Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Kindness of Strangers
As well as spectacular views and the opportunities offered by our slow pace to observe many treasures hidden to the motorist, the challenges of travelling by bicycle in this heat up these hills have been worth every drop of sweat because of the people we have met. We have relied on the kindness of strangers and been rewarded many times. A kind couple visiting family in St. Andrews came over to see our bike and when they heard we were having no success finding a certain tool in town, took us to their friend's place who had the tool, helped us fix the bike, then drove us 40 minutes out of town to a Clam Bake we were an hour and a half late for, bought us the tool and stored our bike in their garage overnight, all this for two complete strangers they had met at the side of the road. Thank you!!
The next day we crossed the border to the United States with no trouble at all. The first night in the States we had already set up a place to stay on warmshowers.org. What a lovely couple we met upon pulling into their (steep!) driveway near the incredible Reversing Falls near Pembroke, Maine. They put us up in our own little loft apartment full of charming antiques, stained glass, and a lovely view of Cobscook Bay. They shared with us an evening and morning of great food (salad straight from the garden!) and company.
Heading southwest again the next day, we biked until 5:30 pm. By then we were very tired and hungry and stopped at the first grocery store we found. We had planned to ride another 7 miles or so that day but sat down to eat our apples outside the store and didn't really feel like spending another minute with our sore bums on the bike seats! That was when a friendly young fellow came up and asked about our bike and our trip. He invited us to stay at his place, with the disclaimer that the shower facilities involved a large metal tub and a watering can. We eagerly accepted, and were soon walking up the path to the house nestled in the woods he and his wife had built. There was a guesthouse (just for us!!) and a gorgeous outhouse which was the senior year project for her fine arts degree. They called themselves "rockpushers" or "earthmuffins"... We cooked up what we'd bought and shared the meal (enhanced by their sauces and beer) around a table with a firepit built right in the middle! Canada-USA differences were discussed and they were quite surprised we aren't carrying a gun. This inevitably led to us being shown their guns. To top off the American cultural initiation we were treated to a fantastic breakfast of Johnny Cakes, a New English specialty, at 6:30 am, our earliest start yet.
We rode 70 miles that day, until 8 pm when we finally found our next warmshowers contact, near Bar Harbor. We were exhausted. It had been the hottest and hilliest day. We shared supper and they shared their stories of moving from being freelance writers in New York to becoming plumbing inspectors here in Maine, to a retirement of gardening, tending a gaggle of expressive geese, and repairing bicycles!
So far we have only met wonderful people, both in Canada and the states, and hope the trend continues all the way west!