I’m honestly not sure when our last update was, but I know that it was before we reached our final destination. These last couple of days here in Bar Harbor and Acadia have been wonderful. Best of all, the whole island has FREE public transportation! Holla!! For two cyclists, those words are music to our ears…and our bums.
We’ve spent some time hiking and talking about this experience, but before I share some of my final thoughts I have to give a huge shout out to Micah.
When Micah asked me if I wanted to bike across the country with him, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I delight in times Micah asks me to join him on adventures. I had no idea what this adventure would entail, but I knew we’d be in it together, so it was okay.
This journey has allowed me to see his love for me in so many new ways, I can’t help but get a little gushy for a second. When I was burning out my thighs on steep hills, he was cheering me on. When I was exhausted and grumpy, he was working to make sure I had a place to sleep and food to eat. When he had to pick campsites, he considered what would make me most comfortable. When there were free cookies available, he got me some. He never turned down my request for ice cream, and always kept plenty of jokes up his sleeve to keep the mood up. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to experience these days together.
That being said, here are a few summative thoughts from my experience of living off my bike for a month.
1. People love to help.
We biked all the way to Maine, and you know what? People are nice here too!! (shocker, I know). But really, people want to help. There is so much goodness and kindness to spread around, we’re just not always in a position to receive it. Being on bikes created a conversation starter with people everyday and they showed us unexpected kindness by offering what they could: advice on routes, lifts, food/drink/monetary donations, hotel upgrades, directions, hot coffee, a place to sleep, and so on. Being on bikes made us dependent on kind drivers and late night hotel workers, but that dependency also allowed us to see a beautiful side of people that doesn’t get to be seen as clearly otherwise.
2. Obstacles are scarier in the distance
As we entered hill country, the horizons began to look daunting. We’d be at a top of a hill, see the downhill, and then see the immediate uphill. Almost without a doubt, that upcoming hill looked horribly long and steep. But you know, as soon as we got down the hill and started coasting/pedaling up the next one, it became evident that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Now, it still might have been bad, just not as bad as it looked. Isn’t that true with all sorts of life obstacles? This trip seemed like a daunting challenge when we started it. And it was! But it was never as long or scary as it seemed at first. And, like most challenges, once you’ve faced and conquered it, you start to wonder why you were ever afraid of it in the first place.
3. Adventure is not glamorous…
This month has reminded me that behind many beautiful Instagram photos, there’s a struggle: years of practicing a talent, hours of physical exertion, days of loneliness or patience waiting for the right moment. The photos that can be created out of sacrifice are amazing and beautiful, but we should remember there is a cost to them.
Most of this month would not have made good photos. In fact, most of what I saw is what you see everyday: roads, fields, trees, squirrels, gas stations, small towns, and power lines. Most of our adventure can’t be shown in photos, because the adventure wasn’t about the beauty around us, but the changes within us.
4…But it’s worth it.
This month has continually surprised me by the difficult moments, followed by my ability to conquer them. There were moments daily when I didn’t think I could climb another hill without walking, but I did. There were countless mornings when I sat on the bike and I thought no way is my tail bone going to make it through another 50+ miles, but it did. Sitting in the bus today, staring out at all of the cars in the parking lot reminded me that almost everyone who is here drove in their car, or rode in an airplane. But we didn’t. We rode on simple two-wheeled machines, and we made it. We did it. We biked from Central Illinois to the coast of Maine.
Few people might ever have an understanding of the challenges and rewards of such an adventure, but that’s okay. I hope our sharing of our adventure makes you think about an adventure you’d like to take, and consider saying yes! Apply to a new job. Ask that person out. Try a new restaurant. Go hiking with your kids. Travel to Antarctica. Learn to play the ukulele. Adventure is out there, but it doesn’t always look like Instagram. Get your family together and make a new adventure.
July 1st Stats:
Left: Bridgton, ME 9:30 am
Sleeping in: a hotel in Brunswick, ME
Total mileage: 49.7 miles
High Speed: 37.4 mph
Avg. Speed: 9.8 mph
Overall weather conditions: rainy
Elevation Gain: 2,089 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,491 ft
Total Trip mileage: 1391.1 miles
July 2nd Stats:
Left: Brunswick, ME, 9:00 am
Sleeping in: a teardrop trailer in Rockport, ME, arrived 6:00 pm
Total mileage: 60.7 miles
High Speed: 33.4 mph
Avg. Speed: 10.1 mph
Overall weather conditions: sunny like Candyland if a board game could have weather
Elevation Gain: 2,426 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,445 ft
Total Trip mileage: 1,451.8 miles
July 3rd Stats:
Left: Rockport, ME, 7:15 am
Sleeping in: campground in Bar Harbor ME
Total mileage: 68.9 miles
High Speed: 37.2 mph
Avg. Speed: 10 mph
Overall weather conditions: sunny
Elevation Gain: 3,249 ft
Elevation Loss: 3,305 ft
Total Trip mileage: 1,520.7 miles
July 4th Stats:
Left: Campground in Bar Harbor to finish route at the town pier
Total mileage: 11.5 miles
High Speed: 36.1 mph
Avg. Speed: 9 mph
Overall weather conditions: beautiful because we finished
Elevation Gain: 544 ft
Elevation Loss: 499 ft
Total Trip mileage: 1,532.2 miles
And zero flat tires.