Day 14

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

Copyright 2002 DeLorme. Topo USA. Data copyright of content owner.

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 abuse.)

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 country.

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 wheels down).


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."

Notice the rut I'm digging. Notice the blueberry plants.

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.

I'm just going to post a billion pictures of this road.

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.

A remote monument to an obscure hero.

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.

Finally we returned to pavement. It felt like the smoothest surface ever.

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.

JT took this one from just above the falls.

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.

Finally in Machias.

Tomorrow we get as far east as we can without a passport.

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"JT and BC's 2005 New England Ride" Copyright © 2005 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.