2013 Vacation Day 11: Tuesday...taking a shortcut

Up and out early to catch the ferry. We stayed hitched up last night, which greatly reduces the time to get going. Gassed up before reaching the terminal, and even though we arrived an hour early as requested, there were already a huge number of vehicles lined up waiting to load.
RV's generally are put into separate lanes, so the loaders can pick and choose from the assorted vehicles to best load the ferry. From the outside, it always amazes me how all these vehicles will fit in, let alone stay afloat, but clearly they do. Not a large ferry, but it does hold over 300 vehicles. Snugged up behind us in the hold was a behemoth 5th wheeler, 35 feet of lazy boys and hardwood dining room sets, just like home!

Made our way up top to the cafeteria, to grab the required coffee and a bite to eat. Took advantage of the wifi to catch up on stuff, then enjoyed the voyage. Very smooth water this morning. As we approached Saint John, there was a lot more ships to be seen, mostly large tankers making their way to the Irving refineries that dot the coast here. It seems there is a steady stream of them coming in, little wonder considering these refineries produce upwards of 300,000 barrels a day, they need to be fed oil constantly.
just one of a line as far as the eye could see
Headed to St Stephen and the U.S. border on Hwy 1, with most of the other RV's that were on board. The U.S. Border guard was certainly professional and old school. We were in the RV line, and he was going through the campers completely. He emerged out of the vehicle ahead of us with a clear plastic bag of confiscated fruits and vegetables. Naturally, this got us thinking if we had perhaps something on board that should not be. We are pretty good at making sure we are OK for the border, but we still felt guilty nevertheless. Our turn at the booth was next. He literally peppered us with questions, staring intently at us while we answered, and then he thoroughly rummaged the fridge in the Alto. Although one always hopes for a less intimidating border crossing, you just have to admire the way this guy approached his job and its inherent responsibility.

We decided to take the Maine Coastal 1 highway down to Bar Harbour. Driving through Calais, I saw a big old Ford come down a side street towards the main road, driven by who I'm sure was Junior Soprano...all decked out in a polyester golf shirt and wearing a classic old school golf hat. Just like on the show. A definite double take.
could have been him...
Although slower, it will be a nicer scenic drive than Hwy 9, which we took a week ago. And it was a slow drive. Some parts of the drive the road is pretty rough, that wavy, undulating surface that pavement gets when it has been well traveled for many decades. The tide was on its way out, exposing many little bays of salt mud flats as we went.

Picked up some supplies in Ellsworth, then headed for the campground. We are staying at Hadleys Point, about 9 miles outside Bar Harbour on Route 3. We have a nice site which backs onto the trees. A number of seasonal sites, and a lot of overnighters. Given the tourist traffic, it is little wonder there are fewer seasonals, which in my mind is a good thing. It does not take many seasonal trailers, with the little wooden decks and hanging lights, all crammed in beside each other, to give a campground a tired feel. After we set up, we had to put on the air conditioning to cool off the Alto. It reached 110F inside, a product of it being in the full sun and time on the highway.
some big rigs across the field...with satellite no less!
We then headed into Bar Habour, it has been many decades since we were here last. Our memories of it is of it being a nice little town, with an interesting downtown core of funky shops and restaurants, but time has changed it. We are disappointed by what we see now, the sense of a real town has been lost by the prolifertion of the tourist trap store. Those umbiquous little shops that are filled with branded tourist crap from China, pins, hats, t-shirts, knick-knacks, virtually anything that can be emblazoned with the words 'Bar Harbour'. All that same crap that somewhere else, some similarly lucky town has had their name applied to it. These shops seem to multiply like rabbits and why so many within a few feet of each other? Have these opportunistic shop owners swallowed up the town? Where was their market research, perhaps it is simply a matter of volume, they know there will be enough tourist drones flowing though the town that they will all get a little slice of the profit pie. We feel that the town is missing the locals, there seems to be only tourists aimlessly walking around. So instead of spending more time in Bar Harbour tomorrow we may check out Southwest Harbour which was cute years ago and we hope should be less of a tourist attraction and will have retained it's authentic small town look and feel.

Grabbed some dinner in a little pub, the beer was cold and the food simple but tasty. Back at the site, the Alto was nice and cool. The temperature has not really dropped much this evening, still high 70's, so we are glad we left the A/C going. Made for a good sleep.


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