- 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.