Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 24--Day 42--A Brief Glimpse of the Atlantic, and a Really Good View of the Penobscot River

As I write today's post, I am sitting in my tent while the rain comes down. The weather forecast did call for 50% chance of rain, and I 100% found it.

Today was another 50+ mile day from Camden Hills Campground to Balsam Cove Campground (near East Orland).

I got my brief view of the Atlantic in Rockport. I talked to a gal who thought this Harbor was the prettiest one. She might live there, and therefore might be a bit biased, but it was nice looking.

The route through Rockport to Camden was on neighborhood streets. In Camden I turned back onto US 1. As usual, in these towns, there was a lot of traffic. Of course, it didn't help that a delivery truck was unloading and blocking the lane of traffic. I was able to get by just fine, but there was so much traffic coming from the other direction, that the cars couldn't get around the truck. For me, that was good because I was able to get up the hill without a line of cars backing up behind me. 

US 1 continued to follow the coastline of West Penobscot Bay, but my route took a quieter and safer route into the coastal mountains. Not to worry, they weren't really mountains. In fact, today was probably one of the easier climbing days, as far as the steep rollers go.

I rode through Lincolnville Center, and onto Belfast. Belfast was the largest town today with a population of 6600 people. The route brought me all the way down to the water (Belfast Bay), and onto the Belfast Harbor Walk. The Walk went through a shipyard, then across the Bay on a cool pedestrian footbridge. 

Once again, I was back on US 1. I was on it for the rest of the day, but with a wide shoulder (but sometimes very crappy conditions). As I was approaching Bucksport, I could see a bridge. It was a very high bridge. There was a view point. I saw this sign. I said to some people standing there, "Oh, I'm going to go do that!"

I made my way to the Entrance Station for Fort Knox and the Bridge Observatory. It should have cost me $8.00 as I'm not a Maine resident, but the lady only charged me $6.00. 

I rode down to the Observatory elevator first. The elevator is the fastest elevator in all of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (although, I'm not sure what elevators to high towers there are in NH, and Vermont). It travels 500ft/minute. In 50 seconds I was at the top--well, three stories down from the top, the rest were stairs. The elevator doors opened to an amazing view of the Penobscot River. I went up the stairs to the top. It was pretty awesome. Maybe nicer with blue sky, but still pretty cool. Here's some photos.

I returned to ground level (curiously, last year they had 13 elevator delays, and three times where people had to walk down the 25 stories to the bottom--it said so in the elevator). I rode back up the hill to the Fort. 

Fort Knox doesn't have quite the history that Fort Ticonderoga has, but it was interesting to check it out. It would be really fun for kids as there are tunnels and all kinds of places to explore. 

As I was returning to Tilmann, a guy was looking at him. He asked if it was my bike. We chatted for a bit. His name was Romeo (may not be the correct spelling), and he was doing a driving tour. 

I took a photo of Tilmann with the Fort Knox sign, the a guy said he'd take one with me in it. I was happy to have just Tilmann, but I said okay.

By this time, I was getting hungry. I was also looking forward to riding across the bridge. I could see from the Observatory that there was a very nice shoulder on the bridge.

I rode across a second bridge into Bucksport. I thought I would stop at a restaurant, but instead I just stopped a the grocery store and got some food. I took it down by the water. It was starting to rain, so I finished up, put my rain jacket on, and got back on the road. I had less than 10 miles to go. Wouldn't you know, not a half mile down the road, there was a Subway! Too bad! 

Sitting in my tent, I decided I should call and make a reservation for camping in Acadia National Park tomorrow night and the next night. After being on hold for a good 20 minutes, I found out there are no sites available. The gal gave me the phone number for the campground so I could call and see what their policy is regarding cyclists. Unfortunately, the line was forever busy. There are a number of other nearby campgrounds (outside of the NP, but still on Mt. Desert Island). I chose one and called. That campground was also fully booked, but the gal told me to check with Bar Harbor CG. They don't take reservations. I called, and the guy said they have plenty of tent sites, and it's first come first serve. Shouldn't be a problem. I had looked up a Warmshowers host, but she was unable to host me due to landlord problems. She said she could give some stealth places where she has never been caught by the Rangers, but I don't really want to do that. Especially since I want to stay two nights. On my exploration day of Acadia, I may stop in at the campground and just ask about their policy--just for curiosity sake.

Now, it would be really nice if it would stop raining. Otherwise, it may be a no cooking dinner night...

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