My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week of 08/23/09 - 150 Miles in Beautiful Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park

Wonderful summer weather (hot), great company, and the perfect cottage steps from Main Street in Southwest Harbor.  My birthday (49th) included an enjoyable 10 mile carriage trail ride around Jordon Pond  (passing the Jordon Pond House) and Bubble Pond with Amy and Joel.  They both did very well and pushed up some challenging grades.  The carriage trails are so perfect and had only marginal people traffic.  While I will always prefer the pavement, the carriage trails are one of my favorite off-road places to ride.  After the ride, the siblings took me for a nice birthday lunch at Rupununi's in Bar Harbor.  I got the Crab Quesadilla and was treated with a piece of key lime pie cheescake with a bithday candle.

Joel and Amy headed home late afternoon and I jumped on the bike for a quick 30 miles on the quiet side of the island.  From Southwest Harbor, I went past Seawall, Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Tremont, Pretty Marsh, and Great Long Pond.  Virtually no cars, great views, and a perfect chance to escape!  Ride back on Route 102 was a little busier past Echo Lake.  Spent a quiet night alone awaiting the arrival of the girls.

Tuesday morning brought another spectacular weather day and a meandor to Northeast Harbor via Sargent Drive.  Perhaps one of the top 10 bike roads in Maine (ok, no shoulder) ... for scenery at least. It hugs Sommes Sound and passes some pretty fancy "cottages" as you get to Northeast Harbor.  Returned via Town Hill, Indian Point Road, and the quiet side. 40 miles in total. The girls (Karen, Leah, Carol, Lindsay, and Jane) arrived around lunch time. We enjoyed Southwest Harbor, Bar Harbor, another great lobster at Thurston's, and some great tidepooling near Seawall.  On Wednesday the twins and I retraced the carriage trail ride (10 miles) from earlier in the week after a frustrating delay due to a flat and brake issue with Carol's bike (she had fun descending without rear brakes!).  Before dinner I took a fast 25 mile spin around Bernard and finshed up with a quick husband and wife team who caught me after I initially flew by them (they must have been really crusing).
While Thursday was not a long ride (a little less than 30 miles), it included the route I have wanted to complete for so long ... the Park Loop Road and a climb to the top of Caddillac Mountain.  I did the climb at the end and kept a slow, but steady pace the whole way. Cadilac is roughly 1,500 feet, 3.5 miles, and has an average grade of around 8%.
Everyone but Leah and I headed back on Thursday.  It was a great 3 day Dad and daughter vacation!  We immediately headed to the Sand Beach parking lot and climbed Beehive Mountain.  While Beehive is only 520 feet high, you ascend exposed cliffs with iron rungs on very narrow ledges. It was an amazing experience.  Leah was a star, and led the entire way.  The views were great, and watching Leah gleam from ear to ear when we reached the top was worth the drenched tee shirt and risk (Karen would never have allowed it!).  We hiked back a more conventional way and spent a few hours relaxing and hunting crabs on the beach.

Friday included a short 5 mile carriage trail ride around Eagle Lake and another great hike.  This time we retraced the route from last week up to Bubble Rock.  Leah was up for the challenge of the return via the rock slide path.  A fun day contiuned with an 18 hole championship at Pirate's Cove golf. Leah took the title with some steady handed putting.  The day ended with a fun dinner at Geddy's and perhaps two of the coldest beers I have had in quite awhile.

Saturday came ... after a nice arts and crafts show and stop at the George Door Museum at the College of the Atlantic, we said goodbye to the island and slowly returned to the lake via the coast.  We made a few shopping stops including Marden's (a Maine institution), Rennys, a new school back pack at LL Bean, and a browsing session at the Big Chicken Barn (a huge antique and book store).  The vacation ended as it started ... a lazy day on the lake.  We headed to my sister's Sunday night and engorged on great Chineese food from Chinatown in Stoughton.

All in all ... a great and memorable week with 150 miles of varied riding.