A light tailwind offered steady support as I savored the last few miles of road into Lubec. A loon flew low overhead uttering its wonderful, erie call, as if to say, “Welcome, Galvin. What took you so long?” I took it as a good omen and a fitting bookend to the chirps of Bald Eagles who saw me off from Neah Bay, WA, three months ago.
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse sits high on a ledge above the Bay of Fundy and the Canadian border – the Easternmost point in the U.S. I achieved this red-and-white-striped goal just before noon today, August 16th, after 94 days and 5042 miles! My sister, Pat, the No. 1 Road Angel, was waiting for me with a big grin and hug. It felt great to achieve this goal, yet it is going to take me days to sort out my current emotions.
(Road Angel extrordinaire Pat with me at Quoddy Head, ME, with the Bay of Fundy and Canadian islands behind us.)
This bicycle trip has been the most wonderful adventure of my life, made so not only by the geography covered and time spent, but even more by all the people I’ve met along the way. Don’t be discouraged, America, by all the negativity you hear on the daily news – the reality is that people all across this land are friendly, helpful, kind and considerate. You would like them and they, you – it turns out that we are more similar at the basic, human level, than divided. This trip reaffirmed my faith in America. But I digress, and will likely return soon to debrief with you about my experience.
On the third-to-last day of my trip, I explored Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island. The weather turned sunny and clear, so I peddled up Cadillac Mountain, which, at 1527 feet above sea level is the highest point directly on the coast north of Mexico. The views from Cadillac are spectacular. Most of the gaggle of tourists couldn’t believe that I had just ridden my bicycle up the mountain (a nice, 5% grade on the old carriage road), let alone ridden from Seattle in order to get to Cadillac. I saw a lot of “omg” expressions. And I had one on myself as I gazed out at the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful coastline of Maine.
My neice, Kelly Sanborn, and her husband, Norman, invited me to spend the night at their house on Great Cranberry Island off Mt. Desert. An added bonus was the arrival of my sister-in-law, Jean Galvin, just hours earlier from Florida. We motored out aboard Cinchona, the wooden motor yacht that Norman skippers for his boss, Mrs. Nelson. My brother, Greg, had given me a Cinchona hat which I have worn in his memory, so it was a special treat to ride in this boat and to finally meet her captain.
Kelly and Norman’s two island girls, Jessica and Melanie (ages 10 and 8), reminded my already, at their young ages, of the Maine girls, Anna and Julia, from Chebeague. There is something about growing up on an island that fosters independence and strong character. I can’t wait to see what Jess and Mel do as they continue to grow.
(Island Angels from Great Cranberry, Maine: Jean Galvin, Jessica, Kelly, Melanie and Norman Sanborn.)
After one more day of steady peddling, I arrived in Lubec for the finale. Pat came the night before and we managed to have both dinner and breakfast at the famous Helen’s Restaurant in Machias, where all the food is excellent and the blueberry pies are extraordinary.
And that concludes my trip. Pat is bringing me back to Concord, MA, where I’ll pack up and ship the bike and then jump on a plane back to Seattle. I’m ready to be home. I am looking forward to seeing Mary Sue, helping Nick and Bree with wedding preparations, and beginning to figure out what the next chapter will include.
Thanks for your interest and support over these many months and miles. It has been a treat for me to share the adventure with you. I’ll post some follow-up commentary soon, but for now: I’m done!
— Dave (posted from somewhere in Maine as we drive away, on 8/16/2016)