Posted by: robinson2000 | July 28, 2012

One Down, Twelve To Go!

27th July

The previous evening we had gorged ourselves on a calorific meal that consisted of stuffed potato skins, unlimited salad bar, and a rack of St Louis BBQ Ribs with chips. Now this may sound like your standard evening meal but each potion came up absolutely huge and left us staggering back to the tent holding our bellies. The moment our heads hit the roll mat, the rain started pouring down and wouldn’t relent until midday, the following day.

We packed up the wet tent early and headed to a lively American diner where we loaded up on the usual mix of coffee, pancakes, eggs, bagels and bacon. The rain showed no signs of stopping as we donned the waterproofs and wound our way around the coastline. The scenery would have been spectacular if it hadn’t been so overcast and dreary, but we made good time and in two hours were heading towards the bridge that crosses the River Solent, which marks the border between Maine and New Hampshire. Feeling thoroughly bedraggled, we rolled up to the only bridge that allows bicycles, only to find it closed for repairs. The alternative, as the other two bridges were vehicle only, was to take a short shuttle bus ride. The fella that drove the bus was very nice but didn’t share the same concerns as us for the safety of the bikes, which were hung precariously on the bike rack. We were dropped off in Portsmouth – New Hampshire and reloaded the bikes at the side of the road. First impressions of a place leaving a lasting impression and although Portsmouth seemed nice, within an hour of being there, we had found a closed bridge, I had almost been knocked off my bike by a man opening a car door, fortunately only clipping my pannier, and then we had to follow another detour in order to leave the city.

By 3pm, we had covered 45 miles, had a bite to eat in Subway, and were ready to cycle the next 25 miles to our destination for the night, Derry, where we hoped to find a cheap motel to recharge our bodies and dry out our equipment. The weather had been doing bizarre things all day as after the rain stopped, it got really cold for a few hours before the sun broke through and made it really hot. I was on my third cycling top by 5pm and we still hadn’t reached our destination. My usually trustworthy GPS device was taking us on all sorts of routes and by the last 5 miles of the ride we were both incredibly exhausted and desperate to get off the bikes for the day. The final hill of the day took us to Robert Frost’s Motel where we encountered a crazy looking couple who were clearly high on something. Typically the motel had no vacancies and as we stood there debating what to do next, the stoned couple ambled over and started to give us directions to another place to stay. In our tired and confused state, trying to understand what on earth they were saying without sounding rude was amazingly difficult. My GPS device told us the closest place to stay was another 5 miles on, so we reluctantly saddled up and slowly pedaled off in the direction of Londonderry. At the 78 mile mark we finally rolled into The Sleep Hotel feeling absolutely beat and ready to drop from the days ride.

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p.s Thanks to everyone who’s still donating.

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