Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day Fifteen

We woke up, looked out the front window, and no rain was falling. Everything was still wet, but the rain had stopped. It was cold, 40 degrees, but it was forecast to warm several degrees per hour. So, we knew we'd be able to leave.

Because it was so cool, and in an effort to let it warm up, we took lots of time with breakfast and packing. Around 11 am we left the motel.

So, why did we ride to Ft Kent?  It is the start of the first US road in America. There's just something neat abut being in the place where all of the US highways began. The Interstate highways are great at moving a lot of traffic from point A to B, but they're so uninteresting. After a while, they blend into a collage of exits with the same gas stations and stores, making it difficult to remember where you stopped along the way. Makes for a bland, foggy trip.

On the other hand, the US highways are memorable and move traffic along pretty well. And they go through interesting places. I can still remember parts of US 2 from Duluth, MN to Glacier National Park that Gary and I rode on our way to Alaska. It's my favorite long-distance road. 

So, it's great to be at an important place for US 1. 

So we left the hotel and made our first stop across the street, where we took pics of the monument erected to mark the beginning. Then, we headed south on the great highway.

About 10 miles out of town, Janice spotted a Moose! It was an adolescent Moose, trotting along the edge of the St John river that separates Canada and the USA. We pulled over to the shoulder of the road and kept pace with the Moose so we could get some pics. This went on for about a quarter of a mile before it jumped a guardrail on the other side of the road, crossed the road, and ran into the woods. Unfortunately, the camera malfunctioned and she got only one pic of the Moose. Damned electronics! But there is one pic to show the family.

Next stop was Madawaska, one of the "Four Corners" of the USA. It's a small town that comprises the Northeast-most point in the contiguous 48 states, and a favorite of long distance motorcycle riders. The town has built a very nice small Park to commemorate the place, and there are many pavers with names of riders who have ridden there. This was an unexpected treasure along the way.

The rest of the ride along the highway was filled with small towns or villages, each with unique elements and structures. Some were very nice with manicured lawns and beautiful landscaping, while others were in serious disrepair. Seeing such contrast makes you wonder why one community is so "up" and down the road in a few miles is another about to fall in.,,,

The road surface varied a lot from one area to another. Some areas had a very smooth,nice road surface, while in other areas the asphalt was crumbling and very uneven. We need to look the bike over today to see if anything vibrated off. The suspension got a good workout yesterday.

But the scenery was outstanding. The Road followed the St Johns river for many miles, and with the border between the two countries being the river, our best views were in Canada. The Vistas were so pretty. 

And although still very cool, it was not as bad as yesterday. Overall, it was between  5 and 10 degrees warmer.  AND NO RAIN!  Janice got cold once or twice, but not like the day before.  

About 6:30 we pulled into the motel parking lot in Machias, our destination for the day. It was like an oasis, with lots of cars and trucks in the parking lot and a large motel and restaurant. Along the way, we had passed many motels all very small with less than a dozen rooms, so seeing this one was quite a sight.

A delicious seafood dinner was the end of a good day on the road.

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