Turning Point (USA Day 10)
I awoke nervous, having spent a fitful night dreaming of knee joints and tearing things. However, Amy’s first few tentative steps produced a report of no pain. We would, for now, get up as normal and try another stage, with the carrot of a rest day hanging just ahead of our proverbial donkey’s mouth.
Our host, Brian, plied us with useful bits and pieces he had lying around (balms, dehydrated food, a tiny can opener, homemade biscotti) and cycled us over to the local post office to send home the really-not-good saddles that had come with our bikes and a few other bits and pieces. At a price of $61, we decided that it wasn’t worth the postage, and donated them to Brian. Make good use of them, dude!
So, today was about rebuilding. Amy’s confidence needed a boost, first and foremost, but her knee needed to stay solid too. I’m delighted to report that both things happened. We’d lowered her saddle to put less pressure on the back, and although she could still feel it, it was less intense than yesterday. Of course, by the end of the day she was then aware of the anterior part of her knee which flares up when the seat’s too low, so we’ll have to find the perfect balance. Knees are truly silly, aren’t they?
As for confidence, our route took us up some sharp little hills and a couple of significant ones, but none of these were a problem. We sat (or bounced) in delightfully low gears and dispatched them like cardboard cut-outs at a shooting-gallery. Progress was quick, we didn’t have any mid-stage crises, and the only tears were mine, when I wheedled past a family of Mennonite children in their old-fashioned frocks and headpieces, loading hay into their cart, and found myself blubbing, overcome with elation and wonder. To think, four days ride from New York, we had cycled into another time zone.
No question, today was the turning-point that we both knew we needed. Oddly, I’d been told this would be Day 4. We waved at Amish women walking barefoot along the roads, nibbled Brian’s biscotti as horses pulled their rusty old ploughs across the fields (each topped by a bearded farmer in a straw hat, obviously. Horses aren’t that clever yet) and watched the hazy sky for its oncoming thunderstorm that, mercifully, never appeared. Approaching New Holland, a tiny town filled with antique shops and Amish men on push-scooters, the smallest, most nonthreatening chihuahua chased me up a hill, yipping itself blue. Our first guard dog experience was less scary, more adorable.
Game of the day was without question ‘Feed Not Nelson’, to be played with a field full of goats, one named Nelson, and some long grass. Nelson, the self-appointed God of Goats, will try to eat all of the grass, and your job is to stuff as much of the good green stuff into other goats’ mouths. Extra points will also be avoided for number of goats fed, and number of goats patted while you feed them. Just as a warning, though, Nelson is enormous, hungry, a big bully and a decent fence-climber, so this game gets four goats out of five on the diffigoaty scale.
With just about 200 miles down, we’re taking a rest day in Lancaster to edit videos, publish a podcast, and plan the next set of days that will take us to our next rest day in Pittsburgh via the Appalachian mountains, the C&O canal, and the Great Allegheny Passage.
Miles Today: 53
Total Miles: 199