Thursday, September 24, 2009
What state are we in?
Greetings from PA!
We're currently in Swarthmore, PA, at the Swarthmore College library. Since last writing in Woodstock, NY, we've been traveling between states a bunch. Being from a state that only borders one other (Maine), it's funny to be in the Tri-state area of NY, NJ, and PA! We're always wondering where we are...
We camped Sunday night at High Point State Park, in NJ, on Sawmill Lake, which was beautiful, after spending the day checking out the Shawangunk Mountains as well as Minnewaska State Park. Both very beautiful.
We set out the following morning from Port Jervis, NY into the morning fog, and spent the day cycling through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The fog disappeared and we got sun mid way through the day. We stopped at an interesting antique store across from a cemetery where Chief Thunder Cloud was buried, and a small towny museum about the Lenape Native Americans who lived in the area. We took ourselves on a 30 minute self guided tour with cassette player in hand to explain the displays. After seeing the Water Gap (which, for as unusual a geologic feature it is, wasn'nt that impressive to the eye) we camped in Worthington State Park in New Jersey. After crawling into our tent there we heard a cacophonous brawl amongst little critters that lasted for a solid few minutes. We heard grunting and terrified squealing that tugged at our heart strings. But even more than empathy we felt fear that we and all of our equipment would soon be reeking of skunk, since earlier in the night we noticed a couple of them hanging around our picnic table. Fortunately we woke up to both a spray and carnage free campsite!
Tuesday we made our way from DE Water Gap to Frenchtown, NJ, where we stayed with a friend's family at their home which they also deemed "the hobo hotel". (Thanks Molly and Betsy, Rick and Lana!) Again, we saw much of the same by the road - interesting mail boxes, gas stations, rolling farmland, horses, produce stands, and wildflowers galore. It's interesting to notice the composition of trees changing as we head south. There are so many acorns, walnuts, and butternuts by the road!
Wednesday we journeyed from Frenchtown, NJ to Paoli, PA. We took a Rail Trail for part of the day - the Perkiomen Trail.
At night we stayed with Steve and Kim McInally, who generously provided us with a bed, showers, and laundry! Thanks to you all and your generous hospitality!
The road is pretty entertaining, as are the people we've met along the way so far. Lots of people ask about our shirts, our bikes, or what we're doing. We've met many colorful characters. We saw a woman taking her parrot for a walk yesterday. Always, the locals are great for directions, but we tend to ask a few people to cross-check the accuracy. We've heard almost nothing but positive feedback - "How bout that!", "Way to go girls!, 'etc, etc. There are also great ironies as well. Perhaps the best so far was a woman driving a hummer alone with a license plate that said "Save the Animals."
The road rage has increased as we've gotten into more congested areas, often by no fault of our own. A man on a riding lawnmower today decided to take it to cross a busy road and even he gave us a nasty look for being a bike in his way. Another man honked and waved his finger wildly on route 29 in PA for just existing and liking to bike. And really, the kindness we come by outweighs the grumps we encounter.
We're really enjoying ourselves so far. Since we're putting out a lot more energy than we're used to, the most simple things like sleeping and eating feel so luxurious and good. Also, we're coming to realize that we gave ourselves a lot of time for the miles we have 'planned'. We want to take side trips to see some interesting things along the way. We're thinking Gettysburg, Annapolis, or Monticello, or all three! If anyone has any suggestions for must do's and see's that are vaguely along our route, let us know! Thanks!