©2019 by Jelle.

Let's make America great again!

11/3/2018

Gary and Helen both had appointments on Sunday, so we said goodbye early in the morning. Not much later, I left their house, fully equipped, and went twoards the US border. About 2 minutes cycling… Like 150 feet before the border crossing, I realised that I forgot my helmet. Luckily, I was still able to return. When I got my helmet and returned to the US border for the second time, I parked my bicycle at the CBP office and went inside. A sullen customs officer greeted me and I gave him al my documents. As expected, he asked me a lot of question. I showed him my maps of the American Cycling Association, my vaccionation passport and told him that a lot of people could verify my story. I could see that his co-workers were kind of convinced a.nd made gestures to the man to let me in. He didn’t seem impressed. He asked me how I could support myself financially. I told him about my savings, but couldn’t proof it because there was not wi-fi in the building, and I didn’t bring any printed evidence. Obviously, they’re paranoid for potential hacks. Furthermore, the guy thought that my route was very unclear. It actually is unclear, because I don’t know yet where I’m going to cycle and where I will stay. They sent me back to Canada. I had to bring more evidence about my financial position and think of a more concrete route. Especially the financial thing was very important. Less than an hour later, I returned with some printed evidence. A young women greetedme this time. She looked much more relaxed than the other guy. I showed her my printed evidence of my savings and that was sufficient. They barely checked my baggage. Finally in the US! This has taken me almost half a day, so I couldn’t cycle a lot. I didn’t really care, at least I made it to the states. Obviously, the first thing you do when you enter the United States is going to a McDonald’s to get a hamburger, so that’s what I did. When I started cycling, I immediately noticed that Maine is much more open than New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. There are still a lot of trees, but it looks more spacious. At the end of the afternoon, I pitched up my tent in the middle of a random forest, part of the moosehorn national wildlife refuge.

 

I had the honor to see this sign three times!

 

Random forest

 

The next day, I was planning to cycle only a short distance to Machias, but the wind was very beneficial so I just had to continue. Eventually, I cycled like of 90 kilometers without a lot of effort, with a couple of nice views of the blueberry fields. I ended up in Cherryfield, at an organic blueberry farm. I met Mark and Lisa here. Because of the winter, it wasn’t really crowded this time of the year. They told me that in the summer, up to 15 people would live in their house. Enthusiastically, they told me about their blueberries. Because there is a surplus of blueberries, a lot of small-scale farms go bankrupt. Only the large-scale companies survive. Mark and Lisa, however, are really successful with their organic blueberries. However, Mark told me he knows that market will be flooded as well. That’s the way that farmers are, he told me. Before the farming life, Mark used to be an academic. He used to develop scientific research projects for which he successfully granted subsidies. He even almost got his doctor’s degree in evolutionary biology, but then realized that this wasn’t the kind of job that suited him. He took a gap year and decided to become a blueberry farmer, together with Lisa, without any knowledge. Lisa showed my where I was going to sleep tonight and I could join them for dinner: wraps! After dinner, they told me about their obsession to live a healthy life. They’re both vegan, go to bed at 8 and go out of bed at 5 for an hour of yoga. Furthermore, they exercise every single day. They’re extremely dedicated! Interesting people. They predominantly have this lifestyle becuase it makes them feel good, but the fact that they don’t have access to good health care insurance was also one of the reasons. That’s very good and sad at the same time…

 

 

 

Mark and Lisa

 

While Lisa and Mark where already awake for three hours, I eventually wokeup at 8. They had already completed their yoga and they were preparing to run. I had to have breakfast alone, as they had this new experiment where they would only eat between 11 and 5. Don’t ask me why, but it must have something to do with living healthy. We said goodbye to each other and off I went. It’s still pretty strange that I meet all these interesting people for only one day, before I move on and probably never see then again. After 15 minutes of cycling, I got a flat tire. I didn’t matter to me that much, it was sunny and dry. Half an hour later, I was cycling again. I wanted to cycle to Belfast in two days, since it was going to snow pretty badly later this week. I cycled across a lot of Dunking Donut’s and decided to buy a donut at the store. I really had the intention to buy just one donut, but I ended up buying a box of them. Just too tempting… At the end of the afternoon, I asked to pitch up my tent in someone’s backyard. They proposed to sleep in their garage, so that’s what I’ve done.  I noticed that there are more differences in Canada and the US than just the view. The garage, bigger than most houses in the Netherlands, were stacked with bulllets. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of bullets. Everywhere were you looked, bullets, it was insane!

 

 

The next morning, I heard that a heavy snow storm was starting at the end of the afternoon, so I had the entire day to cycle a very snort distance to Belfast. On the way to Belfast, a guy shouted to me that I should come to have a coffee. He offered me a sandwich and coffee at his gas station. He was impressed about my cycling plans and gave me some advice about potential bicycle routes. 15 minutes later, I left again. I wasn’t surprised about the fact that the maritime museum, that I wanted to visit, was closed. Maine is a vacation state and people have told me that there are a lot of people here that have two houses. One in maine and one in Florida. During the summer, they’re in Maine. In the winter, they’re in Florida. So Maine looks pretty deserted to me with all their closed shops. Luckily, the nature doesn’t have a keyhole.

 

Before it started to snow, I was already at my Airbnb address. I met Austin and Will, both creative and eccentric people, to name it that way. The smell of weed has become part of the house, you would smell it even when nobody was smoking. In the afternoon, I walked through Belfast. In my opinion, it looked pretty grey and dead, like most places in Maine that have their hibernation. After the snow storm, I decided to make the same walk. What a difference:

 

 

 

 

 

In the next two days, I cycled to Portland via Wiscasset. The route mainly consisted of the boring route 1 with a lot of traffic. I’m pretty much done with that. I met Douglasd Darby in Portland, a real cyclist. Ray,  a friend of Douglas, joined and we drank a beer together. I was nearly drunk by the couple of Heineken’s. I costed me a lot of effore, but I eventually updated y blog. The next week, I’ll go towards Boston, where I’ll maybe stay for a couple of nights, depending on the weather and the things to see.

 

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