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."

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