Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty-two, 090730 - Quoddy Head, ME

Day One Hundred Fifty-two, Date Thursday, July 30, 2009
Time in Saddle: 10:06
Distance for the Day: 95.7 miles From Millbridge To Quoddy Head, ME
Accumulated Trip Distance: 7119.43 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 50’/50’, Highest: 567’ Accumulated: 4757’
Speeds: Avg: 9.4 mph, Max: 39.2 mph
Weather: 60° a little breezy and foggy w/light rain thru noon, breaking up by mid-afternoon to partly cloudy and then mostly clear
Expenditures: $16

I got up at 5am and broke down and was ready to roll by 5:56am. It was foggy enough that I ran with my lights for a while, until the day brightened up some more. I got a couple more mosquito bites on my hand before making my escape from this site. I made Machias by 9:45am and spent about 40 mins at an internet espresso place to get a hot cocoa, blueberry scone, and to get online to pay my June credit card bill. At 10:32am, I took off to continue my way to Quoddy Head, a good 36 miles to go (I thought – hah!) After a couple of missed turns and many extra “zig-zag” course miles, it got to be 5pm and still had a ways to go before reaching Quoddy Head. I thought I might or might not make it, today. I got drink and food items ($10) at a couple of stops along the way, and then had a very serious mechanical problem. I’d been having trouble getting the range of gears to shift properly, without slipping or chattering – none of my usual cable length adjustments seemed to work. After my last adjustment, I inadvertently set my lowest gear setting to go *past* the actual lowest gear. The only thing past the lowest gear was the space between the lowest gear and the wheel’s hub. I hit a particularly steep hill, shifted to my lowest gear, and promptly got my chain stuck between the gear cassette and the hub. I rolled my trike into a level spot on a nearby driveway, and began to try to unstuck the chain. Nothing I could do worked. Uh-oh. A guy drove into the driveway and unloaded his truck at the house, then came back up to see what I was up to. He and I looked at the problem, and figured a long screwdriver might be able to be used to tap the stuck chain links out of the gap. Peter F (that’s his name) said he’d get one, and drove off, then came back a few minutes later with the 20” long screwdriver and a couple of hammers. Using these tools, I was able to get the chain unstuck. Great! I thanked him, hopped on my trike, put it in low gear, and promptly got the chain stuck, again. Peter stopped by again, and let me use his screwdriver and hammer again. This time, he gave me that screwdriver! It was his grandfather’s, and his father’s screwdriver, and the wooden handle was partially broken, and it was rusty, and Peter didn’t really need it anymore, so he gave it to me. Thanks! This time, I stayed in gear, and made my way to the top of the hill. Peter watched me until I was out of sight, before taking off, himself. His wife was with him, too, and she was very patient about the whole thing. Nice folks, to be sure. On level ground, I figured out what was wrong, adjusted it as best I could, but I think something got actually damaged, because now several of the gears were acting *really* bad. Not know what else to do, I just grinned and bared it. I still had the use of enough gears to handle all conditions, they just weren’t smooth and trouble free like before. The weather had cleared up by mid-afternoon, and so I was now *determined* to get to Quoddy Head, tonight, to have the chance to see the first sunrise in America tomorrow morning. With aching knees, roads with broken pavement and no shoulders, and a sudden drop in temperature (from the mid-60s to the mid 50s) I layered up with jacket and rain coat and pants, thermal gloves and pushed on. I made the town of Lubec a bit before sunset. Lubec has some of the worst roads I have ever seen in this whole trip. Warped, broken, and roughly patched, I’ve been on gravel roads that were nicer than this. I stopped to get a sandwich and drinks at the mini mart gas station in town ($6) (I burned more calories than usual to get here) and continued on the last 7 mile leg to my goal. When I turned off the main road to head to the state park, the road became nice, again (whew!) Still no shoulder, but at least I could go as fast as possible and not get my teeth jarred out of my head. By the time I finally arrived at the lighthouse, the last bit of blue was in the sky before the black of night. The stars, which I hadn’t seen in quite a while, were starting to come out; I could see the bright stars of the summer triangle, and the now waxing gibbous moon came shining through the pine forest. I could hear the fog horn in the darkness, and as I turned the last corner, I caught my first sight of the lighthouse beacon at the end of my very long road. I parked my trike in the parking lot and took some long exposure photos of the lighthouse. I heard someone walk across the gravel a couple dozen yards away, but couldn’t quite make him out in the dark. A few minutes later he started up his truck, and drove up to me to ask what I was up to. I asked if he worked here, and he said he did. I asked if it would be okay, despite the “no camping” sign, if I set up my tent in some out of the way corner somewhere, and he said he’d seen me in Ellsworth (about 90 miles away), and that I could set up over by a small work building off to the side – cool! I kind of lucked-out on that. So, I set up my tent next to a boat on a level bit of gravel (N44 48.962’ W66 57.102’), brought in a bag of trail mix and a bottle of Gatorade, and munched and read my book by penlight until 11pm. Getting to sleep with the sound of the fog horn and the low roar of the surf challenged me all of a half-hour before I fell asleep.

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