Tag Archives: Maine

Night Riders

Who says you have to stop riding just because the sun has gone down?

Well, that’s what I used to think. Once we reached the point where we didn’t have enough evening daylight for our mid-week afternoon/evening rides they came to an end. Unfortunately so did the fitness until you started hitting the trainer.

This year a club member who grew up in Philly and used to do “night riding” with her club there has organized a night ride with our group.

Last week was the first one but I didn’t go. It was dark and windy. I had gotten home early enough to settle in for the evening and I would be damned if I was going back out on the bike.

This week was different. I had bike commuted to work so my return trip got me home a little later than driving. I was dressed and ready for biking so I didn’t change. The ride departure was also a little earlier, which meant there was less time to settle in. It was also warmer – in the mid 50’s.

I was excited and a little apprehensive, not ridden in the dark much. However, two days earlier I was out on a club ride and heading back when it was getting pretty dark. Surprisingly I felt pretty comfortable with it so I was ready for a full-on night ride.

A small group met at 6:10 to head north to rendezvous with another group 15-20 minutes away and then we headed off as a larger group. There were 11 of us total with a nice mix of men and women. Everyone had at least one head and tail light on. Some of us had two, like me who had a bike mounted front/rear light in addition to a head lamp and rear light on my helmet. Many of us also had reflective clothing on, or additional items for reflection. In short, we were highly visible and I was really surprised at how much we lit up the road.

I found the drivers seemed more courteous as well. I’m sure many of them were more than a little surprised to see a group of hearty, and perhaps a little crazy, cyclists out on an evening ride well after sunset.

We ended up with a 30-mile route and the pace was such that we all stayed together. That’s key so no one gets dropped or left behind in the dark.

Two hours later I arrived back home and thrilled about my first successful night ride and looking forward to next week’s ride with my fellow night riders.

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Living in Vacationland – Part 4 – Wild Animal Park

This is the final installment in this blog series.

We saw some kids at the Portland Observatory that were here on vacation and mentioned they were headed to the Gray Wild Animal Park during their stay here. That reminded me that I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and though Dad might like it.

They are a lot of native Maine animals at this park. Unfortunately it was so hot that many of the animals were trying to stay cool in some of the shade, including the moose so we didn’t really get to see them – they were too far away under the cover of some trees.

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Moose hanging out in the shade very far away from us.

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This fox was finding a little shade in the scrub.

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I think the bears had it the best – a pool to cool off in.

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The deer and the bears knew the routine – people meant food. There was a food dispenser not far away that you could buy to throw to the animals. This guy was enjoying the corn we provided him from a nearby dispenser.

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Even the albino porcupine was dealing with the heat in his own way. This was the funniest photo we took all day.

There were a fair number of birds at the park. Many of them in cages so taking photos was a challenge but we did get a few:

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We hoped he was going to spread his feathers but never did.

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A golden eagle. They are always majestic. There was a bald eagle too, but we were not able to get any photos.

One of the best displays there was this display of two moose that whose remains had been found a while back with their antlers locked. It’s believed that they got locked during rutting season and never came loose and the animals died as a result.

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Living in Vacationland – Part 3B – Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

During my father-in-law’s visit to Maine, and after out Whale Watching excursion, we grabbed some lunch then headed to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens nearby. I had heard this was a great place and it didn’t disappoint. If you have and opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, below you’ll find several thousand words. Enjoy!

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One of the coolest parts of the garden was this moving sculpture. It mesmerized us all.

Living in Vacationland – Part 2 – The Coast

As I mentioned in my previous post, my father-in-law came to visit recently. The first day he was here we spent the afternoon on Peaks Island with a picnic lunch.

The next two days, after all that walking, we thought it might make sense to take it easy. We drove to Kennebunkport the day after Peaks Island and then meandered our way back along the coast, which includes views of Walker Point (the Bush residence) and Ferry Beach.

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Walker Point, Kennebunkport, ME

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Dad and Don at Ferry Beach

The next day we made our way around closer to Portland with a trip the the Observatory, Two Lights, including lunch at The Lobster Shack, and Fort Williams/Portland Head Light.

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View of the Portland Observatory

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View of Portland Harbor from the Observatory

My lunch of fried clams at The Lobster Shack

The last stop of the day was to the iconic Portland Head Light.

The most photographed lighthouse in Maine, Portland Head Light.

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The best part of the week’s events planned was still yet to come. Stay tuned for that post!

Living in Vacationland – Part 1 – Peaks Island

If you live in Maine, chances are you have people that visit from other parts of the country in the summer. It’s usually family but sometimes it’s friends, too.

A couple weeks ago my father-in-law came to visit. He had a break during classes (he just graduated from Eastern Kentucky University this spring and has started classes for his masters in History) so we had him fly up for a week’s visit.

He’s 76-years-old and spry! So we had a lot planned for the week.

One of the first things we did was go to Peaks Island by ferry. It’s approximately 4-5 miles if you walk all the way around, which we did and it was hot! We packed a picnic lunch and found a shady spot on the rocks under a piece of ledge.

A view from Peaks Island

Our lunch spot - a respite from the sun.

A healthy lunch for all of us consisting of fruit, veggies, humus and sweet potato chips.

Me & Dad

One of my favorite photos of the day was this one – I took it of both Don and his Dad taking photos of flowers. It made me chuckle.

Photographing flowers.

Stay tuned. I’ll wright more about the other adventures during Dad’s recent visit to Vacationland.

 

Trek Across Maine – Year 5

This is my fifth year at the Trek Across Maine. In recognition of that I received a hat.

A few years ago I decided to do this for at least five years then figure out where I am and if I wanted to do it again. I’m still undecided.

Today is our first leg – Sunday River in Bethel to UMF in Farmington.

The weather today is supposed to be nice. As I lay in the hotel bed I can see clear skies and sun illuminating the morning. Tomorrow could be a little wet and I’m hoping “showers” avoids us for the most part.

I’m Trekker number 14 this year of approximately 2000 cyclists. The low number is the result of registering early, when it opens in May for the following year. Two years ago I had number 10 for the same reason.

There are so many great things about the Trek and one that’s my favorite is seeing all the people that I usually only see at this event. It really has become near and dear to my heart, as it has for many of the other rides. Each one of us has a story for riding. For me, it’s just fun and i’m happy to be able to be here another year.

As I write this, I wonder if I had already decided to be here again next year.

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The 2011 Season in Full Swing

The 2011 cycling season is in full swing. Or at least as much as the weather will allow. A fair bit of rain has prevented a few weekly rides but we are still managing others.

Spring weather in Maine can be hit or miss. I’ve seen 70-80 degree days in early April and also full on snow storms. Such was the case on April first this year with a good 6-inches of heavy wet snow. The up-side, if there is an up-side, to those types of storms is that the snow is virtually gone the following day.

Last week we gathered for a Wednesday night ride. The afternoon was filled with glorious sun and blue sky. By the time we gathered to ride it was overcast, windy, and snow falling from the sky. But that didn’t stop the 16 or so women who showed up to ride. The adage, “If you don’t like the weather in Maine, just wait a minute” held true because about 20 minutes into the ride it was sunny and warm again.

Regardless of the up and down temps and precipitation, we are officially on the road. Most of the roads have seen at least one pass of a street sweeper, so it was time to pull the Aegis off the trainer, swapping out the trainer tire for a road tire, and prepare it for the road.

Yup, it’s officially spring and the biking season is upon us. We’ll still be faced with cool weather wardrobe decisions for a few weeks yet. You’ll hear no complaints from me – I’ll be outside on my bike.