Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bangor, Maine

We left New Hampshire early to head to Maine and our next adventure.  One thing we had noticed near our current RV park was that the road from the park goes into a "T" at the next intersection. Along the side of the road there is a deep drop-off with a piece of metal (perhaps an old stop sign post) jutting up from the ditch, something we did not want to run over with the RV.  So, being the safety director, I emphasized that the Captain needed to be sure he made a wide right turn.  Now you have to understand this is a country road so it is normally quieter than other roads but there is some traffic with people heading to work in the morning.  We approached the dreaded corner and the Captain began his wide right turn and realized very quickly that he was turning too wide.  "We're not going to make the turn" he shouted as he stopped the rig.  There we sat, blocking the road, and watching a traffic jam instantly begin.  The problem with a large RV pulling a car is that you cannot back up.  The only option you have is to disconnect the car and move the rig and car separately which takes time.  He asked me to get out and check and see if he had enough turning range left which I did and saw cars behind us starting to back up.  There was also a car coming towards us and I immediately put my hand out in a stop gesture.  I think the look on my face told the driver I wasn't kidding!  I realized we could probably still make the corner and slowly directed the Captain forward as he made the turn and was able to get out of the way of the other traffic. Whew!  That was nerve-wracking and made both of us tense but I didn't realize worse was yet to come.

A beautiful morning in the Northeast.

Yeah!  But we still weren't breathing easy.

Like the other states, more beautiful countryside.
The Captain had a conference call at 9:30 with his old company so he turned the driving over to me.  In Maine certain sections of the interstate have toll roads which means there are toll booths involved.  I got to my first one and was moving forward very slowly but the Captain kept motioning to me to move more to the left.  There are no road markings in the toll booth lanes so it is hard to judge just exactly where you are.  Now I'll be the first one to tell you that I have many times driven the rig into a diesel gas station without any trouble but this toll booth was making me nervous.  All of a sudden there was a bang and I saw a piece of metal fly in front of the rig.  At the same time the Captain said, "Bleep, my wife just took out a toll booth, I have to get off the phone."  Great!  We pulled over to the side and the Captain went to talk to an attendant at the toll plaza.  He suggested we unhook our car and back up closer to the office to get out of the way of traffic.  As we began that a State Patrol car pulled up behind us and stopped.  The officer told us to not unhook the car and to just wait while he checked things out.  After a few minutes he came back and said the only damage was to a pipe that handled water from the roof and it was minor, not even enough to make out a report. There was also no damage done to our side view mirror on the rig which had just "tapped" the pipe.  The officer went on to say that the repair would probably only cost $15 but knowing it was the state it would probably require 5 men and $1,000.  Good luck.  We continued on our way with the Captain driving and both of us very keyed up but we made the rest of the trip safely.  

This was a really cute RV park.  Everyone was very friendly, the weather was beautiful, and we had a great time.

I saw this sign in Bangor and was amused.  It say, "Danger.  Low flying pigeons".

This lumberjack stands in front of a casino.

Downtown Bangor is an old city.

In the center of town is this square with all kinds of restaurants and bars around it.  It's a great meeting place for people.

The main library.


The Penobscot Theatre Company.

The Penobscot River runs through the heart of town.

We stopped and had a beer at the Sea Dog Brewing Company.

This old town clock with a clock face on all four sides was still working.

We stopped at a gas station and saw this sign.  It was August and in the mid 80's.  I guess you can never prepare too soon. 

 While in this part of Maine we went on several hikes to exercise the dogs and ourselves.

The area around Bangor had nice hiking trails and lots of water which the pups loved. 

We found this beautiful lake with large boulders around it.

It was a neat place to sit and have a snack and watch the pups frolic.

And, of course, a photo-op.

Without a doubt, our biggest adventure was a hiking trip we took to a place called the Gulf Hagas Rim Trail.  It is a gorge located in the mountains of central Maine and is referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East.  The trail was an hour and a half drive from where we were staying so we got an early start and packed a lunch for the day.

Most people access Gulf Hagas by driving through Katahdin Iron Works, a state park and historic site where iron ore was once smelted between 1843 and 1890.  This is what is left of one of the furnaces used for the smelting operation.
After we checked in at the park entrance and paid our fee, we still had to drive an additional seven miles down dirt roads to get to the hiking area.  The park is still used for timber harvesting so big lumber trucks have the right of way.  Gulf Hagas is part of the Appalachian Trail Corridor and for a short distance the Rim Trail follows the corridor.

Right after starting the trail we came across a river that had to be forged.  They had told us there would be a river to cross on the trail so we were not surprised.  We took off our hiking boots and carefully walked across.  The water was cold but felt very good.

Since I was carrying a backpack on this hike the Captain carried both pairs of shoes ......along with his backpack :)

We weren't the only ones making the hike this day.

The trail was rocky and filled with tree roots and as we continued it got much worse.

This is the Captain forging the second stream we were not told about.  Rather than taking off our hiking boots he decided he could try and cross over some rocks that were in the stream.  Notice he is standing in water now.  This is after he fell in with his cell phone on and carrying his camera and everything else.
This is the Captain downstream retrieving his hiking pole and water container that went over the waterfall.  

We continued our hike and found many small but beautiful waterfalls along the rim.

The west branch of the Pleasant River cuts through the earth creating a vertically walled slate gorge.  

Lucy was getting dirty feet hiking through muddy sections of the trail as we continued our climb up the rim. 

Some of the sections were very tricky and you found yourself using both hands and feet to get through.

Everyone was getting very tired and we still had a long way to go.

The river drops 370 feet boasting 130 foot walls and is one of 14 natural landmarks in the State of Maine.

We stopped near the top to have a snack (since our lunch was still in the car) and I think this picture of Lucy says it all.  She was exhausted and didn't know we still had to hike all the way back down again.

Heading back down even Desi figured out how to maneuver over logs that were placed over marshy areas.  Desi may have problems seeing but he is a heck of a good hiker!

We made it home exhausted and spent the next day just resting.  It turned out to be a 10 hour trip, an hour and a half driving each way and seven hours on the actual hike.  We never did eat our lunch when we got back to the car......we were too tired.

The sun setting on another beautiful day in Maine.

Our next stop is a town called Thomaston right on the coast and halfway between Bar Harbor and Portland.  Less hiking this time and more little ocean towns to explore.  Peace!

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