Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 7 - Portland, ME to Camden, ME

The day dawned too soon. It was finally here. We didn't have any more direction or appointments, I had only planned us to this moment and no farther. Now we were on our own and had to begin making decisions. First decision being where to go. With Mike and BRW's ideas in mind (and many maps that Mike had sent through Google last night) we decided to make our way to Camden, Maine, a small coastal town with lots of charm.

Of course, being tourist season, it was difficult to find a location to stay. Oilburner scoured Google while I turned to Travelocity. I've never used Travelocity, but it proved to be quite handy on this trip. We both found the same hotel downtown, the website showed no availability. Travelocity did. I took the chance and paid through Travelocity, assuming "what would be would be" if we had a room when we arrived.

We packed the bags onto the bikes and chatted with our hosts for a little bit. They were highly impressed with our exposure to the Portland landmarks and very happy that we had enjoyed everything. The it was time to go.

Mileage to Camden was a mere 83 non-highway miles. We had instructions to add Land's End. But that wasn't going to add much distance. You can see we weren't in any hurry.

My GPS promptly headed us to the freeway. Oops. I made the correction to avoid interstates and started off again. I'm so glad we stayed on back roads. Rounding a curve and emerging from the shade of an overpass...what to my eyes did spy? DeLorme, a mapping and GPS company.

I am a huge map freak. As a 16 year old my room was covered in maps. I had stolen all of the National Geographic maps from storage and taped them up. Country maps, continent maps, state maps, thematic maps, they were all good. I love wondering how other people around the globe are living. BRW and I discovered our shared love of maps and she told me about DeLorme. I expected to avoid it for a reason! I can't pass up mapping or mapping gift shops.

I gave Oilburner a chance to curtail this. He knew the trouble he was getting into if he let me near it. I gave him the chance to say no. Lucky for me the best hubby in the world gave me carte blanche. I think I literally bounced in my seat until we were parked.

Straight through the doors and you are greeted by Eartha, the Guiness Record Holder for largest rotating globe. Eartha measures 41.5 feet in diameter (12.6 m). The scale is 1 inch representing 16 miles, or one millimeter represents 1 kilometer. The imagery is a composite of satellite, shaded relief, bathymetry, road networks, and urban areas.

Onward to the gift shop!! I kept telling myself "it has to fit in the saddle bags." Repeat after me "it has to fit in the saddle bags.". Dinghy Oilburner asked, and discovered, they have free shipping. Uh oh... I'm not telling you what we bought or how much we spent. It was lovely, like Christmas, when the box arrived at home three days after us. Everything perfectly packed and fun to unwrap. ;) (I will tell you that the glow in the dark moon clock is both LOUD and BRIGHT. The image is compiled of 65 high resolution images of the surface of the moon.)

Shopping bug quieted for awhile, back on the bikes, we rode past the BMW shop. I offered Oilburner the chance to stop and pick out some BMW Yarmouth paraphernalia. Oilburner didn't go for it. Sheesh, you would think coming from a Harley he might be into collecting "local" brand items, but it wasn't so.

Mike had made a tactical mistake in Portland, pointing out a Tim Hortons to me. I was blissfully living my life under the impression that Tim Hortons ONLY existed in Canada. But I am here to tell you they are also in Maine. Now, I don't know much about them, just that they supposedly make a good coffee. As fas as anything else they serve, I am clueless. Not being a huge coffee drinker you may wonder why I was so fascinated. But come on! They are only supposed to be in Canada. (Later Internet searches revealed they have at least 500 stores in the US, and expanding.) I turned down Mike's offer to go to one for dinner. However, I wasn't passing up the opportunity when I saw one in Brunswick. We had been looking for a break and this was going to fit the bill. Hmm...pastries and coffees. Yum.

I ordered an iced mocha coffee and exploding fruit muffin. Oilburner ordered Dr. Pepper and a couple donuts.

The road is smooth, the weather is perfect. I didn't map out Land's End and therefore I completely missed it. The traffic is stopped approaching Camden proper, but the trusty GPS navigates us through side streets that bypass all this and get us to the hotel.

Make or break time...do they have a room for us. I pull up in front of the steps and am openly stared at by a lady emerging from the entrance. I'm glad I didn't mutter "take a picture, it lasts longer" into my helmet because she probably would have heard me. Once I manage to get out of my helmet she nervously smiles and says "you're not my daughter." Seems her daughter and son-in-law were expected on their bikes today too. :)

I'm greeted by name in the lobby by a lady that could be a dead ringer for Bridget Moynahan, who informs me that I reserved that last room. (I'm not completely sure I buy that, but I'm sure it sounds good to most people.) Check in was a breeze, private parking put us near the entrance and soon we were in a wonderful double queen room on the third floor with windows overlooking the river and downtown.

We were soon in more comfortable attire and strolling through the shops of downtown. We made our way over to the park with a wonderful view of the harbor.

The Great Rebellion (so called in the North.  "The War of Northern Aggression" from the South.)

We enjoyed a snack of ice cream over the river. Luckily the river was so far below that the ducks foraging for kibble couldn't get near us. Life must intrude though and we needed to take care of some laundry. The hotel had a washer and dryer, so we grabbed the iPads or books and headed down. As nice as the upstairs common area is, the laundry/exercise room is the opposite. I wasn't terribly impressed with the panties hanging on the wall.

Dang that is some dirty water.

Laundry just wiped us out! So tiring! So we made use of the most comfortable beds (sorry honey, you are sleeping alone tonight!) and took a short nap. It was blissful leaving the windows open, watching the curtains flutter in the breeze, listening to the far off street noise. But hunger pangs do awaken. We requested a good dining place from the concierge. He gave us the merits of quite a few, and we settled on Peter Ott's. Oilburner was hankering for a steak while I wanted something light like a salad.

We opted to sit in the bar to allow us the opportunity to people watch everyone on the street. (The deck over the harbor was for reservations...) This forced the bartender to serve us, but she took it in stride and we try not to be too demanding. I was mulling over what to drink, trying to find something that caught my interest. The bar sign held something appealing so I inquired.

Turns out the bartender had created the Moody Blues Martini. Well...considering it was her concoction I just had to try it. Yum, yum, yum!! Blueberry with a slight hint of lemonade and a small twist of lemon rind. Oilburner received his 7&7 fit for Paul Bunyon.

When it came time order I guess I threw a wrench in Oilburner's plans. I couldn't see leaving Maine without trying the lobster. With prices what they were, and this being Maine, lobster capitol of the world I was leaning towards the lobster cakes or lobster macaroni and cheese or lobster corn chowder. Our bartender/waitress said the Mac & Cheese was wonderful.

Oh yum! I've never cooked with Panko, and this was the creamiest, tastiest, with white cheddar and all a little baked. Drool, drool. Oilburner took it to heart about the lobster and dove in head first, ordering one. I have only ever eaten lobster one other time in my life, decades ago. And neither of us knows how to eat one of these things. The waitress was a great help and really enjoyed laughing at with him.

Oh yes, we had our perfect Caesar Salad, and dessert was the most decadent Gingerbread. I will have to see if they can ship this at Christmas. A little caramel on the bottom, soaking into the warm cake. Heaven. Pure heaven.

Camden rolls the sidewalks up at night, at least on Thursdays. Luckily our stagger home was only one and a half blocks, and we managed not to fall into the river. This was our first night able to sleep without the air conditioner. I love being able to leave the windows open. Only had to get up once to close the curtains on that light shining in.

There might be a few more images on Flickr that I haven't included here.  :)


  1. Lori:

    thanks ! Now I have a craving for Lobster. Your food look delicious.

    I thought Tim Horton's was only in Canada Eh ? I also like that fruit explosion. Did you buy any timbits ? I also like the honey crullers. Up here they also make good soup

    Camden looks like a neat place. Good that you managed to enjoy life without air conditioning, just like us

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Hi Bobskkot! Well...go get some lobster! ;)

      It would seem that Tim Hortons is really world wide. I was reading they are even in Dubai! And since they are franchising, they really would like to expand in the US. I didn't try anything other than the muffin. I could have ordered one of everything though.

      Camden was wonderful. I would definitely go back and spend more time there.

  2. Really looks like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing the pictures & narrative!

    1. Thank you! Sometime I worry that I write too much, but then think that I am also documenting this for myself in the future. So I hope it doesn't get to tedious for everyone. ;)

  3. Exploding fruit muffin indeed! What about the convivial cup cake?

    It looks so nice there it could almost be in Europe!


    1. Hi Nikos! No convivial cakes. Many honey temptresses though!

      Are you implying only nice places can be in Europe?? You expect dirty ones in the US? ;)

  4. Now that looks like an awesome day. Good food, good hotel, beautiful scenery.

    I haven't been to a Tim Horton's in years but I hear some of them don't bake their own goodies now, they have a central TH bakery and are frozen and shipped. Hope it isn't true.

    1. Thanks Trobairitz. It was a perfect day. So many one this trip!

      That's a shame if TM goods are frozen and shipped!! I hadn't seen anything on that. But I was reading the accusations of there being nicotine in the coffee. TM proclaims that a myth.

  5. Looks like an amazing trip. And the lobster!

    1. Hi Traveler! Thank you for stopping by! With your help, the next installment is coming soon...and you are one of the few who knows where it is. :)

      Camden was so enjoyable. I don't know if you have been there, but if you have a weekend for travel...I would love to see your reaction. LOL.