Day 2 – Ellsworth to Bangor 34.8 miles
The twin terrors of long uphills and headwinds took their toll on us! It was a hard day on us…
The day started out great, Ellsworth is a busy town but we got through the traffic without issues. Shawn was hearing a squeak from our chain, and I had just used up the last of our lube before our rainy ride yesterday. Being that it was Sunday, I wasn’t too hopeful we’d find a bike shop open. When Shawn spotted Cadillac Mountain Sports, she thought maybe we could take a shot at them having bike parts. Sure enough they did – they had a pretty much complete bike shop – we were able to score our fave lube “T9”. With lube in hand, the bike shop guy, Brandon, asked where we were headed. We old him we were going cross country by way of Canada, crossing at Port Crescent, NY. But then we expressed our concern about crossing the Kancamagus pass (“The Kanc”) – main thing scaring us about this trip. He asked why we are going that way? He gave us information on an easier route that cuts 150 miles off our route. We heard easier and our ears immediately perked up. Looking at the map, we saw that this keeps us further north so it cuts off the angle as we head toward Montreal. Anyhow, 15 minutes later, some photocopying and we had decided – it was time for a reroute.
Lube and maps in hand, we left the shop, got about a half mile up the street & felt a thump thump thump in the back wheel – out first flat tire 23 miles into the trip. As flat tires go, this was a pretty fortunate one… When Jim flipped the bike over, he could see the back axle was loose – not a good thing on a very heavy tandem! Jim was able to hand tighten the axel, fix the flat and we were rolling again. But this time back tracking to Brandon for repair. He had all the tools necessary, the axel is tight again and life is good. We felt like someone was looking out for us by forcing us to fix a flat. It pointed out a much bigger problem, that could have had some major consequences.
The rest of the trip was was just hard. In Michigan, we can do 36 miles, unloaded, in our sleep, but with the hills, the heavy load, headwinds and lack of stopping points it was very tough day! We had some long steep climbs that wore on us – more than we even knew. By the time we got to our stopping point, in Bangor ME, we were tired, thirsty and hungry. We just pushed too hard! It was Mothers Day, and we had decided we would treat Shawn (OK, Jim too!) to a hotel stay courtesy of friends from Erhardt Construction! Certainly a welcome gift this evening!
At the Hotel we video-chatted with the kids – what a treat! Matt is visiting Walt in Vancouver and Aimee joined from Anchorage. So fun to laugh with them and hear their encouraging words for their tired old “rents”. We also made arrangements for Warmshower stays for the next two nights – nice to have those arrangements made. We will not go as far, take more breaks, eat more often and drink more! This was a good day to be humbled – lesson learned as we push west!!
Was that a hunk of bear fur by the side of the road?
“Hey aren’t you guys from Michigan?” That’s what Jill and Tabitha shouted to us when they stopped as we were changing a flat tire by the side of the road, how funny that our dinner companions from the night before and the only friends we have thus far in Maine ran into us when we were stopped!