I was out at my house last night with no internet-that put me up to 18 nights in my own house since December. Hopefully getting my new beam in the living room in place tomorrow!
So day 5 started with a nice breakfast at Gregster's cooked by himself. Thanks buddy, nice to have some decent fuel for the start at a whopping 14ºC. He led me out to get me headed in the right direction on the right road route 640 to 3. I did have a NB map he gave me so at least I could get to the border. A little memorization was going to put me on the right road in Maine. My plan was to take route 6 from Vanceboro to route 2 across the Newry then up through Grafton Notch and the couple of jogs through a little of New Hampshire and a corner of Vermont into Quebec through Magog and then the 10 slab to the Champlain Bridge and Montreal where I'd pick up the 20 west to Ste. Anne de Bellevue where one of my dearest friends lives. Nothing to it, what could possibly go wrong?
I crossed the border with hardly a question and stopped for gas on the other side. Dude in the station started talking about his brother who's birthday in 09/11, I have no idea how that happened but I wasn't about to stay for the end of it and split pretty quick. Time to settle in for the day....I hit route 2 in Lincoln and turned right towards Bangor; something twigged in my head and I turned around to pull into the fire/police station to double check I was on the right track. The nice fireman informed me I wanted to go left instead and off I went without driving for miles in the wrong direction. From Bangor I was on familiar ground, at least I'd last driven it about 8 years ago. For some reason these roads seemed smaller and less travelled than I remembered? I stopped for gas in Rumford and continued the little way to Newry where it was a right turn north on 26. These were kind of old stomping grounds, I'd worked 5 seasons at Sunday River Ski Resort just a few miles up the road. I'd ridden my old 750 Interceptor across this route 3 times before too, once with a pretty girl from Montreal to home many years ago on a ride from Jasper to Newfoundland; only last January we sat up late one night while I was visiting reminiscing about that ride. Good memories to be had here, I rode with a smile on my face.
Once getting off 26 there are a couple of turns that need to be made and I got lucky when I was running close to the speed limit and I saw a State Trooper pulled off; I stopped by him to double check my route. He was super nice and told me all the turns I needed to make to get to the border. I was off again and made the first one past Errol just fine onto route 3. There I wasn't 100% so I stopped at a garage with a few old timers and asked the way to Montreal–they all pointed in the same direction and I was on the gas. From there follow the signs to hit 114 west along the border then hook a quick right onto 147 north across the border.
On this ride up into the mountains I hit a little fog and drizzle, just like home. Dixville Notch passed by too and then the view of the Balsams Resort, a fancy place with spectacular views in the mountains of New Hampshire. Heading north you come down out of the clouds and the resort stares at you from across the lake like a time warp from a bygone era of subdued luxury. I have no doubt it's a nice place but I've never stopped to find out.
go ahead, check it out
Once you hit route 10 it's a pretty mindless drone into the city. You can find a little diversion looking at the exits for wee ski hills and the national training center that also boasts its own velodrome. other than that you'd have to take a litle side trip to check out Unibroue in Chambly-you might want to as this brewery offers some of my absolute favourite Canadian beers. Yay! My only reservation there is that they were bought out by Sleemans a number of years ago, but at least they seem to be staying with the same philosophies of the original brewery. I love their sense of humour and their willingness to pump out full on high zoot brews in the tradition of the best Trappist beers from Belgium and soooo much more. For those of you who live in the Newfoundland majority of 65% light beer drinkers be warned, many of these come with an alcohol content by volume of 8, 9, or 10% alcohol. They will knock you on your ass! Anyone who does stop in is welcome to bring me presents.
amazing Canadian beer
Once I hit the Champlain Bridge the sun came out and the temps climbed above 16ºc for the first time that day. I was loving the 20º+ environment as I rolled west to Lizzy's house. We've been very close friends since 1985 and don't get to visit very often; for those of you who were in attendance at the Skibum Soiree 2009 Lizzy and her beau Billy and their respective kids were my friends who were vacationing and staying at my house through it all. This was a good week to stop in as Billy had won his vintage race the weekend before I got there. He's been club racing etc for many years and this was the first time he'd managed to actually win instead of settling for second. Congratulations my friend, well done!
By the time I rolled into the driveway my eyes were totally decimated to the point I couldn't see the road looking into the sun, but at least I was here in one piece. Lizzy came out to give me a big hug and offer me a beer; she knows me well and was kind enough to put a case in the fridge for my arrival.
Lizzy coming out to see me:)
Another full day in the rearview mirror
We made supper, or I should say I helped as much as she'd let me then we spent some time catching up. Her son Angus has recently fled the coop to live with his dad in Toronto so it was quiet until Bill dropped in after his work as an Air Canada jet engine mechanic and we set to bike talk. Somehow the case of beer was empty by the time I went upstairs to the bed Angus so generously offered me. Many thank you's to Lizzy for being such a dear friend for so many years and always offering me a place to lay my head when my travels have led me by her home. Tomorrow brings an oil change and more visiting.