It’s 9:30 p.m. and I’m only now getting to write this; it’s been a full, wonderful day. We started it in Hagerstown, waking to the smells of coffee, eggs, fried potatoes, and sausage from Christ’s Reformed Church member Tommy van Metre. After breakfast, we packed up, put our cots away and hit the road. Already at 9 a.m. it was 60 degrees – a perfect day for biking!
As Dorothy mentioned in the last blog post, our group changed a bit, adding Pam’s daughter Fiona and Fiona’s husband Tony, but also saying goodbye to Karl and Eric. As leader of the group, I had to get used to looking out for different people (and not worrying about where Eric was – the recumbent bike is always a little hard to see).
We were also on the lookout for Peter Buckland, who was due to meet up with us along the way. You see, Pete wanted a bit more of a challenge, so he left State College at 5:30 in the morning to try and do 150 miles in one day. Sure enough, I got a text message just before we left: Pete was already in Orbisonia! What took us a day and a half took him 3.5 hours!
Nonetheless, we trudged on at our much more leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery and stopping off to admire a huge solar farm along the way. Maryland’s laws are much more friendly for solar development than those of Pennsylvania – something to keep in mind. We also stopped off at the historic Antietam battlefield and took some time to explain the significance to Tony, who is from Haiti.
Our route today took up on the C&O tow path – a national treasure that is basically a bike path
running along the Potomac River. The canal was built over 150 years ago, and many of the locks and aqueducts are still in place. It is a perfect place to ride and a living history lesson about changing modes of transportation. We may think it’s natural to have cars and drive everywhere, but history tells us that this is a recent development and that we can do things differently.
During the day, Pete kept me updated with his progress: Cowan’s Gap, Hagerstown… it was like seeing our whole long journey compressed in a few hours. I texted back and suggested we meet for lunch. Sure enough, we stopped at an amazing Syrian grill in Brunswick, MD, and Pete showed up about 15 minutes later.
After a great meal we completed our journey to Poolesville, the home of Joyce Breiner, Dave Yaney, and their son Alex. Joyce and Dave have become good friends, having been part of this trip for four years now. Their home is a haven, and we all kind of collapsed on their back porch. After drinking LOTS of water, we headed into town for dinner, sponsored by Poolesville Green, a non-profit for which Joyce is executive director and co-founder. Poolesville Green is dedicated to promoting sustainability in the area, and Joyce arranged for some of her supporters to join us for dinner and conversation.
The cyclists are now all dispersed among three different households, and looking forward to a good night’s rest – as am I! Tomorrow – Washington!
—Jon (and the gang)
MANY THANKS to our 2015 silver sponsors Sun Directed and Beth Richards, KBB Realtor,
and bronze sponsors Freeze Thaw Cycles and the Rock Ethics Institute for their support!
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