Miles to Date: 272
May 9, 2015 – Cloudy, 55 degrees
I opened my eyes and greeted the domed skylight in the center of the yurt’s roof above me. Dozens of rafters splayed out of create this giant circle. The wind outside made the canvas roof pucker. I was cozy in my sleeping bag. My imagination spun at the thrill of adventure. I simultaneously felt far from home.
There is a consciousness to yurt living, Rose and Jeremy style. Jeremy set a fire in the wood stove. Rose chopped piles of fresh vegetables for a frittata. I took a bath in their deep tub. The long bath was luxurious, but like so much of conscious living, it would be time consuming on a daily basis. The yurt sits on a square concrete walkout basement, which creates odd foundation geometries were round meets square. Rose and Jeremy plan to move the yurt to another plot and construct a more conventional house; divided into rooms, including a bathroom with a shower.
Being round, the yurt invites interaction, which is well suited to Rose’s work. Two days ago she called me on the road. “Can I do a workshop Saturday morning based on your question?” I was planning a short travel day, so decided linger in Union and participate. Ten people gathered beneath the yurt’s dome and Rose led us through a series of explorations that touched on the individual and community, where we are today, where we’d like to be tomorrow, and how to get there. I must confess being a bit skeptic of group process exercises, but the morning was insightful and emotionally powerful.
When I rode away about one o’clock, I needed a few hours of solitude to process the intensity. The ride from Union to Belfast goes through beautiful countryside, forests and farms. The topography is hill after hill after hill. Long, low gear climbs followed by fast, all to quick, descents. I spent my mid-afternoon break at the Hope General Store with a Diet Coke and Whoopie Pie, a ridiculously sweet Maine staple.
The side of the rod was littered with fiddlehead ferns. I rolled into Belfast about 5 p.m. Belfast is a picturesque coastal town that has transitioned out of manufacturing with great spirit. I crossed the Passagasawakeag River on the high bridge on Route 1. Then I turned off the Atlantic Highway for one final time, and climbed the hill on opposite rise to spend the night with Jim Merkel, long-distance cyclist, environmental education, and author of Radical Simplicity, and his family.