August 6-7: My third state history museum and my 27th national park/historic site

I had to make a list to get an accurate number for that second one [g].

The night of the fifth I saw a very strange thing from the LL Bean RV lot. The photo I managed to get of it makes it look more like a cloud, but I swear it looked more like a meteor or a comet when I first saw it, and its movement was visible to the naked eye. Very strange.

That odd thing in the sky.
That odd thing in the sky.

I didn’t take much in the way of photos on the sixth, which is why I’m combining the two days. AAMOF, the only photo I took on the sixth was of the Maine state capitol building in Augusta, and that’s just because it was next door to the Maine Museum. It was about an hour’s drive up from Freeport to Augusta, and I spent the morning and early afternoon in the museum before I decided to stop there for the rest of the day. I got a motel room and caught up on stuff, and read, and that sort of thing for the rest of the day.

The Maine state capitol building.
The Maine state capitol building.

The museum was great, but I wasn’t allowed to take photos, unfortunately. It covered things by topic rather than chronologically – economic, social, political, and natural history and archaeology, for the most part. The museum itself was older, like the Kentucky state museum was, but it was done very well, and they had a huge collection of artifacts. I particularly loved the working waterwheel that made the little sawmill go.

A view from the Penobscot Bay Bridge.
A view from the Penobscot Bay Bridge.
The bridge itself, which was odd in that it had the tall supporting structure between the lanes, instead of on the outside of them.
The bridge itself, which was odd in that it had the tall supporting structure between the lanes, instead of on the outside of them.

This morning I got up and out pretty early for having spent the night in a motel, and headed for Acadia National Park. I’ve been to Acadia before, on my 1997 flying-into-Boston trip. Also, I was pretty sure it was going to be crowded on a sunny August Sunday, and I was right, unfortunately.

That said, I still had fun. Like Yosemite and Zion, Acadia now has shuttle busses (sponsored by LL Bean [g]), which are free, and that made getting around much easier. I parked Merlin in the visitor center parking lot, and rode the bus to Bar Harbor’s village green, where I ate a lobster roll for lunch. You can’t go to Maine without eating at least one lobster roll (unless you’re allergic to lobster like my friend Loralee). I’m pretty sure they’ll ticket you at the very least if you try. A lobster roll is lobster chunks dressed in a little mayonnaise, tucked into a toasted hot dog bun. Yum.

Flower bed at the Bar Harbor village green.
Flower bed at the Bar Harbor village green.

Then I got on another shuttle and rode around the main loop in the park, getting off and back on here and there. My first stop was at Sieur le Monts, where volunteers maintain a wonderful native plant garden. One of the volunteers, a young man in a kilt, with a braid, and a very complicated molecule diagram tattooed on one arm, told me the names of several plants I did not recognize, so now I know what their friends call them.

Harebells.  I associate these with late summer at Yellowstone and Mt. Rainier.  It can't be late summer yet, though, can it?
Harebells. I associate these with late summer at Yellowstone and Mt. Rainier. It can’t be late summer yet, though, can it?
Hobble-bush, according to the nice young man at the Wild Garden.  It's a kind of viburnum.
Hobble-bush, according to the nice young man at the Wild Garden. It’s a kind of viburnum.

My next stop was Thunder Hole. Unfortunately it was low tide, so I didn’t get to hear it actually thunder the way I did the last time I was here, but it was still cool. Basically, what happens is that the waves get forced into this narrow slot in the rock and splash way up high, making this loud booming sound. I took some video of it, just for kicks.  One of these days I’ll learn how to upload it — I have the software now, just not the time.

Thunder Hole at low tide.
Thunder Hole at low tide.
And another view.
And another view.

After that, it was getting on in the afternoon, plus the busses were getting crowded, so I decided to go on back to the visitor center, because the one place the busses don’t go is Cadillac Mountain.

Cadillac Mountain is in no way, shape, or form an actual mountain (it’s only 1500 feet high), but it’s the highest point on the U.S. eastern seaboard, and you can see pretty much all the way to the curvature of the earth from the top. I drove up to the summit, and was actually lucky enough to find a parking place, so I walked the half-mile trail around the summit and took lots and lots and lots of photos [g].

From Cadillac Mountain.
From Cadillac Mountain.
And another view from Cadillac Mountain.
And another view from Cadillac Mountain.
Looking down on Bar Harbor.
Looking down on Bar Harbor.
And a glacial erratic on top of the "mountain."
And a glacial erratic on top of the “mountain.”

If it hadn’t been so crowded, I probably would have stayed at Acadia for a couple of days, but it was really, really crowded, and campgrounds were problematic, too, so I decided to go on.

I’m camped about 40 miles north of Acadia, in a county park in the woods on a point sticking out into Narraguagus Bay. Anyway, it’s beautiful here, even if the mosquitoes are about to carry me off.

Tomorrow will be my last day in the States until I’m almost back to Washington. Here goes…