Day 72: Rochester to Wells Beach, ME

The rain tapered off and left behind a stiff north wind. Added to an air temperature in the 40s, it meant that our last day was also one of our coldest. We left around 11am after my old friend Jon Crispin, a professional photographer, showed up to record the festivities. We had 25 miles to go before the end of the trail at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells Beach, Maine.

Traffic remained heavy but we were sheltered from the wind, and before too long we crossed the state line and turned east on state route 9. The road was flat and before long the buildings thinned out. We rode thorugh a coastal deciduous forest that was being stripped of its leaves in the raw wind. We reached the town of Wells and turned north on US Route 1, picking our way through the cars and broken asphalt and closed fish-fry restaurants until we reached the entrance to the Reserve. It is a beautiful spot, a preserved farm complex on 2,200 acres, and we spent an hour talking with scientists and the President of the Board about its dual mission of research and education (see separate post).

About 2:30 pm we threaded our way down Drakes Island Road to the Preserve’s beach, where we ceremonially dipped our tires in the water. We also unveiled the hat of Al Craig, in whose memory Jim and Sara made the trip, for the last time. Sara brought some bubbly and we had a toast, but it was too cold to stay long. So we went to a nearby restaurant and said our goodbyes over tasty bowls of real clam chowder. Then it was time to disband.

The trip ended well. We finished in good shape physically, and Jim and I still like each other enough to plan more rides together. Not until it warms up, though. The three of us finished up so tired, and with so many unprocessed memories and emotions, that we all felt stunned. In the weeks after the trip ended, some of those memories came bubbling back up in my mind up at odd moments. It made me think of a big pot of soup simmering on the back burner, its flavor changing slowly over time. This trip will be nourishing us for a long, long time.

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bradedmondson

Writing about social change and how it happens.

4 thoughts on “Day 72: Rochester to Wells Beach, ME”

  1. Congratulations, Gents! Your videos and final posts made me all weepy. I will miss your blog entries terribly. I hope that you will eventually publish your blog in book form.

    Thank you for sharing your many insights, as well as your with and charm. You have enriched my life, and am so proud of you both for your hard work and incredibly successful fundraising efforts.

    Brad, do you want to visit VBR on Sunday morning to give a shout out to the Salt Creek listeners? I’m hosting…unless you want to!

    best,
    Armin

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  2. Congratulation Brad, Jim and Sara.

    What an accomplishment for a great cause. Having ridden with you one day I know you physical condition is superb. Given the weather conditions you rode in with 40 degree and 100 degree days, rain, hills and most of all doing it for 73 consecutive days, your mental toughness must be even better than your physical condition. It’s only fitting that you completed your journey on a cold windy day. It’s supposed to be sunny and 60 degrees tomorrow to welcome Jim and Sara back.

    Thanks for the great blog, Brad. Looking forward to seeing Jim and Sara after they complete their hibernation to recover.

    Jack

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  3. Thank you Jim Sara and Brad for for taking the time and making the ride. The world is a little better place for the time you folks put in and sharing your experience with the world. Can’t think of better place for Al’s hat to have been these last 73 days. Sincerely from Albert IV Albert III Louise Sybil Greg Lee Staffan Hadley Todd Erik Christen Emma Ajax Bjorn Marley Jerry.

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  4. i saw your photo with a water tower with the words acme painted on it.Can you tell me where it was? I am looking for a water tower seen in 1976 somewhere between palmyra,ny and syacuse.This tower had the words STEEL CITY painted on it.It is very important to me to locate it and solve this mystery.I hope you can help Thank you Molly

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