Revised And Completed Scary Highways, Burst Blood Vessels And Heat, All Part Of The Trip

Getting Ready

The Road That Got Me To Call Uber; Those 2 Lanes Run In Opposite Directions

But 1 Of Many Trucks I was Sharing The Lane With

Another (Yes, The Experience Made An Impression On Me)

August 4, Saturday (Ridgeland to Savannah):

More dreaded Hwy. 17. Things were fine until about 7 miles from the end. I had had 2 lanes going my way and I could deal with that even with no shoulder, though reluctantly. Then the traffic picked up. I didn’t like that but I kept going. But then it went down to 1 lane, lots of traffic and still no shoulder. I rode like that for a while and pulled into a drive, got off and looked at the traffic whizzing by in both directions and the lack of a shoulder. With cars coming from the opposite direction that meant that cars passing me couldn’t move much to the left. I looked ahead and told myself I could probably do it. Then I said, “probably? How dumb is that? Why would I do that?” The obvious answer was that I shouldn’t. So I called Uber because Patty had had to drive back from Ridgeland to Charleston to get a Kindle that was left behind. I felt much better in the car than I had on the bike though I was disappointed about not finishing the ride.

I got to our Inn way ahead of the truck and got lunch at a plant only restaurant. My lunch was called porridge but was unlike anything I have had before with seeds, leaves and flowers that I didn’t recognize and certainly don’t remember. I do know that I liked it which may surprise Sandi because she is constantly struggling to get me to eat greens.

SOME NEW SAVANNAH PHOTOS:

My “Porridge”

August 5, Sunday (R&R in Savannah):

What an elegant city, at least the historical district. Stately homes, tree lined streets, many with hanging “moss” that isn’t actually moss. Some good restaurants and an ice cream shop that always has a long line. And lots of small parks with abundant trees and grass.

We took a hop on hop off bus that gave a good tour of the city’s highlights. This isn’t the first on on this trip because they do give a good overview.

I am not caught up but it is late so I am going to defer. Downloading photos has taken way too long to finish tonight.
Hopefully I will catch up in the next couple of days.

Another Day, A Few Thousand More Pedal Strokes

Thank You, Terry. The Cold Gatorades Were Appreciated

A Curious Kitten

Lots Of Beautiful Water On This Trip

There I Go

This Road, And The Traffic You Don’t See, Chased Me To The SAG

Our Great Sea Food Dinner

August 6, Monday (Savannah to Brunswick):

When the roads were decent, it was a great ride. Including fast as in 17.3 mph over 67 miles and 778 feet of climb which was brought down some by stops and wasn’t aided by drafting.

But then Highway 17 once again took its toll on me. Fast cars and no place to ride other than in their lane. Nope, I wasn’t up for that so got into the truck when I caught up to where Patty had stopped. Patty thought I was crazy for having ridden as long as I did.

Before then I stopped at what I thought was a market but turned out to be a tire shop that was a converted C-Store. I thought it still was since I had seen some people sitting and eating inside. Terry, the owner, saw me dripping wet – temperatures were 90 to 95 – and ended up giving me a couple of Gatorades. Thank you, Terry. While I was there I had some one check out my bike.

We had dinner at a small local restaurant that served us blue crabs, snow crabs, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the Cobb in a garlic butter that was delicious. We definitely recommend it.

Good Bye Brunswick

The Dirt Road But You Can’t See The Potholes Or The Dogs

Entering The Final State

This Prompted Patty To Contact Her Doctor Husband

A Beautiful Bridge Entering Jacksonville

Part Of Our Sushi Dinner

August 7, Tuesday (Brunswick to Jacksonville):

Roads were generally good, there was no rain and it was hot.

Before that I crossed into Florida, the final state of this trip!

Part of the ride included a 4 mile stretch of dirt road that had so many pot holes and bumps, and some times small sands pits that my speed went from well over 17 mph to just over 16 mph. That’s what happens when you ride as slowly as 6 mph.

Just before the end I had 2 large unfenced dogs start barking and running toward me. When I say large,, I mean small Rottweiler size. I stopped and got off which has been the best defense. There was no way I was going to get in a race on that road. I would have ended up being dog food. When I stopped, the dogs stopped and backed up. I ended up walking around 100 yards to where the dirt road turned onto a paved road. The dogs had lost interest by then.

At 42 miles and all of 407 feet, Patty caught up with me. I got in, took off my sunglasses and heard her exclaim. When I looked in a mirror I realized why. My left eye was so blood shot as to be scary. Way worse than it had been in the morning. She took a photo and sent it to her husband who is a physician. He promptly said that it could be an infection and if so it needed to be treated sooner rather than later. So that we could make an appointment if necessary, I put my bike on the rack and we drove into Jacksonville. We went to Costco to see the optometrist who was busy and then the pharmacist who said a doctor should look at it. We were able to get a prompt appointment though there was some waiting once I got there. But it was a doctor ‘s office so no big surprise. The result was that I only had a burst blood vessel which sounds way worse than it really is. No pain and no treatment is necessary, it should return to normal in a couple of weeks. The doctor said that in cases as extreme as mine the person had usually been on a blood thinner. She asked if I had taken any aspirin, Advil or anything and was surprised that I hadn’t given all of the riding I have been doing. She repeated that in the normal case the patient would have been on a blood thinner but said that there is nothing normal about someone having spent so much time on a bike (I had given her a Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card).

We enjoyed our sushi dinner.

Headed For St. Augustin e, Again

Thank You For The Laundry, Patty

August 8, Wednesday (Jacksonville to St. Augustine):

Today was a short ride – 44 miles – mostly on roads that had a bicycle lane. There was a bit of a head wind and it was very hot, 95 or so and humid. I have to have some reason for ending the 44 miles with a 16.6 mph average given that there had been miles where I was riding between 18 to 21 mph. Though flat, I did register 535 feet of climb.

The last 20+ miles was on Hwy. 1 and A1A along the coast. However I was seldom able to see the ocean either because of homes or vegetation covered dunes that blocked the view.

Our first ride – Nick and me as riders, Ale and Sarah as drivers = ended in St. Augustine but this time we approached from the north rather than from the west. This time I wasn’t greeted by any riders coming out to meet us or anyone cheering at the end of the ride.

St. Augustine, our country’s oldest European settled city, is a fun place to visit. History, old buildings, lots of shops and restaurants and, of course, the ocean and beaches. Only Sandi was missing this time.

I have now ridden through the 2 cities where Laura’s Ride 216 and Laura’s Ride North ended, Portsmouth, NH and St. Augustine, FL respectively.

I hope I don’t wait as long to post next time. I appreciate those of you who have let me know that you had noticed the delay in my posts. It is more fun knowing that some are actually reading this.

I will post about today’s ride into Daytona Beach tomorrow.

Good night,
Rick

Scary Highways, Burst Blood Vessels And Heat, All Part Of The Trip

 

 

August 4, Saturday (Ridgeland to Savanah):

More dreaded Hwy. 17. Things were fine until about 7 miles from the end. I had had 2 lanes going my way and I could deal with that even with no shoulder, though reluctantly. Then the traffic picked up. I didn’t like that but I kept going. But then it went down to 1 lane, lots of traffic and still no shoulder. I rode like that for a while and pulled into a drive, got off and looked at the traffic whizzing by in both directions and the lack of a shoulder. With cars coming from the opposite direction that meant that cars passing me couldn’t move much to the left. I looked ahead and told myself I could probably do it. Then I said, “probably? How dumb is that? Why would I do that?” The obvious answer was that I shouldn’t. So I called Uber because Patty had had to drive back from Ridgeland to Charleston to get a Kindle that was left behind. I felt much better in the car than I had on the bike though I was disappointed about not finishing the ride.

I got to our Inn way ahead of the truck and got lunch at a plant only restaurant. My lunch was called porridge but was unlike anything I have had before with seeds, leaves and flowers that I didn’t recognize and certainly don’t remember. I do know that I liked it which may surprise Sandi because she is constantly struggling to get me to eat greens.

One Of Many Impressive Residences

Another

A Savanah Church (One Of Many)

Another Side Of Savanah

Patty At The Entrance To A Cemetery Turned Park

Dessert

August 5, Sunday (R&R in Savanah):

What an elegant city, at least the historical district. Stately homes, tree lined streets, many with hanging “moss” that isn’t actually moss. Some good restaurants and an ice cream shop that always has a long line. And lots of small parks with abundant trees and grass.

We took a hop on hop off bus that gave a good tour of the city’s highlights. This isn’t the first on on this trip because they do give a good overview.

 

I am not caught up but it is late so I am going to defer. Downloading photos has taken way too long to finish tonight. Hopefully I will catch up in the next couple of days.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Laid Plans

Leaving Myrtle Beach

Too Much To Eat

Alligator Guest

July 31, Tuesday (North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown):

The ride started along a highway with mostly no shoulder. However, because it was 6 lanes wide I felt fairly comfortable just claiming the right lane for myself. It was flat and I was able to do 20-21 mph for a while so cars were only going past me at 25-30 mph faster than I was going.

When I got to Myrtle Beach, the route then brought me over to the Coast so I was on the street that fronted numerous beach front hotels. That was slow but interesting riding. Rain free, too.

Though of course that couldn’t last. Not this summer at least. So it started raining. But that didn’t last forever either.

Going through a small town I had at least 2 vehicles yell at me to use the bike lane since I was in the car lane. What they didn’t know was that the “bike lane” really wasn’t rideable except maybe for someone going 10 mph or less because it was pitted, rough, littered and prone to disappear. At least when they yelled they gave me space which is what was important.

The ride was only scheduled for 36 miles so I decided to extend it to what turned out to be 65.5 miles to lop some off of the next day. The riding was flat with a total of only 950 feet of climb and was fun. The last 20 or so were on country roads, some of which went by what I am sure were plantation homes at one time and some of which were so remote and out of service areas that I would have hated to have had a breakdown there.

At the end of the country roads I was returned to Highway 17 which I had come to hate because of the lack of any place to ride. Because of that and because I had hit my aimed for mileage I stopped and called Ale to come get me. What I hadn’t realized is that I had stopped in a mosquito convention. Although a lot of them lost their lives, I lost a fair amount of blood and ended up with numerous welts. They were in addition to those I had gotten earlier when I got a flat near a stream that bred mosquitoes. That was interesting, changing a tube while fighting off mosquitoes. I got the tire changed but I also made a lot of mosquitoes happy.

We ate in a waterfront restaurant in Georgetown that served way more than I could eat. It also had the bonus of hosting both a 5’ alligator and a large turtle that were in the water directly in front of where we were seated.

Approach To Charelston

Headed To Charleston

Charleston Historic Marketplace; 1808

A Charleston Mansion

A Larger Charleston Mansion

Our Second Dozen Oyster

August 1, Wednesday (Georgetown to Charleston):

I had Ale drive me to where she had picked me up the before. However, when I again saw Hwy. 17, including from inside the truck, I lost my nerve and had her drive me to where Google had me turn off that road. The next 30+ miles were beautiful country roads that went through a forested area. It was great until I got another flat which created some anxiety because being the second of the day meant I had no more spares. Plus it started to pour as I was changing tubes. Plus my phone stopped working. The touchscreen simply wouldn’t obey me.

I rode until I intersected a main highway and was told which way to turn to get to Charleston by someone who was also stopped by the same stop sign.

Then another ride from hell started because again there was no place to ride and there were a lot of fast cars. It was so bad that while it was available I rode on a decaying sidewalk that never could have been intended for cyclists. The slow riding was worth it to not worry about getting run over. However, even that alternative ended and I had to return to the road.

That lasted a few miles until I saw that Ale was along the road waiting for me. I was surprised because I hadn’t seen her pass me but it turned out that she had approached from the opposite direction.

The timing was good because I was tired of the rain and of being constantly nervous about the cars. And trucks. The timing was even more fortuitous than I had originally realized because as I walked the bike to the truck I saw that I had yet another flat. That would have been a real problem because I had no more spares and my damp phone wasn’t obeying my wet fingers’ attempts to get it to do what I wanted.

The solution was easy. I put the bike on the rack, got into the truck and said that enough was enough. When I saw the roads ahead of us, especially heading into Charleston, there was no way I wanted to be on a bike.

The ride ended at 38 miles, 377 feet and 16.6 mph average which wasn’t bad given some of what I rode through.

Ale and I spent the afternoon exploring Charleston, much of which is really very pretty. Green, large yards and well maintained homes. We ate lunch in the Historic Marketplace area and walked along a long stone pathway that was on the water on one side and bordered by numerous huge, beautiful mansions on the other. Many were 3 stories and most had impressive verandas.

This was a bittersweet day for me because it was my last day with Ale. She had to fly home the next day for her daughter. I have already told her, numerous times, how much I appreciate all of the help and support and friendship she has given me, both this year and on the 2 previous rides. I will miss you Ale. Thank you!

I picked Patty up from the airport so she can help over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to you too, Patty.

This Is Why I Wouldn’t Ride

This Too Because There Were A Lot Of Fast Vehicles And No Room

And I Had Ridden This But No More

August 2, Thursday (Charleston R&R day):

This was my first rest day since Philadelphia which meant 14 straight days of riding even if a couple weren’t quite as long as I had expected. After getting a late start because Patty is still on west Coast time we went to see Mission Impossible to avoid the rain and then had dinner in the old part of town. Included were 2 dozen oysters at $10 per dozen during happy hour.

First Start With Patty

Hungry Ducks

We Loved This Mexican Food

August 3, Friday (Charleston to Ridgeland):

What a day. First, Google Maps wasn’t talking to me. That took me about 15 minutes to solve. Then it started raining. Then I got a flat. When I took the tire off I saw that the tire had gotten cut. I put a piece of tire between the cut and tube but saw that air was still escaping through the cut. I could see it because there was so much water that there were bubbles. I was concerned that the new tube would blow up but couldn’t call Patty because my phone wasn’t working at all. I managed to ride back to the house – we were staying at an Airbnb – and used another of my spare tires to fix part of the problem. The other part wasn’t solved because I need a working phone. We spent the next couple of hours at the Apple store getting a new phone and getting it set up. That didn’t include while we sat in the truck waiting for downpours to stop. Downpours, not just rain.

We then started following the bike route but I abandoned that idea because of the roads I would have had to have ridden on in the rain and the traffic. Plus it was getting late.

There was nothing about the drive that made me regret that decision. I simply couldn’t have ridden through some of the rain and I wouldn’t have ridden on some of the highways even in good weather. Plus, I won’t ride in a lightning storm. I obviously took advantage of an option that a self supported rider wouldn’t have. I can say that is another reason for having a SAG.

After a great Mexican dinner, we drove around Ridgeland some, though given its size, that didn’t take a lot. We did encounter these hungry critters who gladly ate the chips and rice that we threw to them.

I can only hope that tomorrow is better. But if it isn’t, I will be motorized again. It really is a shame because as for the riding itself, I am in better shape and the roads are flat. But I intend to minimize the risks as much as I reasonably can.

Until then,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Heat, Then Chills And Then Fear

Another Start

Crab Cakes

Crab Legs

Although not chronological, I have to start by giving a very large thank you to Floyd and Mary Lou. THANK YOU!

I also want to say thank you to Cassius and Teresa, 2 people I have met independently on this ride who have both posted Comments.

And thank you to those of you I knew before this ride who have Commented. You are also appreciated.

Now to the chronology.

July 28, Saturday (Clinton to Wilmington):

Just 2 days ago and already my memory has faded. My Garmin tells me it was 64.6 miles, 991 feet of climb and 16.1 mph. So I recall it was a moderate distance, relatively flat and that at 30 miles I was at 17 mph. And that I was very pleased with that.

It got slower for a number of reasons. For 1, I picked up a bit of head wind. For another, I dropped quite a bit the last few miles dealing with traffic and stops. And, to be honest, the first 30 miles at 17 mph took something out of me, especially since the 17 mph was achieved only after bringing up a much slower average due to the slow pace getting started in town. So yes, I started tiring out.

Aside from a flat, 1 driver turning left in front of me so that I had to hit my brakes and actually unclip, a charging dog that also made me come to a complete stop until it’s master called it back and having to race 3 other dogs that ran parallel to me while sounding very unfriendly but didn’t actually charge me, nothing about the ride stands out in my mind. Except that there were no significant climbs.

I went to see Ant Man And Wasp which Ale passed on. It is silly but fun. We then drove to the beach and had dinner. Crab cakes for Ale and crab legs for me. We both enjoyed our dinners and the food was quite reasonable. And we followed it up with ice cream from next door.

Oh, yes. Today was the first time we have seen the ocean since New Hampshire. There is something special about that.

Starting In The Rain

Heading Onto The Ferry

The Pier Ale Walked Out On

July 29, Sunday (Wilmington to Oak Island):

Today started without rain but that didn’t last. However, although I got wet, the rain wasn’t a factor. It wasn’t so heavy as to impair my vision and I didn’t feel it jeopardized me much.

This ride was short and flat, 37 miles and only 541 feet, a number that is decreasing and if Google is to be believed, will disappear altogether. I averaged 16.8 and that was reduced a bit by some stop and go riding.

The 37 miles didn’t include a few miles on a 30 minute ferry ride that I spent talking to Jessica (I hope I remembered her name correctly) who spends around 20 miles a day on her bike commuting to and from work. Hi, Jessica and I hope I hear from you on here.

Nor did the 37 miles include the 6 miles I rode after getting to our motel while looking for someplace to buy a drink while waiting for Ale. Her car route was longer than mine and she did leave quite a while after I did.

Our motel was right on the beach which we both took advantage of. Ale walked out on a pier and walked on the beach while I was more sedentary. I took a short nap on the beach and then spent some time reading (Kindles are great!).

Dinner was at a Thai restaurant, Thai By The Sea, that we both liked better than the last Thai restaurant we ate at. That it was reasonably priced didn’t hurt, either.

Rain At The Start

Mary Lou And Floyd

A Beach View

July 30, Monday (Oak Island to North Myrtle Beach):

It wasn’t raining when I took my bike to the truck to pump up my tires and oil my chain and gears but that didn’t last which is why Ale took the start photo before I was on my bike so she could get inside. She had asked why I wasn’t wearing a rain coat and I said because it doesn’t do any good given the heat and humidity; I end up soaked anyway.

Although it was raining, it wasn’t much of a problem. To start.

I got out of town and after a few miles was on a highway with a minimal shoulder and fast traffic. Ok, I had dealt with that before, even in the rain. But then it started raining harder. And harder. Maybe no worse than a few days ago when there was an absolute downpour but then it got dark and windy and the shoulder became less reliable; at times I felt like I was riding in a stream and I always felt vulnerable to the passing cars with decreased visibility. My riding felt good – why not, I was fresh and it was flat – but then that third element kicked in. Fear. Things would have been fine with no cars but that wasn’t going to happen. I kept going until I could turn off on a road that I hoped would lead someplace with a bit of cover. I didn’t see anything so I just stopped in the pouring rain.

Then I saw Floyd, though of course I didn’t know his name at the time. He was riding a bike – a commuter – and I watched him turn a corner and pull into a garage. I got back on and rode to the garage and asked if I could share it for a minute. He was as wet as I was and immediately said of course. When I pulled in he offered me a towel and we talked a bit. I said I was going to call it a day and he invited me into his home to wait for Ale. I then met his wife of 7 years, Mary Lou and talked with her while he put on some dry clothes. I was immediately offered coffee or tea but opted for cold water with ice, naturally, which Mary Lou graciously got for me together with another towel, not counting the one she draped over a chair for me to sit on. I learned that Floyd’s late wife had died from breast cancer and that Mary Lou had been a widow before marrying Floyd. She mentioned how blessed they were to have found each other and from the short time I was around them I definitely believe that.

I learned that Floyd spent a first career in the Army before a second career as a mortgage banker. I know he is fighting a cancer issue and appears to be winning (I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!) I also know that at 81 he rides daily and still snow skis and that he and Mary Lou visited Machu Piccu just 2 year ago. I also know what gracious hosts both Floyd and Mary Lou are including having me change into dry clothes in their home after Ale arrived and walking me back to the truck under a huge umbrella after I was in dry clothes. Truly, meeting such people adds so much value to the ride for me. Thank you Mary Lou and Floyd.

After returning to the highway I had been on but this time in the truck I felt even more justified in having cut the ride short. Conditions were horrible and the shoulder looked even worse from the truck. Plus, while visiting, Mary Lou’s phone twice buzzed with local flood warnings. Which were on top of the lightning we had seen. I admit, though, that we didn’t see any floods and that the lightning had been quite a ways away.

We passed into South Carolina while I was in the truck.

By the time we got to North Myrtle Beach the rain had stopped and it didn’t start again until we were at dinner, at which time it came down by the bucket. Before dinner we drove around Myrtle Beach and I then spent some time at the beach right outside our motel. I didn’t go in past my legs but for a Californian it is amazing how warm the Atlantic is.

Dinner was at another sea food restaurant. I had fish and chips for the last time on this trip but I couldn’t order the salmon because they would only serve it pretty well done and I only like it more on the rare side. Ale had jambalaya. Dinner was fine but we agreed that we preferred the less expensive Thai meal last night.

I really am looking forward to riding tomorrow. Provided the conditions are reasonable. As I have said, I promised Sandi to be sensible. At least some.

It is late and I have talked enough.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

t

Great Conditions, Mostly, And I Am Still Beat

Bike 1/2 Way Over The Blocade

Thank You, Teresa

I started with my shoe rain covers just in case even though it wasn’t raining. It was only later that I needed them but by then I had taken them off. Great call, Rick.

The ride got off to an interesting start when Google turned me off of a busy thoroughfare – which was good – onto a street that soon had a barricade. The photo is of my bike after I lifted it over the first part of the barricade before I lifted it over the 2nd part. I was just glad that it wasn’t higher than it was. Once past the barricade, the road continued as predicted and was a lot better than the busy street I turned off of.

Google did a good job of directing me to country roads with little traffic and good surfaces. For some reason, despite the good conditions and the lack of any significant climbing – only 1,532 feet over 73.6 miles – I was struggling. And not because of the slight headwind. My legs didn’t feel particularly tired bit I didn’t have any power and my body was plagued with a general malaise. Though not painful, it was just difficult to keep pedaling.

So, I didn’t. No, I didn’t quit. But when the chance arose, I pulled of on to a side road where there was a large lawn with some shade and a tree that made a good back rest and settled in for a while. After eating a ClifBar, I finally got going again, not because I felt like it but because I couldn’t very well stay for the rest of the day. Though that didn’t feel like too bad of an idea.

I stopped at a store not long after and got a cold drink and then started riding again. Whether it was from the added calories or just because I sometimes do better later in the ride, the riding wasn’t such a struggle any more. I still wasn’t riding as strongly as yesterday but at least I didn’t constantly feel like stopping.

When Ale caught me at about mile 46 I decided to take the shoe covers off. I should have known better. After multiple cups of ice water and having my bottles filled with ice water I set out for the final 30 miles. (I don’t know why I still had 30 to go since it was supposed to be a 67 mile ride, not 72.)

The riding was still better than at the start once I warmed up from the stop.

Oh, speaking of warming up. Today it reached 95 and was regularly 89 to 90. However, despite my weak start it never felt as oppressive as the day in Maine when 95 degree temperatures cut my day short. Maybe because unlike then, I wasn’t climbing mountains today.

At about mile 62 I started to feel some light rain, but nothing too much. I stopped in front of a couple of houses to check my phone – which appears to be water damaged – and a woman came out and asked if I ride much. When I told her that I do, she said that she had just moved to the area and wanted someone to ride with. I obviously had to tell her I am not from the area but I blew it by not asking her if she wanted to ride with me tomorrow part or all of the way to Wilmington.

TERESA, IF YOU READ THIS TONIGHT AND ARE INTERESTED, TEXT OR CALL ME AT 925.639.8269.

She would make a credible riding partner because she has done the MS 150 mile 2 day ride. Although disappointed she hadn’t found someone to ride with, Teresa gave me a couple bottles of cold water and filled one of my bottles with ice. Thank you, Teresa and I hope you Comment on here so I know you are following.

By the way, she said that she is retired which means, based on her appearance, she did something right. Too bad she can’t join our group at home.

Just before I left the wind started picking up which wasn’t all bad because it was blowing in the direction I was going. It was hard enough that Teresa said I might not need to pedal the rest of the way. However, when I voiced concern about rain she assured me that wouldn’t happen soon. She was wrong. (I will attribute that to her being new to the area.) Within less than a mile, it started pouring. Then to make matters worse, I had to turn onto a fairly busy road with no useful shoulder for 3 miles. With the rain, the general darkness from the rain, the sketchy shoulder and all of the fast moving vehicles, I couldn’t help but think of the rider who was killed recently at home on a road we regularly ride that is a lot safer than where I was today. Thankfully, I was a lot more fortunate than he was.

I am writing this so yes, I finished. Soaking wet and with water logged shoes that would have benefitted from the covers I took off. I also felt finished. The ride wasn’t hard, being neither too long and pretty flat. But I was – am -still beat. I napped for about 1 ½ hours before dinner which is pretty unprecedented and I expect to go to bed early anyway. Plus, my legs are tired which is also fairly unusual. Maybe because I have now ridden 9 days in a row? Only 5 to go before R&R in Charleston and Ale assured me that Sunday is so short it will be like a rest day (42 miles). When did 42 miles become a rest day for me?

We had dinner at a local steak house. I ordered an 8 oz. Ribeye but could have ordered any size up to 24 oz. The 8 oz. Was plenty, thank you. Ale liked her chicken breast with mushrooms and we both enjoyed the salad bar.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 64 miles and 305 feet to Wilmington. However, today was supposed to be 65 miles and 453 feet, not 74 miles and 1,532 feet. However, if my legs get back to normal, it should be an easy ride. If not, I can complain some more tomorrow.

By the way, Ellen, thank you for the promise of ANOTHER donation, of $100, upon the completion of my ride. See, she knows how to motivate me to keep me pedaling.

Good night,
Rick

 

 

 

Couldn’t Have Been Better

Leaving Littleton With No Expectation Of Rain And There Was None

The Scenery Was Pretty But Apparently My Lens Was Wet; Sorry

Same Problem

July 26, Thursday (Littletown to Wilson):

What, no complaints? I have to mix it up sometimes.

No rain. All day and no rain. That in itself was news. Good news.

Country roads. That meant a minimum of traffic. And what there was invariably either waited for oncoming cars to pass us before going around me or they just moved over into the opposite lane to pass me. Plus, the road surfaces went from good (a pebble like surface but with a minimum of potholes and jarring seams) to great (a smooth surface that immediately increased my speed and reduced my effort). The climbs were generally pretty gradual and totaled only 1,906 feet in the 59 mile ride. The temperature wasn’t bad, maxing out at 90 and there were minimal headwinds, though no tail winds. I ended up at 16.4 mph which I am satisfied with over that distance and with no drafting. But, as I have said, it isn’t a race. Which is a good thing because I doubt that there is any race that my speeds would do well in.

The scenery was pastoral with large pasture like fields typically backed by hills covered with green trees. Most of the houses – when there were houses – were modest but there were some that would qualify as mansions. There are a lot of beautiful places in our country. Unfortunately many of them have some major weather disadvantages, like oppressive humidity and heat in the summer and snow in the winter which I understand can get to be annoying.

I saw few, as in maybe 3, c-stores or small markets on these back country roads but numerous churches. There were churches in areas where there were no visible homes. And, of course, there were churches where there were visible homes. Personally, I could have used more stores and fewer churches but since I am just passing through, I don’t think my preferences were of any significance at all.

I am including a couple of photos from the restaurant we at at last night in Littleton that were taken after I posted last night. The view of Lake Gaston was beautiful though it isn’t the first pretty water view we have had at dinner time. Lake Gaston is large enough that someone I talked to had traveled 40 minutes by boat from Virginia to eat at the restaurant, The Pointe at Lake Gaston.

I can only hope that riding conditions are as good tomorrow. So I am hoping.

Rick

PS: Our route and schedule has varied some from what I had planned when Maria created the map on this web site so the towns that are showing up may not be the same as where we actually stay.

The Pointe At Lake Gaston

A Part Of The Pointe And A Bit Of The Dock

A View From The Pointe

And Another

 

 

 

 

And I Usually Like Dogs

Leaving Richmond In The Rain

Lasagne

Calzone; Yep, It Was Big

July 24,Tuesday (Richmond to McKenney):

At home we make a point of trying to avoid riding in the rain. It isn’t especially comfortable, the road conditions are compromised, visibility may be reduced and cars just seem a bit scarier. I have the same mentality here but there is a difference. To get to where I want to go, I have to get on my bike even if it is raining. Although my mind is telling me I don’t want to, the thought of skipping days is even less appealing. So, at least so far, I get on and start pedaling even though the thought of riding in the truck has a strong allure. I suppose that Ale telling me how it is a short ride – less than 70 miles – and that I can do it undermines all of the excuses I am coming up with for not riding. As I have said before, a ride like this is as much mental as physical and at present the physical is not my weak point.

Oh, I have repeatedly forgotten to follow up on a comment I made a number of days ago about using Bag Balm to deal with raw spots I was raising from the constant contact with my saddle. Well, I used it at the end of the ride and by the next morning they no longer hurt and scabs had formed. With repeated applications I can say that I haven’t had the problem again and those raw spots did not blister as I am sure they would have if I hadn’t used the Bag Balm.

Now if it were equally effective in dealing with the rashes I am getting on the top inside of my thighs. Maybe too much sweat, I don’t know, They don’t hurt but they do itch. The Bag Balm helps but it hasn’t magically made the rashes go away.

And no, I am not a Bag Balm salesman. Or even shareholder. But I wouldn’t leave home for a ride of this sort without it.

Today, 67 miles and 2,139 feet of climb. I didn’t feel as strong as I would have liked and often thought about how much faster my regular riding group would have been going. Oh, well.

Ale says I need some rest but we decided to skip the R&R Day I had scheduled for Richmond. No, not because I am a masochist. Actually, quite the contrary. I have decided to use that day and the day we saved riding into Richmond to spread the miles between Richmond and Charleston over 9 riding days instead of the 7 I had scheduled. I like the idea of reducing the daily mileage.

About 35 miles into the ride Ale caught me and I rested in the truck, drank some cold beverages and Ale put ice in my bottles. She asked if I was wet and I replied that I was soaking, both from rain and from the humidity. Thankfully I followed Ale’s suggestion and changed into a dry T-shirt and jersey so I wouldn’t get chilled from the wet clothes. The change felt great but I was again drenched by the end of my ride. Even without rain I got constant drops of moisture falling from my helmet.

Oh, about liking dogs. Well, I really do. But there were 2 today I could have done without. While on a country road I stopped to take a picture of a horse pasture, in large part because it was one of the few times I could take my phone out and not have it get rained on. What I hadn’t noticed were 2 unfenced dogs, one that looked like a German Shepherd that was off to my right and another that looked like a hound – say the size of a Weimaraner – that was also on my right but farther up the road. The shepherd spotted me and started barking in a much less than friendly way. But at least he was at a good distance and didn’t have the angle on me. The other dog seemed to be ignoring me while he was sniffing a number of trees. So I got on and started slowly riding, hoping not to provoke him. Well then he wasn’t so oblivious of me and instead started to charge me, Since there was no way I could get by him without being intercepted, I stopped, got off my bike and faced him, being very careful to keep my bike between us.

He stopped but kept barking. When I stepped towards him he would run a short distance away but would stop and come back toward me. This went on for a while with me talking to him and telling him to go home. I really hoped that someone would come out of the house to call him home. That was just wishful thinking.

After a few minutes of this his interest seemed to diminish as he wandered farther away. So I got on my bike and started to slowly leave only to have him turn and charge at me. That was reason enough to turn my slow start into a much more frantic escape. I started pedaling like crazy but was in the small chain ring – hence a low gear – because I had been climbing before I stopped for the photo and I wasn’t making the progress I wanted. I was too busy to look back but I am sure he was gaining on me. I finally shifted to a higher gear and picked up speed. I don’t know how close he got before I started pulling away but I was half expecting he would catch me. Literally. But, thankfully, he didn’t and I for the first time on this trip actually sprinted for a bit.

By the way, I didn’t just refer to the dog as him arbitrarily. He got close enough so that there was no doubt about that.

Dinner was at an Italian Restaurant that appeared to be the only option any place close. Ale had lasagne and tiramisu, I had calzone and we both had so-called Caesar salad. The dinners were fine, the salad was crisp and Ale liked the dessert because it wasn’t too sweet..

I can’t post this tonight because we don’t have Wi-Fi so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Until then,
Rick

Dry When Leaving McKenney But Not During The Ride

Cassius

July 25, Wednesday (McKellen to Littleton, North Carolina):

The departure was without rain. It still didn’t take long for me to be soaking wet from the humidity. Not to be outdone, a number of cloud bursts also took their turns drenching me. Including one 4 miles from the end when Ale caught me and gave me a bit of a reprieve in the truck. I suppose that the thought of finishing the last few miles in the truck crossed through my mind as I watched the rain pour down but being so close to the end, how could I not finish on my bike? Though it did feel a bit crazy to climb on and start pedaling away in a down pour. I will say, however, that the rain didn’t last all the way until the end. Why should it given that I was already as wet as I could be? Not cold, though, thankfully, at least after the first couple of minutes when I warmed up.

However, when I had stopped at a store a few minutes earlier with the thought of getting something to eat, I only stepped inside for a few seconds because although the air conditioning felt good, it immediately started chilling me with all of my wet clothes.

Yep, we crossed into yet another state today, going from Virginia into North Carolina. We are now well past the halfway point as far as the number of states we will be in is concerned. Only South Carolina, Georgia (where Ale said she couldn’t have driven because unlike any place we have been, it requires an international driver’s license) and finally Florida. That compares to Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina that we have already ridden in.

Today was a mix of 4 lane highways with no shoulders at all and 2 lane country roads with no shoulders. Although the cars and trucks on the highways all kept out of the right lane which I had to claim as my own, I preferred the country roads because their cars weren’t as fast and they didn’t have 18 wheelers, though I have to say that the big rig drivers have been uniformly considerate about giving me plenty of space.

Speaking of big rig drivers. I met Cassius, a big rig driver, who lives in Virginia Beach but was in this area dealing with a business matter. He was waiting for a ride because he has a broken foot that has kept him from working for a while. I spent more time at that stop than I otherwise would have because I enjoyed talking to him. He said he would follow along after I gave him a card and I hope to see his name pop up among the Comments. Nice to have met you, Cassius. And as you said, we may yet pass on the road sometime in the future though I truly expect this to be my last ride on the East Coast. Not that it hasn’t been beautiful, but I did promise Sandi, and my grandkids, that I will be home next July 4 which will be the first time in 4 years.

The country side was again pretty with much of it being very pastoral. Sometimes with crops near the road with tree covered hills in the background, sometimes with untended forest along the road and other times with houses with huge green yards. Actually, today the yards were typically much more impressive than the houses which often looked similar to mobile homes but without the mobility. I know, however, that most of us in the Bay Area would love to have similar yards where we live. Many of which are no doubt measured in terms of acres.

We finished up by going over the Roanoke River. Very impressive. However, between the rain and the lack of a shoulder, I wasn’t inclined to stop for a photo.

The ride is definitely flattening out. Today only 1,690 feet over 49 miles. Thanks to Google, this morning I rode the first 3 miles and literally ended up where I started. I started on the bike route which started off in the opposite direction than we wanted to go. Why? So I could take what I assume was some kind of a dirt, gravel and sand trail, though it certainly wasn’t one I would ride on this bike. Especially not with all the rain. So I switched to car, no highways and got sent back in the direction from which I had come. 3 extra miles is no big thing but I will admit to a certain amount of frustration when I have to repeat stretches that I have already ridden.

The relative lack of climbing showed up in my 16 mph average speed, door to door. Assuming decent roads and no increase in the slight headwinds I have already encountered, I hope that number goes up as the rides become flatter yet and hopefully the rain lets up. (It can’t rain forever, can it?) Though this IS NOT A RACE, I keep saying to console myself about my slow speeds, especially as I see the messages from those I ride with at home about how fast they are riding. However, longer rides may help hold the average speed down; today’s was definitely on the short side.

Well, for the 2nd day in a row we are in a tiny town. Tonight we have WiFi but no phone service (AT&T). We haven’t looked up our culinary options for dinner yet.

Thank you for the additional donations. And thank you always for the messages and comments. It really does feel better to see that there are people who are actually following along with us.

Best,
Rick

PS, By the way, Sandi is periodically posting on Facebook at Laura’s Ride North. Though I suspect that far more of you read that than this.

 

 

 

Not As Much Rain As Expected, So Far

Leaving Alexandria

They Actually Worked Pretty Well

My Ruben

No, Ale Didn’t Eat All Of This In 1 Meal

Cowboy Jack’s

The forecasts have been for rain all along the East Coast through next Monday. I don’t mind it too much if it isn’t cold and if it isn’t so heavy that it impairs vision. The bigger issue is with roads that have no shoulders or disappearing shoulders and drivers who don’t want to move over, of which there are some. While most have been considerate, and some extremely so, some I would like to throw something at.

July 22, Sunday (Alexandria, V to Fredericksburg):

Just a very few miles in I had problems with Google Maps’ bicycle route. When it had me retrace a portion of the route for the third time I ended it and went to the car route, “no highways.” I had to text Alejandra to figure out how to find the no highways option but, as usual, she came through for me.

While Google might consider the route it gave me to have no highways, there was one stretch that felt very much like one of our freeways. Actually, freeways usually aren’t too bad because they have wide, typically maintained shoulders. The problem comes with the on and off ramps. Sometimes I came to a complete stop in the triangle between the lane and the ramp to let cars pass me before I would move over. I was glad to take the first available exit even though I wasn’t thrilled by a 20+ mile stretch of road that had traffic but no dependable shoulder (meaning that the lane’s surface might be so broken up in places that a road bike has to avoid it – i.e., pull out into the lane – or the shoulder just goes away which also means that I have to move over into the lane, a scary proposition if cars are coming. Occasionally I would stop then, too, to wait for a break in traffic so that I could get started and then move over and claim the far right lane for myself. I have found that on a 4 lane road cars don’t come as close if I ride in the middle of the right lane than when I ride at the right edge of the lane. Actually, I learned that from riding a motorcycle but it also holds true for a bike.

There was a stretch of some pretty good rain. Since I didn’t have the rain shoe covers on – because they were still wet from the day before and because it wasn’t raining when I started in the morning – I stopped to devise some temporary covers because wet shoes are difficult to dry out. I have posted a photo that shows my solution.

None of the riding was rural, though there was still green, and as mentioned above, some of the riding made me uncomfortable because of the proximity of some of the passing cars.

The ride was 61 miles and about 3,600 feet of climb. I say “about” because my computer was off for about 15 miles and I assumed that I climbed as much per mile for that time as I did for the rest of the ride though actually the “lost” 15 miles had more ups and downs than the ride generally (what I am saying is that I think 3,600′ is an under estimation).

We ate at Cowboy Jack’s. I had a Ruben and a bowl of terrific chili and beans – terrific for me because of the top layer of melted, crusted cheese with sour cream on top – and Ale had that double deck burger. No, she didn’t eat all of it for dinner, ½ went for today’s lunch.

At night, while discussing the next day’s anticipated rain, we heard as loud a thunder clap as I have heard. It was actually kind of scary.

Leaving Fredericksburg

Partially Eaten Ribs

I started this ride with my shoe covers but no rain jacket. No jacket primarily because it gets too hot and the rain isn’t cold. It turned out that despite the forecast, there wasn’t really any rain today. However, I ended up as drenched as if there had been. As if there had been A LOT of rain. But it was all due to the 75%+ humidity. When I stopped, streams of drops would fall from my helmet’s head band. And when I was finished, my jersey was soaked.

The main feature of today’s ride that I remember is the constant traffic. And my second flat of this ride. Although it certainly wasn’t rural’ there was a lot of green on our approach to Richmond.

Today was 60 miles and 2,329 feet of climbing. It is getting flatter. According to Google, my climbing will be basically finished by the time we reach Clinton, North Carolina, which is about 265 miles from here. Then it gets really flat.

Tonight’s dinner was BBQ. I got beef ribs and Ale got a beef sandwich. Between the food and going to see the current movie version of Mamma Mia, I think I enjoyed the evening more than Ale did.

Despite saying that the rain isn’t too bad, I hope that tomorrow’s rain forecast turns out like today’s. Especially because there are also flood warnings.

Good night, all,
Rick

 

 

A Sample Of The Flat East And Two New Firsts

A Rainy Start In Baltimore

My Caesar Salad

Ale’s Spinach Salad

The Classy Restaurant

A Bit Of Alexandria

I didn’t post yesterday because our room didn’t have WiFi. So 2 rides are covered today.

July 20, Friday (North East To Baltimore):

This ride was different because little of it was as rural as previously. And no big hills. Just the flat east. So flat that I climbed 4,235 in 60 miles with grades up to 21%, though those were VERY short and dropped to 13 – 16% for a bit. The good news for me was that I felt good during most of the ride and didn’t feel beat when I finished.

Our time in Baltimore was such that we both agreed that we didn’t like what we saw of the city and it is a place I have no reason to visit again.

We went to a movie but the closest theater was 6 miles away and it took more than 30 minutes to get there. Not as slow as Philadelphia, but a lot slower than Orinda to Walnut Creek and with a bit more drama. On the way, I got cussed out at a stop when I told a young guy who sprayed our windshield that I was not going to pay him for squeegeeing it off.

The theater, which was downtown had no parking and street parking was almost nonexistent because of a once a year 3 day street festival. We did finally, with a bit of luck, find a place I could fit the Suburban with the folded up bike rack and I will say that the metered parking was very reasonable. However, between finding the space and the walk to the theater our movie – “Damsel” – had started. Although I hadn’t heard of it before, we both enjoyed it. It is a gritty western with beautiful photography, an interesting plot twist and some unrealistic gimmicks that didn’t ruin it for us, though they did detract for me.

After the movie we wandered through the festival which encompassed a number of blocks and had a large crowd. We both agreed that it was pretty boring in that aside from the food trucks
which had very long lines, most of the booths were advertising businesses rather than selling art or crafts. My feeling was that if this is there big once a year festival, Baltimore doesn’t hace much going for it. (I’m not getting into the Oriels or Ravens.)

Because of those lines, we decided to eat at a restaurant. The problem was that aside from fast food, of which there were plenty, the only restaurants we could find were downtown where parking was $20 because of the festival. The result was that we ended up eating take out in our room from a fish market. Ale called that an interesting experience; we heard 2 different customers cuss out the attendant, one of them saying that they shouldn’t hire Moslems, and another customer told me that we didn’t want to spend any time in the area.

Plus we hadn’t seen any part of the city that looked particularly attractive. Maybe I should have driven to Camden Yards, though I didn’t think of it at the time.

So I wasn’t sorry to leave this morning. Maybe that is why the only Baltimore photo I am posting is of my departure.

July 21, Saturday (Baltimore to Alexandria, VA):

Today started with warnings of rain, warnings that came very true.

This ride was more urban than any of the others with none of it going through country side. The roads were a bit less bike friendly in that what shoulders there are on Route 1 frequently disappeared so that I had to claim a lane for myself which, although the highway was 4 to 6 lanes, was a bit unnerving with cars going by at 60 mph or so.

And then add in the rain. Though by itself the rain really wasn’t too much of a problem except that the wet surfaces are a bit more sketchy.

Then one of those firsts happened. I got my first flat of the trip. I was disappointed because I had started dreaming of matching last year’s feat but knew that that was very unrealistic. At least it happened where I had a very large shoulder to work on.

At about mile 27 of the ride that had been very easy on my legs my earphone said that I was no longer connected to my phone, an untenable situation because I was listening to directions. I stopped and discovered that my phone had died which was a bit surprising because in the past I had still had a charge at 35 to 40 miles and I had been getting fewer directions because the last stretch had been for 16 miles. In any event, I knew I had to recharge it by connecting to one of my spare batteries and figured I could spend the time waiting in a small restaurant where I got some good fried chicken wings.

The problem was that I was soaking wet and I got cool in the air conditioned restaurant. No problem, I figured, because riding always warms me up so I put my wet raincoat back on, went out into the rain and got on my bike. However, I had to stand and wait at a signal to get across a very busy and very wet – as in streams of water wet – road. After returning to pedaling, which was no big deal, I found myself on a non-highway road on which I had to look out for cracks and pot holes while watching for impatient drivers who passed closer than I liked, often spraying me as they went by. And then I started shivering from being wet and cold even though earlier I had been equally wet and the temperature was no lower. The air conditioning had cooled me down and the stop to get across the road hadn’t helped. My whole body was shivering so much that it effected my riding; I couldn’t be sure of getting the bike to go exactly where i wanted, a scary proposition given a very narrow shoulder and some very unsympathetic drivers who were whizzing by. That is when the second first happened. I decided to call it a day because of being too cold with less than 20 miles to go, a distance that I have considered to mean that I am virtually finished for the day. My legs were very willing but I told myself that with my shaking effecting my bike that continuing involved more risk than I was willing to take. So I pulled over to a small strip mall and set out to contact Ale.

That was more difficult than one would expect. I couldn’t get my phone to work. I was shivering enough that I often couldn’t push the letter I intended, my fingers were so wet that the phone often wouldn’t obey my touch commands and for whatever reason the phone was also acting squirrelly and doing weird things. Maybe it was shivering internally although I had kept it dry in a plastic baggie. However, I finally reached her and I finished the last 20 miles into Alexandria in the SAG which was especially disappointing because until the very end the ride had been physically easy. 29 miles and only 1,329 feet of climb. Some at 10% but that was easier than it had been.

We visited Alexandria after the end of last year’s ride and it is delightful. At least it is when it isn’t pouring.

We splurged on dinner, a spinach salad and duck for Ale and a Caesar and duck for me.

Constant rain is projected as far south as Miami over at least the next 9 days. I intend to start out tomorrow rain or shine; well, actually, rain or more rain. How long I last will depend. I have pushed myself and will do so in the future but if it starts to feel unsafe, I will honor my promise to Sandi and call it a day. After all, as I told Ale, baseball games are cancelled for rain. Yes, I also mentioned that football games aren’t. And neither are bike races. But this isn’t a race, I am not getting paid and I want to return home without any accidents sending me home.

So, send in your donations, right? Remember, they are to help breast cancer victims so the fact that I may wimp out shouldn’t effect that.

Bye for now,
Rick

 

 

A Philadelphia Recap After An Easy Ride

View From The Nauti Goose

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.

A View entering Philadelphia

Cesar Salad At Victor’s

Ravioli At Victor’s

The Reading Transit Market

“Rocky’s Steps”

At The Top Of Those Stairs

Everyone Has A Hard Rock Cafe

Some Philadelphia Architecture

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,
Rick