Sunday, August 19, 2012

York Furnace to New Holland, Pa. - Aug. 18

Since it has become a deeply ingrained habit, I started from Otter Creek Campground as soon as it got light. It had rained overnight but I was dry since I was allowed to set my tent up under a pavilion. I'm glad I didn't have to get wet on my last night.

There a were some hills along the river, but after I crossed over to Columbia, it was a straight, flat ride to Lancaster. I stopped by my house, talked to my tenants and did a little much-needed yard work before heading on.

I stopped at my brother's house in Leola and then we went to Brady's Pub in New Holland where I saw my niece and nephew. From there, we all went to the New Holland Pool for some afternoon swimming with my brothers and their kids.

At this point, the riding was pretty much done, but the actual, final miles were only logged in the early evening to my parents' house in New Holland. By the end, I had 51 miles for the day and 4,621 for the entire trip.

(I won't go back to my house until after Labor Day when my subletter moves out if my apartment.)

So, what do I make of the trip?

It was cool to dust off memories of the 1987 trip. I got to know a lot about that trip by looking at old pictures, reading old journals and listening to tapes my mom made back then.

At first, I was more aware of what had happened on the 1987 trip, but as this one went along, I thought less about that and more about the current one. After my dad's accident, this trip became pre-eminent, having gotten an unexpected -- and unwanted-- drama.

For most of the trip, we didn't have major problems, but there were still daily, physical challenges as well as tests of mental toughness.

After getting out of the mountains of the West, we rode through some unconscionable heat, with afternoon temps hitting 107, or so. That's when we began riding at the break of day, which let us at least have some pleasant riding before being overtaken by the afternoon oven.

When I was on my own, I dealt with some new problems, including rain and a poorly-timed flat tire as well as the time my seat came apart and I had to figure out how to get it fixed. (A fortunately-located auto garage was the solution.)

Constantly having to deal with problems helped me adopt something of a "ho-hum" attitude toward hardships.

We heard a lot about how terrible upcoming hills were, but it did little good to think about it until you were actually climbing it. Or, worrying about the wind didn't accomplish anything; when the winds blew, we just kept riding.

In each situation, the solution was murky beforehand, but became apparent right in the middle of the problem. The main thing to do was actually quite simple: keep going.

In some commentary for a slide presentation about the first trip, my mom talked about having a "treasure chest of memories," with the bike trip being a way to add to that treasure chest. That experience in 1987 stuck with me long enough to want to do it again, and now I've got a whole lot of new memories that, as my mom said, I can "take out, and savor for a while."

Friday, August 17, 2012

D.C. to York Furnace, Pa. - Aug. 17

Instead of just going to Baltimore, I took the main route that goes around Baltimore ... and then I kept going. In all, I rode 106 miles and am staying at campground on the York side of the Susquehanna River, near Safe Harbor Dam.

I figured that this would be my last chance to ride big miles in a day, to try to test myself a little at the end of this long trip. It was cool to start biking in the early light in downtown D.C. and end up just 16 miles from Columbia.

Tomorrow I'll have maybe 50 miles of real riding and then I'll hang around at the houses of my family members. (I sublet my own apartment through August, so I can't go back there just yet.)

So, the trip will end tomorrow. I'll then do one more post with a few closing thoughts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fredericksburg to D.C.

I had a nearly 90-mile day into D.C. It was neat to ride in some familiar areas since I used to live in both Northern Virginia and D.C. All of this bike riding really is bringing me back home!

Tonight I'm staying in a hostel in downtown, just blocks from where I worked, lo those many years ago.

It was neat to ride on the bike route through this area since it took me through familiar territory, but along some roads I'd never bern on. I biked through Quantico and Fort Belvoir military bases as well as along a bike path along the Potomac River.

Tomorrow I plan to bike to Baltimore, and from there the next day will probably get me to the border of Lancaster County, if not in it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ashland to Fredericksburg, Va.

I had a short, 65-mile day that included some rolling hills, but nothing too serious. Because there wasn't lodging for nearly 50 miles beyond Fredericksburg, I'm staying there. Also, because I was here by noon, the only camping was "primitive", and there is a threat of serious thunderstorms, I got a hotel room. Plus, I have so much time to kill today, that I didn't want to just hang around outside for 9 hours until it was time for bed.

Tomorrow I plan to ride into Washington D.C. I used to live there, but all my friends, except one, have moved away. Unfortunately, as it turns out, she is away, so I'll be staying in a hostel.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chickahominy to Ashland, Va.

I backtracked to Ashland, covering some 65 miles by noon. I'm now staying at the KOA that I stayed at three nights ago. In fact, I'm staying in the same site, but instead of anticipating a ride to Yorktown, I'll be heading north tomorrow, towards home.

I had been thinking about lollygagging my way home, but now think I'll just keep going at my normal pace. Tomorrow I plan to go to Fredericksburg since there are few lodging options anywhere else.

It felt familiar to be riding again today, but also strange since "The Trip" is already completed. I'm no longer someone who is biking across the U.S., but someone who has. (I don't know how to italicize things on the iPhone, but just imagine that "is" and "has" were in italics in that last sentence.)

The ride today included various markers for Civil War battlefields.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Had a good day in Yorktown to be with Chad as he completed "the trip". It was fun to watch Chad, Keith and Alex enjoy the last 13 miles together.

It was somewhat difficult not being on my bike to enjoy the feeling of completing the coast to coast ride. I came short 650 miles of completing the ride. Chad and I did rode for 3575 miles together with many wonderful memories. Each day we were ready to start and enjoy the ride. The days that we started at first light in the morning to beat the heat were fun. Each new day I looked forward to the adventures of another day.

Thanks Chad for a great ride. Thanks, for waiting for me at the top of all those hills. Thanks for allowing me to "suck wheel" on those many miles across Kansas or when we had a head wind. It was nice to have you making decisions about how far to ride, where to stay and keeping us on the route.

The 56 days on the road with Chad are full of memories that will be talked about for years. It was fun reliving the trip of 25 years ago and finding spots and things we did on the first ride.

Yorktown photo

Here's me at Yorktown in 1987 and 2012.