Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty-three, 090731 - Jonesboro, ME

Day One Hundred Fifty-three, Date Friday, July 31, 2009
Time in Saddle: 4:57
Distance for the Day: 44.28 miles From Quoddy Head To Jonesboro, ME
Accumulated Trip Distance: 7163.71 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 50’/104’, Highest: 226’ Accumulated: 2418’
Speeds: Avg: 8.9 mph, Max: 37.5 mph
Weather: 55° partly cloudy
Expenditures: $16
I woke up at 5:22am, and quickly got my shoes on, grabbed my camera, and hurried down to the lighthouse. I was just in time to see the first sunrise in America on the last day of July, 2009! That was the whole reason I pushed so hard yesterday; for this chance to see something so unique – well, for this west coast California boy, at least. No one else was there, so out of the 300+million people in America, I was the only one who caught this particular day’s first sunrise. Sometimes, I amaze even my self. I took lots of pictures of this gorgeous spectacle, and then had a bit of breakfast (banana, grapefruit juice, breakfast bar, and M&Ms (peanut). Then, I found an external power outlet at the visitor center, and plugged in to recharge the ol’ laptop and camera battery, and to do some blog writeups while waiting for the visitor center to open at 10am. At 8am, the managing park ranger came out (he lives here), and we chatted a bit before he took off for town. I asked him if the sound of the horn bothered him, and he said he didn’t even hear it, anymore. Amazing! He told me about a road back to Rte 191 that followed the coast from Quoddy Head that was better than the totally cruddy road going through Lubec that wasn’t even on my Street Atlas computer map. It went through a couple of towns with funny sounding names, like “Jacob’s Mistake,” or “Durham’s Disaster,” (not actual names – I can’t remember the real ones, but something like that). They were the places ships had wrecked on the coast. The places were named after the captains who wrecked their ships, and rather than face the consequences with the ships’ owners, they settled there, instead. I went into the visitor center at 10am and chatted with the lady there, looked at the exhibits and the art gallery (nice stuff!) I didn’t see any puffins (sorry Julie), but the lady said this wasn’t the time of year to see them, that there were cruises in towns nearby to see them when they *are* here, and that there is also a “puffin cam” on the web, that puts out a live feed – so you can see them doing that. I left a donation in the available tin ($5), and then took off at about 10:45am for the next leg of my trip: west! I decided not to use the route John S suggested, as I wasn’t sure where it started, and he said a section of it wasn’t paved, and I thought I might have a hard time navigating it. This time, I followed my route carefully, and successfully found and rode Rte 191 south (the one I missed coming north) along the Maine coast. It was indeed a very nice ride, but there were no services along its entire length (well, from Quoddy to Machias), so I had a lunch of trailmix and a meat/cheese stick with Gatorade (yum!) There was very little traffic, tree-lined, very pretty, and it went through a few scenic coastal sites, which I stopped and took pictures of, every now and then. The weather was mostly clear, with warm sunshine, but cool air temperatures – perfect for cycling, though there were no services (almost ran out of Gatorade!). By the time I reached Hwy 1 again, though, the sky clouded up and by 3pm, it started to sprinkle, and then rain (boo-hoo!) I stopped at the mini mart to replenish my liquids ($3), and then went into Machias to get a Subway meal deal ($8), recharge the notebook, and wait for the rain to hopefully let up a little – it didn’t. I took off again at 5:15pm, with my feet in plastic bags. By the way: I asked the countergirl at Subway for a couple of extra bags, and used them for my feet. Subway sandwich bags make *excellent* waterproof footbags! One more trip tip for ya! Route 1 south of Machias is really terrible; not only is there no shoulder, the edge of the road is broken and rough. That plus the rain in the onset of evening was not pleasant. It was still a bit early, about 6:30pm, but I saw a big, mostly empty lot with a couple of office buildings, a few pieces of heavy earth moving equipment, and a very large Quonset-hut like building with its big roll-up door open (N44 39.949’ W67 33.648’). I pulled off the highway, passed by the dark office buildings, and rolled right into that big Quonset hut “barn.” The rain hitting the metal roof of that giant building made a terrific roar, but it was clean and dry, and about 1/3 full of *salt.* Mountains of salt, presumably for de-icing roads. The asphalt ground of this place looked like it might be oily, and I didn’t want to set up my tent on an oily floor. However, I did find a small patch of clean concrete in a front corner of the building, just right to set my tent up on – how nice! There were no mosquitoes, so I leisurely set up, put some things out to dry, got my book and a bit of food and drink, and hopped in at about 7:30pm for a good read. The rain stopped at about 8:30pm, so the roaring white noise went away, and everything was quiet. I had a very nice dry, quiet sleep,


Michael said...

Congratulations on making it to the Easternmost point in the continental United States Don! Very beautiful sunrise pic as well (that one belongs in a frame on the wall), and all the better to know that you were the only person to witness the event at that location. I've really enjoyed reading about your travels up the Blue Ridge Parkway as well. I've been on stretches of it in a car, but I didn't "earn" those spectacular views the way that you did. When you finish your trip, you should hook up with a book editor and write a book. You have a great story to tell to a wider audience than the followers of your blog!

obi_donkenobi said...

Thanks, Michael! I'm glad you like my blog, and, yes, I do plan to write a book (if I survive!) I never thought about hooking up with an editor - I'll have to look into that. Thanks for the tip! ;~Don

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