Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coastal Maine... my favorite landscape

This ride was supposed to have been last week, but the weather intervened and it was rescheduled. The temps yesterday were probably the most perfect for a motorcyclist...cool enough to be comfortable in gear and warm enough to keep fingers and toes just right. 
I met my friend Gar at the Shell station in Berlin MA. For a ride heading north, it is equidistant from both of us and an easy rendezvous point. 

I may have to rethink this rendezvous point though... it's bad enough that I am pretty much color coordinated head to toe, but when I start matching the gas stations, well enough already!  :)

Kickstands up at 8:30am, the first leg was highway, heading toward the coast.  After 45 minutes or so, there is the motorcyclists' obligatory stop...no ride in New England starts without this place:
Refueled, we headed toward Salisbury Beach, to route 1A, the seacoast route north.  It was a Monday and still early, so it was a delightful run up this local road, winding by cottages and little business centers, lots of clam shacks and early morning beach goers, which as I looked closely, were mostly surfers today. The waves were active and exciting this day... a huge gift for me! 
Salisbury beach is a busy tourist mecca in the summertime, we motored down the retail strip toward the beach and Gar followed the U-turn in the road. He had to pull over though because I stopped following him. I HAD to investigate this outrageously fabulous bike set up...
It was a GoldWing with every bell and whistle and farkle that a bike can hold. PLUS, check out the trailer! 
The cutest thing I ever saw... 

But then wait a second... owners of the bike came strolling back and I have to say that THIS quite possibly is the cutest thing I have ever seen.  Her name is Abby, a rescue who started riding with her new mom and dad last March.  Dad says that Abby loves riding as much as they do. 
She gave me a couple of sweet kisses, I gave mom, dad and Abby guardian angel coins and we were on our way.  Abby's dad said he was going to drill a hole in her coin to hang it on her collar. :)

I have mentioned before how much I love the ocean. It is such a powerful feeling for me to be there... someday maybe I will have a little hermitage by the waves just to sit and listen and be quiet. Meanwhile, I will visit and ride to find the waves and the energy. 
We are still poking our way northbound on 1A, heading toward Hampton Beach, another stretch of pretty commercial beach.  I think it might be one of the longest stretches of beach in New England. We don't have many wide open beaches.  The waves today were very satisfying to watch. We pulled over at one point, where I saw that the waves were breaching the seawall...a thick cement barrier built to protect the houses across the street.  I loved riding along and seeing the crashing water up and over the wall and dousing the sidewalk and pedestrians.  So Gar pulled into the parking lot and we stopped along the wall.  
And the answer is yes... before too long I was rolling with laughter when a wave crashed over the wall.  I got wet too, but I had the camera.  haha!
There were lots of characters out today!  Of course, I mean all the OTHER characters. haha...  at this stop on the strip at Hampton, a fellow came up and started talking about my bike. He was asking about the color and model and so forth. I don't think he was really so much interested in those details, I think he wanted the company more.  You know the kind... a conversation happens and winds up and you start to walk away and then suddenly you hear a voice behind you. Oops, I didn't realize we were still talking!  It was a fun half hour or so with this guy, talking about bikes and the beach and biker bars, of which I do not go to.  But, it was colorful, for certain and we were not in a hurry.  How can you not love no teeth and an eye patch, talking about motorcycling?
I have no idea what time it was at that point... it was moving slowly along, as we were. The next few miles wound around some of the most beautiful coastline and homes in New England. This stretch is famous for the magnificent mansions that are on one side of the road and the rocks and waves on the other.  
I love this photo and the clouds in my mirror :) 

This is the other view I generally have when riding with Gar... his red GoldWing with 3 flags flying off the back. The POW flag is curled a bit, on the right.  It's kinda cool :)
We are making our way to Nubble Lighthouse.... as I understand, one of the most photographed lighthouses on the eastcoast. How I have never seen it, I don't know.  It took a little while to get there, because I kept stopping to sit by the ocean :)
This stop, took me a while, there were some great rocks to climb down on.... I could spend hours here!
I was reluctant to go back to the bike... but finally I did and we were on our way again, up 1A into Rye NH. Then Gar turned down 1B... a small road that I have never been before. It went into the sweetest little town center, so old fashioned and cozy. I would love a home here!  Rt 1B eventually wound its way back to 1A, and at one point, crossed a causeway, passing this giant old building on my right. Now looking quite abandoned... I have to find out what it used to be. 
The road then took us into Portsmouth, one of the prettiest old towns on the seacoast. It is a great place to go and park, and just walk around for a few hours. There are quirky stores, galleries, lots of food, harbor frontage and history.  Worth a trip to see if you have never been there!
We still have not made it to Nubble light, but look in this photo...you can see it off in the distance!  Just ignore that giant yellow helmet in the foreground. :) 

Finally...we made it to Nubble Lighthouse.  I will have to come back to this place, it is so wild and rocky!  The lighthouse sits on an isolated little island, the supplies get brought across via a basket on a wire. I am not sure if the lightkeepers go across in this manner also. While we were there, a woman approached me and we ended up chatting for a while... she is a rider also. When I told her that I did my cross country ride this summer and said it was mostly solo, she gave me a big "You Go Girl" hug.  We were excitedly talking until her husband dragged her away, saying something about a schedule. Didn't he realize how busy we were?  :) 
You can see the white basket in this picture...can you imagine traveling across the water in this?  It is not far, but still pretty precarious for my tastes!  
It was lunch time and my belly was talking now, all the salt air really makes a girl hungry.  Our route was pointed at Perkin's Cove, yet another quintessential New England coastal town that I have never seen.  Another adorable tiny town perched on the water's edge. Gar and I had lunch at a place that sits right on the water.  I had a lobster roll and it was yummy.  To think that all these years, I insisted I hated lobster.  Oh well, my waistline has probably been the better for it. 
Perkin's Cove has a walkway along the coast, called the Marginal Way, which ends in Ogunquit. This teeny lighthouse is at the entrance to the walkway. I had to get a photo here!  The start and finish points are fun shopping and eating places, with benches to rest on while on the walkway.  We did not walk the Marginal Way yesterday, but I think I will return to it someday to do it. Maybe in the off season so that the ocean is active and there are not many people.  

A nice slow ride, gorgeous weather and even prettier scenery makes for a perfect ride.
It was not many miles, not a fast pace, lots of people to chat with, and home for supper... just perfect! 

Until next ride...
Bee safe!

By the way, 
September 21st, is the United Nations International Day of Peace
Peace to you all


  1. Kate,
    Nice write up of a beautiful day. I was thinking about Gary the other day. I haven't seen him post anything in quite some time and frankly I was a little worried about him. It's good to see that he's getting out on his bike and that he has a smile on his face. Give him my regards the next time you see him.
    All the best