RA94: We Made It!

East Orland ME to Bar Harbor ME – 42.2 miles

We wore our civvies to breakfast this morning, walking to a place called Duffy’s right across the highway from our motel.   Real friendly service and good eats.  But after yesterday’s run-in with the mega pancakes, I stuck to simple eggs-bacon-toast this morning.  Jack had a great looking waffle with local berries.  Oops – there I go about food again.

At Duffy's, with the Pine Shores Motel right across the street

We took US1 from the motel, but soon turned onto ME176 amd ME172.  These were great routes that, while adding miles, gave us pretty low-traffic downhill runs next to Toddy Pond and the coastal bays.  Weather today: perfect again, sunshine in the high 60s with a nice cooling component in the breezes.

Top notch riding

We rolled through Surry ME and into Ellsworth ME, stopping once to call Linda.  She wanted route information so she’d know which roads we’d be entering town for our finale.  All the while riding today, I was feeling a surreal vibe.  This was really the end of it?  You mean, no more survival decisions?  No more eating decisions? These were the final few miles?

I began stopping often.  Just to get candy.  Maybe to slurp on the water bottle.  To stare at the sky.  But the real reason was to savor the moment.

We crossed through Trenton ME and across a scenic bridge onto Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor ME and most of the beautiful Acadia National Park.  But there was still work to do.  Our route turned inland on ME102/198, through Town Hill ME, and up some climbs to Mount Desert ME.  I tried to call Linda again but found no cell phone service.

On Mount Desert Island

The route presented a series of rolling hills, and then a substantial climb over the shoulder of Cadillac Mountain.  As Jack would later put it, Mother Nature was not going to allow us to finish so easily.  At the top of the climb, I stopped again and this time found cell phone service, letting Linda know we were a mere 3 or 4 miles away and rolling downhill.

Getting real close

Still feeling that surreal sensation, we rolled down the hills and in to the village of Bar Harbor.  I stopped at one point to pace with Jack, and he quickly came up behind me screaming, “Don’t stop now!  This is it!”  We entered the tourist zones, turning onto Main Street, dodging traffic and pedestrians.  As we rode, I snapped a few pictures of Jack but soon realized that the water and pier were looming immediately ahead.

Main Street in Bar Harbor ME
Staring at the finish line

And then, my Linda!   She stood on the sidewalk almost at the waterline holding a big sign, jumping up and down and grinning from ear to ear.  What a beautiful sight!  Her sign read: “May 31, 2001 to Sept 1, 2011 / CONGRATULATIONS / RUNNING DOWN THE DREAM  / RICH AND JACK  / PACIFIC TO ATLANTIC /  THE RA TOUR”  My surreal feelings were quickly turning into many others: joy, relief, happiness, pride, love for Linda, and that lingering sadness in ending such a wonderful and fantastic tour.

My girl!
A pause before the ceremonial tire dip

We rounded a corner but stopped beside our SUV to remove bike bags.  Then around and down a boat ramp for the ceremonial tire dip!  WE MADE IT!!

Runnin' Down the Dream

I will plan to summarize the tour as best I can soon, list some superlatives, maybe review some lessons learned, that kind of thing, but for the moment I am simply going to savor and digest for a few days.  Jack and I are giving a presentation about the tour to a cycling group in Blue Bell PA on the 3rd, so maybe that will help the process.

About 42 miles today.  Tour total for me was about 5,040 miles.  Whew, I’m tired!