Watertown, Bar Harbor
Flying the Edge of America
Thursday, August 07, 2008: Watertown, New York
Could it be this power plant is generating all the cloud?
We were scheduled to fly to Swanton-Franklin, Vermont but thunderstorms limited
our flight today to Watertown, New York. So we were able to make some progress
on our quest. The flight was filled with rain showers and cumulus clouds, but
nothing that hindered us. We landed without incident and were soon picked up by
the hotel shuttle which was driven by two sweet old women. They told us they had
been working at the hotel for 21 years and many other stories of local interest.
We went for a walk after settling into our hotel room but there just isn"t much
to Watertown. It seems to be one main road with a few grocery stores and one or
two strip malls. Late in the afternoon thunderstorms tore through the region
with much rain, thunder, and lightening. I am concerned about our next flight
tomorrow as we head further northeast into more remote areas.
Watertown Flight Video
Friday, August 08, 2008: Bar Harbor, Maine
Somehow this menacing sky holds a strange beauty.
What a day this was. First thing in the morning we had to make a decision to fly
or not to fly. The
weather has been horrid since yesterday, thunderstorms, rain, wind, lightening,
we only missed hail, sleet, and snow. I am not impressed with the weather on the
East Coast; give me California or Australia any time.
Here was our thought process this morning.
The weather sucks, shall we fly or stay in Watertown, which also sucks?
We were scheduled to fly to Frenchville, Maine in the far northeast corner of
There is nothing in Frenchville,
just a bunch of anglers, and deer hunters.
If we were to fly further northeast we would not see the terrain anyway as it is
The weather is horrible and will be for several days all throughout the area.
The place we really wanted to visit in Maine is Bar Harbor because of the
The weather at Watertown is marginal but flyable.
The weather at Bar Harbor is very marginal with a 400 foot cloud ceiling.
There are no thunderstorms between Watertown and Bar Harbor.
We are equipped with satellite neartime weather.
There are many places we might be able to land at; if we have to.
The terrain is higher but nothing to worry about.
Decision, let's go to Bar Harbor.
It was good to find a hole through the clouds.
So we left for the airport at 9:00 am. packed the plane and checked it in the
pouring rain; then blasted off into the foggy, rainy, cloudy, skies over
Watertown. I had plotted a course that took us north towards the border and then
east to avoid the lightening in the area. The weather was as predicted, lots of
cumulus cloud with several cloud layers below and above us; and rain, lots of
rain. The three hour flight consisted mainly of dodging towering cumulus cloud
blocks and being beaten by the rain. We had two
powerful weather fronts to punch through. The first gave us 20 minutes of
whiteout and jostling then a clear path between the layers of clouds.
A happy Julia with her feet on the ground in Bar Harbor.
The second was minor in comparison. The landing at Bar Harbor was not, it was
extreme. The instrument landing has a 290 foot minimum altitude; which is the
altitude you must be able to see the runway at or you must abort your landing. As we glided
down the approach I saw 1,000 feet, 800, 500, and then 400 feet go by before the
runway jumped up at us with its approach lights flashing and its welcoming
We soon had 51-Juliet put to bed, the rental car arranged, and were heading for
our hotel in Bar Harbor; where we had several glasses of wine at lunch to
celebrate turning our second corner on this amazing voyage around the USA.
Bar Harbor Video
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Julia scampering over the rocks.
We had a fabulous hike in Acadia National Parking today. The weather even
cleared up a bit for us and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. The
terrain in Acadia is very different from everywhere else we have hiked so far in
America. There is granite here like in South Dakota but the granite is pink.
However, granite is the only similarity. The trees are a mix of small pines,
maples, and other deciduous. There were blueberries and huckleberries growing
wild all over the place. Julia and I ate many blueberries as we hiked up two of
the peaks on the Beehive trail, Mt. Champlain (1,058 ft.) and Mt. Gorham (525
ft.), then walked back to our car along the beachfront trail. The things they
call mountains here pale into insignificance compared to the mountains in the
west; sorry I just had to add this. Julia and I live on a hill in Oakland that is
at 1,400 feet. But Acadia National Park is very stunning.
Julia looking very cute.
Acadia National Park is a beautiful place on an island in the Atlantic. We hiked
in the park for 10 miles today. We climbed up a steep hillside and saw the
ocean. We talked about how amazing it was to see the Atlantic. David didn"t
think we"d make it this far on the trip.
We thought back to our visit to Cape Flattery on the westernmost point of our
journey and how far we"d made it from that point. We are almost half way on our
Acadia seemed very safe compared to other parks we"d been. There was no
threat of grizzly bears or other malevolent wild critters. No starving
mosquitoes licking their lips on our arrival. The path we followed was rocky
with pretty pink granite and there were blueberry bushes all around; it was
amazing to eat wild blueberries as we walked. We checked with a family we met
along the way that they were in fact blueberries and the mom assured us they
were. She got her kids to stick out their tongues to show us how blue they were
so we"d know that the berries were safe to eat. We are only here for a day and
we both decided we would love to come back to Acadia. It's amazing to think that
on this whirlwind trip around the edge of America we are flying to each place
for only a day or two and yet It's taking us 3 months to complete the whole
thing. What a huge country this is!
Miles Hiked: 135
Miles Flown: 4,989
States Visited: 15
Towns Visited: 22