This was a long day, starting as day light began to appear, ending about 75 miles later. The beaches along this stretch seem endless. I was glad I was not riding the paths along the beaches on a weekend.
I saw an interesting flower at Will Rogers State Beach.
I met Dave on the right and his friend from the Netherlands about lunch time near Lax, but on the beach path.
I first met Rowan and Laurel the morning after I rode in to the Nehalem Bay State Park on a dark and stormy night. Rowan grinds coffee every morning. I next saw them at Cape Lookout near Tillamook and then many times after that up to yesterday at Bodega Dunes. I enjoyed camping and and visiting with them over that time.
I first met Lee and Shirley at Harris Beach in Brookings,Oregon. They are here from England bicycle touring the Pacific coast. We met off and over a ten day period. They have toured excessively, and added greatly to the enjoyment of touring and and camping together.
At Manchester, California I met Nick, Deb and their dog Ziggy. This was several days ago now. They are making their way back to San Francisco about 20 miles each day. Ziggy weighs 70 or more pound; add to that the heavy duty trailer.
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.
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.
The thrill of riding into Bar Harbor to complete a 4540 mile cycling tour from coast-to-coast, across America was amazing. It was a very emotional moment. I took off ahead of the rest of the group down the last real hill. I really had to watch the cars. I was riding 34mph in a 30mph zone, yet the car behind me just had to get by. I felt my throat getting tight as I crested a little hill, getting my first glimpse of a few houses in Bar Harbor.
Rod caught up with me at the stop sign and told me to go left. We could only coast along because of all of the people in the street. At the foot of the hill we turned right bringing us to the Atlantic Ocean. Terry arrived very soon after we stopped.
Shular and Terry in Bar Harbor
I met Rod and Denny, Monday evening. We rode together to Belfast on Tuesday. Wednesday morning we me Natasha, Phil and Robert at a cafe along the route. We soon decided to ride together to Bar Harbor, less than 70 miles from that point. While we had started from different locations, on different days and followed somewhat different routes based on Adventure Cycling Associations Northern Tier route; we were all finishing the dream and goal of riding across the USA. We all enjoyed riding together, sharing stories of the events, towns, and people along the way. The day seemed to pass very quickly. Rolling our front wheels into the Atlantic was a very special moment for each of us. From left to right: Rod, Phil, Natasha, Robert, Shular and Denny.
We met Joey and Emmy in Missoula, Montana this afternoon at the Adventure Cycling Association headquarters. They rode more than 3500 miles so far. They are headed to Alaska next. You can follow them on their website at http://joeyandemmysbicycletour.weebly.com