It's hard to explain the feelings that overcome me with each passing day on this journey, especially as the days dwindle. But I'll continue, and I look forward to seeing friends and family as I close out this endeavor.
My trip from Kennebunk to Biddeford was along the Eastern Trail, 22 off-road miles leading all the way to Bug Light in South Portland.
I finished in Biddeford, and while I waited for Michelle to pick me up, I stopped in at Round Turn Distilling. Not only did I get to meet Darren, a friend of my friend, but I got to sample some Bimini gin. Oh my!
Speaking of feelings, I was a little nervous meeting up with Dan the next day, along with his sister Kelly and husband Jim in Biddeford. Dan and I had planned to walk to Scarborough that day. Michelle, her husband Pat and I were late leaving Moody Beach, but when we pulled up in a parking lot before the Saco bridge, we were greeted with folks decked out in Jenn's Journey North t-shirts. All good!
Dan and I set out for our trip along the Eastern Trail, and it was amazing to walk through marshes on both sides. People were kayaking and stand up paddling, despite the chill off the water.
We continued past our end point, heading to Kelly and Jim's house. After braving a small shoulder on a busy street, we turned left, and not long after, there they were to greet us and show us a shortcut back to their beautiful home.
Dan left the next day to head back to Pennsylvania. I, on the other hand, cheated a little. Instead of walking to Portland, I rode Kelly's bike from Scarborough to South Freeport, officially checking off more than one goal!
I got to ride through one of my most favorite cities, one that Michael and I would always make a point of visiting on our way to or from Winter Harbor. Portland, you'll always hold a special place in my heart.
Kelly and Jim were kind enough to host me for yet another night, and I got to enjoy a day on my own. They dropped me off in the city, and my first stop was at the Life is Good store. It's become a bit of a tradition to pop in there and buy myself something. The store wasn't too busy, and I struck up a conversation with Kathi; she knows someone in the Winter Harbor area and knew of my story.
I walked over to the Portland Observatory, the historic maritime signal tower on Congress Street that was built in 1807, for a history lesson.
And then I grabbed a loaf of fresh bread for dinner from the Standard Baking Company behind the famous Fore Street restaurant, and took time for lunch at the Portland Harbor Hotel. I was supposed to stay there - we always stayed there - but I had taken Kelly and Jim up on their offer to stay with them again even though Dan wouldn't be there.
Rest day complete, and the next day Jim dropped me off back in South Freeport to continue on towards Brunswick, near Bowdoin College.
I waited out some rain at my Airbnb before I headed to dinner. There, I struck up a conversation with John and his friends, asking what the road was like on the way to Bath. Their response? "Busy." To be honest, I'd seen worse.
The next day Patti, my Airbnb host, dropped me off at the trail head for the greenway running parallel to the Androscoggin River. It was a pretty walk, with lots of greenery and benches to rest as you look out to the water. But then it changes, and you're walking, protected, between the river and a highway, with no shade in sight.
The remainder of the walk to Bath was along a road with no sidewalks, yet again, and it was tiring, trying to pay attention to oncoming traffic while carrying Lucy, my big pack.
My day concluded at the waterfront park overlooking the water and the Sagadahoc Bridge in Bath. Lodging was in North Edgecomb, so after a quick lunch, I grabbed an Uber to my Airbnb, The Echo 1838, that was, literally, across the street from a real, live fort!
On the way through Wiscasset, we passed the infamous Red's Eats, with an incredibly long line. I didn't go to dinner there because of that. But I did enjoy a lovely walk over the bridge back towards the fort. The water was still, and reflected everything.
The walk from North Edgecomb to Damariscotta was uneventful, unless you count having to pay attention to 55 mile-per-hour traffic whizzing by on Route 1. That is, until I had to bear right in Newcastle!
A car pulled over, and a gentleman got out and introduced himself as Dan. It didn't dawn on me that it was Dan, my host that night! He lightened my load by taking Lucy, and I easily strolled through town, over the bridge, and checked off Damariscotta!
Dan and his lovely wife Claire gave me a tour of their part of the peninsula, including the Pemaquid Lighthouse. A late dinner, and I was pooped. Off to bed I went.
The next morning Dan took me back to Damariscotta to meet with Don of News Center Maine. He was going to do a story on my walk, and it aired that night, too! P.S. I hate the word widow, so don't call me that.
Once the interview was over, Dan dropped me off at Moody's Diner in Waldeboro, and I walked the almost twelve miles into Thomaston.
I stayed two nights with Dan and Claire. When I woke up the next morning, the fog hid everything, including the lobster boats I could hear not far off shore. But as the tide rolled in, and I watched some eider ducks, the fog lifted on another beautiful morning.
The day would include a "short walk" from Thomaston into Rockland. My hotel there was sponsored by my witty and caring big sis Liz. After dropping off my bag, I had the chance to relax, just by myself, not having to tell my story yet again. It was divine.
Dinner was at a lovely Italian place called Rustica Cucina, where I met New Zealanders Bill and Kathryn. They were sailing, on their way back from the Acadia area.
My Rockland rest day was spent mostly indoors because of the rain. I got sucked into watching The Open, which was taking place at Carnoustie in Scotland. Michael and I had attended this tournament at this same course in 1999, and I remember watching Payne Stewart play. He died a few months later.
I did manage to make it to the Farnsworth Art Museum, which featured an exhibit on Andrew Wyeth.
Advice for anyone visiting Rockland on a Sunday: go out to dinner early as there are only a handful of restaurants open, and they all have lonnngggg waits, even for take-out.
Tomorrow I'm off to Camden. I have two more nights on my own, and then I get to hang out with my Colorado cousin and sister-in-law, too!
See you further north!