Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Maine to Ohio

The last 2 days have been mostly just driving. The weather was the pits for doing other than the drive, so not minding it.  Overcast both days.  Sprinkling of rain also both days. Good shower over night in Danbury, CT. 

The Super 8 in Danbury was a pretty good room.  It was a second floor room 2 doors down the hall from the elevator.  Dinner was a Philly Cheese Steak at the Windmill Diner.  Decent food but nothing to write home about.

Found my hotel at Exit 180 of the Ohio Turnpike.  I am not impressed with the hotel.  The assigned me a room that is 2 doors from the opposite corner of the hotel from the lobby, Bar/Restaurant, and Breakfast.  When I went to looking for the ice machine (the hotel map shows just down the hall from my room) there was no ice machine. 

Had a coupon for $3 on beverage, and was tired, so figured to had a brew and burger the the hotel.  That was a mistake.  Took forever to get my burger.  The fries were "limp" - not crisp at all. 

Sent message to fraternity brothers that I arrived town.  One has contacted me to meet tomorrow evening.  Now its time to get horizontal, watch TV and plan my visit to the Cleveland area.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Acadia National Park

Today was my full day to explore Acadia National Park.  With the problems betting up/down from my room, I planned my day's need so there would just be one trip down to the car and back to the room at the end of the day.

Cameras and water were the main requirements.  From descent to the car drove over to breakfast.  The hot breakfast was OK.  Scrambled eggs, sausage patties, home fry potatoes, waffles.  Poor selection of pasties.  Opts for small portions of eggs, spuds (they were cold) and sausage.  A cup of coffee and I was about ready to head out to the park.

Had to bundle up this morning to get out to the park.  The car was showing temperatures in the upper 30s when i headed out.  Don't think it broke 50 all day. 

While at the hotel, I stopped to fill my water cup with ice and found where the Post Office is (so i could get stamps and mail post cards.  Got 10 stamps and off to the park.  Drove the one-way loop road.  Wanted to make it to Thunder Hole at high tide/  The surf was pretty calm today, so the thunder was about a whimper.

Took lots of photos along the coast during the drive.  Turned North to Jordon Pond.  Stopped there and found a recommended bike riding spot.  Problem was that it was too cold yet.   Took some photos.  Will debate later about riding in the afternoon.

Yesterday was overcast.  So, I drove back up Cadillac Mountain to see the view on a clear day.  Back in town, I decided to check out the scenery on Route 3.  Drove down to Seal Harbor.  On up route  to junction with 233, heading back into Bar Harbor.  Along Route  233, I happened upon the 4-unit generator site that Bangor Hydro (they were the owners at that time) had.  One time I made the trip to Bar Harbor (and even all the way to Eastport) with the power company representative.  Stopped and had a brief conversation with a worker that happened to be there at the gen-sets.  He told me they were working to decommision the sit and remove them.  He had worked to the railroad, so familiar with the engines.  Glad I happened to take that road!

Soon after that, near the park headquarters, I found a parking lot where others were loading and unloading bicycles.  There was a junction of a couple carriage roads and the highway.  Had to check out the carriage road for possible riding.

It looked good.  Not wearing my cycling kit, I rolled up my right BDU pant-leg.  Got the hybrid off the rack.  I knew I did not have the computer on the bike and not up to changing shoes.  So, grabbed my gloves and helmet and rode on down the carriage road in my sneakers. 

Guessing I rode about a mile.  Too bad I did not have the time and the weather was warmer.  These carriage roads are a great place to ride,  The crushed rock is packed almost like pavement.

On the morning drive on the one-way loop road, I went again to check out Sand Beach.  A pretty beach.  On into town.  I was getting hungry. Found a parking space downtown Bar Harbor.  Selected the Dog & Pony Tavern (had noticed the place last night) for brew and burger.  I had their Real Ale Beef Burger with chips.  the bartender suggested the Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale.  I had shied away from these ales in Portland.  But the bartender told me the ale is not a fruity beer.  I tried it and enjoyed a pint.

Back at the hotel, I grabbed ice for my water cup and climbed to my room.  Copied files from camera cards to a portable hard drive.  By this time (with a full stomach) I was getting tired,  Took a nap for about 2-3 hours.  Woke up and processed the photo from today.

It won't take me long to load the car in the morning. Just worrying about the 2 trips down the steps (more so the one trip UP).   Early morning start heading West.

Next Stop - Bar Harbor

Was up early to load the car and head towards Bar Harbor.  Had breakfast in the Clarion restaurant.  Gave my final "good-bye" to a couple folks.  Took me longer than planned to get out of Portland.  It was almost 9am before i got on the road.

Played tourist on the way to Bar Harbor.  Took coastal Hwy 1 to Ellsworth,  When I got to Bar Harbor, instead of looking for my hotel, i spent some time getting orientated with Mt Desert Island.  Drove up Cadillac Mountain.  Shot some photos.  Was a chilly, overcast afternoon. 

Stopped in at the gift shop at the "summit".  By this, it was time to find my room.  the Quality Inn in Bar Harbor is on Route 3 and you near the main retail area of the town.  Unfortuate;y, the assigned me a room way down the hotel (actually in one of the extra little building). The room ins not convenient to the office or breakfast.  Worse, yet, i was a climb up from the parking lot up the drive and up several steps to get to my room. 

I complained that they should not put "Seniors" into such inconvenient rooms.  The only thing they said they could do might move me to a second floor room.  They gave me a song and dance about the reservation system does not give them sufficient information about me until day of arrival to plan.  No accommodation for a 67 year old, unless I had requested a handicap room in advance, it seams.  Well, I do not qualify for handicap sticker.  Leaving me a very bitter taste in my mouth about Quality Inn and Bar Harbor.

Lower photo is the view from the door on my room looking down to the parking area.

Drove down the the Main Street area.  Picked up a couple souvenirs.  Did not find a book about riding a bicycle on the carriage roads (and more importantly, a relatively flat road) to ride. On of the shopkeepers gave me a recommendation. Being after 5 on a Sunday evening, did not think the bicycle shop in town would not be open.

Across Main Street was the Bar Harbor Beerworks.  Looks like a good place to have a pint and a burger.  I asked for an amber or red ale.  The sever suggested Bar Harbor Brewing "Leafpeeper" Oktoberfest beer.  A nice way to end the day.  The burger was served with sea salt kettle chips (a lot of them).  I was able tp eat the burger, but too much food to finish the chips.

Stopped by at the office to get ice for my water.  Of course, its up stairs or at the far end of the building.  Ihe desk clerk said she would get some for my drink cup.  She came back with th 20ox cup only half-filled with ice.  Damn, they can't ever getting a cup of ice right!  Back to the room and struggled up to my room.  While tired, I could not sleep.  Processed photos drive to Bar Harbor.



Last Day of the Reunion

I have been getting aa little behind in my blogging the last couple days.  Saturday was the last full day of the Echo Company Reunion.

Normally, Saturday early morning those in the fishing tournament would head to boats (or in I case, the river).  In the Portland, Maine area, all of the fishing boats had moved south (where the fish had moved to).  So, organizers came up with an alternative.

Some of the ladies cut out construction paper "fish".  There was a "weight" of the fish is assigned to each of the fish.  The weight was not revealed until the fish was "caught".   There was one person behind a draped sheet where she would attached a fish.

The fisherman (fisherwoman) would sit in a chair sitting with the fishing rod.  "Cast" over the sheet and dangle the "hook".  Behind the sheet, a paper fish would be attached.

Lastly the fish would be reeled in and shown the re judge,  The weight was revealed.  Ended up being a popular indoor activity.  The upper photo shows a joke pulled on one of the wives,

Normally, on Saturday during fishing i would head out for a bicycle ride.  With the late fishing start and and my need to fishing packing, I opted to go to the room and work on packing my bags.  At 3pm were had the reunion business reunion.  this is where we talk about the next year's reunion.  Unfortunately, our 2015 reunion hosts could not make it,  We were advised that Echo Reunion will be in Highland, California during the week of October 12-18, 2015.

Time to dress for the banquet.  The banquet is a busy time for me.  As attendees arrive, and get thier refreshments, I take photos of the Echo Company member and then on of him and his wife/partner.  If there were additional families in attendance, another photo is taken of the family.

We were treated to a short concert by the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps.  The corps also posted the colors for the start of the banquet.  The lower photo is of the corps in the banquet.

After invocation and greetings, it was time to eat.  Good, simple menu of salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, steak tips, and haddock, hard roll, and butter.  Several of us went back for seconds!

At each of the reunions, we take time to remember those killed in action or missing.  We also remember those who have passed in the last year.  There were a few door prized.  Then it was time to award plaques and trophies for the tournaments.  Lastly, there were the raffle prizes.

The banquet concluded with thanks and a benediction.  Last,hugs as as the folks slowly left the room.  See you next year!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shooting Tournament

I understand we got a good amount of rain Thursday night.  Skies were forecast to clear later in the morning.  For this reason, the shooting tournament was delayed until noon.

This made it a lost morning.  Had coffee and a muffin in the hospitality room.  Back up to the room for a little nap.  Then it was time to board the hotel van.

At the Scarborough Fish & Game Assoc. facility, we met Roy, who served as out range supervisor.  Shooters signed releases and Roy gave a range safety presentation.  The first rank of shooters took their position on the firing line.  Each shot 5 shells at each of 5 locations.

The second rank followed suit.  At the end "Dead-Eve" Don won the tournament with Merv coming in second.

Bach to the hotel where Eric had his presentation "Revisiting Viet Nan" ready.  I had seen the presentation, so I went to the room for a quick nap.  In no time, it was dinner time.  Everyone was on their on.  I did not want to go too far, so wend a couple block the road to Espo's for some Italian food.  Had spaghetti and sausage with a pint of Sam Adam's seasonal beer (guessing Octoberfest).  Good food and been, just too much food than I could eat.

Back at the hospitality room, I learned some of our group were leaving in the morning.  Got their "mug" shots taken.  Then I was ready for bed.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Golf and a Brewery

 The hospitality opened about 7:30am.  Weather was dreary - foggy, threatening rain, and windy.

Thursday was supposed to be the day for the golfing tournament.  Unfortunately, the weather was not conducive to being out on the links.  The "tournament" was moved inside  The golf pro at our host's club brought a portable "putting green".  It was not as photogenic than the normal outside tournament. 

The tournament consisted of putting 5 balls.  I stroke per ball.  Most balls in the hole won the contest.  The was a financial portion of the contest.  Playing cost $5.  Winner would win $25 of Maine lottery tickets.

Time took much less than playing 9 holes.  the "green fee" was less that playing the course.  More of the attendees played.

The upper photo is of one of the reunion attendees getting a lesson from the course golf pro.

I needed a rest, to went to the room.  Got "horizontal" for a little.  Change clothes from shorts to jeans for the afternoon.

We loaded into the hotel van and a couple of private vehicles for the drive to Shipyard Brewery.  Shipyard is the largest craft brewery in Maine.  The tour started with a video about the history of the brewery.  This year it is celebrating 20 years.

Next, we were lead into the brewery.  Bruce (our guide) described the brewing processes as we toured the brewery.  We were not able to see the brew-house where the actually brewing process happens - the are doing modification/repairs in that location.

In the lower photo here, Bruce is explaining the bottling room and equipment.

The brewery also makes root beer and some other fruit "beers". The tour ended with the tasting room.  Over 10 of their brews were on tap for us to sample and enjoy.  They also had a bunch of pizza for the group.  Don't know if they do the pizza for all over their tours.  I was able to each enough pizza that I did not need to go out for dinner tonight.

I liked the Costo Bat Octoberfest  beer.  One of our group bought a case of one of their beers and put them in the cooler for others to sample.  i picked ip a couple this in the gift shop - post cards, t-shirt, and cap.  The cap has a bottle opened mounted on the bill of the cap!

Thanks for the great tour, Bruce.  Congratulations for 20 years to the founders and employes of the brewery.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Great Birthday

Slow start today.  Was at the hospitality room about 7am (before it was open).  Coffee and muffins were being delivered to the room.  As folks drifted in to the room, we visited for a while.  About 10 am, it was about time for me to kit up for my birthday ride.

Headed to Portland's Back Cove.  Got lost getting there.  Poor signing.  Eventually found the parking lot.  Unloaded the bike off the car.  Rode the 3.75 mile loop around the cove.   Surprising, the Back Cove Trail surface is crushed stone.  I thought it would be pavement.  That's why I had brought the hybrid.  Luckily, the trail surface was well packed, and nearly solid as pavement. Though there were very few bicycles in the trail today.  Most users were jogging.

Back at the hotel, I brought the bike back up to the room.  The refrigerator in the room had not been working.  Maintenance came up and replaced the fridge.Showered and back to the hospitality room.  Found out another of the group enjoys riding bikes (road and mountain). We talked about our bikes and rides.   He's also big into photography/ 

The group was planning dinner.  I was concerned about if the places had a lighter fare and something other than fish/seafood.   ! could get a burger at the place about 25 of us were going. So, I signed up for dinner - besides, I was not looking forward to eating by my self on my birthday.

Changed clothes for dinner.  I ate with the group at Saltwater Grille.  The 1/2 pound burger, fries, and cole slaw ended up being more than I could eat.  Was washing down the food with water and a bottle of local beer - Geary's Autumn Ale. 

Was a beautiful evening when I finished eating.  Some of us we outside on the deck for some air and enjoy the weather.  Took a couple of photos and it was time to laod into the hotel van back.  Visited a little after back at the hotel.  Took some more photos.  As I was getting ready to leave to my room, three of the wives started at chorus of "Happy Birthday".  Some of the others joined in before they were done.  Awesome end to a great birthday.

Upper photo is me on my birthday ride.  Lower photo is view from the deck at Saltwater Grille.