New England Trip – Days 5 and 6
- 363 miles driven
- 6 caches found (3 virtual, 2 traditional, 1 puzzle)
- 1 new state souvenir earned
Our plan for day five was to hike the Flume Gorge trail in the White Mountain National Forest. My sister Alice and her husband Ray had hiked here a couple of weeks before, and said it was beautiful. However, the day dawned cold and rainy. We did not feel like hiking in this kind of weather. I don’t mind hiking in the rain if it is warm, and don’t mind hiking in the cold if it is dry. But, mix the two and you end up miserable.
We decided to make our way to our next stop: Bangor, Maine. But first, we needed breakfast. Alice had recommended a great breakfast restaurant so we went there. It was closed on Wednesdays. I pulled up other breakfast possibilities in Google Maps and we drove a few miles to a diner outside of town. Closed. Disgusted, we drove back into town and decided to go to a bagel place we had seen. The line there was long, and they were sold out of the type bagels that Deban wanted. I ended up getting bagels there, and then we went across the street to McDonald’s to get her breakfast. We had just wasted a whole hour searching for breakfast!
Finally, we were on the road to Maine. Our route once again took us along back roads, and we enjoyed the beautifully colored trees along the way. Near the small town of Shelburne, NH we pulled over next to a lake so that I could take some photos of the fall colors reflected in the water. The skies had cleared by this time, and the reds, oranges, yellows and greens of the trees against the blue and white sky were beautiful.
Just across the state line into Maine we passed through the town of Gilead. This made me start singing, “There is a balm, in Gilead…” The next town we passed through was Bethel, which brought on a flurry of other old hymns. We had us a good ole-fashioned Wednesday sangin’ as we drove along.
We stopped off in Augusta, ME for lunch at Denny’s, and then continued on to Bangor. Our lodging for the next two nights was at the Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor. Our room here was very nice; a corner room on the top floor with views in two directions. We arrived early enough in the afternoon for Deban to go downstairs and play for a bit while I went to WalMart to buy some breakfast items, snacks and yarn.
At 5:00 we went across the road to the race track for our first experience with live horse racing. On this track they have harness racing, where the horsemen ride in two-wheeled carriages behind the horses. We purchased food from the grill there to eat while we were waiting for the first race to start. It was rainy and cold, so it was nice to sit inside while we waited.
Deban had gotten us a program that listed the horses for each race. She told me to pick two horses for the first race. We didn’t bet, but just wanted to see how we did at choosing the winners. I used a highly scientific method for selecting my two favorites: I went by the names I liked. I selected the number 8 horse (I think his name was Bad Moonshine) as first and number 2 horse as second.
As the horses came onto the track, we went outside to watch them warm up. Finally, it was time for the first race. The horses lined up across the track on the far side, and began trotting behind a strange looking vehicle with folding arms to serve as gates. As the car picked up speed, so did the horses, and as they reached the start/finish line in front of us the car moved to the side and the horses thundered past at full speed.
It was quickly evident that I had picked the wrong horses. Number 8 was dead last the entire first lap, and number 2 was somewhere in the middle. During the second (and final) lap, I couldn’t really tell what was happening despite the announcer shouting out each horse’s position in the pack. but suddenly the horses crossed the finish line and number 8 had won! Number 2 came in third!
We did the same for the second race, but neither of the horses I picked were in the top three. We both chose horses for the third and fourth races, and this time placed bets. Sadly, none of our horses placed, so we won nothing. Oh well, that’s why they call it gambling. There were several more races on the schedule, but we decided we had had enough and would head back to the hotel. But first, I wanted to log a geocache that was next to the horse track. It was dark, but I was able to find it pretty easily, just about 15 feet downhill from the edge of the parking lot. Logging this cache earned me my 6th souvenir of the trip – my Maine state souvenir. This brings me to a total of 40 states. Just 10 more to go!
Back in the room I knitted while Deban went back downstairs to play. I also spent some time working to solve a puzzle cache near the hotel. It involved using algebra to come up with the coords, and this was NOT my best subject in school. I was on the right track for solving it, but kept getting stumped. I finally asked Deban to look at it for me when she returned to the room. After studying it for a bit, and using the Excel spreadsheet that I had set up to help solve it, she came up with the answer. It was so obvious, I couldn’t believe I had missed it!
I went to bed, excited about the day to come. I looked forward to another day exploring New England with Deban, and celebrating our anniversary.
After a good night’s rest, we had breakfast in our room, and then set off toward the coast of Maine. It was a special day, our twenty-fifth anniversary! We had planned to spend it at Acadia National Park.
We arrived at one of the park’s visitor centers at 12:45 and went in to purchase our day pass. I also found the correct sign to be able to log a virtual cache. Traditional geocaches with a container and log sheet are not allowed in national parks. However, virtual caches, where you visit a location and answer questions or post a photo, are allowed.
Since it was past time for lunch by the time we left the visitor center, we decided to drive into Bar Harbor and eat before exploring the park. I was hoping to eat some fresh Maine lobster, and we found a unique restaurant in downtown Bar Harbor with lobster on the menu. The Route 66 Restaurant is packed full of 50’s memorabilia including a filing station and country store. I wondered if the building was once a church because it had tall, beautiful stained-glass windows. I read on the back of the menu that the building had been a library, but that the windows had been bought from a church that was being torn down.
I ordered the Lazy Lobster. The meat had already been pulled from the shell, so I didn’t have to work for every savory bite. It was superb. We were fortunate to be able to experience this place, because now, just a week later, their website says they have closed for the season.
Sated and happy, we left to visit the park. But first, we visited the town library to log a geocache that had 274 favorite points. It was a gadget cache, meaning that once you found it you had to figure out how to open it. Luckily, I had it open within seconds, signed the log, and took some photos of Deban and Signal with it.
We then drove back into the park, and up to the top of Cadillac Mountain – the highest peak on the East Coast. The higher we climbed, the lower the temperature dropped. We saw icicles hanging from the rocks along the road as we neared the top. By the time we reached the parking lot at the summit, the car’s thermometer read 34°! The wind was blowing very hard. I later learned that there were gale warnings along the coast with gusts up to 30 mph.
Fortunately, I had come prepared. I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and had my hooded down jacket. Deban was wearing a hoody, but should have had an extra layer. Just before we left home, I had thrown a couple of ski hats in our bag, and we donned them to keep our ears warm. But, just a few minutes out in that cold wind and I couldn’t feel my face or hands!
We took a few pictures of the gorgeous coastline, and Deban headed back to the car. I went a little further to the highest overlook point, and took some more photos, and then went back past the car to find a sign with info I needed to claim another virtual cache. I was very glad to climb back in the warm car with heated seats!
We descended the mountain, and began driving around the loop road that circles through the park. The colors here were gorgeous. We stopped along the way at Sand Beach to use the facilities, but opted to not go out on the beach. It was warmer down here than on the mountain, but still breezy.
Soon after that stop, we passed the parking area for Thunder Hole, but Deban missed the turn. Since the loop road is one way, I resigned myself to missing that experience on this trip. However, after traveling several more miles, there was a turn where we could exit the loop road and the park, and then follow a highway that cuts through the middle of the park and links back to the loop road.
On the second time around, we made the turn into the Thunder Hole parking area, and made our way across the road and down to the shore. We were not visiting at the right time to hear the “thunder” of the tide rushing into the caves along the shore, but still enjoyed the views here. While I climbed atop a large rock for photo ops, Deban chatted with some visitors from Tennessee, and we all broke into “Rocky Top.”
Back in the car, we continued the drive around the loop road. We stopped at Jordan Pond for a brief visit and to log the virtual cache there. We then completed the loop and exited the park, driving back to Bangor. We stopped for supper at Denny’s, and then made a stop before reaching our hotel so that I could log the puzzle cache we had solved the night before.
I went to the room and spent the evening logging geocaches and knitting while Deban spent some more time in the casino. I also repacked our luggage in preparation for the trip home before falling into bed, tired and happy after another full day.