This was the hardest day of cycling and the most beautiful. Ashley drove me and my bike to the Dollar general parking lot in Damariscotta saving me from retracing the six miles down the peninsula I had done the day before. I had found hosts in Breman, 70 miles away. I was promised pizza and a family party and decided I was going to make it by 5 or 6 pm keeping a solid pace. I did it 7.5 hours. 70 miles. Solid 10 miles per hour pace for the first time on this trip.
I was so happy to get off route 1 with the fast cars and dirty berm and lack of ocean views despite hugging the coast. Route 135 was beautiful, I saw a fox running in a field and lots of beautiful creeks reflecting the blue sky and white clouds.
I filled my water at a grocery store and at a tavern full of motorcyclists. I stopped to eat some trail mix on an unpaved packed gravel road in a pine forest. My left bike shoe has been painfully digging into my ankle causing me to adjust and readjust. I tried to keep my shoes clipped in for as long as possible fighting up hills using all my gears and letting the downhills help propel me up the next up hills.
I wanted to see a moose. "That looks like a good place for a moose," I'd think passing a marshy area, but no dice. I saw a bunch of horses, a few cows and a goat. I saw fancy private drives, dilapidated barns and lots of trailers. Some had an abundance of "no trespassing" and "no hunting" signs. Some had confederate flags some had "hate has no home here" signs.
The last ten miles were brutal. My thighs burned from the hills. I had to walk my bike up the steepest of them. But I arrived. On time. And was warmly greeted by Mary Ellen, her mother, her sister Rachel and Rachel's 8 year old daughter.
Mary Ellen through hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011. Her boyfriend Brett is mountain biking this weekend. They just bought a house and have hosted cyclists in their old home and now host people. I felt so warmly welcomed into this family weekend, sharing stories about Laos, teaching (Mary Ellen's mom at 79 is still teaching college English). Homemade pizza, red wine and fabulous company.