Summit of Kancamagus Pass
over the mountain’s silence
Last pass to cross past (perhaps)
Today I crossed the seventh (eighth if you count the Middlebury Gap) pass of the tour and crossed into Maine the 14th and final state of the tour (plus one Canadian Provence). The day was again hot and humid and the wind out of the south didn’t help much as the route on this day would oft head south. Right out of my campground there was an ~750′ climb past a beaver pond, waterfalls and pools of water in carved out stone. I’d left early (for me) and this initial climb was pretty nice. Even nicer was the long descent into the town of North Woodstock where I paused for a good hour and a half to charge the iPad and take care of some business (plus a second breakfast). Then it was onto the main climb. This climb all this considered was easy, it had none of the crazy steep sections of Middlebury Pass. I was able to stay in the middle chainring for the duration. But the heat, the humidity, the headwind and the nearly continuous traffic made it a challenge. Nice views of the green covered White Mountains receding in every direction and again followed streams most of the way. Mostly though I heard the sounds of motorcycles as there seemed to be a endless stream of them. Near the summit the road quality deteriorated which didn’t help things. All in all though an easy crossing and I was done before lunch. It was then a long, long descent all the way to the town of Conway. During this descent it was clear blue in three quarters of the sky but with clouds streaming in from one direction began to rain on me. A truly strange sight but the big drops of rain were refreshing.
Maine, the 14th and final state
After lunch in Conway it was only a few miles until I crossed into Maine – the last state of the tour. This area is extremely popular for tourism and the packed campgrounds, streams of traffic and No Vacancy signs everywhere attested to that. I began calling campgrounds to look for a place to stay but the two upcoming ones on the route were both closed. I ended up heading to one about twenty miles further along than I’d planned for this day. At first the ride was pretty easy; gentle rolling hills and with the wind. But after nearly twenty miles it turned east and then south into the wind and short, sharp hills appeared. These were just brutal and the road quality was horrific- nearly Iowa bad. Not to mention I was at seventy miles for the day and had crossed a pass in the heat… But I finally slogged through those backroad hills and arrived in the very charming town of Bridgton where I turned off route and rode a couple miles to the Lakeside Pines Campground. This is a pretty large, family recreation park and well packed with people. Also the most expensive campground I’ve ever stayed at. But everything has been more expensive back east. This long days ride also pushed me past another milestone: 5000 miles.
out of the clear blue sky —
a burl of grey,
big drops of rain