Day 10: July 2, 2000
Day 10? It can't possibly be Day 10 already! It seems like I have been on the road for just a few days, but I have traveled 6,320 miles, so I guess it must be 10 days. Carla mentioned today that I did not schedule any days off during this trip, that I did not schedule any "Sundays". Of course, if I did schedule a Sunday, I'd just have to go riding anyway, because that's what I do on Sunday!
My schedule called for me to be in Madawaska, ME today, which is my third corner, and I made it! I got up early, and was on the road by 7:00 AM. Perhaps the key to an early start is the knowledge that there's going to be good riding, because the first road I took this morning was the Kancamagus Highway from Lincoln, NH to Conway, NH. 37 miles of high-speed mountain road with an excellent surface, and great turns, part of which follows the Swift River.
Next I took NH16 to the Mount Washington Auto Road. There is a $16 toll for cars (only $8 for motorcycles!) for the privilege of driving up a really steep, really twisty path to the top of Mount Washington. Part of this road is paved, part is gravel, it is very narrow, and there are no guardrails! After I got to the top, another motorcycle came up with a man & woman on it, and they reported that they had fallen down on the way up, so I guess it was a pretty severe road. They were looking for somebody with a car to take the woman down the mountain so that she wouldn't have to ride down on the bike!
According to the literature available on the mountain, Mount Washington has the most severe winter weather in the world. The weather station at the top once registered a wind speed of an incredible 231 miles per hour! It wasn't bad today, but it was 49 degrees on top, while it was in the 80's at the base of the mountain.
After Mount Washington, my route took me on state roads in New Hampshire and Maine, which were really great. The only negative aspect of the roads here is that the road surfaces are not always great, because they get so much cold weather in the winter. But the turns are great, and the scenery is fantastic!
I spent several hours on NH 16, which runs along the banks of the Androscoggin River, which was used to float logs to the lumber mills downstream before the roads were built. In Maine I saw Rangeley Lake, Umbagog Lake, and the Kennebec River. And in both states, I saw more trees than you can imagine. It is so very green here. In some places the forest is so dense, that it doesn't seem possible to even walk between the trees!
In New Hampshire and Maine, they must really like Rocky & Bullwinkle, because they have road signs with a picture of Bullwinkle every mile or so along the back roads! Evidently the moose has defeated the deer up here, because there are many more "Moose Crossing" signs than "Deer Crossing" signs.
New Hampshire is definitely the most "motorcycle friendly" state I have ever visited. There are numerous signs warning motorcyclists of danger such as railroad crossings where the tracks are not perpendicular to the road, grooved road surfaces, and parts of roads that are under construction. Very considerate, and there are a lot of motorcycles out on the roads here.
This afternoon, I took a 130 mile section of I-95 Northbound through Maine which is designated as scenic on the AAA map. It was very beautiful, but after about 10 miles, becomes a little boring, as the road is very straight, and there is deep forest on both sides of the road.
This evening, I rode through the northernmost part of Maine on ME11, arriving in Madawaska in a steady rain. However, I found a nice motel, and when I checked in, the lady said "Are you doing the Four Corners?" I had heard that Madawaska was very much aware of their geographic location and of the Four Corners Motorcycle Tour. From this motel room, I am able to connect to the Internet at 48,000 kbps, the highest speed connection I have had during the trip. It's the little things in life like that that I really enjoy. I already have my gas receipt for Madawaska, I have located the Madawaska Post Office, and I will be waiting there when they open tomorrow at 8:15, so I am pretty excited about my progress.
One of my goals for this trip was to do some motorcycle sport-touring in New Hampshire and Maine, and I am very satisfied with what I have experienced in the past 2 days. This is a beautiful part of the country, and I have seen a lot of it in a short time. I'm really enjoying this trip.
With apologies to John Irving's "The Cider House Rules", I would like to say that tonight I am "A Prince of Maine, A King of New England!"
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© COPYRIGHT 2000, Richard R. Brookes, Peter H. Baumann