Category Archives: National Parks

Shipwrecks and Lifesaving on the Manitou Passage

One of the consistent statements we hear from visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is that Lake Michigan’s Manitou Passage looks like the Caribbean.  When the sun shines on these crystal clear waters, the deep blue and turquoise colors are breathtaking.

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Peaceful scenes such as the 1000 foot freighter American Spirit steaming past the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse in the distance are common here in Leelanau County.  Looking at this, it’s difficult to imagine the fury the lake can unleash…often within a matter of minutes.  Many a mariner has been caught unaware in these waters, and their ships have been wrecked near these shores.

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This chart shows the ideal route that ships aim for as a dotted line.  By going this direction a vessel can shave 60 miles off of their trip between Mackinac and Chicago, as opposed to going west of the islands.  This archipelago can also act as protection from strong westerly winds.  During a fierce gale in 1913, the steamer Illinois found refuge in South Manitou Island’s crescent-shaped harbor by nosing into the beach and keeping the engines running forward for 50 continuous hours.  It was at that point that the wind subsided enough for a crewman to go ashore and secure the ship to a large tree, so they could power down the ship.

Back in late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there weren’t any decent roads in northern Michigan and the lakes were considered a highway.  It wasn’t unusual for 100 vessels to be in the Manitou Passage on a given day, as it was also a major fueling station.  Wood was the fuel of choice back then for steamships, and these shores had plenty of it.  All of that traffic, combined with the occasional storm, brought about many shipwrecks. Over 100 vessels were known to have run aground, with many of them being refloated and saved.

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Over 50 were left in place to be dismantled by the power of Lake Michigan’s waves.

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One such ship was the Walter L. Frost, which ran aground along South Manitou Island’s shore in 1903.  It wasn’t too many years until nothing remained above the lake’s surface.

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In 1960, the Liberian freighter Francisco Morazan grounded on South Manitou Island after losing power, running over the subsurface remains of the Frost (blue arrow) in the process.

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Today, the remains of the Morazan are a visible reminder of just how brutal this lake can be to a ship….

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…and a flyover will reveal many of the other wrecks in the passage.

We had an excellent example of the moodiness of Lake Michigan this past week.

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This is a photo of the 620 foot long Mississagi, heading south through the fog towards Muskegon on Thursday.

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On the ship’s return northward on Friday, it was met with 50 + MPH gusts coming from the northwest.  As a reference, this photo was taken on the east side of the Manitou Islands, so the ship was not experiencing the high waves that were occurring out in the open lake on the west side.

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But look what the captain did once he was past Leland and North Manitou Island.  With the full brunt of the gale hitting them broadside, he choose to turn the bow northwestward and head across the lake to calmer waters along the Upper Peninsula shore.  Once there, he turned northeastward and headed towards the Straits of Mackinac.  As he passed Mackinac Island, he witnessed the only shipping casualty of that day’s storm. The tug and barge Defiance/Ashtabula had run aground.  Once the gale subsided, that ship was able to be freed from the clay bottom with little damage.  The storm was strong enough to not only close the Mackinac Bridge to high profile vehicles but also the Soo Locks.  That rarely happens.

Nowadays, rescues are performed by the Coast Guard with helicopters and enclosed motor lifeboats.  Back when the Illinois sought shelter in South Manitou Harbor in 1913, the U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) had other equipment at their disposal.

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For the wrecks that were farther than 500 yards from shore, the USLSS would use an open surfboat to rescue stranded sailors.  The Sleeping Bear Point Life Saving Station performed 5% of their rescues in this manner.  But since most wrecks occurred along the shore, a beach apparatus was employed to bring the crew to safety.

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That consisted of several lines, a breeches buoy, and a cannon (called a Lyle Gun) to fire the initial line over the ship.  The breeches buoy was nothing more than a pair of pants (britches) attached to a life ring.  What this apparatus amounted to was similar to a modern day zip line.

Here at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we perform a daily demonstration (summer months only) of the beach apparatus using young volunteers from the audience as surfmen.  This program is called Heroes of the Storm.

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Here is Captain Diana with her crew, Raggedy Ann and Andy, calling for help from her stranded ship.  A simulated Lyle Gun fires a projectile with a line out to the ship, which allows the captain to drag out the heavier rescue lines.

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Here is Captain Jim on another occasion sending Ann towards the shore in the breeches buoy.

A special treat occurs on Thursdays, right after the Heroes program.  That is the day an actual Lyle Gun is fired.  This cannon is the only gun invented by the U.S. Army to save lives instead of take them.

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An 18-pound projectile, similar to the one I am holding here, is loaded into the Lyle gun.  A 200-yard long shot line is tied to the end of it.  That is fired out into Sleeping Bear Bay each week.  Once the line is hauled back in, it is hung along the station’s picket fence to dry.  Once dried out, it is the park volunteer’s job to ‘fake’ the line into what is called the faking box.

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Here is Diana winding the rope around the faking box pegs.

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And here we are with 200 yards of faked rope.  There is a lid that is put over this afterwards. Once at the beach, the whole thing is turned over and the rope is slid off the pegs and into the lid.  Hopefully it doesn’t tangle when they fire the gun!  Let’s find out in this slo-mo video.  This took place the day we faked the rope:

Lyle Gun video: CLICK HERE

So there you have it.  That brought a smile to our faces!

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Until next time, safe and happy travels to all!

 

The Finest Hours

“You have to go out; you don’t have to come back” 

Unofficial Coast Guard motto

 

September 8, 2018

A few months back, you may recall that we stopped into the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station while we were visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore.  One of the reasons for that visit was to see how a tour of a maritime museum is conducted.  Our tour guide, a National Park Service volunteer named David, inspired us with his ability to portray what life in the U.S. Life Saving Service was like.  While we were there, he gave us a tip to go see a famous Coast Guard boat that was docked in Rock Harbor, some 30 miles to the south.  It was the subject of a movie called The Finest Hours.

This turned out to be a case where history stared us right in the face and we didn’t catch it.

The next day, we set off to explore Cape Cod’s elbow, first visiting Chatham, and then Rock Harbor.  At Chatham, we parked in front of the Coast Guard station and lighthouse. This complex overlooks the Chatham Bars, a series of sandbars that extend out into the ocean.

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We were a bit more focused on this shack constructed along the shore, but we did note how far out the waves were breaking on the ever-changing sand bars.  Shortly after taking this photo, a driving rain came in off of the ocean, so we failed to photograph the station and lighthouse.  Instead, we headed up to Rock Harbor to see the boat that David had mentioned.  Once at the dock, we were greeted by this sign:

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Still not familiar with the story or the film The Finest Hours, we descended to the lower dock to examine the boat.

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Obviously well restored and impressive to look at, the CG-36500 was tied up with little explanation to it’s storied past, short of the fact that it was a gold medal boat that had saved 32 men.  Not knowing much about Coast Guard history, we focused on how impeccable this boat was and not much else.

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The fittings on the craft were impressive.  Still, we were somewhat more interested in the U.S. Life Saving Service on this trip than the Coast Guard, so this small beauty’s story didn’t fully grab our attention.  We left the dock with the intention to see the movie and to research the boat’s story.  One thing led to another, and that didn’t happen.

Fast forward to our boat museum in the former Glen Haven Canning Company building at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.   When we started our stint as volunteers here at the beginning of August, it was hard not to notice the largest boat in the museum as being similar to the CG-36500 we saw in Massachusetts back in May.

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Turns out it was not only similar, but built from the same blueprint.  Our boat, the CG-36527, had been stationed at Duluth, Minnesota.

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Both crafts, along with the 128 sister TRS 36-foot motor lifeboats, were built by hand at the Curtis Bay Yard in Maryland.

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Not being in the water, it appeared much larger than it’s fleetmate out on Cape Cod.  The boat is self-bailing, self-righting, 10 tons and its motor will run upside down.  Solid as a stone and virtually unsinkable.  It is rated to carry a crew of four and up to twelve survivors.

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The ‘pudding’ bumper on the front is a work of art.  Visitors comment that it resembles a mustache.

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Standing on an easel by the front of the craft, this poster is displayed.

There’s that movie we failed to see…

So we watched the movie, then read the book of the same title.  The story goes like this:  A ferocious winter storm off the coast of Cape Cod in February of 1952 caught two World War II era tankers in its grip.  Both ships split in two between their bows and sterns.  The Fort Mercer was able to get a distress call off, and the Coast Guard sent most of their boats to assist in rescuing that ship’s crew.  The Pendleton wasn’t able to get an SOS off before it broke up, and it wasn’t until they were noticed on radar that the Chatham stationmaster Daniel Cluff went into action.  He ordered Boatswain’s Mate Bernie Webber to gather three other men and head out in the CG-36500 to see if there were any survivors.  Doing so meant they had to cross the dangerous Chatham Bars that we mentioned earlier.  Those sandbars have been known to rip boats to pieces in mild seas, and the waves that afternoon were upwards of 60 feet high!  Most of the locals considered it impossible.

“You have to go out; you don’t have to come back.”

Crossing the bar meant timing the waves, gunning the throttle on the upside and switching to full reverse throttle down the backside…so as to keep from driving the bow into the sand.  The ship’s compass was ripped loose and lost overboard almost immediately and the windshield was shattered.  Miraculously, they made it past the bars, but they were now running purely on Webber’s knowledge of the currents and the winds.  They somehow found the stern of the Pendleton, which was still afloat.  On deck were 33 men, anxious to get off.  (It was discovered later that the bow section had partially sank, killing the captain and crew that were in it.)

Remember, the CG-36500 is rated to carry a crew of four and up to twelve survivors.

Suddenly, a Jacob’s ladder was thrown over Pendleton’s stern and the men started down.  Webber brought the little lifeboat in close to get each man, backing away in between to keep from smashing into the tanker’s side.  Men were packed into the survivor’s cabin and onto every available space on deck.  The only man that didn’t make it was Tiny Myers, the ship’s 300 pound cook.  He fell into the sea and a wave threw the lifeboat into him, killing him.  Once everyone was on board, Webber pointed the CG-36500 back towards shore, hoping to beach it somewhere.  The tide had risen and they were able to cross the bars rather quickly.  As luck would have it, they ended up at the mouth of Chatham Harbor and were able to come directly into the dock with their soaked and freezing survivors.

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All four crew members were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their efforts.  They tested CG-36500’s limits, which in turn performed beyond its intended purpose for them.  The mission is considered to be the Coast Guard’s greatest small boat rescue ever.  The craft continued to serve until it was decommissioned in 1968.  It was donated to the Cape Cod National Seashore with the intention that it would be displayed in a museum.  Funds never materialized, and the boat was left to rot in a storage yard, totally exposed to the elements.  The Orleans Historical Society acquired it in 1981 and restored it to the operational beauty it is today.

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In 2002, the crew was reassembled for the 50th anniversary of the rescue, and they were able to take the CG-36500 out for a tour of the harbor with Webber at the helm..  That would have been a sight to see. Clockwise from the front:  Andy Fitzgerald, Richard Livesey, Charles Bridges (Pendleton crewmember who later joined the Coast Guard), Ervin Maske and Bernie Webber.

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If you find yourself on Cape Cod, be sure to stop in Rock Harbor and view this wonderful piece of history.  Maybe rent the movie or read the book. Or if you find one of the 15 or so remaining 36 footers that grace our nation’s maritime museums, take a moment to imagine that night in 1952 when the Coast Guard witnessed their finest hours.

Until next time, safe and happy travels to all!

Sleeping Bear 2018

July 29 – August 14, 2018

We are happy to be back in Leelanau County, Michigan for the months of August and September.  We will be volunteering for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.   As we did for Oregon State Parks, we will be working as Interpretive Volunteers throughout the park.  Our duties include working in the two maritime locations, the visitor center, and as narrators on bus tours of Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

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As compensation, we are given a campsite at D.H. Day Campground.

We came in a few days early and camped at Leelanau Sands Casino, just north of Suttons Bay.  In order to stay there, we had to sign up for a Players Club card.  First time cardholders are given $10 in free slot play.

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I had a pretty lucky night.  The machine I was playing started going wild!  The guy next to me was laughing, as he thought I was doing pretty good for a 30 cent bet.  When I informed him I was playing on the casino’s money, his jaw hit the floor.  By the time we walked out, I was over $180 in winnings.  Not bad for someone who doesn’t frequent casinos!

Before we headed to Sleeping Bear, our friends Linda and Steven came and stayed next to us at Leelanau Sands.

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We all went to Patti and Lane’s house for dinner, along with Rod and Mary.  We also went out to eat a few times and checked out Peterson Park.

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We love the view from up there, as it’s possible to see four islands on a clear day.

We also went kayaking on Little Traverse Lake with Lane and Patti.  Here they are heading back out after we had to get ready to go back to our camp.

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Pretty soon, it was our first day on the job….which also happened to be out 36th anniversary!

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Here we are in the Cannery, which is a fruit processing plant turned boat museum.

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The boat I am sitting in front of is identical to the one from the movie, The Finest Hours.  It is self-righting, self-bailing, practically unsinkable and the diesel engine will run upside down.

The other maritime location is the 1902 lifesaving station.  The boathouse is said to be the most completely equipped station in the United States.

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Here I am letting one our visitors feel how heavy the Lyle gun projectile is.  That particular gun would shoot a line over a disabled ship in order to establish a lifesaving zipline, then called a breeches buoy.  The Lyle gun was the only cannon ever developed to save lives, instead of taking them.

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We also have two open surfboats on display.

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And every afternoon, the park puts on a program called Heroes of the Storm, a reenactment of how a Lyle gun rescue works.  Seven children are pulled out of the crowd to serve as surfmen.  The sailors they save from the ‘ship’ are Raggedy Ann and Andy.  It’s really fun.  🙂

And on Thursdays, the park fires off a real Lyle gun.  It is a sight to see!

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The initial blast…

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…pushing out the flame and the projectile.

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As the projectile gets dragged by the shot line coming out of the blue box, it turns around and heads out over the water….

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…eventually landing 200 yards out, dragging the shot line behind it.  The surfmen back in the day could launch the projectile up to 600 yards.

We also worked at the Port Oneida Fair, which is a celebration of the early 20th Century rural culture. Living history activities were held at several of the historic farms, as well as the school house, that are a part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Diana worked at the washtub station, teaching children how to do laundry.

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When the local TV station started filming, we  decided to watch the news that night.  Not only was she on there…

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…so was I, teaching kids how to run a corn sheller.  🙂

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One gentleman was even teaching youngsters how to play a hammer dulcimer.

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And who is that in the Blacksmith shop?  Well that is Diana, providing lunch relief for the blacksmith and keeping the fire going, while explaining the role of the blacksmith in the town of Glen Haven.  🙂

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We also were visited by our friends Jodee and Bill!  Here we are at Music in the Park in Northport.

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We also checked out Sleeping Bear and the Old Mission Peninsula with them….

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…and their sweet fluffy dog Tessa.  🙂

Our last night with them, we managed to get tickets for The Accidentals.  We have been following this trio for several years now.  Their latest album Odyssey has been played in our CD players from Oregon to Florida to Maine and back to Michigan.

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Diana and I have seen them perform twice in the past at outside venues, but it was great to see and hear them inside an auditorium.   The four of us were blown away, hooting and hollering throughout the show.  If you ever have the opportunity to see them, don’t miss it.

Well, that gives you an idea of what we’ve been up to the past few weeks.  Stay tuned for our next post as we continue to find new adventures to share with you.  Until then, safe and happy travels to all!

 

 

Acadia 2018 – Week Two

June 9-13, 2018 – Acadia National Park, Maine

Our second week at Acadia brought us more beautiful weather, so we made sure to take advantage of it.  Quite honestly, we had no idea what to expect for early June when we booked our reservations earlier this year.  We were pleasantly surprised, to say the least!

On June 9, we headed to Gorham Mountain.  This trail is the first in a series of trails leading to the peaks in the southeastern part of the park.

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We didn’t have to climb very far for the views to open up.  This view looks south towards Otter Point.

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Diana spotted this beautiful buck as he crossed the trail ahead of us.

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And here is the summit!

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Back in the 1990’s, we continued on to the next peak (Champlain Mountain) from this point with our golden retrievers, Kate and Dakota.  In between, we dropped down to a small mountain lake called The Bowl where they enjoyed swimming.  Then we retraced our steps back to the car. That was a full day!  While this day wasn’t near as long, it was still a challenging climb.  On our way back down, we met an ornithologist who works in the park.  We were able to interview him right on the trail to fulfill our junior ranger requirements!  His favorite thing in Acadia?  Birds.  🙂

On June 10, we thought we would give ourselves a little break, so we went to the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.  This is actually a second location for them, with the first being within Acadia National Park boundaries.  Founded in 1926 by Dr. Robert Abbe, a prominent New York physician, this affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute showcases the Native American people of the region.

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The area is unique in that several tribes banded together in order to better deal with the incoming European settlers.  They called themselves Wabanaki.  It is interesting that their tribal boundaries don’t coincide with the international boundaries, so that presents a whole host of challenges even to this day.

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One of the things we found fascinating was their collection of root clubs.  These were carved from the lower portion of small trees.

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And while they are intricate and quite beautiful, one has to think how much it would hurt to get a clunk on the head from one of these!

From Abbe Museum, we went to Thuya Gardens in Northeast Harbor.  To get there, we had to climb Asticou Terraces, a 200 foot high path sculpted into the side of Juniper Hill.

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From the top, a commanding view of Northeast Harbor can be seen.  It is considered a pleasure harbor, even though there are a number of lobster boats here.

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Set back from the terraces is Thuya Lodge, the summer home of Joseph H. Curtis.  He was a Boston-based landscape architect.  He designed the terraces after finishing the home in 1916.  The interior is much the way it was when he died in 1928, including the furnishings.  The gardens that now sit behind the home were actually an apple orchard he had planted.  His friend Charles Savage completed the gardens at a later date.

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This is the lone surviving apple tree from the Curtis orchard.

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Not a lot was currently in bloom, but the space was peaceful and green.

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Definitely a nice place to spend a little time.

Next, we visited one of Savage’s other creations, Asticou Gardens.

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It sits down at road level, not far from the Asticou Terraces.

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There was a lot more in bloom down there!

June 11 started out rainy, so after taking care of paperwork at home, we went down to the Bar Harbor waterfront and ate dinner at Geddy’s.  We noticed that they had some gluten free offerings on their sign out front, so that was what attracted us.  Imagine my surprise when the waiter told us that all their fryers and breading were gluten-free (made with rice and other flours instead of wheat, barley and rye), as it was just easier for them to do that than to have to be careful about cross contamination.

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That is the first deep fried fish I’ve had since 2011…and it was outstanding!  Washed down with an Omission GF lager, of course!  Note:  We came back later in the week to try their pizza.  Pat’s…another pizza joint in town… is better and FAR cheaper.

June 12 brought us another new Acadia experience.  All the years we’ve been coming here, we had no idea that the park has a bona fide waterfall.  We set out on John D. Rockefeller’s carriage roads to find it.

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This is the bridge that spans the creek below the falls.

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Climbing down into the creekbed, you are able to see how Rockefeller had the arch built off-perpendicular to the roadway.

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His reasoning was so that the arch itself framed the cascade.  While it wasn’t flowing much, it still was beautiful.

Instead of retracing our steps down the carriage road, we opted to take the trail that runs along the creek bed.

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Plenty of tree roots, rocks, ferns, pine needles and the forest scent that we love so much.  We did not see another soul on this trail.  🙂

When we returned to the car, we drove to the Abbe Museum location that is in the park.  Our admission for both locations was covered by our North American Reciprocal Museum membership.

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This is one of only two independent trail-side museums in the national parks.  The other is at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. This location opened in 1928.

On June 13, we decided to go see Thunder Hole, the chasm that rumbles and sprays seawater everywhere when conditions are right.  We knew there was a strong southerly wind, so there was a chance we would be in luck.  For reference, Thunder Hole is on the southeast shore of Mount Desert Island.

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This is so typical of what most tourists think of Acadia.  Buses pull up bringing throngs of people off of the cruise ships to see a few attractions.  Conditions weren’t right, so Thunder Hole was quiet…yet these folks all were waiting for something to happen.  I could see off in the distance across the bay that waves were breaking on Schoodic Peninsula’s southwest shore.   So off we went for Otter Point, just to the south of Thunder Hole.

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As we’ve so often found, a short distance can bring solitude at Acadia.  Those buses are about a quarter mile back around to the left.  🙂

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The farther west we walked, the bigger the surf was.

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This trail is called Ocean Path, and it has quite a few elevation changes.

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And there is what we came for!  We love to see that water splashing up off the Maine coast.  🙂

That wraps up our time heading up the Eastern Seaboard.  Next up, we head inland towards New Hampshire.  That turns into more of an adventure than we bargained for, so be sure to stop by for our next installment to see what happened.  Until then, safe and happy travels!

 

 

 

Acadia 2018 – Week One

June 1-8, 2018 – Acadia National Park, Maine

If there is one place in the United States that speaks louder to us than all the others, Acadia National Park is it.  This was our tenth visit here since 1986.  Even after two weeks of exploring the park, we found it difficult to leave. In our February 2015 post, Acadia National Park – Throwback Thursday, I stated  “Diana and I chuckle when we meet people who tell us that they spent the day there and ‘saw everything there was to see’. We have yet to become bored with Acadia, and we discover another layer each time we go.”  We are happy to report that we still were able to uncover even more of Acadia’s layers.  With this being our longest visit to date, we are going to divide our stay into two posts.

As is most often the case for us, our base was at Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort.  Located on Thomas Bay, it gives an incredible view of the areas twelve foot tides.

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This photo was taken from our campsite at low tide.  The entire bay empties out for several hours…

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…only to have the water return a few hours later. 🙂

After picking up our park literature and Junior Ranger books, we started reacquainting ourselves with the park.  On June 2nd, we drove up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

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This peak sits at 1530 feet above sea level, and offers tremendous views of the area.  We climbed this mountain back in the 1990’s with our dogs, Katie and Dakota.

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The benchmark for the true peak is not the Summit Trail where they send the tourists.  It is actually up the hill behind the gift shop on the South Ridge Trail.

From there, we drove down to Jordan Pond House, a restaurant within the park boundaries.  This is the place where the elite used to come for afternoon tea and popovers on the expansive lawn.

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To our surprise, the ‘lawn’ was in the middle of a major restoration!  Oh well…maybe next time.  They actually are slated to have the project completed by the end of June.

Behind Jordan Pond House is a trail head that leads down to Jordan Stream.  Taking that short trail is probably the best example of how easy it is to find solitude in this well used park.  As you walk down through the pines, the sound of the people at the restaurant fades away quickly.  After crossing one of the park’s motor-free carriage roads, the human voices are replaced with the sounds of the stream.

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We’ve taken this trail multiple times, always with that same result.  On a sidenote, that bridge is the beginning of the hike up Penobscot Mountain, the path we took on our 25th wedding anniversary in 2007.  🙂

On June 3, we returned to one of our favorite climbs, South Bubble Mountain.

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This is the first trail we did at the park back in 1986.  This vista looks south over Jordan Pond, a body of water we have kayaked several times.  It was a tad nippy for us to put them on the lake this time.

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Along the east side of the mountaintop is Bubble Rock, a glacial erratic that was deposited here at the end of the last ice age.  While it looks like it is going to fall, it is actually quite stable.  The rock it is made of came from strata nearly 40 miles to the north.

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As always, South Bubble summit brings a smile to our faces!  One note on this trail:  The park has improved the mid-section of this path since our last visit.  If you were here in the past, you will find this hike a lot easier than it used to be.

On June 4, we drove the remainder of the Park Loop Road.

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Sand Beach had plenty of people on it, despite being on the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.  The beach is actually made up of fine pieces of granite and is the only ocean beach in this area of Maine.  This spot is usually the place to be on a hot August day.

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While we were standing there, one of the cruise ships that frequent Bar Harbor could be seen leaving the port.

Further up the road, we stopped at the Precipice Trail.  It is currently closed because a pair of Peregrine falcons are attempting to nest there, as is quite often the case.  That challenging trail along the cliffs of Champlain Mountain was laid out by Rudolph Brunnow at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Brunnow was a well-to-do Princeton professor back then  He built this ‘cottage’ below the trail for his English fiancee, who was coming to America to marry him.  She unfortunately never saw it, as she booked passage to the United States on the Titanic in 1912.

June 6 took us to the western side of Mount Desert Island, commonly known as the ‘quiet side’.  Most of the parks activity is found on the east side of the island, so its nice to see the little fishing villages over here.  We did some shopping in Southwest Harbor, a quaint town on a working harbor.

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This is also where Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is located.  This is a tough photograph to get, as that spruce tree to the right of the light has grown quite a bit over the years.

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On the way back, we stopped at Atlantic Brewing Company.  Since the last time we were here in 2010, they’ve partnered with Mainely Meat BBQ.  We were stuffed by the time we left!

The next day, we took on a new-to-us hike.  This was a relatively easy walk on a carriage road along the west side of Eagle Lake, followed by a rock scramble up the side of Conner’s Nubble.  A quick word about the carriage roads:  John D. Rockefeller donated and supervised the construction of over 50 miles of these paths on Mount Desert Island.

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His roads are beautiful.  They are open to hikers, horses and non-motorized bikes.

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These sign posts can be found at path intersections.  The numbers on the bottom of the posts correspond with the numbers found on the carriage road map.

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The path up to the top of Conner’s Nubble was one of the toughest we had seen in the park.  It didn’t seem to be heavily traveled, so maintaining it must not be a priority.

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But check out this view above the trees!  That is Eagle Lake, looking north.  Our car is parked at the far end, for reference.

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Retracing our steps, we passed under one of the beautiful stone bridges that grace the carriage roads.

On June 8, we did another trail we had never done before; Great Head.

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This is a fairly easy path that runs along the backbone of Great Head, just to the east of Sand Beach.  There are some nice coastal views from the summit, including this one over the rock called Old Soaker.

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This is also one of the best places to see Egg Rock Lighthouse, short of being on a boat.  Schoodic Peninsula can be seen in the distance.

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These smiles are beginning to become a theme here!  No doubt about it, the trails at Acadia make us very happy. 🙂

From there, we drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain again to catch a sunset.  While sunrises are popular from up here (its the first place to see the sun in the U.S. each morning), we prefer the other end of the day.

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As usual, the sunset from Blue Hill Overlook was beautiful.  If you ever come for a sunset here, come early (to get a parking spot), dress warm, and stay a half hour after the sun actually sets.  If there are wispy clouds, the entire sky lights up at that point.

That’s our first week at Acadia National Park!  Be sure to check in next time when we discover several other new places undiscovered on previous visits.  Until then, safe and happy travels!

 

 

Captivating Cape Cod

May 24-28, 2018 – Cape Cod, Massachusetts

If you ever find yourself running north through Bishop, California on US-395, just past the Upper Crust Pizza Parlor, you will see a sign for US-Route 6.  That is the western terminus of one of the longest highways in the United States.  The eastern end is the subject of this post: Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Far different from the desert landscape out west, this forested peninsula juts into the Atlantic Ocean, only to curl back towards the Massachusetts mainland it came from.  It somewhat looks like the left arm of the Notre Dame fighting leprechaun.  🙂

Cape Cod was our next stop after our stay in Rhode Island.  We allowed ourselves five days to explore the area, which was a nice amount of time to get a feel for this unique place.  Our base camp was in Eastham, about halfway up the forearm, so to speak.  We stayed at Atlantic Oaks RV Resort, which was conveniently located on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile long asphalt path between South Dennis and Wellfleet.

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As you can see by our truck, we were inundated with pollen.  🙂  That has been the downside of following the blooming dogwood trees all the way up the coast.  The weather has been decent, though!

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And check out that beautiful bike path.  This was one of the best marked trails we had ever been on, with motion sensors at many of the road crossings to alert the drivers.  When it crossed busy Route 6, it was either by dedicated bridge or tunnel.  Plenty of pretty views along the way.  We rode portions of this route three separate times, as the weather allowed.

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Any chance for us to get out on the trikes is sure to put smiles on our faces!

The area is also home to Cape Cod National Seashore.  This park covers 40 miles of Atlantic coastline, and is just above 43,000 acres in size.  It was created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.  When not on the rail trail, we could be found in the park!

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This is the view from the visitor center.  While this looks like an inland lake, it is actually a salt water pond that is subject to the ocean tides.  It is aptly named Salt Pond, and it is smack in the middle of the Cape.

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With the miles of coastline comes a multitude of lighthouses.  This is Nauset Light, which was fairly close to our campground.

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And near that were the relocated Three Sisters lights.  These were originally fixed light beacons, built long before the lenses rotated.  Ships could tell where they were by the fact that there were three of them lit.  When the National Park Service restored them, they only rebuilt one lantern room.

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Farther up the coast is the Highland Lighthouse.  This 1857 structure was moved 400 feet back from the sea in 1996.  International Chimney Corporation of Buffalo was the contractor responsible for the work, three years prior to their similar accomplishment at Cape Hatteras.

We also visited the Edward Penniman House, which was the home of a very successful whaling captain.

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Our guide, a former builder from New Jersey, has been giving tours of the home for over twenty years.  While the home itself lacked furniture and was in need of repair, he was able to tell the story of the family that lived here.  It was nice to see such a dedicated volunteer.  🙂

 

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We also visited the Old Harbor Life Saving Museum.  This structure is at the north end of Cape Cod.  The plywood on the windows covers blown out windows from winter storms earlier in the year.  As are many of the structures along this coast, this building was in danger of falling into the sea.  It was moved here from further down the shore by barge in 1977.  This museum is maintained exactly as it would have been when it was a lifesaving station, right down to the living quarters.  We wanted to see this place, as we are going to be volunteering in a similar building in Michigan later this summer.

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Our tour guide gave us a very detailed description of what occurred at this facility.

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Room by room, David explained at length the day-to-day life at this remote outpost.  The men who worked here never had a chance to become bored, as they were constantly practicing for a possible shipwreck rescue.

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He inspired us for our upcoming experience, and we will using some of what he taught us in our tours.  We’ll just have to be careful not to call a harbor a hah-bah. 🙂

That wraps up our enjoyable stay on Cape Cod!  We had a great time exploring this special place.  Next up, we make a couple of nice stops in New Hampshire and Maine as we move north towards Acadia National Park.  Be sure to stay tuned for that.  Until then, safe travels to all!


 

Take note that we have added a Disclosure and Privacy Policy page immediately below our header, to bring us in compliance with GDPR.  Many thanks to Gaelyn at Geogypsy for alerting us to the need for it, Ingrid at Live Laugh RV for help in setting it up and Nina at Wheelingit for a wealth of information on the subject. 

 

Pocahontas – Did Disney Get it Right?

April 30, 2018 – Jamestown, Virginia

Some of us might remember the 1995 Disney movie Pocahontas, in which the young Powhatan Indian maiden is romantically involved with one of the founders of Jamestown, Captain John Smith.  It followed 1994’s The Lion King, so you may still have had the latter VHS tape in your VCR and missed it.  We did a little digging to find out just what happened at this historic village, and if the young native really had a thing for the dashing Englishman.

Jamestown is the first successful English settlement in North America.  Captain John Smith was aboard a three-ship expedition that established James Fort on what is now known as the James River.  It lies a mere 3 miles from the center of Williamsburg, Virginia, which we visited in our last post.  They arrived in late April of 1607, finding a place they thought was graced with fresh water.  That was later known to be the result of snow melt, with summer revealing the area’s water to be brackish.  They were agriculturally ill-equipped, and 80% of them perished the next winter during a period known as the Starving Time.  It didn’t help that the settlers weren’t getting along with the natives, either.  According to Smith he was captured by the Powhatans and nearly executed at one point, only to have Pocahontas throw herself across his body to save him.  Pretty romantic, but not the complete story.  More on that in a bit.

Following those difficult first years, Jamestown flourished and was the capital of Virginia from 1616 to 1699. Eventually it was known as James City.  In 1698 the capitol building burned, so the decision was made to move the seat of power to Williamsburg.  The little settlement by the James River eventually disappeared, except for the brick church tower that the colonists had built.  The property changed hands a few times and was eventually donated to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities in 1893.  That non-profit organization is now known as Preservation Virginia.  It was believed that the original townsite had eroded into the river.  The organization received federal assistance to build a seawall to protect what was left.

On April 30, we went to check this place out.  We weren’t quite sure where to go, as there are two locations that are administered by three organizations.  Bear with me on this. The Commonwealth (state) of Virginia owns a recreated living history museum called Jamestown Settlement just downriver from the original site.  We chose not to visit there, opting to instead see the actual place where the colony existed.  The Preservation Virginia site is immediately adjoined upriver by New Town, the direction Jamestown grew as it developed.  New Town is administered by the National Park Service, and was excavated beginning in the 1930’s.  Those digs are considered to be complete. It is confusing that those two sites are presented together as Historic Jamestowne.  With Preservation Virginia’s involvement a separate $5 per person fee was charged, over and above our annual NPS pass. There is no choice to go only to the National Park.

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Upon entering the park, we were greeted by this large monument that commemorates the founding of Jamestown.  We decided to join in on the archaeologist’s tour, which met in the shadow of the obelisk. So if the original townsite was washed into the river, what are they digging for?  Well, in 1994, a man by the name of Dr. William Kelso convinced Preservation Virginia to let him dig and see what he could find.

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Our tour guide, Danny Schmidt, explained to us how they found the impressions of the fort’s posts in the soil.  He joined Kelso right at the start of the project when he was just 16 years old and has been digging ever since. He bolstered his on the site experience with official degrees, and is now Senior Staff Archaeologist. He repeatedly commented that he was in the right place at the right time and feels very lucky to have spent his career in this location learning from Dr. Kelso.

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It is very clear where a trench was dug and where the posts were placed.  When the posts rotted, the impressions in the soil left a different color.  The walls of the fort were quickly reestablished, finding that only a small portion of the structure had washed away.

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Looking down this wall to the point in the river where the far wall would intersect, shows how tiny that lost section is.  Danny took us through the discoveries he and the team made, explaining how the dried up wells and basements of burned structures were used as dumps.  As they found them, thousands of artifacts were brought up to help tell the story of Jamestown.  Comparing what they were finding to historical accounts from the colonists, the archaeologists were able to even identify some of the human remains that were buried there.  Schmidt was very interesting to listen to, telling about the times he met George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II, along with how the archaeology team determined what each found object was telling them.

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The group is currently excavating the earth under the brick church that was originally built in the 17th century.  This version is from the 1920’s, although the attached tower is said to be original. Also, there is a museum on the property which displays many of the artifacts found since Kelso started digging.

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This armor was found in one of the wells.  It is still in pretty good shape, considering it is 400 years old!

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This tag was probably affixed to a crate of supplies that was brought from England.  The old English spelling had it listed as Yames Towne.  This tag flew on the space shuttle Atlantis to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the settlement.  It logged a lot more miles on that trip than it did on it’s first one!

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And this guy is Captain Bartholomew.  They determined it by his bone structure, the staff he was buried with, and the location and direction of his grave.  Schmidt even explained that they can determine what area of England a person would have come from, as the water in each place leaves different markers on the bones.  Amazing stuff.  They also found the bones of a young girl that was cannibalized during the Starving Time.

So back to our Disney story.  Danny told us about how they ended up finding the original church, along with the graves of four people from the settlement.

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He even showed us the spot where Pocahontas was married to….John Rolfe.  Huh?  What happened to John Smith?  He had left town in late 1609.  As far as our young Powhatan maiden, it turns out that she was captured and held for ransom by the English in 1613.  She converted to Christianity and married Rolfe in 1614.  He was the person who introduced tobacco to the New World as a cash crop.  Pocahontas bore their son in 1615 and the three set sail for England in 1617.  She died soon after of unknown causes at the young age of 20 to 21 years old.  She is buried in the church in Gravesend, England.

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Here are our feet on the exact spot that the Rolfes would have taken their vows.  Pocahontas would have been wearing pink laces.  🙂

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A selfie after the ceremony and we were on our way to discover the third corner of the historic triangle: Yorktown.  We will take a look at that in our next post, so be sure to stay tuned.  We found some nifty little tidbits while we were there.  Until then, don’t forget to “paint with all the colors of the wind” in your travels! (We still love a little Disney now and then!)   🙂

As stated earlier, there is an additional $5 per person charge to enter Historic Jamestowne, even if you hold an annual NPS pass.  Preservation Virginia also asks for donations during the Archaeologist Tour and again upon entering the museum, even though the first additional fee goes to them.  In addition, this was the first park we had ever seen that charged for a Junior Ranger book.  While it was only $1, we were concerned that some parents would forego having their children participate in the activity, thereby putting a roadblock into what Preservation Virginia and National Parks are trying to accomplish.  Perhaps they will rethink that in the future.

Jamestown Settlement is a completely separate location that charges its own fee. It is a recreated living history museum owned by Commonwealth (state) of Virginia. We did not visit this location.

 

 

 

Touring the Outer Banks

In our last post about Kitty Hawk, we took you to one small slice of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  Today we show you the other places we visited on this ribbon of sand that extends for 200 miles along the Atlantic coast.

Commonly referred to as OBX, the area consists of the islands of Ocracoke, Hatteras, Pea, Bodie, and Roanoke, along with the peninsula known as Currituck Banks.  Due to the shifting nature of the sand and the force of the storms that shape them, some of these islands come and go.  What might be an island today could very well be a peninsula tomorrow.  One of the most dynamic places along the chain is Cape Point, a corner of sand that moves continually south and west.  Just to the north of that point is Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

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This sentinel has stood guard here since 1870 and is America’s tallest brick lighthouse.  Well actually, not quite ‘here’, as remember…the island is moving.  When built, the tower was 1500 feet from the shore.  The ocean reshaped the island over time to where the structure was in danger of falling into the drink.  That 1500 feet had become just 15 feet.

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So in 1999, the National Park Service contracted to have the lighthouse moved 1/2 mile southwest to a point that is 1500 feet due east of the shore.  The red arrow shows about where the lighthouse used to be.  The move was considered an engineering marvel, as the tower is nearly 5000 tons and almost 200 feet tall!

As we climbed the steps, we noticed that the salt air is taking a toll on the lighthouse.

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The iron window frames are either rusting or are missing.  Not sure exactly why that is being allowed to happen, especially after putting so much effort into moving it.  Hmmmm….

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There are 257 steps up to the light itself, along with these beautiful black and white marble landings every 31 steps.  It is a very long climb.

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Not to worry; they were ready for us at the top.

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From the gallery, we could easily see Cape Point…

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…and how far we were from the ground!

While we were on the Outer Banks, we also visited several other lighthouses.

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Bodie (pronounced ‘body’) Island Lighthouse stands 40 miles north of Cape Hatteras.  This beauty still has its first order Fresnel lens, similar to the one we were responsible for at Heceta Head in Oregon last summer.  Vandals destroyed the one at Cape Hatteras years ago, and it was replaced with an aircraft beacon.

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We also visited Ocracoke Lighthouse, which was built in 1823.  It is still operating!  To reach it, we had to take a one-hour ferry ride from Hatteras Island.

While on Ocracoke Island, we visited their local historical museum.  It had an interesting collection of items that show what living on this isolated island is like.

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At the back of the museum was a video and a list of words that O’cockers (people raised on Ocracoke) use.  It’s actually tough to understand what they are saying as they speak.  One of the stories on the film was about some friends who flew to Las Vegas and brought their own oysters in Styrofoam coolers wrapped in duct tape to save a few bucks.  The part about one of the packages splitting open on the luggage carousel was hilarious.  🙂

Farther north on the Outer Banks is Roanoke Island.  This small piece of land actually sits inside the barrier islands, even though it is considered to be part of OBX.  It was here that the Lost Colony of Roanoke once existed.  In 1587, England attempted to establish a presence in North America at this location.  More than 100 men, women, and children landed on the island and worked to build a colony.  Their leader, John White, sailed back to England for supplies, only to be delayed in returning by a war that had erupted with Spain.  When he returned in 1590, the colonists were nowhere to be found.  Among them was the first European born in America, Virginia Dare.  The county that OBX is located in is named Dare in her honor.  What happened to the colonists?  Many theories exist, but no one knows for certain.

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Next to the site where the colony was is the Elizabethan Gardens.  We wanted to tour here, as the spring flowers are all in bloom!

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The azaleas were just gorgeous!

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So much color and fragrance.

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The garden’s namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, stands proud in the center of the property.  She was responsible for sending the colonists to America.

And here is another fun fact while visiting the site:

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Roanoke Island was the scene of a Civil Was battle.  This gentleman was a Union brigadier general by the name of Ambrose Burnside.  It is his unique way of styling his facial hair that used a twist of his last name to describe it: sideburns.  I always wondered where that came from!

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And no trip to the Outer Banks is complete without watching the kite boarders!

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With the steady breeze, these people were having a great time.

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We even noticed several Michigan license plates on the vehicles in the parking lot.  Still too cold on the Great Lakes to attempt this in April.

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, these islands are constantly changing.  While crossing the bridge from Bodie to Pea Islands, we saw a curious sign:

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Hey….what’s up with this???  Well, Pea Island was once part of Bodie Island, until a hurricane cut an inlet across it in 1846.  The first ship to navigate through the new waterway was the Oregon, so that’s what they named the inlet after.  Thought we were back on the west coast for a minute…

That wraps up our time in North Carolina.  We move into Virginia next, as well as inland for a bit.  Stay tuned to see what we find on our next adventure.  Until then, safe travels to all!

Charles Who?

As we were exploring Charleston, we kept coming upon a name that sounded familiar to us:  Charles Pinckney.  That was due in large part to our Michigan lineage, as there is a town in the Wolverine state named Pinckney.  I remember it well, as I did a 50 mile bicycle ride there one day with some friends.  After some research, it turns out that the South Carolina Pinckneys appear to not be related to the Michigan clan.  But who was this Charles Pinckney, and why does he have a national historic site in his honor?  Well, it turns out that there were several people by that name in Charleston.  In this post we are going to focus on the one who is honored at Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.

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Charles Pinckney (October 26, 1757 – October 29, 1824) came of age in a wealthy family as the people of the English colonies in America prepared to declare their independence from Britain. As a young man he fought in the Revolutionary War.  He was captured during the battle of Charleston and was taken prisoner until after the war ended.  Over his career, he was a four term Governor of South Carolina, a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Representative, and an ambassador to Spain.  But his biggest claim to fame was as a member of the Continental Congress when the U.S. Constitution was drafted.  On May 29, 1787, he submitted a plan to the convention that was called the Pinckney Draught.  It was similar in many ways to the Virginia Plan, calling for the following:

  • Three branches of government: Congress, Judicial and Executive branches.
  • A separate House and Senate.
  • A President shall inform Congress the conditions of the nation (State of the Union).
  • The President shall be Commander-in-Chief.
  • No state shall coin money, establish tariffs, keep troops, or enter into a treaty.
  • Only the House shall have the power of impeachment.

He also exclusively came up with the idea that no person should be held to a religious test to hold any elected office in the United States.

Eventually, ideas from all of the plans presented were woven into what became the United States Constitution.  Pinckney spoke often during the convention that was responsible for the creation of the instrument, and his signature is on the final document.

So how did his country plantation become a national historic site overseen by the National Park Service?  At first glance, the answer to that is a bit confusing…as the 1820’s era home that occupies the site was built by a subsequent owner.

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It turns out that the property had been sold to developers in the latter half of the 20th century.  Most of the original 715 acre estate was turned into a golf course, homes, and such.  US-17 even runs through it.  When the builders began to prepare the final 28 acres for development into 42 individual home sites, a group of local preservationists led by two women came to the rescue.  In 1986 they negotiated a $2 million purchase price, and proceeded to raise the money to cover it.  In 1990, they donated the property to the National Park Service.  The park opened to the public in 1995.

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The grounds are beautiful, with several paths winding through the property.  Over 150,000 artifacts have been unearthed from the site, along with the foundations from the original buildings.  The visitor center has many displays regarding Pinckney’s life of service, several of the found artifacts, and an interesting display on the Gullah culture along the lower Eastern seaboard.  Gullah is a language developed by the slaves that has an English base with West African influences.

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A fantastic example of the language is this Bible they have on display.  The English translation is on the sidebars.  I found it mesmerizing.  They actually let visitors page through it.

As with our other recent National Park visits, we completed our Junior Ranger books and earned our badges.  Having to search the displays for answers really makes sure we read each display carefully.  While the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site wasn’t a major attraction, we were glad we made the effort to go there.  We now have an appreciation for the man and his contributions to our nation.  As we see his name in the future, we will have a better understanding of who he was and where he came from.

Next up: A serendipitous assignment of campsites in Myrtle Beach.  Be sure to see the amazing meetup that resulted from that, and the friendships that came about as a result!  🙂

Jekyll and St. Simons Islands

When we left you last, we had explored northern Florida in an area that had been contested by the French and the Spanish back in the 1500’s.  On Thursday, we moved a mere 70 miles up the road to Brunswick, Georgia.  Here we found stories of the pre-Revolutionary British, the Civil War, the early 20th Century elite, and modern day foreign trade.  With only a few days here it was not only a lot to discover, but it was hard to keep it all straight!

We began by pulling into our first Boondockers Welcome location.  This is a program where people allow you to camp on their property for free.  This particular location was hosted by Leslie and Skipper, and they were just super to us.  We even hung out with them one evening around their fire pit, and got to know them and their neighbors over cocktails.  To show our appreciation for their hospitality, we gave them a small gift bag with some goodies from Michigan.  🙂

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They lost several trees during Hurricane Irma.  Fortunately, they all fell across the driveway when no one was home.  Thank you again, Leslie and Skipper!

On Friday, we headed out to St. Simons Island.  This particular barrier island is home to Fort Fredrica, an 18th Century British outpost and townsite.  The settlement was put into place under the watchful eye of James Oglethorpe; a soldier, member of Parliament, and a visionary.  His plan was to establish somewhat of a Utopia for people in debtors prisons back in England, all the while creating a buffer between British colonies to the north and the Spanish to the south.  A fort was erected along the Altamaha River in 1734, and a fortified town was laid out just behind it.  There were 84 lots, most of which were 60 by 90 feet.  Each family also received 50 acres in the surrounding countryside to raise crops.  As the town began to spring up, the Spanish to the south took notice.  Sensing the rising tensions, Oglethorpe sailed back to England and brought back a regimen of over 600 soldiers.  In 1740, the British went on the offensive and set sail for St. Augustine.  The ships bombarded the Spanish fort for two weeks straight to no avail.  Details as to just why that was, can be viewed in our post on St. Augustine by clicking here.  The British headed back to Fredrica and the Spanish followed not too long afterwards.  They brought an army of 2000 men with the intention of taking the fort and town.  Unfortunately for them, the British were more familiar with the area and their troops and townsfolk  used guerrilla tactics to chase the Spanish soldiers back south.  Without too much bloodshed, the skirmish ended and order was restored.

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When we arrived we requested our Junior Ranger materials, and enjoyed the movie and displays in the visitor’s center. Not letting the fairly steady rain deter us, we headed out through the town-site to the fort.  The river has changed course, so much of the location of the fort is now underwater. A couple of magazines remain above ground. The foundations of many structures have been unearthed by extensive archaeological studies, including the storehouse which John Wesley lived above.  We were able to make out the earthen berms that were the base of the fort’s walls, as well as footings of many of the homes.

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The town’s streets were well marked, as were each of the foundations.  After we received our badges, we went to explore the rest of the island.

Across from the fort is this monument and memorial garden to John and Charles Wesley.

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John Wesley is the founder of the Methodist Church. Diana is United Methodist and was pretty excited to walk the same ground as John Wesley, especially on Good Friday.  He made five separate trips to Fredica from England in 1736 and 1737.  It was after leaving Georgia for the last time that he began the Methodist Church.  There is a large Methodist conference center and museum on the island.  We drove around the beautiful campus, but were too late to tour the museum.

We also visited the St. Simons Lighthouse.

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This impressive structure looked very familiar to us.  It turns out that the engineer responsible for it was a man named Orlando Metcalfe Poe.  He was General Sherman’s chief engineer who accompanied him on his March to the Sea near the end of the Civil War.  After the war, Poe became the chief engineer of the U.S. Lighthouse Service. He developed this style of lighthouse and St. Simons was constructed in 1872.  Just prior to that, Poe was promoted to become the Great Lakes lighthouse chief engineer, as the region’s burgeoning shipping industry required sentinels to keep them safe.  He oversaw the construction of 8 lighthouses on the Great Lakes that used this same design.  He also designed the first of the Soo Locks, which was named after him.  He was injured during its construction and died of a subsequent infection in Detroit shortly afterwards.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His lock, which he never saw completed, was totally rebuilt in the 1960’s to allow 1000 foot freighters to pass between Lake Superior and the lower lakes.  They kept his name on it. 🙂

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The view from the top is outstanding!  The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is still in use.

While we were at the top of the tower, we asked a local woman about the ships pictured above.  Brunswick is home to a huge port that deals with ‘roll off-roll on’ cargo, in other words…vehicles.

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This is a screenshot of the port from Google Maps.  The five rows in the area circled in red contains over 3000 cars and trucks.  Considering all the other vehicles in the lots, there has to be well over 50,000 of them there!  We saw several of those ships coming and going while we were in Brunswick, so they must really employ a lot of people to move those cars.

On Saturday, we made our way to Jekyll Island for a bike ride.  We had scoped it out on Thursday evening, and we found the paths on the island to be favorable for our TerraTrikes.

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That day, we visited Driftwood Beach.  In the photo, I am looking across the water at St. Simons lighthouse.

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We also toured the historic district that was established in the late 1800’s.  The Jekyll Island Club attracted the wealthy elite; names like Rockefeller, Morgan, and Vanderbilt.

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Here is the Rockefeller ‘cottage’.  🙂

So on our return trip, we set out to circle most of the island.

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We rode through the historic district…

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…over the marshes…

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…and along the seashore.  It was good to be back on the trikes!

That wraps up our time in Brunswick.  Our next destination is Savannah, but not before a quick stop to see a good friend.  Stay tuned for that adventure!  Until then, safe travels to all.