45.2 mi / 10.5 mph / 2322 ft. climbing
Home: Branch Lake Camping Area
Temperatures had ramped up again, so we’d be facing the upper 80s, with the return of humidity. Just walking our bikes from the air-conditioned motel room to the air-conditioned Burger King for breakfast was enough to make it not particularly exciting to go out again. The relative cool showing in the forecasts for Nova Scotia could not come too soon.
After the ridiculously bad riding on US 2 yesterday, we were showered with riches for the first part of today. First, I-95 had come up from the south to parallel our route, so the traffic on US 2 dropped to nearly nothing. Second, the shoulder either improved or became unnecessary. Third, we got a smooth-as-silk country road that took us most of the way into Bangor that allowed us to even get off the calm and quiet US 2 and onto a near-bike-path road that makes bike touring actually fun.
There were still plenty of hills though, and then as we got closer to Bangor, traffic began picking up and stealing our relaxation, compounded by Rett’s increasing nervousness every time she needed to restart the bike.
The last time we were in Bangor, in 2016, we spent the night and replaced Rett’s prescription sunglasses at a LensCrafters. This time we’d just pass through, but figured it was still worth it to make the (one block off-route) pilgrimage to Stephen King’s house. Last time, on September 17th, we were the only people there the whole time we grabbed photos, but this time there were at least six groups of people stopping, plus an official Stephen King Tour group. Not sure if it was the season that made the difference, increased Google Maps promotion of the location, or just randomness, but either way, the other visitors probably ended up with more excitement and interest from talking with us than looking at the quiet house, ha!
At our Burger King breakfast, on of the guys in the old-timer’s group said “you can’t ride on the Interstates, can you?” We told him no, at least not around here, and even when you can, it’s not super-fun, but it can be a pretty safe and efficient way to ride. Well, once we hit US Highway 1A, connecting Bangor to Bar Harbor, we might as well have been on the Interstate. The traffic coming by our left shoulder was constant, and loud, in a way I can’t recall experiencing anywhere else in the last ten months. But, like the Interstate, we had a good shoulder for most of the way, so while it was annoying and not especially relaxing, it at least didn’t feel particularly unsafe.
A little short of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, we branched over to Branch Lake and our reserved site at a private campground. We got site 15A, which, as you might expect by the name, was not particularly separated from site 15B. And the bathrooms/showers had a dismal, prison-like feel to them. And the combination of mosquitos and windless humidity at our site had Rett overheating as she sat reading in her chair covered in long sleeves and pants. But, our neighbors were mostly-absent, and quiet and private even when present (even with their two young boys), the bathrooms were impeccably clean, and I was able to get popsicles out of the refrigerator in the office to cool Rett down. And after dinner I was finally able to convince Rett to walk the short distance down to the lake, where the cooling breezes came right off the water and we enjoyed dessert and some stretching. Once again, the private campground holds its own against the public alternatives.