On our way to the eastern seaboard we stopped to refuel our internal tanks at a small, recently opened organic market. The store was beautiful, with pictures of farmers that had grown the produce on the walls. This is the kind of place that white folks go crazy for - it just gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside that can only come from buying a free-trade $50 bottle of wine (even if it is made from endangered Kenyan grapes). Clancy picked up some tasty steel cut oats and struck up conversation with one of the owners. After hearing about our trip she gave us a DELICIOUS block of sharp cheddar weighing in at over a pound - a ten dollar value! We had already bought a smaller block of cheese that day in anticipation of making grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Nevertheless, determined not to let any food go to waste, we each consumed over ¾ lbs of cheese that night, an act that our digestive systems did not forgive us for.
Further down the road in Rockport, a woman approached us out front of the public library. She stopped herself mid-sentence, “Oh, you’re not who I thought you were - but would you be interested in doing some yard work around my house?” We thought about it for a just a second and later that evening found ourselves raking leaves and moving branches out front of Joy’s house. A little hard work helped remind us of what it’s like to earn a living. OK, maybe not, but it did allow us enough funds to enjoy a lobster lunch. Lobster was great (neither of us had tasted it before!) but I think I could have eaten about ten of the suckers. Nonetheless, we felt it was a fitting reward for having bicycled across the country.
The following night we found ourselves in a town called Bucksport, unsure of where we would spend the night. Thankfully, a helpful young lady pointed us in the direction of a church. As we sat out front the chapel she approached us again, “Are you guys looking for a place to stay for the night? I talked to my parents and we have plenty of room and spare beds if you are interested.“ Our spirits soared like hang gliders in a hurricane. Turns out that Meg, her father John Paul, and mother Melissa had just returned from a two week trip to Colorado and Utah to visit family. Not even settled back in themselves, they invited us into their home and treated us to ginger ale/sorbet floats (yum!). Delightful company and truly caring people, Melissa sent us out on the road the next day with four sandwiches for lunch and a giant jar of homemade strawberry jam. PB and Js made with this stuff tasted like heaven between two slices of bread.
The next day we reached Bar Harbor, the most northeast point of our journey and true ending point of our first coast-to-coast crossing! We dipped our tires in the Atlantic Ocean in ritualistic celebration and I took a moment to showcase my physique on the shoreline - or rather lack thereof (right). People often ask us if we feel stronger, having come over 4,500 miles thus far. We respond by mentioning that we feel kind of tired. In all seriousness, we are terribly excited that the expedition is not yet nearing its end; it would be far too early for the fun to come to a halt. At this point we are brainstorming scenarios that would allow us to continuing touring for the remainder of our lives. Anyone have the winning power ball numbers for next week?
Bar Harbor is a bustling retail center for tourists, but more importantly is home to Acadia National Park. At night, while checking out the downtown we experienced a most fortunate chain of events. We started talking to a group of gentleman that were super excited about our trip. One of the fellows by the name of George asked us if we were doing any fundraising and I filled him in on our two charity beneficiaries, Breast Cancer Research and Habitat. He promptly whipped out his wallet and handed us a $100 bill. Awestruck, I just kind of stood there with my mouth hanging agape. “You can put that toward whichever cause you‘d like, I respect what you guys are doing” said George. Yes sir, George’s generosity renewed our fundraising faith. Just about 30 seconds after this happened we found ourselves in a conversation with Hanah, a middle school science teacher that was taking a summer course at the College of the Atlantic. She had cycled cross country before and the college was one of her stopping points. As if to pass on the torch of tradition, she gave us a tour of the campus and some recommendations on where to stay. Hanah was an awesome adventurer and free spirit. She even had some suggestions concerning what to explore in Acadia Park.
The next morning we awoke anticipating a full day of fun in the park. Acadia is a gorgeous 55 square mile preserve featuring a plethora of mountains, lakes, woodlands and ocean shoreline. We started the day by riding the park loop, a scenic road that winds around the rocky coastline of the peninsula. Panoramic ocean views were the norm on this breathtaking ride, but the best view was still to come. We hopped off the bikes and onto a hiking path that headed up Beehive Mountain. The short but very steep climb afforded us a 360 degree vantage point from which to survey our surroundings. Especially notable was the view of Sand Beach (right). Some pictures of Acadia seem to depict another planet; the abundance of rock mixed with the alpine atmosphere all perched on the coastline certainly made for a distinct viewing experience (check out the photos page). After our eyeballs were full, we set about filling our bellies with copious amounts of wild blueberries found all over the mountain top. To reward ourselves for the hot, steep climb we also jumped into a mountain pond to cool off. The tadpoles didn’t seem to mind.
To round out our Acadia experience we headed over to Jordan Pond. Jordan Pond features a restaurant famous for its popovers - a hollow, muffin like creation served right out of the oven with butter and jam. Popovers lived up to the hype, though I probably could have eaten about 30 of the things. Before we left the park we checked out some carriage roads. These were paths built by Rockefeller so that he could enjoy his super sized back yard of yesteryear; there are over 40 miles of such scenic carriage roads that crisscross Acadia. Just before our departure we had the pleasure of speaking with an awesome and fascinating couple. They had hopped trains clear from San Diego, CA to the east coast with their adorable dog named “Cush.” This journey had taken them six months and they had accumulated many terrific stories and experiences along the way. The two reminded me of characters straight out of the book Harris and Me.