Rod, Shular and Denny in Belfast, Maine

hostel cabin

On August 6, I missed a turn and lost about 3 hours, adding about 25 miles to my day. When I realized I was off route I called Terry. I had phone service! I had to leave voice mail. What I did not know was when she tried to check voice mail, she was getting her own message instead of the mail box. I have had this problem with t-mobile before. When Terry saw Rod McDonald and Denny Andrie with loaded touring bikes she asked if they had seen me. If I had not been off route they could have. They were planning to stay at a hostel that night. Terry went over to arrange for us to stay also. It was 20 dollars for the night. The owner provided us with fresh eggs for the morning. Denny and Rod came down to visit. They both live in the Seattle area. It turned out that we had met some of the same people, including Ken Gomez from the Syracuse, New York area and his cousin Bill. I met Ken and Bill in Shelby, Montana. I was amazed by his detailed listing of sites to see, diners, places to stay and warmshowers.org hosts. Ken had to cut his tour short. He had recently sagged for Rod and Denny in the Adirondacks.

Denny Climbing

They asked if I would like to ride with them Tuesday. We started about 7:00am. That is the day we stopped for the pictures with lobsters posted earlier. The Adventure Cycling maps give great information about places to camp. I found a listing for cyclist only camping with a request to call ahead. I left voice mail. It was another day up and down hills. We arrived at Alex Allmayer-Beck’s house in the late afternoon. I was checking voice mail for a response from Alex when he opened the door. He has been involved in cycling since 2004 and is a gracious host.

Alex and Rod 173 Airborne

As he escorted us to the backyard, Rod spotted the 173rd Airborne bumper sticker. It turns out that he and Alex had both served in Vietnam with the 173rd. What a coincidence. Alex and Rod shared stories and memories throughout the evening. Alex drove us to the grocery store to pick up dinner and supplies and gave us a quick tour of Belfast. Alex has been CEO of the local soup kitchen for the last two years. He has been successful in building coalitions of people to help those in need and finding volunteers. His plans include renaming the organization to the Belfast Community Kitchen. The town is thriving. I think Alex will accomplish his goals for the program.

Natasha, Denny, Robert, Phil and Rod

Wednesday morning was foggy as Denny, Rod and I anticipated our last day of riding. Our energy was high. Down the road from Belfast, Rod spotted three loaded touring bikes. We found the riders in a cafe. Natasha is from northern California, Robert is from Arkansas and Phil is from Michigan. We must have talked for nearly an hour. We rode together to Bar Harbor. It was an amazing day for six of us to complete our dream of riding coast-to-coast together. We were less than 70 miles from our goal. Robert, leader of the other group, did a great job keeping us together. Denny, Rod and I were riding without gear. The others still had their full loads.

Blackwoods Campground Full

At lunch, Robert mentioned it would be good to reserve a campsite at Acadia National Park for the evening. I was having trouble with my phone. It showed that I had service, but I couldn’t hear anything except the voicemail messages that were recorded to the phone. I borrowed a phone and called Terry. She didn’t want to give up her parking spot, but went to the park to see what she could arrange. Terry was told the campground was full!

Site G1Blackwood Campground

It turns out, however, they had one group campsite left. They didn’t think anyone would want to pay the $50 fee. With seven of us, including Terry, the site was perfect. Terry lost her parking spot, but was able to make provision for all of us to camp after our final day of riding. Our neighbors were two troops of Boy Scouts. They were good troops with great leaders.