Riding my bicycle across Vietnam
The sky was bright but overcast this morning, prompting me to wake at 5 AM. The mosquitoes were as bad or worse than last night, so I grabbed a Clif Bar, some over iodine purified water, and packed up. Then I was on the road again. Still, it was a propitious start to the day. Temps were low in the morning, and I knew I had to minimize my time in the heat. It’s hard for me to ride at any speed when it’s that hot, I have to stop frequently, drink a lot, and regulate my breathing - not fun.
About 10 miles in I reached my first stop. A nice diner. French toast, sausage, and coffee down, a happy Francis continued on his merry way. Having a blast, I realized the value of sticking through it. No, the camping conditions weren’t optimal last night, but I slept well, woke early, and was now enjoying oceanside riding. Continuing on, I hit the city of Belfast. Most everything was closed interestingly, but even so, I rolled through, looked around, and carried on my way. Straying from the coast, I picked up a nice country road which would take me into Camden.
As the riding progressed, the sun rose and the heat increased. I was a sweaty mess. I was getting whipped by the hills, grinding out 4 or 5 mph to get up some. I was running out of water, but I was having a blast. I decided to find a bit of shade on the shoulder and take a break. I knew I needed fuel. It’s hard for me to eat if I’m not hungry and overheating, but I forced myself. Trail mix and a Gu shot devoured, I continued on, eventual passing a general store where I downed a chocolate milk and refilled my water. 10 miles until Camden. I felt a lot better after 400 calories of milk, and the riding steadily got easier, with sweeping and mild downhills followed by mild, typically short climbs. I was circumnavigating a decently sized lake, oh the water looked so lovely. But I was close, so I pressed on.
Finally, I hit Camden, overjoyed and overheated. I beelined towards the closest coffee shop with AC and iced coffee. I’m spending the night at a WarmShowers (read post on WS for explanation.
I’m writing the rest of this the morning after, I didn’t get time to finish it last night. Wow, what more can I say? I had such an amazing experience last night experiencing Camden. My WS hosts were great. I was offered a bed, and a cool shower. The only downside was when their dog chewed though a stuffsack and charging cable of mine. They insisted on replacing them for me. We decided to go out for dinner at a restaurant located on the coast. I had crab cakes and calamari (both excellent). We walked the boardwalk after dinner to digest, meandered to a beachfront concert, got ice cream, and settled onto the field for fireworks. The town as a whole reminded me of the Chautauqua Institution, tight knit and pedestrian friendly. The fireworks show was spectacular, short, and full brunt. We went home satisfied and tired. My initial plan was early to bed and early to rise to beat the heat today, even though its supposedly 10 degrees cooler. Sufficed to say, I stayed up too late. I was doing digital housekeeping, email, etc... I still needed to organize everything in the morning.
I slept in, purposely so. I knew how important it was to sleep. I have a long ride today, about 60 miles into Brunswick, ME. I reached out to two WS hosts in the city, both were unavailable, so I ended up booking a fairly cheap AirBnB about a 1/2 mile out of town. Mom was appeased when I told her I planned to do a tour of Bowdoin. Scary to think about, that the process is starting. I’m going to look at just a few colleges this summer, Bowdoin is great because it is on the route. I should probably log out for now, I have a lot of riding in the heat today. It’s probably going to be a slow, hot day, but I will persevere.