Started the week with a rare occurrence ... a Monday afternoon ride. I checked my log and it was only the 3rd outdoor ride I have taken on a Monday ... I guess I take a rest day after those long weekend rides. Nice and quick two hours (31 miles) to Agricultural Research Center. Great roads and lots of riders frequent this area.
On Tuesday I followed up with another 33 miles in and around Columbia and Jessup to Elkridge and the Elkridge Furnance Inn (EFI). EFI is a frequent turn around spot with a few varied options for out and back. The roads are quiet with a few rolling hills and a good climb when you return via Lawyers Hill. EFI is a historical inn that dates back to the 1740's. Today it is a high end restaurant that does a lot of weddings ... I have passed many photo session. Befor climbing Lawyers Hill, you pass through the Thomas Viaduct, which dates to 1835, and is the world's largest multiple arched stone railroad bridge.
The next dew days were spent working and getting ready for two weeks in Maine. Karen and Leah have been at the lake since the middle of last month, so it was just me driving north on Friday. Heaviest traffic was on 495 outside Lowell. Once in Maine, I detoured through Wells and Kennebunk for gas and some munchies. Past the Maine Diner in Wells, where we went with the Koltz clan after our Kennebunkport wedding in 1997. Speaking of which, that great event took place at the Maine Stay Inn and Cottages ... a wonderful B&B just outside of downtown. It should be noted that George Bush's (senior) dog passed away the weekend of our wedding ... I still think my brother slipped something under the gate when the town trolley drove us all past the mansion! Arrived at the lkae (Lower Narrows Pond) in Winthrop around 8.
The first two days of vacation saw back to back rides of 50 miles. On Satuday, I took a moderately hilly route from Winthrop to Richmond, returning via Gardiner and Hallowell. Here is the route on a super route mapping site I use called mapmyride:
The site does have ads, but they are not too bothersome. You can get turn by turn cue sheets as well as elevation charts (although the hills are shown correctly and visually (a neat feature), it seems the total ascrent and descent measurements are off ... my Polar 720 shows this ride at 2,540 feet of climbing vs. mapmyride's 1,482). I used to use bikely.com, but mapmyride has won me over. The biggest climbs on the route were in South Monmouth after crossing Route 9 toward Litchfield and the Winthrop Street out of Hallowell (that one is a major effort with a grades greater than 10%). Richmond is small stop on the western side of the Kennebec River. There has been some revitalization and a couple shps and restaurants are worth the stop. Last summer, I biked here with Bob Sands and we had a nice lunch at the Railroad Cafe. Following the river brings you to Gardiner and then Hallowell. Hallowell is great afternoon destination with several antique and speciality shops. It has a great antiquarian book store (Merrill’s Bookshop) and a few highly recommended dining options that we frequent including Slate's and Joyce's.
On Sunday, Karen, Jane and I drove out to Liberty in search of great T-shirts at Liberty Graphics. The outlet is about an hour from Winthrop out Route 3. A great stop that always adds to the wardrobe. I biked back to Winthrop (a little more than 50 miles). The ride followed Routes 220 and 105 through Windsor and into Augusta. From Augusta I took the new rail trail into Hallowell, then up the big Winthrop Street hill (2nd time in two days) and back to Winthrop. Very low traffic secondary roads with some hills, a great descent into South Liberty, and a pit stop at the infamous Hussey's General Store. Hussey's ... where the sign out front advertises "Guns and Wedding Dresses" for sale ... no lie. People watching ain't too bad here either.
A great start to two weeks of true vacation ... too bad I forgot the charger for the balckberry.