55.79 Miles / 4171.29 Total Miles
3176 Ft. Elevation Gain / 146,397 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
Spoiler!!!!! The last day of our second insane odyssey is complete! Tomorrow, Chris and Linda will be picking us up in his van to drive us around Acadia, which will be MUCH more enjoyable than cycling around the National Park, and a wonderful ending to the trip. They will then drop us off in Bangor to catch our flights home.
The missing days in this blog? I will catch them up, when I catch up on sleep, mail, my daughter and grandkids, and a few other things that await me in Arizona.
Here’s what happened today:
We got off to an early start. I had already eaten breakfast, back at the motel, but Ed was through with oatmeal and wanted a REAL breakfast. So before we even got out of Searsport, we stopped at “The Best Kept Secret,”—Just Barb’s. Restaurant. I ate one super delicious blueberry pancake, that was completely loaded with fresh blueberries, then it was time to get on the road for what we though would be a relatively easy 53 mile day, with 2800 ft of climbing.
The day was a sampler of all the things I enjoy, while riding–some art, some funk, some history, some architecture, some great food, some nice and helpful people, some memorials, some challenging cycling and a miracle. It also delivered up some things I would be happy to never see again in my entire life (a girl can dream): Busy, congested roads, with no shoulder, and super steep hills. Not complaining. The good WAY outweighed the bad, making for a very fine day on the bike.
Our first big surprise of the day was stumbling onto the bridge over the Penobscot Narrows and the Fort Knox State Historic Site, which are adjacent to each other. The bridge is an engineering marvel, that was built in just 42 months, after the previous historic bridge was found to be unsound, during one of its maintenance inspections. The design of the new bridge included an elevator in one of the two towers and an observatory at the top, so people could enjoy spectacular views of the river, Bucksport, and Fort Knox.
One of the best preserved fortifications on the New England seacoast, Fort Knox was built between 1844 and 1869—the first fort in Maine built entirely of granite. It is named after Major General Henry Knox, the first U.S. Secretary of War and Commander of Artillery during the American Revolutionary War, who at the end of his life lived nearby. The fort was manned during the Civil War and the Spanish American War, but was never involved in combat.
After spending some time in the Observation Tower and exploring the Fort, we rode across the bridge, into Bucksport, and it was time for lunch. So we asked some total strangers, on the street for recommendations, and each ended up ordering a Boss Hog burrito at 86This! I couldn’t eat the whole thing, but I definitely bagged enough carbs to make it through the rest of the day.
After stopping to take a photos of the yard art, below, we had only ridden short distance, when Ed noticed his music wasn’t playing. When he looked down to figure out why, he noticed his phone had fallen off his bike. He flipped his bike around on a dime, sped back toward the dragons, and quickly spotted his phone laying on the ground, 2-3 feet out in the traffic lane of US Highway 1. Yikes! Did I mention that we were riding in busy, end of season, weekend traffic, on the only road leading to Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor? As Ed rode toward the oncoming traffic, he signaled desperately to the cars, to get them to move over, so they wouldn’t crush his phone. Just as he was catching up to the phone, a car was heading right toward it. And that’s when Ed got the miracle. Somehow, he caught the driver’s attention, and at the last second, the car swerved and missed the phone and Ed, and he was able to snatch that beloved phone from impending doom. Hallelujah, and well executed, Ed!
Once on the island, US Highway 1 branched off to the left, and we branched off to the right on Maine Route 3, which, thankfully, had slightly less traffic. We still had a ways to go to get to Bar Harbor, and this is where I discovered that the route I was anticipating on my GPS was not the route we were taking. Our route was a couple of miles longer and had more and steeper hills. Why? Why? Why? My legs were tired of steep hills, but now, both Ed and I had some strange form of adrenalin fueling us. We were muscling our way up hills that we normally would havre shifted into an easier gear for, because we were like horses headed for the barn. We pulled into Bar Harbor, found our way to the rocky beach, at the harbor, and made history–history for us, that is.
We wished we could take some time to celebrate, but we were under the gun. We had to take our bikes to the local bike shop, before they closed, in a little over an hour, but before we could do that, we had to ride to our motel, check in, drop off all our bags, shower and change into clean clothes, and ride back to said bike shop. We made it! Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop will be packing our bikes in boxes and shipping them for us, and their super speedy process had us out the door in under 5 minutes. Amazing! I’ll miss you, my trusty bike, till we meet again!
With the bikes set for shipping, we walked a couple of blocks to the downtown area of Bar Harbor. Ed started his celebrating, with a stop at a brewery and several other stops to enjoy the local vibe, and I checked out the park, memorials and shops. I had to buy myself a souvenir t-shirt and one last round of post cards for my loved ones.
We met up with Chris and Linda at Geddy’s, for our celebratory dinner. Linda is a hoot! She ordered the biggest item on the menu–the Lobster Dinner, and somehow managed to eat the whole thing. Well no, actually, she shared her blueberry pie with all of us, because that’s the kind of gal she is. She and Chris dropped us off at the Days Inn on their way to their lodging, a little further down the road, which was much appreciated! Thanks for the great time, this evening, Chris and Linda!
This has been one heck of a journey! Thanks for riding it with me, Ed! As I said above, I have some catching up to do on this blog, some thank yous to write to amazing Warm Showers hosts, and a daughter and grandkids to hug on a bit. Once I accomplish all that, I’ll be back with my final thoughts on this trip.