I woke at 5:30am. My inner clock is starting to suck, especially when I have a cozy, warm bed to wake up in. I got up and went downstairs to get the laundry that had been drying overnight. Stan and Peg’s new house is beautiful. I looked at the kitchen and deck and the finches that were at their bird feeder. They had chosen a house big enough to host lots of family and friends and I envisioned spending our traditional thanksgiving together reminiscing about grandma and grandpa Eller. I walked back up stairs and started to pack and get things ready. By the time I returned back downstairs Uncle Stan had already started the french press coffee and had blueberry pancakes crackling on the skillet! It was so nice to have breakfast with them. Aunt Peg gave us a few maps of the state and National Parks in the area and Stan recommended staying in Camden Hills State Park. He told me that Mount Battie was the last mountain he took Grandma Eller on. Somehow over breakfast we convinced Stan and Peg to bike with us back to the Northern Tier Trail. They hadn’t tried out their bikes since moving and it was a joy to have them bike beside us. We headed out, and they lead us on a short trail through the woods and then through a nice neighborhood. At McKeene street we said goodbye to them! Thank you again Aunt Peg and Uncle Stan!
We quickly found our way through downtown Brunswick and onto a beautiful bike trail along Merrymeeting Bay. When the path ended, we turned onto Old Bath Road which ended in a ‘road closed’ sign about two miles down. Much like our journey thus far, if there is a bridge to be worked on, it is going to happen during this trip. I flagged down the first car that pulled up and asked if she thought we could still get through. She said the bridge has been completely torn out and that we would have to back track to the trail and take US1. She offered to take us back to the bike trail and we said YES!! We unloaded the bikes, removed the front tires and within 15 minutes were back at the bike trail. We road along with her two kids, one of which told us he was 5 and that he was going to start school this year. He then went on and talked the whole way about his chickens and skateboarding! They dropped us off and I thanked the woman for taking us the two miles back. I know it seems petty, not biking back two miles, but it meant the world to Matt and I at that moment.
The rest of the day was hard. Similar climbs like the day before, but even more unruly traffic. Today is also the second day that Matt and I are not talking. The biking is silent, and there is anger and frustration in the air.The additional emotional stress weighs down the bike and it is slow moving all day. I can’t even explain what is happening between us. We have been fighting about petty things, like when to take breaks, and both of us feel a loss of control. I think as the days continue to push us closer to finishing, there is a feeling of not wanting the trip to end. There is something deeper that is working itself out, and Matt appears to be suffering. I thought he might be coming down with something, but there are no physical symptoms, rather just a dark cloud that sits a top his brow and causes his eyes to gray over. It is very hard for me to see him like this. At the moment, I want to be screaming with joy as we crawl toward the finish line embraced in the memories of the last three months. But I can’t when my partner is struggling.
We ate the hard boiled eggs aunt Peg gave us in silence half way through the day. We ate dinner in silence. We set up the tent at Camden Hills State Park in silence. His birthday is tomorrow. He will be 31. Perhaps that is what is tangling his thoughts. I asked him how he was feeling and he said “I am done.” Those were the only words he’s spoken to me. I hope tomorrow brings him peace.