No, I'm not God. I'm just really tired.
It's been one week since I left Sidney, Maine. My first day, I biked 40.9 miles total. I've never biked that far before, and definitely never biked that far towing 85 pounds. I felt it. Since I was not yet on the Northern Tier, I had to plan my own route (with the help of my Garmin gps of course), another first for me.
My plan was to bike from Sidney to Belfast that first day, and from then on I would be on my route. Around 5pm I stopped at a gas station in Morrill, ME (population ~800) and heard thunder storm warning sirens on someone's car radio. I was only 8 or 9 miles from Belfast at that point, but the sky was not looking promising. I figured it would be best to set up camp a little early to avoid gettng caught on a bike in some dark, scary weather. I asked the cashier in the gas station if he knew anywhere I could pitch my tent for the night, but he didn't. I went outside and sat on the curb with Dobby, trying to figure out what to do. I asked a woman entering the gas station if she knew of a place. As she was calling a man who lived down the road, he showed up on his ATV. His name was Mr. Dodge and not only did he let me set up camp in his backyard, he offered to let me sleep in his enclosed porch since the weather was supposed to get pretty nasty that night. I told him if the weather got bad enough I might take him up on the offer. I set up camp, barely stayed awake long enough to eat ramen, and proceeded to sleep through the entire storm which I was later informed was pretty intense.
Day 2, in Belfast, Dobby knocked the Ogre over while I was checking the map to be sure we were setting out in the right direction. The back wheel was crooked. I did my best to reposition it (knowing not at all what I was doing) until it... looked right. I had to keep repositioning it over the next couple of days.
I got to Bar Harbor around 5pm on the third day. I had traveled 108.97 miles, surviving on mostly protein bars, ramen, and a ridiculous amount of trail mix. I failed to realize that the Bar Harbor campground is actually 8 miles outside of Bar Harbor, and honestly I was just too tired and lazy to bike anymore that day. I spent that night in a hotel, slept late, rode into town during the 4th of July parade, and had the Ogre looked over at the Bar Harbor Bike Shop. The guys that worked there were incredibly nice, going over everything and assuring me I had not yet destroyed my bike. With the parade over and the Ogre given the green light, I biked down to the pier, dipped my back wheel in the Atlantic Ocean, and set off on the Northern Tier. No fanfare, no big send-off, just going for a ride.
That was 4 days ago. Since then I've racked up another 106.64 miles to get me to Nobleboro, ME, which on a map is not very far from where I started. Yesterday evening, 5 miles from my next campground, the Ogre decided it no longer felt like shifting out of first gear. I pleaded with it, screamed at it, cried for a while, and eventually messed with parts I don't know the names of until the first 5 gears started working. This was just enough to get me to camp and I decided I would channel my inner bike mechanic in the morning.
Due to a level of soreness I haven't experienced since preseason soccer and an ever-growing list of maintenance projects, I decided to stay in the campground an extra night, thus giving me actual time to write a blog post!
I fixed my bike! I put air in the tires! I glued my shoes, and gloves, back together! This has led me to believe that, at least for me, the saying should be "I am woman, hear my cry in frustration! ...and then roar."
I have dealt with gravel roads, roads that don't exist, hills, and lamenting all my life decisions (a running theme). I have thought how I never should have told anyone of my ambitious plans, because I was going to have to pack it in after one day. I thought "there's no way I can keep going."
But then, "Nevertheless, she persisted."
I walked a lot. I walk a lot most days. I've come to grips with the fact that I am going to travel slowly, and it is going to hurt. As long as I keep moving, I am progressing. I may not make it to my destination, but the journey is worth it all.
Have any questions? Thoughts? Comment below and I'll answer to the best of my ability!