Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012

Another really nice day, and it's cooled off to the mid-80's.  What a relief. 
I left Portland this morning and headed up US1 to Bath, home of the Bath Iron Works (where they've built Navy ships for over 100 years) and the Maine Maritime Museum.  I couldn't tour the Iron Works, but the Maritime Museum was very interesting.  It's located on the site of the former Percy & Small Shipyard, which was active until just after WWI, building all kinds of wooden sailing vessels.  In addition to the usual displays of scale models of ships and ship paraphernalia, most of the shipyard has been preserved, including the "Mould Loft" where they produced the templates used to shape the ship, the power house, the shop where they made their own paint, part of the rope and cable building, and a boat workshop.

This is a pretty good diorama of the original shipyard, with two ships being built:

Most of these buildings are still present and preserved.  This is the Mould Loft, where men would lay out, to scale, the design of the ship and from that, produce templates that were used to check the accuracy of the ship as it was being built.  You can see the outline of the hull drawn on the floor:

Here you can see some of the machinery in the carpentry shop which were used to shape the wooden pieces for the ships:

This was interesting.  This is a section of hull salvaged from one of the ships, and you can see the size of the ribs, the outside planking, and the inside planking:

During the summers, the museum sponsors a course in boat building for local middle- and high-school kids.  They actually hand-build a row boat and then take it out for a test drive.  This is one of the boats under construction in the boat shop:

And, then, finally, the piece De resistance:

A genuine ship-in-a-bottle!

I left Bath and headed up US1 to Owl's Head and the Owl's Head Transportation Museum.  This was another very well-done museum and very interesting.  The museum has exhibits of motorcycles, cars, and airplanes.  Some of the most interesting are these:

They had a real interesting collection of British MG sports cars from the 1920's up to the immediate post-war period.  All immaculately preserved.

This is a reproduction of a Bleriot XI, which was the first plane to cross the English Channel in 1909.  The plane here was built for a 1958 movie and does fly.

I had never seen one of these.  It's a reproduction of a Royal Aircraft Factory FE8, built early in WWI.  It is a "pusher", with the propeller in the rear, because no one had yet figured out how to fire through a spinning propeller in the front.

Above are a few of the vintage automobiles they have on display.  Some are for sale, so bring a fat checkbook!

I left the Transportation Museum and headed out to Owl's Head Lighthouse at the mouth of Penobscot Bay.  The lighthouse dates from 1825 and is still in operation:

From the lighthouse there were some beautiful views of Penobscot Bay:

Anyway, really interesting day today.  I'm in Bangor for the night and have a couple things to see here tomorrow before heading east and into New Brunswick.

Miles today:  209
Total:  1,739