RA87: And Into New Hampshire

Gaysville VT (White River Campground) to Orford NH – 44.7 miles

The entire gang stopped at Creek Cabin Diner about 4 miles north of camp this morning and tanked up.  I think our ravenous appetites actually increase in these hilly areas.   We enjoyed a fabulous ride along the White River flowing in our direction.  It occurred to me that water always rolls downhill – so it must be a lot be smarter than touring cyclists.

Waking up to this view!
At Creek Cabin Diner near Gaysville VT
Following the White River

The road continued a general downhill all the way to Sharon VT.  There we met a lady named Nancy in her car who’s done a number of cross country bikes trips and now runs a B&B up the road.  She offered advice on an alternate route to avoid the next few climbs we faced, but we waved her off and thanked her.  I think that Jack and I have decided to follow the Northern Tier for better and worse.  We don’t dread the miles or the climbs at all, and usually we relish them.  Despite her well-meaning advice, we don’t wish to decrease our ride time at all.  I guess we just like to ride our bikes.

Beautiful backroads riding in VT
Crossing the bridge to Sharon VT
Lush forests all around us
Kermit's cousin

From Sharon VT, our first climb of the day commenced.  At least it was not a bad as yesterday’s, but still about 4 miles long with plenty of sections above 10% grade.   We made a short descent through South Strafford VT, and stopped when we saw 4 touring bikes all lined up at a restaurant.  You know, I’m trying not to write so much about food and eating, but this place is worth some words.  Isabell’s Cafe served up some really fine corn chowder, chock full of corn and potatoes and onions and great flavor.  I also had an egg salad sandwich that was overflowing and delicious.  Good spot!

Cyclists invade Isabell's Cafe in South Strafford VT
Enjoying the great sandwiches at Isabell's

The next 10 miles brought two more climbs, both fairly steep.  One very short section was as steep as anything yet – it felt like 18%.  We descended, crossed I-91, and very soon found ourselves in New Hampshire – state number 14.   Before departing Vermont, however, I must mention that of all the states (and one province) that we’ve toured, the drivers in Vermont seemed the most impatient.   I’m not sure if it has something to do with the narrow decaying roads or something more sinister.

State Number 14!

A short 7 mile roll brought us to Orford NH and the Pastures Campground.  The entire team collected beneath a pavilion roof, and before many tents were up the rains started in on us.  After 15 minutes, the clouds REALLY let loose, a deluge.  We sure were glad to be under a sturdy roof for it.

Great shelter during the downpour at Pastures Campground in Orford NH
Jesse wanted mug shots of everyone

When the rains let up, Gary, Bill and I went to a nearby deli and brought back a light dinner.  The whole team stayed up unusually late tonight, all the way to 8:00PM or so, before turning in.  Joining us in camp is a hitchhiking guy going from Boston to upstate Vermont.  He has only the clothes on his back, no sleeping bag or anything, and so Roger loaned him the liner of his tent to use as a blanket for the night.  Likewise, the campsite owner has also provided him with some clothing and other articles.

The full gang plus Ray
Gorgeous skies after the rains at our campsite

Hurricane Irene is on our minds tonight, too.  It appears that Gary, Bill, and Jesse will all finish their tours in Portland ME, which they’ll reach Saturday or Sunday.   Frank is heading to Raymond ME to a family homestead for an extended period.

Jack, Roger and I plan to continue on to Bar Harbor ME, except that Roger will reverse course a day or two early in order to connect with the bus station in Lewiston ME.  Our plans have us reaching Bar Harbor on Wednesday 8/31, but that does not account for Irene.  Weather forecasts indicate that the hurricane weather (100% chance of rain with winds >25 mph) may wipe out our riding plans from Sunday about noon to Monday about noon.   I spent time this evening identifying some alternate campsites to utilize those half riding days, but there is no getting around the loss of at least one day in the schedule, and possibly two.   That is, if the weather does as forecast.  I wonder what my tent would do in a hurricane?