July 19, Thursday (Philadelphia to North East, MD):
I don’t have a lot to say about today’s ride. It was relatively short (60.6 miles), flat (2,037 feet) and more reasonable weather (up to 89, but typically 85). The roads were good though much busier because this ride wasn’t through the countryside. So, lots of cars and trucks but typically decent shoulders. Except for all of the stops and starts from traffic lights, I was well over 16 mph for the first time on this ride.
Leaving Philadelphia wasn’t on bike paths like entering the city was, and there weren’t beautiful river views, or even beautiful anything views. But for being city riding it was surprisingly stress free. The drivers on the residential streets were reasonable and the busier streets had decent shoulders. And maybe I am just getting used to cars though I know I have to be careful about that. It takes only 1 oversight to ruin this trip. Not to mention my life.
The ride was going quickly until I ran into a technical problem. I stopped at mile 26 to stretch between my shoulder blades and checked my phone’s charge. It was way down, which is typical because Google Maps is always on, so I plugged it into 1 of my spare batteries (courtesy of SPI Consulting, i.e., Sal) only nothing happened. Then I plugged it into the second spare. Same result. It didn’t make sense that I had messed up charging both batteries but it appeared that I had. Because I can’t afford to have a dead phone – not only would I lose my directions but I would lose contact with Ale – I immediately contacted Ale to have her meet me. It happened that she was close so I only had to wait a few minutes. When she arrived I plugged my phone into the truck’s charger but that was obviously going to take too long. After a lot of different tries, Ale finally discovered that the cord I had been using no longer works. Since I had others, problem solved but after wasting more time than I would have liked.
The next glitch was at the end of the ride. After turning off of a main highway, Google told me to turn left only there was no road there, only a driveway to a service station. So I kept going which is when Google went bonkers. It would tell me to turn in 600, then 500, then 300 feet only to then tell me to proceed for 1/4 mile, or ½ mile. And then to turn on a street that didn’t show up before telling me to keep going. I finally turned around, got back on the main highway in the direction I had been going only to see our Comfort Inn off to the side. It turns out that its access was through that service station driveway although there hadn’t been a sign telling me that. So, alls well that ends well but with the addition of another 3 miles or so. No big deal but a bit annoying. Though not so annoying as to cancel out the fun I had had being able to ride at 20 – 21 mph on flats and at 18 or so on some gradual “climbs.”
As I told Ale, with rides like today – i.e., rides that don’t hurt – the main issue is just the repetition. The faster riding is fun, but mile after mile, day after day after day, is repetitive.
We had dinner at the Nauti Goose which sits on the North East River which is large and has a number of boats berthed on it. The waitress couldn’t tell me the distance to the ocean and I have been too lazy to look it up.
Tomorrow’s destination is YTBD because Ale has been helping to improve my route.
July 18 (R&R in Philadelphia):
Tuesday night we at at Vivtor’s, a restaurant whose owner had been a distributor for RCA Victor way back when. With its musical heritage, the restaurant features waitresses wh take to the microphone to sing various opera arias. (Is that correct?) A bit like our Opera House Cafe.
Although it didn’t have the frenetic activity that Boston did, getting through town is a slow process. Wednesday we caught a bus to downtown and it probably took 30+ minutes to go 2.5 miles. Stop signs at almost every corner and lots of street work. A car wouldn’t have been much faster. Except near the end of the ride when a woman in an electric wheelchair couldn’t get it off the bus even with the help of her attendant. We and virtually everyone else finally got off. I felt sorry for her because she must have been frustrated and probably embarrassed. At least the driver was being patient and no one said anything.
When we got downtown, we took a “Hop on, Hop Off” open air bus to see the city. That can be a good way to get an overview of a city. Although there are numerous historical sites in Philly, the lack of time and lack of energy limited what we actually stopped to see, Our final choices? The Reading Transit Market Place (named after the Reading Railroad that built a terminal over a market place; the huge food court/market is still there but the Reading now only exists in Monopoly games) and Rocky’s steps. As the guide on the bus said, when you go home from Philly your friends won’t ask if you saw the Liberty Bell, the Constitution or any of the other historical sites but they will be disappointed if you didn’t see the steps that Rocky made famous. Since Ale is unlikely to ever be back whereas I may bring Sandi to see all of those other things, Rocky’s steps are what we visited after we had lunch at the Reading Transit Market (Philly cheese steak sandwiches, naturally). We both walked up the stairs, neither of us ran. Given the heat and humidity that would have necessitated a shower.
We finished the day by picking up my bike from a bike shop where a new chain, rear brake pads and, gulp, a new cassette were installed. (A DuraAce cassette costs nearly 3 times the cost of an Ultegra; but it was cheaper than repairing ny Porsche,) We brought it home on the rack in the front of the bus. It was secure but I was much more comfortable when I was able to take it off and walk it back to our lodging.
I keep intending to watch a NetFlix movie on my laptop but it is too late by the time I finish this. Oh, well, that is what my Kindle is for.
Once again. Good night,