Regina G Beach

The only constant is change.

Boston, Mass. To Manchester, NH

I woke up on Will's couch at 7:30 and didn't want to leave. All the preparation and packing and here I was about to set off from Boston to Northern Maine on my bicycle. I wasn't scared per se but I was comfortable and I knew that whatever lay for me on the road might not be. 

I packed up, ate a piece of pizza leftover from the night before for breakfast and wrapped up two more pieces for lunch. I had a one liter water bottle and 2 liter camelpack bladder full. The sunscreen had been applied liberally and while the weather forecast called for 92% chance of rain, the Sun was shining when I pulled out of Will and Steve's condo parking lot. They were just about the best hosts I could have hoped for and while I know neither of the quite understood why I was doing this, they were supportive and asked to be updated along the route. 

Getting out of Boston was a maze and the cycling app I was using to navigate (Naviki) quickly drained my battery. I met two cyclists near the Alewife T station, one of whom had cycled the length of England. I met a dad on the bike path who said he always wanted to tour by bicycle but now he has young kids. I encouraged him to take them along when they got older. 

The rain started around 10 at first just a spritz then it really started coming down. I stopped under a bridge with my English friends to put the rain covers over my panniers. I stopped again under the entryway to an office building to put on my rain jacket and wait it out a bit. As they say, "no rain, no Maine" but I wasn't prepared for my first day out to be so soggy so quickly. 

My socks were soaked inside my shoes. My bike and bags were muddy, especially after my navigation took me through an unpaved trail that was flooding with the rain. I stopped by the covered drive through lanes of a bank for lunch, removing my socks and shoes to air out my pruned feet. 

I made it to the Massachusetts New Hampshire state line in the afternoon, which made me feel accomplished. I rode past horse pastures and sheep and cows. I rode past huge homes on lots of land and through windy country roads and small towns with monuments to war heroes. 

By late in the afternoon I still hadn't heard from the Warm Showers (Couch Surfing for cycle tourists) who originally said I could stay with her. I was debating what to do and where I might be able to camp. I sat on a big log by some soccer fields, finished my second piece of pizza and called the nearest camp ground. They said they were full. It had started raining again and I saw a rainbow over the tree line as I decided what to do next. Another warm showers host said I could camp in his yard if I was in a pinch so I messages him. Just at that time, a white station wagon pulled over. 

Jon was a cycle enthusiast, had a terminally ill wife and an 11 year old son and thought he'd stop to get me out of the rain and take me home, thinking I was local. I told him about my camping plan and he instead offered for me to sleep in his shop, which turned out to be an incredibly spacious two story office. I made myself at home rolling my sleeping bag out on the floor upstairs. A place to dry my stuff, bathroom, electricity and even WIFI made the night ten times more comfortable than I'd expected. 

I had ridden 70 miles, survived two rain storms, crossed state lines and met a Good Samaritan who went above and beyond to help me. All in all, not a bad day.