Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tour de Maine: The difference Between Fearless and Courageous

I'm not fearless. I'm afraid of a lot of things. I'm afraid of going downhill too fast, of riding too far on the right side of the road, getting off balance with loaded panniers. But one doesn't have to be fearless to have courage; you just have to face your fears. I'm giving myself credit for being courageous enough to ride on despite my fears. It's been worth it.

After the hostel, we rode and camped on Mount Desert Island the next two days. The weather and scenery were great. I had a problem with my brakes, so we spent one day walking around Southwest Harbor while the nice guys at the bike shop fixed them. They adjusted my gears a bit as well.

On Wednesday, we rode off the island 30 miles and got a hotel room in Ellsworth. Did all our laundry, took long showers, etc. The hotel was a bit depressing. A lot of people with not much going on in their lives. Ellsworth is a place to get to other places.

On Thursday we rode 40 miles to Searsport and found a great private campsite next to the water. 40 miles was tough. With our bikes loaded, we do an average of 10 miles per hour, so it took us four hours riding time. The campsite had hot showers and laundry, however, which made us much more comfortable.

Yesterday we rode about 25 miles to Camden. After the hard day the day before, we were pretty tired. We knew there was a storm coming, so we rode into town for something to eat, bought some food and a couple of books, and hunkered down for the night in the tent at the state park. The rain started at about 3:30 in the AM, and still pours as I write at 1:30 PM the next day.

The tent held up fantastically, and we were warm and dry all night; but the thought of spending a whole day in the tent was too much, so we took a taxi in to town for breakfast, and are now at the public library catching up with the world.

My bike handling is getting much better. I still need to go downhill slowly so that I don't get off-balance. Rob usually ends up way ahead of me going downhill since he is carrying most of the load, and I catch up going uphill. We've each had our moments of getting frustrated at ourselves and each other, but we've had a lot of laughs as well. I'm glad to have a day off of riding, and I think Rob is, too. The last two days were tough.

Mainers are friendly, taciturn, and sporty. Lots of boots and ball caps. I don't see a lot of women dolled up unless they are rich. People here are tough. You have to be to survive the winters. The land and the weather are very important. People live on the lobster, blueberry, and forest industries. They are laid back as well. We haven't been honked at once. People in cars just slow down and calmly drive around us.

I hope the rain will stop soon. One more night at the state park, and tomorrow we keep heading south.


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