Thursday, June 18, 2009

Delightful Mount Desert Island

Yesterday, I finally went public with this blog after spending most of a beautiful day writing out at the lake and uploading, editing, adding pictures, etc., at Jane's house in Ellsworth. The Internet connection through my Blackberry at the lake is really only good for email. Web pages just take too long to load. Happily, every public library on Maine has free wi-fi and I'm posting this update from the Ellsworth library.

I sent an email announcing the launch at about 3 p.m. Jane was home by then and went to work figuring out how to add captions to the photos, which would make putting the posts together a lot easier. She also showed me how to cut and paste the image links in HTML mode, avoiding the Blogspot editor, which is a PITA on a tiny netbook screen.

Since it was such a nice day, I packed up the bike and went back out to Acadia to camp for the night at Seawall Campground, out beyond Manset and Southwest Harbor. I checked in about 8 p.m., picked a campsite and talked to the ranger who teased me about how real men ride BMWs.

"Yeah, but can you imagine trying to get a BMW repaired in Kansas?" I said.

"Sure," he said, "in Lawrence. That's a pretty sophisticated town."

Now you BMW riders know where to break down in Kansas.

After unloading the bike and pitching the tent, I doubled back to Southwest Harbor to buy a couple of pork chops and a ready-made tossed salad with a packet of Paul Newman dressing. Bought some nice, dry camp wood on the way back.

In the gloaming, I cooked my chops on my tiny MSR stove, sipped Cabernet and snacked on cashews. It was a big meal, but I'd missed lunch. I heard campers need to eat well to stay warm at night -- right?

My first night in the tent was good, but this one was better. No fog bells, no heavy dew and one of the tent flys was propped open with some extra poles I bought at Walmart.

There was no shortage of mosquitos, however. The Sawyers repellant I brought along works, but they still fly in your face. I instinctively blow them away, which apparently encourages them. I read somewhere that they're attracted by the carbon dioxide humans exhale. Anyway, the smokey fire and slight breeze mitigated the insect nuisance. At least, there were no skeeters in the tent with me.

When I rolled out at 6:30, almost no one else was stirring. I decided to take a walk down to the natural seawall the campground is named after. There's a "beach" on one side of the natural barrier and a pond on the other, which is full of mosquito-engorged frogs that croak all night long sounding like a cross between a duck and a pig. In the middle, between the beach and pond is this gorgeous ess bend. It was as fun to ride as to photograph.

Friends in Hawaii wouldn't be familiar with what passes for sand on many Maine beaches: granite. Others are shale.

Got a nice photo of a man and a boy out on the beach and on the way back I spotted a bald eagle fishing along the rocky shore.

The big bird landed on a rock out of range of my point-and-shoot camera. I kept walking closer, snapping shots, until I was about 50 yards away. He kept his eye on me the whole time. When I was close enough, he took off. Pretty cool.

I had coffee, an omelet and a fresh grapefruit for breakfast. I now have enough Splenda to last the rest of the summer. I bought some evaporated milk for the coffee and used just a dab. Don't want to waste it, so I sealed up the holes in the top of the can with duct tape. I have no idea how long have until the milk goes bad, but it'll probably make it back to fridge at the lake. I wonder if I'll be able to taste the tape.

Since it's a really nice day, I rode over to Bass Harbor and around the west end of the island, stopping at Bernard, a working lobsterman's town. I'm a sucker for seascapes.


  1. Hey John,

    Another wonderful post! A lot better reading than what the two Oahu newspapers have to offer.

    Funny how the food tastes so much better when you are out on the road and cooking up in the open. Doesn't get much better than that.

    This thing about them squitos being attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale; I think it's more like all the vapors you emit from that bottle of cabernet you polished off w/dinner. Me thinks you need to abstain from any alcoholic beverages w/dinner from now on.

    Waiting on the next installment,

    Daniel in Hawaii

  2. John...very cool. I am envious. Have a safe trip. If you decide to travel the northwest or Alaska count me in.

  3. John, I am enjoying reading your posts and love the photos. My favorite post so far is the "Mouse and Bean" and the threat posted to prevent the lack of supervision of small children.
    I hope the rain has stopped for a while so that you can enjoy the rest of your adventure. We are looking forward to your return in August.