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Sat. June 1st: Acadia National Park

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<– Day 28 – Fri. May 31st: The Breakfast Club and Vintage Wiring  | Trip Overview | Day 30 – Sun. June 2nd: State #49 Was Exciting! –>


Who knew lobsters were such ice cream fans!

Yesterday, Friday May 31st, Ann and I planned to stop by the Acadia National Park Visitors Center before setting up camp for our two night stay in the Park.

Acadia National Park covers about half of Mount Desert Island. As we drove over the bridge and onto the island, I told Ann that I was having difficulty locating the Visitor Center online. But, it wasn’t something I was too worried about, since there are always signs in National Parks to help guide visitors.

However, not this time. In fact, we quickly found ourselves lost. We didn’t know where we were, we lost all cell reception, and our Atlas didn’t help.

We nearly had to resort to asking for directions when a sliver of bandwidth sneaked onto our phone, which allowed us locate the Blackwoods Campground. So, at least we found home. But, where was the visitor center or at least an entrance station? That remained a mystery …

Upon our arrival, we found a sparsely populated campground. We were thankful for that, because the area has more than 300 camping spots! On the downside, there was no cell reception, so my hotspot wouldn’t work to manage eWillys.


Camp setup complete.

As we relaxed at our camp, we met a couple who was camping near us. Jake and his wife (whose name I cannot recall) were from Maine. When I explained what I did and why we were so far from home, Jake told me his Uncle had a couple of old Willys jeeps in Montana that they’d refurbished. Seems there are Willys everywhere I go!

By the time we finished talking, it was dusk. So, we climbed into our tent and quickly fells asleep.

Saturday June 1st:

When I awoke in the morning, I put on my gray hoodie. In the pocket I discovered a present left by my wife. It was wrapped in tissue and was the shape of two AA batteries side-by-side. I thought, “Oh, what could it be?”

It was pretty light, so I figured it was fragile. I carefully unrolled it from the tissue, but still couldn’t determine what it was. So, I attempted to separate the battery-sized objects. That’s when it dawned on me. It was a pair of tampons. So, it wasn’t a gift for me after all . . .

Minutes later, Ann discovered the cooler had been leaking and the back seat area was damp.  So, we threw most of our stuff into our tent and unzipped all the windows. Thank goodness the weather would be warm and sunny (We’ll be buying a new cooler very soon).

Soon after breakfast, we hit the road for an early morning visit to Bar Harbor.


Here we are at a downtown park.


This was taken near the harbor. We enjoyed the seaside town and it’s relaxed flavor.


While in Bar Harbor, a Ford Mustang club drove through town. The endless stream of cars plugged up traffic pretty good for a while.


This sums up much of the Maine we saw: Lobster, Lobster Rolls, and Ice Cream. We saw more signs for those three items than anything else!

After Bar Harbor, Ann meticulously examined the Acadia National Park map, but she still couldn’t find the visitor center. I took a crack and finally located it; it was called the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. That made us wonder if it was the main visitors center or just a secondary one. This issue brings up another unusual feature of the park: it is spread over multiple locations and islands (I counted eleven different areas); between the different areas are towns, homes, golf courses,

When we finally arrived at the Hull Visitors Center, another surprise awaited us. Normally, a visitors center building is very visible in some way. Instead, this one was buried in the woods. From the parking lot, we couldn’t see it at all. Only a stream of people disappearing through an outdoor exhibit and then up the stairs that, apparently, led to the main building.


The oddest visitor center entrance we’d ever seen. Why the visitor center building wasn’t put in this location still isn’t clear to us.

Naturally, having Ann climb a bunch of stairs wasn’t something I wanted to see. Fortunately, there was a secondary parking for the physically challenged. So, we drove over to an area and walked in from the back. We felt like we were entering the back door of a two-star restaurant rather than a National Park Visitors Center. Uncompleted projects were piled off to the sides of the walkway.

Ann and I have been inside many different visitor centers and this one was surprisingly small given that the building is within one day’s drive of 25% of the population of North America. Moments after we entered the building, an unseen announcer informed us that a fifteen minute park video would be shown soon.

Ann and I turned with agreeing looks; finally, we’d get the answer we sought (that being why Acadia was a National Park). But, instead of providing some history about the park, the video was an attempted pitch at getting visitors to support the Friends of Acadia. We were surprised they didn’t huckster us into buying a condominium as well.

Not wanting to give up on my quest to learn more about the park, I perused the book aisle until I found a book that answered my question (and bought the book). The purpose for the Park’s founding was clearly explained by the President of Harvard in 1901, Charles W. Eliot, who wrote to concerned parties to “hold reservations at points of interest on the Island, for the perpetual use of the public.” In other words, the park was never designed to preserve some unique element, but rather was set aside to protect it from development. Thus, to me, Acadia is better defined as a National Community Park.

Here are some pics from the park:


Mount Desert Island is full of small lakes and tree scenes like this.


Canopy tree scenes like this were common, too.


We spotted this artist painting a landscape in this classic Acadia National Park looking photo.


You can just see the same artist off to the right atop the rocks, but the scenery looks different from this angle.


Doing my best to impersonate a photographer.


It took a couple retakes for me to set the timer and leap over the rocks in time to secure this shot.


A pretty bridge.

Eventually, we left the seashore and headed to the highest point on the East Coast, Cadillac Mountain.


There I am photographing another woman… My wife says I get around the island a little too well!


This photo is from the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest point on the East Coast. There was a 360 degree view.


A good view of the distant island, with a very patience bird in the foreground.

Interestingly enough, Acadia was ALMOST named Mount Desert National Park! But, western members of congress at the time felt it in no way qualified to be labeled a desert.  To us, it is better defined as a place to recreate (as in recreation: there are boat rides, wagon rides, horse rides, canoe rides, bike rides, hiking, etc) rather than a National Park. In fact, we could have driven four hours from our home in Pasco to our nearby San Juan Island and had a similar experience to Acadia. But, that’s part of the fun of traveling: You just never know what you’ll find. Something beat expectations, some just meet them, and some fall below. Still, we wouldn’t trade the trip for anything. Best of all, we are only half done!

After our tour of Acadia, we returned to our camp spot int he afternoon planning to take a nap. Instead, we were awoken by some noisy, yet distant neighbors. Here’s what I wrote on Saturday afternoon ….

Postscript 1: 
That feeling that Acadia isn’t a National Park, but more like a place to have some fun, is very evident right now as I type this from a picnic table. Some woman (and her daughter and husband) pulled up at a campground across the road from us about fifty yards away (she met up with a friend of hers at an adjoining spot). The woman has been loudly sharing how they have plenty of liquor to get drunk. She has also has been carrying on a running conversation with her friends in a loud, booming voice, non-stop for about an hour.

(not the Park’s fault . . .just the fate of getting the wrong neighbors).

Postscript 2:
I’m finalizing this post from a motel room. The woman just wouldn’t stop talking, nor singing. Apparently, she was quite a fan of her own voice. She sang Christmas songs and fed the squirrels fruit and nuts so they’d be her friends. Sigh.

I don’t mind loud noise and neither does Ann, but the woman just wouldn’t stop. After enduring it a couple hours, and the fact that Ann was having an allergic reaction of some type (the local pollens we assume), we packed up and left.

We stopped at the ranger’s station to let them know how frustrated we were. The ranger volunteered to give us a new place, but we given Ann’s allergic reaction and the lack of desire to setup camp again, we declined their offer. Worse, it didn’t sound like they were going to address the noise issue with the woman.

So, we came, we saw, we took pictures, and we found a comfy motel room for the night.


On Sunday morning we begin the trek back West, but many adventures still await!

<– Day 28 – Fri. May 31st: The Breakfast Club and Vintage Wiring  | Trip Overview | Day 30 – Sun. June 2nd: State #49 Was Exciting! –>


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