Brownville to Baxter State Park
It only seems to rain when I'm camping. The thunder rumbled on and off all day but mercifully the drops only came down briefly. The majority of the day was overcast with on and off wet pavement. I seemEd to be trailing the storm. Route 11 cuts up northern Maine and will be my true north for the next three days. I was warned that at some point my cell phone won't work and there won't be much of anything including people, camp sites or grocery stores.
I wasn't quite prepared for the day my phone stopped working to be today. Route 11 feels more wild than anywhere I've been so far. It's two lanes with a gravel shoulder. There aren't many houses and those I see are more cabins and improvised trailers with a ton of additions, some camp sites and private drives.
I see a bald eagle less than an hour into my ride. I did a double take as I'd been mistaking gulls for birds of prey near the coast, but this was absolutely an eagle. So majestic and powerful flying overhead and then he was gone.
I was making good time, 10 miles per hour and trying to stay clipped into my pedals. My host Dave helped me adjust my front derairlliure so I can downshift all the way now. This adjustment was much needed as I road on the biggest and longest hills I've ridden on so far.
I stopped at 11:45 to eat some cheese, nuts and dried fruit. In the woods on a stump just staring at me was a hawk! I figured I'd see more wildlife in the most sparsely populated areas I was heading into but I wasn't expecting two raptors in one morning. Maybe I'll see a moose after all!
The traffic is light. Logging trucks are the most frequent. I don't mind them when they're empty, the wind just blows through them. It's the loaded down trucks I brace myself for. The whoosh of wind hits me right after the truck passes and try to find the best balance of hanging on and relaxing. There are SUVs with canoes on top and a yellow Volkswagon Beetle. A couple on a motorcycle wave. I flash a peace sign. The roads are smooth and free of road kill. It's a good day to bike.
I stop in Millinock at a corner store and try to will myself to buy "real food." I end up with spaghetti in a can, a bag of cheddar chips, a jar of peanut butter and a box of pop tarts.
My camp site at Big Moose camping and lodge is overlooking a pond. I set up my tent, cover my bike and walk around as the thunder builds. I wanted to swim in my fourth Maine lake. Maybe tomorrow. Instead I head up to the shower house and deposit quarter into the slot to buy 2 minutes of water, only the second of which was warm. I learned today that if you don't wash your hair, 2 minutes is more than enough time for a shower.
I did my laundry and hung it in the bathroom since I doubted it would dry outside. I headed back to the lodge to get some dinner and check out the open mic night. I tried two new Maine beers and chatted with a guy named Mike who had been coming to Maine from New York for years. He was also very interested in Bushcraft School and recommended some books on the subject. I turned in early as I'm wont to do after a long day on the road. The rain had stopped and I crawled into my hammock tent to sleep.