Saturday, July 28, 2012

Go Pahk ya Cah...

Okay I guess that's a Boston accent but it's somewhat similar to Bah Harbah.

If you haven't noticed by now, Hannah and I are the epitome of ice cream connoisseurs. So it would've gone against our religion and been completely un-American of us if we didn't go to the motherland of all that is Holy...the Ben & Jerry's Factory! We packed our local goodies from Burlington and cranked out 30 miles with a giant scoop of "Half Baked" on the brain for motivation. Turns out everyone and their uncle had the same idea, we had to wait over 40 minutes for our dairy delight! We both had the same thought of: is this really worth it? Duh! We would have brought disgrace to our pseudo sister, Liz, if we had come all this way and not indulged. So we did. And it was worth it after all. But by the time we finished crowd surfing, it was getting dark and we had yet to figure out a place to stay for the night (which, in retrospect, seems to be a common occurrence for us). It's tourist season in the New England area and all the campgrounds we call for a site have been completely full. We try all our resources: parks, fire departments, police departments (their job is to serve and protect by the way so they should help a sista out)...nothing. So being the travelling vagabonds that we are we just waited until the local supermarket closed and just pitched our tent behind it. It wasn't the most comfortable night sleep we've had since we were right next to a railroad track but it worked and it was free.

We were desperate once again to wash some clothes so we stayed until noon hanging out in the coffee shop waiting for the dryer to buzz. After putting on the fresh chamois we lathered on the sunscreen and made our way through Montpelier, VT. It was a very cute town and we stopped for lunch at the local Bagitos (Bagels and Burritos) cafe. They make a mean Everything Bagel by the way. We dragged our feet through Vermont because we went probably another 20 miles before stopping at Artesano, a local meadery and ice cream shoppe. I can't believe I'm saying this but they give Ben and Jerry's a run for their money. My guess is because they use all local ingredients and the ice cream never sits more than a few days, so it's as fresh as the cow's udder! There is where we met the owner, Mark, who just so happens to have done some bike touring as well with his wife, Nicole, in South America. After conversing with him about his adventure and ours he invited us to stay with him, Nicole, and their one year old son, RenĂ© (their 4-year old son, August, was with the grandparents). We didn't need much convincing after he said the word shower. It was incredible listening to all they've done in South America, the Peace Corps, and in their community. We've noticed that the word community is frequently used in Vermont because of all the co-ops, farmers markets, and local businesses. It's something that Hannah and I hope to bring back to Utah. After a hearty baked french toast with real Vermont maple syrup, we coasted off to New Hampshire and said Adios amigos to Mark and the family.

We pulled up to the post office in North Haverhill, NH to drop off some packages when we met a local, Paul. He was ecstatic about our trip and warned us about "The Kanc". The Kancamagus Pass stands at a measly 2,588 ft. Pshh...nothing compared to what we've come over already. After about an hour of riding Paul met back up with us and pulled off to offer us some water for when we got to the top of one of the mountains before Kancamagus. We said we were fine but he drove to the top anyway and left us a cooler of water, chocolate milk (the best recovery drink), watermelon, and donuts! What a guy! We stopped to take a picture of the Appalachian Trail and just around the corner is where we met some thru-hikers, Preston and Abbey! They were amazing and it's so admirable to hear about their adventure and to parallel it to ours. Preston said that he'd been through three pairs of shoes already and then asked how many tires we'd been through. They have their backpacks, we have our panniers, etc. We hated to say goodbye but we wished them luck on the rest of their journey and left to tackle "The Kanc". It really felt quite easy and everyone told us it was the worse one yet. "The Kanc" ain't got nothin' on me. Now it's all downhill to Maine! Or so we thought.

We crossed the state line into Fryeburg, ME around 8 o'clock at night and found the nearest campsite we could because there was a storm brewin'. It brewed to the point of fear because the thunder was so loud, the light show was so bright, and the wind was strong. It wasn't very comforting knowing that the only thing that stands between you and a tree tumbling down is some nylon and two fiberglass poles (our tent). 

We made it through the night and pedaled over 100 miles (what we thought was only going to be 85) to our next stay with warm showers hosts Mark and Kitty. The day was long with the majority of it spent in the saddle with the occasional snack. We were beat by the time we pulled up the Wheelers' driveway. They made dinner for us and shared great conversation. 

The next day was a long one again with 80 miles to Belfast. After biking over 4,000 miles we finally got our hands on what we've been working towards...Lobsta Rolls! There was Orr's Food Truck just off the side of the road, it sparked our interest so we took a hard right and split a roll there. It was delicious! We then went another five miles before we came across Red's Eats. Supposedly they've been voted to have Maine's number one lobster roll. So we split one there as well. Oh and FYI...lobster rolls are not cheap! They are at least $15 bucks a claw. But after savoring the two different rolls we actually preferred Orr's more. We cycled off the crustacean while gazing out towards the Atlantic, awestruck by the beauty. 

From Belfast it's only 60 miles to Bar Harbor. What?! We figured we were ahead of schedule so we killed a day relaxing in the co-op, cafe hopping, and roaming around the shops in Belfast. We felt like we had to get some miles in so we biked 2 to a beach front campground, pitched our tent, and called it a night. 

We finally hit a farmers market! We backtracked into Belfast Friday morning before shoving off to Blue Hill. It was a short and quiet 40 miles to the quaint town. We pulled in around 3 o'clock and found yet another co-op to hang out for a bit. An hour and a half later our warm showers host Parker arrived at the store and introduced himself to Hannah. Not long after that we decided to ride the last 1/2 mile to the lovely home of Parker and Susan. It was the first night we'd spent in separate rooms and I think I speak for both of us when I was glorious. I didn't have to wake her because of the snoring and she didn't have to fight me for the blankets. Parker and his wife Susan have been the perfect end to our trip. Susan made a quinoa stir fry and Parker made a toast to our accomplishment. A real spectacular stay with great wholesome people!

It's 30 miles to Bar Harbor and 3 o'clock. Prolonging the inevitable is hard to do. But we went to the farmers market, strolled around town, and seen pretty much all we wanted in Blue Hill. Now we're telling people where we've come from instead of where we're going. At the start of our trip the common reaction in Washington was "ha! good luck" now in Maine it's "wow! congratulations". It's definitely a surreal feeling to know I've biked the whole way here with my best friend. Everyday hasn't been filled with sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns either but it's been the funnest and most rewarding task I've ever done. How will I ever top it? I guess I'll have to go international! Who's in?

Get out there!


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  2. I don't want this story to be over..

  3. So have you been sleeping the last month? haha...I had to check to see how it was going. I met you in Sedro-Woolley, WA and my whole family heard about your story.....we are so glad to see you made it, what an inspiration....thank you!