Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 5: Powered by Affirmation

John hasn't let a hill go by without complimenting me for reaching the top. It's nice to know someone's got your back even when it's not breaking (yet).

Day 5: Rockland to Waldoboro, via Thomaston

A sort of gray and dreary day today. First stop on the itinerary was Owl's Head lighthouse, which was an eerie sight in the thick morning fog. We'd hoped to look out over the water for miles, but we could barely see our hands in front of us. We climbed to the top anyway and just listened to the deafening foghorn. Owl's Head, like several in Maine, remains a working lighthouse. We learned that boaters these days are turning to GPS, but many still find the actual lights and sounds of a lighthouse reassuring. Wonderful luddites of the sea, I wish you decades of sailing.

This was uneventful and forgiving riding on what we expected to be a grueling day. Such a pleasant surprise for 48 miles to fly by with few headaches and even fewer taxing hills. We even took a wrong turn near Friendship that cost us four miles, but we came across a lovely organic wool, hay, and egg farmer (all renewable outputs), who set us on the right path.

We now find ourselves in a cheerful tavern in the town of Waldoboro, where about fifteen years ago I once caught the end of an acoustic music set at a cafe that's now a hair salon. Waldoboro is more homespun and modest, at least to the naked eye, than many of the other towns we've visited. A kind of mashed potatoes to Rockland's pommes de terre. This particular spot, the Narrows Tavern, was recommended by our outstanding barista in Rockland, and she'd be right at home at one of these picnic-style benches, sidled up to a pint of draught.

Tonight we'll stay at the Moody Cabins Motel, retro lodging devoid of any irony whatsoever. The place is run by Bob, the preacher son-in-law of the woman behind the legendary Moody's Diner (which continues to be a Maine institution), just down the hill and past the frog pond from the cabins. Bob is a rabid hockey fan originally from Newfoundland (emphasis on "found") and he regaled us with stories, including the macabre tale of his brother John's death at 58, and the subsequent death of John's wife thirteen weeks later to the day. He told us that on his single visit to Chicago, almost 20 years ago, his only goal was to visit the Pacific Garden Christian Mission, which I actually wrote a paper about two years ago. I was able to tell him had recently moved to a brand-new green facility on Canal Street. He gave me the kind of quizzical grunt I associate with those 1980's commercials: Pepperidge Fahhm . . .

Monday is movie night at the Narrows and a group of men is already gathered around the bar to watch the show. It'll either be Running with Scissors or Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, depending on whether the waitress or the owner wins the day (I'll leave it to you to guess who wants which). It's of little consequence to us either way, though I'm secretly rooting for the waitress. John and I are enjoying some early Talking Heads over the sound system before we head back to the cabin. We'll sit and read on the sweet screened porch, blocking out the mosquitoes and the world for just a little bit longer.

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