Hank – Dave was kind enough to whip up some omelettes for breakfast. Juice and pumpkin spice English muffins rounded it out. Our plan was to be on the road by 8:00 am. We were only five minutes late. Not bad. Not bad at all.
We got through some more industrial area south of Wilmington and stopped in Newcastle. As luck would have it we got there in time to watch a sailing ship come in to port. It fired a cannon, I guess in a form of greeting, twice. It was incredibly loud.
The day was hot and humid and it was wearing on both of us. Kathy had sweat dripping off her elbows while she was riding. We stopped several times for cold drinks and snacks. While much of the ride was on US Highway 40, which had plenty of shoulder and some marked bike lanes, bikes are not allowed on the bridge crossing the Susquehanna River. So we had divert north to US Highway 1 and cross over the Conowingo Dam. The roadway there had no shoulder and tons of traffic. It was pretty terrifying.
After crossing the dam we had some serious climbing, followed by a beautiful greenway trail, followed by more climbing to the campground. Just what we need after all the climbing we’ve been doing for the last 20 miles. Multiple short steep climbs just wear you out. We arrived at the campground drenched in sweat and very tired. We set up camp and got our showers but not before it was dark. We closed out the night with a light snack and finished the last of some wine we had.
Kathy – So our 62-mile day was one for the books. Super hot in the 80’s, but with the humidity the heat index put us up into the 90’s. The Google maps for biking are totally inaccurate again. Google said we had 1,800 feet of climbing. After 40 miles of constant up and down climbing Google maps still said we had 1,800 feet of climbing for our last 22 miles. No doubt, we must of climbed a minimum of 3,000 – 4,000 feet today. The climbing was even wearing on Hank, which never happens. Our last 22 miles were pretty tough as my legs were really tired of the elevation gains. There were a few times when I stopped just to catch my breath and rest my legs before the next climb and I almost broke down in tears. It was an extremely hard day of riding. Between the heat, humidity, total mileage, and vast amount of climbing all day, it took everything out of me. We rode ten hours which included only small break times because we wanted to get to camp before dark. I was so ready to be off that bike by the time we made it to the campsite. All I wanted to do was rest and not move. Unfortunately it was getting dark so we had to get the tent up, all the gear in the text, mats blown up and beds ready for the night, and clean up. By the time all that was done neither of us wanted to do anything else. So I just had trail mix for dinner and a banana. Hank opted for some cheese cracker mix and a banana. I had a small amount of wine left over from a few days ago so we shared it. My goal was to decrease the pain in my thighs any way I could. Just so you know, it wasn’t enough wine.
We made it to Maryland today, our 24th state! I also planted my flowers in Delaware. I meant to ask our Warm Showers host, Dave and Barbara if I could plant them in their yard but I forgot. I found a nice area in Delaware to plant them. I tried to plant the seeds deep enough so the squirrels wouldn’t eat them and they will hopefully grow next spring. All part of my goal of making America more beautiful – one packet of flower seeds planted in each state we visit.
The ride itself was OK at best. We were on the main roads – 4 lanes of traffic going 50 mph or faster right next to us. It wasn’t really relaxing with all the traffic noise and the need to be constantly monitoring traffic. When we did get off the busy road the last six miles it was not better. We got on a gravel trail near the river for about four miles. Instead of traffic, here you had to constantly monitor sticks, uneven surfaces, mud, and frequent turns. Not so relaxing either. The last part of the ride (2.8 miles) was all climbing up into the campsite. Just what I wanted more climbing at the end of a 60+ mile day. I was really temped to just call it good and camp anywhere in the woods. The only reason I didn’t was because we would be leaving the campground in the morning out a different entrance so I would have to do the climb regardless. It was a grueling day. I almost want to cry just writing about it, it was so hard. These days make this trip not so much fun.