Oakville, ON (Oct 01/19) – The east coast of Maine is painted with cute harbours, quaint villages, vistas galore (hard to see every nook and cranny, you would need to live here to do it justice). A good choice of ‘so many’ would be Bar Harbour. This tourist mecca & looky-loo’s delight is chock-a-block full of shops & restaurants, narrow sidewalks & colourful buildings. The intimate harbours expand out to the various islands, pleasure craft boats abound, cruise ships anchored off shore while their charges wander the town.
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Jesse even took time from his busy vacation schedule to see the town in his chariot, of course he was the star attraction with many quizzical eyes upon him… all wanting a piece of his attention.
Adjacent to the town is Acadia National Park, located on the same piece of land, Mount Desert Island (MDI); puzzling as it may seem as no desert is to be seen anywhere, French explorer Samuel de Champlain called it L’Isle des Monts-déserts (meaning island of barren mountains). This park reserve was created from the many estates to be found scattered around the island. Originally the playground for America’s ‘old money’, the wealthy of the 1880-1890’s, huge stone & brick mansions complete with carriage pathways to travel throughout the area. Families such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Astors all had summer ‘cottages’ here.
N&J’s real purpose for traveling down south was to see the autumn colours (red, oranges, yellows) of the deciduous trees that populate the majority of the landscape. Fall being a masterpiece of change, at the moment… leaves still hanging on in all their glory magnifying their transformation with brilliance of wonder and colour before their descent.
The secondary roads that infiltrate New Hampshire, Vermont & up-state New York snake their way through this visual extravaganza. Vermont’s Hwy 100 being the ultimate road trip, meandering through the countryside from Massachusetts in the south to Quebec up north. Each community along the way showcasing their ‘Hometown Heroes’, young military men & women with fresh smiling faces adorn pendants attached to every lamp post. Pictures taken at a time of hope and adventure, displayed later showing their ultimate sacrifice.
The road, winding it’s way at an old fashion, pleasant pace, in & out of small villages and hamlets… covered bridges transport one to a bygone era of simplicity and romance (any moment expecting to see Clint Eastwood drive through in his pickup truck, coming back to his love).
Eventually coming upon the Vermont Country Store… deceiving from the outside, this grand country store showcases everything you have ever dreamed of but were not able to find, items that you will not see anywhere else. Gourmet samples ‘free for the taking’ leaves one in blissful happiness which soon turns to belly-aching regret. Although this soon passes, and fond memories of stepping back in time consumes the memory.
Carrying on, traveling north & then west brings N&J to Lake Placid, NY (site of the 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympic Games). Nestled along a gleaming lake between the mountains (not like the mountains of Whistler mind you), the town has that ‘ski-bum’ feel to it.
Overnight at Saranac Lake State Park, quiet & dark… a happy place for Jesse to recharge… trees to climb, succulent grass blades to chew, and fun trails to explore.
The quintessential sigh of relief crossing the border back into Canada, over the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, ON. The drive south to Toronto was unexpectedly traffic free, Hwy 407 (toll highway) was strangely empty considering it was rush hour (seems most would rather sit in a backup to save a few dollars). Making good mileage, it was soon time to look for a place for the night… of course a ‘freestyle’ site is ALWAYS preferred!!! The ‘Overlander’ app pointed Hobbes to a spot along Lake Ontario in the town of Oakville. While sussing out the area, J notices the Bronte Harbour Yacht Club across the waterway; with a smile in his voice, calls the club and ask if they would take a couple of Vancouver Rowing Club (N&J) members to overnight in the parking lot… YES!!! Enjoying a few hours sharing beers & stories with club members, door code was even provided for the facilities after hours. The lovely hot showers were a blessing. Thanks to the BHYC for their hospitality 🙂
Needing a little more sustenance and likely some more brewskies, N&J walk a couple blocks to The Firehall pub and share a table with locals Jackie and Chris. Fast friends all the way around, enjoying stories and laughs… hoping someday they will come to visit in Whistler.
Hunkering down for the night, Hobbes positioned carefully with his back to the wind, all windows and hatches buttoned down, the rain picked up intensity within moments. Lying snuggly in bed, classical music playing on the satellite radio, lights out, the flickering candle providing warmth, the pitter patter of the rain. Then suddenly the angry pelting of a torrential downpour forced against the roof and exposed upper tent, created rivers of water flowing all around Hobbes… the sky opened with a crack and boom of lightning. N&J and (Jesse too) spooning closely in their humble abode sheltered from the elements… eventually falling asleep in thankfulness that the storm was less intense than forecasted (tornado warning???… YIKES!!!) All safe, warm, together… and happy.