After all the planning, training, preparing and anticipation, I am finally on my way. Despite my minimalist packing, the bike and bags weigh over 80 pounds – and that’s without food or water. My only luxury is a 1-1/2 pound folding chair, which I wouldn’t do without. I plan on riding 4,500 miles, from Atlantic City to Seattle, with a few National Park detours. Bill will be returning home after a week, probably from Pittsburgh.
Bill and I met up in Philadelphia, and spent the evening at his place. On Saturday morning, we rolled our loaded bikes onto an Atlantic City bound train, for the start of our adventure. After a brief visit to the lovely Atlantic Ocean, we left the glitz of the Atlantic City boardwalk and casinos behind, as we headed west, into the wind. Things quieted down as we reached the Pine Barrens, a vast area of sparsely populated pine forest, crisscrossed with pristine streams. It felt good to finally start riding.
It was a hot, humid day, which made for a tough start. Neither of us are as well trained as we had hoped. After fifty hot miles, we reached our destination for the day, a campsite on Atsion Lake, in Wharton State Forest. We promptly headed to the showers, where we found plenty of hot water — scalding water to be precise — with no ability to control it. Ouch! Before we knew it, it was getting late, and we didn’t have the heart for the five-mile round trip to the local biker bar, so it was dehydrated meals for us. Yum. But we were serenaded after dark by the beautiful call of a whippoorwill, and again in the morning. And the heat broke, which was a gift.
The next morning, we headed out in the beautiful, cool weather for the densely-populated route to Philadelphia. This is my old stomping ground. Lissa and I spent most of our lives in Philadelphia. We rode through Camden and Philadelphia, then headed north to Norristown, to see our friend Tim, his wife, Zoe, and son, Jake, who greeted us with smiles, a cold beverage and snacks. It was great to see them again.