It would’ve been easy to spend hours crafting a perfect plan for the final day of touring across North America, but it wouldn’t compare to the extraordinary day God planned for me today.
I left the beautiful cabin after a night of heavy rain and thunderstorms. The woods were foggy with the humidity of the rain from last night and created a picturesque scene that I biked through all of the way to the coast again.
I reached the coast in Belfast and crossed this river:
Try saying that 3 times fast
From Belfast I continued along the coast to the next town, Searsport. I saw a gas station and thought about stopping. Initially, I went by it and figured I’ll stop at the next one up the road, but something was telling me I should stop and turn around – so I did.
I bought a cinnamon roll for a few more calories and stood outside the Sunoco gas station for a few minutes before getting ready to depart. Just before getting on the bike and leaving, a guy walked by and inquired about the trip. After talking a few minutes, I learned that he was the owner of the gas station. He invited me in his office and we talked for a few minutes. The store was rather busy however and he needed to tend to some things, so he gave me his card and said to give him a call if I needed anything or a place to stay. I thanked him and carried on.
Next priority of the day was to find a place for lunch. I searched and found a café in the next town – Winterport.
While biking into Winterport, I passed by an elementary school where there were some kids outside (Maine schools aren’t over till next week). As I continued by, the kids waved and yelled “Hello biker!”. They were so happy and friendly. The same happened this morning and numerous other times along the tour. There is something about the enthusiasm and general good nature of these kids that just makes me smile. I waved back across the road and playground to the boy who instantly smiled in satisfaction at drawing my attention.
In Winterport, I approached the café only to find a ‘closed’ sign on the door. I looked over to the block kidde-corner (or caddy-corner as people in some parts of the country say it) to the café and spotted the Winterport House of Pizza. Bingo.
I wheeled Rambow over in front of the place and asked the guy by the sidewalk if it was a good place. It happened to be his wife’s business! And, yes he said it was good. I smiled and went inside to order.
While waiting to order, he came back from around the kitchen and informed me that he talked to his wife and that my lunch was free today.
More amazing people.
The hospitality never ends!
I biked my final stretch to Bangor through the sunny afternoon. I stopped at the Greyhound station to see if I could move up my bus ticket that I originally purchased for next week. The anticipation of the last few days about making it back before my sister’s grad party on Sunday ended with a few quick minutes and a new ticket to get on the bus leaving tomorrow morning!
Greyhound also ships packages on the buses, so I asked them if I could get a bike box to pack my bike in.
They didn’t have any left.
So, here I am at the Dysart’s Travel Stop on the west side of Bangor, ME with my bike and all my gear holding a ticket for a bus that leaves in 20 hours. I have no box to ship my stuff and no place set up to stay tonight. I encountered some luck by calling the UPS store in Bangor and discovering that they had bike boxes in stock. I now just needed a way to get my gear, bike, and bike box to a location to pack it all and get back to the bus station in the morning.
Thinking about my situation, I knew that I still had a card in my wallet with the phone number of the guy I talked with this afternoon. I gave it a shot.
After two minutes on the phone, my worries were gone.
I met Bain and Rita, the owners of the gas station I stopped at this afternoon, at the UPS store and they picked me up. We did some driving in the afternoon, including a stroll by Stephen King’s house:
Once at their place, I took a quick shower and changed clothes before embarking on the most scenic part of the tour.
After biking 1,953 miles from Avon, MN to Bangor, ME, I found myself in the backseat of a convertible going up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on the Atlantic Coast of Maine.
This was unreal. It felt like a dream. Upon reaching the top of Cadillac, a priceless sunset capped off a tour that further changed my life for the better.
A lobster dinner awaited me down below in Bar Harbor.
There is no question that traveling gives a person a better perspective of the world. To travel by foot or by bike only deepens the understanding and awareness of the environments that you traverse and better connects you to the world that we live in.
Many people believe that the best part about traveling is seeing the landscapes and beauty of the earth, and if you travel by car or plane or any other form of motorized travel, that may be true. But when you travel by more primitive means, the best part about traveling, by far, is the people that you meet along the way. The vast majority of humanity is good in nature – helpful, caring, and giving. You may not experience this when your travel does not include daily interactions with people in the small town cafes, restaurants, and gas stations.
There are many things biking 4,000 miles across North America has taught me, but at the forefront of these is the undisputed fact that people are inherently good and we should learn appreciate and continue to spread this good to others in our lives. When we waste our time watching television and the filtered news that throws all of the negative aspects of life in our face, we begin to believe that what we see is all that the world is about. We need to break away from this illusion that we think may be reality and experience the true reality that is out there.
Be loving, be kind, be adventurous. Get out and experience the world. Spread the good that is inside of you. Don’t think that anything is impossible, because it is not. I’ve heard so many people tell me that they wish they could do something like this tour.
Back in Strathroy, ON, I was given this note that I have held onto. It is one of my favorite Bible verses.
I personally found this quote to inspire and assure me. For you, it may be something else.
So don’t sit on the fence any longer. Take initiative and experience the world and the people in it to the fullest.