Another day that I was mentally set on pushing out a bunch of miles. I was ready to get to Canada! I wasn’t going to be late on that 90 day timeline either! I’m never late!
Ever since leaving Brunswick, though, I have been trying to find a bike shop.
Yes, it has been that long and difficult finding one up here which is strange! The few I rode past were not open yesterday or today or tomorrow. I’ve had that problem with breweries, but bike shops?!
I am in search for a spare tire.
mfront tire is the original tire from day 1! That tire is looking pretty bald after a few thousand miles! Also, my back tire, (which was changed in Virginia) is cracking/splitting apart along the edges pretty bad due to the amount of weight it’s carrying.
Both of these make me a bit uneasy going into northern Maine and Canada, knowing that there are no bike shops up there in case one of them decides to blow. Also, I know there is a long off road path once I hit Ellsworth.
I got into Ellsworth, and after a few stops, good ol Walmart had a tire that would fit my wheel! This brought my stress levels down and I was now ready for wherever the path led.
Well, after getting that tire, I had the choice of either taking US 1 or that off-road Sunrise Trail.
As much as I wanted to take the Sunrise Trail, it was just too rocky and soft for my tires. Yes, it was both rocky and soft – it’s possible. Big chunks of rocks with a soft sand/gravel under. It looked like it was more meant for mountain bikes and ATVs.
I have full confidence in my bike at this point in the trip, and know that I could have ridden it, but I would have been riding a whole lot slower and the ride would have been a lot rougher.
So I opted to stick to US 1 and the nearby back country roads to keep me moving north at a solid pace.
Those roads, while not the best to seeing wildlife, brought me past some wonderful photo op places along the coast.
As much as I wanted to put my head down and pound out the miles, I always make time and feel good about stopping to appreciate great views along the way.
Some people love seeing big cities, I am all about seeing great views of nature.
As I was getting close to being done biking for the day (around 60 miles) I stopped at a gas station/subway for a bite to eat. After eating and walking over to my bike, there was a car full of old people parked next to it. Each one of them hooked up to oxygen and the lady up front looking like if she closed her eyes, she might never open them up again. Thankfully, she wasn’t the one driving..
They started up a conversation – well what ended up being a one way conversation, really. Each of them are missing all their teeth and honestly I couldn’t understand anything they were saying.
I did happen to realize they were speaking English after a while of listening when I understood my first phrase out of one of their mouth – “bunch of horses”. Then about two minutes later I caught another part – “beat the hell out of me!”. Dead serious, they talked for over 10 minutes and that’s all I understood – those two phrases.
Really only two guys were talking and I’m not sure what they were talking about or if they were even talking about the same thing. I just smiled and nodded and would throw in a “wow”, “huh”, “yeah” every so often.
Just based on those two phrases I’m curious what kind of story(s) they were telling me!
I had to excuse myself from story time, but before I did I asked which way they were driving (cause I sure didn’t want them driving behind me!).
Today was tough physically. There were so many hills (My elevation gain was 3645ft) that I wasn’t totally used to as most of the trip was flat or just periodic hills. Today was constant hills. Up and down and up and down. I went through just about all of my gears multiple times. Trying to get speed on the way down, and survive the way up.
I was happy to stop at a campground and end my day after the 60+ miles. They didn’t actually have room for me, but made room on a bed of wood chips and charged me half price. I was just satisfied to get a shower, and have a nice peaceful and safe place to eat and sleep.
These chilly nights have been fabulous! Not sure if you remember my days 1-80 or so about complaining how hot it’s been camping out. Now it’s chilly and I am sleeping great!
I still deal with my mat being pretty thin and waking up to my hand and arm completely numb, but at least I’m not sweating!
I’m about 45 miles outside of Canada this morning! All day I’ve been arguing with myself whether it is still about the journey or if it’s all about the destination now.
(Yes, I’ve gotten to the point in solo travel where I argue with myself)
I kept going back and forth on whether to take the most direct route or to zig zag a bit with the East Coast Greenway route. It ended up I did a bit of each. Some parts I would make short cuts, some parts I would take the detour.
My legs were actually tired and sore today, which didn’t happen often because they were never given time to get sore. But I pushed on as I was super excited to make it to Canada and 2 days early even. I hate being late!!
I think the hardest thing today was mental stamina. When you are so close and you can see the end in sight it’s hard to stay mentally focused. I knew my body was capable of making the 45 miles, I just needed to focus mentally. That actually has been the hardest thing throughout the trip. More mental fatigue than physical.
I finally broke off of US 1 and only had about an hour left to ride! Here is the lead up of getting to Canada in pictures:
I’ve made it to Canada! I’m smiling ear to ear and almost crying I’m so happy to have made it! 88 days in total since I left Key West! 124 breweries visited along the way. So many awesome, kind, and generous people I’ve met. Such appreciation of the beauty of our country and the people in it.
Wow, what a ride this has been!
First thing I did after entering Canada was get a Canadian beer and some poutine! I’ve got all the feels going!
Shoot, I’ve done 50 miles already, but I’m on cloud 9 so I decided I was going to explore the island. I rode to the tip of the 10 mile island out to Head Harbour Lightstation. Just so happened there was a guy there wearing a Key West t-shirt. I had to laugh seeing that while at the finish line of my Key West to Canada ride.
Made my way around the island, eating lobster rolls and drinking beer and landed back at the Herring Cove Provincial Park where my tent was waiting near the beach.
As you can see, this island is gorgeous! A perfect finish line and camping spot.
It was a rainy night last night, and more rain was being called for today. There was a dense fog covering the campground and I was very content in my tent peering out.
Took me a while to get moving, but I figured I should get packed up before the rain comes back.
Made my way over to a local cafe for some coffee before entering back into USA.
So I’m sure there are some people wondering why I chose Campobello Island as my finish line. The East Coast Greenway route that I have been primarily following ends more north in Calais Maine. Why did I not choose to end there?
For a few reasons:
In Campobello Island, it’s Atlantic time zone, so once I crossed back I gained an hour. An hour to explore before the brewery opens up.
I started my trip in the southern most point in the US and now I had the opportunity to visit the Eastern most point!
The head wind for the roughly 7 miles over there was intense! Worst head wind I’ve had. So much for a “rest day”!
Luckily, today unlike all others, I’m circling back so I will have a tail wind all the way back to the brewery!
Back at the brewery, I got to try a bunch of their small batch beers on tap. Good beers, and even better stories behind the names of each of their beers! Best beer was one they just tapped and used me as their model to tell their followers it has been released. I have no idea how to spell the name of the beer, but it is made with spruce tips to give it almost a sour beer taste.
After enough beer, I went and checked into the only motel nearby to again escape the rain. After a while, though, my tuna packets and pasta weren’t cutting it so I took on the rain and got some pizza.
My budget has gone out the window the past two days!
Tomorrow I will start my trek back to Tampa..
Not biking the whole way though! I plan to bike to Bangor and then fly out of there. As for my bike, I called a local bike shop and they are going to save me a bike box so I can pack my bike in there and ship it either via UPS or FedEx. Unfortunately, Allegiant air doesn’t allow them on the flights, but the flight was priced real good!
So, while I’ve made it to my destination, I still have a few more days of biking left!
Good night. – TravelingBrewski