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  • ajenn3

NH, MA, RI done!

Day 8: The Exeter Inn to Boston Minuteman Campground (59.71 mi)

One of the grosser bike trails I cycled through. Definitely not well maintained, I ended up taking surface streets to detour around this

Leaving from the inn was much easier this morning since I didn't have to breakdown a tent and re-pack my sleeping bag, pillow, and sleeping mat. Before leaving town, I decided to lighten the load again and dropped some more items off at the Post Office. Most notably I decided to mail my stove (and pot and fuel canister) back home; in my last trip it was primarily a backup and I only ended up using it twice. I decided to abandon it along with some extraneous clothes (cotton is heavy!) and I reckon I lightened my load by at least 5 pounds. Progress was pretty good today, I went 40 miles before lunchtime (although I was intending to just do 30 but the town I arrived in didn't have a restaurant...). I haven't noted this before but it is pleasing to me how many electric vehicles I've seen over the last week, even in many of the rural areas of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. I've definitely seen at least a dozen different vehicle models and it seems in New England the market isn't dominated by Tesla as it is in California (though obviously anecdotal).

Guess the swamp wasn't drained

Unfortunately, the rest of the afternoon was a torrential downfall and I was completely soaked through (I have a rain jacket but not pants...I'm trying to recall if I had brought rain pants in my last trip...?) in addition to cycling in less than ideal conditions with fast traffic and no shoulders. It definitely didn't feel nearly as bad as the coast of Maine though, perhaps the helmet mirror made me feel safer...I hung out at a restaurant near my campsite for a few hours, slowly eating, drinking, and watching the Tokyo Olympics. My strategy was to wait for the campground office to close before heading in--my plan still didn't work and I ended up paying again for a site. Stealth camping: 0/2

Food Break

Day 9: Boston Minuteman Campground to North Providence, RI (59.83 mi)

Hill Rd (or some version of it: Snake Hill, Twin Hill, Maple Hill, etc.) is the bane of my existence. When I turn onto these streets I know it's gonna be unpleasant...

Another fairly long day but relatively uneventful. I headed down to Rhode Island to stay with a friend in Providence, which is off the marked path for Adventure Cycling but would only put me a half-day behind. Luckily, Google Maps put me on a few very nice bike paths which was a nice reprieve from the lengthy amount of time I spent on surface streets dodging cars on small shoulders today. But the main highlights of the day was having a home-cooked meal (yay!), replacing my old tent with one that won't leak when it rains, and of course hanging out with my friend and host Michelle who I haven't seen in a few years!

Day 10: North Providence, RI to Mineral Springs Family Campground (61.94 mi)

Today felt like two totally different days. In the morning, Michelle and I drove down to Providence where we met up with Shane and Sana who drove down from Boston. It was great to see my friends again and catch up with life after such a long pandemic year. The breakfast restaurant served whole burgers for breakfast, so I went ahead and ordered one which ended up having very important repercussions on the rest of the day. Because the breakfast was so large, I ended up only being able to eat half of my lunch which I then boxed and stuffed into one of my panniers. Queue the second half of the day.

Right now, I am exhausted to my bones. My legs feel like jello and my left knee is throbbing. I had over 3000 feet of elevation gain today (nearly triple most previous days) in addition to an originally planned 50 miles. There is not much to say besides the fact that there was a substantial amount of climbing; on surface streets, on backcountry roads, on freeways, constant ups and downs but definitely a lot more ups. I also noticed that by the time I had 16 miles to go out of the original 50, I still had some 1600-1700 feet of elevation gain left--more gain over shorter distance means there were inevitably a few very lengthy, steep climbs. I arrived at the campsite fairly late, around 7:30 pm due to the late start because of the morning activities--still plenty of time and light to setup camp though. However, I was kindly informed that the farm I was intending to stay at no longer allowed any camping and so I had to push onwards to find another campsite.

In the fading sun, on a windy gravel road in the middle of the forest

Luckily, a few miles down the road, I found a campsite on Google. Unfortunately, when I got there I was informed that they were a co-op that didn't allow tents (really? couldn't even let me just grab a small patch of grass for a tent?). It was right around sundown and the light was fading, and I was utterly exhausted and didn't get a chance to even eat dinner yet. I called a site about 6 miles to the south: no good, they were fully booked. Then I called a site about 5 miles to the north: success! Still additional hurdles though, Google Maps ended up directing me through a backcountry dirt road in the middle of the woods with lots of sand pits and loose rock/gravel. I was praying that I wouldn't get a flat in the deep dark forest at night. Luckily, I got to the campsite without incident, and the host saw I was so exhausted she let me in for half-price. Finally a bargain! I can't tell you anxious I get when campsite choices dwindle as the daylight starts to fade! In addition to being the hardest biking day thus far, it was also the most stressful for finding a place to stay overnight. Not the best combination.

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