Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 71 Lancaster, NH to Hanover, ME

Day 71 Lancaster, NH to Hanover, ME
September 14, 2005
59 miles
3,416 miles

Topped off my tires with some compressor air and spent an enjoyable morning riding out of Lancaster to Jefferson, NH on the back roads guided by Dave Haas, my WarmShowers host. The net result of the ups and downs was high ground-- the views to the east of Mt. Washington and the rest of the Presidential Range were spectacular and the rides down the hills before the climb up Gorham hill and the last big descent into Gorham were thrilling.

Crossed the Appalachian Trail in a couple of places and noted significant hiker's cars parked by the roadside. The return to the Androscoggin River Valley, nestled between the mountains was a sure sign of homecoming. As I crossed the state line into Maine, I noted that there were no welcome signs, only prohibitions and warnings: no fireworks, no weeds on your propellers, tough drunk-driving laws. The only sign missing was: "You're in Maine. No fun. Turn around now." Whatever happened to the WELCOME sign? C'mon Maine!

The first 6 miles or so into Maine on Route 2 were taken over by construction crews re-configuring the road, which has been badly needed for many years now. That section of road has claimed many lives over the years so this will be a big improvement, including smooth, wide shoulders for bikes. Had I known about the construction, I would have taken the North road to bethel on the other side of the river, as not long after the construction zone, when I reached Bethel and 3,400 miles, I had a tire blow-out. It was the biggest bang and fastest deflation I have ever experienced on a bike, so I was very glad I was travelling on a safe, wide, and flat section of road when it happened, as opposed to one of the fast downhills I passed earlier in the day.

Stopped at the Bethel Bike Store to get a replacement tube, and when I exited the shop and climbed back on to my bicycle, my friend Dimitrios pulled up in his car, as casually as if he had last seen me just yesterday, not last year. We went down the road just a few hundred yards to celebrate with a couple of pints at "The Jolly Draman", where I met the proprietor, Richard, to whom I passed on the regards of Scotty Hubbard of the Prescott, Ontario pub "The Red George". After a couple of rounds, it was getting late, so I threw my panniers in Dimitri's car and started spinning my way to Hanover and the inevitable Howard Pond Hill, a steep climb of 700 feet or so over the course of 2 miles up from the Androscoggin valley floor below. Returning to the child-hood playground of Howard Pond is always a rejuvenating experience for me. So many memories stir in this magical place where I learned to swim and spent long summer days chasing frogs, hiking woods and peaks, sailing and canoeing and reading books all summer long. Always a cool refreshing swim awaited after a steamy day in the hayfields of the valley below.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Lee, we spent 5 days over Labor Day W/E at the pond. Missed you by one week. Congratulations on your trek across America/Canada-Bob