Song of the day: Meu Mar (My Ocean) by Erasmo Carlos. http://youtu.be/BQLcqB_xqko
Despite some occasionally ominous and heavy clouds, the threat of rain never materialized. It was another day of flat coastal riding, and I decided to skip off the ACA route in favor of a seaside ride along my ocean, my sea. An especially lovely and unexpected part of that detour was along the Eastern Trail, part of the East Coast Greenway route. We had it to ourselves, so Tunes did what she does best and ran alongside merrily. Along the way, we met a few llamas, cows, and horses at a farm adjacent to the trail.
It wasn’t all coastline and lawbstah rolls– the best seaside riding happened already in York and Kittery, but the calm of marshes with the gray morning light had its own melancholic beauty, and I was glad for some peace and quiet away from the cars and the tourists.
A big departure from the stillness of the trail, I entered Portland around mid-day by crossing on a pedestrian bath over a huge, high-up bridge. It was very windy, and the panniers caught the wind like I was one of the little sailboats down below me. An old, weathered Mainer wearing a bright orange beanie cap who looked like he’d spent most of his life fishing in the mid-day sun smiled at me and stopped his bike, making room for me to pass him on the narrow bridge. “That wind is really somethin, ha? Keep them wheels rollin!”
Through Freeport with the world’s largest LL Bean, I moved on towards Brunswick, where my WarmShowers hosts Alicia and Henry welcomed me to camp out and enjoy their outdoor, solar-heated shower. Both were deeply involved in cycling advocacy work, ensuring that Brunswick was one of two designated bicycle friendly cities in the state of Maine, and worked hard to get increased signage and route for bikes. Also long-distance bicycle tourists, their enthusiasm for nature and the great outdoors extended to sea kayaking, skiing, youth camp coordination, lifeguarding, sustainibility, CSAs, solar energy, language, and travel. Alicia generously shared a delicious vegetarian dinner with salad greens from her work-share at the local community farm, and a fantastic pumpkin pie that featured coconut milk. After dessert, she opened her mail to find a map had arrived for her upcoming solo bike tour through Europe in her quest to learn more about the intersectionality of European cycling, transportation, agriculture, and sustainability. Their sweet husky mix, Shep, hung out with Tunes a little bit while the peoples chatted indoors. I think we’ve both had fun making new friends and seeing a few old friends along the way… and it’s only a few weeks into our summer travels. I feel so inspired by so many people that I’ve met, and so grateful to be able to do any of this at all. Alecia asked me what the vision for my trip was, what my story was, and I stammered out some broken and banal phrases, but truthfully, that’s a hard thing for me to put together an elevator speech about. And in part, I guess the answer to that question is still revealing itself to me in every act of kindness that humbles me, in each seaside moment spent in wonder.