coast and the first place to see the sun rise in the continental U.S., hence the name for the first inhabitants of this land.

image acadiamagic.com  Photograph by Greg A. Hartford

In 1604 Samuel de Champlain spotted the peak of Cadillac Mountain from his ship and called this place the island of the bare mountains because he could not see any surrounding forests or hillsides. For the next 150 years no one actually settled on this island because there was an on-going conflict between Native Americans, French, English and new American Colonists as to who had rights to the land.

By the middle of the 1800s, painters from the New Hudson School visited Mount Desert Island to capture the beautiful landscapes on canvas. They enjoyed hiking from one scenic spot to another and were drawn to the simplicity of living here. Eventually their works drew an interest to the Acadia coast and soon more artists and intellectuals chose to journey here. The first steamboat from Boston accessed the island in the 1860s. In the 1880s a railroad brought wealthy visitors to the area who built cottages which were actually mansions with fifty plus rooms and a servants’ quarters. Two of these wealthy “cottagers” had the foresight to invest their time and money to preserve the natural beauty of what would later become Acadia National Park. John D. Rockefeller Jr. built 57 miles of carriage roads and stone bridges and donated thousands of acres of land.

image affordablearcadia.com

George B. Dorr donated land, blazed trails for others to enjoy the scenery and eventually became the first superintendent of the park. In 1919 Congress declared the area a National Park, the first one to be established east of the Mississippi River and the first one created entirely from private donations. (from YOUR GUIDE TO THE NATIONAL PARKS by Michael Joseph Oswald)

Acadia… Settling In

Today we finally settle in and do laundry and grocery shopping. We pack the dogs in the car with our dirty clothes, laundry detergent and armed with 2 separate grocery lists. Jeff’s list is normal survival mode and mine is dinner ingredients for 3 make-ahead and freeze dishes.

The nearest laundromat, the Village Wash Tub, is connected to a bar. How clever! I run in and start 3 machines.

image villagewashtub.com

image villagewashtub.com

While the wash cycles run, I accompany Jeff to the nearest grocery store to babysit the dogs in the car while he shops for the items on his list. He comes out loaded with green plastic grocery bags and we wonder how all of it is going to fit into the Scion IQ with the dogs in the back.

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Somehow it all gets packed in and Jeff drops me back off at the Village Wash Tub to dry our clothes.

Meanwhile he returns to Seawall Campground with the dogs to unload the groceries anywhere and everywhere. By the time Jeff, Murph and Casey return to the laundromat to pick me up I am almost finished folding dry clothes.

We all return to the campsite and then I venture out myself to return to the grocery store to buy all of the items on my list. The IGA has all of our items and I try my best to opt for healthy choices, but wow! This place is so expensive. Again, live and learn. Next time we will buy our food before settling into our campsite.

image from google maps

Dinner is Cauliflower Kale Shepherd’s Pie. Jeff makes a fire in the campsite pit and we decide that we like S’mores without the chocolate layer. Did I forget to mention that I ate up all the chocolate while I de-stressed on our RV adventures? Once again we sleep comfortably with cool and fragrant pine breezes!

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Acadia… Exploring

Today we take the car and dogs to explore our surroundings. We head out toward Bass Harbor stopping to take pictures of the ocean, noting 2 hiking trails nearby and visiting the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Head Light was built in 1858 and automated in 1974 with the red light occulting (darkening) every 4 seconds. A U.S. Coast Guard family currently lives here.

Since the 1800s more than 70 lighthouses have guided ships carrying granite, lumber and fish to distant ports and brought back ships carrying goods to Maine. There are over 3,400 miles of shoreline weaving in and out of craggy cliffs and cobble beaches along Maine’s rugged coast. Today lighthouses signal to lobster boats, schooners, tour boats and cruise ships. Each light has its own fingerprint of a unique light pattern and color. (from plaque at Bass Harbor Lighthouse)

bass harbor lighthouse

We pass through the smaller towns of West Tremont and Seal Cove before heading northeast to Somesville and the Park Loop Road via a slight detour in Bar Harbor. This town is the tourist mecca of Acadia National Park.

image it.wikipedia.org

The streets are crowded with people, restaurants and shops. We can only imagine what it looks like during the height of the tourist season! But wait, I soon discover that after Labor Day cruise ships dock for the day and these day-trippers fill the town. This reminds me of Venice with its daily influx of daytime ocean liner visitors.

The Park Loop Road leads us up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the park.

cadillac 1

cadillac 2

cadillac 3

The views are awesome, especially with the clouds rolling in and out. The sun peeks through exposing a clear blue sky that catches the various shades of greens from the islands below and the splendid teals of the ocean. The white boating vessels add their clear crisp contrast to the scene. Small trickling wate really border the drive up and down the mountain.

I meet a couple from Lancaster County Pennsylvania who have been RVing for 27 years. I learn about an eco-friendly citron anti-barking collar from them. We exit the Park Loop in Seal Harbor and head northwest to Somesville again but this time we go south through Southwest Harbor where our campground, Seawall, is located.

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We cook our second make-ahead and freeze dish, Spinach, Quinoa Burritos, and enjoy the food, the company and the beautiful night music of Mother Nature.

Acadia… A Long Walk By Myself

I finally get in a power walk! I start out in the campground until I find a service road and decide to follow it. The scenery is beautiful and I am the only person walking through the sunlight dappled forest.

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Eventually I meet up with 3 National Park Service employees and ask them where the road heads. I learn that after 45 minutes I will need to make a decision to turn either right or left on Highway 102. A little later I encounter a woman walking her dog. She lives in the area and assures me that there is no right or wrong decision as to which way to turn after I end up at the marsh since the roads loop together.

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I feel so alive and free and filled with gratitude. How lucky I am that this is my backyard! Yes, RV living requires more time and energy, planning, preparing, setting up and shutting down. The pace is slower. We always have the dogs to consider. But it is worth it!

When I reach the end of the wooded road I decide to turn left, retracing my way back to Seawall from the direction we left Seawall yesterday. I have no idea how far I have to walk and I don’t care. It is a beautiful sunny day with a cool breeze and I stop now and then to take pictures that catch my fancy; an apple tree, a quaint church, lobster traps, marshes, the ocean, a wooden miniature house in someone’s front yard.

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At each turn of the bend I keep thinking I will see signs for Seawall Campground. Eventually I pass the lighthouse, the 2 trailheads and the picnic are by the ocean we passed by yesterday.

Jeff is waiting for me to dump the black and grey tanks and refill the fresh water. After a refreshing shower we sit outside sipping brewskis, Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale, a session beer. That means it is smooth enough to enjoy one after another. I have two before switching to wine.

image shipyard.com

Jeff ventures off to a hardware store we discovered on one of our driving routes to purchase a collapsible hose, an axe, a percolator and a chamois for wiping out the compartment storing the water tank. He comes back with a haircut too! Oh, did I forget to mention that the handle for the grey tank is stuck in a half-way open position? Of course!

Jeff then picks up a carryout at Charlotte’s Lobster Pound and we devour a lobster roll, fried haddock sandwich, coleslaw, French fries and corn on the cob.

charlottes lobster pound

Later, Jeff roasts hot dogs over the fire, the little fire that just couldn’t quite catch properly. Darkness descends, bugs bite me and we head inside to read, relax and sleep.

Acadia… Happy Trails

Last night was a wee bit warm to sleep without air conditioning, but we survive. Jeff wakes me up early to his slurping noises. He made coffee with his new percolator and it was hot but very weak. I think he needs to perk longer. At 8:00 we turn on the generator, plug in our electronic devices to charge and make coffee. We head out with the dogs to the 2 nearby trail heads. Wonder Land leads us to a magnificent rocky inlet with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the low tide tidal pools. We take a side trail and discover that we are surrounded on all sides now by water. The dogs enjoy themselves and are happy for a drink of water at the end.

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The next trail, Ship Harbor, is more back country terrain. We experience the beautiful seascape of the ocean pushing into the calm and serene harbor.

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The dogs are so tired after our hike that they plop into the back of the car and wait to hydrate until we get back to the RV. Jeff snacks and I prepare my power oatmeal to eat for lunch. By 1:00 we are in relaxation mode. Jeff reads and I continue writing the destination factoids for my online journal. I finally connect my hot spot Wi-Fi to my laptop, only to discover that my Verizon juice is too limited to connect. Jeff’s Cricket android serviced by AT&T, however, connects to the internet every time!

This is our first lazy day. I word process outside of the RV while Jeff goes to the grocery store to get 2 cans of beans for our 3rd make-ahead and freeze dinner, chili. He returns with charcoal, charcoal lighter fluid, fat wood lighter sticks, a bucket for the leaking grey water, some more firewood, the local newspaper, and the 2 cans of kidney beans. Jeff prepares a big pot of chili for dinner with grass fed ground beef and ground bison. We reserve a quarter pound of each to make burgers for tomorrow. The freezer has 2, 2 serving portions ready for other busy day meals.