Northern Tier 2010

September 6, 2010

The Maine Route

Filed under: Maine, New Hampshire, Section 11 — Henry Scott @ 8:00 pm

Last night almost got too cold, but not quite, and I slept very well. It was great to start the day with about fifteen miles of mostly downhill riding — I was still coming down from yesterday’s high point at the Kancamagus Pass.

I made oatmeal at my campsite, but I stopped at the Conway Cafe for a second breakfast, access the Internet, and warm up. I stayed for longer than planned talking with the waitress and some customers, and by the time I left, it was much warmer. I shed my jacket and long pants and enjoyed what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.

I entered Maine just a few miles east of Conway and was taken aback by the sign at the border: “State Line” on one line and “Maine” on the other. Not much of a welcome, but I suppose they let the landscape and coastal access speak for themselves.

So far I’ve experienced very little level ground in New England: it’s always either up or down. But, with my low gearing and patient (i.e., slow) approach to hills, I haven’t had any problems. Today was no different, but I think the excitement of being so close to the end makes the climbing even easier. The tailwinds and relatively cool weather I’ve been getting haven’t hurt, either.

I didn’t stop again until Naples, but that also turned out to be a longer than expected break: lunch at one place, desert at another, and then some grocery shopping. It was 3:00 before I knew it, and I started to worry about how far I’d get for the day and, more importantly, where I’d camp for the night.

Southwest of Lewiston I encountered a roadblock and an associated detour which would have taken me ten miles out of my way. I decided to chance getting past the obstacle, which turned out to be a collapsed roadway due to a sinkhole and river undercutting.

Getting by wouldn’t have been difficult, but the only path around goes straight through the now-cordoned off front yard of an elderly couple, who due to continued slope failures toward their home have become very nervous. Plus, with such a long detour, they’ve faced steady pressure from motorists trying to cut through their property. There are now security guards at both ends.

Normally I wouldn’t press such a situation, but with nightfall approaching, I didn’t want to risk going far off route on a detour. It took some finesse, luck, and the help of a neighbor, but I managed to coordinate permission to cross with both security guards and the elderly couple.

After showing me a path around the blockades, through the thick trees lining the elderly couple’s property, and back onto the main route, the neighbor asked where I was going to stay for the night. When I explained that I was still looking, he offered his front yard, which I gladly accepted — he lives just a few houses down from the elderly couple. The blockade has now become a benefit, because with no traffic, I’m sure to get another good night’s sleep. That said, I’m past due for a shower, and tomorrow I’m definitely going to stop at a real campground!



  1. Most Maine welcome signs say:
    “MAINE: The way life should be.”
    and we agree with that completely
    Michelle Payne

    Comment by Michelle Payne — September 7, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  2. Glad to hear you were not in the local newspaper (headline could have been: cyclist pushes luck trying to cross blockade) by getting permission to cross the blockade legally and safely!

    Comment by Lauren — September 7, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

  3. Man, I am so stoked for your finish! I hope your mom and dad read this and treat you to one HUGE lobster dinner when you reach Bar Harbor (how about it Mr. and Mrs. Scott???). Looking forward to your return to The Bend.

    Comment by Bruce Spitzer — September 7, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

  4. I have a feeling that not only will you finish this trip with some great material for the course you are teaching, but also with so many memories of all the people you have met along the way. Reading your blog really does restore one’s faith in the kindness and generosity of people. Had thought this experience would be a rather lonely one for you, but I couldn’t have been more wrong!!

    Comment by Sally — September 8, 2010 @ 12:57 am

  5. Hey Henry, just now (finally) getting up to speed on your adventures. So insane and amazing! The blog is incredible–what a great chronicle of your journey. Too bad the trail didn’t take you through Rhode Island!! But still fun that you are only a few hours away. Enjoy the rest of the ride! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Linford Fisher — September 8, 2010 @ 2:23 am

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