Deborah Burow Art

Artwork from the Bike Trip in Arnolds Park, IA

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Many of you read the blogs of all those days as I recorded my adventures on the roads of Iowa.  Finally the memories were captured on paper as I created paintings  for the A.R.T. Artisan Road Show of northwest Iowa.  

My work can be seen at Summerwind Gallery in Arnolds Park, Iowa. I’m delighted to be part of the show and would love to have you stop by Saturday and Sunday.  

Painting the bike trips

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Painting what I "saw" as I pedaled.  

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After 3 days of layers of gray clouds, as we left Pikes Peak Campground outside of McGregor, IA, the sun popped out. Ahhh, glorious sunshine. The photo is what I saw with my eyes, the painting is what I saw with my   heart.

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The plan is to have the beginning arts from my collection at the A.R.T. Artisans Roadshow weekend in NW Iowa Oct 14-15. My Iowa artwork will be on exhibit at Summerwinds Gallery in Arnold's Park, Ia.

Art Show Friday Night

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Nashville North Art Gallery, Friday 6:00-7:30, opening Flower Power Exhibit.  Showing at 210 New Road, #8, Linwood Greene, Linwood, NJ. Variety of artists. I'm delighted to be exhibiting in the show. Hope to see you there.

https://1-deborah-burow.pixels.com/featured/central-park-deborah-burow.html Central Park 16" x 20", acrylic with mixed media. 

https://1-deborah-burow.pixels.com/featured/central-park-deborah-burow.html

Central Park 16" x 20", acrylic with mixed media. 

www. deborahburowArt.com

Art in the Park Saturday

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Join me in Wilbraham Park, West Cape May, NJ. 10:00-5:00 July 22. 

New Art. People, Pet, Home whimsical portrait specials. Order at the show, save $25 on each portrait ordered. Makes great gifts. 

Fun new cards. 

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See the collaborative work, like this big guy, of Jane Beebe and Deb Burow creating giant doodles to create some very fun art.  

Stop by. Smiles await. 

Missing my tent...

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Each morning I still poke my head out the door to see if it's a good day to ride. And camp. As my brother says, "Any day is a good day if spent on a bicycle."

I'd have to agree.  

I, however, still work most days and he is retired. Big difference. But after being on the road for over 3 weeks, it's like an addiction. Hard to walk away and go sit at my desk. Yesterday my Fitbit said I walked ONLY 2369 steps!! Cuz I sat at my paint table all day and worked on art for a client. The art turned out fine, but 2369 steps??? And there is also this craving for ice cream that doesn't just stop now that I'm home. 

So early this morning I hopped on my bike for a couple hours before my work-a-day world began. It was FOGGY. Really foggy. Like coat-my-glasses-with-mist-before-I-get-to-the-first-corner foggy. Still that was not stopping me.  

Camera in my bike bag, I set out to see things I might usually ride right by. This morning I LOOKED among the ordinary. 

Pink, blue, purple asters and yellow buttercups. The colors pop in the gray mist. Grape vines climb in neat clipped, fenced rows of "grape trees". I see these things all the time, but today I'm taking their picture. Smile. Gold finches, turtle doves, red-winged black birds, some blue-all-over bird, gulls, and ospreys flying through the mist. One turtle trying to make it to the other side, though I see many others crushed by careless cars and trucks. Makes me wince every time. Others riders, exactly five, are out on their bikes, also. Bike lights glow brilliantly white on the front, and blinking reds on the back. Will cars really see me? I can barely see the cars with their brights on.

Pink, blue, purple asters and yellow buttercups. The colors pop in the gray mist. Grape vines climb in neat clipped, fenced rows of "grape trees". I see these things all the time, but today I'm taking their picture. Smile.

Gold finches, turtle doves, red-winged black birds, some blue-all-over bird, gulls, and ospreys flying through the mist. One turtle trying to make it to the other side, though I see many others crushed by careless cars and trucks. Makes me wince every time.

Others riders, exactly five, are out on their bikes, also. Bike lights glow brilliantly white on the front, and blinking reds on the back. Will cars really see me? I can barely see the cars with their brights on.

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A fisherman, tucked between the rocks and the bridge, buried in the fog, waits quietly. 

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A lone kayaker. A lone sea gull. Will other boats see her? Says she will stay close to the shore line. 

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Peering at the foggy bridge I weigh my chances of getting across safely. Will cars see my tiny blinking red light? There is no shoulder... it's not too long...I can ride a lot faster than I could 3 weeks ago...I really want to continue my ride...just go for it!

On the other side the fog is so thick, I can't see through my glasses. So I push them down on my face so I can see over the tops of them with my blurry vision. It's still better than the fog on my glasses. Crazy. 

Another bridge up ahead. No shoulder and thicker fog. I'll pass. Time to head back.   

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I had hoped the ospreys would be back on their nest as I rode by. 2 heads popped up but as soon as I tried to get near enough to get the photo they took to the air dive bombing me to get me way from their nest. Good parents. I'll be on my way.  

I managed to get myself caught between a big black pickup truck and the curb as I avoided a drain pipe grate as I waited for a traffic light. I was lying stuck against the truck and my foot was caught in my quick release clip that would not release and I couldn't get myself upright on my bike. For what seemed like forever I was immobile!! Fortunately it was a long light and I somehow managed to free myself. AwkWard!!!! All my new found confidence of improved bike riding slithered down that drain grate and I hope I never see the driver of that truck again!

Thanks for tagging along.  

Blogging may be part of my therapy to join the real world again. Or maybe I should just get my tent out now and again.  

Day 24- On the road to Cape May...

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When we started our adventure, we had a plan. Rather I should say, Dave had a plan that we would make it to Quebec City. Sounded wonderful. I'd never been and have heard wonderful stories about that city.

As you know, after 3-4 days, "giant hills" became an issue for me and we flexed and decided if I did not want to hike all the hills to Quebec, we best choose a more doable route. Flexibility is important in any adventure. A couple days after Lancaster, PA we took a turn south and west and headed for the flatter terrain of VA, MD, and DE. More ride-able for me, though more boring for "mountain man", Dave.

We met the most wonderful people along the way, extraordinary people. Warm Shower hosts, good Samaritans that took us in in the midst of storms, individuals with wings and halos that saved me from hills and bridges, relatives (of Dave's) that housed us through storms and trucked us-- three times!! over high steep hills that were too much for me, cab driver Chris who made me feel good in spite of a forgetful morning, folks that drove 40 miles so Dave could get his bike chain repaired, and a hotel manager that took us in during a flood. For names and places, see the addendum to today's blog. Every person we met along the way, added to this trip. Biking is about the places we see, the exercise of pushing our bodies, the food we experience, but most of all the people and their pets we get to know.

Talking with people is a gift. And some of the folks I remember the most, I didn't even get their names, unfortunately. After I had chatted with a woman for about 15 minutes, one day, as she told me a little about her town, she thanked ME for talking to HER. That took me by surprise. I always felt like people were kind to talk to me and answer my questions. Never occurred to me it also works the other way. A good reason to open our ears and be interested in what others have to offer. It makes them feel important for a few minutes. We ALL need that.

We cruised through Delaware with headwinds, climbed (and walked) over Pennsylvania, dodged traffic in the cities of Virginia, and enjoyed the countryside of rural Virginia, bused and shuttled and biked bridges through VA and MD,  cycled the adored endless, twisting and turning back roads of Maryland, and once again enjoyed the easy cycling through Delaware to make our way back to the Cape May- Lewes Ferry.

There were a few other cyclists joining us on the ferry ride back to Cape May.

Perfect day for a ferry ride. Cruise-like as the gulls circled and the folks on deck soaked up the sun.

The texts from home were already beginning. "When will you arrive?" Other texts were coming in about work related questions. Friends and family expectations. All good. But expectations none the less. I realized when you are on the road, there are no timetables (other than the setting sun), nothing to do but ride. Your biggest decision of the day is what to wear during the ride that day. That is the tough thing about returning to the real world. Expectations. Deadlines. Meetings. None of these things are bad, in fact without them we'd probably feel like we don't matter. When we matter, others are always involved. And that is a very good thing. It just takes a little transitioning to stop thinking about yourself all the time, lol. 

I'm grateful for family, work, friends, activities, even deadlines. It just takes a few days to get my head there, after days on the road.

What an adventure it has been. 675 miles, dozens of remarkable and lovely people, mountains to climb, roads to ride, winds to laugh into, rain to put up with, muscles to push, tents to set up, hundreds of pics to take, beautiful places to see, boats and buses to ride, bridges to pedal (or get rides over), oh and all that lovely ice cream to eat! 

What a day it has been...what memories I will treasure!  And hopefully paint.

Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, my brother who persevered through much with me and taught me lots about bicycling and camping, and pushed me when I thought there was nothing left. And also knew when I was really "done" and could not be moved, lol.

And thanks to all of you who rode along vicariously and commented along the way. That means more than you know.

A great adventure!! 


SPECIAL FOLKS THAT HELPED ALONG THE WAY---

Lisa and Dave Weiss--Buck, PA  After a very tough day, so appreciated you!! Crab soup at the Bullfrog, delicious!

Shawn Hendrickson-- You came along at just the right time. Totally exhausted, thanks for the ride!

Mary and Marv Lapp-- and your family, you were sent to us at exactly the right moment. Mary, I will treasure our talks and your delicious meals.. And I am going to get Stabilo pens! And check out the coloring book. Marv the trip to the bike store, so grateful. And Glen will always be a special memory for me. 

Kathy and Marc Withers--you guys were great! Marc thanks for all the rides and the shearing demo. And Kathy, seeing your wool process was so interesting. Thanks for having us all those days. Was so wonderful to sit inside and look out at the pouring rain. And I loved all your animals! And your beautiful farm.

Chris-- You were God sent. Loved our discussion and your website. May God grant you every desire of your heart, here and in Nigeria.

JIm Story--Thanks for hosting us. You were so gracious and your art collection was a special treat! Let me know when you sell your first Life Story table!

Isabella and Roger Hite-- Still marvel how we met you at your church. God is in the details. Loved your farm by the river!!!! And Hawk and Sunshine and your old dog, too. The horses and stories were great. And the nail polish! And the ride to town as we were leaving. So awesome to be eating with you as the storm came across the river!! Stay well, both of  you.

Tom Mosca III-- Thank you so much for stopping and giving me a ride over the bridge! So grateful. Enjoyed hearing about your biking family.

John, Manager at The Cape Charles Hotel --You were so generous and we so needed a place to stay. And you were there. Thank you. Your hotel is beautiful. And your town is delightful.  I'll be back.

Steve and Julie-- Thanks for sharing time with us and letting us put our bikes in your garage during the first phase of the storm, and recommending the hotel. It was lovely. Fun to hear and see your house renovations. Steve, hope you get to cycle tour with Dave sometime. It would be an adventure.

JR and Linda-- Grateful for your recommend of Newport News Campground. It was perfect distance for us and was a nice place. Glad I met you.

PLACES I WILL REVISIT:

Frederick, VA--great art galleries and consignment shop

Cape Charles, VA-- delightful town and Hotel

St. Michaels, MD-- will stay a little longer, lots to see

And would love to bike the back roads of VA and MD and DE again. So many pics I missed!

FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDS:

Belle Isle State park, VA

Tall Pines Harbor, VA --10 miles west of Temperanceville, VA

 

Day 23- Another day on the road

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Perfect day in the country.

Perfect day in the country.

As the trip is nearing the end, I am savoring EVERY scene along the road, loving every sense of freedom that comes with being on the road with a bicycle and a tent. The "real world" ceases to exist when you live outside all day everyday, whether great weather like today or the days when the rain was covering my glasses so it was hard to see 10 feet ahead of my front wheel. I enjoy my immediate world right now. The simple red barn building, the abandoned chicken houses, and the overgrown farmstead show the heartbeat and hopes and dreams of those that built them in the first place. Their immediate world right then. 

The family that built this house and plowed these fields and planted these trees never focused on a day that they would no longer live in this magnificent house, the tree would no longer be be a fort to climbing children, and farm animals would no longer fill the out buildings. Everything is now deserted. I'd love to walk through the rooms of this old place and feel the history of dreams gone by. I am so GRATEFUL to be able to stop and enjoy what still stands today. The sun is hot on my bare arms today, the flies are buzzing as I scoot through the tall grass taking pics. I almost rode right by cuz I have seen many of these abandoned farms along the roads as we have been riding. Today I stopped. The trip is almost over and I want to cement in my head all these memories, and photos help. 

The old, wavy, original glass that remains in that picturesque arched window at the peak of the house and the gingerbread that frames the roof, and even all the black shutters, and wide, original wooden siding, remind me that the folks that designed this house, didn't want just another box, they wanted their dream house to have extra special touches. They must have been so proud when it was completed. They probably never thought that one day circumstances would change and their dreams would stand empty.

But even around broken dreams, other dreams, very different and maybe not as strong, joy can exist. They probably never thought an artist bicyclist with packs on her bike and an iPhone camera in hand would get much joy, stopping by on the side of the road and documenting their part of history in this county. And hopefully create a painting of their hopes and dreams one day. That many will enjoy.

We never know what the future holds, so I choose to live each day to the fullest. We never know how our every work-a-day existence will affect those that come after. We are passing through and creating memories that touch others in ways we may never imagine. Live your passions as best you can. You may never know who will be blessed by what you do.

Today I am being reflective of this incredible experience of traveling by bike. Even as I write this, I must admit I have a huge sense of not wanting this to end. Happens every time. When we take a chunk of time away from the urgency of everyday life, it's amazing to me how our minds can shift and rest. And then we turn another page on the calendar and poof! we are back in the midst of what we let go of days before. So all the work that stopped for 23 days, begins again. And after a few days back in "the midst" we are good to go and grateful for that also. We are very flexible beings.

The last day finds me traveling more back roads through woods and tiny towns along the way. All beautiful, serene. So great that the last day of traveling is hot and sunny, even a tail wind now and then as the road twists and turns. Mostly very light traffic.

Stopped along the way and ate my last donut- it wasn't even that good, lol, it's just this is the last day of riding. There will shortly no longer be a need for 3000 calories a day. Alas, I must admit that is a delicious part of riding all day long every day.

I want to go back and re-ride the last day again. And again. And again. 

Tomorrow there will be one last blog from this trip. Transitions... 

Thanks for riding along. 

 

 

 

 

Day 22- A Day in St. Michaels, Md

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On Talbots St in St. Michaels.

On Talbots St in St. Michaels.

Also on Talbots St in St Michaels. 

Also on Talbots St in St Michaels. 

An hour's ride from  Easton and we were in the quaint river town of the Chesapeake Bay, MD. The town is on the Miles River, water, water, everywhere. Eye candy for me.

The ride down from Easton is easy on bikes. Maryland is very bicycle friendly and on most highways dedicates an entire lane to bikes. Nice. Safer. Today, as most days we have a good headwind so I figure on the way back this afternoon it should be a tailwind. Will see about that...

Walls of these tall, tall pine trees line the roadways of MD. 

Walls of these tall, tall pine trees line the roadways of MD. 

Taking a photo op and wind break. 

Lots of white fences so I figured there must be horses somewhere. Ah, yes, there they were.

Views along the ride included "simple little plantation houses" down at the end of long shady lanes. 

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Nearing St Michaels it reminded me a lot of Cape May, my home town. Both shore towns offer extraordinary beauty to the tourists that support them. A nice exchange. Those that live and work hard to make a living in them, also work hard to make it look effortless to those visiting. Definitely a lovely respite from life in the big cities.

Bed and Breakfasts dotted the many picturesque neighborhood streets. And most had No Vacancy signs. Visitors walked and rode bikes as they explored.  The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a big deal, and Dave spent a few hours perusing the exhibits. Very interesting history of the fishing industry in this area. 

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This could be your view from your front porch if you life at the cornier of Locust and Carpenter.

This could be your view from your front porch if you life at the cornier of Locust and Carpenter.

I could have stayed a week and painted all day everyday.

I could have stayed a week and painted all day everyday.

A delightful town, if you get a chance, go!  And stay more than a few hours, much to see that we didn't get to.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is an interesting place. Dave stayed a few hours as I whisked through the town. He treated me to a river boat ride on the Winne Estelle, a Buy Boat. Super interesting history lesson about oyster fishing on the river. 

A Buy Boat.

A Buy Boat.

Shots from the marina. Buy Boats do not have sails. 

Shots from the marina. Buy Boats do not have sails. 

We had such a beautiful day to be there. Warm and sunny with a cool breeze.

We had such a beautiful day to be there. Warm and sunny with a cool breeze.

Lots of interesting shops and galleries along the main street. 

Stopping by Clark's Fine Art Gallery, Heidi explained her art process. I'm not sure what was more remarkable, her art or her gorgeous, long grey-white hair. Who has hair like this at this age???

Time for lunch. Dave was not happy about the prices in St. Michaels. I told him Acme was offering hoagies for $5.00 but he opted for delicious fried trout "since he was here". But not happily. I, on the other hand, am on vacation and thoroughly enjoyed my crab cake sandwich. Separate checks, of course!!! lol.

After lunch Dave headed back to Easton and I stayed around to ride out toward Tilghman Island at the tip of the peninsula. It was another 16 miles out so I didn't get all the way but enjoyed more riding. The day was so beautiful I didn't want to give it up.

Before I headed back for the day I made an ice cream stop. Mandatory on a biking vacation.

Justine's ice cream store.

Justine's ice cream store.

Love the creativity of shop owners to create simple, inexpensive advertising.

Love the creativity of shop owners to create simple, inexpensive advertising.

Austin explained the difference between a malt and a shake and I opted for a strawberry malt. Delicious decision.

Time to head back for the hour ride to the motel.  Um... about the wind, it wasn't a tail wind, but not too bad. Wind velocity decreases toward late afternoon, sometimes.

Dave was sound asleep when I got back, and after I had taken a blissful motel shower and washed a few clothes in the motel sink so the motel AC could dry them, I too, was asleep. Nothing like a busy day of biking, shopping, gallery hopping, a tour on a river boat, and scoops of strawberry ice cream to help one sleep soundly.  

So, so grateful for this trip.

 

Day 21- On the way to St. Michaels, MD

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Heading to Easton, MD. I really want to visit St. Michael's and there is no camping. Motel required. Easton is 10 miles from St. Michaels, easy ride and more affordable than St. Michaels ($300-$400 a night in B&B!)

Before we leave the campground needed a couple memories--

The decor was Cowgirl. Hey, it was very clean, so I'm happy. 

The decor was Cowgirl. Hey, it was very clean, so I'm happy. 

Even in campgrounds, people are very creative.  

Even in campgrounds, people are very creative.  

Young woman across from us is a traveling Physical Therapist. She travels the country in her RV and does contract work. Interesting life style. 

Young woman across from us is a traveling Physical Therapist. She travels the country in her RV and does contract work. Interesting life style. 

First stop is Princess Anne, MD to have breakfast, the hogendoz ice cream bar was delicious! This house looked so peaceful. Turns out it is a home for mentally challenged folks. A quiet little town looking after those who need a little extra help. Lovely. 

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This morning's ride was so beautiful. One of the best of the trip. Country roads that twisted and turned and every bend was calm and green. A local ferry carried me across the river. Louis Kennedy has been operating the ferry and shared about other ferries in the area. Seemed very provincial  and a nice break in my morning. After 6:00pm everyday you are out of luck. Just have to stay put till 9:00am the next day.

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Louis Kennedy, ferry captain. 

Louis Kennedy, ferry captain. 

The rest of the morning was more country.  

Beehives in yellow. 

Beehives in yellow. 

The little towns were all about simple pleasures. Stopped here in Hebron, bought and orange in a grocery store for 25 cents!

The little towns were all about simple pleasures. Stopped here in Hebron, bought and orange in a grocery store for 25 cents!

Heading out of town a construction worker graciously helped me with directions and gave me heads up on a couple bridges ahead.

Vienna bridge, 1/2 mile long. 

Vienna bridge, 1/2 mile long. 

Cambridge bridge was also up ahead. A mile long, windy with enough shoulder to ride.  

Lots of expressions of faith  along the roadways. Makes me smile. 

Lots of expressions of faith  along the roadways. Makes me smile. 

After 75 miles and a lovely headwind, reached Easton, MD around 6:30pm. 

Day 20- Getting nowhere slowly...

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Somewhere between day 19 and day 20, I've missed a day, the days all run together...bike, find water, find food, read the map, find a campground and talk to new people and see sites and get up and do it all again. Not a bad way to spend a month. I'm very grateful. Even when my body is definitely ready to "be there".

We left Tall Pines Harbor Campground heading toward a State Forest campground. Lots of miles of serene back country roads. Seeing lots of snakes and wetlands and wondering if that's what "bayou" looks like and if alligators could really lurk in those waters, especially as dusk sets in. Definitely NOT venturing outside my tent after dark. (If you want to know how females pee in the night in their tent, you can PM me😊).

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The day is like riding in a painting and feeling the fabric of rural Southern America. Simple existence, genuine people, and much poverty. So many collapsed homes next to newer mobile homes. It costs money to tear down old abandoned homes, so they just remain and eventually collapse and become overgrown with forest. And decay back into the earth. I couldn't bring myself to photograph them as often people that lived there were around and I felt like I was documenting their disappointment and struggle. They didn't need someone zipping by on expensive bike equipment adding to the contrast. And even in the midst of broken dreams is incredible beauty. 

 Tiny, simple churches, were all along the peaceful roads. 

 Tiny, simple churches, were all along the peaceful roads. 

Lots of flat, green, farms. Easy riding, though the head wind is a constant companion. No matter what direction you pedal.

Lots of flat, green, farms. Easy riding, though the head wind is a constant companion. No matter what direction you pedal.

I want to remember the simple things, like wild flowers all along the narrow, shallow  ditches. Bike riding in the country is a constant reminder of the importance of farming to our nation. 

I want to remember the simple things, like wild flowers all along the narrow, shallow  ditches. Bike riding in the country is a constant reminder of the importance of farming to our nation. 

A family resting in their own corn field, in life and in death.   Ah, the sun came out and it changes everything. Pocomoke, MD, first sign of community in several hours. 

A family resting in their own corn field, in life and in death.  

Ah, the sun came out and it changes everything.

Pocomoke, MD, first sign of community in several hours. 

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On the Eastern Shore everything is nautical. 

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The first part of today is about open spaces and cows.

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 When the sun peaks through it brings a burst of energy to tired legs. Today was to be a short day. A couple turns on the map can change all that. 

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Pocomoke State Forest Park was our camping destination for tonight. 5 miles riding back into the forest on winding roads. Walls of giant tall pines towered on both sides of the road. NOTHING else, nothing. Did Google have me on a wild goose chase? I'd even have been glad to SEE a wild goose. Peaceful, but too desolate for me. Finally, get a text from Dave, he's on the turn off road  to the campground , but says not to ride it as it is deep sand, difficult. Later I find him, walking his bike, chain off bike and news that there is only dirt roads with no real place to camp with at least water. If there is no water, then there is no drinking water to start the morning the next day. 

So turning back we retraced our ride back out. I was tired but was glad to leave. Google showed another campground about an hour away. Good. The directions were a little sketchy but we were in our way, and sunset was approaching. Not a short day after all. 

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We ended up at Lake Somerset Campground, Westover, MD. Nice, except for the GIANT slug I found clinging to my tent netting window door when I got back to my tent in the dark-  (bike light flash light battery had died in the shower room), I had to put my face practically on it to see it was a slug!!! and the slug had to be removed by hand!!!). It was good to have found a home for the night. 

Day 19- The Day After

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Today the sun was out again, lovely, WINDY, ride.

Explored Cape Charles as we left. 

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A boom railroad town in the 1880s, it has been restored with lovely homes and shops. The railroad is still around though is not a focus, but the trains still come and go. 

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Walking down the Main Street I spotted lots of galleries, shops, and a pub. I'd love to come back and stay a few days. 

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I'd stay at the Hotel Cape Charles again! 

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Tiny park. 

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Lots of brightly painted homes.  

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???? Someone's get away on top an old building. 

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Hmmm...I thought this would make an excellent art studio/ gallery. 

Time to get going with our day's ride.  

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Warm and windy we stopped by the Exmore Diner for fried trout, turnip greens, with a strawberry shake for dessert. A perk of biking is you need lots of calories to keep moving!

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Mary Joe served up a great lunch and arranged for us to get free range chicken eggs to take with.   The rest of the day was sunny with beautiful shady back roads. This is an area riddled with poverty and you see many abandoned house along the way. 

Mary Joe served up a great lunch and arranged for us to get free range chicken eggs to take with.  

The rest of the day was sunny with beautiful shady back roads. This is an area riddled with poverty and you see many abandoned house along the way. 

After riding 57 miles we ended the day at Tall Pines Harbor. 

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I'd never been in a hammock before. Bliss. 

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Seems the owners must be Christians.

Seems the owners must be Christians.

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Good night. 

Day 18- Hotel Cape Charles - a great port in a storm

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pouring

pouring

Each day a biker looks at the forecast and decides how deep to pack one's rain gear. Today it looked like it would not be needed. 

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Beautiful bike path led us back to Virginia Beach Boardwalk heading for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. No bikes allowed. So we arranged for the VA DOT shuttle. There were 15 miles and a smaller bridge to cross and pass before we got there.

 Dave road this bridge path, I chose to walk.

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Heading out the clouds were getting heavy. The "shuttle" was to take us across the distant bridge/tunnel. 

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NO BICYCLES ALLOWED!!

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The "shuttle" showed up. A DOT pick-up filled to the top with road work equipment. We were told to just throw our bikes on top. "We do it all the time!"   Ack! (Be careful of our "precious" stuff)

And we were off for the 20 minute shuttle ride--note the clouds rolling in...

Once we unloaded we biked toward Cape Charles. The hot humidity drove Dave to a Food Lion for Mountain Dew. There he met Steve, who invited us to his home and family reunion. Dave and I cooled off at McDonald's and  took a look at the weather system coming across where we sat.

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We were not going to dodge this bullet. We gratefully shot over to Steve's house a couple miles away. He put our bikes in his garage and we scooted inside as the rain poured down. Saved again!

After chatting with his family for an hour or so about the charming town of Cape Charles, he recommend the Hotel Cape Charles that was nearby in town. So we donned the rain gear and headed out. Dave decided the Hotel was preferable to setting up camp in the deluge. I agreed. It continued to pour down for most of the evening. I'd give the Hotel Cape Charles 5+stars. Really nice and John, the manager went out of his way for us and our bikes. They had quite a flood on their hands but he handled it all beautifully.

We slept in dry and cool AC. Thanks, John!

Tomorrow we could explore Cape Charles. 

Steve and Deb

Steve and Deb

Day 17- Virginia Beach is not Quebec

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Dave

Dave

  We've arrived! Virginia Beach, VA. Gorgeous, sunny, warm day. Looks a lot like home, just more people and bigger hotels. I'm loving the water and being "at the beach". Dave is tolerating it, lol. He wants to be in Quebec.

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  Weather couldn't be more perfect. Had lunch at Waterman's on the beach. Never had seen such a huge piece of flounder. Hush puppies are a big deal down here. Tasted like little, round, fried, sweet, corn muffins.

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I headed for a sun soak on the beach and Dave pedaled down the beach a bit and had had enough. There ARE a lot of people.

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Our campground, just a couple miles away, was welcome at the end of the afternoon. 

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On my walk back to my bike I noticed a note card half buried in the sand. I must have dropped it out of my bike bag 2 hours earlier when I passed by this point on the beach, 100 feet from where I had napped on the sand. I was glad to get it back. God really is detail oriented.

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This sand sculpture was created right in front of me as I sat near the water. This dad creates a new one each weekend when he comes to the beach with his kids.

The beach is universal. I love it!

We finished the evening doing laundry at the campground, getting packed up for the next day's ride and shared an ice cream.

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Day 16- Bikes, Buses, and Automobiles

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At bus station waiting for the 916. 

At bus station waiting for the 916. 

 Each day of this trip I've been introduced to new possibilities. Bicycles are not allowed on the Interstate 64 bridge tunnel between Hampton, VA and Norfolk, VA. They ARE allowed on the front of the bus on a bike rack holding up to 2 bikes. We headed to the bus station.

 After a crazy bike ride through traffic for 13 miles, we arrived and loaded the bikes and headed up over the outside bridge.

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Ok, a little unnerving as the bikes carrying all your earthly possession are briefly attached with a couple bungies and a bike bar, looking a little wobbly and the driver assured us the bus company could not be responsible for any damage as we headed through the tunnel.

the tunnel 

the tunnel 

Once we arrived in the other side, we were dropped off in the middle of Norfolk.  We headed to a library (to use a computer) to figure out where to camp up the road in Virginia Beach. There are just SO MANY people and automobiles every where. More traffic.

Grateful for sunny, beautiful weather and that it was Saturday so the local library was open. It was complete with a Gospel Concert this afternoon. I love the South. 

Gospel concert at local library.  

Gospel concert at local library.  

Found a beautiful KOA Campground just 3 miles from the beach. With a great bike path to and from.   

The trip to the campground was longer than expected, windy, warm. When I  stopped to take a break, I wondered if they would tow ME and the bike. 

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We found a nice camp site, and enjoyed meeting other campers.

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Joe had a fully equipped site. I stopped to take a photo of his refrigerator and microwave and lamp hooked up to electric and he was excited to show me his 55Grill!

He's looking for the trunk of an old car to convert to a cooler for his cold drinks. Keep your eyes open. Dave has his contact info. 

You meet the most interesting people camping!

Day 15- Angel in Black Pick-Up

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After climbing a couple tough hills to get out of the campground, Dave and I googled our day's destination and he headed out and I was happy to cruise along enjoying the hot sun, cool breeze, flatness and whatever I wanted for a stretch.

Lots of churches along this route.

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 Soon turned onto US 17 , crazy traffic and not much shoulder. Horns beep beep beeping, I wondered where they thought I could move to???

Signs started warning about narrow bride with roadwork ahead. How bad could it be, as the cars continued to whiz by? As I rounded the bend my question was answered.

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 Of course I knew Dave had flown over that bridge and I also knew I was NOT riding, even slowly, over that bridge. No shoulder at all and 2 narrow lanes of traffic. And high. Ack! I pulled off the side and started waving "I need help" hand motions. I was amazed how long I had to wait before anyone stopped. God bless you, Tom M., and I hope you are reading this.

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 What a wonderful person. As I gratefully loaded my bike into his truck I noticed his wheel chair in the back. As I thought of all the folks that whizzed by, I was very touched by the wonderful heart of this man that took time out of his day to give me a ride when I really needed help. He shared stories of family members and their cross country bicycle tours to raise money to help and rescue animals and one brother who was severely injured in a bicycle accident who went on to serve in the Army. Obviously his family understands needs and is willing to use their time to help others. Tom, you were one of the angels that helped me today. Thank you.

Next, Dave is texting me directions to meet him at Ann's Family Diner  buried in shopping centers along crazy packed US 17. Really? I kept asking people where it was, dodging traffic, climbing hills, no one had heard of it. All this for a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and fries... they were good, once I finally found it.

JR and Tina  

JR and Tina  

 As I left the restaurant, JR and Tina wanted to know where I was going. Good question. They pointed me in the direction of a great campground for the evening. Thank you. Just one "small" bridge to cross.

 As I spotted the bridge I gulped down Mountain Dew and headed up. I am making progress, at least I don't automatically assume I will walk up. I did make it riding to the top, and it had a nice shoulder.

The rest of the afternoon was spent dodging traffic till I hit the "cow" path (a little mud) meandering through the woods to the campsite.

George Washington walked this trail.

George Washington walked this trail.

Deb Burow biked this trail! 

Deb Burow biked this trail! 

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Dinner is rice on tortilla. Clothes dripping till the dry cycle on the bikes tomorrow.

Will be taking bus and bikes across the Chesapeake waters tomorrow. Virginia Beach here we come.

Day 14- Kayaking and Napping.

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This is WHY I camp. Sunny mornings. Crisp air. A whole day ahead.

See that gravel, if you are a camper you know how perfect that is to have under your tent. Comfort plus!! 

See that gravel, if you are a camper you know how perfect that is to have under your tent. Comfort plus!! 

So clean and wide open. A treat!

So clean and wide open. A treat!

 Belle Isle State Park in VA. Don't know the nearest town. Not that it matters.

We had a tired time last night figuring where we should go today so we decided to stay another night.

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Happy Birthday to Dave. His birthday gift was rowing hard for a couple hours😊. 

Happy Birthday to Dave. His birthday gift was rowing hard for a couple hours😊. 

Perfect day on the water, and really nice water temp.

Perfect day on the water, and really nice water temp.

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The campground is extremely well maintained. And once you climb to the top of the hills to get here, it is all beautifully flat. Very serene since it's early in the season and not many campers here yet. 

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 We pedaled around. Very relaxing day.

And Dave napped and showers this afternoon.

Dave napped.  

Dave napped.  

Tomorrow will be a 60+ mile day so will be up early and on our way. 

Day 13- The best day so far

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 Isabella whipping up bacon, eggs, toast and her home made strawberry jam!

 Isabella whipping up bacon, eggs, toast and her home made strawberry jam!

Isabella made us a lovely breakfast and baked us her special home made pumpkin bread to take with us. Which we woofed down during one of our several food breaks during the day.

 Since she was heading into Tappahannock, the first leg of our planned route for the day, Isabella trucked us that far giving us a head start for the morning. We then headed out over the Tappahannock Bridge and into Warsaw, VA where we stopped for biscuits at Hardee's and made a Red Lion stop for groceries.

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 We met Doc Fugan, an artist, and his wife, Bobbie, who is 85 and teaches fitness classes at the Y. She's also a bicyclist and had some pointers for us regarding her Outer Banks cycling trip. Lots of wind. Good to know, we may avoid that area. 😊Delightful people.

Along the road, today

Along the road, today

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 Stopped for rest and snack (ei: Isabella's pumpkin bread) before attempting the last long climbs into the state park campground.

The rest of the day was sunny, clear, gentle breeze and a nice ride to Belle Isle State Park. The ride was doable with some tough, long, gradual hills. Never walked😊.Either the hills are shrinking or I am getting stronger. All in all a very enjoyable ride today.

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 The park is beautiful, clean sites with gravel squares to pitch your tent, and good drainage. Pristine bath house and laundry facilities. Really, really nice campground. Looking at the map for tomorrow's ride we see no clear path to get out of here. Maybe we'll have to stay a couple days...


A lovely day ending with nice hot showers! Windows tied open in the tents as no rain expected. Perfect.

Day 12- It's all about the people...and dogs...

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We are still laughing and it's Day 12...this IS a really a good time Sorry this day's blog is so looong, but so much happened today. 

We are still laughing and it's Day 12...this IS a really a good time

Sorry this day's blog is so looong, but so much happened today. 

 We wanted to get on the road early as rain was starting to fall and more was expected. Rain gear is a wonderful thing. Jim fed us eggs and toast, THANK YOU! And we headed up the hill for another day of unexpected goodness. Though everyday has brought such extremes of difficulties followed by exceptional provision and goodness so that is now my expectation.

 The hills are much better, more doable, long but more gradual. Only walked once.

 Stopped in Sealton, VA to get food and chatted about cycling with the youngish deli clerk who wanted to know, "How old ARE you?" Funny how when you are 40 something, that 60 something sounds ancient. When those of us in our 60s know life has just begun.

 By now you know we are not going to make it to Quebec, but Virginia Beach is within our range of possibilities.  When bike camping, its best to stay flexible. Each day is not what you plan, but better. 

Old plantation

Old plantation

Historian John and Dave --read details on Dave's blog on FB page DAVID MADSEN  

Historian John and Dave --read details on Dave's blog on FB page DAVID MADSEN  

We stopped in Port Royal, VA. The scenery and the southern drawls I was hearing reminded me we were in a new part of the country.

Dave and I were sitting in Hornes Restaurant -they had the best strawberry shake that was served with a long spoon in a parfait glass accompanied by the frosty metal mixing container from the shake machine. I had not seen one of those in years. It was delicious!

We had not found a campground spot for the night. The map showed no possibilities. Some heavy showers were expected by 6pm so we best be on our way.

Isabella's and John's church. 

Isabella's and John's church. 

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A couple hours later, Dave spotted a quaint historic church on the side of the road complete with huge shade trees and cemetery. We pulled in for a rest stop. Giant magnolia tree with blossoms as big as my head.

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 Ancient cedar trees thick with berries towered over the property. The church has been there since 1731.

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As I sat on the swings, a couple drove up in a truck to see what we were up to and if we needed help. They had keys to the church so we got a wonderful impromptu tour back in history. They still attend the church and all the parishioners have keys to the building. 

Isabella and Roger and Deb inside their historic church.    Roger loaded our bikes into their truck and invited us to spend the night. As we watched the thunderstorm pour down across the Rappahanack River behind their home, I was so grateful to be inside.

Isabella and Roger and Deb inside their historic church.  

 Roger loaded our bikes into their truck and invited us to spend the night. As we watched the thunderstorm pour down across the Rappahanack River behind their home, I was so grateful to be inside.

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The river runs right by their farm. Isabella shared wonderful stories of their grandchildren swimming in the river and kayaking up and down the shore.

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Deb, Isabella & Hawk- a beautiful, cool afternoon chat session   

Deb, Isabella & Hawk- a beautiful, cool afternoon chat session   

Roger our gracious host and saddle builder.  

Roger our gracious host and saddle builder.  

There are lots of pics of this creative family. We felt so at home it seems like I am sharing family pics. 

Roger's latest saddle build. 

Roger's latest saddle build. 

Misty and 3 other horses are part of the family. 

Misty and 3 other horses are part of the family. 

Sunshine and Hawk. 

Sunshine and Hawk. 

Bogie

Bogie

Isabella created a delicious dinner complete with apples and asparagus fresh from their farm. Thanks ! 

Isabella created a delicious dinner complete with apples and asparagus fresh from their farm. Thanks ! 

So grateful to know these wonderful people.

Isabella even had nail polish for me. I had jettisoned my nail supplies shortly after the trip began. Too much weight!

What a lovely evening we had watching the rain storm and lightening move across the river, and sharing wonderful conversation with interesting, loving, giving people. Another day of Devine provision. Grateful.

Day 11- What I had in mind

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This pastoral scene was what I had in mind when I signed up for this bike trip. We had 4 miles of this fantasy this morning before the hills began again. It was heavenly! 

This pastoral scene was what I had in mind when I signed up for this bike trip. We had 4 miles of this fantasy this morning before the hills began again. It was heavenly! 

Really gorgeous morning.  

Really gorgeous morning.  

After miles of heavy traffic we took some quiet, relatively flat side roads. Nice!

After miles of heavy traffic we took some quiet, relatively flat side roads. Nice!

 Pink wild roses grow all along the road.

 Pink wild roses grow all along the road.

 Barb wire grows along the opposite road side.

 Barb wire grows along the opposite road side.

 Dave and I decided to meet at the town of Glendie, VA. I can't imagine how I could have missed the town sign. Fortunately  Google said, "In 50 feet your destination will be on the left. You have arrived."

 Dave and I decided to meet at the town of Glendie, VA. I can't imagine how I could have missed the town sign. Fortunately  Google said, "In 50 feet your destination will be on the left. You have arrived."

 The dry cycle.

 The dry cycle.

 After doing laundry in the motel sink, it is time for the dry cycle. This is how it works on a bike. You clip everything on and in 80 degree sun it drys as you ride along.

Today was good. Warm, dry air and I only walked a couple (4 short) hills . Had an icy cold strawberry milkshake at McDonald's. And when the energy was really flagging, Dave suggested Mountain Dew for the double dose of caffeine it offers. It really did work.

My body does not know why the heck I am feeding it these foreign objects.

Tonight we are at Warm Showers host, Jim S. in Fredericksburg, VA. He has a great collection of art that was so interesting. He also fed us a great dinner!

Art from Somalia.  

Art from Somalia.  

Day 10- More mud, guts and glory

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Crime scene tape marked off the deep mud areas next to our site.  

Crime scene tape marked off the deep mud areas next to our site.  

Heading out early, rain threatening, we had to retrace the last 6 miles to get out of the rain forest. Any fantasy that I had that the trail would have dried out was quickly thwarted. Wthin 100' of starting the trail, deep swallowing ruts of mud and water brought me to a standstill to avoid falling into the abyss, as Dave powers through, of course.

Dave is the tiny yellow speck in the distance. These pics do not even come close to showing the real mud. Cuz you don't stop in the middle of the worst parts to take pics! 

Dave is the tiny yellow speck in the distance. These pics do not even come close to showing the real mud. Cuz you don't stop in the middle of the worst parts to take pics! 

So Dave wins. He gave into my urgings for flatter roads (I assumed DRY TRAILS); so we had 16+plus miles of flat muddy trails, and now I'm grateful to head to higher ground😊. 

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But before I finished pedaling the rain forest, I saw 2 deer crossing the path 50 feet in front of me. They stopped long enough for me to stop and grab my camera and zoom in and get a pixelated photo. They stared and I stared. A little payoff for the mud and guts.

Once we hit the pavement I was breathing a little easier. Around the first bend in the road we faced a looong bridge with traffic zooming along. Dave confidently speeds off amidst the traffic. I eyed a walkway that barely fit me and the bike, tried it and figured it was more of a balancing act than riding in the traffic. So now I had to cross the constant stream of cars, get up and on my bike (that is STILL a challenge with all the weight) and move forward without swerving into the path of traffic. More guts. I'm hoping by the end of this trip that my confidence starting and stopping, clipping and unclipping bike shoes on the new bike will have grown.

The hills are immediate, but today they are high but more gradual, so more doable for me. Though constant. Our goal was 50 miles, Warrenton, VA. 

By 2:00pm my bike shorts were chaffing. That is a nice way of saying I was focusing more on the pain between my bike seat and my body than anything else. I knew I could stop, apply lots of chamois cream, and change to more comfortable shirts. But that means getting naked on the side of the road and there was no bush or tree cover along this stretch of road. I kept riding a few more hills looking for a changing spot. And then there it was, a perfect changing "room" complete with red door.

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It was at the top of a hill, important cuz I have to start at the top, not the bottom or on an incline or else I can't get started again. God takes care of the details. Smile.

 Continued on. The rain was falling harder now so finally opted for donning rain gear. About 44 miles in, my energy just totally gave out. I ate a banana, that helped, but not enough. I called Dave to get directions for the last 6 miles. He had already arrived an hour earlier and was hanging out dry at Starbucks. There was still one final big hill that I succumbed to walking, just too tired. Traffic plus rain plus exhaustion. I was looking for a motel.

Now, so everyone is clear, Dave does not do motels. There was much protesting on his part. Much. I could not be swayed. My choice was 4 more miles of riding hills to a state forest with no official campground, or a Howard Johnson. I told him he was welcome to pedal on and sleep in the woods but I was staying in a glorious 2 star dry motel that was 1 mile away, all down hill. And I did. And he joined me.

  Doing laundry in the sink at motel. No dryer, but there are worse things than wet bike shorts.

  Doing laundry in the sink at motel. No dryer, but there are worse things than wet bike shorts.