Hope everybody had a fantastic Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day! If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry: neither do I. I just know that it means I get a three-day weekend, and get paid for not working on Sunday. This year, I decided to distance myself from the francophone revellers by not just leaving the province of Québec, but the dang country too.
Yann and I spent 1100km riding under our bicycles while they were strapped to the roof of the car to get to Maine. There, we did 101km on our bikes.
“Does it still count as a century ride if it’s done in the USA, where they don’t use metric?” I asked Yann, who responded with a glare.
We had just done a particularly hard century ride; particularly hard because there were hills. In Montréal, there’s only one hill and it’s inexplicably called a mountain (Mont-Royal), even though its elevation is a mere 233m. We had just completed a circumnavigation of Mount Desert Island, Maine; elevating and descending repeatedly for a little over 4 and a half hours.
40km into this ride, I was starting to feel disappointment: we had travelled all this way to ride in traffic? This wasn’t just an insular hamlet populated by hippy boomer artists. Although Mount Desert Island’s biggest industry seems to be lobsters and camp wood, you can also find credit unions, tattoo shops, museums, movie theatres, and gardening centres. Many of these businesses had pun-based names: we passed a Chinese restaurant called “Chow Maine”. If you’re not into Chinese food or giant sea bugs, you can get the yacht of your dreams custom-built here.
All these things are apparently reason enough to keep the island busy with traffic. Me? I wanted to get a whiff of the sea and see some awesome geological formations.
Then we passed the classic brown national park sign:
Entering Acadia National Park
Yes, this is why I spent 6 hours sitting in a car playing Google Play Music deejay while Yann did all the driving. Acadia National Park is the real reason America is Great.
As mentioned, climbing hills on my bike isn’t something I’ve gotten to do much of since moving away from Vancouver three years ago. And it’s something I expect to do a LOT of when Yann and I cycle the Pyrénées in two months from now.
My legs did well, but I should probably work on my attitude.
In town, signs like these were sadly uplifting. Not the Jared sign, but the flanking ones suggesting that Maine isn’t as evil a state as Stephen King makes it out to be.
Millstone? This one was oddly specific but, ok.
It was around this area where a man excitedly shouted travel tips at us from his pick-up truck. We were to spend at least two days in Bar Harbor, he said.
But, we only had one more night in Maine. Around dinnertime, we were introduced to the coastal weather experience. There was so much rain, that I awoke from a nightmare about the tent being flooded.
The real nightmare came the following morning, when we had to pack away a copious amount of wet, dirty nylon fabric (including the Zing Tarp, which we dared to borrow again).
This was my second visit to Maine, and I still haven’t really seen Bar Harbor. I haven’t even eaten a Maine lobster, unless you count premade lobster spread. Maybe Bar Harbor is where the millstone was invented?
Here’s what I do know about Maine outside of Bar Harbor:
Their squirrels are the worst at crossing traffic: we saw way more flat squirrels than live ones.
Mainers are fanatic about their antiques. Antique shops/stands appear to be more abundant than grocery stores.
Produce is expensive. I am guessing it’s because distributors waste so much time looking for all these well-hidden supermarkets.
Stephen King. He’s a cool dude.
As long as hate does not find a home in Maine, we’ll gladly return.