Saturday, August 14, 2010

Maine Lighthouse Tour
Day 1

Our day starts leisurely passing through towns named New Boston, Dunbarton and Bow, until we reach route 93. We then blast our way to Lincoln NH. Heading to visit Maine Lighthouse via the White Mountains might seem odd to some, but there is a method to our madness. As the week unfolds you will see just how perfect a plan it is.

In New Hampshire, Lincoln is the place to pick up route 112, the route that travels through the Kancamagus Pass, or as we lovingly call, the Kanc. The day is perfect with low humidity, sunny skies, and nothing but free time ahead. Coming at us from the opposite direction are bikes by the hundreds. No one it seems wants to miss this perfect day for a ride through the pass. We are soon around the hairpin turn, and the beauty of these mountains opens up around us. I am pleased with my choice to come this way. The mountains lend themselves to reflective thinking and shedding the stresses of life from your mind.

Any trip across the Kanc is not complete unless you stop at Lower Falls on the Swift River. The river rushes through this gap and offers a refreshing dip in its icy waters on hot days. I’m stunned when we stop to see just how low the water is, a testament to the lack of rain we have had this summer. Yet, there is beauty in this too, as the boulders dropped by the melting glaciers in the last ice age can be seen tumbled along the rivers bottom as pebbles dropped from a giant’s hand.

Soon we are on our way again. I’ve selected a few routes we’ve never traveled before. While quiet and scenic, it’s soon evident that the roads less traveled are also the least maintained. At times it’s as if we are riding dirt bikes instead of tourers, for the bumping and standing on floorboards we do to save our tailbones. The roads level into smoother pavement, and we pull over in Fryeburg at the 302 Steakhouse and Tavern. I’ve been in the mood for barbeque ribs and can you believe it; that’s their specialty. We enjoy our meal on the back deck while enjoying the view of the mountains in the distance.

In Rumford, we stop to check out the falls. Rumford Falls on the Androscoggin River are the highest east of Niagara with a total vertical drop of 176 feet. We aren’t going to see much water here this day either. The falls have been harnessed for hydro power and since there has been no rain, nothing is coming over the spillway. We instead, imagine the Indians of days gone by, using the visual aids in the park. Paul Bunyan is honored here too. Legend has it that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor Maine. He was so big at birth; it took 7 storks to deliver him. None of the signs told us why Paul is remembered here and not in Bangor.

We end our day In Skowhegan, where the State Fair is in full swing. Since we are still full from our late lunch of ribs in Fryeburg, we decide on a dip in the pool and hike down to the river. It doesn’t turn out as planned as the trail is not well defined, and my sandaled foot is soon pierced by one of nature’s barbs on the forest floor. Once the pressure and a good wash with soap and water have had their effect, I’m looking for comfort food, and get pampered at Gifford’s with an ice cream sundae, complete with whipped cream, nuts and hot fudge. Works for me! I’m feeling better and thinking ahead to tomorrow’s adventure.

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