My Route

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Day 6: Saturday, 7th July. Destination: White Goose Inn, Orford, New Hampshire

We said cheerful goodbyes to our hosts Bill & Loretta at the Red Sleigh B&B heading out of town up the Lost River pass over Mt. Moosilauke. By now, these climbs are becoming second nature, almost. I was a bit ahead and noticed a couple of girls cycling up behind us. They passed E&E, and soon caught up with me. We started chatting, so I picked up my tempo a bit and they reduced theirs. They told me that local cyclists referred to the Kancamagus Pass as “The Kanc”, and they were planning to cycle up Mt. Moosilauke and down the other side, turn back, do the Kanc and back to Lincoln before meeting up with family in the nearby town of Woodstock (yes, that Woodstock). Just a nice morning’s cycle.

Well, by that time, my increased tempo was beginning to take its toll so I encouraged them to get on with it. Overtaken by girls; the humiliation. OK, so they were on racing bikes and carrying no luggage and pretty fit, but even so. Their friend, another girl, caught up with me soon after. She was the “unfit one” of the three, but soon overtook me too… seemed like I was rapidly running out of excuses for my plodding pace. When I got to the summit they were taking a break so we chatted some more before they hurtled off. I got out my camera to snap E&E reaching the top, and they responded by cycling side by side, holding hands for the photo. For the record, there was a museum up there where you could pan for gold (I just used the loo), and a crossing-point for the Appalachian Trail.

The rest of the day should have been short and easy, but Edward’s chain broke, then it started to pour with rain. And our bums were really beginning to hurt. We made it into the small town of North Haverhill where there was a bike shop, barely stopping to glimpse at the stunning New England barns red painted and solemn sitting amongst lush, green fields. At the bike shop Edward decided to replace his chain, and thus also his rear cassette. We took the opportunity to have a leisurely lunch at an oddly oversized fast-food cafĂ©, which seemed big enough to serve as the Village Hall despite being mostly empty. You could have anything you wanted there, as long as it was deep-fried. We opted for the deep-fried veggies, with deep-fried curly-fries, deep-fried cheesy-stuffed potato skins and a side or two of (free!) popcorn. Mmm…

Onward to the town of Orford, on the Connecticut River. A strange little place, rather elegant yet strung out along a single street as if uncertain as to where the centre should be. As a result, we were uncertain where our B&B should be. But a combination of local helpfulness at the general store and Edward’s sat nav got us to the edge of town and the characterful White Goose Inn, a porch-encircled two-storey house with a narrow staircase leading up to our attic rooms. Our host Marshall seemed a little reticent at first – a trait we’d yet to come across on our journey – but he warmed up as the evening progressed, driving us the short distance across the river to Orford’s other half, Fairlee in Vermont, where the restaurants were. He drove us up and down the street before we chose a nice, homely place with a deck lit up with fairy lights, serving good beer and excellent grilled salmon. We walked back across the wide steel bridge in darkness; the river looking black and mysterious at it disappeared into the night, with fireflies picking out the riverbank with tiny points of light.