The hill awaits and so I start super early to get it done and over with before the sun gets nasty. And let me tell you: it makes hell of a difference whether you climb in the sizzling heat or in the morning cool.
The miles are long and steep. I walk most of them. I look at all the passing pick-up trucks with a certain longing… Will it really be that bad if I hitched a ride? Nobody will know. It’ll save me 2 to 3 hours of a climb. It’s just 12 kilometres. Where’s the harm? And Alan said yesterday that it was okay to cheat once a day, didn’t he?
Well, nobody would know if cheated except that I WOULD, so uphill patiently I walk. I am motivated to get as far as possible, for someone told me there is a Polish cyclist doing the TransAm a day or two ahead of me, so I want to meet him.
Once on top of the mountain, the road is covered with big jumping cockroaches (I hear they’re called crickets). The Biblical plague of locust seems to be re-enacted in front of my very eyes. Shivering from disgust, I am grateful the road is all downhill for, after only some 10 minutes, I am out of there, effortlessly cruising down into Cambridge.
The evening come, I make it into New Meadows. I hunt for a house for the night and decide to go for the one with cats, a tyre swing hanging from the tree and a hammock. Whomever has cats and a hammock cannot possibly be a dangerous person, right? It’s Jess, a 50-year old poet and wine rep, who opens the door. He’s really amused by my request and, taken by surprise, does not find anything else to say but “sure, come in!” Lucky me!