Day 35: Maine-ly Biking

37.84 miles

Yesterday, I discovered a refrigerator while nosing around the pavilion before we went out to dinner. We can’t carry much perishable food so its always a lucky thing to find a fridge at the campground to stash food in overnight. We bought two pints of milk at the market where we had dinner in anticipation of real cold milk with our cereal. It’s so much better than luke-warm powdered milk in the morning. We packed up and got on the road pretty quickly after breakfast.

bike tourNot far down the road we noticed a large group of cyclists all dressed in the same red, white and blue jerseys congregating near a van, so we stopped to say hi. It turns out they were on their last day of riding across the country. Fifteen cyclists were doing a fully supported ride from San Francisco, CA to Portsmouth, NH. They had been on their trip for 52 days, riding 80-100 miles a day, staying in motels and taking a rest day every 7 days. Hard core, by my estimation. We chatted with a few riders for a while—they were interested in our travel plans and gear, and then parted ways.


Tiny cemetery between two houses along the roadside.

We had good riding all day. First we passed through Exeter, another beautiful old New England town. Exeter is the home of Philips-Exeter, a big prep school founded in the late 1700s. It looks like a Ivy League campus. We stopped in town to have second breakfast at a coffee shop and then paid a visit to Exeter Bicycles for Alan to pick up another pair of bike shorts. A few miles after Exeter, our route crossed over I-95 and headed towards the coast. Even though it was a pretty warm day, it was breezy and comfortable to ride through the towns along the coast (although we weren’t on the water). The air felt different to me.

A bridge was out on the ACA route on highway 1A to take us into Portsmouth, so we followed a detour on highway 1B instead. This took us on a scenic route around the small town of New Castle, just outside of Portsmouth. There is a Coast Guard Station in New Castle that is also home to Fort Constitution, one of several maritime forts that guarded Portsmouth during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and World Wars I and II. It’s not in great shape, but you can appreciate the role the fort played protecting the coastal towns.

Fort Constitution

Entrance to Fort Constitution

Portsmouth is very bike friendly and it was easy to navigate through town and get across the Piscataqua River to Maine. We arranged to stay with a Warm Showers host, Karen, in Kittery Point, about 5 miles from Portsmouth for two days. Karen gave us a warm welcome and fed us delicious homemade pizza for dinner. She’s done many bike tours over the years and told us great stories about her biking adventures. After dinner, we walked to the state park at the end of her neighborhood. From there we saw a beautiful sunset and different views of Portsmouth across the river. We’re planning a rest day tomorrow, but will do a short ride into Portsmouth to do some exploring.


More photos from today:

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