Aug 17

The penultimate day

by in Week 9

  • Fryeburg, ME to Durham, NH
  • 82.9 miles/4,227.7 total
  • Fastest day this week
  • 293 hours in the saddle (more than12 days)

Everyone is getting more excited about finishing off this journey. We were all up and out of the craft barn before 6:10 even though they didn’t open the doors to breakfast until 6:30. Most ate quickly and hit the road. It’s our next to the last day. Some people are openly tired of the trip. Others are ready to keep going. Christian has decided to buy panniers and travel by bike all the way back to New York City on his own. We’re trying as much as possible to stay in this moment. It’s getting hard, though.

This morning was foggy and cold. We needed wind jackets for a good part of the morning even with all the hills that New Hampshire and Maine have. The sights were pretty much the same as we’ve been seeing. But today there was a bit of a magical light with the spotty overcast and the mists rising. I was intrigued by this cemetery because of the light. From the road it seemed to stretch out into eternity. A connection to souls past. There are a lot of very old cemeteries here dating back to the 1700s.

We also saw lots of little lakes. They turned up everywhere you looked. Marty suggested there were as many lakes here as in northern Wisconsin, where the bulk of that state’s 13,000 lakes exist. If you were a water person, today was your day to be in your element.

Sheree, who left the tour back in Wyoming, returned to travel with us for 2 days. It’s good to see her again as she runs errands, and checks up with us on the road. Many people are looking forward to the whale watching cruise that’s been scheduled for Saturday night. It’ll be a big party and a chance for closure.

There was nothing remarkable about today’s ride after picnic except we stopped at a Radio Shack in Rochester. They actually had the replacement windscreen for our Tandem Talk boom mikes! We lost one of those 3 days ago and have had to make do without our tandem communication system since. We haven’t tested it yet, but we’re hopeful it’ll make the last day’s ride more enjoyable.

The middle school we are staying in is very small. The “gym” is small. But their play court has the great US map on it and someone has outlined our route! FUN!  The shower rooms are tiny and we’ll have to walk to dinner. Ah well. It is the last night for this kind of accommodation. Tomorrow night we have a hotel. Then we’re with Ric and Lisa in Newport for a few family days. We’ll end up with more than 150,000′ of elevation and close to 4,300 miles in the last 9 weeks.


9 Responses to “The penultimate day”

  1. From Kathy:

    It is so hard to believe that you guys are almost finished with this ride! Seems like you only started yesterday. I love that map picture. You should use that as your next FB avatar. 🙂 Kathy

    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm #
  2. From Gail:

    How absolutely amazing. Your travels had been a daily gift of joy and fortitude. You two “in the moment folk” have a good chance of savoring your last day with the same fascination as the first day, (without the saddle pain!) Kudos, and thanks for giving all of us a glimpse of the U.S. that we couldn’t get any other way.

    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm #
  3. From Roxanne Bartlett:

    Great blog!!!!
    Looking forward to seeing you after this momentous trip!
    Love, Roxie and Charlie

    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm #
  4. From Jeff Underhill:

    Welcome back to New Hampshire and congratulations on completing a wonderful, lifetime, accomplishment. I rode with you through Wyoming and South Dakota and have been quietly following your blog ever since. Thank you for sharing and helping us all along to the finish line along with you. Just remember though, crossing the finish line is not the end. It’s only the gateway to the next journey.

    A bit of New Hampshire trivia. New Hampshire, for some reason, has laid claim to the full width of border rivers, thus you actually crossed into NH when you first rolled onto the bridge at the Connecticut River. The sign at the middle is a mistake and most of those have been moved.

    As for the railroad covered bridge, you got me on that one. Other covered bridges have the advantage of keeping the road surface clean of snow and ice making for a safer crossing. Remember, they didn’t salt the roads back when they were built.

    Have a great ride tomorrow and enjoy that whale watching cruise. You will probably see some right whales. They always seem to be out there. Keep an eye out for Great White sharks. They have been cruising down by Cape Cod, not all that far away.

    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm #
  5. From Michael Meagher:

    Great job! I’ve followed your entire ride with envy. See you back in Seattle.

    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm #
  6. From Frank Lysy:

    Sheila and Spencer,

    Congratulations on a wonderful ride! I have been following your blog almost every day since the start, love what you’ve presented, and want to thank you for it. I rode the Coast-to-Coast with CycleAmerica two years ago, and reading the blog has brought back great memories. I have especially enjoyed the pictures, most of which I recognize from when riding the route two years ago (although I recognize it could also be my mind playing games sometimes). From what I can tell, we followed the same route as you have, except for the first two and a half days in New York (when we tracked north along Lake Ontario, with our respective routes then joining from picnic at Baldwinsville on the Erie Canal). We also stayed at most of the same schools and campsites as you have. But I think we lucked out on the weather compared to what you have gone through. We had a few difficult days, but not so many.

    It is great to see Greg Walsh and CycleAmerica doing a fantastic job again. Many of the volunteer staff appear to have come back again, and it has been great to see them through your blog. I cannot recommend CycleAmerica too highly. Anyone interested in a bike trip should sign up with them.

    Thanks again. I very much appreciate your blog, and know that at the end of each day, it can sometimes be a challenge to get it out. Yet you always have.

    And enjoy tomorrow’s party on the boat.


    Posted on Aug 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm #
  7. From Rita:

    I have “raced” through your most enjoyable blogs and find myself feeling kinda let down and sad. After reading and feeling closer to you as a result, I’m so going to miss being able to see you in Seattle and give you hugs and back pats. Spence, you are one of the people I will truly miss. Wish you’d make that flight to Maui to come visit…

    Posted on Aug 18, 2012 at 7:48 am #
  8. From Sheila Bender:

    Wow, New England! You did it!

    Posted on Aug 18, 2012 at 11:45 am #
  9. From Margaret Kitchell:

    Amazing that you have ridden this far! I hope you have a wonderful last day. Your blog has been wonderful, really get a sense of how big this country is. It will be fun to see you back here in person.

    Posted on Aug 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm #