Time to get serious about the East Coast ride
On Monday morning, one of my daughters is dropping me off very early at the Greensboro airport. I will be taking three flights to arrive at Bar Harbor, Maine, which will serve as the starting point for my next adventure. The flights take me through Philadelphia, then Boston and finally to Bar Harbor.
My bike is there waiting at Acadia Bike Shop, and it will be reassembled before my anticipated arrival time of about 3:30pm. The bags, tools and a few other items are waiting at Edenbrook Motel, where I will go after picking up the bike. If the flights go well, the bike shop and the motel are the last certainties. Bar Harbor is very scenic, next to the beautiful Acadia Park. Bar Harbor is about 2600 miles from Key West, Florida, my ultimate destination. Whether good or bad, I’ve decided to make the trip longer and more special.
East and slightly north of Bar Harbor by about 100 miles is Quoddy Head State Park. I plan to ride there on Tuesday, dreading a little bit the 100 miles on my very first day. Quoddy is the most eastern point in the US, from where I will be able to see New Brunswick, Canada and Nova Scotia. The rear tire will get dipped there in the Bay of Fundy. If all goes as I expect, I will spend the night at Quoddy and then head back to Bar Harbor on the way toward Florida.
That is the basic plan for the first three days. Past that, I really don’t have any plans. My bike is well tested and I am confident of it, as well as the major pieces of my gear. The tent, sleeping bag and tools are all proven from last year’s ride. My clothes and personal items will also be similar to last year, with no plans for heavier clothes that were needed in the higher elevations out west. It was 55 degrees for a high in Bar Harbor last week, and nights can still get into the 40’s, but the highs will be steadily going up.
A few months ago, I was fortunate to get to talk with artist, photographer, author and Maine expert Cotton Ketchie of Mooresville. Cotton told me that I would love Maine, and might not want to leave. The coastline, lighthouses, and people are great, according to Cotton. I can’t wait, and hopto get the ride off to a great start in these first few days.
Just the same as last year, I will be using Adventure Cycling maps as well as regular state maps. Adventure Cycling has a whole series of maps with plenty of details for cyclists. They will tell about important things such as distances between towns, where I can expect to find campgrounds or motels, where grocery stores are available, and also the location of bike shops.
I don’t really plan too far ahead. There is no need. Each day will be a different adventure than what I expect it to be, a simple fact learned from last summer’s ride. Most of my planning will come late in the evening or at night, once I have had a chance to settle down and recover some from that day’s ride. I am cautiously optimistic of being able to average 81 miles a day this time, about four more than last summer.
As I head south, the days will get warmer and the traffic will become more challenging. The Adventure Cycling Routes are intended to be the best available for cyclists. I am hoping for plenty of bike lanes, wide shoulders, and few rumble strips.
Weather issues kept me challenged last summer, with multiple days over 100 degrees and threats of tornadoes, storms, and wind. I just missed forest fires and some major flooding, both of which happened just days behind me. This ride has the same chance of storms, and also the possible threat of a hurricane. The heat should be steady in the south and I have promised everyone sight to do a better job of hydration. More chances to supply should help.
I am excited and ready to go. My running has been good, and my farm stuff and group running classes are caught up. The individuals with goals coming up all will have a plan to work on for the next five weeks. It is a good time for another adventure.
Several sponsors have stepped forward to help with expenses this time. Thanks very much to Fowler Physical Therapy and Skinny Wheels from Salisbury, as well as Vac and Dash from Albemarle and Gear for Races from Albemarle. The Salisbury Post is the catalyst to making everything come together. Once again, I will be riding for the awareness of childhood obesity, working with Partners in Learning on that.
But best of all, I feel tremendous support from Rowan County. So many great people have offered their support and prayers through last year’s ride across America and the one coming up. Keep those prayers coming and for my part of the bargain, I will offer as many details as possible about the things I see, the people I meet and the adventures throughout. The title of my book and presentation on last year’s ride is Lord, Ride with Me Today. I will say that again before the start of each day’s ride, and I will feel the presence of Rowan County riding along too. Let’s go have a good time.
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