Friday, June 5

Two States Down

Greetings from Pennsylvania!

So it's day three and I've clocked over 100 miles. Why so few you might ask? Well, because I'm out of shape. When talking to my friends Mark and Rob about their experience on the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine), I learned that there's no sense in taking off hard only to hurt yourself and not be able to finish the jounrney. Thus, being out of cycling shape, I am building my way to the 60 mile average. What am I at today? 30 and counting. This has actually been my biggest challenge - stopping short of what I feel like I could go. Let me explain.

The trip began with Cullen, my Pace Car, leading me over the G.W. Bridge into the depths of New Jersey. We parted ways and I was off to follow the maps, no longer guided by someone who actually knew where they were going. Unfortunately, the route I am taking goes straight towards Newark. It was only 20 miles to Newark, but beyond Newark there was industrial dilapidation everywhere, for a good 12 miles in fact.

Nearly everything inside of me wanted to ride on beyond Newark, trust me. But I knew, if I did I faced the danger of hurting myself (back to Mark and Rob). Knowing that even if there was a park south of Newark, I probably didn't want to camp in it, thus I headed to the churches. Thankfully my friend Obed (who worked behind a desk at the Sacred Heart Cathedral) pointed me in the direction of a park in a safer part of Newark, perhaps even a suburb. I headed that way, through the rain, found some woods, and called it a day. Since it was still raining, my tent got soaked as I set it up. Thankfully, a naked body in a tent lets off a lot of body heat. Just enough to dry the inside in fact.

Lessons learned - (1) don't put yourself in a situation where you can't leave urban life and (2) always set up tent in dry weather.

Yesterday I spent the day riding out of Newark, Elizabeth, and some other city which was kind of industrious. By midday I was out into the country, floating from small town to small town. I stopped in a small park, set up my tent to airdry and eat. At the end of the day I put in 42 miles, stopping in a town called Raritan. Leaving the city there's this beautiful bridge which crosses a large creek that cars are not allowed to travel on. Across the creek, and technically out of Raritan, there was dense woods between the riverbank and a huge field. I walked my bike back into the woods a bit and set up camp by 5pm. The next two hours I spent back in town sipping on coffee, walking to the grocery store, and sitting on main street benches planning the next day's ride. By 7pm I had accomplished all I could think to do and found myself a bit bored.

This Mark and Rob factor is taking its toll on me. Only a matter of time though that I'll be spending more time on the bike and less time trying not to get hurt.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're having a good time, you're taking pictures right?


burntoutgradstudent said...

are you reading along your journey & have you read "into the wild"? anything by jon krakauer. ya'll would be good friends, too.

Corcoran Crimmins said...

Don't encourage the "into the wild" thing. Remember the guy ends up dead in the end.

Nate's mom

caro said...

Oh, solitude. That's a difficult thing to come to terms with I reckon, learning how to enjoy yourself for long hours of isolation. I went to a coffee shop this morning - my mom has run out - and I'll admit I was in want of company. I only sat there for ten minutes. So, I wish you luck, better luck than I've had. Apparently, though, a synonym of solitude is peace. I hope you find it, I think you will.

skip said...

I love that your mom posts to discourage overly dangerous encouragement! She didn't say anything about you sleeping naked in your tent though, so props to mom. Corky, if you're reading this, I'm Rob the aussie. Hi :)

Alex Brown said...

You would camp naked...