What an evening! Cyclists are full of a fantastic potluck, a sunset view (with sheep!) and are
spread out across 2 houses and a couple of tents in McAlevy’s fort at Plowshare Produce with our fabulous hosts Bethany and Micah Spicher-Shonberg, Tom and Sharon Spicher, and Bethany and Micah’s boys who are belly-laughing and singing in the next room as I write this).
Only about 6 hours ago we were pulling in to our sendoff site, Foxdale Retirement Village, with residents standing in the hot sun, wearing cycling jerseys and vigorously waving us on in the proper direction to make sure we never had a moment of doubt about where we were meeting. By the time we gathered with some choruses of “A-a-a men… a -a-a-men” we had a remarkable crowd of cyclists and well wishers of all stripes. The Rev. Dr. Sam Huffard treated us to a short reflection on the importance of journeys (referencing the Bible and Jack Kerouac!) and led us in a prayer of blessing.
Lining up for a group photo really impressed upon us how much bigger this group is than any trip previously. The guy in orange is Jacob Mann from our faithful Silver Sponsor SunDirected. The giant group also meant we took a whole lot longer to cross intersections, so the State College Police Department provided us with a fantastic escort all the way into Boalsburg. Thank you, Officer McDannel.
This first ride is extremely hilly, with the first major hills in full-on sun and highway. To get up and over the mountain into the next valley, though, we ride through incredibly beautiful forest, alongside streams, and surrounded by every shade of spring green. A good chunk of the hilliest part of that ride is on gravel roads and it is hard riding. With one assist, everyone made it, and we are grateful that we should only have 1 or 2 of the 3 stressors a day after this: heat and gravel, hills and highways, but not all three. We’re looking forward to the cooler weather forecast for tomorrow.
We’re down to the sounds of the spring peepers and the grandfather clock, so it’s time to head to bed so we can be up really early for quiet time with coffee (Karl!), or roll out of bed in time to get breakfast (Noah!). Before we leave at 9:00 am, we’ll head to the field to get a taste of the work these farmers do to provide the beautiful food we eat. We’ll be helping plant some of the thousands of sweet potato slips Micah and Bethany have just received. Collect your sweet potato recipes this summer— the harvest is coming!
and all the cyclists.
Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801
MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed