Misc Liisa

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Day 16- Separate Ways Down The Other Side

The plan for today is that Tom will get ready and help me pack in and hitch the trailer and then he will leave camp on his bike and I will drive the car and trailer with the dog.We figured that by this point I’d be sufficiently well versed in maneuvering the camper by myself (I’ve driven the whole way so far and have now gotten the trailer parked into 8 different sites).

We got everything packed in and ready to go pretty easily. We took the usual picture of Tom before his ride that we always take- the one I’ll show the police if he goes missing 😦  He was planning to take a side trip off the Cabot Trail and we figured we might meet up in Ingonish or likely a bit farther south from there. We planned to meet in the parking lot of a glass studio, one where from the satellite image it looked like we’d have space to park the trailer and get it turned around. We checked our phones to make sure we could make calls to each other in case he needed me.

He took off first and I followed a few minutes later and then passed him on the road. I stopped at a shop and we crossed paths again so that I could see that he nixed the side trip. I enjoyed stopping at various look-offs along the way and taking pics, but I had to choose carefully to make sure I could get the car and trailer in and out without needing any spotting. I got myself into a jam at one place I turned into when I realized that there wasn’t enough space to make the turning circle. But I did find space to park and it was a beautiful spot. So I hung around and waited it out until the car that I needed to be out of the way to make the circle left.

I found few shops along the way that had the parking situation I needed, so I mostly stopped at look-offs and beaches. They were gorgeous. This whole side of the island is full of large pink granite rocks tumbling down to the ocean and the water was a glorious blue color. Tenzin was happy to nap in the passenger’s seat. I missed the turn off to a beach and pulled into the next drive and got the trailer a little stuck. I was patiently working to get it turned around when a guy ran over and asked about the trailer and offered to spot me. He was really helpful and I was able to get turned around in about 4 moves rather than 14. The beach at North Ingonish that I went back to was well worth it.

People chatter a lot about the teardrop trailer. “Oh, look at it!” “It’s so cute” “It’s so tiny” They chatter even more when it appears that a woman is alone with it. But they come over to talk a little less, which was nice. I just got to overhear their conversations. And I was pretty proud that I was doing well driving alone. I had been worrying about how to get through this section of the journey for weeks and it was going just fine.

After pouring the sand from my shoes into a bag to take home, I headed off again to be sure I’d be in place at the glass shop on time. There was an outrageous amount of construction going on and the roads were terrible around it. It made me worry for Tom. These Canadians are very serious about road work and we had run into quite a lot of roads that were in the middle of construction along the way. From there I headed up a mountain and then down tiny curving roads that were extremely steep. I had been passing and catching up to 3 cyclists most of the morning but hadn’t seen Tom since he didn’t make that turn. I was very worried about him riding down these hills. There was a ditch that was at least 6 feet deep and walled with the granite of the mountain on one side and the cliff off the mountain with a guardrail on the other. There wasn’t much room for error. I was thankful for the Continuous Variable Transmission of the Subaru and the paddle shifters that let me manually shift into lower gears down hills.

Once past the mountain, I spotted a gift shop that had adequate parking and I pulled in and parked and switched out of my sunglasses. Suddenly, Tom came riding over. Apparently he was sitting on a guardrail just past the shop and he thought I had spotted him and was stopping to pick him up. Happy coincidence. He decided he’d had enough cycling after the scariness of that mountain and while I checked out the shop he got cleaned up and changed (the teardrop is a decent portable changing room).

We drove on to where we were supposed to meet and found that the glass shop was beautiful, but it felt too risky to buy anything that we’d have to transport so much further. There was a cute restaurant across the way and we stopped for lunch and then at another pewter shop, where I finally found a couple of charms (the purpose of my gift shop searching is to find interesting charms for a bracelet).

We continued to drive through more construction the rest of the day and eventually got to Hyclass Campground. We felt like we were getting this camp setup thing down to a science and were up and ready to go in no time. The site was nice and wooded, but Tom was really annoyed that 1- they charged us $10 for a bucket of wood that was obviously more than anyone could use in one night and 2- their showers were $1 for 3 minutes, which forces you to spend $2 to get 6 minutes. Plus it was one of the more expensive camps we’d been at in Canada.

We checked out the beach there (small, rocky, a group that seemed to have rented the whole thing).   There was a kid at the beach that wanted me to go out in the water to get back his ball. Clearly he had been told not to go in the water and they had convinced him that the little snails on the rocks were leaches that would bite. I had on leather shoes, but did manage to finally get the ball close enough to reach out and grab so I could help him.

It wasn’t until later that we realized the wood was wet and it took forever and a lot of firestarters to get a decent fire going. Tom was still stuck on the fact that most campgrounds as part of their camp cleanup recycle whatever wood you haven’t used and put it back into their next pile to sell to the next camper. But this campground was so clearly ripping you off with this (a bundle of wood is usually $4-$5) and the wood was wet. He was determined to burn as much as possible and we sat by the fire for quite a while once I got it going.

We decided to cook in the fire and baked potatoes wrapped in foil. Add that to some spiced black beans and cheddar and you have a camp meal that Tom calls “Mash” and declared to be “very good.” Another successful simple camp meal.

We tried to reserve a spot on the ferry to PEI for the next day, but their website sucks. It has options for specifying that you have a vehicle that is 21-30 ft. long, but then it can’t book a reservation. It doesn’t error and there is no info saying you can’t make a reservation, it just gets stuck. This made Tom nervous that we’d have to leave really early to get there and make sure to get on the boat. I wasn’t so nervous because there were lots of ferries each day and we had no time obligation on the other side.

Once we got settled into the Shadow that night, we watched the last episode of Better Off Ted that we had on the iPad. This was going to be a problem. We’d gotten used to the 22 minutes of TV before bed, but the other shows I had on the pad weren’t things Tom liked. But since we had so little connectivity, there wasn’t a chance to load anything new to watch. Besides, Tom is very picky about TV shows. They have to have no laugh track, something funny, but not too weird, preferably some science fiction element and no law, medicine, or police action. Oh, and he hates most sitcoms. So these days when I can find something he will tolerate, we like to buy a whole season or two and watch an episode a night until it runs out. I wasn’t sure how we would get through the next several days and get home.

Pics from today are here- http://bit.ly/aiU2Ym

Day 8- Impromptu Lazy Day (for me)

We had expected rain on friday and woke to cloudy skies, but no real rain. As we headed off to the bathhouse to brush our teeth, we ran into Austin, who said that he’d decided to stay an extra night and was looking to bike the Park Road that day. He wanted to know if Tom wanted to come along. I urged Tom to go and looked forward to another day around camp.  Austin had to move camps before they could go and he had to wait for someone else to leave first, so Tom and I both tinkered around camp for a bit. He was excited to move to a cheaper campsite where he didn’t have to pay for the electric he really couldn’t use considering he only had a pup tent and a bike.

I  took the time to do a camp pedicure- well, I painted my toenails and put lotion on my feet. It felt pretty good after days of walking on rocky beaches and dirty paths in sandals. I also did more blog and photo work. It was becoming pretty clear that the problems I had with my camera card were related to  the card itself and not the card reader so much. My eye-fi card had cracks in the plastic and wouldn’t read on any reader or device I had. I finally got it to mount on my iPad and was able to get the pictures off of it and uploaded directly to Flickr. I had another SD card, but it was smaller and I knew I’d need to head back to Radio Shack in Bar Harbor and get a new card before we left MDI (Mount Desert Island).

I was amazed by how quiet things are at camp in the middle of the day. There is a flurry of activity at this campground in the morning. People are getting ready to head off for their bike/hike/kayak/explore adventure days and others are pulling up camps and shoving them back into packed cars. Each morning there was a surprise of different people leaving (oh, look, the hip campers are gone!). By midday, everyone was out and about and almost no one was at camp besides the workers straightening up sites prepping them for the fresh batch. By 7pm the place would be full and lively again, but it was nice to have this quiet time and dappled sunshine coming down through the trees to enjoy.

Tom texted me from the top of Cadillac Mountain where they had ridden. I wasn’t surprised he could send a text from there since it’s the one good spot of connectivity around here. But I was surprised to actually get the message. Being connected here is an effort and a surprise and not a given- which is nice. The churches here have signs that say things like “God has unlimited minutes” and

After Tom got back, he got cleaned up and we had some lunch. He said that Austin tells him that he doesn’t bother to bathe when he tours because it’s pointless- you just get a shower and 80 miles later are drenched in sweat again. I can’t see Tom doing that. He doesn’t mind getting stinky running or biking, but I pity the man who tries to keep him from showering afterward.

We decided to get in another short hike and headed over to a little path that went between Fernald Cove and another Cove where there is a cliff. It was a nice hike, even if Tenzin fussed a bit and had to be carried back. Tom lied and told me there was nothing at the end of the hike- that it was just about enjoying the journey. And then we came out at a nice little rocky beach with a sailboat and a really high cliff. Tom explained that he’d read that Man-o-War ships liked this cove because they could come into the deep cove and refill their water barrels from the water coming off the cliff without ever having to get off the boat.

We wanted Mexican food when we got done with the hike, but we didn’t want to drive back into Bar Harbor. So we decided to do the next best thing- we bought stuff to make nachos and we made them over the fire. We’re learning to be very creative about cooking our camp food and an aluminum pizza plate and the little grill over the fire go a long way.

Austin came back to hang out and talk around the fire that night. We talked about books and Austin told us about a book he was reading and one that he wanted to read. While he told us about it, I bought and downloaded the book on my iPad. He was really jealous that I already had a copy of a book that he’d have to look to find and probably wouldn’t have by the time he finished the book he was reading.

He said he had sat by the pool and read all afternoon.  He’s a lobbyist for renewable energy and Tom and I were surprised at the sort of “techno retro” attitude he had. His whole vacation was about leaving his email behind, but he also seemed to not have a lot of tech savvy beyond that. It was an interesting and different attitude for us to consider. Someone younger than us who wrote letters and read physical books and didn’t care about connectivity other than a cell phone to make a couple of calls.

There are many loons here at Somes Sound. You can hear them in the evening calling to each other at dusk and just after. There are also owls who call out in the night. It’s very peaceful.

Pics for today can be found here- http://bit.ly/dCh8Dn

Day 7- Wandering through Wonder Land

Ok, so I’m still running a few days behind on keeping the blog up to date. Here it is Saturday afternoon and I’m still writing about Thursday (and then it’s Tuesday and I still haven’t posted this!). But there is too much to do and see to always find the time. My priorities are: 1- Explore, 2- Relax, 3- Take Care of Everyone(thing) and 4- Blog. It also took a few days to settle things out with “internet difficulties” before we finally found a wireless network to buy into since the ATT connections are lousy here and so is connectivity with the Verizon mifi card we have. It may look like you have connections, but you don’t. At all. Anyway, here goes with some more of our adventures.

Tom wanted to get in a couple of rides on his bike while we are here are Acadia and I was welcoming a day to sit around camp and work on the blog and some reading in my hammock. He got up and around and after some oatmeal got out on the road headed over to the Park Road. It’s never quick for him to get out on a ride. He likes to tinker with the bike as much as ride the thing and since it had been packed in the car (he refuses to risk damage on his Lemond Poprad by having it carried on the car) he had to put the wheel back on and check things out. But he got off and gone pretty quickly since we had gotten up so early.

One of the things about camping is that you inevitably adjust your schedule somewhat. It’s hard to stay in bed too late with the light streaming in the camper windows in the morning. And after a long day of driving and running around and then cooking over one burner or the fire, it feels like it’s time to go to bed once it’s been pitch black for a couple of hours. So it’s off to bed early (for us any way)!

While Tom was away I puttered around camp. I got breakfast and a shower and walked the dog. I washed up the dishes and straightened up the car and camper. I worked on organizing my rocks and photographers. I uploaded pictures and wrote more for the blog. I lay in the hammock and read some of my book. And before I knew it, Tom was back and it was time to make some lunch.

After lunch, we drove to a spot near our camp to hike out to a place called “Wonder Land”. We figured this short hike would be a good foray for Tenzin and we took a bag along to carry him if he needed to be carried on the way back. Wonder Land is a point that has a very rocky beach and at low tide many tidepools in the bigger rocks.

As we got there, there was a group waiting for an ambulance as someone had been hurt out on the rocks. They had been able to send in an ATV to get the person and bring him back to the road.

It was a beautiful spot and there were many things to explore. We were overly cautious parents, making sure that Tenzin didn’t fall or catch a foot in one of the many cracks in the rocks. He tripped on a rock in the middle of the path on the way out and we were worried that he was starting to get around okay again after his injury earlier in the week.  We found many good rocks and only got a little lost on the trail on the way back. We stopped at a grocery on the way back to camp and stocked up.

When we got back to camp, Tom noticed someone at a camp near us with just a tent and a fully loaded touring bike. He suddenly disappeared and I had no idea where he had gone until about half an hour later when he came wandering back to our camp. He told me that he had met a guy who was on a bicycle trip riding up to Acadia and around for 5 or 6 days. He was fascinated by the idea of a trip like that and intrigued by how little you could carry and how you’d get by. I was fascinated to see that he had gone and started a conversation with a stranger. This is something my dad always does and Tom’s mom does, but Tom almost never approaches a stranger to start a conversation.

That evening we noticed the “King of the Swings” was back at the playground. He was taunting a little kid with a mohawk and then the mohawk kid came back with his hair greased up to be spiky. It didn’t scare the king. The mohawk kid’s parents have moved camps earlier that day from one along the main road to one across the road from us. This particular camp inspires camp moving and we watched several people do it over the course of the week. Some carry their tents. Some load the car and go back and forth in trips. It all depends on how much gear you have and how much you want to break down.

A tall man walked into our camp and it was Austin, the bicycle guy who Tom befriended. He came to hang out and talk and enjoy our fire. We sat around the fire for a while talking about his trip and what there is to see at Acadia. He hung out for a while and left to go to bed even earlier than we do. I guess riding around 60 miles a day is a little more strenuous than the meandering we do!

We used the grill we have for over the fire and cooked bbq chicken and fresh local corn. It was delicious! We were a little freaked to realize that some neighboring campers were killing the lobsters for their dinner by stabbing them on the rocks by the road. I know people here are pretty lobster crazy, but that definitely didn’t seem to be the right way to prepare it for cooking.

See pics of today here- http://bit.ly/aHz2WP