Two and a half days later, here we are taking off from Gloucester. The backpacks are folded away inside the panniers, the bike is fully assembled, and we're ready for our Return To Maine.
Then we spent three nights on the Piscataqua River, where airbnb owners Michael and Petra provided a canoe we took for two adventures. They were demanding efforts on this large tidal river so the camera actually stayed in its waterproof case, except for a shot of our cottage. Taking our hands off the paddles for any length of time after that was not something we cared to do. But after shooting downriver with a four-knot tide past ocean-going vessels, we found quiet cove, took some photos, and stopped at a boat-in cafe for coffee and lunch. That small red canoe on the right was our transport. We waited for the incoming tide for the return, but had quite a time of it. The 4-knot tide going with us and the 12-knot headwind in our face battled mostly to a draw, so it was a hard 7-mile paddle back compared to the trip downstream. The next morning we headed upstream starting at high tide, so we had slack water for half an hour, then an outgoing tide to fight for an hour. When we turned around for the trip back, though, we now had an even stronger current working for us, and even a light tailwind. Tides and wind, wind and tides -- we're going to be thinking about them a lot this summer!
We'll also be seeing a lot of beaches. Maine has few of any size, but there are pocket beaches in most of the areas where we'll be, great for getting out of a canoe and restoring sensation to your legs. We did detour the bike to a beach in Massachusetts, Plum Island. It even has separate areas for birds to breed and for people to -- enjoy the beach. The Parker River Nat'l Wildlife Refuge offered some trails to explore the sand dunes and the marsh lands behind the barrier created by the dunes.
We've been on the go now for 14 days and nights. One more 2-night stay and we reach our first week-long cabin, in Boothbay Harbor. We'll tell you about it in our next blog entry.