On My Ride I’m Goin’ to Carolina

Wheel full 70px After I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel today I was riding in Virginia Beach, where I drilled at Fort Story for several years in the 80s as a member of the Army Reserve.

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Wheel full 70px Heading south from there, I crossed into the 11th out of the 14 states I will be in on my trip.

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Wheel full 70px Tomorrow I will head back over the Currituck Sound, which I crossed today with one other vehicle from Knotts Island on the ferry.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll be on the Outer Banks on my way to Ocracoke, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world.  I hope to have a rest day there.

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P-town

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Wheel full 70px Oh, and while I’m at it…

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Instead of a long ferry ride in the rain here last night it was an even longer bus ride in the rain.  But here I am, arriving around nine last night.

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Wheel full 70px For reasons I will explain in a bit I will have the day to sightsee here.  It’s cloudy and still windy, but dry.  Catch you later today.

Closing in on 40%

Wheel full 70px It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia and already here’s

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Wheel full 70px I rode through the heart of the downtown, which was very exciting and at the same time sad, because it was in Boston five years ago that my daughter Stephanie, her husband Gary and we in the rest of the family had to come to grips, after several months of unsuccessful proton radiation treatments, that their son Aidan’s very aggressive brain cancer was not treatable.

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Wheel full 70px Aidan passed away a day before his second birthday late in 2011.  He was very much on my mind today.

Wheel full 70px My route out of Boston was planned to be the ferry to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod.  Brisk winds caused the Atlantic to be too choppy for the ferry to run, so I wound up on a bus for almost three hours instead, going the long way around.  The wait to depart was cheered by the opportunity to meet two longtime friends made over the Internet.  I was treated to several beers (truth be told, about half the beer I have drunk during my entire life) and great conversation for most of an hour.

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Wheel full 70px It was really nice to put real faces with names, but I was surprised at the degree of connection that online interaction over the course of the past decade had created.  I can only hope that I can be as gracious a host in Alaska when folks drop out of nowhere and visit me there.

Wheel full 70px So, with about 1,300 miles down and 2,100 left to go, my trip is getting close to 40% complete. I’ll go into greater detail in a coming post, but for now I’ll just point out as well that three-quarters of the trip’s projected elevation gain is behind me. This is a big deal, as I will need to pick up the pace in order to keep my promise to my wife to be in Key West by November 10th. My average riding speed has definitely increased several miles an hour over the past few days as the terrain has flattened.

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A tough couple of days

Wheel full 70px I had no idea how difficult it would be to let go after spending a few days in Acadia National Park.  At first I thought that I was just a little bit more stiff and achy than usual, or that the change in the weather had affected my mood.  No matter what direction I would ride in, it always seemed uphill with the wind in my face.  It’s taken me two days to ride about 30 miles, and the road signs are still full of directions to the park and other references to it.  I finally realized last night that the issue is leaving a place to which, for so many reasons, I have a tremendous attachment.

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Wheel full 70px So I’m up early this morning after a good night’s rest, determines to put 50 miles/80 kilometers between me and a place I would probably be perfectly happy to just stop at and stay forever.  The great philosopher Mick almost certainly nailed it when he wrote

You can’t always get what you want
No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, you just might find
You get what you need

Acadia Park Loop Road

Wheel full 70px I biked around the Acadia National Park Loop Road today.  You can subscribe all you want to Ed Abbey’s “Industrial Tourism” knock on roads and cars in National Parks, but in my view this is one such drive that the park would be less of an experience without.

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Wheel full 70px So much for my “no hill taller than 400 feet/~120 meters on the entire Atlantic Coast” research prior to the ride.  Just before the junction with the spur road leading up to the top of Cadillac Mountain you reach, per RidewithGPS, 526 feet/~160 meters above sea level.  The beautiful engineering of the road, though, made the climb seem effortless.

Wheel full 70px A few pics.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll leave Mt. Desert Island for the fourth and probably last time over a 40 year span in a few hours.  I count myself fortunate for each visit- taken together they are almost more than for which one could reasonably wish in a lifetime.

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Just Four Days Left

Wheel full 70px I spent last night at Clark’s Harbour on Cape Sable Island off the very southwest corner of Nova Scotia.

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Wheel full 70px If you look along the bottom of the map the town is about 1/3 of the way over from the left.  That dot and the island it is on is just about as far south in Canada as you can go outside of the Province of Ontario.

Wheel full 70px I don’t know why other than that I have always loved maps  but the name “Cape Sable” is one of those I recall from my childhood that made the world seem like such a mysterious and inviting place.  The reality, going  on 60 years later, is a little more mundane-  a place of small weatherbeaten saltbox cottages along quiet lanes and the curve of deserted beaches with the open Atlantic just beyond.

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Wheel full 70px But it’s all wonderful nonetheless.  I’m glad I’m here.

Wheel full 70px As I noted at the start of the post I’ll be leaving Nova Scotia in four days, catching the ferry across the Bay of Fundy- another childhood name- for St. John, New Brunswick at Digby.  Then in a couple more days I’ll be back in the United States in Maine.  It will be sad to leave the Maritimes behind, but I’m excited by what lies ahead.

Lockeport, NS

Wheel full 70px What a beautiful spot for Saturday breakfast!

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Wheel full 70px Behind me appears to be- and smells like, but that’s not a bad thing- a still operating fish cannery.  I hope so, because I’ve been through one community after another here where the working boats are all gone, replaced by quarter-million dollar sailboats and such.  Still pretty, but you know those boats aren’t owned by many local folks.

Wheel full 70px Times do change; I get that.  I don’t necessarily like it, but that’s the way it is.  I’ll have been privileged to to have visited Nova Scotia twice in my life.  Once 40 years ago, and again right now.    Few places I’ve been leave memories as deep and lasting.

Wheel full 70px I love it here, change and all.