51.0 mi / 12.4 mph / 1447 ft. climbing
Home: Mountain View Campground
We got breakfast at our familiar McDonald’s on our way out of town, completing our unholy trifecta of all three daily meals in three days. Recommendation: if you eat at McDonald’s, get their app! They throw such deals at you for using it that we spent less for dinner and breakfast combined than we did our initial impulse-buy, no-time-to-use-the-app, dying-of-hunger lunch. It seems like an Uber thing, not possibly sustainable, an unhealthy subsidy to induce unhealthy habits, but with terms so attractive to make the deal with the devil seem logical.
On the Strava Heatmap, our east-west corridor, now following the eastward-flowing Androscoggin River downstream, suddenly lights up with activity. Both the US-2 route on the south bank, and the parallel North Road on the north bank. The Appalachian Trail also crosses here (and Gorham seems to be a bit of a trail town), letting us know that we’ve theoretically made it to the downslope of the broader mountain range.
So the US-2 riding was comfortable enough, which meant it was a risk to swap over to the north bank and its shoulderless and unknown-surfaced road. But with recommendations from our recent WarmShowers hosts in our heads, we swapped over, and discovered one of the most beautiful bike-touring roads we’ve been on in weeks. Traffic was nearly zero, the pavement was brand-new in many places, country houses appeared once every half mile between the trees, and the shade kept the temperatures comfortable. It was a reminder that the actual bike-riding part of our lives could be as enjoyable as the non-bike-riding parts, something we hadn’t felt for days.
The road was so minor (nearly our own private bike path!) that we’d been in Maine for a couple of miles before I even realized it. Certainly no sign, and not even an obvious change to the surface! Anyway, after our brief traversal of a narrow strip of New Hampshire, we were in State #11!
The rains during our Gorham stay had finally broken the ~90℉ stretch of temperatures, so the 70s were likely a big contributor to our renewed enjoyment too. We returned to US-2 outside of Bethel, and were happy to discover that the good shoulders in Maine were not just a border-area tease like they were in Vermont and New Hampshire. We made it down the hill into Rumford, still in a good mood, and ate our packed lunches at the park/visitor-center.
The good roads, overall downhill, and manageable weather gave us our fastest average speed since a big downhill-and-tailwind day in Mexico, so the relatively big mileage never even turned into a slog. Our first private campground in a while wasn’t as great as the $40 price, but we got a nice out-of-the-way site. I finally had an opportunity to spray my camp outfit with Permetherin (that we’d picked up at the Burlington REI), a supposedly weeks-lasting treatment that will hopefully fend off the mosquitos in camp without us needing to put stuff on our post-shower skin. The initial test seemed reasonably effective, hopefully it lasts as advertised!