Black Hills to the White Mountains. Day 885.

Trip Start Jun 25, 2013
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Flag of United States  , Maine
Friday, October 11, 2013

I awoke early. Mainly due to my back was killin me and the balls had frozen off the brass Monkey. But, it was a farm, so people had already been up for hours doing their farmly things. 
We went to the house for breakfast and every one was up. Most of the Youngans headed out on their selling duties at the local market. 
Molly drew us a make shift map on a scrap of paper for a good days ride around the White Mountains.  We still weren't sure if we were going to do it as we felt the pressure of the Winter chasing us South. The circuit Molly drew us looked to good to pass so we decided to stay another day. 
It was nice to go out for a ride without all the luggage weight and the knowledge that you already have a bed for the night. 
The first POI was a covered bridge in the small town of Porter. The Parsonfield-Porter Bridge circa 1876. I was quite excited to see one as it's my first time. It wasn't quite 'The Bridges of Madison County' with Clint Eastwood humping Meryl Streep but I liked it. It had been turned into a footpath now rather than having vehicles shake it's foundations loose. 
I managed to get some nice reflection photos of the river underneath which was like a mill pond. It would have been a great place to camp. Out of the wind, quiet and dry.
We carried on North following the crayon lines on Molly's scrap of paper. It took us through the back roads and into tree tunnel lined roads into New Hampshire, my 26Th State. 
Bickford Pond Road went North for miles and turned to a good dirt surface. It was great to be in the hills and country and away from the coast for a change. 
Turned onto 'Horse Leg Hill' and into some amazing foliage. We wanted to see some good 'Fall Colours' but thought we were a bit late. Lots of old barns and houses nestled in the trees and piles of leaves beginning to fall. 

After getting back out onto the main road we headed for Conway. The main reason for going here was to visit the 'Whitehorse Gear' store.  After Michelle had her riding pants cut off of her (No, she wasn't at a strip club) after her accident she borrowed a pair from Mike in Newfoundland. They were doing the job but she needed a new fully waterproof pair.  
We parked up in the huge car park and went in. Immediately we were greeted by the beaming smile of Jeff.  He offered us Coffee, water and cookies before we could get our ear plugs out. The friendly dogs were very interested in my choice of cookie too.  
Jeff is the most enthusiastic, friendly helpful guy you could possibly want to meet.  
He took Shell around to the warehouse and the women's pants section. They had top line stuff right down to cheap and cheerful. 
The warehouse is huge with all manner of biking goodies for me to peruse while Shell was doing her trying on lark. I rifled through the great book section and found 'The Worlds Great Adventure Motorcycling Routes' book which I'm in. I had to do some narcissistic self promotion and show Jeff. He was mightily impressed. As any one would be by seeing my mug in a book. 
He wanted to take some photos of my bike as he hadn't seen one before and apparently it would make his son in-law very jealous. "Well, lets make him really jealous, jump on" I said. "Really, What, on here" ?  (He says while patting the seat). "Well that is the seat" I replied in my sarcastic British way. 
He is a great guy so I was happy to oblige. Although it does make him about the 3rd person to sit on my bike in 3 years. 
Michelle went off to talk to 'Stromsurfer' who was there on his awesome Ural. Unfortunately he has Parkinson's disease but that doesn't stop him riding. Very cool !!! 
Judy then came out to give her dog a walk. It seems to be a very dog friendly place. Everyone seems to bring theirs to work here. That's cool with me, I love dogs.  
We had a chat for a while (Judy and I, not the dogs) and I told her our plans for riding around New England. She then told me to hang on for a second and disappeared. She came back with a brand new book about riding in the area and handed it to me, for free. I couldn't believe it. Such amazing friendly people. She also gave me a pile of leaflets for Whitehorse which I shall drop off and hand out to people on my travels as a thank you. 
We must have stayed for an hour and a half just shooting the breeze.
 
Judy recommended a small restaurant down the road called Twombleys which we duly stopped at for lunch
We got some sodas and a couple of pizza slices and sat out in the sun. One guy had a quick chat with us. He lived at the bottom of Evans Notch and said we were here at the perfect time for foliage colours. 
Another guy asked where I was from. I said the UK and he stumbled, mumbled and got tongue tied. We laughed and I said I get that a lot. He was a local Yamaha mechanic so was very interested in my bike. He gave us his card and offered any help if we need it which most people do. 
We had to get a move on as everyone wanted to talk to us and time was getting short. 
We followed the 113 North which took us into the 'White Mountains National Forest' and we criss crossed from NH to ME.   
The road was spanking new fresh tarmac and was covered by a Golden tunnel of trees. By far the best colours I have seen and not a soul around. Perfect riding conditions. At the top of 'Evans Notch' we stopped for a look around. Riding around here is very popular and I can see why, its incredible. There are many 'Notches' around here but this would be the only one for us today. 
We weren't far from the Appalachian trail which is something I would like to walk a few steps on just to say I have. There is also a 'Hastings' town around here somewhere too but it looks like it no longer exists as we didn't manage to find it. 
We got to Waterford and Molly had recommended stopping at 'Melby's' for a Elk of Buffalo burger. It was a great old Mom and Pop place with chrome spinning stools and big thick menus. We decided not to eat much as we had an offer to eat at a swanky restaurant in Cornish tonight courtesy of Jess, a friend of Molly's. 
I got a 24oz vanilla shake which did just a good job of filling me up as a burger would. Shell got the all American classic, the Root Beer float. 
She also got some 'Whoopee Pie' which is a local thing but we couldn't fit it in so we'll save it for Ron (Later Ron).   
The 117 South all the way back to Cornish was a great sweeping road but the surface a little cracked.    

That evening before dark we rode back into Cornish town for our meal at Krista's restaurant. It sat at the end of a row of antique shops and looked real fancy. And it was. We didn't have reservations but we could sit outside on the deck. Fine by us. It over looked the river and was covered in Chinese lanterns lighting up in all different colours. Why are people sitting inside? It's gorgeous out here. 
We finally met Jessica who seemed to be as mad as Molly. They ride together in the group 'The Mechanical Donkeys'. Jess had heard about us riding through and wanted to meet us so gave us a dinner voucher to eat here which is super nice of her. 
After our gallon of drinks earlier we thought it would be better to share a meal tonight. The Crab cake starter was amazing and they cut the 8oz steak in half for us and gave us extra funky sauce and mash. Who would of thought there would be such a nice place serving incredible food in a small town in Maine?
Michelle got a bit overwhelmed by all the generosity we had been receiving over the last month or so and started to well up. This didn't look good as it looked like we were having a fight or something. 
It was a shame we couldn't stay longer and hung out with Jess a bit more as she seemed really cool. 
We left into the cold dark night riding cautiously as a suicidal deer might jump out any moment. I kept having to flash my lights at people as they all seem to leave their fecking high beams on. A lot of them wouldn't even notice and drive by burning my retinas into a mush. 
I missed the turning for the house as it was pitch Black. Luckily Michelle had seen it and was waiting for me. 
 
We hit the hay as soon as we got back. What a fantastic day of riding, eating and best of all, making new friends. My favourite part of bike travel.   


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