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pedal plenty

notes on a north american cycle trip in 2008

Archive for the 'america' Category

Day 76 stats. Last day.

Lubec, Maine to Quoddy Point, Maine (most easterly place in the USA)

Distance: 4 miles
Distance so far: 4140 miles
Champagne: a glass at the Masonic BBQ
Pie: Yes. The official last piece of pie in Umerica was at the Masonic BBQ. It was rhubarb and strawberry. Oh yes. A good way to end me thinks.

roadtoquoddy.jpg

Posted by me on August 4th, 2008

Most easterly

It’s done. I am finished. I have visited Quoddy Point. Taken the obligatory pics of me and Haggis at the opposite side from this side.

And at The End, what is that like? It’s a little peculiar. All that cycling. All that distance. It doesn’t seem like it was me that did it. How could I have done that? Cycled more than 4000 miles across a huge continent. How did I sit on that saddle for hours and hours for days and days? I dunno. You just do it. Just like you just do going to work. Eventually you don’t notice you are doing it. It’s certainly made easier by traveling through a friendly and fun country like Ummerica (I promise that’s the last time it gets called Ummerica). It helps that a kind-of-Engerish is spoken here. And it helps to have the internet so I can keep in touch with everyone, write this silly nonsense and navigate by way of Google maps (how did people travel before Google Maps).

So, what next? Well, I can see Canada from here. I think I’ll go to Canada.

gilleasterly.jpg

Posted by me on August 4th, 2008

Almost but …

Today is (almost) my last day across. To Lubec. The most Easterly town in the USA. Am I excited? Am I reflective? No, I am hungry! This trip has become less about cycling and achieving goals and more about my stomach and eating food.

Given that it’s a short ride of 28 miles or so I decide to have a light breakfast of pizza and plums and coffee. (It was not plum pizza I hasten to add, it was leftovers from my pizza yesterday). I load Haggis up for the last time and we head out on a beautiful day. On my left is hills, in the middle is the road and on the right is an occasional view of the sea. It looks like the West Coast of Scotland. I turn off Route 1 towards Lubec and the road surface deteriorates further. This really is just like Scotland. All in-and-out roads to remote Scottish villages are always a disgrace unless of course the European Union has funded the renewal of the asphalt so that scallops, langoustine, halibut and salmon can be whisked from our shores to the open, greedy mouths of the French and Spanish. But I digress ….

 

And there’s the sign. Lubec. Most Easterly Town. I am done (well almost but not quite). Lubec reminds me of LochInver or Kinlochbervie. A small, postcard type town with little boats in the harbour and everyone relaxed and friendly. I celebrate my arrival at (nearly) The End by eating a clam sandwich, a slice of blueberry pie and a glass of blueberry ale (which tastes of IPA and not blueberries thankfully). What next? Yes, a trip to the library of course! Dear Boss: does chatting with the Lubec librarians, reading their newspapers and using their wifi count as business leave? I can write a report about it!

 

I am going to stay here for two days because tomorrow I will go to The Ultimate Destination, the lighthouse at West Quoddy Point. This marks the most easterly place in the USA. I am bemused at how the most easterly place can be called West but I am sure all will be revealed tomorrow. Then I think a trip to Canada and across their The Bridge over The Atlantic.

lubec.jpglubec.jpg

Posted by me on August 3rd, 2008

Day 75 stats

Machias, Maine to Lubec, Maine (most easterly town in USA)

Distance: 28 miles
Distance so far: 4136 miles
Beer: Blueberry beer. Very interesting.
Pie: Oh yes. Blueberry pie obviously! Is it my last pie in Umerica?

machias.jpg

Posted by me on August 3rd, 2008

A bit blue …

I’m a bit blue today. Not in that sad, Joni Mitchell way but in the colour way. My body has started to turn blue. The onset of blueness began this morning when I set off cycling. It was only 68F (20C). Brrrrrr! If this continues I’ll need to get my merino sheep cardigan out (it’s a sports cardigan with loopy bits for your thumbs I’ll have you know, not a librarian style cardigan!) And then the haar (sea fog) came and it got even colder. I had to speed up to 14 miles an hour to keep warm.

But the biggest reason for me being blue is that I ate and drank a lot of blue things today. Here, in Down East Maine (I assume there’s an Up East Maine somewhere) is the official land of the blueberry. Ummericans LOVE blueberries. They make muffins with them in (I had one today), they put them on or in their pancakes for breakfast, they make jam with them etc etc. So I am going along minding my own business and look there are lots of people selling wild blueberries, and over there is the Blueberry Research Institute (you think I am kidding? I am not) and what the? What is that. A giant Blueberry cafe?

blueberrycafe.jpg

So I arrive at my destination Machias, starving. I have only had two breakfast today. I go immediately to Helen’s Restaurant where I wolf a fried clam sandwich, chased down with Blueberry soda, followed by a slice of very, very delicious blueberry pie. Later I have some Blueberry cream soda which is not the same as Blueberry soda and, I’m ashamed to say, another slice of blueberry pie. Now you will understand my blueness. Factoid: 95% of the world’s blueberry crop comes from this part of the world i.e. here in Washington county.

Today is my penultimate day of acrossness. Tomorrow I will be in Lubec the most easterly and north easterly town in mainland Umerica. I thought today I might see the Atlantic Ocean but the coastline is quite jaggy here, even more so than Scotland so all I have seen, through the Haar, are inlets. Umericans call the inlets bays where we Scotchlanders call them lochs. How educational this diary is. So, it seems that I won’t see the Atlantic from Lubec coz there’s a small matter of Canada being in the way. How inconvenient! I will see the Bay of Fundy though which is famous for the biggest …… You’ll just have to wait.

Posted by me on August 2nd, 2008

Day 74 stats

Ellsworth, Maine to Machias, Maine

Distance: 59 miles
Distance so far: 4108 miles
Blueberries: everywhere
Sign to Lubec?: Yes. Just 28 miles to go
Weather: Haar and sun and thunder and lightning and rain

lobster.jpg

 

Posted by me on August 2nd, 2008

Inverted …

… due to popular demand here is the photo of The End.  The diary will eventually catch up with the photo.

Haggis gets a free ride at Quoddy Point.theend.jpg

Posted by me on August 2nd, 2008

Day 73 stats

Belfast, Maine to Ellsworth, Maine

Distance: 37 miles
Distance so far: 4049 miles
Other cyclists: gazillions. 11 girls cycling from New Hampshire to Maine and back. Bryce from I forget where and Megan and Andy from Minnesota who have been cycling all over from April.
Days til the end of cycling across: two
Days til I say Adieu to Umerica and go to Canada: three

bridge.jpg

 

Posted by me on August 1st, 2008

Slow down

I need to slow down, well not slow down just travel less distance. I have been used to cycling anywhere between no miles and more than 80 miles a day for weeks now. I am so ahead of schedule that, if I don’t slow down/travel less distance, I will be cooling my heals / SPDs for ages in Halifax before I head to Quebec for business. So yesterday I thought. If I just do these 125 miles I’ll be done. 125 miles is TOO FAR. The farthest I have cycled in one day is 117 miles and that was with a raging tail wind on the high plain in Wyoming. So I have decided to do 125 miles in 3 days. Today I did 37 miles. I lay in bed as late as possible (0630). I am driven from my bed by raging thirst and hunger. I show off how much I can eat to the folks in the motel (a bagel, a muffin, two bananas, OJ, 3 cups of coffee and a donut). I go back to my room and take another shower just for the hell of it (i.e. time wasting). Go on the internet to waste further time. And eventually I leave at 0945. I try hard to cycle slow. Well slower than normal. I meet other cyclists. I try to delay them from their cycling by yapping endlessly. And I arrive at my destination at lunchtime. I waste further time eating crab cakes. Hardly time wasted! So I’m done for the day at 1400. The fog / haar has come. So nothing for it but to relax reading about Lewis and Clark, chat online with my pals and stuff myself with haddock and scallops and strawberry and rhubarb pie (but not all on the same plate obv!).

maine.jpg

Posted by me on August 1st, 2008

B.E.L.H. ….

It’s not big and it’s not clever to cry in your omelette. I am in the A1 diner in Gardiner, Maine. It’s a very fine diner to have breakfast number 2 in. The choices are better than usual and I swear this place is a converted AirStream. I am eating by delicious three egg omelette with smoked salmon, asparagus, dill and cheese. On top of the pie fridge there are several bottles of beer. Regretfully it is only 0950 so it’s a little early to start. But I am intrigued by one bottle. All I can see from here are the letters B. E. L. H. and underneath I can see S. C. O. T. It can’t be. Can it? I ask to see it. It IS a bottle of Belhaven. Scottish ale (I bet it’s really 80 shilling). It says Imported from Dunbar, Scotland. It has a little Scottish flag on the label. I tell the waitress it’s made down the road from where I stay. I sniffle a little. I am a bit homesick.

I meander around the back roads of South Central Maine. Back roads means more evil hills but here is a nice cafe in the middle of no where. It’s a very good cafe. They have real ginger beer. I have strawberry shortcake. Yum. Have you noticed? I never have lunch. Just several breakfasts and then I start on high tea. (NB High tea is not brewed tea or evening meal tea it is afternoon snacks usually of the cake variety with or without tea of the brewed type – ginger beer, and lashings of it, is allowable for high tea but is usually given to children).

And I just ate my first lobster roll. Fab! And cheap. Huge amounts of lobster, fries, salad etc for $10. How I laffed.

Sorry, you want to know something of Maine and less of my eating habits? Maine is great. It is hilly and forested and friendly. It reminds me a lot of the Highlands. Belfast, the town I am now in (which was preceded by Londonderry obv.) is right down beside the water and I would go look at the pretty setting but for the warning of a thunder and lightning storm from The Weather Channel. The weather-casters put the fear of death in you. They say, Rain never killed anyone. Hail never killed anyone. But lightning … lightning it’ll strike you down especially those of you by the water admiring the view from the saddle of a metal bicycle.

a1diner.jpg

 

Posted by me on July 31st, 2008