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Northern Tier in New England

25 May 2014

Trip Report: 25–29 May 2014

The entire Northern Tier bicycle route runs across the United States between Anacortes, WA on the Pacific Coast and Bar Harbor, ME on the Atlantic Coast.

The entire trip of crossing the country will remain for now on my wish list. Until then, this trip was about one Section 11 almost entirely in New England through the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

For a brief distance at the beginning, I was in New York state in the historic town of Ticonderoga:


Location: 43.848330°N, 73.434912°W

The trip then started in earnest once I crossed Lake Champlain by ferry:


Location: 43.854478°N, 73.382212°W

Les Verts Monts

No matter how often I ride in Vermont, it is always a pleasure to be back climbing the Green Mountains. And they were soon to come after passing through the town & college of Middlebury.


Location: 43.940357°N, 72.961197°W

Middleburg gap is one of four popular climbs that make up the LAMB ride: an acronym for the Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon gaps. The Lincoln Gap features the steepest (24%) paved mile in the US.

Those who ride over the gap are treated to Sandy’s Books & Bakery in Rochester after a fast ride along White River:


Location: 43.874643°N, 72.808478°W

The route continued very fast, slightly downhill, along the White River all the way to Sharon. After a quick break at the General Store, I started the second and last big climb for the day. After that, it was a quick ride along the Connecticut River before retiring in Fairlee.

White Mountains

Not to be outdone by Vermont, New Hampshire section also offered two long climbs: Kinsman Notch and Kancamagus Pass.

After warming up in small towns of Connecticut River valley, the climb started to Kinsman Notch:


Location: 44.056600°N, 71.794032°W

It was one of the most scenic climbs on the trip with big sky and mountain peaks all around.

The descent into North Woodstock was fast to get a lunch break, only to start a long climb to Kancamagus Pass:


Location: 44.025658°N, 71.492763°W

Six years earlier, I was on a bicycle tour in New England, looking forward to the views from Kancamagus Highway. Yet, as it was this case on this tour, the weather was cloudy, foggy, cold, & rainy.

The long descent into Conway was pleasant as I was getting ready to finish the day:


Location: 44.005598°N, 71.240383°W

Climb Up from Mountains to Coast

Math and topography were proven wrong on this day. I was supposed to descend from the White Mountains to the Atlantic Coast. Somehow, though, all I remember was climbing. And it showed: the GPS recorded 1,450m of climbing compared with slightly larger descent of 1,586m.

What a day! After a pleasant breakfast at Sweet Maple Café, the weather turned cold, wet, & foggy all the way into the evening:


Location: 44.057087°N, 70.713300°W

Once along the coast, the terrain leveled somewhat and I started going faster. May be because I had a warm sandwich at Red’s Eats on my mind:


Location: 44.002565°N, 69.664275°W

I was still feeling strong, so I pushed on to finish in Waldoboro after riding 206km.

Coast

I had a slow morning while still recovering from the long day before. It was only after an extended lunch break that I regained my strength.


Location: 44.430187°N, 69.009207°W

I spent most of the day weaving in and out of small fishing towns along the coast with plenty of charm.


Location: 44.559977°N, 68.801982°W

The route was very pleasant with no significant climb in sight, plenty of scenery to view, low car traffic, & well maintained roads.


Location: 44.499595°N, 68.558128°W

Until Ellsworth, where I met with Michael to make a fast finish into his town.

Mount Desert Island

This was a beautiful day to finish the tour on with blue sunny skies & climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain:


Location: 44.360267°N, 68.228903°W

A quick stop at the gift shop for words of wisdom from the Mountain:


Location: 44.352197°N, 68.225942°W

After the final descent into Bar Harbor, it was then time for the customary dip in the water to finish the tour:


Location: 44.390425°N, 68.204225°W

And a treat at the local bakery before traveling back home:


Location: 44.388638°N, 68.206063°W

Resources

Itinerary

Day Services GPS track Distance [km] Ascent [m]
Sunday 25 May 2014: Ticonderoga, NY to Fairlee, VT
  • Sandy’s Books & Bakery, Rochester, VT
  • Subway sandwiches, Fairlee, VT
  • Silver Maple Lodge, Fairlee, VT
  • GPS track 167 1,923
    Monday: Conway, NH
  • Fadden General Store, North Woodstock, NH
  • Subway sandwiches, Lincoln, NH
  • White Mountains Hostel, Conway, NH
  • GPS track 122 1,491
    Tuesday: Waldoboro, ME
  • Sweet Maple Café, Conway, NH
  • Moody’s Diner & Motel, Waldoboro, ME
  • GPS track 206 1,450
    Wednesday: Bar Harbor, ME
  • Co-op, Belfast, ME
  • GPS track 146 1,465
    Thursday: Cadillac Mountain
  • Morning Glory Bakery, Bar Harbor, ME
  • Downeast Transport
  • Bar Harbor Shuttle to Bangor
  • GPS track 31 562

    Guide

    My only guide, map, and services directory for this trip was the official Northern Tier publication from Adventure Cycling Association.

    Refer to the itinerary above for list of services, lodging, and route maps as recorded by GPS device. You can view maps or, as registered user, download copies of them in multiple formats such as GPX, TCX, and KML for Google Earth.

    Packing List

    The list was almost identical to what I had with me on the Rhein Trail tour.

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    From → Bicycle

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