Nancy reminded Jeffrey that we haven’t published a photo of me in a while. Jeffrey remedied that with a candid shot of me swinging from a chandelier, holding our map of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Here’s Jeffrey in his new jacket from the L.L.Bean outlet – we love the earthy cherry color . . .
. . . and on our rig before we left Auburn this morning (the latter photo courtesy of our host Mark; later we learned that kind hoteliers Lynn and Mark donated to Human Rights First).
Jeffrey attached a rain cape to the fairing, to keep his legs out of the rain. A cold rain there was; it rained all day, and he got wet. Thanks to the new jacket and the preemptive use of the rain cape, he did not get soaked. I was snug in my plastic bag.
We rode through miles of what passes for flatlands in Maine. This shot was taken in Standish. See how the road rises in the distance? Note the red nose appended to the image of the ungulate. Note the cracked pavement and the muddy, unrideable shoulder.
A low dam and rapids in the Presumpscot River.
We passed a huge Poland Spring bottling plant, where tractor-trailers were lined up for loading. It is a testament to the power of marketing, that New Yorkers pay dollars per gallon for Maine water no better than the pure unfiltered mountain water that comes from a NYC tap for a penny or two.
We stopped for the night in Sanford. Bob flagged us down.
Bob is a retired mechanical engineer. One thing having led to another, he and companions recently started a cross-country bicycle trip from Oregon, but he had to abandon the trip in the Midwest when his wife needed surgery. We had a wonderful chat about cycle touring, machinery, religion, multiple universes, Americans, Britons, and other topics. When Jeffrey explained the mission of Human Rights First, Bob said he was preaching to the choir. He wholeheartedly supports providing free lawyers to asylum applicants.
Bob told us a wonderful story about his great+++ grandmother who, having recently given birth, fed the newborn child of a First Nations chief when the newborn’s mother was unable to nurse. The chief’s tribe then helped Bob’s ancestors clear land and establish a farm. Ultimately, Maine’s uninvited European settlers and their descendants (not Bob’s family!) destroyed the tribe. This was apropos of a startling story in today’s Portland newspaper about an 1875 law that forbade the printing (!) of sections of the Maine constitution that guaranteed to Maine’s American Indians certain rights, a trust fund, and vast tracts of land. Mainers with European roots violated every one of those guarantees; the printing ban (still in effect) may have been enacted to hide the state’s obligations.
We left our new friend Bob, and soon met Bob and Bob. (So many fine Bobs. Some may be uncles.)
Bob and Bob run the hotel in which I swung from the chandelier. Both listened with interest to Jeffrey’s disquisition on the plight of refugees and the help they receive from Human Rights First. The more verbal Bob shared interesting bits about the Sanford area’s economy and demographics.
Jeffrey left me and went into the rain in search of dinner. He saw this monument in a park.
One could have a long discussion about the 1968 inscription honoring local “veterans who served in all wars in an effort to preserve peace in the world.” War for peace. We’ll save that for another time.
At the Three Alarm Diner, where Jeffrey warmed his innards with two gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, Mikki and Adam thought long and hard about the moral imperative to help refugees.
They waxed admiring of our energy and initiative in pedaling to Maine from NYC. Of course these youths could do it faster and better than we have, an ancient man with titanium in his leg, and a spineless kangaroo puppet at least 25 years old (I have no recorded birth date). But it’s nice that us old coots still can wow the young-‘uns, albeit undeservedly.