Our last night in Acadia was perfect, with a crystal clear sky and no moon all night.  I lay in bed trying to persuade myself to get up and take some photos, but somehow couldn’t make myself do it.  After all, it was bound to happen again…  Of course, the chances of us experiencing so little light pollution, no cloud cover and a minimal moon in so remote a place, (especially as it was really warm as well) are so low that I will probably be kicking myself for years to come.  Meh! (Of course, when I had a go at taking star pictures at the next stop it made a huge difference to my feelings)

15 failed star pictures

I am sure I took the lens cap off, as well.

It was a beautiful day as we left Acadia

1 route off acadia

and there were interesting things to see on the way

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I wondered if they were carrying out genetic experiments locally

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and after driving back through New Hampshire we ended up in

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There are increasing hints of Fall

6 leaves changing

We had decided to head to Cape Cod next so drove south until about 5pm and looked for an hotel.  We ended up at the Best Western in Marlborough near Boston because we both felt pretty shattered and it had exciting things like a bar and a restaurant.  The staff at reception, in particular Jenn, were most welcoming and thought we were so amusing that they upgraded us!  We don’t think that will work when we next fly British Airways, as you are more likely to get arrested if you muck about at the airport. We sat in the bar and met an Irish ex-pat called Jerry who is a construction project manager who gets called in to kick butt when projects start to get delayed.  He says he is possibly the most unpopular person alive when he works away from home, but has to be a bit nicer if he wants to survive in his home town of New York.  It was interesting to talk to him, as he disagreed with my view that American politics are very right wing; he thinks that all parties in the USA at present are very much left of centre.  He thinks that Obama has messed with a system that was working very well.  I am getting the impression that people who were doing OK before Obama came along hate him for messing with the status quo.  I really enjoyed talking to him, despite the fact we probably could never come to an agreement about politics, he was a really nice guy.

it was interesting hanging around the bar area because it was heaving with a cowboy/girl party, probably one arranged for a conference group, and it seemed they were very understaffed and put upon.  The food and drinks we had were, however, vey good.

Next morning we were up and ready to go pretty early after a very nice breakfast and we had managed to drive a few yards down the road when I realised I didn’t have my sunglasses. We drove back to the hotel and then Tim also realised we had left our medication box in the breakfast area.  It made me feel a bit better to realise that I wasn’t the only person leaving stuff behind.

It was only another couple of hours drive to the Cape Cod peninsular and after failing to get into the Nickerson State Park campsite as it was packed out for the weekend, we were directed to the Sweetwater Forrest Campground, which is a lovely, peaceful campsite, with nicely private sites, each surrounded by mature trees. 

8 campsite

and it has its own, very attractive lake

31 Lake by campsite

(Well it was peaceful until the weekend when a family with four noisy kids and a foul-mouthed shouty dad turned up, as well as a friendly Asian group who decided to party all night…)(the nice Asians have since left, but the little girl next door has been bawling for ages and is now singing ‘Nobody loves me’ over and over again, so I have decamped to the site office before I say something I might regret.  Where is Super Nanny when you need her?)

On Friday we drove right to the end of Cape Cod, firstly driving past Pleasant bay to check if it was actually pleasant (after all, there were no otters at Otter Point)

16 Pleasant Bay

and it was.  Phew!

We passed this invitation on the way, which worried me a little until I read the last line

21 volunteers

and I thought this shop was rather jolly, if a bit manic

16 mad shop

The  Highlands light house was worth a look

29 Lighthouse

As was Marconi Beach, where Marconi had built the first telegraph station capable of sending messages across the Atlantic to the UK. 

First ever message to the UK

First ever message to the UK

Sadly the structure is nearly all gone as the sand cliffs here are so unstable that they are retreating at a phenomenal rate.

21 Marconi remains

but the views are delightful

17 pretty sea

20 artist

Race Point was about as far north as we could get by car

14 sea view 1

and finally Province Town.

The views are lovely around the coast, but I was very surprise how much of the place was covered in trees, it never seems to look like that in the movies.

Province Town seemed to be a very jolly place with lots of brightly painted shops and a fair degree of tackiness. 

22 pink house

28 Provincetown 6

28 Province town 2

27 Province town

30 Provincetown 7

We went to see the Pilgrim museum and memorial tower

25 Pilgrim tower

the tower is the tallest granite tower in the USA and very ugly

26 pilgrim tower 2

It was quite a climb, at a height of 77 metres a with an awful lot of stairs, but you could see for miles around. 

view

(The view down the stairwell made me feel quite dizzy). 

26 pilgrim tower 3

My favourite question was from one gentleman near the bottom who asked if it was a long way up.  Didn’t he look at the outside?

The  most interesting thing we found out was that the Mayflower actually landed at province Town first, where they signed their famous accord

23 accord

but they didn’t like the place, so they buzzed off to Plymouth Rock.

On Saturday we took the Bromptons out for a ride along the nearby cycle path which has been put along an old rail track.  It’s a fantastic route that is nearly 30 miles long (we only cycled about six miles each way) and is being extended.  It’s not the friendliest of routes, probably because it is so busy, with lycra clad people zooming past on racing bikes to nice little family groups with wobbly kids pumping their legs like the clappers.  Hardly anyone returned my cheery greetings and I got the impression that they though I was a bit nuts.  It was interesting to note that the correct etiquette over here is not to ring your bell to warn people that you are about to pass, but to call out clearly ‘On your left’   It works pretty well with most people, although I felt like saying ‘No, the OTHER left’ a few times.  (I can’t really complain, my left and right gets muddled up a lot; one notable occasion was when Tim and I went tobogganing and ended up in the ditch, as he was steering and I was meant to be calling out left/right instructions) (That was on our honeymoon and we are still married almost 32 years later, so it was not a harbinger of marital failure).

We cycled into the exotic sounding Orleans, but found the town somewhat underwhelming, with an unexciting centre.

10 village centre

it was just as well they had this sign, or we might have missed it

We stopped at a restaurant for lunch which served the most disgustingly overcooked vegetables I have ever had in my life.  They made the school dinner cabbage we used to get served seem quite palatable.  I didn’t send them back, however, which I should have done.  (I imagine my father must be turning over in his grave for that.  He once sent a steak back so many times that they ended up giving him a free pork chop.) Tim was also upset that the Bass (English style beer) was cold and fizzy

10 cold beer

The atmosphere in Orleans was, however, quite welcoming.  They were in the middle of a festival to celebrate the local water ways, including free tours of the French Cable Company, the firm that had been responsible for the telegraph cable from Cape Cod to France.  They had renovated most of the equipment so that nearly all of it still works despite the fact the company closed down in 1956.

11 wire museum

We had a little wander to look out into their very attractive harbour and then decided to cycle back. 

12 harbour

We were really impressed that the local police had turned out to see us across the road junctions with their bright orange flags. We felt a bit important until we realised that there was a race taking place at the other way along the cycle path.  Some groups seemed to be taking it seriously but there were cyclists of all shapes and sizes, some having a good old gossip along the way.

13 cycle race

When we got back to the campground we got chatting to these fun and friendly Bostonians who were very interested in our travels. 

14 nice bostonians

He said he wished he were wearing his other teeshirt, which he felt was rather becoming with a spray painted six pack and a stuck on nipple ring.  Apparently he was wearing it in Boston and was invited to join a group of people who were campaigning in the street all with no tops on.  When he asked what about they said they wanted to ‘free the nipple’, which made him smile.  A few weeks later, a young woman bounced up to him in the street and said ‘Hello, remember me’ and pulled up her tee shirt to show him her chest, nipple rings and all!  

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