Day 89: We’re Done!!

Aug. 17, 2014

Bucksport, ME to Bar Harbor, ME

Day: 46 miles; Total: 4,317 miles

It felt odd to know that we were packing up the bikes one last time and heading out for our last day on the road. Off to Bar Harbor!
At the suggestion of Tom, who we met yesterday at lunchtime, we biked about 20 miles and ate midday breakfast at the really good Riverside Cafe in Ellsworth. Our route was taking us over more rolling woodlands near the water and on some country roads that wound around but were fairly quiet on this misty Sunday morning.
Once we were on the main road that leads to Acadia National Park and Mt. Desert Island, the reality of our actually being almost there began to hit us. Fortunately, since we never seem to be direct in our route, we wound through several small island towns and lots of up and downs towards Bar Harbor, which sits at one side of the island and I had time to calm down and focus on not getting pruned this last day of the ride.
As we entered the town past all the B&Bs we were pretty excited. We rode through the very busy main street and followed the sign to the boat ramp where we were going to dip our wheels. What a feeling to finally be here! So many times over the last three months, we have answered a person’s logical question: “Where did you ride from and where are you going” and always the answer “To Bar Harbor, Maine!”

Thoughts from Bill: The Pedaling Puppy Raisers bike tour across America was the trip of a lifetime and the fulfillment of a dream Barb and I have held for over thirty years. My strongest feelings at the end of this journey are awe and gratitude. I am in awe of the vastness of our country and it s beauty in so many varieties. I never grasped America’s size until we were traveling across the land day by day, one pedal stroke at a time and until the many days in Montana and North Dakota when we could see to the horizon in all directions. I am also in awe at the goodness and friendliness of the people we met everywhere we went. They took the time to talk and joke with two sweaty, strangely attired strangers, answer our questions about their local areas and lives, and learn about Canine Companions for Independence. Meeting all kinds of people in all kinds of places enriched our journey immeasurably. I am grateful that circumstances furnished Barb and me with the time and good health to undertake our adventure. I am grateful to the many friends, old and new, who provided us with good company, food and lodging along the way. You gave us a home away from home. Please remember we want to return your kindness when you come to the San Francisco area. I am grateful to all the blog readers who took time to write comments. Although we could not respond to every comment, we always enjoyed your insights, humor and good wishes. You gave us a tailwind every day. Finally I am grateful to our families for the love and support you gave us throughout this undertaking. Barb and I are looking forward to joyous reunions with all of you. To all the good people who listened to us talk about CCI, thanks for your interest and I hope you will consider supporting this wonderful organization. To anyone who is interested in making a journey like ours, we would be very happy to answer your questions and provide advice. No extraordinary strength or skill is required. Just ride the bike one day at a time, try to follow the map and take in all the wonders around you. You will never regret it.

Thoughts from Barb: I have many wonderful feelings about having been able to do this ride and to raise awareness for CCI. I too feel gratitude; for being physically able to complete the ride, for those friends who stepped up to cover for me while we were gone and for all of you who have supported this endeavor with your kind words of encouragement. I also feel a sense of wonder at what we saw of this beautiful country and the people who we met. We will have great memories of all the very different places we saw and the people that we connected with. I loved talking to folks about Canine Companions for Independence and the good work it does and I also loved learning from locals about their corner of the world. This has been a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Turning to the very last map in the Northern Tier set!

Turning to the very last map in the Northern Tier set!

 

Maine roadside sales

Maine roadside sales

 

A nice waterside cottage

A nice waterside cottage

 

We are getting close!

We are getting close!

 

Traveler jumped out of his bag and got ready to ride to the Atlantic Traveler jumped out of his bag and got ready to ride to the Atlantic[/caption]

 

The traditional dipping of the front wheels in the Atlantic. Are we excited or what?

The traditional dipping of the front wheels in the Atlantic. Are we excited or what?

This is our last post of the trip but if anyone has any questions about our experiences with bike touring or about our involvement as volunteers with Canine Companions for Independence, you can email us bblw25@comcast.net or follow the links below. Thanks for reading our blog!

 

Support Canine Companions for Independence.

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See details about our route.

Day 88: Along the Maine Coast

August 16,  2014

Camden, ME to Bucksport, ME

Day: 43 miles; Total: 4,271 miles

 

We packed up the bikes after a yummy breakfast at our Camden B&B and chatted with the owner about biking in Maine. It’s hard to believe that we’re almost done with this daily packing up of the bikes and setting off for new sights and new hills to climb!

We toyed with idea of riding a side trip up the nearby Mt. Battie, reputed to have a great 360 degree view, but decided we’d save that for a time when the bikes aren’t fully loaded. No point in ripping every hamstring we own going up the short but very steep grade of that road…plus, we hope to ride up the more reasonable Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park when we get to Bar Harbor.
Our route took us away from the water and through some nice rural areas. At one point, we turned back down towards the coast, passing some farm stands, including those selling lobster and crab. This must be Maine! We ended up down by a recreational beach at Lincolnville, and began riding up along the coast. Beach motels, lobster shacks, wooded areas, antiques and handmade furniture shops,and a fair amount of Saturday traffic but good shoulders on the road.
We stopped in Belfast where a street fair and a boat building festival were going on in the quaint town center. We talked with several local folks about bike touring, had our lunch stop and rode out of the town across a nice pedestrian bridge over Belfast Bay.
Near the next town, Searsport, we saw the sign for Bluejacket Shipcrafters. They sell beautifully crafted model ship kits and this store had many of the models on display. We enjoyed wandering around looking at the very detailed works of nautical art.

Back on the road, we were passed by a convertible which pulled into a parking area and called to us as we approached. This is in the small world category but here goes…Amazingly, it was Joe and Rhonda, from Iowa. Joe has been riding his bike across the country, and Rhonda has been driving their travel trailer which is their lodging. We met Joe when he came alongside when we were biking to Circle MT, and we later met his wife Rhonda when we were coming into Medora ND. At some point, they had met John,( a cyclist from Maine who we met the day we left Anacortes back on May 21st and have stayed in contact with) and they have been biking on and off with him. Currently, they are staying at his house and were out doing some sightseeing in his car when they recognized us biking up the road. In the next few days, they all plan to wrap up the Northern Tier in a slightly different location farther north up the coast. It was great to see them and we stood by the road comparing notes on our adventures and marveling at how in covering such a long distance, we could all end up so close together at this end of the country.
We continued up the coast road and went across the new, spectacular Penobscot Narrows suspension bridge on to Verona Island. See photo. We are in a small motel in Bucksport, back on the mainland. Tomorrow we have a day’s ride to Bar Harbor.

We've seen lots of cars carrying kayaks; this one is in Camden this morning

We’ve seen lots of cars carrying kayaks; this one is in Camden this morning


This morning's riding and hills are still in sight!

This morning’s riding and hills are still in sight!


SUP folks on a pond we passed

SUP folks on a pond we passed


The bay isn't always in view but still we see evidence of the water

The bay isn’t always in view but still we see evidence of the water


We couldn't figure out how to stuff some lobster in our panniers

We couldn’t figure out how to stuff some lobster in our panniers


Back down riding along the water

Back down riding along the water


The street fair in Belfast

The street fair in Belfast


Traveler meets Tom, a local cyclist who does quite a bit of touring and has ridden from the East coast to San Francisco

Traveler meets Tom, a local cyclist who does quite a bit of touring and has ridden from the East coast to San Francisco


Belfast Harbor

Belfast Harbor


These folks looked like they were doing some serious work!

These folks looked like they were doing some serious work!


A nice house along the road

A nice house along the road


At the model store

At the model store


On the Pen. Narrows Bridge

On the Pen. Narrows Bridge


 

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See details about our route.

Day 87: Wyeths, Windjammers and Lobsters

Aug. 15, 2014

Waldoboro, ME to Camden, ME

Day: 30 miles; Total: 4,228 miles

 

Breakfast at the famous Moody’s was as delicious as dinner had been, so, well-fueled, we set off. We wanted to go off route to the coastal town of Rockland and took a nice wide-shouldered country road suggested by the gal in the Moody’s gift shop ( where you can get Maine things and shirts that say ” I’m a Moody Person” ).
Rockland is home to the Farnsworth Museum that displays American art related to Maine. It has a number of works by the Wyeths, ( N.C., Andrew and Jamie, who have lived in this mid coast Maine region). After visiting the museum, we strolled the active Main Street and got lobster rolls for lunch. We left the town by riding along the water and felt that at long last, we were really on the Atlantic coast. I’ve learned that Maine has more than 3,400 miles of coast line, a major portion of which is here in the mid coast region that includes Penobscot Bay, whose many islands protect the mainland from the open sea. Still, when we looked east out in the water, the Atlantic is out there!
In the afternoon, we reached Rockport, with a very scenic harbor and then we biked on a quiet road through a lovely area of farms right next to seaside homes. Very pretty!
On reaching Camden, we got cleaned up and headed to the waterfront. The town is clearly geared for summer tourists with many nice shops and restaurants and it is well known for its windjammer cruises. Since it was after 5, our option was a nice 1 hour trip on a converted lobster boat, that toured the nearby islands with their picturesque homes and light houses and even included pulling up a lobster trap to get to see if any lucky lobster was inside. Actually it’s catch and release for this type of tourist activity so the two female lobsters in the trap got an exciting story to tell their friends and then got to go back in the water. The tour was very interesting and it was great being out on the water as the sun was setting.

A morning shot of our cabin with the little screened porch where the bikes spent the night

A morning shot of our cabin with the little screened porch where the bikes spent the night

 

At the  Farnsworth Museum

At the Farnsworth Museum

 

Lobster roll!

Lobster roll!

 

We've seen several woodworking-furniture building schools and here's one for boatbuilding and seamanship

We’ve seen several woodworking-furniture building schools and here’s one for boatbuilding and seamanship

 

Rockport , next on the route

Rockport , next on the route

 

The pretty area between Rockport and Camden

The pretty area between Rockport and Camden

 

All we could see of this house was the large garage near the road but love the moose weather vane!

All we could see of this house was the large garage near the road but love the moose weather vane!

 

In Camden harbor

In Camden harbor

 

This boat owner patented this color ( which is supposed to match his wife's eyes!)

This boat owner patented this color ( which is supposed to match his wife’s eyes!)

 

An island in the bay

An island in the bay

 

Pulling up the trap

Pulling up the trap

 

One of the ladies caught in the trap

One of the ladies caught in the trap

 

Happy cruisers, and actually the only guests on this last run of the day

Happy cruisers, and actually the only guests on this last run of the day

 

Sun setting

Sun setting

 

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Day 86: Almost to the Sea

Aug. 14, 2014

Durham, ME to Waldoboro, ME

Day: 55 miles; Total: 4,198 miles

 

Today dawned nice and sunny and we enjoyed a great breakfast and good conversation at our B&B. We visited the animals ( that was Alpaca “Brutus” in this morning’s photo) and then set off on the route. We passed some flooded areas from yesterday’s rain and lots of people were talking about how wet it had been.

Our riding was mostly on winding rural roads that were nicely paved but some of the time we were on the more direct Hwy 1, which is very busy but with good shoulders. Wherever we were riding though, it was very hilly! Short steeps on the rural roads, and longer more gradual climbs on the highway. According to a fellow cyclist on the route ( and with an altimeter) these days here add up to about 3,800 ft of climbing each day. I almost could hear Traveler muttering “Oh, Good Grief!” every time we see another steep hill around the corner.. Or maybe that was me…
We have been heading east towards the ocean and also north, crossing bays, rivers and ponds. We are passing lots of antique shops, houses with lobster trap floats in the yards and of course shacks selling lobster rolls. Maine!

We rode through Brunswick, home to Bowdoin College, and it had a very atmospheric downtown where we stopped for a new set of brake pads for Bill’s bike. A pleasant stretch on a short bike path and then rolling through more rural homes led to Bath, on the Kennebec River. Bath Ironworks builds destroyers for the U.S. Navy and they recently launched DDG-1000 USS Zumwalt, which we saw as we crossed the bridge from Bath. Our next big bridge came later as we crossed from Wiscasset. As we are making our way east and north, we cut across waterways that are heading to the bays and the Atlantic to our right. Roads lead to those bays but the beautiful jagged coastline doesn’t allow for a neat route going all the way north right along the ocean.

Tonight we are in a cabin at Moody’s Motel that began in 1927 with three little cabins and a dining shack on the old highway. When in the 30’s the new highway was built .2 of a mile down the hill, the family moved their diner to the new road. The decendants of the founders are still running the place and Moody’s diner is deservedly very well known for its delicious food, particularly its pies and desserts. We can attest to that! Our little cabin up the hill from the diner is charming and very quiet . Tomorrow we get to careen down the hill again, this time to try the breakfast menu!

Flooded area from last night

Flooded area from last night

A statue of Maine's Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain in Brunswick

A statue of Maine’s Civil War hero , college president and Maine governor  Joshua Chamberlain in Brunswick

On the road to Bath

On the road to Bath

Traveler meets Deb, who gave us good advice for a great coffee house on the Main Street in Bath

Traveler meets Deb, who gave us good advice for a great coffee house on the Main Street in Bath

The USS Zumwalt in Bath

The USS Zumwalt in Bath

This place is famous for its Lobster Rolls ( but on the wrong side of the very busy bridge so we just got a photo)

This place is famous for its Lobster Rolls ( but on the wrong side of the very busy bridge so we just got a photo)

One of the busy towns we went through; Damariscotta

One of the busy towns we went through; Damariscotta

Watercraft waiting for action

Watercraft waiting for action

Panorama!

Panorama!

We are in one of these little cabins

We are in one of these little cabins

Moody's famous pie- yum!

Moody’s famous pie- yum!

 

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Day 85: The Rain in Maine…

Aug. 13, 2014

Bridgton, ME to Durham, ME

Day: 53 miles; Total: 4,143 miles

 

…falls mainly on the PPRs. Rain all day was in the forecast but heavy down pours were supposed to happen more towards the afternoon. So, we got going early and got a nice breakfast at a good local cafe in Bridgton, including a cinnamon twist thing that was fantastic! But I digress…
Our route involved lots of smaller roads to avoid the busier highways for the most part and the rain and staring at the sometimes rutted road surfaces made some of the navigating a challenge so we almost missed , and actually did miss, several of our turns. It’s hard to really look around in that weather but we rode through lake country, farms along several ridges and some quaint villages.
After most of the morning was gone, we stopped at a lakeside snack shack( closed because of the rain) but a guy working nearby suggested lunch at the next town’s historic store. We went a few miles off route to the New Glouster Village store, where hot soup and sandwiches ( and all sorts of nice groceries ) were available. The perfect spot for our very wet selves. At the next table, three older women were reminiscing about coming to the store many years ago as children to get candy. It seemed
like a special gathering place in this little village.
Back on the road, the rain blew harder and we pushed on through the afternoon to our destination for the night, a B&B in Durham. After I got cleaned up, our host drove me down to the Git and Go, or something to that affect, where we could get take out for dinner ( and gas for a car, if we had needed it).
Our B&B owners raise Alpacas, wool sheep and cashmere goats so I hope it’s not raining tomorrow so we can go visit them before we head out.
The weather seems to be affecting the wifi so I can’t get photos to transfer, so maybe tomorrow!

 

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Day 84: On to Maine

Aug. 12, 2014

North Conway, NH to Bridgton, ME

Day: 40 miles; Total: 4,090 miles

 

Before we leave New Hampshire, here are some things we learned about the White Mountains … There are 46 peaks over 4,000 ft in NH and Maine, and hikers who climb all 46 are members of the ” Four Thousand Footer ” club. The White Mountains were the scene of the early enthusiasm for hiking that developed in the late 1800’s. Currently, the Mt Washington Valley where we have been staying is very popular with visitors for its out door attractions, kids’ activities and shopping ( NH has no sales tax).

Another interesting fact: Traveler was born in New Hampshire! He is a Douglas Cuddle Toy, made in Keene, NH. Who knew? I guess there was a reason I never cut off his tags and Ted ( see photo) recognized the name on the tag.

Anyway, from North Conway this cool drizzly morning, we retraced our ride back to Conway, and rode the busy highway to the state line with Maine. Our last new state on this trip- very exciting! Our map warned us that Maine is not flat and the roads are crumbling in places, and that turns out to be true. Fortunately, we left the busier highway and soon were climbing up and down on fairly quiet rural roads with decent surfaces.
At one point, a local road rider came alongside and we chatted. He is an experienced cyclist from NH and did the Northern Tier about 20 years ago. When we stopped for a photo and to give him a card, he noticed Traveler’s tag.
We rode into little Lovell where we ate lunch at a tiny but historic lunch counter and store- yum and then continued roller coasting through mostly woods and some farms to our destination of Bridgton. There are several Lakes in this area, including Long Lake and Chrystal Lake and several charming small villages.
Tonight we had the distinct privilege of meeting and having dinner with Duke and Charlene Goranites, CCI puppy raisers and Area Director of the Lions Club Project for CCI. We enjoyed visiting with them in their lovely lakeside home, got a tour of several of the nearby villages and met their current puppy Nyx. It was a very nice evening and such a treat to meet these devoted CCI volunteers and Lions Club leaders- thank you!

Rockers on the porch, from North Conway

Rockers on the porch, from North Conway


Traveler takes a selfie as we go into Maine

Traveler takes a selfie as we go into Maine


Fryeburg Academy, one of a number of well-regarded boarding schools in the area

Fryeburg Academy, one of a number of well-regarded boarding schools in the area


Ted, who recognized Traveler' s "roots" and gave us some insights on local biking

Ted, who recognized Traveler’ s “roots” and gave us some insights on local biking


Lovell may be small but you can see there's a lot going on there!

Lovell may be small but you can see there’s a lot going on there!


Our lunch spot...

Our lunch spot…


...and inside at the counter

…and inside at the counter


Here is one example of a number of farms where the farm house was connected to the barn

Here is one example of a number of farms where the farm house was connected to the barn


Here's another one

Here’s another one


Coming into Bridgton, we rode along a ridge with nice houses overlooking the mountains

Coming into Bridgton, we rode along a ridge with nice houses overlooking the mountains


Traveler gets to meet Charlene and Duke and Nyx looks on. We had a very nice evening together

Traveler gets to meet Charlene and Duke and Nyx looks on. We had a very nice evening together


 

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See details about our route.

Day 83: A Great Day in the Granite State

Aug. 11, 2014

North Woodstock, NH to North Conway, NH

Day: 46 miles; Total: 4,050 miles

 

Today started with a nice encounter as we walked out of our motel room with our bikes. We met a couple who are walking the Appalachian Trail. Their trail names are Songbird and Bypass ( use your imagination on where that came from. These are very impressive hikers!) They started in March and expect to finish in mid October. When we told them about our CCI connection and it’s Wounded Veteran Initiative, it turns out that they both are Navy veterans so we had to of course tell them about our kids. Anyway, it was a nice start to the day to meet them!
After a good latte infused breakfast in North Woodstock, we rode the short mile or so to Lincoln, which is a bigger town. There is more evidence there of the mountain and ski area aspects of the region. Loon Mountain is the major ski area here and it has summer activities as well. From Lincoln, we started up the Kancamagus Highway. It was the last big climb on the Northern Tier route, (though we still have several hundred miles to go). The ride was really lovely for the most part; not too steep and we were in sight of a pretty rocky stream along most of it. We took lots of photos of the views and chatted with the recreational cyclists passing us (of course). In the last half, the road was steeper but we got to the top and celebrated with a photo taken by a local rider.
We rode down a long downhill, enjoying the cruise (except for the road construction section where we jounced along some very rough dirt rock sections and hoped the bikes didn’t fall apart). We crossed a covered bridge and turned onto a nice river road through the trees, heading to Conway. After lunch at a very busy cafe (there seem to be lots of folks recreating here from out of state and the little towns seem crowded), we went off route a bit to North Conway (even busier) where we are staying for the night.
Tomorrow we head back to Conway to pick up the route and go to Bridgton Maine. There we will be meeting with some CCI volunteers and some Lions Club members who are a part of the Lions Club Project for CCI. We’ll write more about this tomorrow!

Melody and John, aka Songbird and Bypass. Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail!

Melody and John, aka Songbird and Bypass. Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail!

Near the ski area on the highway

Near the ski area on the highway

The New Hampshire way!

The New Hampshire way!

The Highway

The Highway

A bit of the river we rode along on the mountain

A bit of the river we rode along on the mountain

At a hiking trailhead, here are some cars ready for all sorts of other sports

At a hiking trailhead, here are some cars ready for all sorts of other sports

At the top of the pass...Traveler reads the sign

At the top of the pass…Traveler reads the sign

From a viewpoint on the ride down

From a viewpoint on the ride down

Road construction "fun"

Road construction “fun”

In the barn series...

In the barn series…

Another covered bridge

Another covered bridge

Cooling off in the river in North Conway

Cooling off in the river in North Conway

The evening sky above the town

The evening sky above the town

 

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Day 82: New Hampshire and 4,000 Miles

Aug. 10, 2014

South Stratford, VT to North Woodstock, NH

Day: 57 miles; Total: 4,004 miles

 

At breakfast at the Smith’s, we learned more from Barbara about the amazing bike touring they’ve done, including Mexico, New Zealand, Cuba, Africa and much more. They’ve also written a number of touring guide books. We didn’t get to meet Wally because he was out leading a local bike tour for a few days. Very inspirational touring folks!

From their house, we cruised down the hill in the cool morning air and rode along a river and farms. We did some steep Vermont-style hill climbing, and then we came down to the town of East Thetford VT, where we crossed the Connecticut River and entered New Hampshire, our second to last state!

Our route led us along the Connecticut River , on the aptly named River Road, where we saw really pretty views of old farms along the river, horse properties and a beautiful B&B; very scenic. From there we rode on some roller coaster roads, knowing that in the afternoon we had a couple of stiff climbs ahead. Our goal for the day was to get to Lincoln/North Woodstock (NH) at the base of tomorrow’ climb.
At North Haverhill, we began the two climbs through the White Mountains National Forest. It was pretty hot and steep in places so it took some work. At last, we came to the high point, the intersection with the Appalachian Tail, and then we hit the 4,000 mile point on our trip as we rode down the nice but bumpy descent into Lost River valley. The valley ends at the town of North Woodstock, which has a busy flower bedecked main street that was full of vacationers and looks to a recreation center for this part of the White Mountains.
We were strolling around eating ice cream ( fuel for tomorrow ) when the hot weather changed suddenly to a thunder storm and cloud burst, which continues as I write this. We hope it gets this over with before the morning!

Barbara and her dogs,, in the beautiful garden this morning

Barbara and her dogs,, in the beautiful garden this morning


A New England rock wall

A New England rock wall


We saw many brick farm houses today

We saw many brick farm houses today


And these white houses with black shutters in NH

And these white houses with black shutters in NH


Here's Bill going through one of the two covered bridges we saw today

Here’s Bill going through one of the two covered bridges we saw today


A farm along the Conn. Rivver

A farm along the Conn. Rivver


Now a New Hampshire barn

Now a New Hampshire barn


The California brain takes in the concept of a 250 year old town!

The California brain takes in the concept of a 250 year old town!


Traveler checks out the lunch as we fuel up for the afternoon's hills

Traveler checks out the lunch as we fuel up for the afternoon’s hills


We are in the White Mountains!

We are in the White Mountains!


We are starting down at last and loved the view of the mountains in the distance

We are starting down at last and loved the view of the mountains in the distance


Flowers in the town

Flowers in the town


 

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Day 81: Two Big Climbs

Aug. 9, 2014

Rochester, VT to South Stratford, VT

Day: 30 miles; Total: 3,947 miles

 

Barry made us a yummy blueberry pancake breakfast and Anne drove us all the way back to the cute town of Rochester to resume our ride. Time to move on from our nice farm vacation and go east!
We had heard that the road we were to be taking was undergoing miles of road construction so we checked in at the Rochester bike shop about alternatives. So, we rode over Bethel Mountain instead so got some practice climbing up a pretty steep hill and some great views as we rode back down.
From Bethel, we rolled along a pretty river and to the town of South Royalton, home of the Vermont Law School. The small town had the nice Co Ro coop market where we got a lunch and some good conversation.
More river riding and then a steep climb up towards South Stratford where we are staying at the home of Wally and Barbara Smith, Warm Showers hosts for bike tourists. They have toured extensively and lived overseas and we had a very enjoyable evening visiting and playing with their dogs.

By the bike shop in Rochester before setting out on our first climb

By the bike shop in Rochester before setting out on our first climb


Church with mountains behind

Church with mountains behind


We saw lots of folks enjoying the river on this warm day

We saw lots of folks enjoying the river on this warm day


Part of Vermont Law School

Part of Vermont Law School


The school sign

The school sign


Traveler checks out the Vermont cards at the coop

Traveler checks out the Vermont cards at the coop


Veggie farm

Veggie farm


In the Vermont barn series; notice the cool weathervane

In the Vermont barn series; notice the cool weathervane


Getting ready to start the afternoon climb

Getting ready to start the afternoon climb

Look closely and you'll see Bill going up one of the steep pitches this afternoon

Look closely and you’ll see Bill going up one of the steep pitches this afternoon


The view from the Smith's house

The view from the Smith’s house


 

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Day 80: A Day on the Farm

Aug. 8, 2014

Plainfield, VT

Today we took a day off from biking to visit our friend Anne on the farm where she lives outside the village of Plainfield, VT. The farm is located well up a hill with grand views of the Green Mountains. Anne’s friend Barry has had the farm for forty years. He works very hard raising and mowing hay which he sells to other farmers and ranchers in the area. He and Anne also have a very productive vegetable garden and a small number of chickens, pigs and cattle most of which go to producing delicious meals for themselves and their lucky guests like us. We spent our day relaxing, touring the farm, helping out in minimal ways and visiting Plainfield and it’s farmers market. It has been wonderful to visit with Anne and get to know Barry. Tomorrow Anne will drive us and our bikes back to Rochester, VT and we will get back on our route to Bar Harbor. Many thanks to Anne and Barry for being such wonderful hosts.

Picking blueberries

Picking blueberries

Anne and her black Russian terrier Hugo

Anne and her black Russian terrier Hugo

Hugo in the hay field

Hugo in the hay field

The Green Mountains seen from the farm

The Green Mountains seen from the farm

Winooski River falls in Plainfield

Winooski River falls in Plainfield

Photos from our first day in Vermont

Great start to the day at Libby's Bakery in Ticonderoga

Great start to the day at Libby’s Bakery in Ticonderoga

 

Getting the ferry to Vermont

Getting the ferry to Vermont

 

A new state!

A new state!

 

A decorated barn

A decorated barn

 

Beautiful countryside!

Beautiful countryside!

 

Bill rides into Cornwall

Bill rides into Cornwall

 

In Middlebury, where we saw the Museum of the Morgan Horse and got ready to climb up the Gap

In Middlebury, where we saw the Museum of the Morgan Horse and got ready to climb up the Gap

 

Ripton, very tiny and charming, along the Gap climb

Ripton, very tiny and charming, along the Gap climb

 

Robert Frost's connections with Middlebury and Vermont

Robert Frost’s connections with Middlebury and Vermont

 

Breadloaf, a Middlebury graduate program for English teachers, set in a spectacular location in the mountains

Breadloaf, a Middlebury graduate program for English teachers, set in a spectacular location in the mountains

Traveler meets Dare, a professor in the English program patiently answered my questions about what was this institution in this spectacular setting

Traveler meets Dare, a professor in the English program patiently answered my questions about what was this institution in this spectacular setting

 

We connect with Phil and Michelle from home; quite amazing!

We connect with Phil and Michelle from home; quite amazing!

 

In Rochester VT, where we met Anne for a trip to the farm

In Rochester VT, where we met Anne for a trip to the farm

Day 79: Vermont and the Green Mountains

Aug. 7, 2014

Ticonderoga, NY to Rochester, VT

Day: 45 miles; Total: 3,917 miles

 

We left Ticonderoga via the cable ferry that crossed Lake Champlain into Vermont.  We immediately began rolling up and down, past farms, dairies and hay operations. The terrain and farm structures looked so very Vermont! There are small villages, gardens and flowers everywhere and country stores selling crafts and maple syrup products. Very picturesque! The terrain is steeper it seems but occasionally opened up into broad valleys to cross. We went through Middlebury ( home of the college) and then a few miles later did our first long’ish climb since Washington, over Middlebury Gap. It was pretty steep at the beginning and at the end but more gradual in the middle part so there was a chance to enjoy the scenery ( following a boulder strewn river). It rained a bit on us, but the thunder stayed mostly at a distance.
After we had ridden the downhill part of the Gap, I caught up to Bill who was talking to two cyclists going west. Turns out they were Phil and Michelle, from San Rafael in Marin. Phil had worked on Bill’s bike before we left home and had told Bill that he and Michelle were planning a tour too. How funny to run into them here in Vermont!
We rode on into Rochester, where we were meeting our good friend Anne. She lives here in Vermont and we are staying with her on her friend Barry’s farm for a couple of days. Rochester is a cute small town with a bookstore /bakery/coffee house that we’d heard about weeks ago from bikers headed west. It was a great place for a post Gap climb lunch!
We will be here with our friends for tomorrow, and then on Saturday,Anne ( thank you!) will drive us the hour and a half back to Rochester and we will resume our climbing up and down in the mountains. That night we will be a private residence so may not have cell or wifi.
So far we can’t get our phones to find the wifi so no photos from today, but we will post some once they get shaken loose.

 

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Day 78: The Blue Ridge to Fort Ticonderoga

Aug. 6, 2014

Newcomb, NY to Ticonderoga, NY

Day: 53 miles; Total: 3,872 miles

 

A couple of Adirondacks notes before we leave this area…
In the museum, we learned about the “guide boats” which were designed and are in use here on the lakes and rivers. They look at bit like canoes, but they were based on European boat designs, and modified for fast paddling and easy carrying between waterways. They are rowed with oars and are still being built in this area. See photo

Also, more about Teddy Roosevelt, but this time here in these mountains. TR and his family were vacationing in the Adirondacks, staying at the Tahawus Club. In true TR family style, they were all hiking, climbing and hunting. TR , then Vice President, had travelled for a speech in Vermont, when President McKinley was shot in Buffalo. TR went to Buffalo to be with him, but when McKinley seemed to be recovering , TR was asked to go back to his family, so as not to cause alarm in the public about the president’s health. TR was hiking Mt. Marcy, in the High Peaks area when word came that McKinley’s conditioned had worsened. A guide was sent up the remote mountain to find TR, they hiked down to a waiting carriage and TR and a driver sped down 35 miles of dark, wet mountain roads to reach a special train that had been sent to take him to Buffalo. On reaching the train at 5:22 am, he learned the McKinley had died in Buffalo and TR was the new president.

We left our nice B&B in Newcomb this morning and soon found ourselves on the rolling Blue Ridge road. We don’t have altimeters so it’s not clear how much climbing we were doing but we seemed to be rolling up a ridge, with the soft contours of the surrounding mountains looking a bit like the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina. We came to a buffalo ranch where babies were cutely gamboling around the more staid adults- very fun to watch.
The road dropped down to run along a river and then we rode due east past Eagle and Paradox lakes. Heading up onto a plateau next, we enjoyed nice views and then a long downhill into Ticonderoga. We dropped some things off at our motel and then rode about 3 miles to the fort. Fort Ticonderoga was at a strategic point along the waterways between the colonies and Quebec and was the scene of a number of intense battles. It was taken from the French by the British in the French and Indian War, and then it was taken by the Continental Army in the Revolution. British forces took it back in 1777 and subsequently abandoned it. It was sold to the Pell family in 1820, they restored it in 1909 and opened it to the public. It is now a tourist attraction and military museum. It is in a beautiful setting on the south end of Lake Champlain.

One of the guide boats at the museum yesterday

One of the guide boats at the museum yesterday. That thing the middle oar is resting on is the neck and shoulder support for carrying the boat upside down over your head

HootOwl B&B

HootOwl B&B

Our Blue Ridge road took us near Tahawus ,  the hiking club

Our Blue Ridge road took us near Tahawus , the hiking club where TR’s family was staying when he became president

A "camp"

A “camp”

Another camp

Another camp

The view from the fort

The view from the fort

Along the walls, showing you the guide book

Along the walls, showing you the guide book

The pipes and drums of the fort

The pipes and drums of the fort. They played a ” Retreat” which meant the end of the day had come and then ended with three cheers for the US and  then they shouted said “God Save Congress,” ( it sounded funny to today’s ears but in 1775, I guess the Continental Congress was whom they were cheering for)

Buffaloes!

Buffaloes!

 

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Day 77: Adirondacks Style

Aug. 5, 2014

Raquette Lake, NY to Newcomb, NY

Day: 38 miles; Total: 3,819 miles

 

We discovered that 4 miles across the highway from Raquette Lake is a place that could be credited with starting the rustic style that typifies this area . Built in 1897, an architect named William West Durant built Great Camp Sagamore, a luxurious but rustic styled compound that was later sold to the Vanderbilt family. Durant built several other great camps near Raquette Lake and these private retreats for the very wealthy ,set amid the forests and lakes of the Adirondacks, we were told were the models for the great railroad hotels on the national park system. Unfortunately we were not able to fit in the two hour mid morning tour of the buildings and grounds but that is certainly on the list for a return trip!

We biked over rolling terrain and some pretty good climbs, first to Blue Mountain Lake and then Long Lake. Just above Blue Mountain Lake, we visited the Adirondacks Museum  and spent several hours looking at its interesting exhibits about historical logging, horse and train travel in the hilly, forest-covered region, fishing and hunting camps from the old days and the rustic, bark covered furniture style that ” camps” here ( be they platform tents or fabulous servant filled Ahwahnee-esque compounds) all seemed to use. It was a very entertaining introduction into why this are has continued to draw first loggers and then those wanting to recreate in the lakes and forests.
From Long Lake we went through thick deciduous forests and could imagine that the fall color must be amazing here. We ended our day in the little town of Newcomb.

Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake


Traveler meets Jack, a former Marine and current National Guard pilot

Traveler meets Jack, a former Marine and current National Guard pilot


Morning fishing

Morning fishing


Trees and mountains; the pretty scenery here

Trees and mountains; the pretty scenery here


Traveler checks out the giant rustic style  chair outside the museum

Traveler checks out the giant rustic style chair outside the museum


An interior of a camp

An interior of a camp


Trying out the Adirondack chair by Blue Mountain Lake

Trying out the Adirondack chair by Blue Mountain Lake


Forests = logging trucks but this was the only one we've seen recently

Forests = logging trucks but this was the only one we’ve seen recently


Entering the little town

Entering the little town


At the new Hoot owl B&B in Newcomb. Traveler was excited to hear that his friend Teddy Roosevelt ( remember Medora North Dakota) is coming to Newcomb in Sept for a TR weekend. He used to vacation in the Adirondacks

At the new Hoot owl B&B in Newcomb. Traveler was excited to hear that his friend Teddy Roosevelt ( remember Medora North Dakota) is coming to Newcomb in Sept for a TR weekend. He used to vacation in the Adirondacks


 

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Day 76: Riding Along Moose River to Raquette Lake

Aug. 4, 2014

Booneville, NY to Raquette Lake, NY

Day: 51 miles; Total: 3,781 miles

We started our morning by a quick ride into Boonville, where we happily mailed off 22 lbs of camping equipment since we’ve determined that we won’t be camping for the rest of the trip. While in town, we met several cyclists from the area, including a bike shop owner who who helped Bill adjust his balky brakes. We also learned about a bridge that was out on our route, but we were told we could get through via a concrete path. ( see photo) We rode out on quiet, rural Moose River road, and enjoyed rolling up and down in among the trees. Reaching Moose River, we turned onto a larger highway with more traffic but decent shoulder and headed for Old Forge,, which seemed to be a quintessential Adirondack recreation town, with water sports rentals, art galleries, ice cream shops and rustic styles everywhere. We then turned onto a rolling road that followed the Fulton Chain Lakes, past cottages, cabins for rent, rustic looking motels and lots of campgrounds. Our stop for the night was Raquette Lake, where we had a room booked at the only option in town, the Taproom and hotel. The Taproom was hopping on the nice summer evening and our hotel room was upstairs above the bar. The lake had a dinner cruise just leaving and small boats going back and forth from the little marina area to cabins along the lake. Folks seemed to be having lots of fun! We joined the throngs in the bar for pasta night, which was good pasta served up in gigantic bowls. No cell service at all and wifi only outside the town store meant no blog for tonight!

Gary, a local cyclist and supporter of touring folks, meets Mr T

Gary, a local cyclist and supporter of touring folks, meets Mr T

Bill's brakes get some help

Bill’s brakes get some help

Crossing the Black River

Crossing the Black River

That concrete "path" was about 15 ft above the creek, so we both held on to each bike and got the across one at a time. Whew!

That concrete “path” was about 15 ft above the creek, so we both held on to each bike and got the across one at a time. Whew!

Typical cabin

Typical cabin

 

Lake activities

Lake activities

 

A typical town/hamlet/village sign: this nor for Inlet, at the east end of the Fulton Chain

A typical town/hamlet/village sign: this one for Inlet, at the east end of the Fulton Chain

 

On the inlet

On the inlet

 

Venturing out near the last of the Fulton Chain Lakes before heading to Raquette Lake

Venturing out near the last of the Fulton Chain Lakes before heading to Raquette Lake

 

The dinner cruise boat, getting ready to go on Raquette Lake

The dinner cruise boat, getting ready to go on Raquette Lake

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Days 74 and 75: Heading for the Adirondacks and a Day Off

Aug. 2, 2014

Port Ontario, NY to Booneville, NY

Day: 52 miles; Total: 3,730 miles

 

From Port Ontario, we rode eastward along the Salmon River. We couldn’t really see the river most of the way, but passed fishing cabins, small farms and the Salmon River State Forest. Since it was a Saturday, lots of families were recreating at the cabins ( and hauling their boats and driving their Harleys on the rural road.)

it was fairly warm and humid by our standards and we got to practice climbing up plenty of hills. Our goal was the town of Boonville and the North Country Manor B&B where we are going to take a day off to work on the bikes, plan the upcoming logistics and rest the body parts for a day . It’s also our 34th anniversary so it seemed like a nice idea to stop at pretty place in the country.

Our goal is to figure out our remaining days on the road so we can mail our camping things home. Seems that if we aren’t going to need the tent and sleeping bags, no point in dragging them all over the upcoming climbs!

Our breakfast spot in Port Ontario, and since we have become experts in eating at all sorts of breakfast options, we both agreed that this cafe was really good. Homemade bread for the toast!

Our breakfast spot in Port Ontario, and since we have become experts in eating at all sorts of breakfast options, we both agreed that this cafe was really good. Homemade bread for the toast!

 

We liked the unusual color scheme on this house

We liked the unusual color scheme on this house

 

The Salmon River

The Salmon River

 

We stopped at a little store and this cute mini was outside

We stopped at a little store and this cute mini was outside

 

This is a popular x-country ski area ( and snowmobiling too)

This is a popular x-country ski area ( and snowmobiling too)

 

This old farm house has been beautifully restored and is our home for these two nights!

This is the North Country Manor B&B which is an old farmhouse that has been beautifully restored and is our home for these two nights!

 

Our innkeeper Craig, kindly lent us his truck to go into town for dinner and this rainbow greeted us as we walked to the truck!

Our innkeeper Craig, kindly lent us his truck to go into town for dinner and this rainbow greeted us as we walked to the truck!

 

Adirondack beer to toast our anniversary

Adirondack beer to toast our anniversary

 

Yum! Banana pancakes for breakfast

Yum! Banana pancakes for breakfast

 

Our fellow guests included the Hardly Angels, a group of women touring from Michigan traveler got to meet them and sit on a few motorcycles !

Our fellow guests included the Hardly Angels, a group of women touring from Michigan. Traveler  got to meet them and sit on a few motorcycles !

 

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Day 73 Photos

Harvesting ( cherries, we think)

Harvesting ( cherries, we think)

Grapes near Lake Ontario

Grapes near Lake Ontario

Farmhouse along the way

Farmhouse along the way

The view as we arrive in a little lakeside town

The view as we arrive in a little lakeside town, Pultneyville 

Farm stand, petting zoo, U-pick and more

Farm stand, petting zoo, U-pick and more

Lakeside boating

Lakeside boating

Rolling hills- yikes!

Rolling hills- yikes!

We got our first local peaches and some good cheese here. Both were really good!

We got our first local peaches and some good cheese here. Both were really good!

At the farm animal shelter...

At the farm animal shelter…

Traveler has a close encounter with a pig...

Traveler has a close encounter with a pig…

...and Bill says Hi to one of the goats

…and Bill says Hi to one of the goats

Hops growing on long trellises

Hops growing on long trellises

Here are triathlete Sherry with her coach Karen,  with Traveler

Here are triathlete Sherry with her coach Karen, with Traveler

Day 73: Orchards, Farm Stands and Lake Ontario

Aug. 1, 2014

Ontario, NY to Port Ontario, NY

Day: 79 miles; Total: 3,678 miles

 

We woke to thunder and heavy rain but fortunately by the time we were loaded and ready to ride to breakfast, it had cleared. Wet roads and warm muggy air were the only remnants of the storm all day-yay!
We rode up to and along Lake Ontario through miles of orchards and farm lands, ( big fruit farms and packing houses for cherries,peaches and lots of apples. We even saw some grapes). We rode past houses along the lake and Sodus Bay, on the lake. We enjoyed looking at the many small farm stands and stopped at one to get local peaches and cheese for lunch later. Once the route turned inland to cross over the watershed of the lake, the terrain became hilly so we got a reminder of what those things are: slowly pedal the heavy bike up and cruise down and try not to fall in a pot hole…
At one point, we stopped at a animal rescue farm and went in to see their critters. From talking to one of the employees there, we learned that they take care of mostly farm animals who have been abused. Traveler got his first nose kiss from a pot bellied pig, and we had fun checking out some of the other cute animals.
We ate our picnic sitting in a shady gazebo by a little harbor on the lake and then pressed on for the rest of what was going to be a longish day. Back on the road, we met two serious triathlete cyclists out training and they gave us some info about biking here and they got to meet Traveler. They biked off, fast, and we went off slowly. A later stop for a cold drink and some A/C reminded us of how warm it was out on the roads.
We are now in Port Ontario, famous for salmon fishing we are told and tomorrow we head away from the lake and into the Adirondacks- ulp!

Unfortunately, photos are not moving tonight so we will post them tomorrow assuming we have a good connection.

 

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Day 72: Enjoying the Canal…

July 31, 2014

Brockport, NY to Ontario, NY

Day: 62 miles; Total: 3,599 miles

 

…in much better weather! We awoke to the sound of morning thunder but the rain was done by the time we set off. We rejoined the Canal Pathway near Rochester , where it was now paved, and rode it alongside the big city. The path itself was in a leafy strip above the canal, but the graffiti covered signs reminded us that we were in an urban area.  A brief detour where they were doing trail repair took us into a nice area that looked to be near the university and then we were back out by the canel. We rode through several villages, past locks and lift bridges and saw a number of boats on the water. It was really fun to see folks moving along in the canal in barge boats, canoes or sailboats. The mostly sunny day made the pretty ride really pleasant.
In the village of Pittsford, bikes needed to be walked as the path went right next to several charming outdoor restaurants. As we walked past one of them, we met a nice group who were interested in our trip and also in learning more about CCI. Traveler made some new friends!
After several more canal towns, our route left the canal path ( which actually goes all the way to Albany!) and we headed north through farms. The roads were very quiet, a bit hilly and went by some very picturesque farms. We stopped at a farm stand to get veggies and fruit for a picnic dinner and then worked our way to our little motel in the small town of Ontario. Tomorrow we will go a bit more north to the southern shore of Lake Ontario and go east.
A brief Willa report : we were excited to receive her second report card. She has been spayed and is in good health and the trainers are teaching her the things of the challenging world of Advanced Training. Among other things, she’s currently working on learning the first stages of the chain of behaviors that is the retrieve, and to push things closed with her nose , and to turn on a light switch. We have our paws crossed for her success and much appreciation for the skilled work the trainers put into all these dogs! Go Willa!

The Canal path near Rochester

The Canal path near Rochester

 

We saw many different types of bridges

We saw many different types of bridges

 

Our guideposts through lots of turns and canal crossings

Our guideposts through lots of turns and canal crossings

 

A Renta-barge in one of the locks

A Renta-barge in one of the locks

 

Traveler met some new friends who were having lunch in a nice spot by the canal

Traveler met some new friends who were having lunch in a nice spot by the canal

 

A very cute little steam- powered craft, with a very loud whistle!

A very cute little steam- powered craft, with a very loud whistle!

 

This looked like a canal-side grain elevator transformed into office space

This looked like a canal-side grain elevator transformed into office space

 

Wild flowers in the park where we turned of the canal trail

Wild flowers in the park where we turned of the canal trail

 

A interesting rural home, the Martin Harris home

A interesting rural home, the Martin Harris home

 

In the barn series, now NY

In the barn series, now NY

 

This is a big apple growing area, with harvest probably a month or so away. We passed a number of orchards with trees laden with fruit

This is a big apple growing area, with harvest probably a month or so away. We passed a number of orchards with trees laden with fruit

 

Our. Dry small motor court style motel has a nice garden and gazebo where we took our picnic dinner. Despite the highway traffic nearby, it was very nice, and good to have farmstand veggies and berries to supplement our picnic.

Our small motor court style motel has a nice garden and gazebo where we took our picnic dinner. Despite the highway traffic nearby, it was very nice, and good to have farmstand veggies and berries to supplement our picnic.

 

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