A dirt road on our way to Route 1, somewhere in Maine. In the rain.
Oh my word. All the nice things that people have said about our ride, how we have grit and we are bad ass and all? Today we earned it. Grit is a fine word for the day.
A breakfast send-off from Becki and Diane (note the blueberry cake, which did double duty as last night’s dessert and a breakfast treat this morning). Below, goodbye to Judy, who kept our bikes overnight in her barn and came with husband Dancer to dinner last night at Diane’s, her cousin.
Like our first day of riding, so many weeks ago out of Key West, we began our day full of innocence, wearing a bit of rain gear but thinking the sky might clear. Ha!
Just out of Ellsworth we tried the Down East Sunrise Trail, which runs for 80-plus miles toward our final destination but is pretty tough for all but the hardiest bicycles. We bailed on the trail after some nine miles. With fresh, large gravel on top of sand, it was like riding in a dry creek bed. The vibration alone was too much — Dee said it was like a nonstop rumble strip.
Off on the roads again, we made our way to good old Route 1, our friend since Florida. Truly. We can count on a decent shoulder on Route 1, mostly, and reasonably graded hills, even water views in Maine.
Except today there were no views. Fog and light rain gave way to windy rain, later to downpours. The temperature was in the 50s, far colder than Dee and I had clothes for, in the rain.
Finding our way off the gravel trail
We stopped at about 20 miles at a diner to warm up and dry off. French toast and coffee helped. As did the notion of finding some kind person with a pickup truck to take us on down the road. The older man sitting at the counter telling us about his motorcycle trip long ago and his lobstering would have been a fine candidate, but he drove a car.
We rode on another five to ten miles, checking once at a convenience store for a lift in a truck. The rain lightened for a bit and we refocused on riding. When the route took us down a dirt road with enormous puddles and gullies, we just had to belly laugh. In the rain. Grit.
Fifteen miles from our destination, we came to another diner in an otherwise sad crossroads. We stopped, knowing there wouldn’t be much where we were headed for the evening. We sat shivering and dripping and consumed endless cups of decaf, a roll and butter (Dee), basket of fries (me), and split a piece of apple crumb pie. Meanwhile the rain and wind picked up. We tried the truck idea again with a couple fellows seated near us, but the guy who responded was driving a jaguar that he says he smashed into a deer. He offered to text his boss and ask about borrowing his truck, just down the road, but that option seemed to fizzle out.
“I’m fighting with three lawyers right now who are all trying to steal my money,” the young man explained.
Knowing our issues weren’t quite so complicated, we pulled on our wet outer layers and headed back out on the road, bad ass women that we are. I actually hoped for hills to climb so I could warm up as the rain poured and the wind blew.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy to arrive at a roadside motel. After 62 hairy miles, we are safe and snug inside the sweet little Blueberry Patch Motel. Our room has a strong color scheme of blue going on but it’s clean and warm. We got a kind and sympathetic greeting from the proprietors as we dripped our way into their office (“I would have picked you two up in my truck if I passed you on a day like this,” the man said.)
It’s still pouring, but the forecast calls for the rain to end sometime tonight. Tomorrow we ride to the border. Given the news of the last few days, crossing on into Canada as refugees sounds smarter and smarter.