CAMDEN HILLS STATE PARK (ME)

Camden Hills State Park has everything you're probably looking for if you're planning a summer camping trip. The campsites are varied in size and shapes but ours was plenty long enough to back THE POD and ROVER into and have enough room to park another vehicle in the driveway too. There are clean bathrooms and hot showers, picnic tables and ground grills, firewood for sale.

Across US1 is a picnic area with trails that lead right down to the shoreline. There is an auto tour that takes you to the top of Mount Battie for a bird's eye view of the town of Camden and the surrounding area and coastline. There are also miles and miles of hiking and biking trails that are accessible right from your campsite.



WEDNESDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #37

Today's travels were again mostly two lanes roads with very little traffic, the only exception to that was when our route took us right through the capital city of Augusta, ME. All of a sudden their were traffic lights, cars darting in and out of driveways and side streets, but the worst was how everyone seemed to be trying to get ahead of us as if they would get to where they were going that much sooner. But we survived and made it to the Campground Registration Office at our new location pretty much unfrazzled.

When we arrived and got to the check in line there was another Airstream right in front of us. Just as we pulled up they pulled away to head for their campsite, we never even saw who was in their truck. We pulled up to take the spot the just left and proceeded to go inside to register. As usual we gave the ranger our name and campsite reservation number and that's when something very odd happened.

The ranger said, "Oh you must be with the other couple who just checked in." My first thought was why? Just because we both own Airstreams? They had NJ license plates and we have FL plates. My response was "No, what makes you think that?" He then tells me that their last name is Kelley (with two E's) and their site is just three sites down from ours on the same side of the driveway. With just over 100 sites here what are the chances?

After we finished checking in we drove to our site and had to pass right by theirs. They were still outside setting up and I rolled down our window and introduced ourselves and Tricia and Phil KELLEY. They weren't sure what to make of us at first, but then came over to the truck window and introduced themselves as Carol and David KELLEY from NJ. I asked how long they were staying and they said just two nights, we're staying five, so I said we would have to get together later and chat. They agreed and I pulled away to let them finish setting up and so we could get started, it's supposed to rain most of the next two days!



THURSDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
10 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today is going to be a work day but before the rain starts this afternoon we are going grocery shopping for a few items. Just three miles south of the campground is the town of Camden, ME. We drove through it yesterday with THE POD and knew we would want to see more of it before we moved on.

US1 is the main road through the heart of town, it's the same road that starts in Key West, FL and travels 2,309 miles up to the Canadian border in northern Maine. But here in Camden it's just two lanes wide, with a 25 MPH speed limit, many pedestrian crosswalks (where they have the right of way) and parallel parking. There are five or six blocks with antique shops, gift shops, restaurants and pubs taking up most of the storefronts. Just one block off of US1 you'll find ample parking for your RV and larger vehicles. Also just outside of this little downtown district you'll find gasoline, groceries, banks and fast food.


One of the items we purchased at the store this morning is on my bucket list for MUST TASTE while in Maine. Maine is known for it's blueberries and besides the obvious Blueberry Pie I wanted to try out the Blueberry Pop that is created near here in Portland, ME by the Shipyard Brewing Company. They have other soda flavors like Root Beer, Ginger Beer, Cream Soda, Strawberry, Orange, Black Cherry and plain old Cola. They are definetly better known for their dozen or more beers, including a Blueberry Beer, but today I'm only interested in the Blueberry Pop.


We got back to the campsite just before it started raining. When it rains in South Florida there's lightning and thunder, it pours for about 30 minutes and then it's over. Here it seems to just drizzle for days on end. Anyway we have everything we need right here inside THE POD and a big awning if we wish to sit outside for a little while.

The other KELLEY's are leaving in the morning so while Tricia is working I put on my rain gear and head over to their campsite. I wanted to at least give them one of our contact/business cards and mention that we would have loved to have had them over for a campfire, but that the weather is just not going to cooperate.

I approached their trailer very slowly, waving hello, not knowing if anyone inside could see me through the heavily tinted windows. No one opened the door, so I knocked and heard Carol's voice saying, "Who is it?". I replyed "It's me, Phil Kelley in the other Airstream." She immediately opened the door and invited me inside out of the rain and explained David was laying down taking a nap. I explained I didn't want to wake him, but figured it was already to late for that. She let me know that I'm the first person to have knocked on their Airstream door.

Carol and David's Airstream is also a 2018 model, but since they usually travel 6 weeks or less at a time they felt the 16 foot long model suited them best. It's very cozy inside and is the smallest trailer Airstream makes with the classic aerodynamic shape that makes them easy to spot traveling down the highway.

Carol and I sat at their dinette and spoke for I don't know how long, telling each other their backgrounds and travel histories. Both her and her husband are/were in the medical field. They went out west with their trailer last year and this year are exploring the Northeast. They are leaving here to go to another Maine State Park farther north, the same one we will be visiting later next month, but they will be long gone before we get there.

I sure hope Carol and David are reading this and they keep in touch through this blog, you never know when our paths may cross again!



FRIDAY

RELAXATION DAY
4 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Yesterday before we went to the grocery store we drove the Auto Tour road up to the top of Mount Battie, which is located right here inside the Camden Hills State Park. Yesterday it was very foggy and you couldn't see a thing from the overlooks or the tower that is located at the summit. Today, during a break in the rain, we decided to give it another try. I'm sure glad we did!

Observation Tower
The observation tower at the summit of Mount Battie (elevation 780')

Mount Battie Summit
The view of the coastline around Camden, ME from the tower



SATURDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
85 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today is our much anticipated sightseeing day. The whole reason we stopped here in Camden was to visit the Penobscot Narrows Brige Observatory and Fort Knox. Yes, this Fort Knox is named after the same Henry Knox (the Continental Army's chief of artillery during the Revolutionary War and the country's first Secretary of War) as the more famous Fort Knox in Kentucky, the one with all the gold.

While the fort was interesting, it was just a bonus because the bridge is what first drew our attention as something we wanted to explore. The Penobscot Narrows Brige Observatory is taller than the Bunker Hill Monument that we just saw in Boston and taller than the Statue of Liberty that we saw while visiting New Jersey last month. While not quite as tall as the Washington Monument we saw in Washington DC last September, it is the tallest public bridge observatory in the world at 420 feet above the river.



Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory
and Fort Knox



Our first look at the bridge from a roadside pullout 1/2 mile away.
The western tower that houses the three observation decks.
A closer view of the top of the western tower.
The entrance to the elevator that takes you to the top.
Looking straight up from the bottom of the tower.
The view north towards the town of Bucksport Bay with Fort Knox on the left.
A closeup of Fort Knox from the Observation Tower
A southern view towards the mouth of the Penobscot River. See the roadside pullout where the first photo was taken?
The view east leading up US1 to northern Maine and the pilings that once held up the original bridge.
The view west. Do you see the cross section of the old bridge in the center of the photo and the stub of old roadway on the right hand side?
A closeup of ROVER waiting for us in the parking lot.
A closeup of the roadway cross section.
This is what the cross section looks like from ground level. What does it remind you of?
Near the entrance to the original Fort Knox
Exterior rooftop cannon stations
Cannon placement on the inside of the fort.
The parade grounds in the center of the fort.


All this sightseeing has really worked up our appetites. When in Maine it's all about the lobster! There are countless places to get a Maine Lobster Plate all along the coast, so we just Googled restaurants on our route home and stopped in at one of the highest rated ones available. We weren't dissappointed!

Young's Lobster Pound is right on the water in Belfast, ME and like so many of the restaurants around here they continuosly pump seawater in and out of their holding tanks to keep their lobster and shellfish as fresh as possible. It's a picnic style restaurant which means you order, or in some cases, pick you food out of the tank, and go find a table to eat at. There are numerous options here, big long family sized picnic tables on the water behind the restaurant on the outside deck, private smaller tables in front of the restaurant under some trees for shade, or an upstairs fresh air room with more of the large tables.

We put in our order and received our pickup number. They have fun with this, ours was #29 but we heard numbers like 13,012 and 1,000,000 being called. They call your number over loud speakers that can be heard from anywhere on the property and you go back to the counter to pick up your freshly prepared meals. All the food is served with plastic utensils and a variety of different plates. Tricia ordered a Whole Lobster Dinner with chips, served on a styrofoam plate. I ordered Grilled Halibut Dinner with nearly a pound of potato salad and some cole slaw, served on a plastic plate. We saw other people walking around with 4" deep aluminum baking tins filled with "Dinner for Two" meals they offer. Lots of trash is generated here, but with no dishwashers or waitresses to be found, we felt no need to tip anyone and that helps keep the costs very reasonable. One other feature of this restaurant is since they have no liquor license you are permitted to bring your own bottles of beer and wine to enjoy with you meal.

Does anybody want to take a guess what this delicious lunch cost?
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Young's Lobster Pound
Young's Lobster Pound storefront in Belfast, ME



SUNDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?
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4 comments:

  1. So nice meeting you today!!! We will be sure to follow your travels. Hope you have a wonderful time in a Bar Harbor and that you can find a place to do some laundry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice meeting you guys too!!! We found a laundromat, but not in Bar Harbor. I'm assuming that you, your husband and Eddie all made it home safely.

      Delete
  2. Hey dude, did I miss something .....how was the blueberry pop!
    Jorge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad somebody asked! It seems all Blueberry Pop's are not only flavored with blueberry but also grape. This one tasted more like grape to me, but I bought a bottle of another brand today that I hope tastes more like blueberry. Will make a report in the next post. Keep the comments coming!

      Delete

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