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Old 24th June 2020, 11:51   #31
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Default Fishlake National Forest - Johnson Valley Reservoir

Johnson Valley Reservoir:

We drove further along FR640 and reached Johnson Valley Reservoir. This places was just beautiful. There was a small campground here. This place provides a great view of the surrounding Mytoge mountain, Zedds mountain, Mt Marvine and Fish Lake Hightop mountain.
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06494.jpg

Mytoge mountain:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06443.jpg

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Mt Marvine:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06471.jpg

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Zedds Mountain:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06510.jpg

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Old 24th June 2020, 12:11   #32
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Default Fishlake National Forest - Zedds Meadow

Zedds Meadow:

After crossing the Johnson Valley reservoir, FR640 becomes FR036 and it goes around the Zedds mountain and takes us to Zedds Meadow which was the highlight of this day's drive. There is a scenic view at this place which is just picture perfect. It's the view of the Fremont river snaking through the Zedds Meadow. I'll let the pictures do the talking.
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06525.jpg

View of the Zedds Meadow. The view was so beautiful that we stood there for a long time appreciating the beauty of nature:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06524.jpg

FR036 then descends into the Zedds Meadow:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06530.jpg

This is the place which was seen from the top in the first picture of this post:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06531.jpg

Beautiful Fremont river:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06541.jpg

The Aspen trees disappeared after driving further along FR036 and we were once again treated with desert landscapes:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06549.jpg

FR036 then joins UT-72 near Mill Meadow reservoir:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06551.jpg

The geography completely changes as soon as we get onto UT-72 i.e, as soon as we leave the Fishlake National Forest area. Fishlake is like an oasis in middle of the desert:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06558.jpg

UT-72 has no dearth of scenic spots. Every mile had a beautiful view until it joined I-70:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06561.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06565.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06569.jpg

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Old 24th June 2020, 12:38   #33
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Default San Rafael Swell (Sunset)

San Rafael Swell (Sunset):

We joined I-70 after enjoying the scenic stops in UT-72. I-70 between Salina and Green River is very scenic. It passes right through some canyons and lots of unique and beautiful rock formations can be found all along the freeway. The icing on the cake for us was that we had to pass through the San Rafael Swell area once again to reach our hotel at Green River. Few posts back, I had shown you all the photos of this swell area during sunrise. Now I'm going to show the photos during the sunset which looks completely different. I planned to start from Fishlake National Forest such that we will be able to reach the swell right on time for sunset.

Unique rock formations along I-70:
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These boards indicate that we are approaching the San Rafael swell area:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06594.jpg

I had mentioned in the previous post that the stretch of I-70 inside this swell area sees lots of tractor trailer accidents. It can be seen in this pic that a tractor trailer has crashed into the gap between the roads:
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View of the San Rafael swell during sunset:
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After enjoying the sunset, we drove towards our hotel at Green River. The visit to Dixie and Fishlake National Forests was completely unexpected and was totally worth it.

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Old 24th June 2020, 14:07   #34
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Default Oljato-Monument Valley - Forrest Gump Hill

Forrest Gump Hill:

Our plan for the 8th day was to visit native Indian reservation i.e, Navajo Nation in Oljato-Monument valley located at Utah-Arizona border. We checked out of the hotel at Green River early in the morning and started driving towards the Monument valley which is around 200 miles from Green River and takes around 4 hours with breaks. From Green River, we need to follow I-70 E and take a right for US-191 S at Crescent Junction towards Moab. It's just a single road almost until Bluff where we need to take US-163 S.

US-191 is a very scenic road (Which road is not scenic in Utah?). It is one of the longest North-South US highway. It starts at Loring, Montana at US-Canada border and ends at Douglas, Arozina at US-Mexico border. It passes through some major National Parks and landmarks (like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks):
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San Juan river crossing near Bluff:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06637.jpg

Glimpses of the Monument Valley from US-163:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06641.jpg

12 miles before the Monument Valley, we come across this famous landmark called "Forrest Gump Hill". A scene of the Forrest Gump movie was shot here. Sweeping views of the Monument Valley can be seen from here:
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Scene from the Forrest Gump movie which was shot at this location (Image source: https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/mon...the-movies/23/)
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06673.jpg

After making the customary stop at the Forrest Gump hill, we proceeded towards the Monument valley.

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Old 24th June 2020, 15:26   #35
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Default Oljato-Monument Valley

Navajo Nation - Oljato-Monument Valley

This is a native Indian reservation located in San Juan county, Utah with awesome desert views. This location has some wonderful views that perfectly describes the trademark American West. My wife and I had visited this place during our 2016 Southwest road trip and we loved it. It was a great experience touring this place with a local Navajo guide learning about the place, their culture and history.

I had booked our tour in advance with Monument Valley Safari - https://monumentvalleysafari.com/. There is a lot of other tour operators there but we had a good experience with them in 2016. We had opted the 3.5-hour Monument Valley Tour last time and decided to go with the same this time too. They charge $95 per person. This tour operator does not cram everyone into a single vehicle. Per vehicle, they restrict to maximum 4-5 people. I have seen other tour operators cramming 10-15 people per vehicle.

We can drive our own vehicles on the roads inside the reservation but I chose to take a guided tour here for the following reasons:
  • Support their local economy.
  • Only a small portion of the reservation is accessible to private vehicles. The core area is restricted to private vehicles. They can be accessed only by the official tour operators.
  • We can learn a lot about their culture and history from the local Navajo guide.
  • They are very nice people and it's a joy to interact with them.
  • If you are driving a low slung sedan, I would definitely not recommend to take the car on their roads. The road close to the entrance has lots of huge stones and an underbody hit is guaranteed.

Our tour was scheduled to leave at 1:30 PM from their visitor center. One should note that even though this place falls under Arizona, they follow Utah's timezone. Arizona comes under Mountain Timezone too but they do not follow daylight savings. We reached the lobby of The View Hotel (the pickup point) at 1:15 PM and our tour guide, a lovely lady from the Navajo tribe welcomed us. She said our tour will start as soon as the other couple who had booked for the same tour arrives. The other couple arrived in another 5 minutes and we were off for the tour.

Our vehicle for the tour. One should be ready to eat a lot of dust as the roads are unpaved inside the reservation:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06755.jpg

One can also choose this kind of closed vehicle for avoiding dust but I highly recommend going with the open top for a real experience:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06767.jpg

Panoramic view of The Monument Valley. From left: West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte, Merrick Butte:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06679.jpg

West Mitten Butte. The one to the extreme left is the Sentinel Mesa and the one further behind is the Big Indian:
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West Mitten Butte:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06714.jpg

The vertical one on the extreme left is the Big Indian. The huge one behind it is Brighams Tomb. I'm not sure about the name of the one in the center. The one to the extreme right is the Stagecoach:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06730.jpg

East Mitten Butte:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06765.jpg

There is a viewpoint dedicated to John Wayne and is called as John Wayne point. It was he who explored this region and introduced to Hollywood in his movies. After this, The Monument Valley became the typical backdrop for the movies with Western themes: Navajo tribe people have a great respect for John Wayne. According to them, he made this place famous and also helped lots of tribes in his days. Our guide narrated an incident when John Wayne rescued lots of tribal people when a severe snow storm hit the region and most of them were trapped in this region:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06775.jpg

Panoramic view of the Monument valley from John Wayne point:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06777.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06786.jpg

Three Sisters:
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Old 24th June 2020, 15:48   #36
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Default Oljato-Monument Valley

Private vehicles are allowed only until John Wayne point. Only guided tour vehicles are allowed beyond that point. There are lots of interesting places beyond the John Wayne point.

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The Thumb:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06863.jpg

Navajo Indian Hogan - These are the kind of houses in which the Navajo tribes used to live. They currently have modern hogans but these are preserved for tourism purposes. One can get inside the hogan and usually a Navajo Grandmother will demonstrate some kind of sewing:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06866.jpg

Even though it's extremely hot outside, the temperature inside these hogans is not that hot:
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Old 24th June 2020, 16:16   #37
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Default Oljato-Monument Valley

Totem Pole - These are considered as very sacred by Navajo tribe. According to our guide, there is a spring very close to it which is their main source of water.
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06880.jpg

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Ear of the Wind:
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Sun's eye:
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Mom and I at Sun's Eye:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1151.jpg

Big Hogan - Our guide made all of us to lie down here and she played a very soothing music in a Flute kind of instrument for almost 10 minutes. The music was very soothing and we all almost fell asleep there:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1157.jpg

There are few ancient scribblings on the wall which are thousands of years old. Interesting to see a bicycle kind of picture here:
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These are leftover pieces of a pot which is again thousands of years old, safely preserved near the Big Hogan:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc06969.jpg

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Old 24th June 2020, 16:28   #38
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Default Oljato-Monument Valley

In Navajo community, Grandmother is the most important person in every family. I took these pictures of lovely Navajo Grandmothers in the View Hotel:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1177.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1172.jpg

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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1176.jpg

Our tour guide was extremely talented and explained about the Navajo Nation, their culture and history in a great detail. She patiently answered all of our questions in a detailed manner. We were once again extremely happy with the overall experience with Monument Valley Safari. The complete tour took around 4 hours and we were back at the visitor center at around 5:30 PM. We bid farewell to our tour guide and the other couple who were with us and went for some souvenir shopping.

We had booked our hotel for this day at Flagstaff, Arizona which is around 180 miles from The Monument Valley. We started at around 6 PM and reached our hotel at 9 PM and retired for the day.

For some reason, I feel very connected to this place. I remember each and every second I spent there during both the visits. I have this lovely magnet on my refrigerator which I got from there:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_4380.jpg

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Old 24th June 2020, 18:26   #39
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Default Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park:

Our plan for the 9th day was to visit Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Grand Canyon needs no introduction. We got up pretty early in the morning and reached the visitor center at around 8 AM. Our initial plan was to visit the view points in the South Rim by taking the park shuttle.

Views of the majestic Grand Canyon from various view points in the South Rim:
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The might Colorado river can be seen cutting through the canyons:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07219.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07263.jpg

The last stop of the shuttle in the South Rim is at Hermits Rest. We took the shuttle from here back to the visitor center.:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07267.jpg

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Old 24th June 2020, 18:47   #40
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Default Grand Canyon National Park

Once we were back at the visitor center, we drove to the Desert View Watchtower. This is kind of beginning of the Grand Canyon towards East:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07275.jpg

America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07278.jpg

We then stopped at the Grandview point:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07321.jpg

We spent almost the entire day hopping between different view points in the National Park enjoying the natural wonder. We then returned to our hotel at Flagstaff. This was the last destination in our Southwest road trip. My parents throughly enjoyed the entire Southwest road trip. They never felt tired or bored at any point of time. Every place had it is own unique charm and they enjoyed the overall experience. To make them not get tired, I planned all our drives such that we left early in the morning and returned to the hotel before sunset. We slept for minimum 9 hours every night. We never skipped or changed the timings of our meals. I made them drink enough fluids so that they do not get dehydrated in the arid Southwest weather conditions. Traveling in Fall has an advantage that most of the places will be cooler and will be easy to roam around.

We didn't have any plans for the 10th day. Our flight from Las Vegas to Boston was at 10 PM in the night. We started driving towards Las Vegas from Flagstaff at around 9 AM and reached Las Vegas at around 1 PM. We parked our car at Bellagio Casino and did some casino hopping in the Strip. We later parked our car at The Venetian in the evening and had a good dinner at an Indian restaurant called Curry Pot. Food was pretty good. After dinner, we returned the car at the McCarran rental car center. Full marks for Hertz. I always had a great experience renting cars from them. We left for the airport in the rental car center's shuttle and took the red-eye flight to Boston. The flight was on time and we reached our home at Boston at 7 AM.

My aim was to make my parents experience the vast, natural landscapes of the American Southwest and I believe I could achieve it.

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Old 27th June 2020, 11:57   #41
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Default Height of Land, Maine

Leaf Peeping

We planned our SouthWest road trip such that we come back to New England for the peak foliage season. The dramatic color changes during fall season starts in the northern states such as Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont typically in the end of September or beginning of October and moves down to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. From my experience, October 1st week is the best time to visit Maine, followed by October 2nd week for New Hampshire and Vermont, followed by October 3rd week for the remaining three southern New England states. I have been following this schedule since last 6 years and have never missed the peak foliage in any of those states.

We planned to visit Maine for our first road trip in New England. Most of the places in northern Maine is typically around 6-7 hours of drive from our home at Boston.

Height of Land, Maine:

Our plan for the first day was to just drive up to the northern part of Maine. I had booked a cabin kind of room in The Mountain View hotel in Eustis, Maine. This comes under the Carrabasset Valley. We usually stay there during any visit to that part of Maine. We always had a great experience staying there. The owner of that hotel is a super friendly person and he takes care of his customers very well. On our way to Eustis, I had planned for some scenic stops on the way. Although the preferred direct route to take I-95 through Maine, I always prefer driving through the scenic interior routes in New Hampshire and Maine. These interior routes pass through scenic New England villages.

Our first stop for the day was at Height of Land overlook at Rangeley Plantations, Maine. This is a great scenic stop from where the panoramic views of Mooselookmeguntic lake can be seen. This scenic spot lies on ME-17.

The beautiful Mooselookmeguntic lake:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07482.jpg

Toothaker Island in the lake:
America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-dsc07494.jpg

Even the distant mountains in New Hampshire can be seen from here:
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Old 27th June 2020, 12:15   #42
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Default Rangeley Lake, Maine

Rangeley Lake, Maine

A little further down the road on ME-17 N, one can see the aerial views of the Rangeley lake. This lake can also be accessed by visiting the Rangeley Lake State Park. We first visited the view point on ME-17 N and then drove down to the state park.

Aerial view of the Rangaleley lake surrounded by colorful mountains. A camera does not do the justice for these views:
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This is the view from the Rangeley Lake state park:
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Beautiful roads inside the state park:
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After visiting the state park, we checked into The Mountain View hotel. I love their cozy cabins:
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America, the beautiful : A 10,000 mile road-trip with my parents-img_1443.jpg

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Old 27th June 2020, 14:18   #43
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Default Old Canada Road Scenic Byway

Old Canada Road Scenic Byway, Maine:

The plan for the next day was to drive through the scenic US-201, which is known as Old Canada Road. This is the main connecting road between Maine and Quebec in Canada before the advent of Interstate highways and hence the name. The section between Skowhegan and Jackman (US-Canada border) is very beautiful. There are many scenic overlooks on this road. The best time to visit this road is during the fall. From Eustis, we took the internal roads ME-27, ME-16 and US-201A to join US-201 near Solon.

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This is on ME-16.
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Parlin pond:
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Old 27th June 2020, 14:48   #44
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Default Attean Overlook

Attean Overlook

Just before Jackman, which is the last town on US-201 in the USA, there is a beautiful overlook called Attean overlook on US-201. This gives a majestic view of the Attean pond and surrounding areas. There is also a small hiking trail at this overlook.

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Jackman, Maine:

After spending some time at the Attean overlook, we went to Jackman town. Jackman is the last town in USA on US-201 after which it crosses into Quebec, Canada. Jackman is also called as "The Switzerland of Maine". As the name suggests the area around this town is very beautiful. We visited the Wood pond in Jackman:
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Old 27th June 2020, 15:46   #45
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Default Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake:

From Jackman, we set off towards Moosehead Lake on ME-6. Moosehead lake is the largest lake of Maine and is the largest mountain lake in the eastern USA. This lake has over 80 islands. This lake is the source of Kennebec river. This route goes through a lot of remote scenic towns on the shores of Moosehead lake like Rockwood, Moosehead and Greenville. Our plan was to drive through these towns and reach Lily Bay state park in Beaver Cove. The distance from Jackman to Beaver Cove is around 70 miles and it takes around 3 hours with all stops.

Our first stop was at Rockwood. View of the Moosehead lake from Rockwood:
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Mount Kineo also houses a state park. There are frequent water taxis from Rockwood to travel to Mount Kineo. The mountain is said to contain one of the largest formations of rhyolite in the world:
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The next stop was at town of Greenville. The beautiful view of Greenville from across Moosehead lake:
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We had our lunch at this restaurant called Kelly's landing. We have been to this family run restaurant numerous times and have never returned disappointed.
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After lunch, we set off towards Lily Bay state park in Beaver Cove. This is a beautiful scenic overlook on the route to Beaver Cove. Few of the many islands of the Moosehead lake are visible from here:
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We finally reached the Lily By State Park. We spent a lot of time here appreciating the scenic beauty:
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A kid had left the lightning mcqueen car at the state park.
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We stayed almost until evening in the state park and returned to our hotel in Eustis. The road beyond Beaver Cove takes you to the inner area of northern Maine. The famous 100 miles of wilderness of Appalachian trail is situated close by to this area.

Last edited by guyfrmblr : 27th June 2020 at 17:14.
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