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Maine-ly Acadia Adventures with the DOCNYC

DOCNYC in Acadia National Park

Today is Acadia and I'm excited.
DOCNYC's Acadia Route
 I had planned alternate routes through the park last month, both to and from Nova Scotia, but in the moment, we had decided to just haul ass to get up to Canada, and push it on the way home.  We had ridden right by Acadia, but never got to go.

 After squabbling about when to leave and the impending stormy weather, amid forecasts of torrential early afternoon thunderstorms, we had a fantastic breakfast in downtown Camden.
The skies cleared up temporarily, and we set out and passed another previously missed opportunity (on my Canadian trip) to Fort Knox, which I was not going to miss twice. 
 The DOCNYC stopped at the Penobscot observatory, one of the first suspension bridges built on the East Coast.
 Higher than the Statue of Liberty by some margin, the observatory offered and incredible panoramic view of the eponymous river and the Maine countryside.
The view of the Penobscot river to the south.
 Looking down from upon high on coastal Route 1, the road which would lead into Acadia, about an hour away.
 North of the observatory along the river bend was the original Fort Knox, and across the river in the distance, the city of Bucksport.
From nearly 500' above, our motorcycles looked miniaturized, shrouded in the bridge's shadow.
 The view on the ground of the Penobscot river wasn't terrible either.
 We stopped for lunch in a town called Bernard, at restaurant literally built on Bass Harbor, called Thurston's Lobster Pound.
 A massive chest for steaming lobster simmered near the entrance, evaporating into an increasingly gray sky.
We pulled up our bikes behind the restaurant and proceeded inside Thurston's.
 Crates of crowded, cranky lobsters lined the restaurant, clambering over each other, to be chosen ala carte and cooked for a customer's next meal.
 Most of us got Lobster.
 We headed downstairs and took off our gear in the dining area built on top of Bass Harbor.
 Attached to the restaurant was a small dock, surrounded by fishing equipment.
 Erik and Isabel enjoy the tranquil, aquatic scenery.
 Our lobster was bountiful and delicious.
 A view of Thurston's from the dock.
Sebastian parked his S4RS monster next to an old Dodge sporting the same color scheme as his Duc.
Snapping one last pic of the harbor before we left, we proceeded on to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
 Overlooking the harbor, this lighthouse majestically presided over a beautiful view of an archipelago of islands in the distance.
 Still in active use, the lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
 Sun and clouds whipped over the islands, covering and uncovering Great Gott, Placentia and Little Duck Island in the distance.
 The weather was actually starting to get weird.  The forecast was now predicting thunderstorms later in the day, but a September heat wave was starting to be interrupted by whipping winds and brisk little cold pockets of clouds and rain.
 Looking across Bass Harbor.
The lighthouse from above.

Acadia Park Loop

 We had saved the best part of Acadia for last; the newly paved, one-way, park loop.
 Our first stop was Sandy Beach, where a wedding party had decided to enjoy the scenery with us.
 If we had more time, I would have stripped off my motorcycle gear and jumped in the 50 degree water.
 Sebastian and I climbed up the rocky cliffs for a better view of the cove.
 From upon high...
Here I am lost in thought, or at least posing with that pretense.
 From there, we took off at pace, winding around the park roads at an electric pace, wary of pedestrians.  We stopped off at this tight turn, that twisted around a cool cove to take some shots of our darling Ducs.
 Shawn laughs as Sebastian relaxes amidst mountains and clouds.
 Shawn's 1199 Panigale, with full touring regalia...
 Sebastian's sick S4RS, with it's powdercoated red frame, swingarm and other bits, and carbon fiber galore.
 My ST3, which has taken me about 7,000 miles thus far this summer.
This was a beautiful spot, which became even more dramatic as dark clouds razed the mountains, driven by faster and faster winds.

Cadillac Mountain

The apex of our trip (not to mention Acadia National Park) was Cadillac Mountain.
We arrived at around 7pm, amidst 40-50mph winds, carving clouds, seemingly careening over either side of the mountain.  
 The thunderstorm was supposed to hit an hour earlier, yet we had reached the summit before the storm broke.
 Even a waxing moon added to the drama of the situation, though these pictures hardly show the full scene. 
A video shows a bit more how windy and truly tremendous the situation was.
 Cadillac mountain doesn't really have any precipitous drops; rather a rock face rolls gradually, but no less stunningly into the bay below.
 The mountain itself cleaved the clouds, which in turn, tumbled down the mountain on either side of our vantage point.
 Down the mountain, the specter of a cruise ship nervously circumnavigated the bay, waiting for the inevitable storm.
After about a half hour of reveling in the panoply of visual beauty, the crew pulled on our rain gear.  I went to the bathroom, and thirty seconds later came out to utter darkness.  Within minutes, a fog had rolled in, blotting out any light, and giving us maybe 15 feet of visibility inwhat seemed like midnight.  Within another 10 minutes, the fog had rolled through, and I was able to take the photo below.
The skies opened up and we saw lighting and a wall of rain moving up the bay.
As we mounted our bikes, the drops that had threatened all day turned into a deluge.  Nejat led us carefully down the twisty turns of the mountain we had torn up in ascent 45 minutes beforehand, hydroplaning and slipping through a torrent of water.  We made it a little more than an hour back to Bangor, in pretty heavy rain all the way, before we decided to exhaustedly turn in and stop for the night in Bangor. 
Shawn and I ended up at a Travelodge we thought was a Super 8, though the day had been so full of adventure I don't think either of us really cared that we wound up in the wrong hotel.
 © 2014 Tigh Loughhead


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