For the past four riding seasons, my riding pattern has been to ride about 3,000 miles per month. I achieve this by commuting to work every day on my bike, and by taking three day weekend trips, throughout New England, and the Eastern provinces of Canada. I have averaged about 21,000 miles ridden between "snow in" and "snow out" each riding season for the past four years. As of today, I have 86,029 miles on my 2007 DL-650 motorcycle.
The beginning of the 2011 riding season has started quite a bit different then the past four. Due to work I have had to do on my bike, and also on my minivan, and my youngest daughter getting set to graduate from college the weekend of May 21st, I have had to "adjust" my riding schedule. My best guess is, I am about 3,000 miles behind where I was last year at this time.
It's a different riding season for me because of family commitments I have. I am trying to find my way through it, and to carve out riding adventures in different ways. Instead of multiple day / overnight rides, for the near future, I can only see long day rides. 600 miles in one day, verses, 600 miles in two days; what's the difference? I save money by not spending it on a motel, or preferably, campground fees, and also on food that I don't really need.
Mother's Day was an experiment in this area of long day rides. I have ridden two 600+ mile days previously; one in 2008, and one in 2009. I am most content between the mileages of 450 to 550 miles in a day. It feels right to me; like I have done something, and I can go to bed feeling content in life.
Here is a screen shot of the general area in which I rode last Sunday. I traveled north to Fort Kent, Maine, entered New Brunswick, Canada, rode south along the Maine / New Brunswick border, entered back into Maine at the town of, Orient, then rode back to Mount Desert Island.
I left at 6:20AM and arrived back home at 8:00PM.
Total Elapsed Time: 13hr 40min
Total Ride Time: 11hr 25min
Average Speed: 54.1mph
Total Distance: 618 miles
If you have access to a Delorme Gazetteer of Maine, my departure point takes place on Map 16. At the northern end of Long Pond, I headed north along the Whitney Farm Road, then west on the Oak Hill Road, then north on the Indian Point Road, out to the junction of Rt 102 in Town Hill. I headed north on Rt 102 and picked up Rt 3 at the head of Mount Desert Island, to follow that into Ellsworth, Maine.
As I crossed the Trenton bridge, I attempted a quick shot with my camera, over my left shoulder, to show how low the clouds were; "misty" nearly down to the water.
I didn't pull my camera out much during the early part of the trip due to the moisture present in the air.
I passed through Ellsworth, and picked up Rt 1A, (Map 24). On the northwest side of town, I picked up Rt 180/Rt 179, then fully on to Rt 180 and up the western side of Graham Lake. This IS a fun road, particularly the northern section of it!!! Rt 180 intersects Rt 9, "The Airline Road" on Map 23.
I followed Rt 9 west until it intersected with Rt 178 northbound. Route 178 parallels the eastern shore of the famous Penobscot River. On Map 33, I picked up Rt 2 in the town of Milford, Maine and continued my journey north. The sun came out just north of the village of Costigan.
In the bottom right hand corner of Map 43, I entered into the town of Lincoln. Lincoln is home to a paper mill. So of course a nickname had to chiseled in stone, "Stinkin' Lincoln". It is actually a VERY nice town!
They have nice friendly Law Enforcement Officials......
...and a fairly quiet downtown area.
The sun kept ducking in and out behind the clouds. And, even though I was dressed very warmly, and had my handgrip heaters on, set to "Low", I still had a little "shiver" going on. I decided to head for the sun.
On Map 44, in the town of Mattawamkeag, I did just that. I headed west on Rt 157 towards Medway and Rt 11 north.
See the sun ahead of me?
Ah, yes! Warmth!
Back on Map 43, I picked up Rt 11 in the town of Medway, and continued my ride northward towards Grindstone and Stacyville.
On Map 51, about one mile south of the 90° turn of Rt 11, there is a great place to stop and take photos of beautiful Mt. Katahdin. Mt. Katahdin is the center of attention in Baxter State Park, and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, (More information Here: http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/
Beginning in 2008, I believe I have this scene in my digital photo albums for each year until present.
I think it looks better when I do this with it though!
"Mountain out of a mole hill." "A hill of beans." How about a, "Pile of potatoes"? I am now moving into the more agricultural part of my state. Lobster is the most recognizable export of Maine's waters. Wild blueberries would probably be the first export of our land. However, potatoes might be first. Anyway, those are the top three exports from Maine. I guess wood products needs to fit in there too somewhere. Our top import would be tourists..........
Here are some random shots as I rode through the northern farming country of Maine. Aroostook County is referred to as, "The Other Maine", or "Going Up County", (juxtaposed to "Going Downeast"), or finally, "Up-ta County".
And, a shot over my shoulder from where I have been.
I am now off of Map 52, having passed through the towns of Patten, Hersey, Halls Corner and Knowles Corner. North of Knowles Corner, I had to flip my grip heaters to "Hi". It was getting colder!
On Map 58, I passed through the town of Masardis. It was nice to see the Fraser Paper Company yard filled with logs! This means work for people!
(Incidentally, just below the letter "M" in the town name of Masardis, you will see the road called, "The Blackwater Road". In 2009, my friend Scott Thurston and I rode that down to the Tie Camp Road, to the Duck Pond Road and out to Smyrna Mills. It is ALL dirt. Fun!)
On Map 64, as I got close to the town of Ashland, I spied a windsock off to the west. I stopped to take two photos. I wish I could have gotten closer!
In Ashland, I decided to fuel up. I knew that I had about 50 miles to ride to get to the town of Fort Kent and the border crossing. I had ridden 200 miles so far. I knew that there was fuel in the town of Eagle Lake, but I didn't want to pay the "rural prices" that would be charged there. I decided to fuel up in Ashland. As it was, I paid $4.16/gal.
A shot of the Aroostook River as I crossed over it.
Just before the village of Winterville, there is quite an incline to Rt 11 that needs to be climbed. Since this is the only way north, through the heart of Maine, tractor trailers also haul their cargo up and down these roads. On the uphill climb, you can see "ruts" that have been ground into the asphalt, as chain-wrapped drive wheels have struggled to find a purchase against the snow, and icy driving conditions of the winter months. These grooves don't show up in the photo below, but they are there!
I passed through, Winterville......
On Map 67, I rode through Eagle Lake, Plaisted, Wallagrass......
...and arrived in Fort Kent at 11:10am having ridden 249 miles so far. It had warmed back up some; 50°F.
Before crossing the border into New Brunswick, I always stop for a cup of tea and a muffin at the Irving Station there.
(And, I am STILL kicking myself for not topping up my fuel tank in Fort Kent. More on that later!)
(Part Two will be posted tomorrow evening.)