Day 15
Actually that should be 100 miles. The extra seven was used in a futile search for a cheaper motel. Then again, it was a great day to be riding and I enjoyed those extra seven miles.

I left Keene this morning about 8:45 in a light rain. The temperature in Keene was in the high 60's and, as I climbed east, it dropped to around 60F. Quite a contrast to the near 100F temperatures I experienced in New York a few days ago! Heading east on route 9 means a long climb - I climbed over 1000 feet in the first 10 miles -followed by rolling hills and then a descent before reaching Concord. Nice riding, if a bit chilly after the main climbing was over. There was only another 1000 feet of climbing in the next 40 miles. Not enough to keep me warm.

I had a very minimal breakfast (coffee and rolls) at my motel, then stopped, about 15 miles and an hour and a half into the ride, in South Stoddard at the general store / gas station for a real breakfast. This is a nice , friendly, down home place where I had two orders of pancakes with real maple syrup. I had to work a bit to finish the second order, but those pancakes were really good and also were really good biking food.

Coming into Concord I had to leave route 9 and take 127 and then 103 to avoid ending up on I-89. That diversion added a few miles and maybe 400 feet of climbing to the trip, but it was nice to get off the busy road (with a good shoulder) and on to quiet roads for a while. After that diversion I rode in to Concord on 9/202 which is much hillier and older than the section of 9 that merges with I-89. I stopped a passing cyclist, Art, to ask for routing info and eating suggestions. He did a very good job of supplying both - I had a great Italian Sub at the place he recommended and, with a little confusion because of street name changes, made it successfully through Concord and out east on route 4 - also route 9 and route 202 at that point.

I didn't really have to, but I did ride briefly on I-393 despite the cyclist prohibited sign where I entered. The silly interstate spur ends 2000 feet after that entry, becoming route 4. By breaking the law I saved having to cross two interstate access lanes and having to merge into a busy highway from the left. My way was much safer.

Heading east from Concord, on the rather busy highway, I decided that I'd skip Portsmouth on this trip and route through Dover instead. I saved maybe 10 miles of pretty urban riding by doing so. I left route 4 to ride 5 miles on route 155 into Dover around 5 PM. Riding conditions had been nearly ideal since before Concord (75 F, sunny, low humidity, and a tailwind), so I was able to make good time today. When I got to Dover I stopped at a filling station to ask about motels and about my route. I was told there wasn't much choice in motels (Day's Inn and Holiday Inn), but there was a cheaper 'Inn' out route 9 towards Somersworth. That's what I rode three and a half extra miles looking for, but apparently it no longer exists. I stopped to talk to a couple walking along the street after failing to find this 'Inn.' They were from Barwick Maine and told me that there was nothing, other than some B+Bs on the coast, ahead on my route.

I ended up riding back to the Day's Inn in downtown Dover. $66, with tax, for a room and continental breakfast. It is OK and the location is nice - right in the heart of Dover. I walked to a 'Mexican' restaurant nearby for a good, but not even remotely Mexican (!), meal. Dover's downtown is nice and lots of folks were out walking, although it isn't nearly as fun, or as alive, as Keene's downtown. Walking around in my wrinkled Supplex nylon 'Sunday' outfit, I felt a bit out of place. I haven't felt that way in any other state on this tour. Maybe it is my imagination, but I wouldn't want to live in NH. Western MA or southern VT I would like very much to live in, at least in the summer.

Tomorrow I'll head to the coast of Maine, joining (maybe) the AC route at Kennebunk.

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