Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beautiful Bridges

Bar Harbor, ME    High 72: Low 59

One of the most beautiful parts of Acadia are the granite bridges and crushed stone carriage roads that are all over Acadia National Park. Most of them are in the park, but some are private roads. You can bike or walk or horseback ride the carriage roads that are designated for these. The Wildwood Stables, off Park Loop Road, offers different horse drawn carriage tours and one of them is a two hour narrated tour of the Rockefeller bridges. Adult tour price for the bridge tour is 24.50 a person, and well worth it! Tours are in an open carriage but shady most of the way, you'll want to pick a day with nice weather to head out.....

On the bridge tour, you see three bridge structures, get to ride on private carriage roads, and see the gate towers that allowed passages from one carriage road to another. There used to be bells on the end of the sticks that carriage drivers would ring with their whips and the landowner's cook or housekeeper would come out and open the gates to allow passage through.

The horses that pull the carriages are beautiful. We're not sure if these are Clydesdales or Belgians, but these are the stable's horses.
This is the carriage that we rode in. There are others that are really interesting and have the passengers all facing the front.

We had a delightful narrated tour from Mitchell, a spry 83 year young gentleman, who brought his own Belgians to pull our carriage, Don and Chip (?). Doesn't he look terrific for 83?

Mitchell wasn't in any hurry to rush through the tour. He would stop often and during that time we would get passed by one or more other carriage drivers leading tours. Which was fine, because he took his time, told us lots of stories and much more detail about John D. Rockefeller. The tour was really more about John D. Rockefeller than it was about seeing the bridges. We saw three bridges and one of the gatehouses in our two hour tour.

We learned a LOT about the granite carving process, how precise and particular "John D." was about constructing the seventeen bridges and single lane carriage roads. Every granite block in the bridges are precisely cut and fit to perfection. The radius on the bridge arches is measured to exactness, the roads are a precise 16 feet or 20 feet wide, no more, no less. He made them single lane as to prevent the automobile from taking over the island roads inside the park. Rockefeller had his construction teams lay a layer of pitch over blue clay across the bridge sections before laying the granite blocks, thus weatherproofing the bridges, something very innovative for its time.

The drilling process was an amazing story in itself, how one man held a drill bit with his HANDS and a team of three other men took turns hammering the drill with mauls in sequence. If a guy missed, the drill man could lose a hand. How men built these bridges in the twenties and thirties without the use of all the technology and machines we have today is a testament to a hardworking generation that built some amazing monuments! We saw evidence of the drill bits and lines downward left behind in the stone cliffs as we passed along the roads.

Every one of the granite blocks marking the sides of the carriage roads, or "Rockefeller's teeth" as some people call them, has a rod anchoring it to the stone beneath.

We learned how concerned Rockefeller was about preserving the lands for future generations, how he was a naturalist above being a rich man, how determined he was that the land be preserved after he was gone, how generous he was in giving his land acquisitions--over 10,000 acres-- to keep the park in its natural state as much as possible.

Rockefeller along with two other men, Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University, and George B. Dorr, a leading conservationist, and others, designed and built more than 50 miles of broken stone carriage roads. Along the roads are magnificent hand made granite bridges and fabulous scenery.

The tour today took us along some of the private carriage roads, some that are only for hikers and carriages--no bikes allowed. At one bridge, we stopped and got out of the carriage to explore the Cobblestone Bridge, the first of Rockefeller's bridges, built in 1913, and the one that has a totally different look from the rest. It's made of cobbles for the main part of it along with the granite blocks. Considering all his bridges were constructed in the early 19th century, the excellent condition of the bridges some 80-100 years later shows how well they were constructed.

The stories Mitchell told about John D. Rockefeller made you want to go out and read more about him. He was a remarkable man, WAY ahead of his time as far as preserving this beautiful area of Mount Desert Island. Thanks to him, we have amazing places that remain unspoiled and unpolluted by cars. When you are in a carriage ride and going back deep into the forest, you are going back in time to a place that remains as it was back in the early 1920's.....

Mitchell was a delightful guide, he was so enjoyable to listen to, and he had a great sense of humor, which really added to the tour. At one point, Sparky asked, "Have you lived here in Maine all your life?" His reply, "Not yet!" He is a "Mainer", through and through, having no desire to live anywhere else but Maine. He lives about 80 miles away from the park. The stables call him in as an extra hand during the summer when they need help. He brings in his own team of Belgians who seemed to be bigger than the Belgians at Wildwood.

We loved our carriage ride tour today and highly recommend it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy, Busy and the Brewery

Bar Harbor, Maine  High: 79  Low:62

courtesy of the web, NPS photo
Note: After talking about wanting to do a challenging hike yesterday, on the news this morning, we heard that a young girl in her twenties fell and died from her injuries doing one of the more strenuous hikes, the most dangerous and most challenging hike in Acadia--the Precipice Trail. Sparky will NOT be attempting any hike in the near future that involves pulling yourself up steep mountain ledges on iron rungs or any hike with steep dropoffs to one side. Once she saw the photo of a portion of the trail (see right photo), she was convinced! (WHEW! sighs E.) The bothersome thing about this, is when we were at the visitor center and Sparky expressed an interest in doing the Precipice Trail, the young ranger said NOTHING about needing to be in shape, that this trail should only be attempted by the experienced, serious hiker. They say in their literature that it's not for the "faint of heart" or for "anyone with a fear of heights", and they describe the trail in words, about how you have to use your hands to pull yourself up on iron rungs and ladders, but a photo speaks a thousand words. You'd think when a pudgy, gray haired senior citizen shows up talking about doing the Precipice Trail, they'd do their best to talk you out of it, or at least find out what your background hiking experience is, hoping the visitor will be truthful. I think they should have photos there at the desk to show prospective hikers what they are in for. But here's the OTHER bothersome part. How many people would bother to come to the ranger center first and get information? Who's to say they wouldn't just pick up a trail map somewhere and go out and venture out on their own anyway? You are the one who makes the final decision whether you ought to do something stupid or something intelligent and carefully thought out. Heck, we have enough troubles remembering to bring adequate amounts of water and snacks on a little hike. Well, not the snacks, haha...

Here is a link to the story that tells the heroic efforts everyone went to to try and save the hiker. http://www.kjonline.com/news/NH-woman-falls-60-feet-during-Acadia-hike-dies-.html

another view of the Precipice Trail
Today we moved to the OTHER Encore park, Mount Desert Narrows. Mount Desert Narrows Campground is right across the bridge on Mount Desert Island. It's actually the nicer of the two parks as far as atmosphere and view, but not quite as big rig friendly. Sites are a little more uneven, some are terraced, and there are a lot of weekend warriors that come in with travel trailers and tents. But  the atmosphere is more like a community. It's definitely a more active place with a LOT more families. We are not cut off from the rest of the park like we were in Narrows Too because we were on a special rate. We have an even better rate here, a summer special of $99.00 for the week, and we have a terrific view of the ocean/ narrows/bay.

They have 10% discount rates on regular summer season rates--Good Sam's, AAA, and AARP. The parks here all charge a 3% resort fee, which seems like it shouldn't apply in a campground situation. There are lots of campgrounds to choose from in the area, but many of them are too tight for big rigs or too difficult to maneuver around in, and they are usually more expensive. In case anybody is wondering, the two campgrounds in Acadia National Park do not accept any rigs over 35 feet, nor are there any hookups or utilities at Blackwoods Campground, or Seawall Campground in Acadia.

The summer special rate is great, however, here at Mount Desert Narrows, we are in a less expensive site...30 amp, no sewer, no cable, BUT--we have a great view. The showers and bathrooms are just across the street from our site.

They do have 50 amp sites with full hookups (FHU) and more amenities in other sections of the park, but that is a different rate schedule. Our Verizon wi-fi is only one bar here, but you can purchase wi-fi and it's decently fast. For some reason, Verizon mi-fi worked much faster on the other side of the bridge, on the mainland. Well, duh, Sparky!

Sites are a mixture of gravel and/or grass. There are some areas of the campground with LOTS of trees, and other parts with a few trees. No cable, but seven (three are PBS) channels thru the antenna. We can't get NBC to watch the Olympics. (Boo-hoo, says E. AND Sparky). We don't have satellite service, so Eldy is making do with what we have. AT & T cell phone service is very good. There is a small pool with a very small waterslide and a small laundry. They have a canoe launch. Looks like Sparky might be putting in her inflatable Sea Eagle kayak if she can figure out the tide schedule and not worry about all the submerged rocks.

Once we got settled, we headed over to the Atlantic Brewing Company for a FREE tour and FREE tasting opportunity. Tours are every day of the week at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. Eldy loves microbreweries and this one was just a good as the last as far as the beers go. Since Sparky doesn't drink beer, she took photos.

Sparky loves cool labels, neat packaging and creative names....If she had the space, she'd be collecting beer bottles from cool microbreweries all over the country! (And I'd be drinkin' 'em! laughs Eldo.)

Although the tour was free, and you can't beat that, it wasn't the best tour. The young lady giving the tour spoke WA-A-Y too fast, and she was done with the entire beer making explanation, equipment explanation, and tour of the factory in 20 minutes. Factory is a loose term here, it's a TINY microbrewery with a BIG presence in Maine. Two guys do the bottling process, just to show how small the operation is. They make 13 beers, and occasional specialty, seasonal beers bring the total up to 17.  Eldy loved the Island Ginger beer and the Summer Ale. Sparky LOVED the root beer and the blueberry soda...You can't be in Maine and not see blueberry EVERYTHING everywhere!

Attached to the brewery, sort of, is the Mainely Meat BBQ Restaurant. After your tour, sit down, have a brewski and some BBQ, but we didn't. We are not big BBQ fans, so we went looking for CHOWDAH and LOBSTAH. More about that another time....
eerie fog line rolling in heading towards summit
On to Cadillac Mountain this evening...It was a washout! Or should we say a FOG OUT....Clouds were rolling in all afternoon, and by the time we got over to Cadillac Mountain, heavy fog had rolled in over the summit. We saw NOTHING!  It was so windy and the temperatures so cool, that it felt like a windchill factor of about 40 degrees. Sparky threw on Eldo's down filled camo jacket he had in the car.
Sparky is in danger of being blown over by the wind!
Then she checked out the view at the top just to be sure nothing was to be seen. It was really, really windy! Hope nobody was out on the ridge trail up there before the fog rolled in!

There wasn't anything to be seen....
Whew! Sparky thinks that's enough stuff for one day.....The blog needs to shrink a bit!  We'll see what we can do in the next few days to pare it down...or NOT!  :-)  (I could nap a good part of the day away, that would help, says E., kidding...) Or NOT! :-)  About time for another hike....An EASY hike!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sparky's Little Solo Adventure

Trenton, Maine  near Acadia National Park   High: 79  Low: 58

Sparky decided to venture out on the Island Express, the FREE shuttle buses that L.L. Bean partners up with Acadia to provide FREE transportation all around Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. You can get just about anywhere you want to go except up to Cadillac Mountain, you'll have to drive yourself there. She wanted to see how the buses operated, how long it would take, and if you could get to any hike you wanted by taking the bus. You can, it just takes time--LOTS of time. Today, the buses were standing room only, that is unusual for a weekday! Dogs are allowed on the buses and sometimes take up seats. Sparky couldn't tell if all three dogs on today's bus were service dogs or not. Two of them were wearing vests, and the third one wasn't. Buses come at least once an hour in many locations, if not more. They were on time, very comfortable and are environmentally beneficial, they run on propane. Sparky thought she couldn't get lost on a bus, just on the hike, so she had a 50-50% chance of getting back home in time for dinner. (She left at 9:40 AM, folks....)

It took an hour just to get from the Narrows Too campground to the Hulls Cove visitor center, normally about a 25 minute drive by car. At that point, Sparky transferred to another bus that was doing the Park Loop  Rd. route. Sparky wasn't sure which hike she was going to do by herself. She decided to do a little people watching on the bus, and when a whole bunch of people got off the bus with their hiking poles, she got off with them--at Sand Beach. She knew there was a good hike there because she had the trail map with her. Such a scientific methodical mind at work, don't you know!

Yup, this is the trail, see the blue blaze painted? click to make larger
Sand Beach is not the biggest beach, but it's one of the coolest ones, literally! Water is an arctic, refreshing 55 degrees (!) usually. Cliffs surround the sides of the beach. Not very many people swimming in the cold water, but it was also a cooler beach today with a cool front coming in and ocean winds swirling around the cove today. It was probably 68 degrees. A nice 1.5 mile loop hike starts on the eastern side of the beach, and is called the Great Head Trail. It's considered a "moderate" hike in the books--"some steep grades, some level stretches." It's a relatively level evergreen forest hike AFTER you scramble over boulders and seaside cliffs, check out the view at the top, then back down the boulders again to get back to the beach.

If you have aging bad knees or hips, it's gonna be a little bit of a challenge. This is part of the trail!

BUT--if four year olds can do it, which Sparky saw a bunch of little kids scrambling over the boulders like little monkeys with their parents, then anybody can do it if you take your time. Hiking sticks help with balance and coordination and planting a position coming down a slippery boulder.

There were three kids on this hike with their moms, and all the kids looked to be under the age of eight. Sparky soldiered onward.....

You just gotta watch where you plant your feet! Easy to turn an ankle on these rocks and boulders and crevices, that's for sure!

Sparky did not want to be foolish (Nah, not Sparky!) and pick a hike that was crazy strenuous, so she picked this hike today because 1) there were lots of people on it in case she ran into trouble, and 2) it was listed in the easy hike book. It was great! The scenery was terrific! And the people were really nice and friendly, going up and going down. It appears to be a popular hike, but then, in the summer season, all the trails are busy.

When Sparky got down to the bottom, she rewarded her tootsies with a cool off in the cold ocean waters. Boy, that felt good! AND--Sparky did NOT get lost on the bus, or on the trail. Both were well marked and she CAN read a bus schedule. Let's hear it for Sparky!  Woo-hoo! (Don't give her too much encouragement, folks, or she's going to be gallivanting all over crazy trails on her own. She just needed a little individual adventure on her own today. Hopefully, that will take care of that fierce independent streak for awhile that she has.) Eldo is crossing his fingers.....

If you want a crazy, get-your-adrenaline-going, scare-the- pants-off-you strenuous hike, then the following hikes fit the bill:

Acadia Mountain Trail, Beehive Trail (iron rungs on edges of exposed cliffs, very steep), Cadillac   South Ridge Trail, Perpendicular Trail (Mansell Mountain), the Precipice Trail (more iron rungs and ladders on steep cliffs with exposed cliff ledges), and Sargent Mountain....  While on the bus, Sparky saw the people doing the Beehive Trail, and they looked like they were clinging to the side of the mountain for dear life, with nothing but sheer cliffs above and below them, like Spiderman scaling a vertical cliff.  SCARY! But interesting..Hm-m-m-m....(Uh-oh, don't you be thinking about going on that hike by yourself or even with me! warns E.) I don't THINK I am, but you never know, it might be the challenge of a lifetime kind of thing. (Sigh!)

As Sparky got ready to catch the bus to come home, people watching ratcheted up a notch. A large group of Amish stepped off a van at the visitor center. They were quite a curiosity to many folks who probably don't live around them. The children were barefooted, Sparky wondered if they were going hiking or just down to the beach to check it out, or maybe just getting information at the visitor center. She surreptitiously snapped a quick photo on her phone. (Tch, tch! Sparky knows better, you are not supposed to photograph the Amish!) Well, I know you are not supposed to ASK them to pose, but thought this might be ok since it's from a distance.

Last shot of the day was a disgruntled student coming off a field trip bus from the local schools. Maybe not disgruntled? Just his mind was elsewhere. Thought he was the perfect picture of a kid who'd rather be someplace else at the moment, although it's difficult to imagine a more beautiful place than Acadia. It made Sparky remember all those field trips where she had to keep track of how many students did we have? "Who needs to go to the bathroom? Stand over here." "You forgot your lunch?" She always packed extra sandwiches or snacks for that kid whose parent either didn't fix him one, or the kid left their lunch in their locker. That kind of stuff......

Bye for now, see you on Cadillac Mountain, or on a hike, or who knows where Eldo will be next in Acadia? He might be at the Atlantic Brewery for a free tasting and tour, you never know!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just Call Me "Gabby"!

Trenton, Maine   Acadia National Park   High: 77  Low: 61

Time to get off our duffs and onto the bikes, we've been here almost a week and haven't hit the carriage roads for a bike ride yet! Sparky wanted to go back and see this scene from 2010...It's on the Eagle Lake Carriage Road ride...Two years ago, we did the carriage road bike ride of 6+ miles late in the day....
Today, we did it early in the morning about 8:30 AM...There were LOTS of people already out and about and on the trails, but we managed to snag a parking spot for our car. It's Sunday, and so there are more people than normal getting out on the trails. There seemed to be LOTS of people in scooters and wheelchairs, both on the trails and at a boat launch, getting ready to go kayaking on this beautiful day today. That's so great, that these trails are handicap accessible for anybody wanting to be out in this beautiful national park. The trails are very wide and well built and well maintained.

When I went back to find the photo I wanted to remember, I was shocked to see how little I used to write. I've gotten really gabby with my posts! I don't know if that's a good thing or not...guess I'm putting in more details than I used to, with the idea that somebody might want to know more about a particular bike ride or tour, other than "it was a great tour!". Or that we might want to have more details in order to remember as we get older, haha....

Awesome bridges on carriage roads in Acadia
I notice our complaints were the same..."we need to get in shape to be doing this!" Guess we sort of swing back and forth between doing a LOT of physical stuff, so when we come to these elevated hilly rides they will be easier to do, or we vegetate depending on where we are staying and don't do enough to stay physically active. We struggled a bit today with the elevation coming right at the initial start of the ride. We had to get off the bikes and walk a bit, which is fine..MOVING the body is a good thing whether you are walking or riding!

On our ride today, we spotted this boardwalk trail through the woods...It was beautiful!

Sparky talked to a ranger later after we were done, and he said the Eagle Lake carriage road is one of the more level ones (!). Really? You could have fooled us!  I looked back at our blog for July, 2010, and we said back then, what one person's idea of "easy" is, is VERY subjective. Whew! At least we did it! And we're going to do some more, right, Eldo?  RIGHT, ELDO? He says, "Right!" But right now, he's recuperating on the couch...  :-)

Sparky rode her bike a lot in the month we were in Texas, so she's a little ahead in the fitness department at the moment.  But hey, we both think it feels great to be out in the fresh air and have so many choices of getting fit and in better shape here in Maine. Sometimes that's hard to do when you are out on the road full time. We've stayed in lots of campgrounds where the roads aren't safe to bike on, where there aren't any hiking trails, and we've missed that! So here's to better days ahead and getting in shape! YEAH! (Eldo heaves a big sigh......)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Climbing Beech Mountain, An Easy Hike

Trenton, Maine  High: 77  Low: 56

It's listed in the Falcon Guide book, "Best Easy Day Hikes- Acadia National Park", all about easy hikes in Acadia...But not the way WE did it! And it had nothing to do with Sparky being navigationally challenged, but it was more about Sparky' persuasive ways than anything. We pulled into the parking lot this morning, and promptly found the trail head. The wrong one.

The wrong one, that is, for the easy hike. HA! This was supposed to be a 1.1 easy hike. However, the name of the trail marker didn't match the name in the book. Sparky told Eldo that the park was in the process of changing the  names of the trails back to the historic names when the park trails first were named, which they are. So, the fact that the trail head name didn't match the one in the book quite exactly, was no big deal, Sparky insisted. Eldo, being easily persuaded, acquiesced, which means, he wisely kept quiet and let Sparky have her way. And off we went, on a really beautiful hike through the forest with lots of boulders.

Which was clue #1.....the boulders kept getting bigger and more plentiful....
And harder to climb and get over.....
After we had gone MORE than a mile, we realized that we must have taken a wrong turn, but we soldiered on. Sparky saw some really cool mushrooms or fungi...whatever they are!
Some weird looking yellow ones....
And then, the challenge began....
See the blue blaze on the rock? Yeah, they actually want you to do some rock climbing...We passed some hikers and found that after getting sidetracked and taking a loop trail we didn't mean to, we were on the trail to get to the summit of Beech Mountain and the fire tower.
And------We made it!
We climbed the first level of the fire tower, that was as far as the park would let you look out over the fantastic vista below....I guess the original fire tower was wood and was replaced by a steel fabricated frame and brought by helicopter in the '60's.
Here's the view from the boulder summit of Beech Mountain...
Here's Sparky at the summit of Beech Mountain....

As we started down, we took a break on a ledge, ate some snacks and pondered our wonderful life together, sharing these great hikes and views all over the country.....

It was an exhausting climb today, but perfect weather to do it in....Sparky wants to ride bikes on a carriage road tomorrow.....Ok, Eldy?  Eldy?  Eldo?  Hm-m-m-m-mm, might have to wait a day on that one......

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Oceanarium-Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine   High: 77  Low: 53  Great sleeping weather! Open those windows, Eldo!

a rare BLUE lobster, it was beautiful!
We've been seeing this little sign for a place called the "Mount Desert Oceanarium". It's all about lobsters and learning more about how the Bar Harbor lobster hatchery works, see a "hands on" kind of place for little kids and big kids, and learn everything lobster. We  decided to check it out. For 13.50 a person, you get to see and touch and feel some cool animals from the ocean, hear a lobsterman talk about 60 years of hard work, see a cut away view of an old lobster boat and some lobster traps, and view some interesting exhibits about sea water. It was just great! It's a tiny place, and they apparently had a fire, which destroyed part of the place, but it looked great today. It's kind of a little place that someone had a dream to make a place where families and visitors could come and learn about something very important to the area, lobstering. Informational signs are handwritten which just added to the cozy charm of the place.

The whole thing is contained in several different rooms, the total size about the size of a small ranch house. There's even a little gift shop there which had some nice things. It's very charming.

Sparky loved the Discovery Pool Touch Tank...One of the young guys, we think he was a college student working there for the summer, gave a half hour talk about the different animals found in the ocean in the area. He takes each creature out one by one, you dip your hands into salt water so you can handle them. He passes sea stars around, a scallop, a sea cucumber, and several more species and you get to know them up close and personal by hearing lots of facts about each one. We learned some great stuff today...the most interesting creature was the sea cucumber..It was slimy and felt like a miniature jello football. The sea cucumber ejects its intestines and stomach contents when threatened by a predator, hoping that the predator will eat that stuff and not the sea cucumber! He then grows a new intestine in a short period of time. UGH! But interesting! While he was holding the sea cucumber, it squirted something out one end. Sparky asked if it was peeing, but no, it was just ejecting water that passes through its body. (Can't take that woman anywhere without her asking embarrassing questions! mutters E.) This creature (mollusk?)  can take his "foot" and curl it all around inside his shell and "shut" the "door" so a predator can't eat him!
We listened to Reggie Knowles, an area lobsterman, who started when he was 10 years old and due to an accident relatively recently that happened out on the sea, can no longer be out on the ocean working his beloved trade. He had been lobstering for 60 years! He was very interesting, but a little hard to understand with that eastern accent and a soft voice. He gave a very personal tale of his experiences and how hard the life of a lobsterman is. He talked about the evolution of the lobster traps and the dangers of his job. He also talked a lot about the language you might hear on the docks, and recommended that women and children stay away! :-)

We saw a BLUE lobster and learned some interesting facts through the exhibits. Here Eldy is trying on a pair of goggles that shows you what a lobster sees, which is like looking a one object split into multiple views. He saw a BUNCH of Sparkys, which scared him half to death, because ONE Sparky is plenty enough to handle!
Then we listened to a young woman talk about the lobster hatchery. It is a small operation, but very successful in raising lobsters to a young stage to be released into the ocean. She showed us a pregnant lobster with THOUSANDS of eggs attached to her body waiting for the right time to release--when the eyes on the little bitty eggs are bluish. That brownish mass? It's thousands and THOUSANDS of eggs!
In the initial stages of release, the lobsters are called plankton when they are very very tiny, so thousands of them get eaten by all the fish and predators in the sea that eat plankton, like whales. Not a lot of lobsters make it to adulthood, but they can live up to 50-100 years if they do!

Did we enjoy our tour of the Mount Desert Oceanarium today? We shore did! We highly recommend it! Still waiting to go on a hike, Eldo! (Sigh! he says...) Tomorrow should be a REALLY good day for one, with perfect weather conditions...sunny, highs in the seventies...In all fairness to Eldy, he was ready to go for a hike today, but our mi-fi totally quit working. Sparky didn't want to mess with hours of tech support, so we headed to Bangor, Maine to the nearest Verizon dealer. After an hour of the Verizon guy talking to tech support and trying everything under the sun, rebooting, taking out the sim card, the battery, resetting the mi-fi at Verizon's end, we found out we had a bad sim card. Replaced the card, and voila! We have internet again! Whew! Just a few hours of the thought of not being able to get our mi-fi fixed for days, sent us into a panic! Yay, Verizon! Problem solved! There's only one more problem, we are going through data like crazy. But that's another blog for another day.....Bye!