Monday, July 15, 2013

Day #48: A Change in Plans

Today's Route: Lincoln, NH to Gorham, ME (87 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 2759

In my La Mappa Della Bicicleta blog entry, I outlined the plan for my bike trip. The plan was as follows:
  • Bike to the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick, ME.
  • Travel down to Washington D.C. to visit with my little brother and his family.
  • Bike from D.C. to Chicago to visit with the rest of my family.
  • Take the train from Chicago back to Portland, OR.

There have been a few changes to the plans. My new plans are as follows:
  • Bike to the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick Portland, ME.
  • Travel down to Washington D.C. to visit with my little brother and his family. Bike back to the Adirondacks to backpack with my older brother and his girlfriend.
  • Bike from D.C. Hitch a ride with my older brother back to Chicago to visit with the rest of my family.
  • Take the train from Chicago back to Portland, OR.

Why the changes?
  • Why end the trip in Brunswick, ME when I can end it in Portland, ME? That way, I will have biked from Portland to Portland.
  • My little brother and his family won't be able to meet up in Washington D.C.
  • I have no interest in traveling down the Atlantic Coast just for the sake of doing it.
  • I have the opportunity to join my older brother and his girlfriend on a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks.
  • I've seen enough cornfields, bike trails, flat routes, heat, and mosquitos on this trip to last for awhile. I'd rather skip these and get back to the Pacific Northwest, where the scenery is mountainous and gorgeous, the temperatures are comfortable, and there is no such thing as mosquitos.

Rather than backtracking along the same route back to the Adirondacks, I've decided to manufacture a new route. I picked up some state maps at the Maine Visitor's Center today, and I've mapped out a different route back to New York. This will be a bit more adventurous, as I'll have no insight into elevation profiles, the quality of roads, and the locations of grocery stores and the like. (These were all provided on the bike maps I was using.)

I'm all out of candy corn. There weren't a whole lot of non-chocolate-covered, bite-sized candies at the grocery store in Lincoln, and so I settled on Skittles for my Bento Box.

Trying Skittles in the Bento Box.

Today's ride began with the big climb over Kancamagus Pass. This is the final big climb on my trek out east.

The elevation profile for my ride through Vermont and New Hampshire.

A number of the bikers I've crossed paths with said that the hills in the east were so steep that they needed to push their bikes up some of the climbs. I had successfully biked up all the others climbs except for the Pass, and so I was curious just how bad the Pass would be.

I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the Pass to get unbearably steep. But, the steepness never happened. After about an hour and a half of climbing, I was at the summit. And then I was on my way down.

I owe it all to the bite-sized pieces of speed in my Bento Box. Or perhaps it was the fact that my legs already have 2,500+ miles of training on them. Whatever is to thank, I'm glad I didn't have to push my bike, as I have very little upper body strength.

At the top of the Pass
(with a gratuitous sweat-snot drip hanging from the edge of my nose).

While the Pass, at 2,855 feet, isn't nearly as high as the passes out west, it is a bit steeper in places.

My forearms are glistening.

The view from the top of the Kancamagus Pass.

On the way down from the Pass, I decided to pull off at a parking area and enjoy the Swift River. The river had been off to my side for a good part of the climb over the Pass.

Swimmers in the Swift River.

I climbed out onto some rocks in the middle of the river to take the above photo. After snapping the photo, I looked down and saw the below message scribbled on the rock I was standing on. Love it!

A sweet surprise, scribbled on a river rock.

Vermont is home to the Green Mountains. Which makes sense. Cuz, you know, the mountains are green.

But silly New Hampshire is home to the White Mountains. White mountains? They don't look white to me. It's like white tea. I just don't get it!

According to tradition (and Wiki), the mountains were first spotted from a ship off the coast, and the highest peaks, at the time of the spotting, were snow-covered. Hence, the White Mountains.

I stopped at a gas station after the climb and slipped into the bathroom to douse my shirt in water. Ah, it was great to continue my ride with a cold, wet shirt.

With the not-really-white White Mountains behind me, and sporting my wet (but quickly drying) shirt, a little while later, I entered Maine.

Entering Maine.

Maine is fairly self-conscious of its roads. Both my map and the woman at the Visitor's Center warned of shoulder-less, deteriorating roads. My ride through Maine, thus far at least, has been on great roads. Maine, have more confidence in your roads!

Riding through the Northeastern states is sort of like traveling in Europe. The states in the Northeast, like the countries in Europe, are so small that it takes no time at all to cross from one border into the next.

I had planned on doing the stealth thing in Standish, ME tonight, but I was feeling strong, and so I decided to push it a bit further to Gorham, ME.

I located a great school/park with a variety of sports fields and multiple ball fields.

I thought I had really scored it big when I saw that I'd be able to take a shower tonight.

Yeah, I get to take a shower!

But, upon closer inspection, I was saddened to learn that I would not be taking a shower.

Upon closer inspection, there will sadly be no shower.

Oh well, at least I'd be able to charge my iPad.

Yeah, I get to charge my iPad!

Upon closer inspection, there will be no iPad charging.

I was okay not charging the electronics. But I had it stuck in my mind that a shower would feel so good. I walked around a bit, scoping things out. I found a nearby preschool with a hose hooked up to an outdoor water faucet. So, after nightfall, I walked over to the preschool, with my bathing suit and my bottle of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap in hand.

Ah, how wonderful to crawl into the tent all clean and fresh smelling, knowing that tomorrow I will see the Atlantic Ocean in Portland, ME.


  1. I have an Aunt and Uncle that live in Gorham. Say hello to them for me and enjoy the Atlantic views.

  2. No kidding, Alex! Are you saying I didn't need to stealth camp in Gorham after all? ;)


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