It was a hot and muggy night. Does that qualify for some kind of award for a bad opening line? Well, it was a hot and muggy night last night. We were camping and it was quite uncomfortable in our tent, but we managed to get a decent night’s rest. We were up and made our breakfast and packed up the tent and other gear and were on the road by 8:00 or so.

We found ourselves riding through rolling farm country with Amish men working the fields with horse teams. The weather was as it has been for days, heavily overcast but not quite raining. We rode for a couple of hours and while climbing one of the many hills noticed a couple on a tandem with panniers up ahead of us. We eventually overtook them and chatted for a minute before continuing on. They were the first and so far only other touring cyclists we’ve seen on this trip.

Soon after it started raining lightly. Finally I asked Jodi to pull over and I put the rain covers on my panniers. This is usually enough to make the heavens clear and the sun appear, bit it didn’t work today. Soon we were riding in a downpour and got ourselves thoroughly soaked. Of course there is nothing wrong with being wet, as long as you’re not cold, and it was a warm rain on a warm day, so we were happy to continue riding. Soon after the rain tapered off and ended, we arrived in Manheim, PA and it being lunch time we stopped at a local grill for lunch. The air conditioned restaurant soon had us in our wet clothes thoroughly chilled so we wasted no time in getting back out on our bikes. The sun was out now so the chill restaurant was soon a fond memory as we sweated up more hills.

Our original plan for the day was to cycle to York Furnace and camp for the night, but our laundry from yesterday had not yet dried and now all of our cycling clothes were wet. The forecast called for more rain as evening came as well as overnight, so we decided to get a room somewhere and get everything dried out. Looking at the map there were few options so we decided to stop in Columbia, PA on the bank of the Susquehanna River. That made a short day of only 45 miles and we arrived here before 2:00pm and had a very relaxing afternoon. Just as we were about to walk to a local restaurant for dinner another shower came through which we sat out on the wide front porch of the Columbian B&B where we are staying.

Our 45 mile day puts us 572 miles from home.

While I type this Jodi has been looking over the map for tomorrow’s route and it turns out there isn’t any place to stay–neither camping or hotel or motel — other than the campground at York Furnace which is too close for a day’s ride, for at least another 75 miles, and that only if we take the alternate route into downtown Baltimore. If we stick to the main route we would have to ride nearly to Bethesda, our ultimate destination, to find a place to sleep tomorrow night. It looks like we will have to depend on the POI database in our GPS to find us something off-route when we feel like we’ve ridden far enough tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember that tandem couple I mentioned earlier? While Jodi and I were on our way out for dinner tonight they were just arriving at this same B&B! Paul and Jane are from northwestern NJ and are heading for Reston, VA. Hopefully we’ll get to chat some more over breakfast in the morning.

Allen Freeman