Day 7 – West Bethel, ME to Jefferson, NH – 38 miles
This was going to be a big day for us, the hills we have been hearing about in Gorham, New Hampshire are about 16 miles away. It’s make or break time, just not sure what we’ll see!!
We had a very restful night at the Bethel Hostel – we slept 10 hours! Surprised us both! For breakfast, we enjoyed fresh farm eggs from our hostel host, Dave. We had a coffee maker, so we lingered over breakfast, slowly drank coffee. We had a rather late start, but with the hills ahead, we knew that getting an early start would not make a difference, and the unknown probably made us drag our feet a bit.
We were on the bike at 9:30 and had an easy roll to the Maine / New Hampshire border. It felt so good to see the New Hampshire sign. It was the paycheck for the work we had put into the miles and hills of Maine! But, onward and upward(!) the hills are coming.
We made one more stop before Gorham – where the Appalachian Trail crosses US-2. Our friend, Gary Parker is on the trail this week in North Carolina, making his way north. We both shared good thoughts about Gary as he makes his way north, quietly thinking how thrilled he will be someday when he gets to this point, ever so close to the northern terminus.
We had a quiet, nondescript lunch in Gorham – well, except that Shawn was annoyed with herself for sitting down at a table in front of the TV, where the View was on – UGH! Now the time had come – it was time to see what the Gorham Hill was all about. We headed through town, made a left turn on US-2, and started up hill, just a slight rise in town, not too bad at all. Then as the highway headed out of town, there it was. Not too steep, certainly a full on granny gear, just keep our heads down and keep pedaling. (Don’t worry, Jim looks up just enough). The hill was long and then turned to the right, still couldn’t see the top, keep pedaling, take a short rest, keep pedaling, make the right turn, quick stop because the slow speed made it hard to keep the front wheel on the road, keep pedaling, still climbing but less steep, keep pedaling, a slight turn to the left and finally the end was in sight! We made it!! One slight little rise, and we were on the back side of the hill, heading down hill. 3 miles per hour up the hill, now we’re worried about going too fast heading down. Time for the drag brake and a nice long cruise down hill. The drag brake kept us under 45 mph. The Gorham Hill was more bark than bite! 2 miles at an average 8% grade and we made it! We were pretty giddy, to say the least! With the hill conquered, we were able to take in the view. Seeing and riding in the mountains (we really are not at crazy high elevations -but we are in the mountains!) gives us a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! We are doing this thing! Our confidence is growing!
We made our overnight stop in Jefferson NH. No WS hosts near by and the forecast was for heavy rain, so we looked for a hotel. It’s off season, so we got a great room for 45 bucks, ka-Ching! AND, the Tigers play the New England Red Sox tonight, so we get a nice room and a tiger game. The odometer passed the 200 mile mark today, we ended at 234 miles. This was a big day for us – thankfully in a very good way!!
Last few miles of Maine
A new state – New Hampshire!
A neat stone house in NH
Taking a breather on the Gorham hill climb
Coming down the other side of the Gorham hill
I should have done a video of all these bobbleheads nodding happily at us from the gas station window
Neat stone tower – looks out over the Mount Washington valley
Taking a break 🙂
Our progress map, to date: