Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Kancamagus Pass


It has been three months since I did this but here’s to the best of my recollection:

Starting before we left for the day, I kept hearing “Kancamagus Pass.”  What was that all about?  I didn’t ask but started out riding.  It rained during the night and was continuing to drizzle as I left the church.  Frank, Ethan and I started out together.  We made a good group as we watched out for one another and would re-group as necessary.  I enjoyed them because they didn’t mind my stopping to take photos and actually took some pictures too.

The trees were so pretty and green – no bark beetles here!  We  rode along various waterways which made pleasant riding.  We also stopped to play in the dandelions.  It was fun to blow the seeds into the wind just like when I was a child.

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Maine is the land of the moose.  The only one I saw was made of wood.  We also stopped to get photos of some of the stone fences in the area.  Of course, we stopped at the “welcome” sign as we got to New Hampshire.

Continuing on, we crossed the Swift River Bridge near Conway, NH.  I noticed some hills in the direction we were going.  Somewhere along here, I learned more about Kancamagus Pass.  We were going to be going over it as we went through the White Mountain National Forest.  I wasn’t too concerned since I’ve been training in the Sierra Nevada mountains but figured I’d take it easy on the climbing so I didn’t wear myself out.  It turned out to be a long climb but nothing I couldn’t handle – yay!



As we rode along the Kancamagus Highway, I stopped to get some photos of the Lower Falls Scenic Area.  Later, as I was climbing up the pass, I stopped to get a photo of the Lily Pond.  It was pretty and a good place to stop and take a break.



Not long after my break, I reached the top of the Kancamagus Pass!  That’s the elevation I live at.

From there is was mostly downhill to Lincoln (still in New Hampshire) where we camped outside.  It was a large grassy area but the bathrooms were rather run down.  I ended up taking a shower outside. It wasn’t bad, just different.

I went into town with Alison and Luke for dinner. It was good food and good conversation.

Oh, almost forgot, I also got a photo at the Albany covered bridge.

Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Damariscotta to Naples – 84 miles


Original post:  Good night. Maybe more news tomorrow.

No wi-fi in Naples which is reason for short “original post.”  Here’s what I can remember three months later:

I left from Damariscotta, ME.  It was raining that morning but not heavy.  I made sure my handlebar bag was covered so the water wouldn’t penetrate.

Got some more photos of interesting mailboxes and a giraffe (everyone should have a giraffe).

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P.O. is Damariscotta

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Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Only Day Two?


As I was riding along today and talking to one of the new riders I was asked about grandkids. I was telling her Alex just turned two last Sunday then had to think, was it really just a week ago? Time has taken on a new dimension. Although this is only the second day of our ride, it seems like it’s been much longer. Not in a bad or good way, I’m just in a different time zone and I don’t mean Eastern vs Pacific.

Today I started at the same time as some of the others but we quickly separated. I followed the ride leaders instructions but when I got to US1, I knew I wasn’t going to get on that road. I pulled over and got out my phone and the map to see if I could figure out where I should have been.  Three other riders came up.  Between us we figured out how we could get back on route so we were off again.

Most of today’s roads were much nicer than yesterday-less traffic, no dips every 10 feet.  We passed through more beautiful areas. Not all the roads were nicer. We did eventually get on US1 which has shoulders but still the cars were passing us going at least 55mph.  They are just noisy. Gets tiring fast.

Although I looked for a good place to stop for ice cream, it didn’t happen.  There was The Corner Ice Cream Shop right next to one of the rest stops but they were closed today. By the time we got to tonight’s “campground,” it was too cold although some of the guys did go for it anyway.

Speaking of tonight’s campground, we’re staying in the Baptist church which is about 150 years old. Fascinating building. Lots of hallways and rooms. I could get lost. Oh wait, I did get lost.

Rumor last night said no showers available at the church but the pastor let us come to her house and shower there.  Bless you!

A large group of us went out together searching for dinner. We ended up at a Thai restaurant, Best Thai.  We kinda think there’s no competition in town…

Tomorrow’s weather forecast: 90% chance of rain.  Oh my!

Photos from today:



Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

The First Day


It has begun! Our whole group went to the beach and dipped our rear tires in the ocean before starting off.  There was quite a group there to cheer us on as we began the ride (family of participants).

The group split up quickly. I noticed one of the young women raced up the hill and passed me but I saw her not too much later. Call me the tortoise.

Initially I was with some of the others but then I stopped to take a photo and I was on my own.  It was actually nice ’cause I was free to stop along the way.  Rode right by the airport where I arrived just days ago.

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When I arrived at the first rest stop, there were several of our group there.  I still missed out on joining any of them for the next segment.  Again, this was ok as I went my own pace and did my own thing.

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At the second rest stop, I again caught up with some of the others. This time I was going to try staying with a group but the mechanic’s brother was asking about my bike so the group went on without me. On their behalf, they didn’t know I had been planning to ride with them.


I got lots of photos of mailboxes today. People in Maine seem to like decorative boxes.

Several of us took a side trip to take an elevator up one of the towers that hold up the Penobscot Bridge. Fascinating.  It was in Ft. Knox State Park so I also went to look around at the fort.

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My first view of the bridge

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view of the bridge from the top
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view across the Penobscot River

As I was cycling along, I saw two of my comrades stopped so I stopped too. They were just taking a break so we all started out together. Then we met another rider so we were four.  Two of the ladies went off the front but they stopped for a bathroom break so we caught up with them again.  Oh my gosh! We were stopped in front of an ice cream store! Well, we had to go try out the ice cream.  I can happily report, it was delicious.

While we were hanging out at the ice cream store, two more riders showed up-one was one of our leaders. I was very glad because the instructions seemed rather vague to me on exactly where we were going to find the footbridge.

Now that the first day is done, I can see I will need to figure out a way to be more organized with all my stuff.

Time now to get to bed and sleep. The sun rises early here in the northern latitudes.

Random photos from the day’s adventure:

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Saw some beautiful homes
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Might NOT want to stay here…
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This looks like it could be HAUNTED!

2016-05-28 14.18.24             2016-05-28 14.17.56





Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Last Day Before It Begins

Today has been long and it isn’t over yet.  Woke up at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, got up and went to breakfast with the iPad. Wifi wasn’t working in my room so staff suggested I try it in the breakfast room.  Still didn’t work but there was a computer available in the lobby so I used it.

Took a lot of energy and concentration to get my stuff packed into the car but finally got it done.  Then I stopped at the post office to mail some items back home.  Greg/Debbie – check with Dan next week if you want the neck pillow before I get home in August.

It was time for orientation at the park.  It was starting to rain.  It was cold.  So we all huddled under the gazebo (thank goodness it was there) and got our phones hooked up so the leaders can send us messages through Twitter.  Then we got the map lecture and finally the “cubbies” lecture which included a look at our assigned spots.  It wasn’t getting warmer and it was still raining as we waited by the curb to get a look at the inside of the trailer.  The tire changing challenge will be tomorrow when it’s supposed to be dry and warm.

Back to the motel where we’re all staying tonight.  My roommate for the night is Sharon, a firefighter who only has a few months before retirement.

After getting all the camping gear and most of my other stuff in my cubby, I went to the grocery store to get some food and sundries.  My food and mess kit fit in the food cubby – yes!  I think I can fit the stove too but the propane may have to go in the main cubby.

Next project was to return the rental car. After confirming I’d have a ride back, I headed for the airport. Stopping along the way to put some fuel in the car, I discovered that I didn’t know how to get the door to the fuel cap open. While I was looking for a button or latch, the attendant came out to say they were out of gas. Oh, forget it, there’s more gas than the paperwork says so I won’t get dinged for not refueling.

okaaay, cannot turn left to get back on the highway.  Went around a few blocks.  Finally went through the gas station lot and made my turn.

Back at the airport, returning the car, the price jumped by about$70.  Ummm, I was quoted this amount.  Turns out I should have returned the car earlier in the day.  Kudos to Enterprise, they didn’t charge me for another day.

All is calm.  Dinner and bed…no more drama.

Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

First Ride in Maine

I tried to stay awake in order to get my body adjusted to the time difference.  I was watching a documentary about The Pirate (Marco Pantini – pro bicycle racer) which had my attention but I kept nodding off.  Then I realized I was hungry so I went out hunting for a restaurant where I could get some lobstah (as instructed by Sammy).  I tried the lobster and was disappointed.  I found out later, it can be tough and rubbery if you eat it before molting season which hasn’t started quite yet.

Back to my room, finished the documentary and now the time was right to go to sleep.  I slept and woke up around 6ish.  Works for me!

Contacted Alison and we agreed to meet and go for a ride.  I drove into town and got the bike out of the car, put the front wheel on, and got on.  Oops, the shop put it together but didn’t know where to place the saddle.  Felt like I was on a kids bike as the seat was too low.  So, our first stop was the bike shop where they immediately adjusted the saddle and gave us some ideas for a ride in the area.

We rode into Acadia National Park.  Beautiful, beautiful area!  We are on an island so lots of salt water but also lots of lakes inland too.  Kept stopping just to look and take pictures.  (See my Facebook page for those)  Everything is so green, lots of forest, many camping areas and hiking trails.  One nice thing about the loop road is most of it is one way with two lanes (and there really wasn’t much traffic).  Since we got a late start, I was getting hungry so we decided to head back into town for lunch and save the climb up Cadillac Mountain for the next day.

After lunch and getting cleaned up, I went back into town (my motel is about seven miles outside of Bar Harbor).  When we finished up our ride, Alison and I had seen the Bike the US for MS vehicles but no people. When I arrived later, the people who had been in the vehicles were there.  I met Vikki first and then the rest of the group.  It’ll take me a few days to get all the names and faces matched up.

I may have messed up my body clock last night ’cause I stayed up way too late but still woke up around six and couldn’t get back to sleep.  So, I went to the continental breakfast at the motel and now am using their computer for this report.  The wi-fi connection isn’t working too well so glad to have this option.  Don’t know how this’ll work “on the road.”

Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Stress, What Stress?

I made it to Bar Harbor but not without a little stress.  The flight last night left San Francisco on time but apparently we had headwinds ’cause instead of a one hour 38 minute layover, I arrived at the gate for the leg from Philadelphia to Boston as they were boarding the first class passengers (of which I was one – big smile).  No stress yet since I didn’t even know about the shorter layover until I arrived at the gate and got on the plane.

Well, we sat in the plane for quite a long time without leaving the ground. Now I’m starting to get a little stressed because the layover in Boston is only 59 minutes and I’m changing carriers, don’t know anything about the layout of the airport, and will have to go through TSA again.  We did arrive late in Boston and there were no employees manning the information booths.  My ticket did say I needed to be in terminal C and I was in terminal B.  There was a phone at the info booth so I used it. The woman on the other end said to go out the door and follow the signs.  The signs led me through a parking lot but I ended up back in terminal B – aaacck!

Then I saw a man who looked like he might work at the airport (maybe a porter?). He gave me more instructions and I eventually found the correct terminal but now had to figure out where the Cape Air desk was.  I lucked out and found it pretty quickly. The woman working there called to let the crew know I was on my way.  She tried to get me into a short line for TSA but that didn’t work. Then another woman showed up and led me to another line.  So I finally got to the front of the TSA line and thought I was good to go…no, had to remove my shoes (didn’t have to do that in SF). Now I’m in full panic mode but trying to calm myself with the thought of a second flight later in the day.

So, I’m walking quickly in my socks trying not to slip on the polished floor. I arrive at the gate and there are two lines.  Which one is for my flight?  Do I make a scene, cry, what?  The woman behind the desk saw me, came and got my boarding pass, told me which line I should be in. And there was Alison, one of my new cycling buddies for the next 10 weeks.  She, figuratively, held my hand for a few minutes while I put my shoes on and calmed myself.  Then we all walked out on the tarmac and boarded our 12 seat, twin engine Cessna 402C for the final leg of the journey.

A big thank you to all who helped me at the Boston Airport especially the Cape Air employees.

After all that, I am in my motel room with all my gear from the post office and my bike from the bike shop.  I had something to eat. I figured out how to lock and unlock the rental car without the alarm going off. Life is good.

Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

3 – 2 – 1

Bicycle?  What’s that?

Kinda how I’m feeling right now.  Since I shipped the Colnago to Maine, I really haven’t been on a serious ride. Yesterday I went to Old’s Gym (named for all the old people who use it) and rode the stationary bike.  It wasn’t the same but at least my legs now remember what that rotating motion is.

Only two more days and I’ll be on a commercial flight back to Bar Harbor.  I was feeling fear yesterday as I realized I’m going to a place I’ve never been and will know no one there. Had to remind myself, they do speak English and they won’t bite.


Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Vargas Pleateau-new EBRP Park

The wonder of Facebook.  A friend who lives in Fremont posted about a new park that just opened up there.  It is in an area I’ve known about but didn’t realize would ever be part of the East Bay Regional Park District.  It just opened last week with limited parking but since it was midweek and midday, there were plenty of open spots to park.

So for some cross training (for me), Sam, Jennifer and I went on a four mile hike in the area.  The grasses were still green, there were wild flowers, ducks, bovine and spiders along the way.  It is in the east bay hills so the trails went up and down but nothing too tough for us!  Although I must confess, my shins were feeling the work out this morning. We only explored a portion of what is available.

The air was dirty so the views were not as incredible as they could have been. On a clear day, one could probably see clear to San Francisco with Mt. Tamalpais to the north and Mt. Hamilton in San Jose to the south.  On some sections of the trail, it seemed as if we were far, far away from the busy, congested Bay Area.  All we could see were rolling hills with minimal evidence man was in the area-nice.

A unique surprise to us was seeing my brother-in-law on the trail.  He had no idea I was in town or where I was going to be and I had no idea he would go hiking in that area so it was weird that we would both be there at the same time.

I am very much enjoying visiting my daughters for a few days.

Posted in 2016 Northern Tier

Batteries Can Be A Problem

Tuesday was my trek to town to mail the lithium backup batteries for my trip. Since they are not allowed on the airplane, they have to be mailed.  Well…the PO won’t take them if they are over a certain measurement. Of course, mine were. So, they suggested I go to our local pharmacy where I could send them FedEx or UPS.  

Off I go… The pharmacy folks tried to help but they couldn’t figure it out so suggested I go to either a FedEx or UPS store.

Fortunately, I was already planning to visit my daughters in the SF Bay Area where there are lots of these type of stores.  Yesterday we went to the UPS Store and they just took the batteries without blinking an eye!

I think it cost more to ship those babies than they originally cost.  Had I known, I would have purchased them now and ordered them shipped to Bar Harbor direct from the online store.  Live and learn.  At least I won’t have to worry about shipping to get them home since I won’t by flying home commercially.

One more item off the check list!