Made it to New Hampshire, One More State to Go
Day 67 August 6,2014 Middlebury, VT to South Strafford, VT – 67 miles (total miles 4042, miles remaining 303)
Middlebury is very nice city, they have a great downtown area and very effective mass transit – from where we were staying there was a free bus to downtown. The downtown area had lots to offer and was a very busy place. We were planning to get cleaned up and take the shuttle to the local micro brewery – downtown. But unfortunately the brewery closed early and we were not able to get there – oh well maybe next time.
We hit the road early because we had a major climbs near Bread Loaf, VT – Middlebury Gap. The climbs were definitely tough and extremely steep – several sections were 12% slopes we were climbing. Although I am proud to say we did not have to push the bicycle up any of them, we were close a couple of times but were able to suck it up and get over the top!! The east coast mountains while lower than the west coast mountains are definitely steeper – I think I like the west coast climbs better. We got to the top of one of the climbs and there were a bunch of cars there and a gentleman was getting out of his car and turned to us and congratulated us on getting to the top and told us we did good!!
After a long steady climb we were ready for the downhill but the road was so steep and the pavement in such bad condition Peter had to have the drag brake engaged totally and the rim brakes on to just to make sure we safely got down the hill.
We ran in to the big group of cyclists – 12 that left Anacortes, WA the same day we left Bellingham, WA. We had been running in to them every now and then but the last time we saw them was in North Dakota. They have been having a good ride but are also ready to be done. They are actually on a supported trip – with a guide who is hauling their supplies in a van and setting how far they go each day and where they will stay each night. They camp just about every night I think.
In this area it is pretty unpopulated and there are not a lot of places to stay – so we checked on a Warm Showers stay again and were able to find one in South Strafford. Our host was Bonna and she owned a beautiful piece of property about five miles off route in South Strafford. Bonna is a kayak tour leader and her home is totally off the grid, she uses solar and wood to heat and provide electricity for her home – very cool. She also had a yurt on her property and told us we could choose to stay in the yurt or in the bedroom in her house – we choose the yurt. For those not familiar with a yurt I will attach pictures – but is it a heavy duty tent strung on a very strong frame circular in shape. The yurt was cool and had a loft with a queen size bed in it, it also was nice because we could hear the rushing stream which ran thru Bonna’s property. After a nice dinner and lively conversation we settled down for a good nights sleep.
Day 68 August 7, 2014 South Strafford VT to Lincoln, NH – 61 miles (total miles 4103, miles remaining 242)
Today was another day of climbing, there was a combination of shorter climbs in the Thetford Center, Thetford Hill and East Thetford area. We then entered New Hampshire and had a great most downhill ride on River Road which was adjacent to the Connecticut River. The views were great and the homes along this stretch were breathtaking. We stopped in Orford for lunch and to wait out the storm that was coming through the area – we actually got caught in it just outside of Oxford and it was actually hailing – this was our first hail storm another good reason to wear a bicycle helmet!!!
After a long lunch the storm moved away from the next mountain range we were going to cross so we got on the bicycle and set off. The fifteen mile climb was not as bad as the day before – the roads were not nearly as steep and the sun was out. We got into to the town of Lincoln, NH at about 4:30pm and were bicycling thru town looking for somewhere to stay – we had just stopped at a hotel when the sky opened up. We ended up sitting in the hotel lobby for an hour before we could bicycle to the hotel which had rooms(the first one was full).
Peter found a brewery in North Woodstock which was the adjacent town – so we got cleaned up and walked the mile to the Woodstock Inn and Brewery. The place was packed so we decided to have a beer and our dinner at the bar. We ended up sitting next to a nice young couple from New Hampshire and had a nice conversation with them. We also meet a woman and her daughter -in- law to be who were in town to check out the facility where her wedding was to be in November.We also enjoyed talking with them. We bid them all farewell and headed back to the hotel to do our laundry and get ready for tomorrow’s ride. It will be our last big climb – Kancamagus Pass at 2,855 feet. Talking with the locals it sounds like it is not as steep as the other ones we have done recently crossed – let’s hope so – More to come tomorrow!!!
Sorry I am not able to upload any of the pictures today slow connection – I will try again tomorrow.