We left Harlem at 6:30am to ride the 50 ish miles to Malta, with a slight change as we cycled off Highway 2 to a country road 9 before a left turn onto 6. Montana road signs are not the brightest as its not until you are on the road does it indicate the number. I was riding with Doctor Mike. So we found 9 and the map indicated a sharp right onto 6. We saw a sharp right turn at a stop sign so thought we were on 6. Little did we know that we had actually missed the turning and the road we were on turned into gravel and bed rock and sand. 15 miles later we knew where we were but had realised our mistake too late. Nevertheless we soldiered on and eventually got back onto Highway 2! We met up with others at a general store in Dobson and all became clear and our suspicions were confirmed. Our ride was hard going but we didn’t have the severe headwinds today so better than yesterday. The wind did get up for the last 15 miles but were more like cross winds. The RV park in Malta was basic and had little amenities so as a group we have booked one cabin so that we can at least get our food out of the shade! Temperatures reaching 100 degrees
Three months of very mixed emotions. The highs included going over Washington, Sherman and Logan Passes, the National Glacier Park, Niagara Falls and the pretty rolling hills of Vermont, New Hampshire and Winsconcin, some of the coastal roads of Lake Erie and New York State. The lows were riding the flat roads through Montana and North Dakota with strong head winds and soaring temperatures. The bad uneven roads in Maine, the gruelling times I had to ride whilst carrying an illness, going into hospital for treatment (twice) as recently I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy and being treated for Lymes disease as a precaution – will know soon as the blood tests are confirmed. The numerous campsites that were totally inappropriate for tents or large numbers, or schools with minimal facilities, or layover days whereby there was no where to rest without forking out more expense on hotels or motels. So I was mighty glad to finish at Camden, Maine and dip wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. I was even happier to see Chris at the Blue Harbor House sitting on the veranda sipping afternoon tea as I cycled into the car park. This will be my last cycling tour of the USA with Adventure Cycling. As an organisation that I often quoted as first rate, this trip has identified some serious flaws in their administration, leaving me to question where and how they divide the monies that we paid for the privilege of joining one of their tours. To take 40% as a margin and leave us with inadequate funds to spend on essential items such as proper toilet facilities, or not realising that to get the ferry across Lake Michigan needs a budget heading whilst not having a van we did not need a heading in the budget of van fuel! Our leader did well but was burdened with little help from the organisation and maybe in experienced in sorting out the needs of 14 people with an average age of 62. As the saying goes “it is what it is” and we made a good job of a bad thing – in my opinion!
First sight of the Atlantic Ocean
Dipping the wheels
Entered Maine and soon found the roads very pitted and pot holed. The campsite was off route by four miles and as a state park lacked basic facilities for camping in tents such as grass! The day before we were in a hostel with full kitchen facilities so I cooked a shepherds pie and tune bake. Both went down very well. At the state park it was back to one pot cooking and the chefs mustered up a very good chilli. Tonight we are at another basic campsite with even fewer facilities and it has been raining since midday. Fortunately we do have a pavilion to shelter under. We ate out in Brunswick. Tomorrow I cycle to Camden and will meet up with Chris. That will be the end of my cycling in the USA. The group will have another two days to reach Bar Harbor. Chris and I will meet up tomorrow night and have a farewell dinner with the group and again in Bar Harbor to say our goodbyes.
One of the May libraries that I found with wifi so I could FaceTime Chris.
A typical church
Only two days ago we were in Vermont and now it’s New Hampshire. The roads have not been good as they need urgent attention as the shoulder I’d often broken and in some cases the road has been washed away so there are traffic lights to control the traffic. The farmlands have now been replaced by scenic views of the Green and Black Mountains. Tomorrow we climb Kancamagus Pass at 2855 feet then it’s all downhill to Maine. Today we have a layover day staying in Lincoln, NH at the Holiday Inn Suites. As we climbed the Lost River Road we crossed the Appalachian trail just after Beaver Pond (looks more like a lake). It was a welcomed break after climbing 1200 feet before descending into Lincoln. Enroute we have entered the small communities of Shoreham, Thetford, Haverhill,Woodstock and Benton. The giant pumpkins were in a small vegetable patch in Sharon.
The last two days we have been steadily climbing into the Adirondack Hills. Personally, I am improving daily and able to tackle the hills slow but steady. The weather has been good albeit chilly in the mornings the days are sunny and the clean air a pleasure to cycle. We enter Vermont today and then the fun begins!
A few pictures of the Hudson River and Eagle Lake. The store is by the source of the Hudson River typical of the sparcely populated communities that we have been cycling through.
The climbing has begun again. I have climbed over 7000 feet in the past three days. I am holding up well and gradually getting my strength back. I know it is going to be tough and get tougher as we head into the Adirondack Hills. The scenery will be more picturesque so I hope to capture some of the views. The pictures below are of Boonville and the Moose River.
We left Canada via Niagara and eventually followed the Erie Canal to Middleport. The highlight was probably stoping off in Lockton to see the workings of the five locks which are looked after by volunteers. Further down the canal there were a couple of bridges that are raised to allow craft through. At Middleport I was collected by my friend Bobo from the 2011 Transam who lived in the Rochester area and stayed with him and Linda for a couple of days to aide my recovery. It did the trick and today I cycled 60 miles without any pains either in my legs or head. Let us hope it is the end of the fever and it’s after affects. I took a picture of what Rod carries for his lunch and in between snacks – some appetite!