On the morning of July 13th, around 8 a.m., I left Conway, New Hampshire and entered the White Mountain National Forest. I saw countless "moose crossing" signs and there was an eery fog threatening to envelop the road. I knew that I'd be crossing the Kancamagus Pass today, with an elevation of 2,855 feet. The road did not have much of an elevation change for the first couple of miles, which worried me.
It started to rain, then rain harder. The road began to incline, and the temperature dropped as we got higher into the mountains. By noon, it was 45°, I was soaked, and the rain showed no signs of stopping. My hands and feet were numb. I had put on my rain coat but it was providing neither sufficient cover nor insulation. I pulled into a campground, which was unmanned, (like all the campgrounds i came across in the White Mountains) and went into the bathroom. I changed into a long sleeve smartwool shirt, my dry pair of bike shorts with hiking pants over them, and my rain jacket. I put my baseball cap on under my helmet in the hopes that I might be better able to see through the driving rain. It rained another 2 hours and when it stopped, I still had not reached the apex of the pass. As the incline steadily increased, I was forced to walk. I took Dobby out of his chariot to give him the chance to stretch his legs and make walking the bike up the mountain a little easier. Dobby basically dragged me up that mountain, so I give him all the credit.
We found the top of the pass around 4pm. Unfortunately our only view was of the cloud we found ourselves in, though this had it's own ethereal beauty. As we began to head down the other side, I realized my bike once again refused to come out of first gear. Luckily, there was at least 6 miles of steep downhill for me to ride before I had to fix my gears.
After crossing the pass, all I wanted was a beer and a long hot shower. I ate dinner in Lincoln, NH, while the male bar patrons attempted to guess my age (26 and 30 were the most popular). I had my first beer since my trip began, then rode another 2.5 miles to Maple Haven Campground in pursuit of a hot shower. The site was next to a babbling river i looked forward to listening to as i slept. After setting up camp and heading into the women's room, i discovered to my dismay that the campground owner had neglected to inform me the showers were coin operated. I rifled through my pack and produced a single quarter, good for a 3 minute shower. So much for my dreams of a long hot shower. The water warmed up after about 40 seconds, and I did what I could with the time I had left. I finished rinsing off using the sink, which thankfully did have hot water.
I went back to my campsite, ready for bed after a long day, only to find my sleeping bag had somehow gotten wet during the day. With no alternative and too exhausted to really care, I put on my warmest layers and climbed into the bag, hoping tomorrow would be a better day.
I have traveled 376 miles.