Part 25: Lubec, ME to Mt. Washington, NH


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The Trip

Lubec, ME is the easternmost point in the CONUS.  Our objective was to see what was there and then head into the Baxter State Park and have a look around.  From there, we would head to the southwest and visit Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Along the coast route, we saw plenty of kayakers out in the bays.

One of the odder buildings we saw on the route.  We did not stop; I can only guess that this is the Blueberry Museum or something like that.

Our campsite in Lubec was nice with broad lawns and a nice view of the water.

From our camp, we had a clear view of the bay.

Once we finished in Lubec, we headed out to the easternmost point, West Quoddy Head.  The day was generally clear, but quite hot.

The lighthouse at West Quoddy Head was still in operation; there is both a lighthouse and a fog horn at the station.  We were told that the lighthouse is a clone of the one on Point Loma in San Diego.  What a coincidence.

The view from Quoddy was spectacular.  There are many rocky outcrops along the coast and the fog can make travel treacherous.

From Quoddy, we headed north along the coast.  We were going to see the fireworks at Eastport, but the place was full.  We could not find any place to camp and the town was in the middle of it's annual Fourth of July parade, so we just continued further north.  We stayed at some nondescript campground that was filled with folks that were celebrating.  Next morning, we continued north toward Baxter State Park.  We could not reach the park in the daylight, so we holed up at a site close to the eastern boundary: Shin Pond.  The place was nice and virtually deserted.  There was only one other rig in a place with 50 sites.  Above, you can see some of the folks out in their canoes on Shin Pond.  The camp was great, but very buggy.  Next morning, we broke camp and headed to Baxter State Park.  We stopped along the road to tighten a strap and a fellow stopped to ogle the mog and chat.  He advised us that we would not be able to enter the park because we were TOO BIG -- too wide, too tall and too long.  He spoke with conviction as his Fuso 4x4 truck had been refused and it was clearly smaller that ours.  We had rather expected this due to some of the signs that had been posted lower on the mountain, but we were willing to risk the refusal on the outside chance that the might let us pass.  But, now armed with local information from someone with nothing to gain, we turned around and headed back the way we came.  This small event would constitute the northern terminus of our trip as all of our future travels would be taking us south and west.

Our path took us past a big dam in Skowhegan, ME.  We had a close view of the spilway.  When we finished at the dam, we headed west toword Farmington to find  a campsite for the night. We settled on a place called the Troll Valley Resort.  The only troll we saw was behind the desk at the check in counter.

Along the way,  I saw this skidder in a used equipment lot.  Like most skidders used in logging, it has chains on the tires.  But, I never got a good look at the chains until now.  These appear to be home made, but with the big spikes, I am sure that they are effective.

Skidders are the ultimate off road machine.  The claw on the back is used to grab and tow logs to the loading site.

We left Farmington and headed west toward Mt. Washington.  Along the way, in Mexico, we spotted this nicely done custom hot rod.  We passed a bunch more oncoming on the road, so we guessed that they were having a meet in Mexico.  Oddly, we never found a Mexica restauant in Mexico, ME.

The dam in Rumford, ME

The outflow area of the dam had this sign that seemed a bit scary.

The powerhouse looked eighteenth century, but I never confirmed the age.  The water level of the reservoir was just below the top of the powerhouse.  In fact, you can see the spillway on the left.

The bottom of the spillway area had these mini-geysers due to water pressure form seepage behind the concrete.

We traveled west to Mt. Washington.  We had lunch at a nearby town and found out that you can drive to the top of the mountain.  We tried, but they turned us away at the toll gate.  Again too big.  So, as a fall back, we drove around to the west side of the mountain and took the cog railway to the top.  The railway was pricey at about $65 a seat.  But, there are very few of these in the U.S. so we decided to do it anyway.  Above is a shot of one of the engines used on this route.  This steamer can be ridden, but for an extra fee and it only travels once a day.  Since it was late in the day, we opted for the next train.

This was the original engine employed on the Mt. Washington Railroad.

They had some other interesting steam powered equipment there on display at the base station.  This looks like a steam roller used for road construction.

This is a steam tractor.

Our ride to the top of Mount Washington.

The track to the top is very steep.  The operators claim that they have the steepest section of track for a cog railroad after Pike's Peak.   The track has shifted somewhat resulting in an interesting ride.  The cog system is visible as the center "rail", but it is really like a bicycle chain laid out flat.  At the top of the photo, you can see the last pitch that takes the train to the mountain station.

I spotted the downhill train coming at us near the top of the upper pitch.

Except for the steam engine, all the motors in service are diesel hydraulic.  The actual cog motor is a hydraulic circuit so it can be "locked" if required.

Much of the track was on the side of the mountain.  It was rather scary.

At the steepest part of the track, I stood in the isle.  I was not holding on, so I was vertical.

The switching mechanism for the track is quite complex due to the cog rail.  This switch is the last manual switch on this track system.

Near the top of the run, we could see rock cairns associated with the Appalachia Trail.  The stacked rocks are "guideposts" for the trail that are invaluable in the fog.

We finally reached the mountain station.  The modesty panels on the side of the motor were off due to some problem.  The boxes on the side of the engine are hydraulic fluid coolers.

Mt. Washington is the tallest mountain in the area, and therefore hosts a variety of communication equipment.

Kathleen poses by the summit sign.  There were tons of deer flies in the area while this photo was taken.

The view from the top was limited by the fog and clouds in the distance.  Mt. Washington is famous for foul weather; 231 MPH wind gusts have been recorded on the summit.

Another train pulls into the mountain station.

I was expecting a standard hitch between the engine and passenger car.  This hitch is designed for uphill use only and allows the angles of the cars to vary as hills and bumps are encountered in the track bed.  But, this design requires that there be a brakeman on duty in the passenger car during descents.  The passenger car has cogs as well, but these are used as part of the braking, should that be required.

One of the new, hydraulic switches.  These switches are fully automatic.

This was a nice segment of our trip.  Mount Washington was quite interesting, and we were lucky that the weather was kind.


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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
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