More Family Ties

Hank – Last night we shared the campground with another couple who we’re in a car and had a small dog. The dog was quiet and so were they. The weather called for scattered thunderstorms and you can bet one hit us. We were ready for it. But it was still 80 degrees so the tent got pretty muggy. It stayed like that all night. My sleeping bag liner was enough to keep me warm once it cooled down. At the crack of dawn the other couple packed up and drove off. We had breakfast and made ready for the day. Because of yesterday’s spill, Kathy wanted to walk instead of ride the sandy road. We watered up at the $60 tent site campground again and hit the road.

Our first stop will be at Dick’s Sporting Goods to stock up on dehydrated meals and stove fuel. Then we’ll head into Atlantic City. Kathy has a cousin who lives about an hour or so away and we may get to connect depending on his work schedule. Plus, we need to do laundry. (sigh) Life on the road, eh?

The county roads to Egg Harbor City were quiet and had plenty of shoulder. I had no idea New Jersey had parts that were not that inhabited.

We had a great meal at the Harbor Diner and then worked out way to the Hamilton Mall in Hamilton Township. We got what we needed at Dick’s and at Target. Outside Target we met Dana who was interested in hearing about our adventure. He works at night in Atlantic City and invited us to stop by. We’re not sure we’ll be able. He seems like a really nice person.

From the mall we decided to take US Highway 40 straight into Atlantic City and the boardwalk. Traffic was heavy but we had plenty of room for most of the way. But there was a strong headwind for those last 12 miles. It’s always something.

We road down the boardwalk to our hotel, cleaned up, and then did laundry. In the meantime, Kathy had contacted her cousin John Joergenson who lives about 90 minutes away. He and his wife, Trish, were going to meet us for dinner. Kathy made reservations at Cappricio, which turned out to be an excellent choice. We got there a little early and had a drink at the bar. While there, Ulysses, our bartender told us one of the staff had rode across the country. The fellow did it back in 1978 on a 10-speed Schwinn and wearing shorts and flip-flops and carrying what is not considered primitive camping gear. He lived it.

Kathy hasn’t seen John in over 30 years so we were keeping an eye on people coming in. A couple sat down next to us who knew Ulysses and many of the staff and greeted everyone by name. Ulysses told them about us and we got to meet Frank and Patty. They were fun to hang out with. Had they not been spending the weekend here we could have stayed at there house on our way to Philadelphia.

Kathy and I said goodbye and we headed to our table to wait for John and Trish. (Later that evening they told us they met Frank and Patty. They came into the bar not knowing what we looked like. They saw Frank and Patty and thought they looked about the right age. So John mentions “the Greer’s” to see if he gets a response. Frank and Patty told them we were inside at our table and that we’re really nice people. How cool is that?)

Genaro, our head waiter, likes to have a little fun. When he got to my order, I read it off the menu in Italian. I don’t speak the language but I know most of the pronunciation rules. Genaro asked me to repeat my order. I did and he said, “Oh, spaghetti and meatballs!” What a kidder.

We had a great time getting to know John and Trish. We caught up on family and some family history we were unaware of. John used to cycle a lot and told us Philadelphia is a very cycle friendly city. And they gave us a couple tips on sights to see. As always, the time passes quickly and soon they had to head home. What a great night we had.

Kathy – I was a little sore all over from my bike falls the last two days. My right shoulder was pretty painful, but I rode regardless. The temps were in the 80s for our 40-mile trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. There was some elevation. Between my shoulder hurting and the last 12 miles with a fierce headwind, my goal was to ride as fast as possible and just get to our destination. Happy to have today’s ride over.

When we arrived to Atlantic City (also known as AC) we rode our bikes on most of the five mile boardwalk to our hotel. Yes, it is actually a wooden boardwalk and when you ride on it the boards move about and make lots of clanky noises. There are lots of casinos here and apparently that is the main draw for this city. I don’t plan to hit any as we have other plans to keep us busy.

We arrived at the Best Western Plus and because we use them often they upgraded us to the ‘suite’ for free. Well maybe I’m used to the Marriott and Hilton hotels from my work travel days, but this suite is really just a room with a separate area with a couch in it. And, the leather couch is so worn that it has large cracks all over the leather. Maybe I just need to lower my expectations. Even though we didn’t need it, I do appreciate the upgrade though.

The nice warm shower felt great. I always feel better after cleaning the sweat and grit off. As we walked about we were warned this area is ‘not the best part of town.’ It’s kind of odd here in that you can walk less than a half mile in either direction of our hotel and you’re now you are in the ‘better’ part of town. There were some folks about that looked a bit iffy, but we were fine.

So the highlight of our day was our evening. Relaxing and having a drink at the restaurant bar before dinner was good. We love to meet new people on our journey. As Hank stated, we met some fun people there.

My Uncle Pete (HITYLTILY) in Illinois called me a few days ago to remind me my cousins Shannon and John live in the area and gave us the info to connect. I have not seen these two since our Grandpa Pete passed away 32 years ago. Well, Shannon lives north of New York City and we were leaving the city the next morning so we couldn’t meet her. Too bad, I know I would have loved seeing and getting to know her better.

We did get to meet up with my cousin John and his wife Trish! I really appreciate that they drove 90 minutes to Atlantic City (on a Friday evening, in heavy traffic after a long week at work) just to visit with us. What great people they are. Our dinner was delicious but more important, our time with John and Trish was simply wonderful. Trish is a college professor and John is an attorney who specializes in legal research. They have four children and are very busy with two still in college and their son a senior in high school. We talked for hours about our lives and our family. John and Trish are amazing people and I am thrilled we managed to make the connection. Reluctantly we had to say our goodbyes as they had a long drive back home. I am so thankful Uncle Pete made this happen. I’m also grateful for our time with John and Trish. Hopefully one day soon they (and possibly Shannon) can come visit us in Spokane. The days ride was not the best, but the evening was perfect.

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