Moving closer and closer every day! We are just poking along on purpose! Only about 30-40 miles per day. We thought we were very clever that by sheer coincidence we would be arriving in Bar Harbor after the busy Labor Day Weekend. I always believe what I want to believe and when someone suggested that it slows right down in Bar Harbor after Labor Day, I took that as a very good sign that if we arrived midweek, we were sure to score a smokin' deal on beach front property, that they would be begging us to stay and probably willing to give it away! You gotta love a bit of optimism . . . I could not have been more wrong!
So we are making little bites of progress and staying in smaller, more quaint motels as we try and wait out the weekend. But we can't go any slower, we are there!!
We spent last night in Bucksport ME, a quaint town on the Penobscot River. Getting there was a good day's ride. A nice balance of main Hwy 1 and back lesser traveled roads. We started the morning in sunshine!! What a pleasant change!! It felt so good to feel somewhat dry, the humidity was still up there, but things didn't just generally feel wet and slimed all over like it has the last few days. Our first little village on the days route was Belfast, ME. Our warmshowers host from last night were entertaining as a family Blue Grass band at the Belfast Market and we were looking forward to stopping for our morning snack and to listen to some tunes. Coming from the challenging back road of lengthy ups and downs, we rolled into Belfast and had to ask where the market was. When the man we asked looked upwards toward the hill and pointed while he said 'oh just on top of that hill", I knew that we had heard all we were going to hear of our musical family's music!! We focused on the water downhill ahead of us and all the lovely food trucks and restaurants beckoning us! As you probably have all realized by now, lunch on the waterfront always wins out! We have been in Maine for how many days? and have yet to sample a lobster!! Actually I am in no hurry. I have had lobster and it's ok, I would never waste a whole lobster on me!! I could never consciously ever eat just the tail, what would happen to the rest of. It?? However the waterfront restaurant with the giant red lettered word LOBSTER on the front was the obvious choice for lunch and we had a lovely relaxing lunch lovin' and doin' what we do best!!
Belfast is a very picturesque village with hills that run right down to the water, and is so beautiful! Very much like the waterfront towns we experienced in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands off Washington at the start of the trip!!
Leaving the restaurant we followed a pedestrian walkway along the water and onto a pedestrian bridge that took us safely over the harbor. The rest of the day passed quickly and relatively easily, being back on the main highway meant the grades were more gradual and easier. We knew we had to cross a river before we reached our night's accommodation for the evening but did not expect the bridge we found!! We could see the towers from 2 miles away. The Penobscot Bridge was a masterpiece of engineering. The suspension cables ran down the center of the bridge only with a lane of traffic off each side. Really interesting and beautiful. There was an obervation tower that could be reached by elevator that I am sure gave you a view for hundreds of miles, but mmmmmmm . . . Somewhere along the way I have developed a dread of elevators! Especially ones that go up a tower hundreds of feet above water. Call me crazy, but we opted out of the opportunity and rode our bikes across. that was exciting enough for me and it was safe, we had our own bike lane. Once over the bridge we were in Bucksport, and more picturesque waterside town. This one on the Penobscot River. Finished our day with more waterside dining!! We are so close to our destination now, I am so excited and so sad all bundled into one emotional gob.
That's all I have time for tonight!! We ride into BAR HARBOR tomorrow!!!! OMG!!! This is it!!!!
Sept 10-KOA Campground Oceanside
Things are getting right down to it. We decided that we still did not want to ride into Bar Harbor for the big finish until we knew we had a place to stay for several days, and as of last night, we did not have one! We spent a great deal of the night making endless phone calls with no real hopeful results!! By time we went to bed last night, we did not know exactly what we were going to do today, or once we reached Bar Harbor! I sent an email to make contact with one more Warmshower host iin Bar Harbor and hoped for the best.
Funny how things happen! Woke up to a text saying that the KOA campground saved a special place for bicycles for $10 a night which included all campground a entities, a shuttle bus and lobster cafe!! I was very, very puzzled as to exactly how the KOA got my phone number, Mike and my name, and how did they know we were coming that way? But who cares!! I only assumed it was from one of the many phone calls made and somehow the connection was made, but really I didn't call the KOA! Maybe our previous Warmshowers host made a phone call because she did mention she thought one of the KOA campgrounds was also a Warmshowers host. I just couldn't figure it out but at least now we had a place to stay for at least Saturday night and the rest we would work out. It wasn't until we were on the road for many miles, I think being on the bicycle wakes up my brain, that I realized the text came as a response from the Warmshowers email I had sent. We did not actually call the KOA because rain was forecast and tent camping would have been risky! But since we were getting on the road with no real place to go, it seemed like a great option! Besides how many times have we avoided camping because "it might rain" and then there was nothing. If it did rain, what did it matter? We have not had to suffer thru a night of rain in the tent as of yet, so maybe one night of rain wouldn't hurt! On our trial test run to Blanco we slept thru the whole night of wind, lightning and hail and we're just cozy. If it rained we could do this! Off we went with great confidence!
It didn't take long and the thought of not having a place to stay in Bar Harbor was getting to me. My dream had been to spend a few days on oceanfront comfort and gaze at the water, walk on the beach and relax!! Mike's 65yh birthday is coming up in two weeks, we have just (almost !) finished a 4,200 mile bike ride. . . . Let's just do this!! so we stopped to call a resort we spoke to the night before. That one didn't quite work out but she did give us another sister property that did work and now we knew not only would we reach our destination tomorrow, but we had a lovely accomodation to keep us comfy for 3 days!! With an ocean view. We would be on a bluff and not actually on the sand, but at this point as long as I could see the water, we were good! With confidence restore, once again we set off.
The day's ride was again a nice balance of back roads and main highway. The main highway traffic is hard to tolerate, but we just have to pay close attention and stay alert!
Ellsworth was a great little place to find a spot of lunch! It is the last town of any size before Mt Desert Island, the location of Bar Harbor. A beautiful Saturday afternoon and people were out enjoying the sunshine and Saturday markets. We found a great little cafe for our lunch spot! Next stop the KOA campground and our last camping night!
It was a pretty easy last 10 miles on the main highway. As we rode along, concentrating on shoulders and traffic, we saw this yellow truck pull into a drive and we both kept an eye on it because it is important to make sure driver's see us before the pull out in front of us. This truck stops, a cute blonde gets out and shouts at us! "Hey! Are you my Warmshowers bikers??" How fun is that?? the yellow truck was a KOA truck and the blonde was our host for the evening and spotted us riding in!! We got a huge smile and arms waving wildly as we whizzed by and gave her the thumbs up!! Love little happy surprises like that!
Once we arrived at camp, we got the Royal treatment! A huge campground! Barbie was kind enough to accommodate our need for electricity and ran an extra long extension cord to a single site instead of putting us in the Tent circle!! We all chatted forever! Barbie is so likable, so exuberant in her desire to make everything great for everyone!! We loved chatting with her and learning all about everything in the park!! What an active, exciting park it is!! Tonight we had a wine tasting, musical entertainment and FRESH LOBSTER!!! What a perfect last official camping night of the fantastic journey!!
We had our tent all set up for the night, so when it did rain . . . Yes it finally rained! . . . We were all ready for it and sat nice and dry under the patio awning listening to the lounge singer and sipping the last of the wine tasting samples and getting to learn more about Barbie and the campground!! It was a great and unexpected night!! Last night of camping and I can't believe it!!
Oh and I apologize about today's photos, they are a bit mixed up. Sept 9 is more at the bottom of the list and it should be first. But it should be easy to figure out!! Sorry!
Tomorrow . . . Final morning of riding! We are only 12 miles from Bar Harbor . . . The town, the water, the final destination.
Good night and thank you all for your wonderful prayers !!! They have kept us safe!