Friday, October 2, 2009
Tats,Bandans, and Thai food
Well, well, it's been a while since our last update and we've covered some territory!
We left Swarthmore, PA after spending two nights with friends Ben and Dama. We made a jaunt into West Philly for Ethiopian food at night, but otherwise hung around Swathmore. We then made our way over to Newark, DE. It was a pretty low mileage day for us, which is fortunate since we got waylayed for about an hour an a half at a supplement store called Herbalife. As we were slowly biking our way up a hill and scanning for a likely place with a restroom, a woman on the opposite side of the street started jogging along at our pace and hailing us down. She kept asking us if we wanted a nutrition shake. We didn't really, but we did want a bathroom and she offered that up too. Little did we know after she ushered us into her store that we would be fed protein shakes and vitamin water, given a BM scan, nutritional advice and sent off with protein bars and powder. The ladies were bubbling with enthusiasm and encouraged us to open a store in Burlington. It's those type of unexpected, slice-of-life encounters that we love about this trip.
We made it to Newark where some incredibly friendly strangers - Josh and Molly - kindly took us in and included us in their dinner and entertaining plans. Thanks to you guys, that was a great stop!
Then we made our way through the Delmarva Peninsula (called that, we found out, because its Delaware, Maryland and Virginia all squished together). Delaware is amazingly flat! The landscape also seemed very Midwestern, with long horizons, many cornfields, and swift wind. We also had our first flat! Margaret was the victim. As she was fixing it, five different people stopped to ask if we were okay or if there was anything they could do.
We stopped at a gas station in Crumpton, MD (still on the peninsula) where we got our first taste of rural incredulity at the idea of bicycle touring. We learned that word travels fast at such establishments in the middle of nowhere. One man, when we learned of our plan, said, "New Orleans on a bicycle...y'all must be lookin' for somethin' to do!" Another weathered looking man couldn't fathom us having a cook stove with which to cook the eggs we bought. "On them bicycles?" However, everyone came around, wishing us well and suggesting Duck Neck campground nearby.
The following day felt very serendipitous. We cycled down to the coast of the peninsula, rode to Kent Island, and then crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in a truck. As we were at a stoplight right before approaching the bridge, the truck behind us honked. We turned around expecting to be told off for being in the road, but instead a woman popped out and asked if we needed a ride across the bridge. Turns out she owned a bike shop on the island and was heading to Annapolis at exactly the right time for us! She dropped us off at the other side, and we checked out Sandy Point State Park stuck our toes in the bay.
From there we went to stay with some of Emily's family friends in Severna Park, MD outside of Annapolis, (Thanks Roberta and Mike, you rock!) We've been on somewhat of a hiatus from our bikes, using public transportation to get into DC for the past few days. We've checked out the Mall, the Old Post Office bell tower, and the museums of the American Indian, the Holocaust Memorial, Natural History, and American Art. We biked the B & A rail trail from Severna Park to Annapolis for a day, and walked around the Naval Academy.
We're now staying with Emily's high school BFF, Caitlin (shoutout!) and will be seeing Emily's sister Adam tomorrow. Then it's back on the saddle for a while. Next stop, Charlottesville, VA!
Here are a few other photos of silly stuff here and there. Enjoy!