And I Forgot A Title

The Start From Middleton

Looking Back At A Climb That Felt Steeper Than This Looks

A Horse Ranch

More Scenery

This Isn’t Even One Of The Larger Parcels I have Seen

They Were Obviously Well Cared For

1 Of But Many

The City Of Brotherly Love. Yep, we are now in Philadelphia for a day of R&R. We are scheduled for a Hop On Hop Off bus tour of the city.

You may have noticed that I waited for this break to post about the last 3 days of riding. I needed the rest after the first 2 of those days though yesterday was my easiest day yet, despite humidity that had me dripping wet.

July 15, Sunday (Middleton, NY to Stroudsberg, PA):

Only 3 riding days ago and already my memory is fading. That is one of the reasons for these posts, so that I have a bit of a diary to help me remember what this was all about when I look back at it in the future.

My Garmin tells me it was 62 miles and 3,738 feet of climbing, which was more than twice what I had been expecting. Well, what I would have expected if I believed Google Maps’ elevation projections which, unfortunately, I don’t any more. They have all been substantially too low.

Thirty-seven hundred feet isn’t all that much. Except that temperatures did get up to 95 and though I don’t know what the humidity was, I know I was VERY wet. And my legs were starting to resent the ups and downs with the ups sometimes getting over 13%. My Garmin even registered as high as 21% though that sounded worse than it was because I had some momentum going into that climb which didn’t stay that steep for any distance at all. But it was still a climb.

There was one stop where I was resting on a bench outside of a store after some decent climbing when my mind was trying to come up with reasons for why I should just wait for the truck. I guess my mind wasn’t too convincing, however, because for some reason I got back on the bike and started another climb. Nothing too steep, but it was part of a stretch that just kept going. However, I remember when I finally got to what appeared to be a peak and there was a sign warning trucks to shift into lower gears for the next 4 miles. That made me feel better for a couple of reasons. One was that it meant that I didn’t have much climb in front of me for at least the next 4 miles. The other was that it made me realize that I must have been climbing for a while because if there was a 4 mile descent, there had to have been a pretty decent climb.

Well, that descent didn’t mean the end of all of the day’s climbing, but it was the end of the worst of it. I still had stretches where I got into my lowest gear but there were stretches when I could actually pedal at a decent pace. That is fun. If it hadn’t been so warm, it would have been even better.

I have a couple of photos of roads that were intended to show some of the climbs but while the grade doesn’t show up, the beautiful countryside does. I also have a photo of some of the few horses I have seen which, given all of the obvious horse pastures I had seen, is somewhat surprising.

There is also a cemetery photo. With all of the cemeteries I have seen, both large and small, I have thought that it would have been interesting to count them to see what it would add up to. Although I haven’t done that, I know I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of headstones and dozens of cemeteries.

This ride started in Middleton, NY and ended in Stroudsberg, PA which is in the Poconos, a well known vacation destination. Ale had gone to a Walmart – where, as she has said, you can find anything – and commented about all of the foreign languages she heard customers using. So apparently the Poconos are known in more than just the USA.

Nope, neither of those towns were on my itinerary but we – i.e., Ale – have made adjustments because there haven’t always been accommodations in the towns I had scheduled as stops. And in the instance of the next 2 days, she had turned what had been scheduled as 88 and 14 mile rides into a couple of 52 mile rides (well, at least in theory).

Departing Stroudsberg

A Moderate Stretch

I Stopped To Rest, Not To Take A Photo

It Was Steeper Than This Looks

That Is Part Of What I Climbed, By Foot

Looking Down From That Bridge

July 16, Monday (Stroudsberg to Quakertown):

Today was only 62 miles and 3,405 feet. But other than the day I cut short because of heat exhaustion, it may have been my most challenging day.

The ride started out innocently enough until it turned me onto a road that led up and over whatever mountains – I refuse to call this a hill given what it did to me. I don’t know that there has ever been a stretch that has caused me to stop to rest as many times as this one did. I have gone up Mt. Diablo, Morgan Territory, Palomares, through the mountains in Oregon and I don’t think I have ever stopped so much to let my legs recover. However, I didn’t walk any of the climb; I just rested more than I would have liked but I did keep getting on and pedaling. And I didn’t fall over in getting back on, either, though there were a couple times when it took more than one try to get both pedals in.

After that climb, the rest of the ride really went pretty well. More pretty scenery and mostly good roads. Even the bike trails I was directed to were decent.

I had trouble finding one of the trails that started behind some bushes at the end of a dead end road (how does Google find these places?). Once I got on it, it wasn’t too bad. The dirt\gravel was much slower than pavement but there wasn’t much sand or thick gravel so I wasn’t constantly worried about falling. Much of the trail was along a river which made me think of last year’s Erie Canal path except this was even greener. The main adventure along here was when Google told me to make a right turn onto a road that wasn’t there. A right turn would have taken me into the river that separated the trail from obvious activity on the other side. So I didn’t follow that direction. Instead I continued for another couple of miles when I was directed to make a hard right. Well, there wasn’t a road there, either. But there was a very high stair case that led up to a bridge. So I took the stair case and was glad that my bike is light because I am sure that the bridge was 4 or 5 stories up. (I tried to take photo to show the height from the top but I don’t think it was too effective.) It turns out that the lack of the first right turn meant that I overshot what Google had originally intended, adding a good 4 miles to the ride. No big deal. Yet.

Aside from beautiful country side I have seen numerous huge mansions on lots that don’t exist at home. The millions they would cost if in the Bay Area went through my head, though I don’t know what they cost here in Pennsylvania.

When I was about 52 miles into what I originally thought was going to be a 52 mile ride (I knew it had been extended by me nor fording the river when I was told to turn), I stopped to try to cool down from the 96 degree temperature. I don’t stop within 2 miles of the end but I have vowed to try to avoid getting overheated so I stopped. I checked my Garmin and saw I had 2.4 miles to go. As hot as I was, that didn’t sound too bad so I got back on and said that 2 miles in nothing.

Well after I had done a couple of miles I stopped to check my Garmin again. Now I was 5+ miles from the end. How that happened, I don’t know though I wasn’t too thrilled by that. But what was I to do? Who could I possibly get mad at given that I knew that no one had forced me to take this trip. So I got back on and just kept pedaling. And I finished the ride. Dripping wet, hot and tired. But finished.

Goodbye Quakertown

Quite A Front Yard

A View From A Trail Within Philadelphia

More Of That Trail

Entering Philadelphia

July 17, Tuesday (Quakertown to Philadelphia):

The most fun, or at least easiest, day of the trip. 45 miles and 2,603 feet of climb. But the climbs were generally fun, the roads were good, the scenery was pretty and it was still hot. Oh, yeah, the “hot” part wasn’t part of the good parts, but it was bearable. And the rest more than compensated.

The ride was slower than it might have been because a number of miles were on an unpaved bike/pedestrian trail. It was harder riding than on pavement but it was, as so much has been, beautiful. Including the obligatory river with mini rapids and a picturesque bridge.

It even had a couple of snack shops along its 13 mile length (I wasn’t on all of it, but a good number of miles). When stopped while getting a drink, I noticed that I didn’t have cell reception and for reason my Google Maps connection had ended. I asked a jogger who had stopped with her son when I might be able to expect to regain reception. She asked where I was headed. I said Philadelphia and she said that I was in Philadelphia. I hadn’t expected that because the trail was totally rural. In any event, that is how I met Becky – who did some graduate studies at Cal Berkeley – and Jackson McWilliams. Hi, Becky and Jackson. I hope you leave a Comment to say hello.

The route into Philadelphia was so different than my entry into Boston which had taken my on busy city streets. This time I was on bike paths through most of the city. A very different feel. Unfortunately I missed the most dramatic photo of entering the city. With a curve in my path there was a large river – with an Indian name I don’t recall – with Philadelphia’s skyscrapers in the background. Beautiful. I missed the chance because I was going at a decent clip and figured I would stop the next chance. Unfortunately, that view wasn’t duplicated. But I remember it.

It is past my bed time so I will wait until later to talk about our time in Philadelphia. But I will say that I felt better at the end of this ride than after any other so far. May it continue!

Good night,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPS AND DOWNS

Leaving Windsor Locks

The Dirt Path

The Wooden Bridge

Yet Another Of The Ubiquitous Lakes

The title has a couple of meanings here. One has to do with the unpredictability of my riding. Some days are ups, some are downs and after all these years I haven’t seen a pattern. The latest example is that 2 days ago I ended on a real up. My riding had been good and I felt strong, even at the end of the ride. I was definitely looking forward to the next day’s ride. And then …

July 13 (Windsor Locks, CT to Millerton, NY, sort of):

Friday the 13th was my “and then” day. Nothing horrible, I just struggled whereas the day before had been easy. I can’t attribute it to the weather or roads because both were pretty comparable, which is to say they were good. My body just seems to fluctuate.

The ride was 62 miles and 4,200 feet of climbing. The 4,200 feet is the second part of the “Ups And Downs”. I don’t know the altitude of the highest mountain I climbed but I don’t think it was much. It’s just that you climb the same hills numerous times, up and down and up and down and up and down And then do it some more. The consolation is that it was pretty. More trees, more green, more lakes.

Before the ups and downs, though, there was a dirt path, not my favorite riding, especially when there is gravel and/or sand. There were a couple of times it caught my tire but nothing bad. It just makes for slow going and is more tiring, especially if it makes you tense as it does me. However, the path was pretty and had the wooden bridge in the photos. My path didn’t go over the bridge but rode past it, the bridge leading to a picnic area. Again, very pretty.

I said “Windsor Locks to Millerton, sort of” because there was no feasible place to stay in Millerton. Apparently it is a vacation destination because either everything was booked or it was way past my budget. While I was riding, Ale was driving to neighboring towns and finally found us something 17 miles away in Dove Plain, NY. She took me there from Millerton.

Start Of July 14

The Hudson River

Another View Of The Hudson

Ale’s Tuna

My Sushi And Sashimi

July 14 (Dove Plain to E Middletown, NY):

Today had 2 firsts for this trip, neither of which I liked. The first led to the second.

The first was that I fell over. At about 1 mph. Within 1/4 mile of our motel Google Maps had me turn off of a perfectly rideable highway (not a freeway, but a 2 lane road with a fair amount of fast moving traffic) onto a rural residential road that started at about 10% and then increased to more than 17%. I have ridden hills of 20% – albeit a very short hill – but not at the start of a 60+ mile hilly ride. So before starting the steepest part of the climb I stopped to catch my breath. The fall happened when I tried to get started again. I couldn’t get my second foot cleated in because of the grade and I managed to fall over. I had a very minor leg scrape but did cut my saddle and bruised my ego. But what damaged my ego even worse was that I walked 100 feet or so to the top of the stepest grade so I could get back on my bike. That was the 2nd first, walking up a hill.

But things got better. After getting back on and pedaling up a 16% grade and then some of 10 and 11%, which at that stage were a relief, I realized I didn’t have my spare batteries with me. Those I can’t do without because my phone is my map and lifeline and it doesn’t last all that long when it is serving as my guide. I called Ale to see if I had left them in the room which I hoped I had done because then she could bring them to me in what would take less than 5 minutes in the truck. She didn’t see them, though, so I wondered if I had dropped them when I fell. Which meant I had to turn around and go down the climbs I had just struggled up. Well, I didn’t see them so rode back to the motel to see if I had left them some place Ale hadn’t looked. Just as I got back she found them. Which meant I had to turn around and repeat the start from hell. Well, I had no more stomach for that one short steep climb so I again walked about 100 feet and repeated the 16% climb. I had a lot of feet of climbing in the first 1 ½ miles of riding.

Lots more ups and downs 3,600+’ of them all told – but a lot more beautiful country. Included were a number of what appeared to be horse ranches though I didn’t see any horses. Vast green fields surrounded by trees and bordered by white wood fences. Why didn’t I use my camera when I should have?

More ups and downs. But now in temperatures that reached a humid 95+ degrees. 58 miles and 3,650 feet of climbing. It seems I keep doing the equivalent of a Mt. Diablo without seeing anything that tall. Tell that to my legs.

Today we crossed the Hudson River. I know that is what it is because I stopped a walker and asked. Very impressive.

Oh, yes, another first today. A bee got into my helmet and stung me before I could get it off. I don’t respond too badly to stings but would prefer they leave me alone.

I guess there was a lot of sun because Ale commented on how red my face got today. And how tired I looked.

A Japanese restaurant tonight. Ale had grilled tuna and I had a sushi and sashimi combo. And at least 4 glasses of ice water. My dinner was great. The lobster a couple of days ago was good but I preferred this.

The next 3 days should be a bit shorter. Ale changed my schedule heading into Philadelphia to a couple of 50+ mile rides from the 88 and 15 mile rides that for some reason I had scheduled. I said she is indispensable.

Here is something to think on, I know that I am: “Why do a ride like this, or any comparable activity?” I will share some of my thoughts later. I hope some of you do as well. And I am hoping for reasons other than that something is wrong with me as a couple of people have suggested.

I rode to Middleton rather than the scheduled Burlingham because Ale couldn’t find anything there.

Good night,
Rick

113 Miles, 5,859 Feet Of Climb And Grades Of 14, 15 And Even 16%

Leaving Boston

Leaving Worcester

Sorry, The Trees In The Distance Are Too Far To Make Out; There Were Lots Behind Me

Just Because

We Both Had The Clam Chowder , New England Style Of Course

Yes, The Lobster Was Good

Of course the 113 Miles, 5,859 Feet Of Climb And Grades Of 14, 15 And Even 16% would be more impressive if it weren’t spread over 2 days. Which it was. In fact, yesterday, from Boston to Worcester was, only 46.1 miles, which was especially nice. Today’s 66.9 miles from Worcester – pronounced “Wooster” – to Windsor Locks, CN, even with 3,600+ feet of climb, with some as steep as 16% but, thankfully for very short distances, went really well.

Other than sounding like a broken record by saying that the scenery was beautiful both days with lots of lush vegetation and numerous lakes and rivers and good roads with nice weather, I really don’t have much to say. I didn’t meet anyone and there were no noteworthy events (which is probably a good thing).

Aside from fighting through some discomfort between my shoulder blades – something that was troubling at times last year – I felt good, including at the end of both days. In fact, my legs aren’t feeling tired when I am off the bike as they did for the first week plus. All-in-all, things are going great.

Good enough that I finished the day with a 1 ½ pound lobster dinner for only $24.95, together with a Stella. I wouldn’t do that nightly, but it was good. Ale had grilled salmon for about the same price and she enjoyed that as well.

Oh, have I mentioned lately how helpful she is? If not, let me do so now. She is indispensable.

The scenery has reminded me of a major reason I decided to do this year’s ride, aside from helping breast cancer victims and wanting to add a “+” to “Twice Across.” If everything else is equal – i.e., roads, traffic, wind, temperatures and climbing – it is easier for me riding in this environment than it was in much of what I rode through last year and the year before. While some love the desert and the vastness of the open plains, I prefer trees, green and water, at least when it isn’t pouring on me.

Here is hoping that tomorrow’s ride into Millerton, NY goes as well. Yes we have been going through the states lately from 6 days riding in Maine, to New Hampshire, through Massachusetts, into Connecticut and on to New York tomorrow. 670+ miles and counting.

I look forward to your comments. And to your donations. After all, this ride is called LAURA’S Ride Atlantic Coast for a reason.

Until next time,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Appreciated Rest Day

Janess Beach, The Conclusion Of Laura’s Ride North

Where Last Year’s Ride Ended

A Coastal Community

A Small Town On My Route

A View Of Boston From Cambridge

Quincy Market Indian Food (And A More Appreciated Cold Smoothie)

The State Building

July 9 (Portsmouth to Boston):

Eight straight days of riding tired me out. Apparently more than I knew (see below).

Yesterday’s ride into Boston was set for 72 miles and was relatively flat. The weather was good though a bit warm and humid at the end. The roads in Mass aren’t as good as Maine or New Hampshire but are nothing to complain about.

I took Hwy. 1A south with probably around 12 miles along the coast in NH. The photo of me at the beach commemorates where I dipped my wheels at the end of last year’s ride. No champagne, Sandi, Ale or Bob this time, but the weather was nice so that there were a number of beach goers. And the memories were there.

I didn’t properly charge my Garmin the night before so I didn’t have the info that I usually watch. I also added a few miles because of a mix up with directions but it wasn’t too bad.

What were bad were the voracious flies that left blood spots on me when I had to stop to check directions on my phone. The phone doesn’t work as well in the heat and it was frustrating trying to call up the correct screen while those flies were drawing blood from me. The after effects weren’t too bad but some of the spots still itch today.

Although there wasn’t much climb, and although I wasn’t exactly flying along, I was tired the last 25 to 35 miles or so. The heat and humidity didn’t help but I would guess that the cumulative days had something to do with it.

I would guess that all the of those factors – the approximately 570 total miles, the heat and the humidity – had tired me out more than I knew because while lying in bed after dinner first one leg – from the foot up through my shin – and then the other cramped. It hurt enough that I asked Ale to go out to the truck to get some of my anti-cramp serum. I would like to say it was miraculous but I ended up taking 3 and was still a very unhappy camper for a while. I was finally able to sleep only to have them reappear in the morning though, thankfully, in a much more mild form. They went away and we spent a day of sight seeing, much of it walking, with no reappearance. My fingers are crossed for tomorrow but fortunately the weather will be cooler and the ride is only a bit more than 50 miles.

The last 6 miles of the ride took quite a while because my route led me through the heart of downtown Boston. That was a very different riding experience. A bit scary but interesting. Thankfully the traffic was slow. We ended up in an area called Dorchester which is a 15 minute subway ride from downtown. Our Airbnb stay has been a bit of an experience but since I want to get this posted so I can read a bit before going to bed, that is a story for another time.

We visited downtown and Harvard today and then came back and I did nothing. That was great. Rest was too valuable to do more touristy stuff.

Last night we had Indian food from a booth at Quincy Market and tonight ate at a local Chinese restaurant. The food was edible but not remarkable both places.

By the way, the rest day was good not only to deal with a bit of fatigue but because by the end of yesterday’s ride the seat of my shorts was sticking to me and I am hoping that my Bag Balm is as effective as it has been in the past at healing raw spots. If not, my saddle is going to be VERY uncomfortable tomorrow.

Good night,
Rick

PS: Thank you. I do read and appreciate your posts even if I don’t respond to them individually It is just that posting takes far more time than you would think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Excuses

Foot Bridge In Brunswick

Leaving Belfast

Dave, Carl and Matt

Future Destination Restaurant

Conditions were too good for me to have any excuses the last 2 days. No rain. No extreme heat. Abd reduced humidity.

July 7 (Belfast to Brunswick):

But there were 4,685 feet. That isn’t a huge number. But it is quite a bit more than 2,338 feet which is the number of feet that Google Maps had projected. I can say that I felt all of the additional 2,347 feet. However, the good news for me is that they weren’t as bad as they would have been a couple of days ago. Even though some of the grades were 13 and 14% (not sustained, but not infrequently, either).

I guess that has to do with the training that I did for this ride, which is to say pretty much nothing other than our weekly rides and that can hardly include Tuesdays because I wasn’t keeping up on those. I suppose it would have made sense to have done a number of consecutive day rides, but I didn’t. I figured that I could hurt while training or I could hurt here and with my usual procrastination I chose to hurt here. But I hope that things are improving.

What can I say about the ride? The weather was almost perfect, perfection having been missed because the temperature got all the way up to 80 or so after having spent much of the day in the high 60s, which are prefect. The skies were blue. The roads were, as has been true throughout Maine, at least B level and almost always very safe feeling. There are usually wide shoulders and they are usually free of debris. And while the surfaces aren’t glassy, they have been pretty good. If I knew that the rest of the roads were going to be comparable, I would be very pleased. And surprised.

I met Dave, Carl and Matt, cyclists, while I was lying on some grass gazing across the road at a building being constructed somewhere near Wiscasset, Maine. I called to them when they stopped at an intersection not far from where I was to see where they were going so I might tag along for a while. Unfortunately, they were heading back to where I had been. One of them mentioned that the building is going to be a restaurant. I was surprised because we really were out in the boonies but I was told that destination restaurants are popular in Maine. They mentioned one in the area – I should have gotten the name – that is so popular that you have to apply for a reservation a year in advance. Yes, apply. Because then they have a lottery to select those who will actually get in. And because it is a fixed menu, you better hope that you like what they are serving when your turn comes around, if it does.

At lunch I met a lady who had been going to the same restaurant daily for 30+ years. She had watched generations of waitresses go through the restaurant.

As always, I was glad to get to the finish, 74 miles later. But I was actually feeling pretty good.

Norm And Lin

Leaving Brunswick

Entering Portland

From The Bridge Into Portland

More Pretty Maine

In Portland

Carolyn And Bob

Bob And Me

July 8 (Brunswick to Portsmouth, NH):

Another great day. Outstanding weather, meaning moderate temperatures and no rainstorms. Plus the skies were blue, the scenery was beautiful – rivers, a bay and the ocean and always lush vegetation – and the roads remained excellent. I am a life long Californian and I love where I live but I have to say that you cannot beat Maine. At least during the right time of the year. Because, unlike California, the winters can be brutal and the humidity can be oppressive. But for now, Maine has been paradise.

I also have to mention riding into Portland because that was on a paved bike path that skirts the bay and drops you into the heart of town. I rode past a large cruise ship that was docked there and was not surprised that that beautiful port was on the cruise’s itinerary.

I met Norm and Lin at the motel this morning, 2 very avid bicyclists from New Zeland who are traveling self supported. I don’t know their exact route, but it will be well more than 1,000 miles and this is just their current ride. They have done other long distance rides in the USA including Canada to Mexico down the west coast, throughout the state of Oregon and on the east coast. Not to mention a long ride in Europe. At 74, Norm said that the rides have become a little more difficult. BUT he, and Lin, are still doing them. Safe travels Lin and Norm!

My 85 miles today included around 20 on some dirt paths. Although they were packed hard enough that I could do 15 mph even up a slight incline. I definitely prefer paved routes.

One of the paths crossed some paved roads and at one intersection I met Holden and Wilson, brothers who had a free lemonade stand. How could I pass that up, especially since I was assured it was cold? Despite it being free, their sign said that donations were accepted and they clearly appreciated mine.

I spent a while talking to them – they were both very articulate, and polite – and learned that their mother’s cousin had ridden across the US last year. Bob, their dad, showed up and said it had been a central route. When he said that they had enjoyed reading his posts and tracking his progress across the country, I had to give him a Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card and asked to include Wilson’s and Holden’s photo in my blog. Hello, to you 2; I know from your dad’s message that you will be following along. I hope you post a comment and say hi.

Riding into Portsmouth was fun because that is where last year’s ride ended. Those were some good memories.

Fitting right into that, the evening ended great because I had dinner with Bob Bernoth and his wife Carolyn. That was special because it was Bob who rode into Portsmouth with me last year to celebrate the end of Laura’s Ride North with us. Thank you Bob and Carolyn for making the drive to meet me for dinner and thank you for your generosity in getting me dinner. I hope to see you again though next time lets make it when you come stay with Sandi and me in California.

Although I definitely got tired today, I felt that I had more power going up hills (3,219 feet). I hope that continues. Me getting stronger, that is, not the climbing though other than tomorrow, that won’t end for a while yet.

Tomorrow is Boston and our first rest day after what will be 8 consecutive days of riding. I am sure my body will appreciate it.

Good night,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Stultifying Heat To Torrential Rain

Leaving Bangor

Belfast Harbor Restaurant

From Belfast Harbor

The weather reports warned of thunder showers so I took my light rain jacket with me. However, because it wasn’t raining I stuffed it into a jersey pocket.

The temperature was great, high 60’s, though still very humid. The roads also continued to be everything one could hope for. While I have ridden on smoother surfaces, these were fine and almost all had wide, relatively clean shoulders. And, as always on this trip, the scenery was beautiful.

I started off optimistic because yesterday went pretty well and today was only 51 miles. I felt better at the start than I had the past few days and that remained pretty much during the ride.

Maybe 20 miles into the ride it started to rain just enough that I stopped to put on my rain jacket. I was a little reluctant because with the humidity I really didn’t want to add clothes. But it was raining enough that I thought it would help.

Since it wasn’t cold, and because the shoulder was pretty wide, the rain was no big deal. Until it was. The skies pretty much opened up and it was coming down so hard that I stopped to put my phone and Garmin in plastic bags in my jersey pocket because as far as I know, neither is guaranteed as water proof. My phone still communicated with my ear piece – I use it for directions – so that wasn’t a problem but I did miss not having the data visible from the Garmin. I especially like to keep track of my speed, the grade and the distance I have gone. I don’t know how much it mattered, though, because I am not sure I could have read the screen anyway between the water that would have been on the screen, the water that did cover my glasses – yes, window wipers are very useful – and the density of the falling rain. My vision generally was impaired so I made an effort to slow down, especially on the descents, so I wouldn’t hit something I hadn’t seen

After some number of miles – I don’t know how many because the Garmin was in my pocket – I turned into the first small market I had seen for a number of mules. I knew I was wet when I walked in but was surprised when I moved one of my arms and water poured out of my sleeve. So I wouldn’t make too big of a puddle in the store, I stepped outside and loosened the cuff on my other sleeve to let another stream of water out. I had been so wet that I didn’t know how wet I was. When I walked back into the store, I was greeted with, “You should dry off after you take a shower,” to which I responded that I don’t get that wet when I do shower.

I got a soft drink and a slice of pizza since I hadn’t really had breakfast because of the motel we had stayed in. I pulled my credit card out when I saw a sign saying there was a $5 minimum to use a card because I prefer to use my card rather than getting change from using cash. To say the least, I was surprised when the bill was less than $3.00 (and it had been a large pizza slice). I wish the cost of our other meals had surprised me the same way.

After eating and cleaning my glasses – yes, a futile act – I figured I mught as well get started on the last 20 or so miles. While it was still raining, the intensity had diminished significantly and finally got to be light enough that I stopped to remount the Garmin.

Ale caught me about 10 miles from the finish and I took the opportunity to down a half bottle of Pelligrino and exchange the rain jacket for a wind breaker since it had stopped raining. Not that the rain jacket had lived up to its name when it was raining.

The last 10 miles were fun and there were even a few times when I would push part way up an incline, a marked contrast from my typical slow spin in a low gear. I hope I can do more of that as the ride progresses.

So, another day of no cramps and improving legs. And no complaining about the heat.

After Ale and I had dinner at Belfast harbor and were looking across a large river whose name I won’t even attempt that empties into the ocean not far from here, Ale said that she didn’t want to leave this state. Having been on the previous 2 rides, Ale has now seen more of our country’s states than have most Americans and her conclusion is that Maine is her favorite of all. It certainly is beautiful. Because I didn’t yesterday, I will include some photos of Bar Harbor to help substantiate that claim.

So, day 5 is now in the books – 52 miles, 2,450 feet, with 3 more ride days before we get to Boston where we will spend an R&R day. I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s 77 miles and 2,200 feet. Not a killer, by any means. But I have been a bit wimpy so far. But, as I have said, just keep on pedaling.

I look forward to hearing from some of you. With special thanks to Sandi, Annie, Karen and Sal for your comments.

Rick

Another Bar Harbor Hotel

Bat Harbor

Our Dinner View Outside Of Central Bar Harbor

My Sea Food Platter (I ate The Asparagus Too, Sal)

From Near The Restaurant

Beach Near The Restaurant

The Sun ½, Me 1 ½.

Leaving Inn By The River, Forks, ME

On The Way To Bangor

More Pretty Scenery

Clam Chowder

Mussels

July 4:

Yesterday – I am writing this July 5 – started ominously when one of my calves cramped as I was getting out of bed. Given the cramps I had had the previous 2 days, that wasn’t a good start. That was exacerbated by me generally feeling pretty weak. However, I drew some solace from Ale reminding me that there had been a number of days last year when I had said that I didn’t feel like riding only to have the day turn out ok. So, I could hope.

Actually, once I got on the bike and started pedaling, I felt ok. For a while.

The scenery was pretty – with much of the first part of the ride going along a river – and the road was hospitable. I even ran into stopped “traffic” because the highway went through a small town that was having a 4th of July parade, the highway apparently being the town’s main street. From what I could see, the “parade” had maybe 4 vehicles. None of which even pretended to be a decorated float.

There was a fair amount of climbing. Not exactly scaling a mountain, but definitely more than just rollers. I won’t claim that was easy, but given my recent cramps, I was pleased that I was doing as well as I was. And with no cramps.

However, the heat started getting to me. I stopped when I felt especially baked IF I could find shade and that helped. I again caused some concern when a couple of vehicles that had passed me doubled back to see if I was ok. I’m afraid one woman had been especially alarmed, thinking that I had taken a fall. I assured her I was ok and apologized for her worry.

A number of miles later I again pulled over when the heat AND humidity became overwhelming. It was 95 but the main problem is that it gets to be cumulative. This time, however, I pulled up a dirt driveway far enough to find some shade and a green patch to lie on. Hearing some noise, I managed to open my eyes to see a boy of around 10 or so who had come out of his house. That wasn’t enough to keep my attention so I again tried to nap. However, a couple of minutes later his mother came out with 2 bottles of cold water, saying that I looked pretty beat from the heat. She was right. The bottled water was great and almost as good as the cold water from their hose that I used to drench myself. It was cold because after I asked about using it, the boy walked over to the spout to show me where it was and he turned it on to let it cool off from the near boiling it was from the hose sitting in the sun. That shower was great! Drinking lots is necessary, but if your body temperature gets too high, forget it. And I say that from experience. Unfortunately, I was too out of it to get names or photos of these very helpful folks. I will blame that on the heat.

The shower was good but it lasted only so long. After more climbing in the sun I decided I had had enough after only 45 of my scheduled 89 miles and 1,945 feet and let Ale know I was ready to be a passenger. Although part of me regretted it because my legs were still able to climb and I don’t like giving in, I had promised myself – and Sandi – that I am going to be more sensible this time. The air conditioned truck was great and the wisdom of my decision was reinforced when we walked out of a restaurant after lunch. Walking into the 98 degree heat was totally oppressive and I was thankful I hadn’t continued to ride in it. My brain can’t afford to be cooked any more than it already has been.

I have to mention lunch. I said how hungry I was and ordered a bowl of clam chowder and a plate of mussels. Ale ordered the same, but a cup instead of a bowl. It turns out that her cup was as large as most restaurant’s bowls and my bowl was just plain large. Then the mussels came and I was overwhelmed. I finished the clam chowder – we both agreed it was excellent – but I barely ate half of the mussels and not because they weren’t good. Of course, Ale finished all of hers. (She did get a 2 hour workout in at the hotel’s gym last night and then workedmout again this morning after I left on my ride.)

So, as of yesterday evening, it was me ½ having finished ½ of the ride and the sun ½ for having wiped out the second half.

Leaving Bangor

Outside of Bangor

Shelly and Me

July 5:

The departure from Bangor was different in that it was more urban than the previous couple of days. While we had driven into town through beautiful residential areas, some with estate sized lots and all with lush vegetation, I left through a commercial area. However, even then I felt pretty comfortable on the roads. So far this trip has been great that way.

Today to Bar Harbor, a beautiful Maine coastal town, was only 46 miles and 2,411 feet. Because it was hot – again over 90 – I stopped more than a 45 mile ride would normally warrant but, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor. The end result was that although there were a couple of times I was overheated, the ride was my best yet. No cramps at all and there were stretches that were simply fun. So, today I beat the heat: sun ½, me 1 ½.

The day was enhanced by my stop at 1A Relics, a charming new store in a unique old renovated building in Ellsworth, roughly half way to Bar Harbor. I had gone for 15 or so miles without seeing any place to get something to drink and was getting low on what I was carrying. When I stopped I didn’t initially realize it was an antique store but I went in anyway if only to ask where the next store with beverages was. I was greeted by Shelly Bradsell, a retired nurse who had opened the store only 2 weeks ago. As soon as I asked about the next store, she immediately brought me a couple of bottles of cold water and told me that she wouldn’t accept any money. We spent a while talking and when she realized the purpose of the ride, she wanted to take a selfie of us to post on their website. She introduced me as a 71 yo rider headed for Key West (the Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card I gave her mentioned a 71 year old). I disagreed, saying that I am really 55 but with all of the time on the bike I can pass for 71.The young woman she had introduced me to had the good grace to say that in either case I look good. Of course, I would prefer to look good for 55 but I will take what I can get. Thank you for your hospitality, Shelly. And best wishes for your new venture. Also, I hope that Conrad, who she also introduced me to,  comes through with his promised donation.

The temperature should be better tomorrow. But I’m not sure about the projected thunderstorms. So I guess I will get wet. I just hope the roads stay safe. But if they don’t, I will ride in the truck. No heroics for me this time around.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Days And More Cramps Than In The Previous 2 Years Combined (July 2 & 3)

I didn’t post on the 1st because after my ride I wanted to see how the next day went. Then I didn’t post yesterday because thw wifi was too sketchy. And I will save today’s ride for tomorrow. But here is July 2 and 3:

The views on the ride out of Quebec City were pretty. Much of the route was along Quebec City’s large river – the St. Lawrence – and all of it was green, which is quite a contrast to much of Laura’s Ride 2016 and Laura’s Ride North.

Leaving Quebec City: The River

More Of The River

The ride was also incredibly bike friendly. Miles of good bike paths took me out of the city and across the river and when they ended the roads had wide shoulders that were in good shape. I felt totally safe which was nice.

Well, totally safe as far as vehicles were concerned. The heat was something else. While it got to “only” 95 with humidity, it took quite a toll on me. I say “only” because 2 years ago when it got to 95 we considered it to be cooling off. And even last year there were some 100 degree days. But this time it got to me. I didn’t get sick but it did zap me pretty good. And then with around 30 miles left, I started to cramp. That made riding a challenge, (As if it wasn’t already.)

I stopped frequently because I am determined not to do what I did a couple of years ago when I let my body temperature get too high and kept riding. As Sal would say, that isn’t prudent. However, that can be easier said than done when there is little shade, not to mention no stores, and therefore no air conditioning, available.

Teresa Prentiss

One stop was on a bit of grass under a tree that provided shade. As I was lying there I saw an elderly woman walk onto her front porch at a house across the street. She motioned to me and I tried to communicate that I was fine. She disappeared into her house and then came back out with a bottle of water which her gestures showed was meant for me. Well, I couldn’t very well ignore that so I got up and walked across the street and thanked her as best I could. Our communication was limited because she is one of the numerous people in this part of Canada who only speak French. I sat on a stair on her porch until she went back inside and returned with a chair for me. Despite our language differences I learned that she is Teresa Prentiss, she is 86 – she called my 71 young, showing that everything is relative – she has 4 children, 9 grand children and she was born in Maine to an American father and Canadian mother. I hope I was able to make Teresa know how much I appreciated her kindness.

That wasn’t the last time I found some place along the road to lie down where there was a bit of shade. I did manage to finish the ride – 79 miles and 3,500+ feet of climb which isn’t horrible but was about twice what Google Maps had listed – though it was a good thing that the last bit was downhill and not a climb because my legs would have locked up for sure. As it was, I had to wait about an hour to shower because once in the room everything started to cramp. My legs, my feet and my hands though it was only the leg cramps that really hurt. And “really hurt” doesn’t do it justice.

I was very thankful for both my electric shifting and disc brakes while riding because I was having difficulty with my right hand – cramps – and would have been able to shift cogs, or beake my rear wheel otherwise. (Greg H., if you are still having hand problems as a result of your guillain barre syndrome, I strongly recommend both.)

The room in St. Georges was easily the smallest we have stayed in on any of the rides. There was no way to cram 2 bikes into the room – I did bring a spare – so we had to leave one in the truck.

Today was listed at about 3,500 feet but was actually 4,600. It wasn’t as hot as yesterday – it topped out at 90 and was typically more like 85 – but I think that yesterday was still lingering because I had to fight cramps a number of times. Fortunately I was able to pedal through them but at my last stop beside the road I couldn’t move for a few minutes as both thighs were quivering as they cramped. While I was resting, there were at least 2 vehicles that turned around so they could come by to ask if I was ok. Aside from the cramps, which they couldn’t help, I was ok but I yelled out my thanks for them asking.

Craig Fisher

When I was a few miles from where I thought I should be I stopped to enter the exact address into my phone. In doing so, I cancelled the present directions. The problem was that there was no cellular service which meant that Google Maps wouldn’t connect. Because I was headed downhill I definitely didn’t want to have overshot my destination – I wasn’t in the mood to do any unnecessary climbing. I tried to flag down the few cars that came by to ask for directions but I guess they thought I was going to highjack them with my bike because no one stopped. I ended up walking to a house that was set back from the road – this is definitely a rural area – to ask for directions. Craig Fisher not only gave me directions, he repeatedly asked if I had everything I needed and even offered to drive me to my destination. Thank you again, Craig!

Tonight we are at the Inn by The River in Forks, Maine. Which means that we crossed the border from Canada to the USA. We were even “treated” to a large homemade “Trump – Make America Great Again!” sign at the front of someone’s home on the route here. My thought was yes, let’s make America great again, like it was before the last presidential election. But enough wishful thinking.

Huge 14 oz. Rib Eye

The Inn’s setting is beautiful, marred only by the insects that left numerous lumps on Ale when she tried to go for a walk this evening. We are finally adding a meal photo. Both of us had 14 oz Rib Eye steaks but only Ale finished hers. I was sorry I couldn’t give what was left of mine – at least 1/4 – to Blue. (Here is hoping that Vixen, Sal and Kat’s beloved companion, is doing as well as possible considering that she is also a cancer victim.)

Well, another 83 miles and supposedly 3,500 feet tomorrow. I hope.

Thank you for the comments and messages before I even started,
Rick