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Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine!

Wednesday July 13: Ticonderoga, NY to Waitsfield, VT

We set off this morning at about 7:40, because we knew that the ferry does not start operating until 8:00. We passed Fort Ticonderoga on our way out to the ferry, and then easily crossed the lake to Vermont. Home territory! We rode up through Shorham, and stopped at the Shorham Inn, where we have stayed twice in the past during bike trips. Although the Inn has changed hands, we found Jim next door at his upholstry business, and had a brief visit. Then we rode on through Middlebury (where Mackenzie and Sarah visited yesterday). After working our way through some road construction, we found ourselves at the bottom of Middlebury Gap, and there was nothing to do but climb the hill. Even though we have come across the whole country, the Green Mountains can still provide quite a challenge.

We then zoomed down the east side, and stopped for a drink and rest at the Hancock General Store. We met a troup of girls from a local camp who had just completed their day's hike, and were also buying refreshments. We then headed up Rt. 100 towards the Neill's farm. We made it through Granville Notch and down the other side before the rain came. This storm was not nearly as heavy as some we have experienced, and so we rode on, and arrived at the Neill's farm at about 3:00.

Karl Bittenbender drove up from Massachusetts today, and met Mackenzie and Sarah in Roylton. They exchanged cars, and the girls set off towards home. Karl then drove up and met us at the Neill farm.

Annie suited up for work and went to help Gramps with the daily milking, as seen below. Gramps recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

Ferry crossing across Lake Champlain to Vermont!
Back to our home state, feels like we are near the end!
Climbing Middlebury Gap
After the gap, resting at the general store in Hancock
This troup of girls just completed a hike, and is also resting
A thunderstorm caught us and then the sky began to clear
The Neill's farm in Waitsfield
Annie helping with the milking, and giving Panda a squirt of milk
Annie chatting with Gramps during the milking

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Thursday July 14: Waitsfield, VT to Piermont, NH

Hot, and humid were the buzz words for today. Annie was up and out at 4:30 to help Gramps with the morning milking. While Eric and John were preparing for the day's ride the skies opened up and poured rain, which we did not take as a good sign. However, after a breakfast of scrambled eggs and venison sausage, the rain stopped and things began to look much better.

Elwin gave us a ride back down Rt. 100 to Hancock, so we did not have to ride over the Rt. 100 section we had just covered yesterday. This also gave us a jump start on the day, allowing us to get to Piermont instead of stopping in Sharon as previously planned. As we drove south from Waitsfield, Annie mentioned that she and Elwin had waved at a neighbour a few years ago, that turned out to be Boomer Mumford, an old neighbor of ours from growing up in Marlboro. When we exclaimed over this, Elwin drove us up to Boomer's house, and knocked, and there he was! So we had a nice chat and caught up on each other's families.

From Hancock we rode down Rt. 100, then east on 107 to Royalton, crossing the interstate just where Karl had met Mackenzie and Sarah yesterday. Then down beside the interstate to Sharon, over the hill to South Strafford, then over yet another hill to Thetford and Thetford Hill. Finally down to the river and across to Lyme, NH, then north along the river road and Rt. 10 through Orford to Piermont. Just as we came up the hill to Thetford Hill it started to rain, so we covered our bags and packed our electronics in plastic. However the rain never got very heavy, and we rode in a drizzle until about Orford, and were back in steamy sunshine by the time we arrived in Piermont. Karl pulled in with the SAG wagon just as Karen was showing us our rooms.

We had dinner in Bradford, VT, just across the river. As we drove into Bradford, traffic was stopped for a parade, celebrating the opening of the Bradford Fair. Eric and Karl walked to the resturant (only a block), and John negotiated Annie a parking space by bringing her up the reverse lane and cutting through the waiting traffic. We were having drinks at our table by the time the traffic jam cleared.

Karl cooks some eggs for John and Eric's breakfast
John's gloves drying on the antlers
Eric is packed in the truck with the three bikes
Elwin is still wondering why Annie's bike is so long
Crossing a beautiful stone bridge into South Royalton
We crossed the Connecticut at Thetford, into Lyme, NH

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Friday July 15: Piermont, NH to Raymond, ME!

New Hampshire in a day. The bikers had a great breakfast at the Piermont Inn at 7:00, and were rolling by 7:40. Karl headed south to do a short hike with an old friend, and the bikers headed north along Rt. 10 to North Haverhill. Then we turned east on Rt. 116 which joins with Rt. 112, which took us into N. Woodstock and becomes the Kancamagus Highway along the Pemigewasset River and over the White Mountains.

The original plan was to ride from Sharon, VT to Lincoln, NH and then to Raymond, ME. When Eric tried to book us a room in Lincoln, he quickly found out that everyone requires a 2-day minimum on a weekend in high season. So we reworked the plan, and rode to Piermont, and intended then to ride to Fryeburg, ME where we were able to get a motel reservation. This would be a 77-mile day with a couple of stiff climbs (Rt. 112 over Kinsman Notch, and then the Kancamagus over the White Mountain range.)

Karl arrived in Fryeburg about 15 minutes ahead of us, and quickly determined that the motel was 'sketchy' as Nick would say. We reevaluated our plans on arrival, and the lure of being at the cabin at Panther Pond (another 33 miles) was just too much to bear. So we went across the steet for some food and water, called ahead to warn Sally of our arrival, unloaded as much weight as possible into the SAG wagon, and rode on down the road. We arrived at Panther Pond at about 7:00, after two quick hours pushing down Rt. 302, with the incoming weekend's worth of traffic roaring past our elbows. Yeah we made it!

We will now take a day off, because the big finish is planned for Sunday!

Climbing Kinsman Ridge on Rt. 116
Rest break in Lincoln, NH before the big climb
Climbing up the Kancamagus
Rest area overlooking the peaks south of the highway
Annie stretches out her back
Eric pumps up the hill towards to top of the ridge
Eric and John pushing for the top
Rest area just at the top of the Kancamagus
Eric and John go over the top and head down
Six miles of road work had only have 3/4 mile unpaved (whew!) Ben is riding Columbus to Bar Harbor, we gave him the map
Crossing into Maine at Freyburg on a busy weekend Rt. 302

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