5/22/23 – We’re in Maine! Derry, NH to Olgunquit, ME

Miles: 65.5 Today / 2560.04 Total

Elevation Gain: 2192 ft. Today / 74,097 ft. Total

Today was an excellent day of riding. The weather was cool and breezy—between 50 and 59 degrees, and the scenery of the day was countryside with rolling hills, vibrant forests, tranquil lakes, rivers and ponds, and centuries old colonial settlements and historic landmarks.

As we left Derry, we passed some of the things I enjoy on the road—a magnificent Civil War Memorial and some cute funk. Derry is the only working class town we’ve been to—a place where at least part of the town is populated by normal people living in normal houses, versus rich people living in restored Colonial houses and mansions.

Throughout the day, we passed through several typical New England towns, but 3 of them stood out as places I would love to live, if I didn’t have family keeping me in Arizona. All of them had amazing colonial homes of all shapes and sizes, beautifully landscaped homes and parks, a quaint downtown area with unique local shops and restaurants, and people out enjoying the weather—walking, with or without dogs, and riding bikes.

In Exeter, a park with the bronze statue below caught my eye. It was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, who hailed from Exeter and is famous for sculpting the statue of President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

As we pulled out of Exeter, I spotted a bike shop that was a lucky find. It had a sign on the front door telling people who needed repairs to go to the side door, where 2 mechanics were working on bikes of people who walked in off the street, like me. The problems causing my squeaky brakes and derailleurs were diagnosed and corrected, so my bike now rides and sounds as it should. Hallelujah!

About 9 miles past Exeter, we rode up on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time since the Outer Banks. Is this not what we did this ride for? Seeing white sandy beaches, tide pools and simpler homes along the waterfront was so nice. For a good part of the rest of the day, our route meandered along the waterfront as we passed through Rye, Portsmouth, Kittery, York Harbor and York Beach.

Being on the coast, we were now ready for that lobster roll we’ve been craving. We stopped at this seafood restaurant, and the market price for a 4 oz lobster roll was $25. That’s not going to happen!

In Portsmouth, I spent some time at the African Burying Ground Memorial, which you can read about it Here. When contractors on a city improvement project found 13 wooden coffins during an infrastructure upgrade, a large area and major street were blocked off, while archaeologists, geneticists and forensic scientists studied the site. They found over 200 people of African s descent buried there.

A few miles past Portsmouth, we crossed the Piscataqua River, which is the border between New Hampshire and Maine, where the states meet the Atlantic Ocean. There was I no official welcome sign, but I did find this.

Had to stop and check out Fort McNary, built to protect approaches to the Piscataqua River, south of Kittery, from 1715 to 1918 when it was deactivated.

You could see the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse from Fort McClary.

The church that was hosting us for the evening had something going on that was going to keep us from using the church building until 9 PM, so I had lined up a hotel 6.5 miles up the road. When I arrived the church, my plan was to put my rear rack on my bike, load what I needed for the night into a pannier, then ride up the route to the hotel. There was just this minor problem. I couldn’t figure out how to get the bolts in my toolkit to work with the racks I’ve been using since 2017. I felt like I was losing my mind. The rear bolt on one side would not screw into anything that held the bolt, as if a nut was missing on the inside of the frame. So I mounted one of the front racks, but even mounting that was very difficult. I couldn’t believe how this task I’ve done numerous times was now so difficult. Has my exhaustion affected my mental state?

Fiddling around with the racks delayed me for over an hour, so I didn’t get to my hotel till almost 7 PM. I brought a dehydrated camping meal with me, so didn’t have to take time out to get a restaurant meal, which give me time to hand wash my cycling clothes to wear again tomorrow.

After taking a walk down to the beach to see low tide at the inlet behind the hotel, I worked on my blog till I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer—about 10 minutes. Sleeping in a real bed was a treat I will really appreciate when I get home.

2 thoughts on “5/22/23 – We’re in Maine! Derry, NH to Olgunquit, ME

  1. Sounds like a place I would love to visit. Quite Enchanting!!! I am especially glad you got to a bike shop I was beginning to worry about you. Riding as long as you have with a bike with problems can definitely take its toll on a person mental and physically physically. Iam glad you get to sleep in a bed tonight. You definitely deserve it!!!!!


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