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getting older
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I spent the last week on Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor, Maine) - hiking, biking, running, swimming and sailing. It was a great trip and will be our last major vacation B.C. - my wife is 4+ months pregnant.

I strongly recommend Mount Desert Island for a biking vacation. We're fortunate that a fellow RBR member (singlecross) owns a cafe that makes great coffee and he knows the carriage roads very well.
http://www.randonneecafe.com/

So here are my tips:
Guide Book - Buy this book ahead of time and read through it if you aren't overly familiar with the area:
http://www.amazon.com/Acadia-Complete-Desert-Island-National/dp/0967890438
It was the highest ranked book in Amazon and we thought it was pretty accurate and up to date.

Entering Acadia - The reports of how to enter or pay to enter Acadia (National Park) varied in every source we read. We found there are only a couple of 'official' entrances that had 'toll booths' and most places you could enter without hassle. A park ranger told us they don't ticket and this park is run in a much more laid back manner than most national parks. We had nothing against paying and eventual did - it's $5/person (if on foot/bike) or $20 for a group which gives you a hang tag for a car. We opted for the $20 since we felt that was cheap for a week long pass and weren't sure if we would take the car into the park on a later day.

Carriage Roads - As singlecross had told me, the carriage roads (45 miles total) are really well packed fine gravel. In upstate NY, we call it a cinder path and it's identical surface conditions to the path along the Erie Canal. We rode on 28mm Paselas at 10psi below normal (~75-85 psi) and it was perfectly fine. For a dedicated tire, I'd choose a 32 mm, but you could even get by on a fat 25/26mm road tire if you're not too heavy.

Park Road - There are many websites that say the park road is insanely busy and you should never bike on it because it's unsafe. The road is the most beautifully paved 2 lane rode I have ever been on. We were passed by no more than 10 cars over 25 miles between 730-930am, but were stuck in mild traffic on a different day at 11am. The posted speed limit varies from 25-35 mph and you can reach that on bike without trouble.

Island Roads - Some of these are really nice, but then you will crest a hill and round a bend and find yourself on horribly cracked and bumpy roads requiring you to hug the center double yellow line. There is an incredible FREE island shuttle service that will take you to all of the towns on the island. The buses even have front and rear bike racks for up to 6 bikes. We rarely saw a bus that had more than 4 bikes on it and buses do seem to come about every 30 minutes.

Bar Harbor - We were surprised how busy a Maine island town could be at night. We stayed in the center of town and found that the town stayed alive until the many bars closed at 1am. Our closest comparison would be Lake Placid, NY, but Bar Harbor was probably 2x busier in the summer and stores stayed open until 10pm. Since there is minimal activity here in the winter, they really pack it in during the summer. I'd recommend staying just outside of the center of town or in one of the other nice towns on the island that don't have the high density of tourists.

Notes about the pictures:
We took our new VW Diesel Jetta Sportwagen on it's first long trip with bikes - gas mileage dropped from low-mid 40's to 38mpg with the bikes on top. We took the scenic drive along route 1 through the coastal communities and stopped for roadside Maine Blueberries.

The Nashbar front mini rack is a great rack to strap on flip flops. Just make sure you tie them down well - they flew off when we hit one of the crappy island roads. Trunk racks are great for carrying pastries - we rented a house two doors down from a bakery. Blueberries also line most of the hiking trails and carriage roads, so no need to buy them in the store.
 

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Nice Pics. Acadia is just about my favorite place on the planet. In fact, I think it is. I've been there 5 or 6 times and would go back in a heartbeat. Unfortunately Mrs. Versatile is the type that likes to go where no man has gone before. She doesn't like to visit the same vacation spot twice. Despite that I've gotten her to go several times and am currently working hard on another trip there.
 

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Nice pics. The park loop road is one of the prettiest rides I’ve ever been on. I’ve done it in early June and September to avoid the busiest times. You are more likely to have good weather in September than in June. The walking trail around Jordan Pond is highly recommended.
 

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Wife and I just got back from doing pretty much the exact same thing. We camped in the park a couple of nights then hit a nice old hotel in Southwest Harbor call the Claremont.

We were on 25mm Paselas, cause that was all the clearance we had, and they were a little dicey going down hill, so good call on the 28s.

Also we too loved the RANDONNEE CAFE in Bar Harbor. Don't miss it if you go there everyone!
 

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getting older
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Embarrassing is the fact that I somehow managed to fit into my Cornell jerseys in college. My wife now uses them as her early maternity jerseys - but thinks she'll grow out of them in a few weeks. I guess I didn't eat or drink enough in college. I can't squeeze into them at all anymore.
 

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Bacon!
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Great report. Someday I'll get out there. Someday. . . . .
 

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godless
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just got back myself

after a week of biking in MDI. (You look familiar.) Rode the Park Loop every morning at about 7:00 (best time). Must mention the extension up Cadillac Mountain: 1,000 ft. in 3 miles followed by a great downhill with unmatched scenery!!
 

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Nice that Singlecross took care of you.
 

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Oh man....another Acadia travelog. They make me envious and full of desire. Nice photos. Thanks for sharing the details as well (must bookmark for future use...).

We're looking at buying a TDI Sportwagen. I'll have to hit you up later for details of your experience with yours. The inside shot showing the panoramic sunroof makes me think this should be on our list of options.

Oh, and congratulations on your impending parenthood. It's a ride like no other in life.
 

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Glad you enjoyed you stay here in Bar Harbor... It was nice to meet and ride with you. Any RBR member on their way up here should feel free to contact me for some local route tips and rides... I host a weekly ride out of my Cafe on Monday afternoons at 4:20pm until snow falls. It really is spectacular riding!

Also thanks for the support of my Cafe'... I'm still commuting on the bike nearly daily but my postings here have tapered off as business calls. I'll be sure to post some more pics of rides soon. I also have some Earth, Wind, and Rider merino wool longsleeve full zip trainers on order for Fall that I'd be happy to discount for RBR members if there is any interest.

Be well and bike often.

singlecross
www.randonneecafe.com
 

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One of my favorite vacations ever was at Acadia. We didn't have bikes, but did a lot of hiking in the area. Would love to go back with my bike and sea kayak.
 

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tarwheel2 said:
One of my favorite vacations ever was at Acadia. We didn't have bikes, but did a lot of hiking in the area. Would love to go back with my bike and sea kayak.
I've got kayaks you can use... and bikes if you ride a 55cm or so.
RBR commuting group rendezvous in the Fall anyone?

singlecross
 

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singlecross said:
RBR commuting group rendezvous in the Fall anyone?
Fall 2011 perhaps. We're talking it up for a "last kid graduated from college" fling next year.
 
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