Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recap: Philly to DC

Sorry for the lack of posts lately ... we've been camping a lot, thus, no internet access.  We're in Ashland, VA right now. It's a quaint little train town with a great coffee shop (The Station Cafe).

Back to where Ed left off in our last post...

So, we finally left Manayunk Brewery (much to our dismay) and it was about 4pm. We didn't have much daylight left, and ended up putting in a record-breaking 22 miles that day.  We camped in an abandoned civil war-era house (or what was left of it) near Valley Forge. We were awakened the next morning with a symphony of geese. Been seeing a lot of Canada geese up here.  We rode through Valley Forge, which was George Washington's winter encampment during the Revolutionary War.

Monument at Valley Forge.

Cannon at the monument.

Llamas (or alpacas?) were an interesting change of scenery from our usual horses and cows.

After Valley Forge, we rode a few days through the Pennsylvania countryside. We were both surprised at how much farmland we passed, and how hilly Pennsylvania was. We saw a lot of Mennonites and even a few Amish folks making their way through the towns.

We met a really nice older gentleman, Sam, who was curious about our bikes and talked us up a bit about traveling. Super friendly guy who built and restored antique furniture. It's always refreshing to meet such nice people along the way.

Some people have asked us if we ever have to worry about wild animals when we camp out. You know, racoons, deer, bears, etc. Well, we finally had our first animal encounter.  One particularly chilly evening, we were camped behind a church and we left some food in the vestibule of the tent (outside the tent but inside the rain fly) for breakfast in bed the next morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night to a strange crunching sound - it sounded like something was walking on the tarp that we put over our bikes.  I looked over and saw some kind of animal in the vestibule and I just about wet my sleeping bag.  I looked out of the rain fly in time to see a small stray cat dart under the tarp, about 5 feet from our tent. He had been munching on some tortillas that we had stashed for breakfast.  Relieved, I tossed them out of the tent so Kitty could finish his snack, and since then we've made sure to store all the food in dry bags away from where we're sleeping.

Sunrise (can you believe we were up early enough?)

After the cat-tortilla incident, we woke up and had breakfast (sans tortillas) and made our way to the Bethel United Methodist Church near New Bridgeville, PA.  We stopped in and asked for some water, and they happened to be having a rummage sale. We couldn't pass up the ham bean soup, nor the chicken corn soup. Yum! So good, especially on a cold day. We also had some great rice krispie treats and walnut pumpkin cookies. The nice church folks warned us about a killer hill that was coming up, and they weren't lying. Wow. Beautiful scenery, but we could have done without the hill!

Welcome to Maryland!

The first night we stayed in Maryland, we camped on a farm, and woke up to tractors running, as well as frost on our bags (a first for the trip). We're tired of the cold weather, by the way! Stopped in Glyndon, MD at an excellent grocery store for coffee, bagels, and egg sandwiches. We even picked up a box of girl scout cookies (I used to be a girl scout, if you'll believe that!). We had a big day of riding into DC that day, and rode about 20 miles of the way into town on bike trails as well as an awesome street that they close to car traffic on the weekend (it was a Saturday). Score!

Fixing wheels en route.

We made it to our friend Craig's house in time to take a much-needed shower and go out and get a beer and a burger with some of my friends! More on that in the next post. Stay tuned!


Jellybean said...

Nessa, I miss you and wish we were spending Halloween together this year. Your trip looks so exciting. Stay safe and warm! Love you, Samantha C.

Craig said...

While reading your description of Ben's Chili Bowl, I felt like I was watching an episode of Man v. Food-- right before Adam attempts to eat 400 lbs. of raw ground beef or something. BIKER vs FOOD!