I wanted to get an early start yesterday so I was up and at breakfast at 715. It was a good thing too as I mentioned in the last post. The rain was coming. I was trying to minimize my time in the rain and I managed to do so. However, those last 2 hills going up Route 11 into Patten kept me in the rain longer than I wanted. But, I was OK with my new raincoat from LL Bean (a little pricey, but discounted in the LL Bean discount store). The end result was 36 miles dry, 16.8 miles wet for a total of 52.8 miles.
Up until that point I was somewhat surprised by how flat (relatively, not Florida flat, but Maine flat) the route was. It wasn't a beautiful day, but nor was it all that bad. The ride up Route 11 was with virtually no traffic. Once I turned left in Medway to take Rt 11 North I think I could count twice on two hands the number of cars that passed me going both north and south until I got to Sherman. Since the first part of it followed the East Branch of the Penobscot River, it was flat as mentioned, and beautiful when the trees broke on the west side of the road and I got to see the river in all its glory.
The ride through Millinocket, East Millinocket, and Medway had its traffic, but nothing like it would be in the past when the paper mill was in full operation. What a devastating economic reality for these communities. I was glad to see that some portion of the mill was repurposed for something else; I'm not sure what. Talking with the B&B owners at breakfast they indicated that Millinocket had turned the corner and the economy was improving. It's slow perhaps, but going in the right direction.
Probably my greatest disappointment was the lack of a moose! I couldn't believe it. All those miles going north on a gloomy day with no traffic and not a moose to be found in any river, lake, swamp, cutting, anything. What a disappointment. I'm not sure I'll see one now as I go up what looks like a more traveled portion of Rt 11. But one never knows where a moose will show up as the folks in Dover Foxcroft can tell you! The last 10 miles on Rt 11/Rt 158 had more traffic than I had seen all day. At that point it was raining. I was fortunate to have had 36 miles dry and only the last 16 miles wet. But I was glad to get done at 2 pm and get off the bike.
The Bradford House is a beautiful old B&B here in Patten on an old farm with one of the largest barns I've seen in a while. The new owner is currently working to fix up the place and planting some crops for profit. His first endeavor is with lavender. He and his brother put in their first field over the past week. The samples of the plants smelled divine. I was fed a good meal of chicken alfredo with a fine bordeaux as I had requested when I booked my stay. I'm looking forward to blueberry pancakes this morning.
Today's ride is a long one, 58 miles to Portage, ME and Dean's Motor Lodge. They have a restaurant there so food will be readily available. I'm hoping the beers will be too. Weather.com has claimed that it was going to rain all day today, but it looks like it's lifted north. While it will still be cloudy and I've put my long sleeves on because it's a little cool, I don't think I'll be getting wet or sun burned today!