Saturday, October 9, 2010

New England bike trip 1985, part 3

John and Nellie sent me off in style. I helped Nellie make waffles and we ate them with pure maple syrup. Yum! And John gave me a book of his poetry. I headed off toward New Hampshire, even turning onto an unknown road that wasn't on my map, following my instinct that it would take me the right direction. Eventually it led to a road that was on my map, allowing me to reorient.

Speaking of orienting: I came within 25 miles of Sweden, 37 miles of Mexico, and 94 miles of China that morning. Guess that's what a little lobster protein will do for ya! Actually, these were names of towns in Maine--I dunno why. But it made for an interesting road sign!

Intersection of Maine highways 118, 5, and 35. October 10, 1985.

Road-grade and wind allowed me to ride some semi-large gears (always a pleasure) north up to Bethel, Maine. It was an enjoyable morning, except for another broken spoke. Hoped to find another bike shop in Bethel, but there wasn't one. Hmmmm, now what? Lunch, of course. Over muenster on English muffins and apples, I mulled over the wheel. Decided fixing it was futile, so I rode on westward on the bad wheel, 22 miles to Gorham, New Hampshire.

Maine-New Hampshire state line, on U.S. Highway 2. October 10, 1985.

In Gorham there was a bike shop, a brand new one at that! But the owner said he knew very little about wheels. I suppose he didn't have any new ones, either -- don't remember now. But I sure didn't buy one. I decided to forge on riding the wobbly wheel. I only had about 6 or 7 miles 'til I reached my first youth hostel of the trip, Bowman Base Camp near the tiny town of Randolph, New Hampshire. It was uphill, a modest 400 feet of elevation gain… but the weather was starting to look threatening. Luckily I got to the hostel dry; less than 45 minutes later it was pouring rain. There was a possibility of snow in the forecast. I was only 40 miles or so from Canada (for real!) so I suppose that was no surprise.

Friday October 11th was supposed to be my day to hike up Mt. Washington or one of the other ~6,000 foot mountains of the Presidential Range. It didn't happen though, as all the summits were hidden in clouds. There was no snow at the hostel, around elevation 1,200 feet. But up higher there definitely was. So I elected to deal with my wheel problem.

There was a decent bike shop 40 miles west in Littleton, New Hampshire. I set out hitchhiking again, carrying my busted wheel in hopes of attracting sympathetic rides more easily. First car to come along picked me up! It took me three separate rides to get there, but it didn't take long. The bike shop rebuilt my wheel for a good price. While they were doing it I wrote some postcards on the sunny steps of the post office, bought some groceries, and got a hamburger at a small café. Two more quick rides and I was back at the hostel before 2:00pm.

There was still daylight a'plenty… so I got to hike after all. I sort of alternated between running and walking, up the trail toward the summit of Mt. Adams.

Lower section of the Mt. Adams trail. October 11, 1985.

It was 4.5 miles to the top. I never consider going all the way up, since it was late and there were still clouds covering the summit. I went about 3 miles up, high enough to get some good views (and photos!).

About 2 miles up the trail...

Three views from high on the trail...

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