Open Road Press

Memories August 22

Today we completed our circum-navigation around the City of Portland. We left Windham and headed toward Freeport before breakfast. Once in Freeport, we were reminded of our coast-to-coast bicycle trip of two years ago. The LL Bean bicycle shop was a familiar stop as we prepared for that trip. And here it was again, in our path, providing a great opportunity to replace Debbie’s overused pair of bike shorts. We’ve learned that bike shorts wear out quicker than they appear to. The seat pad loses its supportive qualities, making sensitive areas more vulnerable to seat friction. The purchase offered welcomed relief.

Debbie observed a demonstration today of Maine culture, where most Mainers can connect with someone in common. It usually takes the form of “do you know so-and-so?” Today’s coincidence, however, was over-the-top. I had mistakenly thought the route through Brunswick was on the road of a district office of a company I used to work for. I had commented that I might like to go in and say hi to the manager, whose name is Sarah. After we rode into town, I realized that I must have been mistaken about the road name where the office was located, as no office was to be seen. A pit stop at an information center lead to a conversion with one of the staff named Judith. As we were talking, I mentioned my former employer by name, and Judith said that her daughter works for that company. And, you probably have guessed that I was talking with Sarah’s mother! A follow-up e-mail with Judith indicates another of her daughters, who lives in Baltimore, is dating a former co-worker and office roommate of mine who now lives in the DC area. Welcome to Maine, Debbie!

As we continued on through Brunswick, we were treated to an impromptu air show courtesy of the Brunswick Naval Air Base. Lightning speed jets shot across the horizon at death-defying altitude and speed, then drew sharp banking arcs in the beautiful blue sky, resembling the curves of roller coasters. Later, a group of four flew shoulder-to-shoulder, causing an instant gasp and tightness in the throat. The deafening blast of the jet engines, trailing the visuals by 1,000’s of feet, testified to the incredible power of these flying marvels. National defense was on display, both audibly and visually. And the price of admission was hard to beat.

Today soon became all about logging miles. We were on busy US Route 1 for much of the day, with traffic whizzing by. A wide, paved shoulder provided a comfortable buffer, but there was no escape from the continual noise that accompanied our ride. We were reminded of Thompson Motor Speedway days earlier–but this time we had a curbside seat.

Debbie amazes me. After back-to-back days of 85+ miles, she was cranking out some serious mileage again today–unfazed by the adjacent traffic, some of which took the form of tractor-trailers with their rumbling loads and roaring engines. Route 1 along the stretch of road we rode today was really nothing more than a low-budget interstate, with people intent on getting from point A to point B with little interest in what lies in between. The coastline was hidden from view for much of the day, bringing our own focus to one similar to our fellow travelers–getting from point A to point B.

We booked motel accommodations for the evening before our arrival. When we checked in, we became aware that there were no restaurants nearby and, furthermore, there were no deliveries to this motel due to its location. Out came our Jet Boil, bringing further justification to our stock of camping supplies! We may not camp much, but we sure do like our supplies.

Geography prompts memories. Did you ever notice that? When we came to the Bath area, we remembered a bicycle ride we enjoyed there a few years ago. Later we passed a restaurant where we enjoyed a meal after that ride–special because we were together. We cycled past a church where Debbie and I had attended a concert several years ago. That was a fond memory. We cycled past a motel where Mom had taken us as kids. That was also a fond memory. Maine is filled with memories for me–most of them outstanding. I like memories–they can carry you through a lifetime. Sometimes they have to, and other times they simply make life that much sweeter.

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