Sunday, September 23, 2018

Riding Western Maine

Up pretty early to some pretty chilly weather in Lewiston, deciding to get underway later rather than sooner, letting the temps get up a little. With the extra time decided I would alter todays route to a shorter one eliminating a swing to the east for the China Post offices for Teamstrange tour. I have approached this tour kinda of half heartily and rationalized I could capture these spots on my way to Acadia in October. This brought down the miles from just over 300 miles to a more manageable 200+ miles. There simply isn't enough daylight left to do these miles with all the planned stops. With that said headed out right around 10am going north for the first stop in East Livermore. East Livermore is about 30 miles north of Lewiston. Looked up the town in Wikipedia and there is not much to say other than the following:

"East Livermore is an unincorporated village in the town of Livermore Falls, Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The community is located along Maine State Route 133 and the Androscoggin River 22 miles (35 km) north of Lewiston. East Livermore has a post office with ZIP code 04228."

The post office is pretty cool and representative of PO's in Maine.

Got as far north as Farmington and turned south and west. In Wilton, ME stopped for this picopp, to give a folks and idea what this part of Maine is like. Wilton was the location of the first cotton mill in Maine and home to GH Bass and Company, the Bass Shoe folks. Having pretty wide feet, I used to wear Bass penny loafers in the 60's.

In Dixfield, grabbed this old house, now an antique store because it reminded me of another place in Maine that was on the National Register (this one is not) that had the same lean on the first floor as this one. The towns slogan is "The Only One" because they claim it is the only town with that name.

A little up US 2 (heading east) is Mexico, stopped for the Melting Pot tour as I entered. Ed McMahon (Johnny Carson sidekick) served three years as a carnival barker in Mexico, Maine, McMahon served as a fifteen year-old bingo caller in Maine. (Wikipedia). I was wondering why I kept hearing Beeeeeeeeee9, Geeeeeeeeee46

Across the Androscoggin River is the NDPaper mill in Rumford. ND stands for Nine Dragons, a China owned container board company.

West Paris, ME has the First Soapbox Derby hill built in Maine. That was good enough for me to stop for the sign because of the word First.

A stop in Denmark for Teamstrange.

"Camp Wyonegonic, founded 1902, is the oldest girls' camp in the country." (Wikipedia)

The next 2 stops were the Baldwins for the GLMC Grand Tour. This swung me out further east and south from where I ended up for the night. I briefly thought about eliminating these 2 spots, but a plan is a plan. The first stop had the Post Office clearly marked West Baldwin. On to East Baldwin post office, even further south and east.

Google maps clearly shows a Post Office, reality had the pictured Post Office, the problem was there was no East Baldwin to be found anywhere on the building. I was ticked that I traveled so far for nothing, especially at the end of the day. So I headed further east looking for a sign, any sign, there was NO FRICKIN SIGN. Turned around went past the PO and pulled over to the side of the road to see what the GPS had, NOTHING. I kind of did a 360 degree look around and low and behold I was parked right next to his sign.

Headed for the barn, the Saco River Motor Lodge in Conway, NH passing thru Fryeburg, ME. When I got there I asked the desk person for a good place to eat, which he recommended my last stop of the day. I had some of the best steak tips I have ever had and highly recommend the 302 West Smokehouse & Tavern if you are in the area. Watched the beginning of the Patriots game, got back to the motel and continued to watch the Patriots get their asses kicked by Detroit.

Today's route, right around 200 miles.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Beginning to see the Light

I have been up since 5am and decided to see if there was coffee available in the motel office, walked outside (630AM) and thought this was a pretty neat sunrise with the sky. Office still not open, so no coffee. Sure wish they had a coffee maker in the room. The cooler weather has set in, not a lot of miles to go today, so no need to get an early start. Back in the room, set the alarm for 8, back to sleep. Alarm goes off, up, back outside to the office (right next to my room), still no coffee. Finally around 830 the guy got around to making coffee. Hit the road right around 9AM. Louse coffee to boot.

Nothing really special about this pic of stop, other than it was come across stop for the word East. So to try to find a purpose for this stop, other than 1 point for the GLMC Grand Tour, I defer to Wikipedia.

In the film The Shawshank Redemption (based on the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Maine native Stephen King), Buxton is the site of the oak tree and rock wall where Red goes after being released from prison to retrieve a message from his friend Andy Dufresne, who escaped from prison a few months earlier.

Another nothing special spot, other than the huge word MAST, saying take a pic, me me me, please. This is in Westbrook ME. Kevin Eastman, co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, went to Westbrook High. A little about the brewery company from their website.

It all began in 2013 with a simple homebrew kit. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in the garage mashing, boiling, and fermenting beer after work and every weekend. After two years of experimenting with different beer varieties and recipes, we felt it was time to take our passion of brewing and drinking craft beer to the next level. In the summer of 2015, Mast Landing Brewing Company was officially formed.

A great start up company story.

Next stop is for a couple of light houses, in a private neighborhood. I was in and out as fast as I could. These are known as Cape Elizabeth and Cape Elizabeth West Lighthouses and are within 1/2 mile of each other. Both are private residences. Two lights were built one with a fixed light and the other with a flashing light. In 1924 the first one pictured, which was the fixed light one, was changed to a flashing light and the West one went dark for ever.

To intrude just a bit more

The West one, and adhering to the sign's instructions.

In Fort Williams Park, the Portland Head Lighthouse sits at where Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean converge, hanging around since 1791 and is still active.

Still in the park, and having to move from the lighthouse location, since it was a drop off only spot, I caught this lighthouse at a pretty far distance in the general parking area. It was an unplanned capture and turns out it is the Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse. Built in 1905,it is privately owned, and is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation. It is not open to the public and is accessible by boat only.

The next two are just up the road a bit. While not next to each other, they are close and look similar. Nice picture of the porta-potties eh. First one is the Spring Ledge Lighthouse built in 1857. The second one is the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse also known as Bug Light, built in 1875.

Caught this neat sailboat getting underway. Makes me think of the Beach Boy's song Sloop John B.

Moving off the sea coast into Portland proper, grabbed this mural for a restaurant, also called the same for a point.

In Windham, Maine who could resist a hubcap business. Sanford and Sons ??

Not having a lot of miles to do today, this barn in Windham also grabbed my attention. Grabbed a shot with the bike in it and then walked across the street to get rid of the wires. Might make a good black and white to add to my barn collection.

Couple of quick stops for the TeamStrange Melting Pot Grand Tour for the country Poland. The Poland Spring Post Office is the same place as Poland Spring bottled water now owed by Nestle Waters North America.

After some more zig zagging and looping ended up in Lewiston, Maine at the Motel 6 for the night. Not having had lunch asked the desk person for a recommendation which Fast Breaks was one of them. Had a great bowl of chili and then a mushroom and swiss cheeseburger. Parked outside was a gold RT-S, who was also inside. It is a 2017 Spyder with 70,000+ miles on it and he has been no further west than the Adirondack's and no further south than Maine / New Hampshire. That's a lot of riding, especially when it is local. Realized after I finished and walked out, Fast Breaks was good for 1 point.

Miles for the day, right around 165 allowing me to spend more time along the coastline in near perfect weather.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Going Up to the Downeast

Heading north to capture the last of the ST places for the 2018 GLMC Most GLMCest Grand Tour, pick up a few lighthouses for the IBA Lighthouse Tour and stopping in those foreign country towns for the TeamStrange Melting Pot Grand Tour. My plan was to head to New Hampshire for Lake Winnipesaukee area and then make my way over to Maine, however the weather forecast did not look that great so I reversed the 4 day plan doing Day 4, Day 3, Day 2 and then Day 1 versus D1, D2, D3, D4.

At the beginning of the season I had no clue how I was going to attack the ST signs (sings with words that end in ST). Words like Baptist, Universalist, Best Buy, Best Western could only be used once per state. Given that First could be used as many times as you wanted, without limitation. My mapping strategy became all the First churches in New England, New York and New Jersey. So even thou Baptist churches could only be used once First Baptist was good to go because of the word First. I starting marking all the First churches in MapSource as the waypoints and simply picked up qualifying signs along way. Florist became a favorite which I used as secondary mapping guide. As you can see there were plenty of opportunities to get started.

First stop was in Massachusetts at the West Newbury post office. I promise you, I will not make you look at every ST town I found today, just some of the stops that maybe interesting or have a story connected with it. This one is the story. As you can see I am parked in front of the post office pointing the wrong direction. When I crossed over I happened to see a police car right up the street trying to catch possible speeders. He didn't move so I got off the bike and took my picture. I then noticed another car right next to the police car and simply thought it was someone asking the officer something, maybe directions. My assumption was oh so wrong. I then saw him pull out and pull right up in front of me and the driver had a uniform on. Turns out it is the Chief of Police to West Newbury. He points at me, indicating he wants to have a discussion and I nodded acknowledging his gesture. We had about a 5 minute conversation with what I had done wrong, told me he admonished his officer for not coming over to me to have the conversation. After he finished his remarks, he said I am giving you a warning one because I did not see you break the law and two … well one was enough. For remainder of the 4 days I was never pointing the wrong direction when I pulled up in front of a place to take a picture.

Heading to the next stop, the routing placed me off the beaten track and as I crossed the Merrimac River and took a left at the fork of the road when I should of gone right. I then saw this and stopped for a picture. This is what I found out about the farm.

Kimball Farm is a working family farm that has been in the family since 1820 and is now owned and run by 9th generation farmer Tyler Kimball with a focus on sustainable farming. As generation after generation has taken over the farm, it has evolved.

You can read more here

Crossed into New Hampshire ( I know I said I reversed the trip, but ya gotta go thru New Hampshire to get to Maine) picking up a couple of East and West town post offices, always pointed in the right direction. In East Kingston at the intersection of routes 107A and 108 there was this stunning farm scene. One of the readers of this blog commented to keep the pictures coming because they were interested in views of different countries. I believe they were from Australia or New Zealand. I stopped with here with that comment in mind. What really struct me was the contrast of the house against all the various greens and that huge weeping willow tree to the right.

In Exeter, NH I got hooked by the New Hampshire historical markers. Every word in the sign that ends in ST is worth a point, so finding one with lots of ST words is like traveling to multiple destinations. There were 3 signs in Exeter that I stopped at, this one has 2 first words, for a total of 2 points.

As you cross the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, NH you arrive in Kittery, ME. As you exit off the bridge this huge sign is prominently displayed and it has a qualifying word, Finest. The Seacoasts word doesn't count because of the extra S. Also at this site was another sign with CHEST.

As I pulled into the parking lot I started positioning the Spyder for the shot and a lady comes running at me waving her hands. She pointed to a lady lying on the ground and said an ambulance was on the way. I got out of the way and was out of the parking lot before the ambulance arrived.

Warren’s was established in 1940 by Warren “Pete” Wurm. When Warren’s was opened it was nothing more than a six-stool, walk-up, clam and lobster stand.

My routing took me along Rt103. I caught this out of the corner of my eye and pulled into a spot which was clearly marked No Parking. Since I left the bike running and was only stopping, I felt I substantially complied with the sign's request. This is Whaleback Lighthouse which has had an active LH at this location since 1820, with the pictured one built in 1872.

Meandering in the general direction of north, zig zagging from east to west to east, I briefly crossed back into New Hampshire and then back to Maine. When you see the word DOWNEAST, you know you are in Maine.

Landed in Saco, Maine at the last stop of the day and where I would stay for the night. Picture is the First Parish Congregational Church in Saco. I use to book places to stay. For every 10 hotels you book you get a free night, which is essentially a 10% discount. I booked the Eastview Motel in Saco with skepticism because it did not receive particularly good ratings, but was cheap. Comments were the pool was a wreck, which turned out true, but I didn't care about that. While the room was not 5 stars, it was clean, comfortable, had good wifi service and located in a good spot. It is like a lot of the roadside motels in New England, probably built in the 1950 / 60's and have turned over to new owners frequently over the 7 decades it has been in business. Only complaint I really had was there was no coffee maker in the room.

Todays travels right around 280 miles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I Got you Covered

Headed out to capture some foreign towns and ST spots in New Hampshire, Vermont and a little bit in New York right after Labor Day. Weather was near perfection for both days. First stop was in West Peterboro for the post office ( no picture ). Picked up my first NH Historic Marker in Bennington, NH. Both NH and VT have many markers which may contain ST words, like first, oldest, earliest, etc etc making them a rich set of targets. This particular marker had 3 words that counted in it and a good capture.

In Antrim, NH along US 202 is the Maplehurst Inn. Good for 1 point, but also gives the flavor on New England to those that live outside of the area. Not a lot of info on the inn but I thought it looked cool. The steeple in the background is the First Presbyterian Church which was a preplanned target.

Along Rt 9 in Stoddard, NH is this double arch bridge which built without mortar and pretty typical in the area in the 19th century.

Also along Rt 9 and in Stoddard as well, this small pond with the trees caught my eye. It is only 9/4 and the trees appear to be turning already.

The first of many covered bridges that I came across on this trip is the West Swanzey Covered Bridge built in 1832 by Zadoc Taft for the town at a cost of $523.27. (Wikipedia). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Traveling up Rt 103A in New London, NH I caught his out of the corner of my eye and turned around to grab a picture for the IBA Lighthouse tour. First picture is an attempt to get a closer up shot of the lighthouse and get the flag in as well. Who says all pictures has to be level. The second is a more traditional shot. This is the Hendrick Cove Lighthouse on Sunapee Lake.

Passed thru Lebanon NH, grabbed a pic of the Post Office for a foreign country town (Team Strange Grand Tour) and crossed the Connecticut River, entering Vermont. Along US4 in Woodstock is the Taftsville Covered Bridge. Also listed on the Register, it was built in 1836 and is one of the oldest remaining covered bridges in Vermont and the nation as well.

Managed my way to Chester VT for the First Baptist Church that either has changed or they don't state they are the First one. Headed out of Chester on RT 11 and made left turn onto RT 121 and a right onto Windham Hill Rd, for an great ride the country. At the end of Windham Hill Rd I was facing the West Townshend Country Store and Post Office, which is a great example of the country stores thru out Vermont. Not too far away on RT30 is the Townsend Dam Diner, a great place for a turkey sandwich.

Instead off turning left, I headed right into Jamaica for Team Stange Grand Tour.

The second to last stop of the day was the West Wardsboro PO. A 20 mile round trip and it turns out the Post Office only says Post Office. Headed back to Londonderry VT, picking up the First Baptist Church and then to the motel for the night, the Blue Gentian. A view of one of the best riding roads, RT 100.

The Blue Gentian is a small 13 room Alp styled motel, small business owned. The rooms are very quaint and very reminiscent of a 1950 / 60 motel that has been updated but kept its charm. Presumably the folks I meet are the owners. He rides a Honda ST and we talked about the Spyder quite a bit, since he is considering it an option, the ST is getting heavy as he ages. Don't I know that. I would highly recommend the motel. For more info CLICK HERE

The sun is out and bright, before leaving grabbed one more picture of the area, just to make it OFFICIAL.

Headed north to Rutland VT and then west to Whitehall NY. On US 4 had to stop for these guys. Big Foot was first sited in Whitehall in 1975 and has made frequent visits to the area since.

Back into Rutland, made a right onto US 7 heading south and then west riding NY 22 to Hoosick heading back into Bennington. In Shaftsbury stopped for the Robert Frost Museum. Frost resided in the house from 1920 to 1929.

In Bennington grabbed a picture of Hemmings Motor News Sunoco Station. This is Hemmings News world headquarters.

A no point stop, Bennington Battle Monument, which commemorates the turning point in the Revolutionary War to our favor. It is also the tallest structure in Vermont.

In West Dover VT I stopped at Post Office for points and happened to see this sign as well. Kelly Clark won halfpipe gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Heading into West Dummerston for the PO, crossed the Rock River via the Williamsville Covered Bridge, built in the 1870's

Wrapping up the stops is Amazing Planet Farm and Justice Center. Somewhat confusing on what they do, other than grow organic food and have rooms to stay in. I wonder if you can work the farm for food and shelter, it is Vermont after all. I stopped here because I was on the road and the sign said GUEST.

I had more stops before I got home, but they were rather mundane. Coverd 727 miles in 2 days of great weather and roads.