We did it! We are done! I know this to be true, but neither my head or body comprehend what it means quite yet. I know that when we got to the traffic circle in the photo above and took a few pictures, I gave Dee a hug and the tears started — and they keep coming.
I started the morning with a familiar sense of anxiety, the kind of nerves I used to feel on the morning of a marathon. Why, after riding all this way, did a 55-mile day suddenly feel daunting? Just nerves. Dee said she felt similar nerves, they had kept her from sleeping much just like the night before a marathon.
Marla at our Blueberry Patch Motel gave us blueberry muffins, yogurt, and coffee along with a little road intelligence — Cooper Mountain would be a doozy of a downhill. So that gave me something to worry about the first 20 miles or so — flying down a steep mountain and flipping over my bike on our last day! Our route kindly, happily turned right just after the sign to Cooper.
We had a picnic at the Dennysville town office at 30 miles because there were no coffee shops or convenience stores to be had. It was one of our quietest and most remote rides of the trip. With very little traffic, we mostly had the road to ourselves. Rolling hills, thick woods, pretty streams. We kept intersecting with the Down East Sunrise Trail, which looked beautiful and flatter than our route but still gravel — so we stuck to the East Coast Greenway’s road alternative.
The last 10 or so miles before Calais were our most remote as we entered the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. We got weird texts from our phones welcoming us to Canada and Dee noticed that her phone had jumped an hour ahead to Canadian time. We waved away a few black flies and rolled over a few more hills before hitting Route 1, our old friend, and Calais.
We had a welcoming party in town on the St. Croix River: Sally, our long-lost driver who dropped us off eight weeks ago in Key West, and M’lyn from Rhode Island, who warmed and fed us at her house that rainy day we left Connecticut (who knows when ago). M’lyn had an “East Coast Greenway Finish Line” banner hanging for us to ride through. And the tears started again.
Watch a Relive video of the ride:
For eight long weeks, Dee and I have been held up by so many of you. (The tears again.) You have cheered us on with your blog comments, your “likes” and “wows.” Many of you housed us, fed us, even rode along with us and laughed at our stories. We agreed early on that your enthusiastic interest in our trip helped carry us over the rainy days and the hot days. And the days that were stunningly beautiful, we couldn’t wait to share them with you. Thank you for coming along for the ride. (Tears.)
We leave you with this photo of Dee’s mother, photographed by Dee’s brother, Phil, at their home in southern England as they celebrated the end of our ride. She’s 93 and was an avid cyclist (and yogi) in her day, biking to do her errands eight miles away or so. She’s been following our trip through Dee’s texts and photos to family. Talk about inspirational. Ride on!