Friday, 24 June 2005
Ellsworth, ME to Machias, ME
72.0 miles, 5h32m, 13.0 mph
Elapsed Time: 7h31m, Max speed: 35.5mph
Total Climbing: 3286ft, Max elevation: 318ft
Total mileage: 874.1
We rolled out of Ellsworth after a hearty breakfast of various
breakfast foods from the restaurant in the Holiday Inn. The first 25
miles went by very quickly. We had a tailwind and the road was in great
shape...except for a sizeable section in the Town of Sullivan that was
crap. We were also briefly off Route 1 and on the unmarked Old Route 1
in Hancock to avoid a hill that lacked a shoulder. Other than that
everything was great.
The plan was to jump off onto the back roads at Steuben. We rode around
town for a while looking for a store, but soon gave up and headed
inland through some economically depressed neighborhoods...the nice
houses were trailers. At Unionville we suffered our second dog attack
of the trip. JT and I both got off shots of pepper spray but we seem to
have missed all three dogs, although I heard one of them squealing
about something. (The first attack, which I failed to mention
previously, took place on day three in Massachusetts. A German Shepherd
came after us and was right on JT's heels. I pulled out my spray but
couldn't get off a clean shot before JT drove him off with verbal
We returned briefly to Route 1 at Cherryfield, where we grabbed some
lunch at a small restaurant about a half mile out of our way. We
discussed the relative merits of recumbent and "normal" bikes with some
other customers. I told them that I'm afraid to try the rolling lawn
chairs because I might like it. I had a roast beef sub and a root beer
float for dessert. JT had a turkey sandwich and blueberry cobbler. By
the way, this is serious blueberry country. Every once in a while you
spot a cranberry bog, but let there be no doubt that this is blueberry
Wild Blueberry Land: Are those mines?
After lunch we started back for the interior on Ridge Road. After a few
miles of mindless riding through moderately scenic area, the road
suddenly turned to dirt. And not just normal dirt, but freshly plowed
sand. It was like riding on the beach, that is to say, it sucked (our
At one point we crested a hill and could see puffs of dust off in the
distance where cars were driving around on the apparently endless roads
of dirt. By the way, very few of them slowed down when they passed us.
They would just whip on by and throw up a big cloud of dust and
bouncing stones for us. We were also tormented by flies. It was great.
After a while I started wondering whether we had made a wrong turn. A
couple of guys in a Suburban drove up alongside me and asked if I knew
how to get to Schoodic Lake. I told him I didn't even know where I was.
He said, "Oh, okay."
JT stopped a guy coming the other way and asked him if the road went
anywhere. In true Maine fashion, the guy said, "It goes lots of
places." Eventually we figured out that we were on the right road and
he estimated another 6 miles of dirt. D'oh! But this was the good
section, the rest of it gets "boney." If boney meant "not sandy" I was
all for it.
Notice the rut I'm digging. Notice the blueberry plants.
At the top of a small hill was a monument to J. Burleigh Crane, who was
instrumental in establishing the local blueberry industry--in the
middle of nowhere at the junction of two dirt roads.
I'm just going to post a billion pictures of this road.
After that the road got better, meaning it got rockier and bumpier, but
at least we weren't sinking in the sand. Now we were riding between
large blueberry fields. For some reason, possibly related to blueberry
husbandry, there were a couple of dozen beehives. So now there were
more insects flying around, but the big ones with stingers were minding
their own business, as were we.
A remote monument to an obscure hero.
Finally we returned to pavement. It felt like the smoothest surface
The next surprise was a porcupine waddling down the road in the village
of Epping. He really wasn't afraid of us, and at one point it looked
like he was going to walk up to JT to be petted. But then he took off
into the bushes--the porcupine, not JT.
"Pet me JT!"
We hoped there would be a store in the village of Columbia Falls and I
stopped at the post office to ask. Meanwhile JT met an older woman in
the parking lot who was giving him the complete history of the town and
all the buildings that he could see from where he was standing. It
really is a neat little town and there actually is a falls there, but
we didn't take any pictures of them.
The store was a mile or so down Route 1 so we decided to continue on
the highway rather than risk another dirt road experience. So we
quickly blew through Jonesboro and Whitneyville and came into Machias.
There is a carnival going on in the vacant lot across the street from
the motel so I'm not sure how quiet it will be tonight. Oh well.
JT took this one from just above the falls.
Tomorrow we get as far east as we can without a passport.
Finally in Machias.
"JT and BC's 2005 New England
Ride" Copyright © 2005 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.