We’ve arrived in Bar Harbor
At 12:15 AM last night, the woman and I were on a northbound bus out of Port Authority. Yes, I used the bathroom there, and yes, I did my best to try not to think about the countless acts of sin that have take place there. We were headed for greener pastures. Or just any pastures, really.
Not much happens on an overnight bus. You just try to find the position to sleep in that will cramp your neck the least and silently curse the person who won’t put his phone on vibrate. When you’re not doing that, you’re watching Downton Abbey.
We made a connecting bus out of South Station in Boston at 6 AM. I had just come back from scoring donut holes (two dozen for $3.80!) and the woman behind us in line was revealing her life to a homeless man hanging out in the station. She had been sleeping in the station since midnight waiting for this 6 AM bus, and wasn’t that just the worst?
Homeless guys shrugs and says, “Well, I don’t have a house.”
Our next bus driver, the intrepid man who would be steering us from Boston to Bangor, was named Galen Owens. If he wasn’t wearing the Greyhound bus driver’s uniform, he’d be decked out in Boy Scout kitsch. This guy had a heart of gold that ran several layers deep. He was simultaneously polite, in charge, and apologetic, following up any assertion of authority with “I’m just doing my job.”
When we stopped in Lewiston, we saw Mr. Owens hug the woman who runs the Greyhound station and hand her some cake. Just the nicest, most stand-up New Englander you can imagine.
After several bananas, grapes, almonds, and revolutions of wheels, we arrived in Bangor. Here we were greeted by Helen, a retiree who passes the time running a shuttle service from the bus station to Bar Harbor.
When she found out that we had brought our own bikes, she was beside herself. “It’s the best way to get around. A car is a nuisance here – everything is part of the national park, so you can’t park anywhere.” She continued into a half-remembered monologue about riding her bike across the country several years ago while I fantasized about beer and lobster.
We checked into the hotel and ran out for some food at The Thirsty Whale. I was so tired that I nearly faceplanted into my half-eaten blue cheese burger. Instead of starting the trip with a bang and biking laps around Mount Desert Island, we went back to the hotel and almost immediately passed out. We woke up with a little more energy in our systems and a little less Greyhound on us. It was just enough to go get some ice cream and a bottle of wine before calling it a day.
We only have very loose plans while we’re here, and truth be told, I like it that way. Anything could happen in Maine. It’s Stephen King territory up here.