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Square Peg in a Round Hole

In the movie Apollo 13, an engineer comes into a conference room and dumps a bunch of hardware onto a table. The goal? To fit a square peg into a round hole. The problem? After an explosion crippled the Apollo 13 spacecraft, the three astronauts went into the Lunar Module for much of their flight home. However, the module wasn’t designed for three astronauts together; only two would be descending to the lunar surface. With each breath, the extra astronaut helped overload the CO2 scrubbers in the lunar module.

The crew had plenty of scrubbers for the command module, but did not have backups for the lunar module. Why couldn’t they plug the command module scrubbers into the lunar module? They were different shapes and sizes. The lunar module used cylindric scrubbers while the command module used cubic ones.

That’s when NASA’s engineers got to work to solve the problem. Using only equipment available to the astronauts, the engineers in Houston were able to fashion a workaround that used the command module scrubbers in the lunar module.

When we arrived at Bar Harbor Campground in Maine on July 13, we had to fit a square peg, our 35' fifth-wheel trailer into a narrow, uphill campsite with trees on both sides of the "round hole". In addition, the turning area on the road was downhill and had boulders as a barrier on the driver side of the turn. Karen and I had to "work the problem", with an audience to boot. Fortunately, one of our neighbors helped by trimming some of the problem branches for us.

I made three attempts to make the turn up into the campsite, avoiding trees on both sides and the boulders by the truck only to find out the bike rack on the rear of the trailer was hitting the ground. Work the problem. "Dear Lord, we need your help to do this."

I pulled back out to the road where Karen and I removed the E-bikes, the rack and placed them out of the way to attempt another try. I also decided to put the truck into a 4-wheel drive mode for this next attempt. Slowly, steadily, with Jesus as my Co-pilot, Karen on the radio and a helpful neighboring camper as an extra eye, I was able to back the monster around and up into our "cozy" campsite location. After getting up before 7AM to fuel-up, breakdown our previous campsite, hook-up and travel 3 hours, this new challenge at the end of our travel day was the hardest day we have both had in a long time. I was totally exhausted after this ordeal and had to take a serious nap.

Karen worked on the inside while I decompressed and later finished getting us set up for the next four days. The site is quiet, has a gorgeous view looking out to the coastline and we are surrounded by edible, ripe wild blueberries for our enjoyment.

The first morning after arriving was Friday, July 14 and we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. We loaded up the e-bikes and journeyed to the Hull Cove entrance of Acadia National Park. We wanted to start exploring the park using the unique carriage road features available to us.

Forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads, the gift of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and family, weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia National Park. Rockefeller, a skilled horseman, wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. His construction efforts from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads with sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape.

The roads were built to preserve the lines of hillsides and save trees, align with the contours of the lands, and take advantage of scenic views. Approximately 16 feet wide, the carriage roads are an example of broken-stone roads commonly used at the turn of the 20th century. Gate lodges act as impressive welcomes to the carriage road system, stone-faced bridges span streams, waterfalls, motor roads, and cliff sides. Granite coping stones used as guardrails line the roads, affectionately called "Rockefeller's teeth."

Today, carriage roads now have multiple-user groups.. Pedestrians, bicyclists, horse-back riders and horse-drawn carriages share in the beauty, access, and safety of these auto-free roads across the park.

We rode a total of 21 miles of the carriage roads by some beautiful lakes, ponds, scenic vistas and historic structures. Lunch was on the observation deck of the Jordan House overlooking the lake of the same name. On our return trip back to Hull Cove we even spotted a Red Fox the size of a Labrador Retriever. We packed up the bikes and headed back to the trailer to enjoy dinner and get a good nights sleep, tired and satisfied with our first adventure in Acadia,


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