More 10mm Napoleonics

For the first time in two months, I picked up a paint brush.  With the prep for the move, the move, unpacking from the move, getting into the new (hectic) job at work, and going on vacation, I just haven’t had time.

After the last play test of Look, Sarge, No Charts: Napoleonic Wars at a HAWKs club night, I wanted to make some changes to the base labels.  So yesterday, I relabeled all my French and Austrian figures.

New labels on the bases of French infantry
New labels on the bases of French infantry

The rules worked pretty well that night — even with folks who don’t like Napoleonics.  At Historicon, one of the players observed that for combat you wanted to roll high, but for morale you wanted to roll low.  I share that frustration with rules design.  The fact that sometimes you wanted high and sometimes low was a hold-over from an earlier morale and skirmisher concept for LSNC:NW.  I was able to reverse the morale number so that the best kind of troops have a morale of “1” for “first class troops.”  This made all aspects of LSNC:NW consistent — you always want to roll high.

(I just noticed that in the picture above, the are two “left side” bases and no “right side” base.  A battalion consists of two bases (a left and a right to get a complete label).  This allows Napoleonic battalions to be formed into column, line, and square.)

In the process of rebasing all these figures, I found that I have several battalions of Russian infantry.  I have based them, but I haven’t labeled them yet.

Early stages of 10mm French Legere
Early stages of 10mm French Legere

This weekend I also had a chance to start on some 10mm Old Glory French legere.  I am  painting four battalions of them.  The Old Glory 10mm figures come on the five-figure strips you see.  Six strips makes a battalion of infantry for countries that fought three ranks deep.  That’s 30 figures to a battalion.  At this point in the painting, you can see the black priming, blue uniforms, white belts and turnbacks, flesh on faces and hands, and brown muskets.  I hope to finish the shakos, including the yellow/green and red plumes before the end of the day.

I have been dreading painting 10mm Napoleonic figures, but in practice, it’s not as onerous as I thought it would be.

In rebasing, I discovered that I have just about two complete corps of French infantry, but I’m missing the light cavalry that would be in a corp.  This uses the 1806 order of battle for Davout (III Corps) and Lannes (V Corps).  I have a large corps of Austrians.  I’ve ordered some Grenzers and Jaegers to get the Austrians to a good state.  I have a bunch of unpainted Prussians to begin as well.

Pirates!

Pirates take over our ship!
Pirates take over our ship!

This is a picture we had taken on our vacation.  Some places that do these photos don’t put much heart into it.  This place was a great deal of fun.  The owner really made it an event.

2011 Vacation: Days Fifteen and Sixteen: Six Flags New England and Hom

Our second-to-last day of vacation was spent in Six Flags New England.  The kids really wanted to ride some “intense” roller coasters.  Six Flags New England had ten roller coasters, including one called “Bizarro,” which has been rated the number one steel roller coaster in the world for the last five or six years.  It was really excellent.

Some musings on amusement parks in general:

In Star Wars (before George Lucas produced crapisodes I-III) Obi Wan Kenobi says of Moss Isley, “A greater den of thieves and villainy you’ll not find in the galaxy.”  I have to say of amusement parks, “A greater collection of rude, uncouth, smelly, large, slutty, and inconsiderate people you’ll not find in the galaxy.”  I was amazed at the number of folks who just didn’t care how they looked or acted.  Wow!  I say again, wow.  At one point we were behind a woman who smelled so bad we thought we had passed a dumpster.

I enjoy roller coasters as much as I ever did; however, I find that I can’t ride them back to back to back any more without getting unpleasantly motion sick for the rest of the day.  I have to space them out.  At a “regular” amusement park, like a Six Flags, it’s all about roller coasters, things that drop you, or things that spin you.  There seem to be few other activities to pass time while waiting for my stomach to settle.  When I think of Walt Disney’s idea of a place where the whole family to play together, Six Flags  isn’t it unless you’ve got a stronger middle-age stomach than I apparently have any more.

Some impressions of Six Flags New England:

The Six Flags franchise does not live up to the standards of Busch, Disney, or Universal parks in almost every dimension.  When we first arrived at the park, a few minutes BEFORE opening, the bathrooms already reeked.  The workers were largely uncommunicative, unhelpful, and unhappy.  They did NOT portray an impression that they were happy to be there or that they cared if you were happy to be there.

Before lunch time, all the credit card machines and all but one of the ATMs in the park died.  They didn’t bother to put signs at the BEGINNING of the food lines to tell people they could only use cash.  I typically don’t travel with much cash and planned to put lunch on a card.  Surprise!  So most of my cash — including cash to pay all those east coast highway tolls to get home — went to lunch.  The good news was that you couldn’t get cash, because the ATMs were also down.  When I did find the ONE ATM in the park that worked, there was a $4 fee.  It seems to me that if you’re bone-headed enough to let all your credit card machines to fail on a Saturday at meal time during peak season, the least you could do for customer good will is waive or comp the ATM fees.  Nope.  Not these guys.  Not so much as an apology for the inconvenience.  So we’ve got a back up at check out from lunch that stretched all the way to Tarre Haute because the products of our degenerate educational system couldn’t total bills in their heads — or on paper — or make change without the machine performing simple arithmetic for them.  I even had one woman refuse to give me two quarters for five dimes so I could squash a penny for one of the kids unless I bought something first.  Apparently, they don’t teach their checkout people how to do a “no-sale” operation on their cash registers.

Everything was gouge, gouge, gouge.  There was a price to get in the park, an additional price to go to the head of the ride lines, and yet another price to sit in the front car of a roller coaster.  There were even rides that REQUIRED you to put all your gear into a locker — for a fee.

The food lacked selection, but at least it was crazy expensive.  I really don’t want to hear people complain about Disney prices.  Six Flags was at last as high, but the quality was poor, so we had that going for us.

Their processes for food service and getting people on and off rides was TERRIBLE.  They could certainly use some Lean Six Sigma analysis.  Actually the processes were so poor that two 12-year-old Justin Bieber fans could improve their systems with little analysis between commercial breaks of Hannah Montana.  For the wooden coasters in particular, getting people off and on took about three times longer than it needed to.

Six Flags Atlanta used to have some really tremendous live entertainment.  What little live entertainment existed at Six Flags New England was poor.  There were virtually no options for entertainment between roller coasters or for me to do while the kids were riding 9-G Twising, Spinning, Flipping, Nightmare Coaster of Doom for the fourth time.

They have a really nice attraction themed around Houdini.  It uses some illusions to give the impression that you are sitting in seats that are revolving around a room.  In fact, the seats don’t move; although, they do tilt forward and backward.  The illusion is aided by the fact that the walls move.  It was an interesting attraction.

Having said all that, Six Flags New England had some tremendous roller coasters.  In that regard, the day met the kids’ objective, and they had a great time.

We had done all the roller coasters and a few other rides/attractions by 2000.  We decided to leave the park early and go to Red Robin (which was right next to our hotel) for dinner.  The cost was a bit more than dinner in the park, but was better food.  After showering up and watching a couple of episodes of Johnny Quest, we hit the sack to prepare for our drive home.

We got up early on Sunday to beat some of the back-from-the-Jersey-Shroe crowd at all the toll booths along 95 and to get home by mid-day to unpack and relax a bit before going back to work on Monday.

It was a great vacation.  Since 99% of my Email is on classified networks I cannot access while on leave, it was relatively easy for me to forget about work for a change.  We’re beginning to think about next year’s vacation, which will likely include Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, perhaps Nebraska, and Montana to see Glacier National Park.

Back to work.  🙁

2011 Vacation: Day Fourteen: Mt. Killington Area


Today was a bit of a slow day, picture-wise.  My digital camera has been acting squirrelly lately.  Today it ate about half my pictures from the walk around Leffert’s Pond.  I’ve liked this Kodak; it’s been a good camera.  It looks like it’s days are numbered, however.  I don’t suppose digital cameras can even be repaired.

I began the day with a six-mile run, which seemed to be all uphill.  There WAS one stretch of a mile and half uphill that was pretty difficult.  We had a nice breakfast, featuring freshly made blueberry pancakes, at the hotel.  (Blueberries seem to be the only thing I like that’s actually good for me!)

Then we were off for a hike.

View of the reservoir near Leffert's Pond
View of the reservoir near Leffert's Pond

Near Mt. Killington is Leffert’s Pond.  It was a nice walk past lakes and streams.  At one point the trail split and we headed off in what we thought was the right direction.  (It turned out we WERE correct.)  The trail brought us through some marshy areas, which involved gingerly skirting the edges of morasses.  We had thought the hike was supposed to be “easy,” so we didn’t wear proper shoes.  Despite that, it was a very enjoyable hike.

Leffert's Pond
Leffert's Pond

It’s hard to beat these kinds of views!

After our walk around Leffert’s Pond, we headed to Pico Mountain ski resort.  They have an Alpine Slide, which is like a dry, warm bobsled ride.  You sit in little plastic sleds and then careen down the side of a mountain through fiberglass troughs at high speed with little control.  It’s great fun.  You take the ski lift to the top, where you grab a sled and slide down the mountain.  In addition Candy and the kids did a bungee cord trampoline thing, and we all played miniature golf.  After five or six runs down the mountain, we called it a day and headed down the highway to Connecticut to our hotel.  Tomorrow we’re going to spend the day at Six Flags New England.

Chair lift at Pico Mountain Advenatures
Chair lift at Pico Mountain Adventures

2011 Vacation: Day Thirteen: Into Vermont

Leaving Franconia Notch area heading to Vermont
Leaving Franconia Notch area heading to Vermont

We left Lincoln, NH, after a huge breakfast involving blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup.  The weather was sunny and warm, so the views were terrific.

The Cabot Cheese visitor's center
The Cabot Cheese visitor's center

Our first stop was the factory tour for Cabot cheese.  The tour was minimalist, but we did get to see cheddar in the making and learn the difference between curds and whey.  Cabot is a farmers’ cooperative, so all the farmers who participate in the co-op get a share of the profits at the end of the year.  We also learned that more aging makes cheddar sharper.  Average, run-of-the-mill cheddar ages two to four months.  Extra sharp ages about twelve months.  Some of their more “select” cheese is actually aged in caves not far from the factory.  They had lots of cheeses to sample while awaiting the tour, and we walked away with quite a few blocks of the cheese.

Apparently there are not very many residents of Vermont; note this license plate number!
Apparently there are not very many residents of Vermont; note this license plate number!

We found this license plate very funny.  Look at the number: four!  Where have you ever seen a single-digit license plate?

There are two competing stories of how Vermont got its name.  The first claims that a Dr. Peters, saw Mount Killington and christened the area “verd mont” in 1763.  The second lore traces the name to a letter from a Dr. Young to friends in which he calls the area Vermont in 1777.  It seems to me that both could be true.

The Ben and Jerry's ice cream visitor's center
The Ben and Jerry's ice cream visitor's center

Our next stop was the Ben and Jerry’s factory tour.  We enjoyed the stop, but frankly we’ve been on much better factory tours.  The introductory movie was more about Ben and Jerry’s commitment to left-leaning ideas than it was about how ice cream is made.  The Blue Bell tour in Texas was a better tutorial on the production process.  After a small sample of ice cream at the end of the tour, we got back on the road.

Moss Glen Falls, the most photographed falls in Vermont
Moss Glen Falls, the most photographed falls in Vermont

Along route 100 and complete unmarked are the Moss Glen Falls.  We were looking for it but missed it the first time.  There was a pull off, but no marking whatsoever.  These are purported to be the “most photographed falls” in Vermont.  Given the single-digit license plate number and the fact that the falls are unmarked, I’m not sure what would constitute the “most photographed.”  In any event, the falls were quite spectacular and were in fact two sets of falls 50 feet apart from each other.

Texas Falls in Green Mountain National Forest
Texas Falls in Green Mountain National Forest

We took a detour off the scenic highway into the Green Mountain National Forest to see the Texas Falls.  When we first approached the falls, they were mostly hidden, so they didn’t look like much.  As we got closer, however, the crevasse cut through the rock seemed to open up, revealing their full extent.

The Texas Falls
The Texas Falls

We were standing on a walking bridge to take these pictures.  Interestingly, just on the down-stream side of the bridge, we could see the rock in the picture below.  Look how the falling water has cut this nearly circular path through the rock.

See how the falls have carved this rock!
See how the falls have carved this rock!

Vermont seems a lot more “blue,” leftist, Commie, and Hippie than I expected.  This is general impression based on the bumper stickers and signs I have seen hanging around.  I would have expected a place involved in so much hunting, fishing, and agriculture to be more conservative.  (On the other hand, New Hampshire seems more conservative than I expected.)  My buddy Mark, who grew up in Vermont, said it wasn’t like this in the past, but he seemed to validate my impression of the current state of affairs, commenting that Vermont is becoming a “welfare state.”

We stayed for the night near Mount Killington.  This is a ski resort area, so in August, it seems pretty dead.  We ate dinner at an Irish pub and came back to the room to finish a game of Phase 10 that we started yesterday.  I won, which made Sam pout, since Phase 10 is her game.

Tomorrow we’ll be doing a couple of hikes and then heading to Massachusetts, where we’ll be going to a Six Flags.  Our vacation is drawing to a close, which is sad.

2011 Vacation: Day Twelve: Franconia Notch and White Mountains National Forest

Entrance to the Flume Gorge, Near Lincoln, NH
Entrance to the Flume Gorge, Near Lincoln, NH

The weather didn’t cooperate with us much today.  I ran a few miles toward the entrance to Franconia Notch State Park in the morning.  After breakfast in our room, we headed to the Flume Gorge.  The Flume Gorge is a gorge created by falling water over many years that has cut its way through the rock.  Many of the views were spectacular.

Walking up the Flume Gorge
Walking up the Flume Gorge

It drizzled and rained on us throughout our visit, but the views were nonetheless exciting.  Because of the rain, the water was falling a little faster than normal through the gorge.

Side note:  I found that in general the employees at the New Hampshire state parks are neither helpful, friendly, nor personable.  It seems like the rangers at the national parks are much more friendly.  We had no major incident, but this is just my general impression.

The falls at the head of the Flume Gorge
The falls at the head of the Flume Gorge

The falls at the top of the gorge fall in a series of small drops over rock worn smooth over years.

Sammy discovers who is living in the "Bear Cave"
Sammy discovers who is living in the "Bear Cave"

There were a number of naturally-formed caves along the various trails we walked through the gorge.  One is this “Bear Cave.”  Another is the “Wolf Cave,” which gave the kids an opportunity to crawl through a dark tunnel formed by several large boulders resting next to and atop each other.

More falling water in the Flume Gorge
More falling water in the Flume Gorge

It’s difficult to capture the magnitude of these various falls in photographs.  You can’t really get close enough to them to put a person in the picture for perspective and scale.  Throughout the gorge the sound of rushing water is quite loud.

Driving through the White Mountain National Forest
Driving through the White Mountain National Forest

After visiting the Flume Gorge we went for lunch, hoping that the rain would clear up (as predicted) so that we could go on some SUNNY afternoon hikes.  Somehow those weather folks who can forecast global calamities associated with climate change over hundreds of years (with little real science behind those predictions) can’t seem to forecast the weather three hours from now.  The predicted all-afternoon sunshine only poked through for a couple of hours between three thirty and six in the afternoon, to be followed by rain of biblical proportions in the evening.  In any event, it was clear enough to go for a drive along the scenic highway through the White Mountains National Forest.

View from one of the many scenic overlooks
View from one of the many scenic overlooks

Despite the dreariness of the afternoon (partially compensated for with computer image manipulation magic) and the low clouds, we were able to get some nice views of the mountains and valleys between Lincoln and Conway, NH.  The low-lying clouds made some of the pictures better, while completely blocking all views from other overlooks along the highway.

Sabaday Falls
Sabaday Falls

We took a very short hike out to the Sabaday falls about halfway between Lincoln and Conway.  These falls seemed as tall as the ones in the Flume Gorge, but they didn’t have the same drama of having cut a deep crevasse through rock.

Sabaday falls with some people blocking part of the view
Sabaday falls with some people blocking part of the view
Our hotel
Our hotel

We really like our hotel in Lincoln.  Many of the hotels in Lincoln have retained a nostalgic feel, including many separate, small cabins.  The Mt. Coolidge Hotel is no exception.  It has the feel of a hotel in the early 60’s.  It is immaculately maintained, so it doesn’t feel like an old, run-down hotel; it feels like stepping back in time a bit.

Another view of our hotel
Another view of our hotel
Sammy's balloon animal from Mo the Clown
Sammy's balloon animal from Mo the Clown

After a couple of hours at the hotel pool, we went to dinner at a family restaurant that had a clown making balloon sculptures every Wednesday night.  Sammy received this cute balloon dog.  We had planned to follow up dinner with some miniature golf, but the torrential rain put the cabash on that idea.  Instead we went back to the hotel and played a card game, called Phase 10.  Despite the poor weather most of the day, we enjoyed seeing many interesting sites and beautiful vistas.

Tomorrow we’re off to Vermont.  Those accurate weather forecasters are predicting better weather tomorrow around Killington.  We’ll see…

2011 Vacation: Days Ten and Eleven: Moosehead Lake and Mount Washington

At the close of the unsuccessful moose canoe trip
At the close of the unsuccessful moose canoe trip

Our second day at Moosehead Lake began with a 0500 wakeup to meet our guide.  We took a 45-minute drive to a hidden pond in the back country, followed by a two-hour canoe ride to try to spot moose.  We had a false start at the boat launch, because two women proved to be completely unable to paddle or steer their canoe.  So Tommy, sporting his canoeing merit badge, took over their canoe and saved the day.

View from a canoe of our moose pond
View from a canoe of our moose pond

We saw some very nice scenery, but we didn’t spot any moose.  The guide claimed she saw signs that a moose had passed that way “recently,” but that may have been a canard.  In any event, the two hours in a canoe were great fun.

Tom and Sam on Moosehead Lake
Tom and Sam on Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake was designed to be some “down time” in a hectic schedule.  We spent the rest of the day lounging around the hotel, reading by the lake, and playing dominoes.  It was very windy, so we couldn’t throw the frisbee around.  We were wishing we had brought the bocce set.

Washing the dishes after breakfast
Washing the dishes after breakfast

We were a bit cold and wet from the canoe trip (we were in a light rain for most of the canoeing), so we made grilled cheese and soup for lunch in the room.  For dinner we had chili dogs and salad.  The we finished the dominoes game we began the day before.  We finished the day by watching some Mickey Mouse cartoons on the computer before calling it a night.

Going uphill on the Cog Railroad up Mount Washington (the pine trees are straight up and down)
Going uphill on the Cog Railroad up Mount Washington (the pine trees are straight up and down)

The next morning we drove through western Maine to Mount Washington, NH.  Though it was obscenely expensive, we took the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington.  Built in the 1870’s, the train uses a gear (cog) to pull the train up 30-degree slopes.  It was a marvel when built, and it is still awesome in its conception.  If you look at the picture above, you get a sense for the slopes the train climbs; the trees in the picture point straight up and down.  This picture is taken level with the window frames of our train car.

Passing another Cog train going downhill as we were going uphill
Passing another Cog train going downhill as we were going uphill

The weather atop Mount Washington is known as the harshest climate in the world.  Because of its annual average temperatures and snowfalls, Mount Washington is officially classified as arctic tundra.  It is engulfed in fog 60% of the year.  Average temperature in July, it’s warmest month, is in the 40’s.  We were lucky.  Despite wind, fog, and rain, during our visit to Mount Washington, the temperature only reached the 50’s.

This building is held in place against the terrific winds by those chains going over the top of it
This building is held in place against the terrific winds by those chains going over the top of it.

We found this building interesting.  Originally built as a weather station, today it houses a gift shop.  Notice the chains that go from cement blocks anchored deep into the ground over the top of the roof and into cement blocks on the opposite side.  These chains hold the building from blowing off the mountain during heavy winds.

It gets windy up here
It gets windy up here

The wind did not reach 231 MPH on our trip.  The wind probably exceeded 231 MPH on this record-setting day.  At 231 MPH the dynamometer broke off and blew down the mountain.

While the clouds became thick while we were on Mount Washington, this is the best view we had of the mountains below.
While the clouds became thick while we were on Mount Washington, this is the best view we had of the mountains below.
"Jacob's Ladder," the most treacherous part of the journey
"Jacob's Ladder," the most treacherous part of the journey

This section of track is called Jacob’s Ladder.  It climbs a 37-degree slope and cants 30 degrees to the left.  The benches at the front of the car are twelve feet higher than those at the back of the car.

Hiking toward Alethusia Falls
Hiking toward Arethusa Falls

After returning to the bottom Mount Washington, we decided to take a hike to see some falls in Crawford Notch.  It was getting late, so we had to force march the 1.4 miles to the falls.  There were steep grades, steps cut in the side of the trail held in place by 14-inch logs, and very rocky trails.  It was a relatively strenuous hike.

Alethusia Falls
Arethusa Falls

In the end, the falls were worth the journey.  After some of the spectacular falls we saw in Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Rocky Mountain National Park, I wasn’t expecting much.  These are the tallest falls in New Hampshire and were very impressive to see in person.

From Crawford Notch we headed to Lincoln, NH, and our hotel for the night.  We stayed at the Mt. Coolidge Motel, which is very “mom and pop.”  When we called to let him know we would be late (since we didn’t complete our hike back from the falls until almost 2000) the owner said he’d leave the light on in our room and the key in the lock; we could check in the next day.  I love mom and pop places run by personable people!  Lincoln New Hampshire reminds me of Granville, IL, near where I spent many summers as a kid.  Despite the tourist trade, it seems to have managed to maintain a small-town ambiance.

2011 Vacation: Day Nine: From Acadia to Moosehead

Bass Harbor Light House
Bass Harbor Light House

We began our last day in Acadia National Park with a quick trip to the Bass Harbor Light House.  It was only about two miles from our hotel.  A short walk down a trail and a long set of stairs took us to the rocks below the light house where we took these photos.  The area  below the light house was strewn with pink granite.

Another view of the Bass Harbor Light House from the rocks below
Another view of the Bass Harbor Light House from the rocks below

It was our intention to visit the Jordan Pond House and Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on Mount Desert Island, before heading to the Moosehead Lake region.  Clouds rolled in, and it rained steadily for hours.

A view of the salt march near Bass Harbor
A view of the salt march near Bass Harbor

This is the view on either side of the road leading from the light house toward Cadillac Mountain.

Rain in front of Jordan Pond House
Rain in front of Jordan Pond House

We did stop at the Jordan Pond house.  When we went in to visit the gift shop — the nicest on the island, I think — it was overcast.  When we came out it was pouring.  Nevertheless, we went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain hoping the rain would subside and we’d be able to see some of the views from there.  The rain never subsided.  We went down into Bar Harbor for lunch with the idea of returning to the mountain afterward, but it was still raining hard, so we declared defeat and headed toward Moosehead Lake.

Chalet Moosehead in Greeneville, ME
Chalet Moosehead in Greeneville, ME

We stayed in a small motel on the lake’s edge in Greeneville, ME.  While the proprietors were not very personable, we like the hotel.  It had a small kitchenette and a beautiful view out the back window.  We went to the local grocery store and stocked up for two nights.

View out the picture window of your room
View out the picture window of your room

We made quesadillas for dinner in our room and then settled down to some serious dominoes action.  We had a 0500 wakeup for the next morning, so we called it an early night.

Dominoes Death Match
Dominoes Death Match

2011 Vacation: Day Eight: Acadia National Park

We spent day eight of our vacation at Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, ME.  The views were tremendous!  We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather.  It was in the 70’s most of the day and sunny.

Tom and Sam climbing toward the top of Mount Acadia
Tom and Sam climbing toward the top of Mount Acadia

After I completed an eight-mile run through a portion of the national park, we set out to do some hiking.  Our first stop was Mount Acadia for a “strenuous” (according to the hiking map) hike to the top.  Sammy led the way, and occasionally forgot to watch for the blue blazes on the trail, so we wandered off the approved path twice.

View of Somes Sound from atop Mount Acadia
View of Somes Sound from atop Mount Acadia

We made it to the top without too much trouble and enjoyed the cool breeze.  It was just after 1000, and the morning fog hadn’t burned off yet, so all our pictures have that Smokey Mountains look to them.

We had lunch in a sandwich place in Bar Harbor and then headed to the park headquarters.  Then we drove along the park loop, enjoying the views.

Sammy at Thunder Hole
Sammy at Thunder Hole

We stopped at a site, called Thunder Hole.  A couple of hours before high tide, the tide rushes into the gap between the rocks and makes a crashing sound like thunder.  We arrived about a half hour late to hear Thunder Hole, but the views over the pink granite cliffs were outstanding.  We took some time here to take a batch of pictures.

Climbing one of several "ladders" up to the Beehive
Climbing one of several "ladders" up to the Beehive

Tom, Sam, and I decided to climb a mountain near Thunder Hole, called “The Beehive.”  This is another strenuous climb, so Candy decided to hang out near the Sand Beach (the only sandy beach on the island) and ogle, while we climbed.  The climb involved several ladders up sheer cliffs, shuffling along rock ledges, and scrambling over rough terrain.

Is that Arnold Scwartzenegger?
Is that Arnold Scwartzenegger?

Again, fearless Sammy left the trail and had us climbing over terrain we had no business climbing until we backtracked and got back on the trail.  We got behind a very overweight man who looked both petrified and exhausted, so we hung back a little.  I was worried he was going to fall off one of the ladders and take Sammy with him.

View from atop The Beehive
View from atop The Beehive

This picture doesn’t really do the view justice.  It was amazing up there!  It was well worth the 40-minute climb.

The Beehive from the ground
The Beehive from the ground

As we were climbing up, we were concentrating on the climb and the views.  We didn’t realize until we got back down how steep or tall The Beehive was.  If you look very closely, you can see one small white speck just over pine tree.  That is someone’s shirt.  That gives you some perspective on the climb.

We drove back into Bar Harbor to find a restaurant that had been advertised on the tourist TV station.  They claimed that “we do garlic right.”  Well that appealed to me.  When we found the place it turns out that they may do garlic right, but they charge you an arm and a leg for it.  We went to the pizza joint next door for calzones.  Both Tommy and I had fresh garlic in our calzones.  They were not skimpy with the garlic, and Tommy and I were safe from vampires well into the next day of the vacation.

One of the competitions at the Great Maine Lumberjack Show
One of the competitions at the Great Maine Lumberjack Show

After dinner we drove into Trenton, MA, just over the bridge from Mount Desert Island, for the Great Maine Lumberjack Show.  The owner and host of the show, Timber Tina, apparently was on one of the earlier incarnations of Survivor.  The show was really a lot of fun.  The humor was family friendly.  She took the time to explain the various lumberjack skills and competitions before they began, so it was also a bit of an educational experience.

Sammy learning to be a Lumber Jill with a cross-cut saw
Sammy learning to be a Lumber Jill with a cross-cut saw

At intermission, they show the kids how to use a cross-cut saw.  Sammy said the saw did most of the work and that it was really easy to cut the log.  We went to this show because it looked unique and fun.  It was a good choice.

Tomorrow we’ll spend a little more time in Acadia and then off to Moosehead Lake.

2011 Vacation: Day Seven: Lexington, Concord, and on to Maine

Entrance to Minute Man National Historical Park
Entrance to Minute Man National Historical Park

Today we visited Lexington and Concord, not far from Boston, MA.  I really could have spent more time here and would have liked to hike the Battle Road, but three hours were all Candy and the kids could take.

Minute Man Statue near the site of the brief skirmish on Lexington Green
Minute Man Statue near the site of the brief skirmish on Lexington Green

We began in the visitor’s center in Lexington, which is very close to Hanscom Air Force Base, where we spent the night.  This is the wrong place to start.  There is little in the visitor’s center and almost nothing related to the battle to see in town.  Except for this statue (above) and a nice diorama of the fighting at Lexington in the visitor’s center, Lexington is just a nice town.

From Lexington we headed toward Concord to the Minute Man National Historical Park visitor’s center.  Tremendous!  They have a 20-minute movie about Lexington and Concord which is outstanding.  (Even Candy and the kids enjoyed it!)  From the visitor’s center, you can get on the Battle Road trail (which would be good for walking, biking, or running).  There are a couple of buildings near the center that featured in the retreat from Concord in small ways.

One of the markers along "Battle Road," the line of march back to Boston from Concord
One of the markers along "Battle Road," the line of march back to Boston from Concord

The real highlight, however, is Concord.  They’ve reconstructed the North Bridge.  The visitor’s center (which is not nearly as nice or informative as the Minute Man one) is on the site where MAJ Buttrick had moved his men to better see the bridge and downtown Concord.  A student intern gave a very good talk near the bridge about the fighting at Concord.

Reconstruction of the North Bridge in Concord
Reconstruction of the North Bridge in Concord, where the "Shot Heard Round the World" occurred
Monument at Concord near the North Bridge
Monument at Concord near the North Bridge

I really enjoyed this visit, which rekindled my interest in the American Revolution.  Next time my friend Nick attends the Lexington and Concord re-enactment, I might see if his unit has some extra stuff they can loan me so that I could participate.  I might also like to drag Dave up here to run the 16-mile trail from Concord to Boston.

From Concord we headed to Southwest Harbor, on Mount Desert Island, ME, not far from Bar Harbor.  It was supposed to be a five-hour drive, but it took over seven, mostly due to really bad traffic around Boston and along the border of New Hampshire and Maine.  Once we checked into our hotel, just outside Acadia National Park, we went to dinner.  This Summer while on his week-long cruise with the boy scouts on Chesapeake Bay, Tommy had his first crab.  Since we are in Maine, Candy and Tommy had 1-1/2-pound lobsters.  Sammy was creeped out by Tommy’s lobster “staring at her” during dinner.  Tommy went after his lobster like he was dissecting it for biology class.  While the verdict was that lobster is “not my favorite thing,” he enjoyed it.

Tommy's first lobster at Sea Food Ketch near Southwest Harbor, Maine
Tommy's first lobster at Sea Food Ketch near Southwest Harbor, Maine

Tomorrow we’ll be hiking around Acadia National Park and also seeing a lumberjack show in Trenton, Maine.