Denise Goldberg's blog

Red-clad feet on a purple bike
Wandering on two (bicycle) wheels in Downeast Maine

Saturday, August 6, 2005

A short but successful tour spite of the scenic highway designations!

It's really hard to believe that my short tour of (a portion of) Downeast Maine was over a month ago. While it was short, it served its purpose of allowing me to prove to myself that I am really back. I think that touring on my bike is an important part of me - at least for now - and I'm happy to be back!

The tiny portion of Downeast Maine that I used for wandering by bike was a good place for my re-introduction to touring. In fact, I'm sure that I will be visiting there again in the future.

Yes, I did change my plans mid-way through the trip, and no, I have no regrets about doing my trip half as a tour and half as day rides. Of course, looking back on my tours, I seem to have a habit of changing my plans, don't I? I guess that even when I plan a trip out ahead of time I still need to satisfy my partially hidden wanderlust.

And the issue with the scenic highway designation? I found out many years ago that I don't always agree that designated scenic highways are scenic, but somehow I forgot that as I was planning this trip. The day that I rode from Ellsworth to Winter Harbor and then around the Schoodic Penninsula to Prospect Harbor, there were scenic designations on a couple of stretches of road. While I agree that the portion of the road that hugged the coastline of the Schoodic Penninsula was unbelieveably beautiful and scenic, I don't agree that the section of Route 1 along Frenchman's Bay deserved the designation. Of course, that's my bias because to me a scenic road along the coast should provide many views of the coastline, and this one didn't. But in spite of my disagreeing with the scenic highway designation, the ride was still beautiful - just beautiful in a different way than I had expected!

If you're thinking of Maine as a touring destination, I recommend a visit to the section of the state called Downeast Maine. It is beautiful, and welcoming to a touring cyclist. In spite of warnings that (mainly non-cycling) friends had for me about riding on Route 1, I found it to be a reasonable road for riding - at least that far east in the state. I probably wouldn't be happy riding Route 1 in the western side of Maine (too much traffic, too many cars), but there are other options there.

This year isn't over yet, and I'm planning another tour. Or maybe I should say I'll be taking another tour, but I'm going back to not planning each day in advance. Keep an eye out for my next journal!