Hank’s First Flat

Hank – The forecast called for rain around 3:00 am. It never showed. We woke at 6:00 to make breakfast and check the weather. No sooner was the water hot enough for tea and oatmeal that the rain started. We had 38 miles to the hotel in Baltimore and we were on the road before 8:00. When we checked out we learned from the ranger that had we followed the paved road to the park entrance instead of the shorter route on the dirt road we would have climbed Heart Attack Hill. As it was we had more climbing just to get out of the park.

After more short and steep ups and downs we finally got back to US Hwy 40, which we would be on for nearly the rest of the way. The rain nailed us pretty good for the first couple of hours. But it was so warm that our rain jackets kept the rain out and the sweat in. The rain clouds finally cleared just in time for the headwinds to pick up. Not only did they help us dry they also made us work harder to get to Baltimore.

We were getting hungry and found a place to eat up ahead. It was just past an upcoming climb. During the climb my bike started bouncing a bit with each pedal stroke. The back was was going flat. I pulled the panniers off the bike and yanked the wheel off. A large shard of plastic had found it’s way into the tire. I removed it, put in a new tube, and put it back together again. Just when I finished a car pulled over and a gentleman with a large white beard asked me if I needed any help. I told him I had just finished and thanked him for checking on me. He asked if we had a place to stay the night and offered his place. We had plans for a hotel so I thanked him very much but declined his generous offer. He gave me his card just in case. That’s how I came to know I’d met Santa Kevin. What a neat guy.

We stopped at Sizzle Eat Drink Dance in White Marsh, MD, for some lunch. We met Raj who took an interest in us and seemed to be inspired. Go for it Raj!

From then on the sun was out and the wind blew so we got mostly dried out before arriving at the hotel. Kathy was still pretty worn out from yesterday’s ride and the climbing today was hitting her harder than normal. It felt good to get in our room and rest.

Kathy – Well the Google maps for biking was wrong again.  Last night we checked our route plans for today.  Google maps said that we would have some decreased elevation to start our day off.  That made me really happy…until it didn’t happen!  We climbed for our first five miles.  My legs were tired from yesterdays climbing so I really wasn’t ready to start out on the uphill.  Neither Hank or I slept well last night because it was so hot.  The lowest temperature for the night was 75 degrees.  If you add the humidity, I’m sure it was even hotter. Just too hot to sleep.

Today was a repeat of yesterday, heat, humidity, elevation, lots of traffic whizzing by us at 50 mph, and the need to stay totally alert for traffic the entire day.  Hurricane Michael was set to hit the Baltimore area around lunch time so our goal was to get the miles done quickly before the worst of the rain and wind kicked in. We kinda-sorta made it.  The hills continued throughout our 38 miles of riding today.  The steep hills quickly reminded me of the pain and burning sensations to my thighs.  The long gradual climbs wore on my tired legs from yesterdays climbing.  No doubt we did a minimum of 2,000 feet of climbing today.  The Google maps for biking told us once we got to the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland that our last 2.8 miles was flat…they lie!!  With the exception of one short downhill, we climbed the entire time to the hotel.  Not sure of our plans tomorrow, but if it includes a ton of climbing it won’t be happening.

So Hank got his first flat tire today.  Our agreement was he changes my flats and I change his.  Well we were in the middle of a long climb when he got his flat.  I didn’t want to stop in the middle of the climb so Hank said he would walk his bike up the remainder of the climb. Once I got to the top I was looking for Hank only to find him down the hill about a quarter mile on the ground changing his tire.  I walked down the hill to meet him because I had all intentions of changing his tire.  Too late he was already pumping up the new tube.  He said it was easier to just change it than walking the bike up the remainder of the hill.  I guess I owe him one and will need to change my own tire next time I get a flat.

Happy to get to the hotel, clean up and relax tonight.  The past two days have taken their toll on our bodies.  We are feeling a bit tired and old tonight.  We are both hoping to sleep better tonight and will work on our future plans in the morning.  Good night!


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  1. WOW! Rest and relax. Keep posting love reading about your adventure❤️😊


  2. So sorry about the flat, Hank! It had to happen. You are sporting a fine looking rain jacket with a hood! Would you mine sharing the brand? I’m in the market for one.
    Thanks so much for sharing your adventure.
    Travel safe!


    1. We both have Showers Pass rain jackets.


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