Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Biking the Carriage Roads turns out to be a day of surprises.

Tuesday July 9, 2013
Blackwoods Campground
Acadia National Park Maine



While boondocking is not a great time to have battery charging problems.

We are late getting out for our carriage road ride today because we have to run the generator for two hours in the morning to keep our house batteries charged even though we don’t use them for anything when the generator is off.  No lights, no nothing.  This seems excessive and some investigation is in order but not right now.  We’ll see what the batteries say when we come back after the ride.



We finally get over to Jordan Pond House parking lot and get the bikes off the car and out to the beautiful carriage road gates.


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Acadia National Park has a 51 mile system of one lane gravel roads and granite bridges which lead by spectacular ocean overlooks, spruce and hemlock covered mountains, cross glacier formed lakes and babbling brooks

John D. Rockefeller Jr is responsible for the concept and creation of this wonderful system of carriage roads.  He knew that the automobile would only distract from the grandeur and quiet of the islands forests, mountains and ponds so in 1913 he embarked on a 27 year project to construct the 51 miles of roads, 17 bridges and two gatehouses.

He eventually presented the carriage road system as well as a third of the land now within the park as a gift to the people of the United States.  This is an example of what wealth in the hands of a man of foresight and stewardship of natural resources can do.  What a debt of gratitude we owe him.  And it was almost lost.

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All this was maintained primarily by Rockefeller until 1960, the roads later fell into disrepair due to lack of funding.  Gee I wonder what we were doing instead with our money.  In 1989 a resource study on the roads made recommendations for their rehabilitation and maintenance.  In the 1990’s and early 2000s, an $8 M program, paid for with federal and matching private funds made possible the restoration of nearly all the roads and bridges. 


Before we even set out we get a great surprise.


I am taking a picture of the beautiful carriage house next to the gate when a bicycle comes through the open carriage gate, and then another.  I look up and there are our friends Bill and Dan.   What a surprise.  We knew they were here in a campground WITH HOOKUPS outside the park but hadn’t seen them yet.

Following right behind are Nancy and Tricia.  They are stopping to eat their packed lunches at Jordan Pond and we “just happened” to be at the same place at the same time. 


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Tricia and I are playing dueling cameras as Dan flashes that fabulous smile of his.




We were so busy giving hugs and asking what they’d been doing that this is the only other picture I get and Bill inadvertently upstages Dan.
I know Nancy. the camera pro, will have much better pictures.


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As we are talking we have to move off the road so the wagon can pass through the gates.  The carriage roads are used by wagons, carriages, bikers, hikers, runners and walkers.  But the big gates are only open if one of the first two is coming through.  And sure enough once the wagon has cleared the gate, someone gets out and closes it.


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There are three bridges on this route but…….

We don’t talk long because they are pretty hungry and we need to get started on our 9 mile ride.  David planned this ride and when I begin writing this blog I realize I ask him for the description of the route.  then I realize I should have read the description before setting out so I’d know what to look for.  He didn’t mention that we’d be going over two of the carriage road bridges and I didn’t notice them.  Were they on the uphill climb part?  I’m pretty sad about that since the bridges are beautiful and all are different.  I wanted to photograph all 17.


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We start out of course riding by Jordan Pond on our right as we climb up the road.  I’m not much for stopping to take photos through the foliage on an uphill climb so this is just one I took while peddling along to show the road and its incline.  This is listed as an “easy” ride but there were sure a lot of up hills I thought.  I think I won’t try one of the roads they consider “moderate”.  


After a few miles the woods clears and we are able to see the upper end of Jordan Pond far away from Jordan Pond house at the opposite end.  This gives me a really good feel for how really big Jordan POND is.  Seems like it should qualify for lake status to me.  And it looks like our views of the mountains may be constrained.


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On we go for a while when I notice a hike marker. Great excuse for a break.


Apparently David’s map didn’t point this out and had I not seen it we would have missed a highlight of this ride.


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It’s a short scramble to the top of  Connors Nubble. The nubble rises above a stand of short shrub-sized paper birch trees

How about this path?

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When we reach the top there is an official cairn with a trail marker telling us this is the Summit of Connor’s Nubble.  We think this is pretty funny since you can see in all directions.   Notice the mountains in the distance.  This will be important later.


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The views get better and better.   The summit is a pink granite dome, devoid of trees which provides the fabulous views in all directions.


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Great views of Eagle Lake.  Seems the fog has moved over “there”.


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We encounter our second surprise of the day.

As we walk around looking in all directions at the views, I look down and find the nubble is covered with low bush blueberries many of which are ripe.   Looks like a mid day snack!!  Nancy had mentioned finding blueberries but I guess I didn’t note where.  I imagine this is where.  But they didn’t eat them all.  Thanks guys!!


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As I’m picking and eat I see that there is also some lovely foam flower.  Most of it is the usual white but this one has a beautiful pink tinge.


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More views of Eagle lake.   This is a BIG lake.  We haven’t decided whether it will be a paddle destination but it sure looks marvelous from up here today.



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After spending a seriously long time munching on blueberries and not seemingly making a dent in them, we look up to notice the fog is rolling in.  Time to head on down.  At the summit cairn it is clear the clouds are coming to get us.  Check out the difference between my first picture of the cairn and this one.  I feel very lucky to have had this window of views and snack of blueberries.   Thanks Connor’s Nubble.  Who was Connor anyway???


We climb back down which isn’t as difficult as I had imagined it might be although I do have to do some of it on my bottom.  Back on the road up and down at what they call gentle grades.   It really is a gorgeous ride through beautiful forest with no worries about cars or skate boards or anything else.


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Another hike marker, better investigate.


The short walk through the woods leads us to a marker that appears for the Eagle Lake trail.  So we’ve seen Eagle from above and below today.


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Past Eagle Lake we ride for a long way along little bubble pond.  This is my favorite section of the ride.

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Back into the woods we go and shortly we reach the one bridge I do see today.   


I just love the stone carriage bridges they are so lovely.  I guess if you have an island covered with beautiful stones you make everything out of it, your houses, your fences and your bridges.   That was back in the day when everything was local and few things were brought in.


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Our ride is a loop and here we are back at the carriage gate only this time the gate is closed. 


Guess no carts or wagons or carriages are expected.  So we ride through the smaller gate on the left. 

While I am stopped here waiting for David I take a picture of the side of the carriage house.  Mr. Rockefeller certainly did build lovely buildings.


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Yet another surprise and what a beauty.


After we put the bikes back on the car.  We go into the Jordan Pond house area to use the restrooms and to check out what must be the largest gift shop/book store in the park.

As we are leaving David notices this Luna Moth on one of the arbor pillars.  I am thrilled.  I’ve never seen one up this close.  I just want to stand and stare and take tons of pictures of it   What is it doing here?  Is it OK?  I don’t know the answers but it sure makes a great ending to our afternoon.


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It’s about 4:30 now and we decide to take the risk with the batteries and not go back for the final 2 hour generator possibility for today.  Generator hours are over at 7:00 which is well before dark.


Our final surprise is not nearly so nice.


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Instead we head over to Reel Cinema and Pizza to see The Lone Ranger.  I’m really not a big movie fan but there is just something about Johnny Depp that I love and this movie does not disappoint.  I find it hilarious.  Both Depp, who plays Tonto,  and Armie Hammer who plays the Lone Ranger are excellent.  And except for what I consider a bit of grossness unnecessary to either the plot or character development.  I really enjoyed the movie.   Is it always necessary to appeal to junior high school boys??

I get the seats and David stands in line at the concession stand to order a pizza for dinner.  The movie starts and he sits down.  There is an illuminated bingo number board on the wall and when your number lights up you go out and get your pizza.  Very clever I think.

In not too long #36 lights up.  He goes out to get the pizza.  We are really looking forward to this.   And here comes our next surprise.

This is one of the most expensive ($23) and absolutely terrible pizzas I have ever eaten for dinner.  It is great fun to have dinner while watching a movie with a hundred or so of your friends you don’t know yet.  But the pizza really is horrible. 

There is a joke in our family.  If Carrie or I really don’t like something or don’t want to be the first to try it we always say “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat it”.  It always works, he always does.   Not sure how many of you are old enough to remember that commercial but that’s what I did tonight.  After one piece of a large pizza I give the entire rest to David, who despite agreeing that he’d never had a pizza this bad, ate it all.   And no doubt didn’t gain a pound. 

I go back out to the concessions figuring they can not make bad popcorn in their big popper.  I can see them making it.  I  have a large bag of butter popcorn for $3.75 as my dinner.  

I liked the movie so well that if I can fit it in while we are here I will see it again.  For $6, why not.  But this time I will order their large bowl of buttered popcorn for $5 with free refills.  And maybe I can get one of those lounge chairs.


  1. Boy sure fit a lot of beautiful scenery in one.day. I think your favorite place would be my favorite place, too.

  2. Thanks for the tour I said no to. I think I will say yes the next time I am asked. Great butterfly pic.

  3. Another beautiful day. The carriage roads look beautiful. We would have loved to have gone for a ride on them as well but the campground was quite far away from them and we don't have a toad and we still had Whiskey at the time so we couldn't leave her for too long in the motorhome because it would have been too hot for her. I guess we will have to do that some other time, glad that we could at least see what we missed through your beautiful pictures.


  4. Great adventure today ... loved it. hahaa David's the garbage disposal, is he? Hahaaa

    glad to hear your review of that picture... it's gotten terrible reviews ... a real loser and lost millions. but again, it's always up to taste and a lot of the new ovie watchers can't appreciate the Lone Ranger as those of use who grew up watching him on TV and then before that ... the radio. Hi HO Silver awaaaay.. I mean this was good stuff. anyway that's the scuttlebutt... that put that obligatory scene in to satisfy that age group ... but it obviously work.

    Have I said I love Maine and Acadia NP?

    1. I really need to proof... good grief... movie ... us ... too many thats and it obviously did NOT work...

  5. I remember Mikey!! Sorry about the pizza... the theater in Sisters does that too, BUT their food looked and smelled pretty darn good!! And glad u liked the movie, been wanting to see it but did not see good reviews.... so u give me hope!

  6. Again, so lovely. It also appears that y'all are not trapped in our Virginia monsoon weather and for that I am extremely thankful. I am wondering, however, what is going on with your battery. :-)

  7. One of the bridges was under you as you went past the stone edgings on the uphill climb. You would to have had to climb down a very steep hill to see it. It's completely hidden under the carriage road and a lot of people miss the little stone steps leading down to it. Glad to hear your opinion about the Lone Ranger movie. I want to see it!

  8. I don't trike hills ... so it will have to be a hike for us to see the views from the carriage roads. There was a free showing of the Lone Ranger at the base theater when we were in VA Beach, but after seeing the trailer we decided to pass on it. Glad you enjoyed it ... despite the horrible pizza.

  9. What a great day. Popcorn is a better dinner than bad pizza anytime.

  10. It's hard to make bad pizza, so it must have been really bad. Love wild blueberries. Glad that some were left for you to enjoy.

  11. loved your bike ride today. . .and like you, I also want to photograph all the bridges. I believe Jeannie said there is a book you can purchase. . .I'll hafta check with her on that. . .you day was just lovely. ..thanks for sharing!

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  12. I remember Mikey too. There's usually one in every familly :) I love popcorn for dinner occasionally...what's wrong with that?
    Great tour!

  13. The carriage house looks modern- beautiful stone work. And what a nice bike ride. Love all the water. I wonder if you can swim in the lake although it's probably really cold. You know me- if there is any water, I want to be in it. The luna moth was the best part. I absolutely love them! They are so beautiful and because you see them so seldom, it's really special when you do. xxxooo

  14. I have seen several bloggers write about the Carriage Roads. They look so lovely! Very cool that you guys ran into Bill & Nancy, et.al. I am a huge Johnny Depp fan as well. Heard the bad reviews of the movie, but don't care :) Will see it eventually!

  15. It's always interesting to read different peoples blogs about the same places. I remember when Jeannie and Eldy biked the carriage path. Everyone sees things through their own perspective. :)

  16. So neat that you ran into Bill & Nancy!! A $23 pizza! Wow...that sounds steep even if it was the greatest ever - how disappointing that it was sooo bad. Mikey ate it - lol. Gorgeous bike ride - I'm glad you found Connor's Nubble and those blueberries - made me think of 'Blueberries for Sal'. I liked the before and after pictures - clouds just above the mountains and then fog gathering in closer and closer. All in all...I'd say...a good day!! :)

  17. Great Post!! Good to see you then, yesterday and again before our time here is over. Acadia NP is amazing and I know we will be back. Just can't even begin to see it in a month!! Hope you get the battery issue resolved.

  18. A beautiful area. Too bad you met up with those "troublemakers", Bill & Nancy and Dan & Tricia. ;c) Small world it is!

    So nice that Rockefeller gave that area to the U.S. for all of us to enjoy. Looks like another million dollar day for you and David.

    A shame about the pizza, but the movie was fun. We saw it too and found it to be very entertaining, even if the critics panned it. They are almost as bad a weathermen. When I go to the movies it is to be entertained, not look to find the meaning of life! :cD

    Hope the battery issue is resolved quickly and cheaply.


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