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Friday, 21 August 2015

24 Hour Mainer - The First 12 Hours.

It’s quiet, just the distant sound of traffic on Route 1 and the wind blowing through the trees. The evening air has a nip to it as the southwest wind blows the fog in off the bay. Wait a minute, it sounds just like every other damn evening in Rothesay, except Route 1 is the Mackay Highway, and the bay is actually Drury Cove.

Shit, Maine is just like New Brunswick, except I’m only getting 70 cents on the dollar. I am hunkered down for the night at the Mountain View Campground in Sullivan, Maine. Nice little place that looks westerly towards Bar Harbour and Cadillac Mountain. Hence the name Mountain View. Although right now it’s “I Can Barely See the Beach Because of the Fog” campground. No worries, I’m from St. John’s Newfoundland, home of fog, and currently living in the foggiest place in mainland Canada. I feel right the frig at home.

I could have ridden the extra few kilometres to Bar Harbour, however campgrounds over there are horrendously priced. $26 for campsite here with a view of the water, or $80 for a tent site across the Bay. Ya, I’m perfectly happy here. Small place with clean washrooms, and showers, and a grassy place to pitch the tent. Oh and I can even go antiquing in the morning.

Last week the Missus and I decided to head to St. Andrews-by-the Sea, and spend a couple of nights at the fancy, shanchy Marriott Algonquin Resort. I booked two rooms for two nights and decided to make it a family trip. Those 80 nights a year staying in Marriott for work does have it’s advantages, and I put the whole thing on my Marriott points. Woohoo.

Yesterday I decided that it would be a good idea to leave a day earlier and head to Maine for a little bike/camping trip, and then meet the girls in St. Andrews the next day. Weather was supposed to good, and I wanted one last hurrah with ol’ Vstrom before she got replaced by my Italian mistress, Ms. Guzzi.

Ok, a little bit about the new bike situation. I love the Guzzi, love it. But the ol’ Strom has been good to me, and has gotten me thru the Labrador, and various other trips and adventures. So, yes I do feel a pang of guilt and remorse getting rid of her. I know it’s just a machine, and it’s not supposed to have feelings, but damn it the Strom feels sad to be leaving, and I feel sad for letting her go. She worked awesome today. Ok it might just be me feeling sentimental, or it could be the cheap American beer starting to work. Damn you emotions towards inanimate objects.

Finally settled on the white V7 Stone

I headed out at noon today, it was overcast, with a temp near 22C, but it was really humid, making it feel much warmer. I had previously mapped out my route on Garmin Basecamp mainly because I wanted to stick to the backroads once in Maine, and not waste time searching for a good route, since I basically had just over 24 hours, of which 10-12 hours would be camping out.

I slabbed it down to Calais on Route 1 which took me about an hour, I was in chill mode today, and only did 110-120kph. It was nice to not have to keep pace, or follow the pace of someone else. It was literally pure freedom. I can get used to this travelling solo.

Before long I was at the U.S. border crossing. The sun was out in full force down here and it was hot, over 30C for sure, and of course in true Terry Burt style I got in the slowest of two lanes at customs. Of course the guy I had was inspecting the trunk of “every” car in the line. Really, do you see the guy on the bike melting in the sun. I half expected him to ask me if I was nervous because of the sweat dripping off my face. But he didn’t. “where ya going?, who do work for?, how long you staying?, where you coming back thru? any alcohol or tobacco (really does anyone actually bring super expensive smokes and booze to the states?) when was the last time you crossed? and finally, have a good trip” Woohoo.

I stopped at the usual Irving Big Stop, just before Highway 9 that takes you to Banger (yes I spelled that wrong on purpose) Pee break was needed and I need a lot of water. I then backtracked slightly and picked up Route 191 southbound for the US Route 1. 191 is a great road, very light traffic, scenic and enough twists and turns to keep you occupied. It came recommended by my friend Tim Hovey of Moto Sport Plus. Thanks Timmy.

US Route 1 is nice, it passes thru Machias, Jonesport and various other little towns, the speed limit varies but never exceeds 55mph, which is perfect cruising speed. Made for a very relaxed pace.

Maine is an interesting state, especially up here, it is home of the double wide trailer and the delapitated shack. You pass a lot of these with a sprinkling of Sotherby’s real estate signs. Odd. I have seen more junked cars, RV’s, buses, and trucks in peoples yards to last me a lifetime. I now know where all this stuff goes to die. Maine. I like Maine, for the most part the people are nice, down to earth, and they have funny accents. Like Newfoundland.

Once off of Route 191 and back on US 1 the temperature dropped to a more comfortable level and the fog flirted with the coast.

Before long I ended up at my destination for the night, the Mountain View Campground. I blew by it on the road, I honestly wasn't expecting an antiques shop as the check-in for the campground. Lucky for me it turned out to be a pretty nice place. I was more than happy with my accommodations for the night.

I pitched my tent, no ya dirty bastards, the real tent, the one I’m sleeping in, got all my shit squared away and headed for supper. The Galley-By-The Bridge was recommended to me by the nice lady in the antique/check-in place. She said they had great lobster for a good price. 

Well it did not disappoint. I must have been early, since the place was empty, and yes that did make me feel a little nervous, empty restaurants are never a good thing. I’m thinking I was a little early at 5:10pm. Maybe I can get a seniors discount. Or as my old work colleague would say…..the Mexican rate. Get it SeƱor rate!. Bah ha ha.

Anyway, the cute young lass recommend the lobster roll, “Dad caught it today, and Mom cooked them”. Well, hit me over the head with a wet lobster pot, lobster roll it is, and make it the jumbo one. That and a cold beer made my evening, it was delicious. 

I paid the bill, thanked the pretty young thang, gave her a good tip, and went in search of a 6-pack of cold beer to end the evening off at the campsite while I type away to you fuckers.

Tomorrow, Ba Habah, the ride back and fancy resorts.

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