Today was a good example of how a day can go from good to bad. The day started with fairly easy biking through scenic fields of wheat, soybean, and corn (always corn). We enjoyed pleasant smells along the way as many roadsides were thick with honeysuckle and flowers. We even stopped to watch an Amish man leading his team of horses around a field, cutting down some alfalfa. Sights and smells like these are why I think bike touring is such a great way to see the world. You have more time to soak it all in rather than just whizzing past in your car.
After about ten miles, the road went down a steep hill as we approached the Susquehanna River. It was a fun downhill, but unfortunately we had to climb uphill again soon after. In fact, this was the first of several down and uphills we had to deal with today. We climbed a total of 2300 feet during today’s 32 mile ride. The ACA really didn’t shy away from any hills when mapping out today’s route.
The last of these long climbs was extra stressful since a traffic detour resulted in many more cars passing us than usual. The hill, traffic, and narrow shoulder were a bit too much for Caroline and we had to take a break so she could vent her frustration. So today saw a couple milestones: our first ice cream break of the bike trip as well as our first emotional “rest stop” of the trip. Yes, I look forward to one kind of rest stop more than the other, but both are to be expected from time to time. On my bike trip to Alaska, there were numerous times I had to vent my frustration by yelling at the wind or the bumpy road.
We eventually made it into the town of Marrietta, PA where we knew there was primitive camping available from a local river outfitting company. Nothing fancy, but for $10 a night, a patch of grass and a porta-potty is about all you can expect.