I wake at 7-ish, but can't convince myself to actually get up until 8:15. I'm packed up and on the road at 8:45.
I head west on Rt. 2, through local towns and local traffic, the happy natives on their way to work. The buildings are draped with American (go figure!) flags, and mottos like "God Bless America" and "Solidarity". Wow. Small town America.
About every hundred yards is a chance to buy maple syrup, or local crafts, or moose-related items, or wood, or who-knows-what-all. Wow. Small town America.
Through the shaded, twisty corners, the speed limits rising and falling with the proximity to the Sheriff's Office, (Oh. I do have the cheat sheet I made of speed limits in Mph and Kph on top of the map. It's great!) I have my first encounter of the day with the trailer trash. Airsteam trailer, red ID number 30912, California license GPG 6, towed by a GMC 5th-wheel pickup. Dude, I hate you. Driving Rt. 2 with that rig, staying 5-10 Mph below the speed limit. All of us behind you hate you. Finally, I pass, and then get caught behind another convoy of Land Yachts. I give up and pull over at a rest stop. At least it's pretty. A family from Nova Scotia, returning from vacationing in Ontario, engages me in conversation. I head out again.
There's a town in Maine called Mexico. No, really. It's next door to a town called Peru. Really. They have the largest waterfall east of Niagara Falls, and it has been harnessed for electricity since the 1890's. While I'm taking these pictures, a small boy pedals up, and tells me of all the Kawasaki products he (or his family) owns. Since I still have my helmet on, and he's pedaling his bike in excited circles around me, I don't get all he has to say. But, hey. Cute kid.
Pulling out from the Mexico stop, I'm behind Mr. Airstream again. It takes a while to get a chance to pass. I head into the White Mountain National Forest. It's lovely, shaded, twisty, and cool. Very nice. The road gets rougher, and then, suddenly, the road smoothes out and has shoulders again. I'm in New Hampshire.
I gas up in Gorman, and apply sunscreen. It's about 12:30, and I'm hungry. There are no further restaurants until Lancaster, 20 minutes later. I do pass Santa's Village and Six-Gun City, icons of childhood road trips. Speaking of which - during several family vacations, we were told we were going to the Green Mountains, or White Mountains to camp. In each case, my parents gave up in Bangor, and we were none the wiser. There was a pool, and hills. I was 8. This is another reason to travel Rt. 2. While paying for lunch, Airstream Guy goes by. I get moving and pass him quickly.
Here are some more mountains, in Vermont. I believe them to be White or Green. I have no further comment on them.
Going through Montpieler, I notice my taillight reflected in the bumper of the truck behind me. It seems very bright. It's too bright - the brake light is on, steady. This distracts me somewhat, and I miss the exit for Rt. 2, ending up on 89 West instead. I pull over at the first rest stop, and verify the bad news. The brake light is on, although playing with the foot brake makes it go out. The linkages on the pedal look fine. I head off.
When 89 turns north, I get off at 2 and head through the islands on Lake Champlain. It's pretty, and relaxing. I check the route guide my dad made with his AAA software, and see it's only about another hour-and-a-half to Cornwall. I can do that. I gird my metaphorical loins (the real ones are already girded) and off I go.
Crossing the bridge from Rt. 2 to Rt. 11, I find myself behind - Airstream Guy. Still doing his thing, well below the speed limit. Not because he's nervous - each time I pass him, he's leaning back, holding the wheel with one hand. Jerk. You could let us pass once in a while. I dub him "Nemesis".
I make it to Monroe, and gas up at a Texaco station with the cleanest public washroom it has ever been my privilege to sully. Wow. Gassed up, I head up 37, across at Cornwall. The Canada Customs trainee gives me no problems, but the toll bridge is a surprise. I pull off at the Ramada Inn, at the base of the bridge. After unpacking, a few minutes thought brings to mind the fact that the rear pedal brake light adjuster is under the side cover. Two minutes later, I have working brake lights again. A shower later, and I'm in the hotel restaurant, delighting the servers Kathleen and Sophie as I work on this page. (Boy, I hope it is Kathleen, and not Katharine, or some other "K" name).
Numbers: Cheating of death - 2. 1 for noticing the failed brake light, and driving to make sure it didn't matter. 1 for taking off from a gravely bit, and having one foot go out from under me. Luckily the bike was then accelerating, and could stay up. Odo 26352, trip 4595. 680 stunningly beautiful Km today. By the time I get home tomorrow, it'll be 5000 Km.