Day 7, 63 miles, Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pottstown, PA to Lancaster, PA

My odometer: 66.6 miles, 11.9 mph, 5 hr 34 min 30 sec)
Max speed - 40.7 mph

Up at 5:00; 5:30 breakfast here at Best Western, cold cereal - Honey Bunches of Oats, waffle, peach yogurt and orange juice; 6:45 load luggage; 7:00 on the road.

We cycled through parts of the Lower Susquehanna Valley today. The morning started out a bit chilly but it quickly turned out again to be a beautiful cycling day. It was only 2 miles out and the climbs started. There were several long climbs about 1/4 mile (8% to 15% grade) and about 8 short climbs about 100 - 200 feet long and 8% to 12% grade. So as you can see, this was another tough day. I got lost again today, as I tried to take a short cut through a corn field but luckily I found my way out. It was a bit crowded in there!

Most of the last 20 miles was through Pennsylvania Mennonite farm country and I really enjoyed that. About 7 miles from the end of the ride Andrew and I stopped to see and take a photo of a granite quarry. It was huge! (see pic) If you look closely at the center of the pic, you will see a semi and a large crane. That gives one a good idea of how big that quarry is. Directly across the street there was 2 Mennonite farmers harvesting their tobacco. (see pics) The tall yellowish plants on the left are mature and their drying stage harvest will probably occur Monday. The plants that are on the right drying stage occurred 3 days ago and you can see in the third pic, the 2 farmers are loading the wagon. When the wagon is full they will take the dried tobacco back to a drying shed where it will be hung up and dried some more. In December, it will be auctioned off and it will eventually become cigars. Just as they finished loading the wagon, we caught their attention and we walked into the field and one of them told us what I just wrote. Those of you who are reading this journal know that I love to grow vegetables and flowers, and that I love to chat with farmers about what they do. So this experience was a high point of this year's ride. Andrew and I got in at 2:20 PM and were the last to finish the days ride. We are staying at the Heritage Hotel tonight and it is the nicest one yet!

Most of us had dinner at a pizza Restaurant and I had lasagna. The other option was at a Chinese Restaurant. Our ride leader told us tonight at route rap that tomorrow, Lancaster to Hunt Valley (67 miles), is the toughest day of the whole East Coast Ride - Portsmouth, NH to Jacksonville, FL.

A bit foggy this morning

Oops! Is this the next right turn?

Whew! Kind of thickly settled in there...

Corn is everywhere

I think they want to ride my bike

Johnny and Connie cooling off

Mike taking pics of us

Mennonite farmer cutting corn (2 mules)

Huge granite quarry

Harvesting tobacco

Tobacco ripe for harvest

Tobacco being harvested (3 mules pull wagon)

Our room at Heritage Hotel

 Back to August 22's journal

 Back to 2008 ride

 RFA Home

 On to August 24's journal!