Wednesday, August 12, 2009
My family decided to plan a family trip to Maine to celebrate our parents' fiftieth anniversary. This was a long and drawn out process with many suggestions put in the hat. It only took about a year to make the decision where we were going. We stayed at Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley.
Day one: The original day for everyone to arrive. Change in plans left Lynelle, Jim, and Jacob arriving the next day due to our awesome swimmer Jacob needing to (and did) qualify for the next round of competition in swimming.
Connie and myself flew to Washington DC to make our connecting flight. On the way in we had a missed approach which was our first sign that things were on the decline.
In DC every terminal has security and this time they held Connie's facial cleaner as a possible hazardous material. Not happy, we continue to our flight where we next sat on the ramp for an hour on a weather hold. After that we went back to the terminal and unloaded as they informed us that our flight had now been cancelled. The saga begins!
We head back out of security to the main ticket counter to stand in line. Some people inform us that we can call a 1-800 number and get rescheduled. Upon calling the airline informed us that we have been already assigned a flight to New York city which was leaving immediately. We race back down to security where we realized that we didn't have boarding passes. Back to the ticket counter to wait in line. Finally we get the boarding passes and the race is on to security. As I am waiting on my CPAP machine to be bomb checked for the third time today, Connie races on to the gate. I arrive in time to see Connie facing off with the Ticket Nazi.
The ticket Nazi is a black lady with heavy makeup and an attitude. One is not to talk to her. You will wait until she makes a decision and then she will be the one to speak. Anything spoke to her made her head spin around and spew green stuff from her mouth as she informed you to stand quietly in line. We showed her that we had boarding passes and she informed us that we were wrong. NO SEAT! After a one sided argument, she got mad and walked off as the other gate agent let us board the plane. WAIT............TWO FIRST CLASS SEATS EMPTY! Life got better.
After the first round of free drinks they informed us that we were moving. We assumed the same place on the ramp and waited. Two drinks later they said we were taking off. WE DIDN'T CARE! In flight we resumed the free drinks. After a couple of more drinks they informed us that we were landing in New York. NO, WE AREN'T READY! They landed and kicked us off.
Well, well, well here we are in New York City and there isn't plane one heading to Maine. 1-800 help and we found that we had already been set up to fly to Washing DC first thing in the morning to fly to Maine. AHHHHH No free hotel room because it was a weather problem, not an airline problem. We did as every other person in America would do in a time like this. We ate a pizza.
The hotel that we stayed at was just across the street from the Met's stadium and they were playing that night. We walked over to see and they were in the 9th inning and you still had to buy a ticket to see them. So we walked around the stadium and did a little exploring around the neighborhood.
Day two: The next morning we headed back to the airport and caught our flight to Washington DC. We got to the gate early because they didn't assign seat numbers to us. Guess who was waiting on us............THE TICKET NAZI! She said that she could not help us yet. We voted to go through security one more time and tried the ticket counter. They, of course, could not help us. It had to be handled at the gate. Yes, the NAZI must have the final say. Today, my CPAP is not worthy of checking for bomb residual. What the hell?
The NAZI showed up late. I was first in line and she acted like I wasn't there. I watched her eat up two other people as I waited patiently for her to speak to me. Finally she called my name and we were blessed with seats.
We made it to Maine without any other problems. We drove up from Portland about 2.5 hours and Steve and Kathy had a Mexican dinner ready to serve. Everyone else had made it by then.
Day three: A scenic drive with a couple of hikes was scheduled for today. We started out with a Moose sighting. A doe was crossing the road in front of us with a calf. Cars slid everywhere and out came the camera's. Dan was the only one to actually catch the moose on film.
Our first scheduled stop was Angel Falls state park. It was a popular trail which was a mile and half long. There were plenty of people on the trail and one offered to take the only family picture that we got on the trip. Everything on this trail was two minutes away by the signs. This caught on as a popular phrase that we heard the rest of the time we were there.
Our second stop was not visualized as we never found the gorge that we were looking for. The next stop was the AT at Madrid. Lunch was served at the trail head in the parking lot. We hiked to Piazza Rock and caves on the Appalachian trail. It was a beautiful day for hiking and the whole family made it. Piazza rock was a large rock that just stuck out the side of the hill. It was pretty cool and quite the photo shot.
After the AT we went to Smalls' Falls and enjoyed the water falls. It was amazing watching the people jump off the falls into the pools of water at the bottom. The boys got out and did some swimming and sliding down the small fall at the bottom.
We made it back in time to fire up the grill and throw on some ribs and chicken. Another great day.
Day four: Steve, Dad, and I took a hike on the AT. We had nine miles picked out over four peaks starting at Hwy 27 going over Crocker Mountain. The last being Sugarloaf mountain. Dan and Jim went golfing. Some went shopping, some swam, and some just hung out.
We got on the trail after a breakfast of blueberry pancakes. I have to give the boys in Maine credit. They are not scared to hike straight up a mountain. Switch back is not a term they use up here. We passed quite a few hikers, including an elderly lady with a large backpack on. We called her Mame as she was one tuff woman. There was one section of the trail that led to an overlook. After checking out the view, we started looking for the trail. We found it over the overlook. It continued down a rock slide.
We had a bailout route picked just before Sugarloaf mountain and we took it. Kathy and Deanna came and picked us up. Some how as it works out, a young lady came down the road heading the same direction as us. She offered a ride and we took it up until we met Kathy head on. Kathy made some comments about us always ending up with a woman some how. I guess it was just our luck?
We got back in time to head out to the local park where Lynelle and Jim cooked out hamburgers. Connie and I took a bike ride down the Narrow Gauge Railroad trail along the river while dinner was cooking. Afterwards, Dad and I got in a serious game of tennis. We played til we could play no more.
Day five: We got up early this morning and headed to the coast of Maine. Lobster was strong on our minds as this trip was planned as soon as we knew we were going to Maine. It took three hours to get to Boothbay Harbor, but it was worth the trip.
We walked around the bay area taking in the shops and boats moored there. We got to see the Lobster boats and the pickup delivering the fresh lobster to the restaurants in laundry baskets. I had the delivery man pose for a picture too. Lunch time is when we cut loose. With my family, the rest of the people at Kaler's restaurant just watched in horror as we attacked our lobster and clam chowder.
After we got kicked out of the restaurant, we headed around the inlet to Ocean Point, an area where we could walk the coast and take it all in. The coast was rocky and had a lot of tidal pools with different sea life in them. We watched the sail boats and saw the lobster boats in action. It was beautiful.
On the way back to the resort, we had to do the L.L. Bean outlet store in Freeport for Lynelle. It was a huge store and everyone ended up getting something. We did dinner in the parking lot and then took the trip back.
Day six: Since I got up before everyone else,
every morning since we got to Sugarloaf, I got up and hiked the mountain. I would come back in time for breakfast each morning.
Connie had mentioned to me that she would like to hike up the mountain. So after breakfast, we started the climb. There might have been some cussing. There were a few threats. I know for a fact that she told me she hated me in between gasping for air. Yea, it was a serious climb. We made it about two thirds of the way up when we took the road heading sideways past the ski slopes. As we were taking in the view, you could see a serious storm building over the next ridge. We quickly picked one of the ski slopes and headed down. About ten minutes after we made it in the lodge, the bottom dropped out. We headed down to the indoor swimming pool with part of the group and did some swimming.
The night before we had called around about getting some canoeing in. During lunch we discussed again and made some calls. We ended up renting a pontoon boat at Rangeley Lake due to the high winds. So after lunch we headed out.
Not long after we left, we came upon a car on the side of the road holding a camera out the window. We saw that they were taking picture of some moose. There is the screeching of tires, cars sliding everywhere, and camera's coming out that would make the paparazzi mad.
I jumped out with our camera with Kathy following close behind. There were two calves walking the treeline between the road and a field. I could see them in between the trees and was racing ahead to catch them walking through an opening. As I was setting up for the sports illustrated shot, I got to wondering where the mother was. That is when I heard those Oh so famous words......"LOOK BEHIND YOU!" Yep, just what I didn't want. Momma was standing on the road behind me clearing her throat.
I guess that after the OH, SH_T!, the mind started running headlines for the morning paper. "Man stomped by moose". I was all in the wrong position. Being the smooth talker that I had to be, I started with complimenting her eyes and that I liked what she had done with her hair. I was slowly backing up to the van when out pops Connie with "Take my picture with the moose!" Ahhhhhh get away from the moose. She had jumped between me and the moose with a big smile on her face. I flew into clicking pictures while still backing away. After momma decided we weren't going to do anything stupid she walked back into the woods.
After alot of laughs, we finally headed to the lake. We enjoyed a calm tour around the lake like the S.S. Minnow. Our three hour tour was spent taking shelter from the waves, wind, and rain. Gerrit and Adam provided entertainment as the waves broke over the bow spraying them with water and they were giggling wave after wave. We watched as a few major storms went around us and as one went over us only getting caught with the last bit of rain in that one.
We were just about all the way around the lake when another storm started approaching. We headed for the dock. The boys loved it as we got the boat up to speed trying to out run the storm. I looked over at Kathy as the waves broke and sprayed her in the face. Just as she was about to say something another did the same. We all got to laughing so hard, I had to slow the boat down so we wouldn't fall off. Memories were made and we made it back safely.
Deanna and Dan made spaghetti that night. Everyone was heading out the next morning except Us and Mom and Dad. We said our good byes that night as they were leaving out early.
Day seven: I got up and hiked the Burnt mountain trail before breakfast. When I got back we helped get things packed up and Dad needed to fill the motor home with water. Jim and Lynelle left before lunch.
After lunch, Connie and I did a hike up Poplar Steams Falls with Mom and Dad. There was also a hut on the trail. So we hiked to the hut. We found out that the hut was actualy a resort. Minor understatement of what we were expecting. Maine Huts and Trails,
www.mainehuts.org, is a 180 mile trail that you can hike or ski and stay in these resorts every night.
That night, we went down to the resturant at the bottom of Sugarloaf and had dinner while a singer performed for entertainment. That night we got to bed early.
The next morning we loaded the motorhome and said said good bye. We had a safe trip home with no further surprises.