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

Henry David Thoreau

Loons and Electric Cars

Saturday July 29, 2017                                                                        Most Recent Posts:
Acadia National Park                                                                            Bridges and Berries
Mount Desert Island, Maine                                                     A Visit from Roger and Carol and More Pie




Today we’re kayaking on Seal Cove Pond.  There are a couple of put ins but the best one is off the beaten track and down the gravel road in the picture on the left to the foot of Western Mountain on the far side of Mount Desert Island. 

Seal Cove Pond is 238 acres and 44 feet deep.  It’s the 3rd largest “lake” on the island.  Why is it called a pond?  Well, we’ve had this discussion before.  Tradition I’d say.  It’s not as hemmed in by mountains as are the other large lakes on the island and is not as deep so it doesn’t have their fjord like aspect. but its eastern shore bathes the feet of Western Mountain and often reflects the images of both Bernard and Western Mountains.  But not today.  It’s windy!  The water is choppy!

We’re here at 7:15 am and have the entire place to ourselves.  The wind is out, the water is choppy but we launch anyway.  I head over through the reeds to what I hope is a quiet inlet.









It doesn’t go very far so I have to turn around and decide if  I am staying and fighting the wind to the other end, hoping I can ride it back, or giving it up for the day.

I decide to go for it and head out along the shore line for the other end of the lake.  Hopefull the water will be at least a little calmer  near the shore.










The Western Mountain side of the lake where we launched is on park land.  The other side is private and I can see the houses.







And then I hear that haunting call that everyone recognizes.  They are here today.  So glad I stayed on the water.  He’s a good deal ahead of me along the shore but I manage to get an acceptable picture and paddle on in that direction.







Next time I see them, there are two and  they are over by the houses near a floating dock. 




They sure ride low in the water.



Mostly I spend the rest of the morning just floating around trying to follow them at a distance.  They go this way and I do too.  Then they disappear under water and they are behind me.  So I turn around and then they disappear under the water and they are some distance away in the other direction.   It becomes a game.  But I can’t keep up.   I take tons of pictures.  Many not so hot given the distance they put between me and them as well as the rough water.

I also take a couple of videos which suffer from the rough water, the wind, which you can clearly hear,  and my inability to hold the camera steady when zooming in.  But it will give you a feel for the experience.  You can find one of them here.


At one point there are three loons.  It’s almost impossible to get them all in one picture.







Finally they tire me out and I head back along the far shore near the houses for a free ride back compliments of the wind.  This farmhouse I like particularly. 



The house with the dock that once had the loons has a particularly inviting shore line with its chairs and enticing path.







While I’m headed back, I scan the shore line for David but don’t see him.   As I get closer, I spy his kayak at the launch.  He’s beaten me back.  I find him taking a nap in the car.  He decided not too long after we put in that the wind was just too much to fight and came back.  I didn’t realize it and stayed out.  I’m sorry he missed the loons.  



He’s all rested up now  for his next  plan.  Seems that we will be returning on Route 102  and go right by the Seal Cove Auto Museum, which he visited earlier and wrote a post about.  You can find it here.  The museum is right across from the private side of the lake.   As luck would have it, they have a one day exhibit on electric cars and it is today.  So of course we stop.

There are  new electric cars like this BMW and two Tesslas




I love the big mapping device front and center in the Tessla. No trouble seeing where you are going here.




But the stars today are the two 1922 Detroit Electric Town Sedans.  Of the original 143 cars manufactured by the Detroit Motor Company in 1922, only two are known to still exist and they are both here today.  One is owned by the museum and one was driven down by its owners from Connecticut to be here on display.



The information board above  tells us that there were a total of 13,000 Detroit Electric Cars produced from 1907 to 1938 with only 94 known to exist today. Electric cars are not a new phenomenon. In 1900, 38% of cars on the road were electric, 40% were steam and 22% were gasoline. 33842 electric cars were registered in the United States in 1900. I found the following information pretty telling.





IMG_9426“Electric cars were used in large part by women and doctors. Doctors needed a car they could get in and go. Gasoline engines were not that easy to start or reliable. Because hand cranking cars was difficult (to say the least) and could be down right dangerous, the electric cars were popular with women. In fact, one of the downfalls of early electric cars is that they were thought of as a woman’s car and men did not want to be seen driving them.” Not macho enough it sounds like. Real men can crank that thing. And get knocked down. <grin> The demise of the electric car began with the invention of the first practical electric starter used in 1912 by Cadillac.


Open to view in all directions is the one brought from Connecticut.



The original selling price of these cars was $2985 (9 times more than a model T).  It has a top practical speed of 25 to 30 mph on a flat surface and a range of over 90 miles on a single charge.  There were 14 six volt batteries that provided the 84 volts needed to power the 4hp electric motor of the car.   On these, the original batteries have been replaced with modern batteries and charger.

The car is hooked up for charging in the picture below.




Originally Thomas Edison batteries were a $600 option (about twice what a Model T cost that year).  The cars have 5 forward speeds and 5 reverse speeds.  They are driven from the bench seat with a steering bar.

One of the original Edison batteries is on a table display and when David pushes the button, sure enough, it lights. Next to it is a large book with many great magazine ads for the car during the time period..





The car not in the Seal Cove Museum’s collection is unrestored and has wood spoke wheels with center hubcaps.  It has a split front windshield with red tinted glass on the upper section and unique carved glass in the back.  It also has the original etched glass flower vases on each side of the interior as well as the original silk curtains and roller shades.  No wonder the guys didn’t want one. HA! 



The car seats 4.  Two on the bench seat including the driver and two in these forward seats.  The driver has to look around them.



The owners, Bill and Linda Lillie of Gales Ferry, CT brought it here to the museum for the show.  They have several other antique cars and always dress in clothing of the period when they show them.  What fun!   They put together the scrap book with original magazine advertisements for the car.  They are lots of fun to look at.  Mostly aimed at trying to get men to buy the car.



I absolutely love the tail lights!



Before we leave, Liz from the Museum asks us if we’d like to ride in their 1922.  You bet!   David sits beside the driver.  I sit in the seat with the back in front.



Off we go looking through the split windshield as we head out over the grass and down the field toward Seal Cove Pond.






We arrive back safely and if you’d like to see a video I took of someone else taking the ride so you can hear the little noise it makes, you can find it at this link.





We topped off a terrific day with home made pizza for dinner. . It was delicious!


  1. Very interesting day and how fun to get to go for a ride! Love the loon photos.

  2. How cool that the people offered you a ride! What a great ending to the day!

  3. What a great post Sherry. I love those cars. Can you imagine 14 batteries in your car? It looks like a souped up golf cart. I'm sure at the Villages in FL there are golf carts made to look like these. I know you must have said it but where are you staying now? It is so nice David is able to almost keep up with you.

  4. Had no idea about electric cars way back then...

  5. Sorry it was so windy...but the loons made up for the inconvenience!!! Know you enjoyed the ride in the Electric Car. I better get busy or you will catch up to me with our "better late than never" blogs;o))

  6. Wow, that is so cool the old electric cars! I would have loved to see them (would love even more to own one!). Just goes to show there are not too many new ideas out there, many "new" products are based on ones built decades before.

    Super that you got to go for a ride in one. Another amazing adventure of your travels. :c)

  7. Wow. I had know idea about the electric cars dating back so far. I know you enjoyed that ride. How cool! The Loons are so beautiful and that PIZZA looked AmAzInG!!!!

  8. Wonderful to start off the day with beautiful loons. 5 reverse gears - that had to be interesting to drive! We think roller shades in the motorhomes is such a novel idea, and in 1922 they were already in electric cars! What a beautiful interior. I would love to ride in one - what a treat for both of you :-))))

  9. The loons are a delight, and so are those cars! And a good way to end the day.

  10. How fun that you got to ride in the electric car! I had no idea that they've been around since the 1920's. You continue to capture the most beautiful loon photos!

  11. I like looking at the models from the 20's & 30's. I actually remember autos from the late 1940's, which makes me feel really old!

  12. You get amazing Loon pictures. We love them. That pizza has just the right amount of mushrooms I like. Great you got a ride in something so old and rare. Great post.

  13. You did a great job with the video of the loons considering how windy and choppy the water was. But I have to say the car won me over. And you were able to get a ride in it to.

  14. Another big reason for the killing of the electric car was they had few moving parts therefore no need for replacement parts which was a huge budding industry...as well as the gas industry...the patten for the battery was purchased and shelved to prevent it from being mass produced.

  15. Oh, you were so lucky to get to stalk those loons! I am still hanging out in Maine at my friend's cabin on Long Lake, where I heard my first loon ever! I've gone "loony" listening for their calls, but sadly they are all far away. I've only seen one, and he was too far to photograph. Their calls are indeed haunting, but also engaging. I keep hoping they will come closer! But glad I got to see them in your video!

  16. Those loons are very handsome. The markings on their backs are so geometric and intricate. You did have quite a head wind to fight. At least the way back the wind was pushing you along. I know David was thrilled with the car exhibits. Those electric cars were really expensive for the time. I think we bought our Datsun B210 for just a little more than that! Love the flower vases! The car sounded a little creaky- like the wooden wheels might break.

  17. Despite the wind, I loved this day, paddle and all. I am sure I heard those loons. Trying to nap but not actually sleeping. Funny how the loon call seems to always be heard from a distance, like the lonesome sound of a distant train whistle. I love how they draw me in to their very different messages ... Yes, I did love the story of the electric cars - just a sliver in the long, sometime sad history of transportation in this country.

  18. I love loons! That path up past the chairs definitely looks inviting. The videos are so great. How many people can say they took that kind of car ride? Not many..definitely an interesting history. Electric cars really got forgotten along the way for sure - it's unfortunate really, I think.

  19. You are an intrepid paddler, love that and the loons. The car show is better than most in my mind being electrics and especially the old models. Plus what a treat to get a ride.

  20. Wow, how great to get to ride in the electric car!! I've never even seen them open to sit in much less get a ride.


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