The Donation Button Some People Asked For

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Three States, One Day

I was not so lucky to not get rained on during the night. It started sometime in the early hours of the morning, pouring hard, then reducing to a trickle, then pouring hard again. It made it hard to sleep, but on a whole I stayed dry. In the morning, I had the ever fun process of getting my tent dry. I didn't get out of the campground until after 9, by which point I decided I ought to be getting on the road, no warm breakfast for me.

I biked the meandering Greenway route, largely on side roads, connected by bits of highway. I got off the bike and took a short walk around Vaughan Woods park for awhile, until the mosquitoes drove me crazy. At Kittery, I crossed a bridge with a lovely view, onto a little island, then over another drawbridge. Along which Google directions chimed in to welcome me back to New Hampshire.

I navigated my way through Portsmouth and got onto 1A, right along the ocean, where I would stay for basically the rest of the day. New Hampshire has very little coast line (and I saw a good chunk of it), but what it has is gorgeous. I had the ocean on one side (though often blocked from view by sea walls), marsh on the other. And mansions. Lots of mansions. Which gave way to condos and businesses further on. My host wanted me here by 4, so that I could get settled in before he had to leave for awhile, so I had to make time, and it was thus a constant struggle not to stop for too long or take too many pictures. But the riding was flat and easy, usually with sizeable enough shoulder, and so I made good time.

Google chimed in to let me know I had crossed into Massachusetts. It wasn't much further from there before I reached my host's, right on time at 4. He let me get settled in, then gave me some time to relax on my own while he went out to do his photo shoot with his friends. I put my tent out on the deck in the bright sun that had finally come out from the clouds to get fully dry from last night, ate a little food, made a call, watched some tv, and kind of dozed off a bit. When he came back he took me into the town just south of here I'll go through tomorrow, Newbury, out to a Mexican place (apparently the best place to go in town for a vegetarian), and treated me to a really good meal (afterwards making it out into the parking lot from dinner just as the thunder rolled and the rain poured down). My host is an exceptionally kind and generous guy. Even after just working an 80+ hour week (he does one week on and one off as a nurse), he still took the time on his first day off to host me for the night.

One way or another, I am going to make it work to host when I am back in Lincoln. I have received so much generosity and had so many amazing experiences with hosts that I really need to return some of that karma.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Last Night in Maine

I again got around late this morning. I ate cereal for breakfast, tried to figure out what I was doing for the day, and still ended up leaving with no clue around 9. I had messaged a number of hosts, but none had gotten back to me, so I didn't know how far I was going or where I would stay.

It was cold and cloudy all day, and after my jacket came off, I actually put my winter gloves on, as my hands were going numb. I'm sure it looked ridiculous, but I have trouble keeping my hands warm and I was far more comfortable that way. I made my way down to Portland and took some time to explore. I followed the trail looping Back Cove. Then I jumped off to head to Old Port, went totally the wrong way and ended up at a park with a cool fountain. Then I navigated my way back to the Back Cove trail, took that up onto another trail along the ocean. I took a little look at Oldport. Then I biked over the bridge and out of the city proper. I again went the wrong way, and decided to make it worthwhile by seeing the Bug Light and getting a good glimpse of the city across the water, before heading on. I didn't want to leave the area, and lingered perhaps longer than I should have, partly to see stuff, and partly because I'd messaged someone around there and wanted to see if they'd get back. But eventually I decided I ought to start actually making some miles.

I was on Greenway most of the time. It took me on a scenic trail for awhile, with variable conditions, from dirt to rocky gravel, but well worth being away from the traffic and getting some lovely views.

As it grew late in the afternoon, I accepted I was going without a host and looked for camping. It all seemed crazy expensive. But then by chance, I realized the place I was right next to from the gas station I was stopped at was not only a saloon/biker bar/car show place, but also a campground. And it turned out they were a far more affordable $20+tax. I was sold. I was told I could pretty much pitch tent wherever wasn't an RV spot, and so I set myself up right next to the surprisingly nice, and surprisingly unused, bath house.

To my moderate dismay I discovered my chain is stretched after only 1300 miles. Seems like I should have replaced the cassette, as its wear is likely the reason the chain has gone more quickly. I'll have to change out both of them soon when I have the chance.

As a funny story, I was briefly convinced some animal was outside clawing at my tent, until I realized that it was in fact the blasted sign I have secured to the tent to indicate that I've paid to camp, twisting around in the wind.

With that concern dealt away and all other needs addressed, I best be off to sleep. Tomorrow morning I think I will hit the saloon for breakfast. I may have gotten by today without a single warm item of food, and not but bugles, trail mix, crackers and peanut butter for dinner. Here's hoping for no rain tonight.