Day 89. Saturday, 27th July. From Milbridge to Northport, Maine

Up early. Our location by the restrooms and shower meant a flow of people passing by us, so no hanging around in bed. Several people stopped to chat and gave us advice on places we should see on our way south today. 

Our first stop was a look out point with a number of information boards about local history and architecture. A great view looking towards Scoodic Point. a fishing vessel was circling in the bay beneath us, pulling up pots of lobster or crabs.

We stopped a couple of times to try and get some wifi, Walmart is one place where it is supposed to be available, but I couldn’t get connected. Walmart also allow self-contained vehicles – vehicles with an onboard toilet, to overnight in their car parking. There were a number of RV’s and campers parked at one side of the car park, so we went to have a look. There were some grassy areas next to the car park where we could put up our Caranex, if needs be. Not the most pleasant place to camp, but its free and if you are stuck for a campsite, it’s a good last resort.

I wanted to go to Bar Harbor, probably the most well known town along the coast. We had been warned this morning that the further south we went the more crowded it would be. I was also a bit concerned when I read in Lonely Planet that it is a cruise ship stopping point. We set off on the road to Bar Harbor, but the traffic was bumper to bumper in the opposite lane coming back from there. We decided we did not want to be sitting in a traffic jam and sadly turned around and gave it a miss.

Carrying on on Highway 1, we thought we would try and reserve a space on a campsite for later, as yesterday the campsite was so full. The first place we stopped at wanted £53 for their last space. Too much just to camp overnight, we thought.

Our next stop was at the Penobscot River. The original Penobscot Narrows bridge was built in the 1930’s and was apparently a much admired structure. In 2003 it was found to be unsafe. It was patched up, but by 2007 it was decided to replace it. The new suspension bridge has an observation deck in one of the towers. The bridge overlooks the historic site of Fort Knox – not the one containing the nation’s reserves.

They are, however, both named after the same person, Major General Henry Knox, America’s first Secretary of War and Commander of Artillery during the American Revolution.

A combined entry ticket allows you to ascend the bridge’s tower and go into the fort. There was a picnic area too, so we had our lunch first and then took the lift up the 450+ feet to the top of the tower and the viewing platform. Next a visit to the fort. 

The American Revolution and the War of 1812 brought enemy British ships up the Penobscot River during both wars. The British did get control of the river and laid claims to some of the surrounding area. With the Americans being victorious the Brits were unable to maintain control though.

The US government thought they were vulnerable to further attacks and so to protect the prospering towns up the river, including Bangor, decided a fort was necessary. Construction began in 1844. It’s construction was spasmodic as the necessary funds were not always forthcoming. The fort saw two periods of military activity. First during the Civil War and again during the Spanish American War, but on both occasions the fort was not finished so the troops were garrisoned outside in temporary wooden building or tents. The forts two levels and four batteries contain mounts for 135 cannons, although no more than 74 cannons were ever brought to the site.

Once again a search for a campsite was our next priority. Finding one at Searsport which looked as if it might be suitable, we went to investigate. The usual story, we are very busy and don’t have a tent site, you can have a fully serviced site for $65! A ridiculous price. Off we set again, but shortly after found another site in Northport for $25. it might not have a beachfront, but we just want somewhere to put up the tent and relax. We are in a pleasant spot overlooking a pond where two little girls are hunting for frogs. There is a laundry here, much important to us than a sea view!

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