Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 28, 29--Days 47, 48--working My Way Toward Canada

Not much happened today, other than riding 67 miles. The dreaded Hwy 1A was just fine, a nice wide shoulder most of the time. I didn't actually go into Bangor, but through a suburb called Brewer. 


I had planned to stay at the Holden KOA just before Brewer, but I got there before noon after just 35 miles. Leaving from the campground, and riding directly off the island via Hwy 3 (also a nice wide shoulder) saved me 12 miles. Still, I was surprised how quickly I got to the KOA. They were kind enough to give me a magazine of Maine campgrounds, which I tore out the pages I needed. The gal at the KOA suggested the town of Newport. I found a campground called Sebasticook Lake. It looked doable distance wise. 


I made one stop in Hermon at a Subway for a late lunch. Then continued to Newport, and Sebasticook Lake. This seems to be another one of those places where people go to "Camp". There are more families with kids though.

Sebasticook Lake



Now I have to figure out where I'll go tomorrow, since I did about 20 extra miles today.


July 29--Day 47--Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road...


Stinkin' to high heaven! The predominant road kill for today was skunk. Closely followed by porcupine. I even saw a smashed stuffed animal skunk (I could see it's tag). That one did not stink to high heaven.


I left the same time as yesterday. I thought I had about 75 miles to do if I wanted to get to Kingfield. When I Google mapped the route back when I was planning this tour, Google must have taken me a different way, because I ended up at the campground I had planned on, but only 64 miles. I probably took the most direct route.

Riding along the Kennebec River that I crossed in Bath.



The ride was much like yesterday, except it seemed like there were more ups, and not quite as extreme downs. Could be because I'm getting close to the Sugarloaf area. I suspect there will be a substantial climb tomorrow as I go by Sugarloaf Mountain.




I only had one navigation snafu in Skowhegan, which I quickly corrected. Otherwise, I just followed the various highways to get me to Kingfield.


The campground is about 3 miles out of town. 2 1/2 of those miles were steep uphill. At one point, I had to walk--something I have not had to do since the very first day out of Minneapolis! The guy at the campground said if he knows someone is coming on a bike, he offers to pick them up at the bottom. At least it will be a good ride down tomorrow!


I'm doing laundry as I haven't done full laundry since my Warmshowers stay in Bath. 



Now I'm ahead a day, which really means, because of the extra day off in Bar Harbor, I'm back on my scheduled itinerary. Not that it really matters...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27--Day 45--I Have Slipped the Surly Bonds of Earth

Usually on a long tour I like to have at least one really cool off-the-bike adventure. I decided to stay another day on Mt. Desert Island (MDI) so I could do a glider plane ride. I've always wanted to fly in a glider. 


Acadia Air Tours just so happens to offer glider rides. I signed up yesterday for a flight at noon today. The airport is in Trenton, just off MDI. Fortunately, the Island Explorer bus goes to Trenton. The gals in the Air Tours office said the busses weren't reliable. I've found that to be completely untrue. 


I woke up to rain this morning, so instead of trying to cook my breakfast in the rain, I caught the bus into town and ate at Jeannie's Great Maine Breakfast. It appears to be very popular as I had to wait 20 minutes for a table. It was pretty good--stuffed cinnamon raisin French toast with blueberry sauce.


After breakfast I walked down to the Air Tours office to make sure, with the weather, that I was still going to get to fly. They said there had been no cancellation. I went back to the Village Green and caught the bus to Trenton. The bus driver let me off right at the driveway to the Acadia Air Tours place at the end of the airport.


I was early. Jeff, the glider pilot, said we might have to wait until 12:30 with the weather. But, shortly after noon, we got going. Barnard, the tow pilot, took me to the plane in the "limo" (a golf cart). He did the pre-flight for the tow plane, while Jeff towed the glider into position with a John Deere lawn mower.

The glider

The tow plane

Jeff pulling the glider with the John Deere glider puller--I mean lawn mower



Jeff hooked up the tow rope to the glider, and had me get in the glider. He got in, and pretty soon Barnard came along, dragging the tow rope. Jeff said, "3-2-1", and the tow rope became taut, and we were moving. The glider was off the ground before the plane. We were going 80 mph. The plane lifted off, and we steadily climbed to 2500 ft. At 2500 ft, Jeff disconnected the tow rope, and the tow plane dove sharply down and to the left. As Jeff said, it looked as if we were the ones keeping the tow plane aloft.

Strapped in

Taking up the slack

Here we go!




We were gliding! It was so cool! Jeff pointed out the landmarks and talked about the island. We saw boats trolling for mussels. Without the plane pulling us, it was much quieter, and we would drop to speeds as low as 24mph. 

Air speed indicator

Bridge to the island




We circled around catching air currents that would speed us up, or turning into the wind and slowing down. I could have stayed up there all day! I asked Jeff what his longest flight had been. He said 8 hours (in Arizona). 


As we were heading back to the airport, Jeff did a dive where we picked up a lot of speed. He said he can go faster if he's got heavier people. I said, "Weight always wins on the downhill." 

Diving toward the ground!



He landed the glider on a lawn mower wide strip of grass next to the runway, and rolled right up to his parking spot. 

Coming in for a landing



They do Go Pro photos. Of course I bought the SD card. I gave Jeff and Barnard a tip. Jeff asked his boss, Steve, if it was okay for Jeff to drive me back to Bar Harbor. Steve gave the okay, so I didn't have to wait for the bus.


Jeff dropped me right at the library, and here I am typing and publishing. It was a great adventure! Now I can add glider plane to my list of ways I've been airborne!



I'm not sure what I'll do the rest of my real day off the bike. I might take the bus to some of the other parts of the island. The weather has turned out okay.

July 26--A Mountain and a Lobstah Roll

Today was a DWFP day--a day without forward progress--even though I rode 23 miles. 


Since it was downhill through the construction, I rode Tilmann to the Hulls Cove Entrance Station to Acadia National Park. There I purchased a map that I didn't need to buy, and paid for my pass into the park. The reason I didn't need to buy the map was because they gave me a park map which had all the info I needed. Oh well, the map I bought will look nice on the wall at home.


I had made my plan for the day. First up was riding to the top of Cadillac Mountain. With no gear except my handlebar bag, it wasn't too bad of a climb. It was 3 1/2 miles of a 6-7% steady grade. A couple of road Bikers went by me, but I managed to do the whole thing with 2 gears to spare. I took this photo of Eagle Lake on the way up. 

Eagle Lake



At the top I took several photos (no duh), and met a couple of road bikers from Pennsylvania named Stephanie and Mark. They had done the loop road. I wanted to do some of the Carriage Paths. They didn't feel they could do them on their road bikes, as they are not paved. 

Made it to the top!

Pano from Cadillac

Bar Harbor down below



The descent was awesome! Two cars even pulled over to let me pass! At the bottom, I turned to continue through the park to the Eagle Lake Carriage Path. As I said, the paths are not paved, but they are pretty solid surfaces. Apparently, Rockefeller wanted to build all these carriage paths through the park. Initially, he wasn't allowed to do so. But, when he said he would make them blend into the surroundings of the park, he was allowed to build them. It's true that they do blend in. You can't see the paths unless you are on them. The paths are not flat. In fact there are some pretty long uphills considering these paths are used by all kinds and ages of people. On parts, I saw people walking up the hills. 

Eagle Lake Carriage Path


Eagle Lake at lake level


I did just half of the Eagle Lake path, then I got on the road that I had come into Bar Harbor on yesterday. I wanted to go back into town by lunchtime so I could get a lobster roll before they ran out. I did make a stop at a shop, and picked up a few souvenirs (a t-shirt for Grayson, and a cute pair of leggings with a lobster on the butt for Harper--it's the first really cute thing I've seen for her). Back down to the pier where I had seen the "Lobster Special", I finally got my lobster roll! Have to say, it was pretty good! Basically, it's lettuce, and a whole pile of lobster mixed with mayo in a slice of white bread. 

Lobstah Roll



Since I had no desire whatsoever to ride through the construction again, nor ride the detour (equally as hairy with no shoulder and a ton of traffic), I made my way to the Village Green and the bus stops for the Island Explorer Shuttle Busses (the free busses that go all over the island, and as far off the island as Trenton). There was a #1 bus there, but I didn't know at that time, that was the bus I needed to take back to the campground. It left before I figured it out. The next bus was an hour later. Ah well, no problem, that just gave me plenty of time to get some ice cream. There just happened to be an ice cream place just across the street. It had unusual flavors. I actually settled on a blueberry soda float with toasted coconut ice cream. Yep, it was delicious!


Shortly after finishing, I made my way to the bus stop. The number 1 bus pulled in. There was another gentleman with a bike heading to the campground too. He put his bike on first, then I put Tilmann on. The busses can hold 6 bikes--three on the front, and three on the back. 


Back at the campground I paid for another night of camping as I have an adventure planned for tomorrow. I decided I really should have a day OFF the bike, not just a day with no forward progress. 


Last night, I was walking around the campground. I discovered there is a pool here. I guess I didn't look too closely at the map of the campground. Anyway, I put on my suit and went for a swim. I sat on a bench looking out over the harbor and dried a bit before heading back. It really is beautiful.



Tomorrow I will take advantage of the busses for my adventure, and spend some more time in town--maybe another lobster roll is in my future--or maybe a full on LOBSTAH!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 25--Day 43--Bah Hahbah!

As the Maine folk say it. Yes, I have made it to Bar Harbor, and a day ahead of schedule to boot!


It did end up raining the whole evening last night, but at some point during the night, it quit. I woke up briefly to the sound of a Loon. Of course, what went through my head was, "The loons, Norman!" from On Golden Pond. I might have to watch that movie again when I get home.


Due to my early night, I was ready to go by 7:15, and that was with having to change the battery in my speed sensor of my bike computer. I returned to the route. As I came to where my map told me to turn off of Hwy 1, I could see a sign for USBR 1. It stayed on Hwy 1. I pondered for a moment whether I should just follow that to Ellsworth, or stay on my route. It was about 8 miles shorter to stay on Hwy 1. I stayed on my route. I don't really know why, except maybe I wanted to be on the route when I flipped to the last map panel. It was such an auspicious moment that I took this photo! Even though I will still use the map to backtrack to Ellsworth before turning toward Bangor. 

The last panel



Ellsworth was about halfway for my day, so I stopped at a cafe for second breakfast. I had my favorite of French toast and some bacon. It was quite a bit, and I was fairly stuffed when I finished. Then, I had to climb up a steep hill! 


As I continued making my way toward Bar Harbor, I heard something behind me. I glanced in my mirror and saw another touring cyclist. Once the shoulder widened out, he pulled up beside me and we chatted while we rode along. His name was Simon, and he was out for two weeks going from Sherbrooke in Canada to Halifax. The cool thing about him coming from Sherbrooke was that I will be going that way to go back. He came the exact route that I have planned! When the shoulder narrowed again, he went on ahead. I haven't seen him in the campground yet, but he thought he might come here.


After Simon went ahead, I was riding along on the shoulder when I noticed the traffic was slowing down ahead. I think a car was just making a left or something. Anyway, as I continued along the shoulder, a car came along in the traffic lane, and promptly slammed into the car stopped ahead of it. Now, I don't know because I didn't stick around, but I think the driver was gawking at me, and not watching the road in front. Usually, when a driver hits a cyclist, they say it was because they didn't see them. In this case, it's possible the driver hit the other car BECAUSE he/she saw the cyclist, and wasn't paying attention to the road. Kind of a weird turn of events (if that is indeed what happened--who knows--the driver could have been texting or something else--maybe it was just a coincidence that the driver rear ended the other car right after passing me).


I rode across the bridge over the Mount Desert Island Narrows. Mount Desert Island is the island Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is on. Interestingly, Mount Desert is pronounced Mount Dessert. I wonder how they say dessert? 

Mount Desert Island



I knew the hills weren't over until the very last hill into Bar Harbor. Finally I came down that hill. The town was filled with traffic, so it took me awhile to get to the town pier and the official end of my map. After I took some photos, I wanted to celebrate by having a lobster roll. As I was pedaling away from the pier I saw the perfect opportunity. A place had a special of a lobster roll, chips and a drink for $20. I stepped up to the window and placed my order. The gal told me they were out of the lobster. Dang! So, I continued on. I kept looking, but most places were pretty fancy sit down restaurants. No lobster roll today. 

Tilmann made it!

So did I!



Now I had 3.8 miles to get to the campground. I got to Hulls Cove riding on Hwy 3. The campground was 1.5 miles from Hulls Cove. Only one problem. The road was closed to westbound traffic due to construction. I asked the flagger how to get to the campground. Just then a guy came up to me (he had bikes on the back of his car). He told me that the only way was to follow the detour, and come to the campground from the other side. It was going to add another 6 to 8 miles. I was about to turn around to do the detour when the flagger said I could go through as long as I stayed to the left of the cones. Okay, I could do that!!!


Off I went, ever so thankful for 2" tires. It was pretty rough. At times I had to wait for cars to go, then go on the road part to get around dump trucks and excavators. For part, it was pretty soft dirt. Tilmann handled it all just fine. The last part was new pavement, so that was nice. It would have been nice if the guy I talked to on the phone the day before had mentioned the construction. The campground is right on the edge of it. 

A wee bit of rough riding




I've paid for two nights because I want to ride in Acadia NP tomorrow. I have a plan now for dealing with the construction. I can ride the correct direction through the construction to the Hulls Cove park entrance and Visitors' Center, then when I want to come back, I'll catch the Island bus. It's free. 

July 24--Day 42--A Brief Glimpse of the Atlantic, and a Really Good View of the Penobscot River

As I write today's post, I am sitting in my tent while the rain comes down. The weather forecast did call for 50% chance of rain, and I 100% found it.

Today was another 50+ mile day from Camden Hills Campground to Balsam Cove Campground (near East Orland).

I got my brief view of the Atlantic in Rockport. I talked to a gal who thought this Harbor was the prettiest one. She might live there, and therefore might be a bit biased, but it was nice looking.

The route through Rockport to Camden was on neighborhood streets. In Camden I turned back onto US 1. As usual, in these towns, there was a lot of traffic. Of course, it didn't help that a delivery truck was unloading and blocking the lane of traffic. I was able to get by just fine, but there was so much traffic coming from the other direction, that the cars couldn't get around the truck. For me, that was good because I was able to get up the hill without a line of cars backing up behind me. 

US 1 continued to follow the coastline of West Penobscot Bay, but my route took a quieter and safer route into the coastal mountains. Not to worry, they weren't really mountains. In fact, today was probably one of the easier climbing days, as far as the steep rollers go.

I rode through Lincolnville Center, and onto Belfast. Belfast was the largest town today with a population of 6600 people. The route brought me all the way down to the water (Belfast Bay), and onto the Belfast Harbor Walk. The Walk went through a shipyard, then across the Bay on a cool pedestrian footbridge. 

Once again, I was back on US 1. I was on it for the rest of the day, but with a wide shoulder (but sometimes very crappy conditions). As I was approaching Bucksport, I could see a bridge. It was a very high bridge. There was a view point. I saw this sign. I said to some people standing there, "Oh, I'm going to go do that!"

I made my way to the Entrance Station for Fort Knox and the Bridge Observatory. It should have cost me $8.00 as I'm not a Maine resident, but the lady only charged me $6.00. 

I rode down to the Observatory elevator first. The elevator is the fastest elevator in all of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (although, I'm not sure what elevators to high towers there are in NH, and Vermont). It travels 500ft/minute. In 50 seconds I was at the top--well, three stories down from the top, the rest were stairs. The elevator doors opened to an amazing view of the Penobscot River. I went up the stairs to the top. It was pretty awesome. Maybe nicer with blue sky, but still pretty cool. Here's some photos.

I returned to ground level (curiously, last year they had 13 elevator delays, and three times where people had to walk down the 25 stories to the bottom--it said so in the elevator). I rode back up the hill to the Fort. 

Fort Knox doesn't have quite the history that Fort Ticonderoga has, but it was interesting to check it out. It would be really fun for kids as there are tunnels and all kinds of places to explore. 

As I was returning to Tilmann, a guy was looking at him. He asked if it was my bike. We chatted for a bit. His name was Romeo (may not be the correct spelling), and he was doing a driving tour. 

I took a photo of Tilmann with the Fort Knox sign, the a guy said he'd take one with me in it. I was happy to have just Tilmann, but I said okay.

By this time, I was getting hungry. I was also looking forward to riding across the bridge. I could see from the Observatory that there was a very nice shoulder on the bridge.

I rode across a second bridge into Bucksport. I thought I would stop at a restaurant, but instead I just stopped a the grocery store and got some food. I took it down by the water. It was starting to rain, so I finished up, put my rain jacket on, and got back on the road. I had less than 10 miles to go. Wouldn't you know, not a half mile down the road, there was a Subway! Too bad! 

Sitting in my tent, I decided I should call and make a reservation for camping in Acadia National Park tomorrow night and the next night. After being on hold for a good 20 minutes, I found out there are no sites available. The gal gave me the phone number for the campground so I could call and see what their policy is regarding cyclists. Unfortunately, the line was forever busy. There are a number of other nearby campgrounds (outside of the NP, but still on Mt. Desert Island). I chose one and called. That campground was also fully booked, but the gal told me to check with Bar Harbor CG. They don't take reservations. I called, and the guy said they have plenty of tent sites, and it's first come first serve. Shouldn't be a problem. I had looked up a Warmshowers host, but she was unable to host me due to landlord problems. She said she could give some stealth places where she has never been caught by the Rangers, but I don't really want to do that. Especially since I want to stay two nights. On my exploration day of Acadia, I may stop in at the campground and just ask about their policy--just for curiosity sake.

Now, it would be really nice if it would stop raining. Otherwise, it may be a no cooking dinner night...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23--Day 41--I Can Almost Smell the Atlantic

Actually, I'm just a few miles away. I'm still two days from Bar Harbor, but I will lay eyes on the Atlantic for a bit tomorrow.


I had a nice evening with Alicia and Mike, and slept like a baby in a comfy bed. I got up at 6:00, and was my usual stealthy quiet. Alicia didn't realize I was up, until I had already packed my panniers back on Tilmann out in the barn. She made a wonderful breakfast, and we took photos in front of the chicken coop. I told Mike he should be holding a chicken, so he did!

Alicia, Mike, and the girls



I headed out just a little after 8:00. I thought that was pretty good for having slept in a house. Alicia and Mike are bikey people, so they understand the need to get on the road.


I rode through Bath, which was a quaint little town. The route up and onto the bridge over the Kennebec River was awesome. Mike had told me about a stealth ship they are building in the shipyard. I could see it from the bridge. Apparently, it will only appear on radar as being 27 feet long, when really it is much much larger.

The bridge over the Kennebec River

The stealth ship



I was on and off Highway 1 several times today. One of the cool things about being on a highway is that, occasionally, there are Rest Stops. That was the case today. I pulled in, used the restroom, and had a snack. 

A nice rest stop



I came in to Damariscotta around 10:30. It was a very busy little town on the water. I went in to a little deli/general store that looked interesting. They had homemade whoopie pies, so I had to have one. Getting out of town was a little challenging because it was a steep hill with no shoulder, and a bazillion cars behind me. I just cranked it as fast as I could to at least look like I was making an effort to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

Harbor in Damariscotta




Getting out of Damariscotta wasn't nearly as bad as Waldoboro (no, I did not see anyone in a red and white stripped shirt, glasses, and a stocking hat). I came down down down, and then virtually straight up. It didn't help that I had to stop at an intersection to check my map, then continue going up. I'm sure the whoopie pie helped.


Shortly after returning to Hwy 1, I was almost out of water, so I stopped at a restaurant that appeared quite popular. It was a seafood place, and their claim to fame was their lobster roll. They had a 4 oz roll or a 7 oz one. I had a crab salad. I just wasn't sure about eating lobster when I still had several miles to go. Besides, I will have plenty of opportunity to eat lobster in a couple of days. 


I hadn't quite decided whether to go all the way to Camden Hills State Park, or stay at a somewhat closer campground (curiously, also called Camden Hills). When I got to the campground, I decided to call it a day. I'd gone 50 miles, and I was tired of the hills. 


The camping continues to be wildly expensive (in my opinion). Tonight was $36.00. However, Judy, the manager, is very nice. Not only did she put me on a hookup site (for the price of a tent site) near the showers and restrooms and in not so buggy of an area, but she also brought me a big bowl of corn chowder. So, for the third night in a row, I have not had to cook dinner. It was perfect, because I had a big late lunch.



I looked at my map. I think I will get to Bar Harbor day after tomorrow. That means I'll be a day earlier than I planned. I hope to take a day off.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22--Day 40--I've Been Making New Friends, All the Live Long Day

Well, and last evening too. I had the most hilarious evening with the Hemlock community of campers. I've learned a new concept of camping, or "Camp" as they call it. As in, "We are going to Camp." Camp is where they park their RVs for the season (some leave them year round). Most of the people live really close by, like less than an hour away. They all know each other, and even get together in the winter for dinner. I guess it's like having a summer place, only it's really close to their rest of the year place. 


Anyway, I was invited to dinner by Nancy and her husband Parker. Nancy told me to have Barbara and Doug bring me with them (in the golf cart, of course) down the 100 feet or so to their campsite. So, I hopped on the back along with Gabby, Barbara and Doug's 11 year old granddaughter. We had stir-fry and leftover homemade chicken pot pie. The next night, it was Barbara's turn to cook. 


Then there was Bill. Bill was a character. He could not, to save his life, remember my name. It got to where he would look at me, and I would say, "Colleen". It didn't help that he was, shall we say...three, no make it ten sheets to the wind...if you know what I mean. His wife just rolled her eyes at him. However, remember that steep gravel road I mentioned in the previous post? Well, Bill needed to take his pickup in to get the tires rotated and the oil changed the next day. They would be leaving at 7:15, and offered to give me a ride to the top of the hill. Of course, I accepted!


The night was a blast with all of them, and the other neighbors that stopped by periodically. True to his word, Bill was ready to go at 7:15 this morning. We loaded Tilmann into the back of his pickup, and him, his wife (sadly, I did not catch her name), and I went to the top of the hill. It probably saved me 30 minutes of walking.

Bill and his wife
Cool clouds
You can tell there is no wind--Lake like glass
Yesterday, after I got Cam's mom's message, I called her and said I would stop by on my way to Bath. They really were just off the route a couple of miles. She said we would go to lunch at the Village House. I got to their B&B at 9:00. It was only 11 miles from the campground. There were some hills though, otherwise I would have arrived even earlier! I had a great time chatting with Shannon and Al, and a couple of their guests. They showed me a shorter, less busy way to get to Brunswick, and back on my route. Al even copied off the necessary pages from the atlas, highlighting the route I should take. He also copied off the pages to Bangor (after Bar Harbor), and gave me a road map of Maine. 



Before long, it was almost 11:00. We decided it wasn't too early to go eat. Al and I had second breakfast, Shannon had first lunch. It was delicious! After we got back, we took a couple of photos, and I headed on my way. I am so glad I stopped by. Their B&B (Chandler House) is really nice, and it would have been awesome to stay there, but I still had a great night with the Hemlock group.

Al and Shannon

Chandler House B&B



I followed my new route to Brunswick (it ended up cutting off about 10 miles). Coming into Brunswick, I met a couple cycling from Quebec City to Boston. I think they were following the Atlantic Coast Route.


In Brunswick I got on the Androscoggin River Bike Path. It was a nice bike path running parallel to the very busy Hwy 1. I will experience riding on Hwy 1 in places, but there will be a wide shoulder, so the map says.

Androscoggin River



At the end of the bike path I got onto Old Bath Rd. I was heading to my Warmshowers hosts for the night. Alicia and Mike are just a couple of miles off Old Bath Rd. I think I mentioned that I met their daughter, Rebecca, in Ohio. Rebecca has made it to Wyoming now (departing from the Northern Tier Route to get to Idaho in time to start her new job as a nurse). She is riding 100 mile days! Amazing!


Alicia and Mike are very nice. Alicia cooked a delicious dinner. I did my laundry, and Alicia hung it out on the line to dry for me! I thought I would be pitching my tent tonight, but instead I will sleep in a very comfy bed!


They have done the Great Divide. I told them they could do Idaho Hot Springs since Rebecca will be in Boise. They are totally awesome bikes people, and I'm so lucky to get to stay here with them. I'll probably take photos tomorrow.



So, counting last night, I've made so many new friends! I've said it again and again, this is what touring is all about for me! I love riding, for sure, but it's the people that make it the best!

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21--Day 39--One Should Not Underestimate the Hills of Maine

Oh my, the mosquitoes were so bad at Canal Bridge campground! This morning, after getting dressed in my tent, and packing everything up in my tent, I covered my skin in DEET. I don't think I got any more bites, but I got enough last night to last me forever!


I left mosquitoville at 7:10. Funny thing, yesterday when Mike took me the sly dog route, I was thinking we had overshot the campground, and the mile I rode to the campground after leaving Mike, I was going to have to do this morning. Upon closer inspection of the map, we came back to my route a mile SHORT of the campground. If I had gone the way I thought I should be heading, I would have ended up back in Fryeburg! 


Mike had told me a different, but longer way to go to Lovell. I didn't do it. It was early enough in the morning that there wasn't much traffic. The 5 miles to Lovell were fine.


Cam, a guy from home who works at Joy Ride, and leads the gravel rides, had told me his parents own a B&B in New Gloucester which is just barely off my route. I realized I could get to them today, so I called yesterday. I left a message, but didn't hear back. I texted Cam, but didn't hear back from him either. I also set up a Warmshowers stay with the parents of the gal I met way back in Ohio on my way to Gibsonburg for tomorrow night in the town of Bath. 


This morning, I checked my phone. Still no message from Cam or his parents. I decided I would stop in Bridgton for second breakfast, then check again there. If there was no message, I would go to Hemlock Campground, the last campground before Bath (still 47 miles away).


The hills getting to Bridgton, actually, the whole day, were quite steep. They were short...ish, but still leg busters. I was thinking it wouldn't be that bad, and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't easy either. I think I probably climbed as much elevation gain as I did yesterday on the Kanc.

Look! A moose!

Andy told me about this stop yesterday. Water and benches for cyclists.

Highland Lake--one of many in the area



In Bridgton, I ate at Ricky's Diner. It was classic diner fare. I checked my phone, and still no message, so I made my plan for Hemlock (kind of outside Poland--which is funny because I also went through Sweden today).


The hills kept coming. Oh, there were downhills, but in this case, they really did go by way too quickly! I finally reached the turn for the campground, only to be greeted with one of the steepest hills of the day. Then, to get to the campground itself, I had to go down a steep gravel road. That is totally going to suck tomorrow. There may be walking involved.

Tripp Pond from above--I'm camped on the pond



I got everything set up, and plugged my phone into the outlet so kindly provided for the tent sites. There was a message from Cam, and a phone message from his mom. Shannon said they had room, and I was welcome to stay...bummer...



Well, since they are not far off my route, I'm going to stop in tomorrow to say hello on my way to Bath. I'm hoping the hills will be a little kinder!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20--Day 38--Conquering the Kanc, and Making it to Maine

The climb to Kancamagus Pass wasn't too terrible, in large part because they had recently repaved the road, so it was nice and smooth. Funny thing happened when I was near the top. A guy went by me on a motorcycle. He pulls over, gets off his motorcycle, and proceeds to take a picture of me as I'm climbing up the road. Then, without waiting for me to catch up to him, he hops back on his bike, and roars off. However, when I pulled off at the lookout very near the top, lo and behold, he was there. He was walking back to his bike, planning to walk right by me, when I said, "What? You take my picture, and now you're just going to walk right by me without saying hello?" He laughed and said he couldn't believe I was riding a bicycle up that hill (9% grade for the last couple miles). He just had to stop and take a picture. His name was Joel, and he was from Massachusetts.


I rode the last little smidge to the Pass sign.

The Pass

As I was coming down, there was another lookout on the other side. I stopped there too.

Mountains aplenty

There were several road cyclists coming up the Pass. I was glad to be going down. The downslope was 4 miles of 7% grade. That means it was harder coming up from the other side. I think the side I came down was longer though. It leveled off some, but I continued to go down.


I saw a touring cyclist going up. He was Andy, originally from New Zealand, now living in Connecticut, but soon moving to New York. He was taking this time between jobs to ride Northern Tier. He is getting a late start if he hopes to make it over the Rockies. It was Andy who told me we weren't on the route. He was off route on purpose. I was off route because I missed a tiny turn. In hindsight, I know where it was, and it explains why I only went by one campground, instead of two like the map said. However, the new pavement was delightful, and I'm not sorry I missed the turn.


I came into the town of Conway. I stopped for lunch at a nice little cafe called Sweet Maple. They also had wifi, so I was able to upload yesterday's post.


Back on the route out of Conway, I headed to Maine (okay, I know, I've been heading to Maine all along). After Center Conway, I crossed into Maine, state number 11!


Almost immediately I got onto a bike trail called the Mountain Division Trail.

Mountain Division Trail

I rode along for a bit over a mile, and came to where I though I was to get off the trail, but the road wasn't the right name. As I was about to turn around and go back to the trail, thinking I'd gotten off too soon, another cyclist came by (perfect timing). Mike told me I needed to go back to the last street. I told him I needed to get groceries. He said he would just ride me to the grocery store, then show me a less traffic way to get to the campground I was headed for. I thought that was great! 

Mike and the gravel




Mike's route included a bit of gravel which didn't bother me in the least! Just before popping back out onto the road, he took some pictures of Tilmann, and I took a picture of him. Once on the road, I was just a mile from the campground, Canal Bridge Family Campground. It's on the Saco River. There have been many people canoeing and kayaking down the river.

Saco River boaters

The only really bad thing (besides the $30 cost) is the absolute hoard of mosquitoes. I have applied, and reapplied my friend Ben. They are driving me crazy! I think I must go apply more DEET!!!

July 19--Day 37--NH, AT, and the Beginning of the Kanc

I crossed into New Hampshire (state number 10) first thing this morning by crossing the Connecticut River. There was no Welcome to New Hampshire sign. I made my own (I know, the 'S' is missing). It was foggy again, but it burned off pretty quickly. Soon enough, I was riding in increasingly warm temps. I'm not complaining--it's far better than rain.

Welcome to New Hampshire



Another covered bridge

I knew I had a couple of back to back climbs today. The first one wasn't too bad, except when I got to the part where I was supposed to go down, there was a sign that said "Road Closed". It did say "Local Traffic Only". Well, in this case, I consider myself local traffic. There was a detour, but I had no idea where, or how far out of my way it would take me. I proceeded through the closed road. I did all the downhill, and was almost to where my next turn was, when I reached the construction. Hmmmm.....this was going to be tricky. First I asked the guy operating the front loader if I could squeeze through. He said probably not. He said there were two excavators on each side of the road. I asked if I could try. He shrugged his shoulders, and said, "I guess." I moved on ahead. While there were two excavators, only one was working. There was plenty of room to get by. Another guy walked up to me. I asked if I could just squeeze by. He said the road was closed and gave me all kinds of grief for not taking the detour (I explained my reasons). Finally, he asked his boss. The boss said yes, and I was waved through. I have no doubt if I had been a guy, I would have had to turn around. I'm sure the guy thought I was totally stupid, but I didn't care so long as I didn't have to go back.


The next climb was longer, and entirely in the sun which, by now was really hot. It was about 3 or 4 miles to the top. At the top, called Kinsman Ridge, the Appalachian Trail (AT) crossed the highway. Unfortunately, I didn't meet any hikers. I stopped at the trailhead parking and had a snack before heading down down down.

The AT crosses here



The bottom of the descent brought me into North Woodstock, just a few miles north of the Woodstock of 60s music fest. I stopped at a gift shop place to get a postcard for Grayson. As I was leaving, a couple from Montreal stopped to talk to me. They must have been staying in the next town (a mile away) of Lincoln. I followed them to Lincoln, and at a stop light, caught up to them. They asked to take my picture. I said yes, then took theirs too.

Caroline and John



I realized as I came into Lincoln (a good sized touristy sort of town) that I hadn't checked off a New Hampshire Subway. I didn't get a Vermont one, as I didn't go through any sizeable towns. I didn't see one, so I stopped at a market/deli and got a sandwich. Of course, as soon as I got back on my bike, up in the distance I could see the Subway sign. So, I stopped and got cookies. New Hampshire Subway has now been checked off!

NH Subway, CHECK!



My goal for the day was to get partway up the Kancamagus Hwy to the Pass (the locals call it "The Kanc". There were two Forest Service campgrounds. The first was 3 miles from Lincoln, and the second was 6 miles. As you might guess, I stopped at the first one. It was 3:00, and I had done enough climbing in the sun. Ironically, this campground is called Hancock. Why is that ironic you ask? Because yesterday I went from the town of Hancock to East Thetford. Today I went from East Thetford to the campground of Hancock! 



I'll get an early start (or just my usual start, which is pretty early) tomorrow while it's cooler, and less traffic to finish the climb up the Kanc.