Saturday, July 4, 2015

Day 2: Trenton, NJ to WIlmington, DE

Route: Trenton, NJ to Wilmington, DE
Mileage: 71 miles

Today got off to a great start!  My friend, Christine, drove an hour down to Trenton in order to take Keegan, Alyssa and me out to breakfast.  How awesome is that! She wanted to be part of this crazy journey and I'm so glad to have had the chance to see her.  We had breakfast early because Alyssa had to head to work.  This was probably one of our shortest mileage days, so we were pretty lax on time.  We had a lovely stay with the Kondash family in Trenton, but it was time to head out.

We set out towards Philadelphia and went through NJ, as opposed to through PA to get there.  We ran into one physical road block as we took this route.  The road said it was closed, but it looked like a perfectly nice road on the other side.  We checked Google maps to see if there was an easy detour, not wanting to be surprised by a dirt road a ways down.  But there was no other good option, so we decided to go around the road block.  I like to think it is somewhat symbolic of living with JA.  You will hit many road blocks along the way.  Sometimes, you do need to back off and recalculate.  Other times you just need someone to help you out in order to get to the other side.  So Keegan brought the bike around a few obstacles as Jen scouted to see if the road was open ahead.  Looked good enough to give it a go, and we did! Not more than 1/2 mile down the road, there were houses all over.  Since we figured they needed to get in and out of their homes, we must be golden and sure enough had no issues with the road.  

We saw lots of animals today, including horses, several goats, 3 marmots of some sort, groundhogs maybe, 1 rabbit and 4 vultures.  

We had a nice ride through NJ, but when we hit the bridge to get into Philadelphia, we started to run into problems.  First, we weren't sure if we could go onto the bridge at all, but Google told us too.  So we asked the toll operator.  She said she didn't know.  We tried to follow Google's directions but there was construction every way it rerouted us.  We ended up going under the bridge to get on the path on the other side.  Of course, to get to the path was a staircase.  So with Jen in the front and Keegan at the back, we carried the bike up 3 flights of stairs.  It was hard on Jen's elbows.  But then we were off!  

While on the bridge, it started raining.  We got to the other side and stopped to put on rain gear, and use that as an opportunity to find a place to eat in hopes of waiting out the rain. Keegan demanded Philly cheesesteak, so we looked up a place and headed over.  However as we approached, we realized we were headed straight into the parade.  We dismounted and walked the last few blocks to the restaurant.  Because everywhere was so packed with the parade, we ended up eating outside despite the rain.  

We then headed over to see the Liberty Bell, but the line was pretty long and we couldn't take our bike in anyways, so where's the fun in that?  So we took a picture in front of Independence Hall and were then on our merry way.  

The rain had mostly let up so we went on.  The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful.  We rode past UPenn and through the surrounding areas and hospitals.  We were on a trail for awhile that kept saying it was headed to Swarthmore. We didn't even know when we hit Delaware, but we were happy when we angled down to the Delaware River. But Delaware was our 4th state of the trip, woo!  We were at our very last turn of the whole trip when we got stuck at a draw bridge, dang!  It was reminiscent of our previous Florida trip.  But we finally arrived in Wilmington at Tammy and Harry's place!  We left our bike in a room in their building they said was safe.  We showered and when we got out Harry had made brownies!  Yum!! 

We spent some time trying to figure out a little glitch in our route tomorrow.  There is a greenway or suggested bike route, the East Coast Greenway, down the entire East Coast...but every now and then it gets derailed.  There is a bridge once we hit Maryland, the Hatem Bridge over the Susquehanna River, that does not allow bicycles.  This is ridiculous!  And in order to circumnavigate it, Google tells you to go up and cross over at a dam, which Tammy said is a skinny one lane road and also bad for bikes.  This would take us 20 miles out of the way.  It's crazy that you can't ride your bike across, and I had seen that the East Coast Greenway didn't reroute this way, so we dived deeper into the issue and its solution.  The ECG directions are hilarious--it says to flag down a bus and have it take you across!  

The ridiculous detour you have to take because you can't cross the bridge right there at Havre De Grace

Not knowing what this even meant, we looked it up, called several official numbers to inquire about taking a bus across, Keegan even spoke to the police who confirmed we could not bike over.  Tammy put out a call on social media, as did Keegan, to see if anyone had a pickup truck to escort us across, as the buses aren't running tomorrow.  But then Tammy called in a favor to her dad, who pulled some strings, and the Transportation Authority Police are supposedly going to help us across tomorrow--I hope we get a police escort!  They were told this is for charity, hope we can make it happen!

After that was somewhat settled, we headed to dinner--Not Your Average Joe's! Which we have back in Jen's hometown.  We filled up on good protein and carbs, and had a great convo throughout dinner.  Harry was pumped about the fireworks, but when we got back we were too pooped.  So we retired to do things like write this blog so we could get to sleep.  As it is I am doing it with my left eye closed because that eye gets exceptionally dry, thanks Sjogren's syndrome!  But now it's time for bed, as tomorrow is sure to be another day of adventure! But all in all, Jen's body is hoping up well.  Some issues with her left knee, but it's hanging it.  Here's to another day!

Our final route for today looked like this...

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