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Trip Report - Maine Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway

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Trip Report - Maine Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway

Old 08-11-20, 06:41 PM
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Trip Report - Maine Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway

I posted a few photos from our last tour and got some private messages afterwards asking for more details on this tour. So here goes a trip report.

Maine Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway


Here is a link to the MBCSB gpx track

Here is a link to an official web site I found on google

Bold Coast of Maine, as far as I know, stands for the rugged ocean cliff coastline starting right after the coast of Acadia National Park and following the coast all the way to Canada. The gpx track pretty much accomplishes that task. It weaves along the coastline starting from Gouldsboro, traversing mostly quieter roads, mostly along the coast. Along the way You will be exposed to quiet, rustic and rough way of life in Washington and Aroostook Counties. The population is sparse, the jobs are sparse. Traditional jobs are in Lobster Fishing, Off Shore Fishing, Blueberry Picking and tourism. The last on the list, tourism, is really mostly undeveloped, especially compared to tourism southward along the coast. As a result, and in these covid times, the accommodations and services are somewhat sparse in some sections of the trail. I will describe day by day of our tour with mileage and elevation gain to give You some idea of what to expect.

Day 1:
40.97 miles and 1907 feet elevation gain
Start in Gouldsboro
We arrive in Gouldsboro and find the start of the trail


There was no place to park the car. We drove around a little bit and found nothing that would make us comfortable leaving the car for a week. Finally I looked at the map of the trail and the next town down the line was Winter Harbor. I googled where the fire station was and we decided we would drive there and ask whether we could park our car there. Start the trail from there and complete the Gouldsboro-Winter Harbor section on the return loop. When we arrived in Winter Harbor we loved the location for parking. The Fire Station was part of the town's safety building. I walked inside and asked the clerk directly whether it would be ok to park our car there for a few days. Permission granted without any fuss. Good!

We start biking around 11 AM and the route is breathtaking. It traverses the Schoodic Peninsula section of the Acadia National Park. Great Views. Then the route weaves in and out of small towns and coastal farmland. The traffic is very light and biking is comfortable.



We finish at Sunrise Point Campground after 40.97 miles and 1907 feet elevation gain. We called the campground from a gas station in Jonesboro. The man on the phone said they have a spot for us even though he is only supposed to accept pre reserved registrations. Good. Glad he made an exception. The campground is right on the quiet tidal coastal bay, bathrooms are clean, showers are well ventilated (covid), the campground is small (no crowds) and campsites are well spaced apart. We pitch our shelter, converse with campers next door, they give us some firewood, we take a shower, take a walk around the coast, make a campfire and retire for the night.


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Old 08-11-20, 06:42 PM
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Day 2
63.94 miles, 4141 feet elevation gain


Day 2 traverses rural Maine...welcome to 'district 2' Trump/Pence flags on flagpoles, lawns, and on trucks - everywhere. We stop at unposted blueberry field to take a photo of the blueberries when a car drives by and a raspy granny yells out at us : Get The F##k out of there!


Later while going uphill there is a truck that slows down and then revs the engine as he passes us only to turn into a driveway 100 feet after us. I think the driver just needed to drop something off because as we bike I keep a register of the truck sound behind me. The truck decides to turn right and follows us up another hill. As a procession of 4 vehicles passes us the truck is 3rd in line, window down and he yells out: Get the F@#k off the road! and speeds off. Ok. That rattled us a little but not enough to kill the great mood overall. We stop in Jonesport at a nice point with a picnic table for lunch:


Jonesport is also the location of the next campground on this route. But the day is still young. We decide to keep on biking. We make it to Machiasport and from there it's only a few more hills to Machias. In Machias we feel work out. We stop at a gas station for ice cream and cold drinks and check out camping opportunities. We only find a motel in Machias for $108. We decide to keep on biking with an option to find a stealth site along the way as there are no campgrounds for the next 40 miles. We follows the trail signs - the trail is really well marked. It is very hard to get lost. As 6pm passes us by we start looking seriously for a camping spot, checking out satelite view in google maps for dirt roads ahead of us. One road seems to go from behind a church to a wooded lot and continues past a few barrens and not houses in sight. We decide to go for it. The only sign posted we see is "No Motorized Vehicles" - check :-) We get into the barren and it seems like a blueberry field without the blueberries. We pitch our tent. It is a little thick with mosquitoes here but nice and quiet and private.
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Old 08-11-20, 06:43 PM
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Day 3
49.3 miles, 2707 feet elevation gain


This section of Maine coast feels even more deserted than the preceding days. One thing we notice and can't help griping about is the villages don't even have a picnic table out for the visitors. If I was a chamber of commerce for this region this is where I would probably start: Make visitors feel welcome.
We stop in a village of Cutler and sit on the grass at a small rotary where we eat some food and drink some water. We realize we are slightly low on water. There are no open stores, no gas station for the 30 - 40 miles on the trail, no fountains, no brooks with fresh running water. Only somewhat stagnant water ponds. We do have a water filter but still we opt to push on and make it to a gas station in Lubec.


In Lubec we also stop at a grocery store and an interesting thing happens. I crave sauer kraut! :-) I NEVER crave sauer kraut. I buy sauer kraut and I love it, I drink the sauer water too. :-) After the grocery store we circle in town and stop at a seafood restaurant for some lobster.


While we wait for our food I make a phone call to Cobscook Bay State Park and ask whether they have any camping spots open. After a confirmation we bike on towards Cobscook Bay State park. We reach it around 5pm, the campsite is wonderfully secluded, the showers have plenty of hot water. We retire happy and clean into our tent.
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Old 08-11-20, 06:43 PM
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Day 4
48.38 miles, 2820 feet elevation gain

This section of the trail makes an interesting split. It visits the town of Eastport but then we need to backtrack for almost 10 miles to continue along the trail to a town of Calais where the trail ends. We know we can finish the trail today but the closest campground is about 9 miles before Calais. We decide our goal will be to check into the campground and finish the trail next morning. We bike on to Eastport where we witness roadblock to a portion of the trail that traverses Native American territory. Due to Covid 19 severely affecting minorities we see that every street entering the the territories is barricaded with signs of NO ENTRY. We are decide to just follow the road to Eastport instead.



Today's bike ride traversed several opportunities to buy food and drinks. We bike on and arrive at the campground fairly early. Early enough to be able to swim in the lake a few times and eat a pizza on the patio of the campground store


This is our home for tonight:



​​​​​​​
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Old 08-11-20, 06:44 PM
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Day 5
63.49 miles, 2636 feet elevation gain


We wake up to a very subtle misting. The forecast for today is good but this morning is turning out a tiny bit wet. We pack up our stuff and head out. The bike ride to Calais flows fast. We reach the end of the trail early. We did it!



Now how do we get back to our car? :-) Just kidding. We expected to loop back on our bike. We decided to start biking through Moosehorn National Refuge - I totally recommend this route . It is quiet, secluded and has quality tarmac. After Moosehorn we start climbing again and traversing a ridge road until we arrive at a junction where our google directions are pointing us to a dirt trail named Sunrise trail. The trail looks doable for our tires so we decide to try it. We bike for approximately 10 miles and feel that the trail is just too straight and too monotone (it is a former rail trail). So we decide to go back onto a road, bike through Dennysville and reconnect with Route 1 that leads us past Cobscook Bay State park but then we stay on Route 1 and bike all the way to Machias after we stop at several opportunities to get cold drinks. We use booking.com to book the Machias motel for $108. We spread out our wet tent and air out our sleeping bag.
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Old 08-11-20, 06:45 PM
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Day 6
48.89 miles, 2548 feet elevation gain


We crank it out of the Motel bright and early, anticipating final day of the trip. We stop along the way to pick blueberries and in various towns for cold drinks.



It seems to be taking forever to reach the sign to the beginning of the trail in Gouldsboro


We think it's just a quick jaunt to Winter Harbor but nooo, we have to battle a few sizable hills before we get there. As a celebration we stop at a local seafood store where they have a steamer. We buy 4 steamed lobsters and devour them at a nice picnic table to celebrate the end of the trip.




I forgot to mention that one reason for trying to finish today was the forecast for a remnant of a hurricane hitting Maine tonight. We hop into a car and head home. We almost make it. The downpour starts about 15 minutes before we reach our house.
The trip is done. In 2 days we head out again - this time hiking Mt. Katahdin.
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Old 08-11-20, 07:47 PM
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Well done and thanks for sharing, really enjoyed your report.
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Old 08-11-20, 10:10 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to do this.
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Old 08-12-20, 06:57 AM
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Thank you very much for this... it helps in planning to hear about the details and (unfortunately) to COVID impacts.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:40 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing. We also ride a tandem and have been looking for a week-long east coast tour, yours looks very interesting. You mentioned lack of services and I was wondering if you good do motels in any of the towns you went through. Your daily mileage feels good for us but we would rather not camp. :-)
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Old 08-12-20, 08:03 AM
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Thanks for sharing. My wife and I were just up in Bar Harbor and Schoodic Point 2 weeks ago, it was hot as hell in the high 80's and humid. I rode the carriage roads at Acadia. Down East is a favorite destination with Cobscook our favorite campground. In Oct. when we visit, it's usually deserted and there are some wonderful sites out on points of land on the water. Beautiful campground, if hard to reach !. Agree on the Downeast Sunrise trail. You can take that all the way down too Ellsworth, but it is a bit monotonous. As well it can get busy with ATV's on the weekend, when the dust from their passage is annoying.
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Old 08-12-20, 08:27 AM
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I think there are some private options that function in non-covid times but now during covid the motels are far and few between...umm actually none between Machias and Lubec if You follow the trail. There were none I noticed between Winter Harbor and Machias as many were closed due to covid. Lubec to Calais I think there were a few options I noticed along the way.
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Old 08-13-20, 11:29 AM
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Thank you for posting. I've long been a fan of Maine once you get past Bangor. Also a demonstration that there are lovely places as you get off US-1.
It has been a while since I lived in New England, but I made a trip up through Lubec and then on into New Brunswick. Three small things that still stood out:
- Pronunciation of names like Calais
- I seemed to have hit a place where the default for iced tea was once again sweetened
- Eastern-most point had "west" in the name, e.g. West Quoddy Head
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Old 08-13-20, 02:01 PM
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So you took 4 days up and 2 days return, averaging bout 40-50 per day?

Nice report, this is my favorite part of Maine. You just planted a seed for a trip this September, hmmmm?
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Old 08-13-20, 02:07 PM
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One more question, are out of state tourists allowed?
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Old 08-13-20, 02:09 PM
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that depends on the state. I think states with high corona status require out of state visitors to quarantine. I think this link might help out as the information will keep fluctuating based on conditions https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restar...or%2014%20days.
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Old 08-13-20, 02:11 PM
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Yes. I could have finished in 3 days. We camped 10 miles before the finish line and could have easily reached the end. If we had accommodations near finish line we would have finished in 3 days.



Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
So you took 4 days up and 2 days return, averaging bout 40-50 per day?

Nice report, this is my favorite part of Maine. You just planted a seed for a trip this September, hmmmm?
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Old 08-13-20, 02:16 PM
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Thanks, That was fast.
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Old 08-13-20, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
One more question, are out of state tourists allowed?
Vermont, New Hampshire, NY, NJ and Connecticut allowed with no quarantine requirement or need to produce a CV test. All others are a 14 day quarantine or a negative CV test 72 hrs. prior to arrival. That includes Mass. and R.I. For some reason.

Judging by how many out of state plates I saw in the Bar Harbor area 2 weeks ago, itís seemingly and largely ignored with nobody checking, including no enforcement. We were shocked at how many people were visiting Acadia and not wearing masks while in areas with many tourists. It was disheartening.
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Old 08-14-20, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Vermont, New Hampshire, NY, NJ and Connecticut allowed with no quarantine requirement or need to produce a CV test. All others are a 14 day quarantine or a negative CV test 72 hrs. prior to arrival. That includes Mass. and R.I. For some reason.

Judging by how many out of state plates I saw in the Bar Harbor area 2 weeks ago, itís seemingly and largely ignored with nobody checking, including no enforcement. We were shocked at how many people were visiting Acadia and not wearing masks while in areas with many tourists. It was disheartening.
That is too bad, very hard to enforce without true leadership at the top. I don't get why folks are not wearing the masks in crowds. I wear them when I bike on the local trails. Our local trails are experiencing large numbers of mask-less walkers/bikers.
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Old 08-15-20, 05:01 AM
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Thanks for sharing it looks like a great trip. Iím in Maine all the time for work and keep saying Iím going to start riding up there sometime.
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Old 08-15-20, 06:48 AM
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Thanks for the posting. The route looks interesting. I'd like to check it out some day. I have only a sporadic experience with the state in the form of a few trips spread over the decades, none of it touring. I visited the Bar harbor area in a popup camper in the early 70s, wilderness canoe camped the St Johns river in the late 70s, did some whitewater kayaking on the Moose river in the 80s, and scrambled up Mt Katahdin 7 or 8 years ago. Maine is a beautiful state.

Did you get to Katahdin? I found it to be quite an effort. We went on a day when the weather turned out to be a little questionable with fog and blowing drizzle. I'd say 95% of the folks turned back where the route became exposed due to the weather. The weather made it feel like more of a serious effort when we got to the summit and it was fogged in and the wind was howling, but It was okay. We did get some breaks in the fog to get some limited views on the way down. The day would have been easier if I wasn't beat up from other summits on the way up the east coast where I tried to keep up with much younger fitter companions. One guy in particular I won't backpack or hike with again. Long story that I won't go too far in to, but it can really suck when someone takes over a pre-planned trip and changes it on the fly to take a longer more ambitious route and then later comments "Gee if I knew you were suffering that much I'd have left you in base camp". Fortunately he was only with us on Mt Marcy in NY. I wouldn't have done Katahdin if he was still with us.
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Old 08-15-20, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
it can really suck when someone takes over a pre-planned trip and changes it on the fly to take a longer more ambitious route and then later comments "Gee if I knew you were suffering"
Ha, I had a similar experience to this on a group bike tour several years ago. Ole "Iron Butt Steve" inwardly enjoyed riding everyone into the ground in order to feel good about himself. Wasn't long before he was made to walk the plank.
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Old 08-15-20, 10:45 AM
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Yes.. We made it to and up and down Katahdin! Lucky for us we got gifted with perfect weather window. I know, because I got turned around a winter summit of Katahdin 3 times in a row.

Nevertheless, Katahdin is a workout. Here are a few photos:










Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Thanks for the posting. The route looks interesting. I'd like to check it out some day. I have only a sporadic experience with the state in the form of a few trips spread over the decades, none of it touring. I visited the Bar harbor area in a popup camper in the early 70s, wilderness canoe camped the St Johns river in the late 70s, did some whitewater kayaking on the Moose river in the 80s, and scrambled up Mt Katahdin 7 or 8 years ago. Maine is a beautiful state.

Did you get to Katahdin? I found it to be quite an effort. We went on a day when the weather turned out to be a little questionable with fog and blowing drizzle. I'd say 95% of the folks turned back where the route became exposed due to the weather. The weather made it feel like more of a serious effort when we got to the summit and it was fogged in and the wind was howling, but It was okay. We did get some breaks in the fog to get some limited views on the way down. The day would have been easier if I wasn't beat up from other summits on the way up the east coast where I tried to keep up with much younger fitter companions. One guy in particular I won't backpack or hike with again. Long story that I won't go too far in to, but it can really suck when someone takes over a pre-planned trip and changes it on the fly to take a longer more ambitious route and then later comments "Gee if I knew you were suffering that much I'd have left you in base camp". Fortunately he was only with us on Mt Marcy in NY. I wouldn't have done Katahdin if he was still with us.
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Old 08-15-20, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
Yes.. We made it to and up and down Katahdin! Lucky for us we got gifted with perfect weather window. I know, because I got turned around a winter summit of Katahdin 3 times in a row.
I bet the weather can turn quickly in winter there. We succeeded on a second attempt at Mt Marcy on that trip after turning back due to at least hip deep snow on a Memorial day attempt a previous year. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses and head down.
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