Mt Desert Campground – Season Finale

The final weeks at the camp flew by.. our time was filled with  re-decking tent platforms,  cleaning sites for the last time,  and attending staff gatherings.   Before we knew it, we were finished, and the campground sign came down, and we closed up our camper for the winter.   And now we are back in PA..  enjoying the last of the fall foliage and getting ready for winter.

Here are some final pics from the season.  We are already eagerly anticipating heading north in May, but until then,  I am sure that we will find something productive to do!

scene from final bike ride on the loop road  2015this is a scene from our last bike ride around the park loop which we did on a clear day in late September.

janet near top of the precipiceThis is Janet nearing the top of the Precipice Trail.   We did the hike with a group of co-workers  in September

sailboat from little moose island littlel moose island 1 little moose island 2These three photos were taking during a hike on Little Moose Island which is accessible only at low tide.  It is located in the Schoodic Peninsula area of Acadia National Parkmornng view as we were cleaning sites 3 morning view as we were cleaning sites morning view as we were cleaning sites 2These three pics were taken from different camp sites at Mt Desert Campground during morning hours..   I paused while we were cleaning the sites  to take the pics..   campsite at sunsetThis is site B-8   taken at sunset..   this site is located directly across from ours  which is B-18   ..   if you happen to read this and end up camping with us next year, be sure to stop and say hello!

bald eagle in a very small tree at floatsThis is a pic of an eagle , perched in a tree that appears way too small for him!   This was taken across from the floats where we happened to be cleaning the boats one morning..   Nikki destroying a deckour co-working Nikki, joined us  as we were replacing the top of one of our tent platforms…

Janet and I took a trip to St Andrew’s  NB  during our final week in Maine.   It was supposed to be a day trip, but we happened upon a cute B and B  –  Sea Haven  –  and we decided to stay!   this is a view from our  room…view from Sea Haven B and B   St  Andrew's  NB  the following three pics are of the sunset that we enjoyed during an evening stroll…sunset  St Andrew's  NB sunset St Andrews  2 sunset St Andrews 3

snake slowly eating toadThis is one very unfortunate toad..  he is  slowing becoming a meal for the snake that has his leg in his mouth..   a camper at the campground happened to point this out to us…

view from gorham mtwe did a hike on Gorham Mt with Donna, one of the owners of the campground..  this is a view looking towards  Dorr Mt and Cadillac Mt.

janet and donna  summit of Gorham mtJanet and Donna at the summit of Gorham mtview from Gorham mt  - hike with donnalooking towards  otter cliffs from Gorham mt

empyt parking spots at sand beach.. fall is here!an unusual sight..  open parking spaces at  Sand Beach!   you know that it is  fall when you see this 🙂

fall morning at the floatsone of the last pics from the floats before we started taking them in…

taking out the floats 2 taking out the floatstaking in the floats..   c building in the fallthe C bathroom building as we were shutting off the water..

no sooner did we return from Maine than our co-worker Nikki, her sister Rachul, and King the dog stopped by for a visit as they were heading south..   King looks very comfortable in our Bear Creek house, don’t you think?   They also stopped by the Apple Festival at the orchard..  King spent some time hanging out  in the tiny house..

king feeling at home in bear creek nikki and rachel at tiny house

and this closes the chapter on the 2015 season at Mt Desert Campground..   Workamping turned out to be a wonderful experience in so many ways..  we made new friends,  we  spent loads of time in the outdoors,  we explored Acadia ,   we ate lots of wonderful food,  and we can’t wait to head back in May…

making progress on the boat!


Perhaps I am the only one in the world like this, but, when I have a task that needs to be done which does not happen to be one of the favorite things on my list such as  grading and other school work, I find that I am rather productive in just about every other realm of my life!  This happens to be one of those weekends 🙂   yes I do have school related work that needs to be completed, but it isn’t really due until Tuesday..  and there are so many more exciting things to do in the meantime!    We took a hike this morning, and the early afternoon was devoted to setting up the frames for the boat project.  I constructed them along with the strong-back yesterday and decided to tackle the set up this afternoon.   – just three frames, but I find that measuring everything 3 or 4 times works for me and that takes time.  I also found that using  both a level and a plumb bob was helpful – very reassuring when they agree as far as lining up the molds on the center line.   Lastly,  I checked it by eye..  now, those who know me might chuckle at that because I have a crooked eye!  But, i have to close one anyhow to see how things line up, so that is ok  🙂

It may be a while before I can begin the next step.  I called the lumber company and ordered the materials that I need for the stem, transom and planking.  It may take a week or so, but it will be good quality, so it is worth the wait.   Along with the plans for the boat that I bought so many years ago, I also bought the companion instruction book from Walt Simmons.   In his introduction,  he states that the building sequence is split up into 40  one hour tasks  and then shows his teenaged son and a friend working on the boat.   He reports that they completed the boat in a week and sold it the next day!    Well,  I am already well behind the pace set by those young lads!  But that is ok.   I will be combining some of Walt’s methods with techniques that we learned on the first project back in NH.  That boat was “Daisy”  designed by Harry Bryan.  Anyone who might be interested in boat building would be well served to look up Harry’s web page and read his story – what a fascinating character!    

I have just about run out of  alternative tasks.. I guess I had better sit down and start correcting those tests…  but then, as all of the world can see, my shop needs a bit of sprucing up…   🙂

lofting board ( am I crazy?)


Looking ahead to the sailing season,  I have invested pondered long and hard about an appropriate dinghy for  Adagio.   Last year I was going to tow my  16 foot dory – built by my son and me around 10 years ago   – terribly out of proportion for a 23 foot sailboat, but  it was ready and willing, and it rows oh so well..  but then I discovered that the state of NJ would require me to  register it, and that meant lots of paperwork and lots of money that I preferred to keep in my wallet! As it turned out,  I sailed without a dinghy most of the summer, and, when I needed one, I borrowed from the previous owner..

But, I really need my own if, as hoped, I head north this summer, leaving NJ waters behind me.  So the second alternative was  the dory skiff that I built while still living in NH 16 years ago.   It has been neglected for quite a while, but I was hoping that I might breath new life into it – replacing a rotten transom and perhaps fixing rot elsewhere with epoxy.  After dragging it into my basement and letting it thaw out, however,  I was dismayed to discover that it is beyond any reasonable attempt at repair.  I will have to give it a proper burial at some point, but, for now, it is in pieces out back.

This brings me to the third option.. buy a plastic dinghy or build a new one..   I firmly believe that Adagio deserves better than plastic.   Of course, she is fiberglass ( plastic) herself, but  from a distance, her classic lines would pass for a boat built in a very different era.  And, even more importantly, plastic dinghies are not built for rowing…  while a true Maine skiff is..  so there we have it.   The picture above is of my lofting board.  The plans come from DuckTrap woodworking in Maine.   I visited there 20 years ago, and the plans have been sitting on my shelf in the interim, and now I will attempt to bring them to life… not that I have oodles of time, of course, but I do have desire, and I needed a new project during this cold snap – it is just too cold out there to work on the exterior of the house!   It was -4 degrees F  as we left for school this morning…  stay tuned for progress reports as well as for another new project that we will begin as spring approaches..   yup – I am crazy! 

An Evening in the Shop

Fourteen years ago, I ordered the plans for a boat named Redwing,  a camp cruiser designed by Karl Stambaugh.   I have yet to build the boat, not for lack of motivation, but more a matter of priorities.   In fact,  I had the plans lofted in my garage in New Hampshire when we made the decision to move to Pennsylvania…  life is full of trade-offs!  In the meantime,  I built a few six hour canoes,  a cedar strip canoe,  a bolger  Gloucester light dory,  and a pygmy kayak..  and, the purchase of Adagio, our compac 23 two years ago has diverted considerable time and energy..  but the plans for Redwing still sit on my shelf, and I visit the place in my mind periodically where the dream of slowly exploring shallow backwaters in our very own home-built boat lives.     There was a time, a few years ago, when I thought that Redwing just might turn into a reality….

An Evening in the Shop

“So when are we going to get started on the boat project?” I asked my friend as we worked together in his shop.  Finding myself,  yet again,  in need of a sheltered place to work, I had asked him if I could bring some wood  to his shop to be planed.  At 48 years of age,  a number items remained on a list that  had evolved over the years , a list of things that I wanted to accomplish in life.  It did not exist on paper.  Instead, it lived in my mind, and, In truth, I had achieved a number of the goals that I had laid out, but the list seemed to grow longer with each passing year.   Surely, the construction of a shop would seem to  rank high in priority after all these years.  With each new project, the first question was “where would I find the space to work”?   On the bookshelf in my room there was a file containing at least half a dozen different plans for shops that I had bought over the years.  Someday….

My friend was retired, and he was pursuing a dream of his own.   He was restoring a Model A.  However, my sense was that the job was taking longer and costing more than he had anticipated.  We had been talking about building a boat together for at least 3 years, but he had to finish the Model A first.   In between feeding boards through the planer and making adjustments for the next run, my friend announced that his wife and he had applied to live in a retirement village in a town that was about 2 hours distant from where we lived.  I knew that they had been investigating such a move, but I was still struck by the revelation that they had actually filed an application, that they were on the waiting list, and within a year or so, perhaps even sooner, they would be leaving.

Just a few weeks prior to this conversation we had  been sitting at his kitchen table, the plans for  “Redwing” , an 18 foot camping cruiser spread before us, talking about using the space in his garage, currently filled by the Model A  for the construction process.  He was excited about the prospect of moving on to a new project,  of building a boat, and I was looking forward to working with him.

“I’m not sure” he answered after a moment’s contemplation.  We continued the process of planning the boards, the shop filled with the whine of the blades shaving another 1/16 of an inch of wood, leaving the boards smooth and flat and ready to become a part of the jelly cupboard that I was building for my wife. 

Killing the power to the planer, the room plunged  into a deafening silence.  The roar of the machine remained in our ears for a time, but it was the lack of conversation that was most noticeable.  My friend continued to ponder as we began the clean up process.  I watched as he stiffly stooped over to sweep some chips onto the dustpan that he held in his hand.  “ I guess that I won’t be able to build the boat”  The silence was broken with this simple sentence. His voice was filled with resignation.   The time was not right for a response.  I continued to sweep the floor as I grew to understand the significance of the moment.  Even as my own list grew, it had never occurred to me that I might not accomplish everything on it, that circumstances might cut short the pursuit of my dreams.  And yet, here I was with my friend at the very moment that he confronted the reality that his dream of building a boat and using it to strike out on an adventure,  perhaps not unlike Huck Finn, to  go cruising and exploring and fishing with his wife,  would have to be abandoned.

After a time, I agreed that it no longer seemed practical to spend time building a boat as one contemplated the time and effort that would be necessary to prepare to move,  where would he store such a boat at a retirement community anyway.   Practicality does not always enter into the pursuit of dreams however,  and I knew that what I was offering was weak consolation. 

Our job was complete.  I loaded the wood into my van and turned to thank my friend.  We arranged another visit to use the planer again, and then I slid in behind the wheel.  As I pulled from the driveway, I wondered about the future.  I wondered if, in just my sixth decade like my father, I would  simply expire one day without warning, leaving some projects undone and many others still in the dream phase.   Or if I would grow old and incapable of accomplishing all that I had planned.  I pushed the thoughts out of my mind with the resolution that I would begin to build that shop, just as soon as …..