Day 1 was a test
Actually, it was just difficult. starting from Portland proved more difficult than I imagined it need be: Road signage was poor to begin with, coupled with deep rainy-mist, not really knowing where I was going and me being a rack of nerves.
Persistence, and multiple wrong-turns later, I found myself to Bug Light Park. I didn’t get the sunny lighthouse pic I was hoping for, but with 4 friendly Texans on hand to take my startline “Before” photo and see me off, my mind was frankly focused on something else. Or 4,000 something else’s.
After a few more wrong turns, I found the Rails-To-Trails “Eastern Trail” that I was looking for. Signage was poor – at least the first 5km didn’t identify itself as the Eastern Trail and where waymarkers existed, they did so at junctions – so all I could immediately tell was that 1 of the multiple paths ahead was the bike trail.
Once out of Portland, the route became a hard-packed dirt trail – which was nice. Riding through the woods, listening to the songs and creaks, enjoying both the view and being moving. But it was slow going and in the constant rain – part drizzle, part pouring – and pressing headwind, after 10 miles I just wanted to be riding on a road. The next 18 miles to Kennebunk were a chore – which I tried my best to convince myself I was enjoying. “Living the dream” I kept telling myself.
I passed through Kennebunk without much to mention, bar a brief stop at a whole-foods store – really expensive, so I bought the cheapest nibbles I could and left. Further down the road I passed a donut shop – real donuts, not the Dunkin Donuts kind – and just HAD to stop. I had 2. And they were good. I wished I had more but wanted to keep going. Even though the rain was now often torrential and the wind had picked up further.
Then it was a hilly up and down ride hugging the coast as best I could. Strange that having left a coastal city and a lighthouse no less, my first real sight of the Atlantic Ocean was about 45 miles into the ride. So much for my intention to spend the day riding down the coast.
Eventually though, happy to have completed the first leg of the journey, and exhausted, and cold from the constant battering by wind and rain, I made it in to Kittery.
Many thanks to my Couchsurfing hosts: James in Portland – for the great chats and introducing my to the mighty Alagash Brewery; and David in Kittery – for putting me up at last minute and taking me out for dinner.