Camping Bike Tour
Ah Maine, I don’t know what it is, but I really like this state. I’ve been a few times now; My first time we went to Camden for a Wind Jammer cruise back in 1998, and it was hands down the best vacation I have ever had in my life.
Our most recent adventure in Maine was through L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School where we did their Camping Bike Tour, or as I was calling it the Yuppie Bike Tour. The reason for yuppie is because of the camping part — they provided tents, cots, Adirondack chairs, running water (showers and toilets), etc. I’m used to rugged camping and this felt like cheating. Of course, Ali was thrilled with the amenities, and probably wouldn’t have even suggested the trip otherwise.
The program was just an overnight with two days biking around the Maine coast. We decided to take Friday and Monday off to give us leisurely travels to and from Maine. We left Friday morning driving most of the day. We got to Portland around dinner time and headed into the Old Port section of downtown to find a place to eat. After dinner we headed into Freeport to find our hotel.
Saturday morning we made it to the Outdoor Discovery Grounds bright and early beating the 18 or so other people who would be participating in the weekend events. Normally I would have given Ali a hard time about this, but we got first pick of the tents, and a few other benefits. As a result we took the tent with the best view of Casco Bay.
The first day of riding wasn’t too challenging for me, but was a good ride for Ali. I tried to ride at Ali’s pace for the bulk of the 20 mile ride. About half way through we came to a beautiful park right on the ocean where we stopped and had lunch. Afterwards we rode to a small farm where some live stock was about. We rested as we looked around, and eventually we continued on back to the campground.
At the campground Ali took a nap and I began reading L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon, which was conveniently left in all of the tents. It was good enough that I bought a copy the next day when we visited the Bean store. Eventually we showered and then drove into town to get a bottle of wine to go with dinner.
Dinner was fresh Maine lobster direct from the ocean, and for those of us who are allergic to shell fish they also had steak which came from a locally raised and organically fed animal. That evening, with a small fire glowing in the fire can, we all sat around chatting and getting to know each other. Sometime around 9pm a small rain storm moved in and everyone retired to their tents.
The next morning we were greeted with pancakes chalked full of fresh Wild Main Blueberries, fruit, and ham. After gorging on breakfast, I would have been content to sit around in my Adirondack chair and just relax, but alas the open road was calling.
We had a choice of the short ride, which turned out to be about 25 miles, or a long ride, which was about 32 miles. I took the longer ride, and Ali the short one. Since I had taken it easy the day before my goal was to ride hard, and I did just that. At the half way point we stopped at a wharf or a point or something and had lunch. Due to the varying lengths in the rides everyone was really spread out, and we didn’t get to eat lunch together as a group. I guess we didn’t really get back together after that. As people returned to the camp ground they packed up and left. Ali and I had another day in Freeport so we weren’t in a hurry to leave, and ended up lounging in a hammock for a little while.
That night we ate at a great little pizza place called Antoinette’s (or something like that). It was Greek like Mata’s, and though they weren’t as good as Mata’s they were a close second. After diner we went to the Bean store and indulged our Beanly desires.
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