Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bikin' the Giant Slide Loop Carriage Road--TWICE

Bar Harbor, ME     High: 81   Low: 62

Oh, yeah...This is gonna be a good story today...Well, depending on how you look at it. From Sparky's viewpoint, it was BAD. From Eldo's viewpoint, it was BAD. From the blogging world's viewpoint, it could be humorous, it could be sympathetic or empathetic, it could be, HOW COULD YOU BE SO CARELESS!?

Sparky decided to go on a serious bike ride today, more than the usual number of miles. How about 8.2? How about it's higher in elevation than any other carriage road in the system, taking you on the shoulder of Parkman Mountain to an elevation of 780 feet? THAT would be a GREAT workout! That's good. Sparky decided to go alone, as Eldo doesn't enjoy steep inclines and his bike is not working properly--the gears are messed up and it doesn't shift right. That's bad. We're gonna get it fixed--soon! That's good. Sparky had her little book with her AND a map. That's good. The weather today was beautiful! That's good.....Sparky had no trouble finding the parking lot on 198 for Parkman Mountain. That's great! Here's Sparky at the beginning of the trail ride.

Sparky set out on her Trek hybrid which she just got last week. That's good. Riding up on the hills and inclines is SO much easier now, with a lighter bike. Sparky got a really great trade in value on her old Navigator Trek comfort bike. That was REALLY good. The new bike was less than what we paid for for the old bike three years ago.That's REALLY REALLY good. Sparky maintained a fairly level ride for the first 3.2 miles. There were many pretty things to see....The sun is Mother Nature's spotlight early in the morning. This little seedling picked a tough spot to grow. Sort of like the expression, "Bloom where you are planted", wouldn't you say?
Several things caught Sparky's eye....This fern was spotlighted in the forest....

The leaves are just hinting of what is to come this fall....Bet it's incredible here at Acadia....

That was good. Sparky came to the seven little bridges encountered on a previous, shorter bike ride. She enjoyed seeing them again...That part was good.

The climb started....

Past the Chasm Brook Bridge...Not one of the prettier bridges in the park, but still nice...Sparky climbed and climbed, passing several interesting trails along the way.

And finally, the summit! The views were spectacular, as always....That was GREAT! Sparky stopped to have some water. Whew! Made it!

Should be an easy downhill descent from here on out. It was...With more fabulous views on the way down....

Sparky got back to the parking lot for a total of 8.2 miles today and went to get in the car...No keys...that was bad. Sparky searched and searched, emptying out pockets, dumping everything out of the fanny pack, including the bazillion acorns she had collected for a craft project. Looked everywhere around on the ground. Searched her pockets and fanny pack again and again. They've got to be here somewhere. NO KEYS. Now it's REALLY bad....Sparky did not have her keys and no way to get home. Luckily, she had her phone and there was a cell signal in the parking lot. In a lot of places in the park, there isn't. She called Eldy. Eldy was very patient and understanding. THAT was REALLY good. Eldy had to take THREE buses to get to the side of the island where the Parkman Mountain parking lot and Sparky were. It took almost three hours riding the buses and making the transfers. That was bad.....

In the meantime, Sparky decided to head BACK out on the SAME trail and redo the SAME route. That was a BAD idea..Sparky's normal bike rides are anywhere from three to six miles, tops, on these carriage roads. NONE of them are flat rides. Back for 3.2 miles on fairly level terrain, BACK past the seven little bridges on uneven, hilly terrain, BACK up to Chasm Bridge where she had stopped and had water. MAYBE the keys had fallen out of the fanny pack there beside the bridge. One could only hope....Sparky made it to the bridge. NO KEYS....By this time, she was exhausted, having biked WAY many more miles on up and down steep terrain. She couldn't go any further to complete the whole trail. Eldy texted Sparky and let her know he was back in the parking lot, with the spare set of keys.  Sparky headed BACK down the hills again...adding another total ten miles to the already 8.2 she did earlier. Eldy was waiting patiently, sitting in a camping chair in the shade....Bless his heart!

By the time she got close to the parking lot, she was ready to cry from exhaustion. For some reason, the road back to the parking lot didn't look like any level terrain coming back! It seemed to go on for ever and ever! Sparky panicked and thought she wasn't on the right trail to come back to where the car was parked. It seemed just too long. She could hear the highway down below, so she walked her bike through scratchy pine needles and branches, skirting around fallen logs, through the woods, straight down to the highway below. When she came out in the clear, she saw the Parkman Mountain parking lot sign just ahead! YAY! Made it! That was good!  Eldy wasn't mad, THAT was good....Sparky's knees hurt. That's bad. Gonna take some Aleve and ice 'em...That's the ticket! Maybe somebody will find the keys and turn them into the ranger station....Maybe not......Sigh.....What a day!


  1. Oh Jeanne, Jeanne, Jeanne

    All I gotta say is it's a good thing Eldy is a patient man. I think Al might have left me there.....no he would have done the exact same thing and never said a word. I'm so glad you had cell service. It would have been scary.

    I hope the knees are better today.

    BTW, thanks for the info on driving in the mountains. We'll be re-reading that as we head into Asheville.....and maybe asking more questions. As I recall our manual didn't really go into mountain driving too much. It seems it basically said to rely on the Allison transmission. We'll definitely re-read it though.

  2. Oh, my! I was hoping you found the keys. You definitely lead a non-boring life. ;-)

  3. That is quite a story! So how much are you going to ask when you put the bike up for sale:)