- Littleton, NH to Fryeburg, ME
- 64.4 miles/4,144.8 total
- 2890′ elevation gain
- Mt. Washington Hotel @ Crawford’s Notch
- New friends
Last night we got a message on our blog from Marianne B. who had done the Coast to Coast tour ten years ago and was reliving it through our blog. She lives near Crawford’s Notch and planned on meeting us when we arrived at picnic. That was interesting and exciting. Now we have a new friend to find. We headed out early.
The first half of the day was all uphill heading to the top of Crawford’s Notch. It was gorgeous. I say that a lot, but this time it was personal. We’ve discovered that we really love mountains, rivers and trees. That’s one reason why New England feels so much more homey than the Great Plains to us. Climbing through forests sets my heart aglow. At a bike pace, you see and hear the streams gurgling alongside the road. It’s as if my heart were a tuning fork which vibrates to the sounds of the mountains.
Not that the mountains here are comparable to mountains back home. These would rate as foothills in Washington or Oregon. But here, they are perfect. When we finally got near the Notch, we saw the Mt. Washington Resort Hotel. Likened to an ocean liner on land, it majestically sprawls across a ridge. We looked at the notch, saw black and grey clouds, looked at the hotel and saw blue sky. We opted to wait at the hotel for a while to see if the notch cleared up.
What a hotel. It’s the last of its kind still standing as the others have all burned down. Opulent is the only word that comes close to doing it justice. The great room is scrumptious with lots of chairs, couches, rugs, etc. I could easily imagine a presidential photo shoot with Obama leaning over to converse with some foreign leader. We luxuriated in the softness of the seating. Others sampled the free coffee. We oohed and awed at the veranda, golf course and conservatory. Finally we headed back out.
Voila! The clouds were gone from the notch. We finished the climb, then headed down the 13% grade. the rest of the day was probably 90% downhill. We flew toward picnic, then started seeing riders going up the hill. The first one called out, “They’re waiting for you!” That was a cycling friend of Marianne’s. Another couple went by and called our names. That turned out to be Marianne and her partner Tom. She doubled back to catch us at picnic and we had a lovely visit. She and Tom had met on the Coast to Coast ride in ’02 so she has a soft spot for all us travelers. They wished us well as we left for the last 20 miles to Freyburg.
As we approached Maine the sky became more and more threatening. We could have sat still someplace and waited for it to clear, but we were too close to the end to stop. So we rode right into the storm and got pretty wet. Yesterday we carried all our rain gear and didn’t need it so today we only had our jackets and helmet covers. We left our booties and pants packed. Dang!
Our home tonight is the fairgrounds exhibit hall. We’re set up where the quilts and crafts would be. It’s fairly homey, if you’ll excuse the pun. Tomorrow we’ll head south on our penultimate day. Woo hoo.
…I hear the mountains ringing the bell of your heart. And you’re headed into the penultimate day? This cannot be. I’ve been expecting to read your reports from the road all summer. You can’t stop now. Can’t you go somewhere else?
Are you trying to get rid of us, Richard? And we were so looking forward to a nice quiet evening with you two when we got back. 🙁
You’re almost finished??!! Wow! Good going! And Happy Trails tomorrow!
Love, Roxie and Charlie
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! What can be said, your accomplishment speaks for itself. I’m wowed by both of you, it has been a great journey and sharing your experiences made it all the better! Thank you for putting in the time and effort to do that. I’m so glad that I got to see you on the way, it made the trip even more real. A wonderful adventure!
The tuning fork of our hearts resonating with wildlife in the emountains….lovely!!!! I will miss your daily messages and look forward to seeing you in Seattle!!!
Hi Sheila and Spencer,
I had a great day yesterday — meeting you both , seeing your chameleon purple/green daVinci independent coasting drivetrain tandem, greeting riders on the road, catching up with Brian and Andy at the picnic stop and at dinner in Fryeburg last night . It was nostalgic seeing the Cycle America vans on the road, seeing the picnic stop, the (faded) name plates and ribbons on the bikes, and spotting the yellow arrows on the road yesterday and on today’s ride also. Tom and I see those arrows for years until the roads get repaved (obviously not a frequent event…).
A few Thursday Bike group riders told me today that they went out later yesterday morning after the rainstorm and saw many Coast-to-Coasters on West Side Road.
I share your love of the trees, and the hills and the waterways. I really appreciated them all when they returned to my riding landscape peddling into the northeast. I also enjoyed returning to the various types of rocks and rocky ledges when I returned to VT and NH.
I want to answer a few of the questions you asked in your blog over the last week or two:
The stars you see on houses and barns are decorative, colonial and antique-ish embellishments, typically put on classic colonial homes and barns. Google “Barnstars” for some interesting history.
Why a covered bridge? Here is the reason, copied from Wikipedia:
“The enclosure acts as weather protection over the working part of the structure. For example, a bridge built entirely out of wood, without any protective coating, may last 10 to 15 years. Builders discovered that if the bridge’s underpinnings were protected with a roof, the bridge could stand for 70 or even 80 years.”. Google “Kissing Bridges” for the romantic reason.
I have not yet been able to figure out why many houses in northern New England have no front steps (have you noticed?). All I can think of is that in the winter you only shovel out the back or side door entrance near where you park the car, so you forget about the front entrance. Besides, steps are expensive(?).
One last issue: have you found your long, straight and flat road yet? I think it is like having bike components that are light, durable and cheap. Pick two. You can’t have all three (i.e. if it is light and durable, it isn’t cheap…)
How about food: healthy, tasty and cheap? Pick two… (something to ponder why you pedal your last miles to the Atlantic….)
Congratulations on your Coast to Coast Achievement. Enjoy dipping your tires in the Atlantic!!!
I wish you many more thousands of miles of happy riding together! If you are ever back in NH please email and I will show you our favorite local rides!!