Monday, 20 September 2010

The Far East

Let us pause for a while and consider what we have achieved! Firstly, we are at the most Easterly part of our trip, Bar Harbor (longitude -68.206558) on the Atlantic Ocean. The first time our Epic Journey spied the US Atlantic coast was on October 20, 2009 gazing out the window on board a British Airways flight holding position before safely landing at NY JFK. Secondly, we met an extraordinary amount of fantastic people today: Lesley, Paula, Danielle, Tim, Jack the beautiful chocolate brown Labrador, Muffy (she isn’t a vampire slayer) her husband David and an inspirational hard working American called Matt. Thirdly, we had 6 comments on yesterday’s Blog (3 of them should have been on today’s but we published it late …sorry), which made us feel great, so thank you Susie aka David & Sheila, The Rolling Reverend, Laura (you’re brilliant), Lesley and Paula aka david.

So, why was today a most wonderful experience? Well …leaving Bucksport this morning under clear and sunny skies and a refreshing chill in the air, we began our 47-mile ride into Bar Harbor feeling relaxed. The first 20 miles had to be navigated carefully, as in places the road surface was as bad as a couple of days ago and the traffic was pretty heavy, but we made it through without mishap and, just as we were ready for a quick break, we cycled into the lovely town of Ellsworth. Searching for somewhere to rest a while, we stumbled across a fantastic coffee shop called ‘Maine Grind’ and as we tucked into our cup cake, pain au chocolat, beer and coffee, we met Lesley the owner and Paula her friend. Chatting for ages before eventually saying our goodbyes, we wished we could have stayed longer, just chillin’ with Lesley and Paula in the sunshine. But of course it ‘aint over till the Fat Apple sings, so we parted company and carried on our journey along a picturesque highway heading toward Bar Harbor.

The road into Bar Harbor was also pretty busy with lots of RV vacationers and 18-wheelers finishing their shifts. Occasionally we would look to our right and catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean peering through the gaps between the huge houses that occupied the prime real estate, gorging on the fantastic views all to themselves. It was shame we couldn’t see more because we would have liked to take some pictures. Not despondent and hoping for better views tomorrow, we carried on up and down the surprisingly hilly terrain. At the top of one of the final climbs for the day, just as we were beginning the descent, we passed by two cyclers who we would meet later that night over dinner.

The Quimby Inn was our hotel for the night. Greeted by Tim and Jack, we parked our bikes in the shed, moved in to our room and kicked back and relaxed. We’re not too sure why, but we have been finding our rides quite difficult of late. In comparison to the gargantuan rides completed early in the trip, it’s baffling why our recent ones aren’t a ‘ride in the park!’ If any of you have any theories…please share. So after a brief rest we got ready for dinner and made our way out to Main Street. Walking through the hotel reception we got talking to Danielle, the other owner, and shared stories. She explained that she hiked for 6 months, completing 2,174 miles along the Appalation Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine] raising money for MS in honour of her mother and like us, doing something challenging for herself. Again we had a long and great chat with Danielle and are very impressed with what she achieved.

Downtown Bar Harbor is a lovely little place, full of great shops and bustling with activity. On Lesley’s recommendation, we found a great restaurant called This Way CafĂ© and were tucking into some great food, when a rather healthy looking couple sat down on the table next to us and said “are you two cyclists?” “Yes were are” replied Anthony, “how did you guess?” To which David replied “your skin colour”. We all laughed, knowing that in rich affluent areas of America you don’t see many black guys! David and his wife Muffy explained that they noticed us whizzing past them down one of the final descents into town. We noticed them but didn’t recognize them in the restaurant, which is understandable ‘cause all white people look the same you know! We spoke for hours about all sorts of stuff and had a great time. David was especially interested in how fast we went down hill as he thought he was going at a fair clip. Muffy found the descent quite hairy, so she road on her breaks for most of it, which is fair enough. We explained that we were also pretty scared on the descent with all the big potholes in the road, taking it easy and keeping our speed below 35mph.

We had a great day today and are looking forward to our rest day here in Bar Harbor.

Us x

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