Denise Goldberg's blog

Feeding an addition
Rolling on 2 wheels from home to Portsmouth & back again

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Feeding an addiction... An addiction to what? Can't you guess?

Looking back, written on May 23, 2007

I am addicted
Bicycle and camera
Touring, wandering

Active legs, eyes too
Pedal-powered, magic pics
Addicted am I!

The calendar says it's supposed to be spring; it seems like it's been gray and wet and cool for a very long time. I thought my early April escape to the warmth and red rocks of Zion National Park would settle my wanderlust for a while. It did for a short period of time, but my desire to wander on my bike keeps bubbling to the surface. It must be time for a short jaunt.

I've been watching (and waiting) for a good weather weekend all month, and until now a dry weekend has been well beyond my reach. All I really wanted was dry weather, with temperatures in the 60s. It's May; that should have been a very reasonable wish. As we entered this week, it looked like the upcoming weekend would be a good one - finally. But then... the weather wizard added the possibility of thunderstorms for Sunday. Hmmm... what to do? This morning I looked at the forecast and came up with what I think is a good solution. We're supposed to have a taste of summer for the next three days, with sunshine and temperatures inching into the 90s. That's warmer than I wanted, but I can use those days. I know, I'll take a vacation day on Friday and do a Friday-Saturday trip.

Planning? Not needed!

Where? Home to Portsmouth and back again... that's either a quick 2-day trip or a very long pedal across a big ocean. I'm headed for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, not the Portsmouth in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of the UK. Oh, you're right, I am playing games with names... silly!

And yes, my two-day wander will be a repeat of the roads that I wrote about in my journal Rolling by the shortest coastline last May. I promise that I will find different things to write about, and different things to photograph.

Please join me as I wander up that shortest coastline once again.

You're going to come visit the New Hampshire coast on your bicycle? I might consider getting out of the water once more to visit with you and to check out your two-wheeled transportation. Can I have a ride?
I'll be passing by what seems to be called home by three mute swans not once but twice - a benefit of my out-and-back route. I wonder if the swans will be close enough to pose for some more pictures...

Will the ocean entertain me with crashing waves? Or will it be a quiet water day? Or somewhere in between?
I look forward to having the ocean just a glance away as I ride along the shortest edge of New Hampshire.

Table of Contents

For now, please use Blogger's list of posts in the sidebar to follow my trip in reverse sequence. I plan to flip this blog on its head so that the posts flow from oldest to newest (like the table of contents in a book), adding a real Table of Contents and a Page by Page sidebar entry, and adding (better) next and previous links at the bottom of each post.

I probably won't be able to make these changes for the next several weeks.

...Denise, January 18, 2009

Monday, May 28, 2007


Yes, of course there are more!

I took far fewer than my normal number of pictures on this trip. Why? A good part of the reason was the haze and the very quiet ocean, neither of which provide a good background for interesting shots. And I suspect that another reason is that at the beginning and end of my trip that I was traveling on roads that my bike and my camera traverse regularly - and my camera eye is always on the lookout for something different. That said, there are more (and different) photos in my photo galleries.

Photos from this trip can be seen in the gallery Feeding an addiction - May 2007.

If you share my fascination with the mute swans, my photos from a visit with these great white birds from earlier this month can be seen in the gallery Mute swans roaming, May 2007.


Rover's thoughts - bark!

It's my turn to write now! And I really don't bark much - talking like a human works much better. At least people understand what I am saying if I use their language.

I tried to help Denise by keeping an eye out for photo opportunities, but the haze and quiet ocean kept our photo count much lower than usual.

It was really hot too - Denise's face was just caked with the white crust of dried sweat by the time that we finished our ride each day. We went through a lot of Gatorade on this trip, the strawberry kiwi flavor. I like that one. Oh, and I have to admit I wasn't happy when Denise told me that we weren't going to be carrying any chocolate with us because she thought that it would melt. I think she's probably right; she did bring some CLIF bars containing chocolate chips. Wow, they tasted good - but the whole bar was kind of melty. If she had listened to me and brought real chocolate, I think it would have been a mess. It would have tasted good though. The energy bars worked during our ride, and the hotel very nicely put out a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that answered my chocolate craving.

Let's see, what else happened on our ride? The mute swans didn't want to pose, but the sea gulls always do, so we did get some bird pictures. I'm afraid that Denise is thinking about getting a bigger lens for her camera so that we can make the birds come a little closer to us. I ride in the rack trunk along with the big camera, and while adding another lens to that space will take away some of my room to wander, I think that I will still be comfortable riding there. I'll still be happy riding there, as long as I have easy access to the food AND the cameras. After all, I need to be able to take some pictures while we are rolling down the road. (Besides, she'll probably take a long time to make a decision on a big lens, won't she?)

That road along the coast is very popular with cyclists. There were a lot of people out on bikes. And on our way home we saw a couple of groups that looked like club (or team) rides. One group of cyclists was bad from a standpoint of sharing the road, and one was really good. It just goes to show that it really is possible to follow the rules of the road and still share the road. The New Hampshire vehicle code allows cyclists to ride two abreast. The "not nice" group was coming toward us, riding two abreast. And they were not paying attention to the other traffic on the road. They were moving pretty quickly, but not as fast as the cars behind them. There was quite a line of stalled traffic. (Oh, and the road that we were on was pretty narrow, not wide enough for a car to swing out and pass this two-abreast group of cyclists without taking the entire oncoming lane.) The other group was heading in the same direction that we were. They let us know that they were passing, and quickly pulled in front of Denise & I, riding two abreast. Then one of them called "car back", and the group quickly merged into a single line to let the car pass before doubling up again. Nice. That just goes to show that it really is possible to share the road nicely.
Oh, I know, I shouldn't care about this stuff. But Denise is always conscious of taking enough of the road to be safe, but not so much to be in the way of others for a long chunk of time.

OK, I'm done with my somewhat political statement. Back to our trip...
Let's see, what did I like about this trip? I went rock climbing for the very first time, scaling a couple of towers along the rocky shore just past North Hampton Beach. Yes, they were human-made structures, but very cool. And I found it interesting that we didn't even notice them on our trip home; I believe that they were still there.

I thought Denise should have bought that blue fish chair, but we weren't using the trailer on this trip so it would have been really hard to get it home. (And we really don't need any furniture...)

And the wind? Don't tell Denise that I stuck my head out for a while on our journey to the west; I just love the feeling of the wind in my ears!

I wonder where we're going to wander later this year... Denise has been talking about taking a trip in late August or early September, but she hasn't told me where. I don't think she's decided yet. Humans sometimes seem to take a really long time to make decisions, don't they?
--- Rover, happily (restlessly?) waiting for our next adventure!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Photos: Massachusetts

Photos: New Hampshire

West wind rising...

...can you see it?

Repeat after me, the wind is my friend, the wind is my friend.

Today's sky was a much nicer shade of blue than yesterday's, and it was decorated with puffs of white clouds. I don't think that the temperatures jumped quite as high, but it was still hot enough to leave my face caked with dried sweat (again!) by the end of the day. The wind? There were a couple of sections of my route where the wind was definitely a factor. It helped push me down the coast, but as I headed to the west it did a good job of trying to stop me in my tracks. Note that I did say trying though. My bike and I continued on our roll towards home even though there were times when our forward speed dropped much lower than normal - even for normally slow-moving me - on absolutely flat terrain. Funny though, as I moved from route 110 and dropped down to the Merrimack River, the wind apparently decided to leave me for a while. Nice!

I took a minute before I left the hotel this morning to consult the local map that I had picked up yesterday. Ah, that was a good thing to do because it turns out that Portsmouth is a swirl of one-way streets. I knew I wanted to find Route 1B; I knew where the start of that road lived, but I didn't know that best way to get there from where I was. The tourist map that I picked up yesterday very nicely had arrows on the roads indicating their direction of travel. It was still somewhat of a circular route to 1B, but at least it was one circle and not multiples.

Taking Route 1B out of Portsmouth loops through New Castle to the east, crossing several bridges across sections of the Piscataqua River along the way. Yes, 1A all the way would have been slightly shorter, but I enjoy the views and the quiet road. I followed 1B as it looped back to the west, picked up 1A, then headed east once again before hitting the Atlantic Ocean and turning to the south. It was another quiet ocean day, tiny rolls of waves coming in to touch the shore. I really prefer the wild water days, but quiet water can be calming, can't it?

Oh look, there is a pair of ducks hiding along the edge of the water. I wonder if I can catch some pictures of them? (If you look at a map of the New Hampshire coast, you will see the ocean to the east of the road, and other waters to the west. It's the water to the west where I usually see ducks and the elusive mute swans. The sea gulls hang out near or in both bodies of water.) I rode past where I saw the ducks, "parked" my bike, grabbed my camera, and snuck back to see if the ducks wanted to pose for me. Success!

A bit further down the road, I passed Jenness Beach, then came to the sometimes home of the mute swans. There was a flock of sea gulls cavorting in the water, and two of the mute swans ventured towards the shore. They didn't come close enough for good pictures - although I did grab a picture of one trying to take off. I wish he had been closer. Uh oh! I sense a desire for a longer lens for my camera...

The first half of my ride was the section that hugged the coastline - I think about 24 miles (if I remember the numbers on my odometer before I turned to the west). Tell me, how long does it take to ride 24 miles? I left the hotel at 9, and I managed to spend almost three hours along the coast. No, I wasn't riding all of that time. I was riding, stopping, taking (a few) pictures, absorbing the sights around me. And I really believe that I would have been there even longer if it had been a wild water day. Don't take that as a complaint; for me touring isn't just riding, it's riding and absorbing my surroundings, stopping to look.

I briefly considered dropping down to Route 113 - south of the river - for the ride home, but I'm very glad I decided on a reverse journey for today. Reverse with the change of taking the section of road next to the river that I inadvertantly missed yesterday, that is! As planned (this time), I dropped from Route 110 to the road that hugs the northern edge of the river, hoping that the section that I inadvertantly missed yesterday wasn't too bad. There was a short section of road that was closed, but the concrete barriers closing the road sported an opening that was more than wide enough for a bicycle widened by panniers. I decided to give the closed road a try. It was paved, and the sections that the flooded river had torn away had actually been patched. Not a bad section of road, and not a car in sight.

From the bridge across the Merrimack, I climbed once more to pick up Route 113. Picture stops... a wood-worker's Adirondack chair variation - shaped like a fish - insisted I stop for a picture, and then I had to stop at that field of bright orange poppies once again. Since I wasn't carrying a computer with me, I had no idea if yesterday's photos were good ones, so I stopped to take some more! (See, didn't I tell you my camera is an addiction?)

Today's ride was almost a reverse of yesterday's skipping the two inadvertant detours that I took yesterday. In spite of the fact that this was essentially the same tour I took last year at this time - it was still different. I returned home with the same feeling as I did last year; I'll happily repeat this tour again sometime in the future.